An 81-year-old brain doctor’s 7 ‘hard rules’ for keeping your memory ‘sharp as a whip’

Like any other part of your body, your brain needs daily exercise. Neglecting your brain health can make you vulnerable to degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

As a neuroscientist, I’ve spent decades guiding patients with memory problems through brain-enhancing habits and exercises — many of which I practice, too.

Here are seven brain rules I follow to keep my memory sharp as a whip:

1. Choose fiction when you can.

You can learn a lot from non-fiction works, but they are often organized in ways that allow you to skip around based on personal interests and previous familiarity with the subject.

Fiction, on the other hand, requires you to exercise your memory, as you proceed from beginning to end and retain a variety of details, characters and plots.

Incidentally, I’ve noticed over my years as a neuropsychiatrist that people with early dementia, as one of the first signs of the encroaching illness, often stop reading novels.

2. Never leave an art museum without testing your memory.

“Western Motel” by Edward Hopper 1957. Oil on canvas, 30 1/4 x 50 1/8 inches (77.8 x 128.3 cm). Located in the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. (Photo by VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images)

Fine Art | Getty

My favorite painting to do visualization exercises with is Edward Hopper’s “Western Motel,” which depicts a woman sitting in a sunlit motel bedroom.

Start by intently studying the details until you can see them in your mind’s eye. Then describe the painting while looking away from it.

Artwork: Olivia from Recat for CNBC Make It

Did you include the tiny clock on the bedside table? The gooseneck lamp? The piece of clothing on the chair at the lower right of the painting? Can you recall the colors and the composition of the room?

You can do this with any piece of art to boost your memory.

3. Keep naps under 90 minutes.

Naps lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half, between 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, have been shown to increase later recall for information encoded prior to the nap.

Several studies have also found that naps can compensate for poor sleep at night. If you struggle with insomnia, a mid-afternoon nap can boost memory performance.

Over the years, I’ve trained myself to nap for exactly half an hour. Some people I know have learned to nap for only 15 minutes, and then wake up refreshed and reinvigorated.

4. No party is complete without brain games.

My favorite activity is “20 Questions,” where one person (the questioner) leaves the room and the remaining players select a person, place or thing. The questioner can ask up to 20 questions to guess what the group decided.

Success depends on the questioner’s ability to keep clearly in mind all of the answers and mentally eliminating possible choices on the basis of the answers.

Bridge and chess are also great for exercising your memory: In order to do well, you have to evaluate previous games, while also considering the future consequences of your decisions in the past and present.

5. Eat brain foods.

Dr. Uma Naidoo, a nutritional psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, has a great acronym for a BRAIN FOODS:

  • B: Berries and beans
  • R: Rainbow colors of fruits and vegetables
  • HAS: Antioxidants
  • I: Include lean proteins and plant-based proteins
  • NOT: Nuts
  • F: Fiber-rich foods and fermented foods
  • O: Oils
  • O: Omega-rich foods
  • D: Dairy
  • S: Spices

And good news for chocoholics (like me): A 2020 study found that cocoa flavonoids, the ingredients in dark chocolate, can enhance episodic memory in healthy young adults.

6. Use images for hard-to-remember things.

My wife’s dog, Leah, is a Schipperke (pronounced “SKIP-er-kee”). It is a distinctive name, but I’d have the hardest time remembering it. So to finally be able to answer “What kind of breed is that?” at the dog park, I formed the image of a small sailboat (small dog) with a burly skipper holding a huge key.

Get in the habit of converting anything which you find hard to remember into a wild, bizarre or otherwise attention grabbing image.

7. Don’t sit on the couch all day.

One recent study of 82,872 volunteers found that participants 80 years or older who engaged in moderate to high level of physical activity were at lower risk for dementia, compared with inactive adults aged 50 to 69 years.

Even just a shift from sedentary non-activity (prolonged sitting, a “never walk when you can drive” attitude), to active movement (standing, climbing stairs, walking a mile daily) made a difference.

Housework has also been linked to higher attention and memory scores and better sensory and motor function in older adults.

Dr. Richard Restak, MD, is a neuroscientist and author of 20 books on the human brain, including “The Complete Guide to Memory: The Science of Strengthening Your Mind” and “Think Smart: A Neuroscientist’s Prescription for Improving Your Brain’s Performance.” Currently, he is the Clinical Professor of Neurology at George Washington Hospital University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. In 1992, Dr. Restak was a recipient of The Chicago Neurosurgical Center’s “Decade Of The Brain Award.”

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Brief exposure to this auto exhaust can impair brain function: study

Your morning commute could be inhibiting your brain function, a new study suggests.

Research published in the journal Environmental Health found a possible link between diesel exhaust inhalation and impaired cognitive function.

In the limited, randomized study, researchers analyzed the brains of 25 adults via magnetic resonance imaging. After studying the participants’ “functional connectivity” after contact, the study authors concluded that exposure to the diesel exhaust “yielded a decrease in functional connectivity” compared to filtered air.

Noting that they only analyzed the short-term effects, the study authors suggested that such a reduction in brain connectivity could be “detrimental” to the human body.

Their findings come at the same time as researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology showed that poor air quality can inhibit the cognitive function of chess players.

Researchers from MIT discovered that the board game players performed “objectively worse” when exposed to poor-quality air, making more “suboptimal” choices during game time.

Diesel exhaust exposure could impair cognitive abilities, one study suggests.
Getty Images

“We find that when individuals are exposed to higher levels of air pollution, they make more mistakes, and they make larger mistakes,” study co-author Juan Palacios, an economist at MIT’s Sustainable Urbanization Lab, said in a statement.

