Tag Archives: math

Will Butter Make You Smarter? Introducing Butter Mind…and Coconut Mind







stick of butter.jpgUpdate: 10/19/10 – Study is now open to users at http://genomera.com/studies/butter-mind

Will eating one of these fats improve your math performance?  Based on Seth Roberts’ butter and math
study, recently presented at a Bay Area Quantified
Self Show & Tell
, during which Seth ate half a stick of butter each day and performed better in math, we expect the answer to be yes.

Seth was able to reduce his time by 30 milliseconds.  Will others who try a similar experiment experience the same change? 

 

In the Butter Mind study, to be run from October 23 – November 12, I will test the hypothesis that butter improves math performance. (note: there has been a slight shift in the dates.)

This study is meant to
mimic Seth Robert’s study, with the addition of a coconut oil group. 
Many thanks to Seth for his advice and help getting this started!

Why the addition coconut oil?  I have a pet theory that the cognitive enhancement Seth received may be from the high concentration of Medium Chain Triglycerides in butter, also present in coconut oil, which has been linked to positive effects on those with Alzheimer’s Syndrome.  Seth has not tried coconut oil, so cannot report on its effects on his math scores.

Obviously, no study is perfect – and this one is no exception!  It’s a test I was interested in trying myself after seeing Seth’s presentation — but I realized it would be far more fun and interesting to include others!  This will be fun for me, and I hope for you, too. At the very least, will get data from a group over a 21-day period, but we may even get a few curious surprises. 

I am currently looking for Butter Mind participants, who will perform a math test daily for 21 days and be in one of the following groups: butter eaters, coconut oil eaters, and controls, who will eat no additional fat but will perform the same math test as the fat-eaters.

To qualify for the study, you must be willing to eat 4TBS of butter or coconut oil (sticking to the same one) – or nothing extra – for 7 days and do a 32 problem simple math test for 21 days.  You must have access to the internet to submit your scores.

Study details:

 

-       Participants
will be randomly selected to be in the Butter, Coconut Oil, or Control group

-    Participants will be responsible for purchasing butter or coconut oil, if in either of those groups

-       The study
will take place for 21 days: from Oct 23 – Nov 12

-       The
study will be divided into 3 sets of 7 days

o   Part I. Oct 23 – 29: Perform simple
math quiz daily  + No additional
fats

o   Part II. Oct 30 – Nov 5: “Fat.” Perform simple
math quiz daily  + Butter OR
Coconut Oil. For Controls, just the quiz.

o   Part III. Nov 6 – 12: Perform simple
math quiz daily  + No additional
fats

-       Non-control participants
will ingest 4 Tablespoons of either
Butter or Coconut Oil during the “Fat” portion of the study

-       Participants
will be asked to share lifestyle information before the study and asked to join an online group to track their data.  Extra sharing (thoughts, epiphanies) is encouraged but optional.


Additional details:

 

-       Results
will statistically analyzed, hacked and visualized (and new studies brainstormed) during Science
Hack Day
, November 13-14, Institute
for the Future.
www.sciencehackday.com.  You can join for the Science Hack Day portion only by registering here.

-       New
results will be posted to the QS blog throughout the study

-    Interested participants will receive a form requesting data on lifestyle factors several days before the study begins.  I will update this post with a link to the form when it is ready.

 

For more information
or to join, send an email with “Butter Mind” in the subject line to:

 

cat eating butter.jpg

Eri Gentry: eri@biocurious.org

Twitter: @erigentry

Eri is co-founder of BioCurious, Citizen Science guest author at the Make mag blog, and is happiest when she gets to be a guinea pig.  Eri hasn’t eaten butter in 8 years but will try it (or anything) for a better mind.

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Can You Eat Yourself Smarter?

Here is a great presentation by Tim Lundeen from the recent QS Show&Tell. Tim is running some interesting self-experiments on diet and cognition.


QS_081023_03_Tim_Lundeen from Paul Lundahl on Vimeo.

Diet and cognition is a topic of such obvious interest that it regularly breaks through into the popular press and the science blogs. For instance, eating blueberries and walnuts make rats smarter.

Tim was specifically inspired by the many posts Seth Roberts has made about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Tim uses a simple test of cognitive function as his dependent variable: he gives himself 100 very simple math problems and records the time it takes to complete them.
Here is one of the graphs Tim made in his self-study. The y-axis is the time it take to complete his 100 problems. On about day 80, he upped his dose of DHA from fish oil.
TimLundeenDHAGraph.jpg

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