Myron Rolle played football at Florida State University (and graduated in two and a half years). He was headed for the NFL when he became a Rhodes Scholar. So he postponed his football career for a year to attend Oxford University.
Afterward, he was picked by the Tennessee Titans in the 2010 draft. He was an outstanding safety. Nonetheless, he headed back to FSU in 2017 to get a medical degree before doing his residency in neurosurgery at Harvard.
Clearly, athletics and brain power were a winning combination for him. And now, thanks to researchers from Harvard, we know why.
It turns out that a protein called irisin is released from your muscles when you exercise. It may be the reason exercise plays an important role in burning fat, strengthening bones, and protecting against neurodegenerative diseases.
In their most recent investigation of irisin, the Harvard researchers discovered (in mice) that the protein's tiny molecules can pass through the blood-brain barrier. Once in the brain, they help protect and even regrow nerve connections, which may be why exercise keeps your memory sharp.
The research also found that, independent of exercise, irisin is present in nimble brains but in short supply in those with Alzheimer's.
To avoid cognition problems, try this five-part plan:
1. Manage stress
2. Exercise regularly
3. Eat noninflammatory foods (skip added sugars, red/processed meat, and egg yolks)
4. Respect sleep
5. Play speed-of-processing games
Do those things and you'll win a scholarship in good health and sharp thinking, and take steps toward extended longevity.