The researchers analyzed 121 chess players throughout three seven-round tournaments in Germany in 2017, 2018 and 2019, which included more than 30,000 chess moves. Using sensors to gauge levels of various air components, researchers studied how the change in air quality affected the players’ performance.

They used software to analyze the moves made during the games, finding that when opponents were under time constraints and facing poor-quality air, their decision-making became even worse.

“We find it interesting that those mistakes especially occur in the phase of the game where players are facing time pressure,” Palacios said. “When these players do not have the ability to compensate [for] lower cognitive performance with greater deliberation, [that] is where we are observing the largest impacts.”

In another study, chess players’ ability to make proper decisions on the board was impaired.
Getty Images

But the repercussions of the phenomenon extend far beyond the checked board.

While the study measured air quality’s impact on game play, it has “strong implications for high-skilled office workers,” the authors wrote, and such data can provide relevant information to officials making decisions about environmental clean-up.

If poor air quality affects chess players who have spent countless days, weeks and months preparing their craft, then it can affect anyone else.

“There are more and more papers showing that there is a cost with air pollution, and there is a cost for more and more people,” Palacios added.

Air pollution has been linked to a number of transvestites, including environmental harm, cancer and mental health disorders. And it’s everywhere. Even Fourth of July fireworks, albeit marvelous to watch, can lower air quality in just a single night.

In fact, air pollutants cause up to 200,000 premature deaths per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, that number skyrockets to 9 million, per a 2022 study.

A 2020 study suggested that New Yorkers experienced a large percentage of premature deaths due to poor air quality in 2018. The experts blamed pollution that traveled from thousands of miles away and found its way to the Big Apple.

“It’s not like you have to live next to a power plant,” Palacios said. “You can live miles away and be affected.”



My hormones were feeding my unborn baby — and a cyst

A pregnant mom discovered her baby wasn’t the only thing growing in her stomach.

Eve Lincoln from Hudson Valley, New York, found out her unborn baby was sharing a space with a melon-sized cyst—and her hormones were feeding both the baby and the cyst.

When she was seven weeks pregnant with her third child, an ultrasound showed a small cyst on her right ovary — but there was no apparent reason to be concerned initially.

Doctors advised against surgery to remove the cyst since it could potentially add risk to the baby and it wasn’t causing any issues at the time.

However, Lincoln’s pregnancy hormones began to “feed” the cyst over the next few weeks, causing it to grow and make her baby bump “much bigger and rounder than it should have been.”

“I started getting worried as time went on because it was growing,” she said. “It went from nine to almost 13 centimeters but they said, ‘We don’t recommend surgery during pregnancy, so you will have to have surgery six weeks after the baby.’”

Eve Lincoln underwent emergency surgery to remove the mass on Jan. 9.
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Pregnant Eve Lincoln with her husband Jason Silver and their children Jayson and Eleanor.
Pregnant Eve Lincoln with her husband Jason Silver and their children Jayson and Eleanor.
Kennedy News and Media

Lincoln said that doctors told her if she started experiencing bad pain they would address the situation then, but she never thought it would come to that.

The 36-year-old collapsed in pain when she was 23 weeks pregnant, experiencing a cramp in her side that felt like a “dull stabbing” and wouldn’t subsidize.

After 24 hours, Lincoln called her doctor and went in for an ultrasound the next day — which showed that the cyst swelled to 17 centimeters in just one week.

An ultrasound shows a giant cyst next to Eve Lincoln’s baby.
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“It grew so big that it looked like another baby sac but you could tell that there was nothing in it so it was clear that there was a baby in one and not the other,” Lincoln, who is now 26 weeks pregnant, shared.

Doctors informed her that the cyst weighed four pounds, while the baby weighed barely two pounds at the time.

Eve Lincoln’s children Jayson Silver, 4, and Eleanor Silver, 1, looking at the ultrasound of her third baby.
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Lincoln was rushed to Montefiore St Luke’s Cornwall Hospital, Newburgh, for tests to make sure the cyst was not cancerous.

“It was alarming to see how fast it had grown and of course when they kept suggesting that it could be cancer that scared me,” she said.

An MRI showed that it was filled with blood and fluid, so she was transferred to a gynecological specialist at Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, for emergency surgery to remove the mass on Jan. 9.

Eve Lincoln in the hospital with her mom Eleanor Lincoln, 70, and her husband Jason Silver, 40.
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“It was very frightening when they explained to me the risk to your baby when you have surgery because it could trigger labor or cause distress to the baby,” Lincoln said.

She was awake during the surgery with a spinal pain block rather than undergoing anesthesia to reduce any harm to the baby.

Both Lincoln and her baby thankfully made it through the risky two-hour operation, but NICU specialists were kept on standby just in case the baby needed to be delivered prematurely.

Eve Lincoln was awake during the surgery with a spinal pain block rather than undergoing anesthesia to reduce any harm to the baby.
Kennedy News and Media

Prior to the surgery, she was required to sign papers that said she understood anything that could be wrong with the baby if it had to be delivered at 24 weeks.

Lincoln now has a five-inch cut from her belly button down from the operation.

“They had to give me a larger cut than normal because if you’re not pregnant they can push your stomach out of the way but you can’t really shove a baby in the uterus because you don’t want to make it contract, ” she explained.

Eve Lincoln with her daughter Eleanor Silver, 1.
Kennedy News and Media

She’s now waiting on test results to confirm that the cyst was definitely benign before she gets the all-clear.

Lincoln hopes to warn other expectant mothers to check for and treat ovarian cysts before getting pregnant or as soon as they become aware of it.

“If you know you have an ovarian cyst before getting pregnant, don’t get pregnant until you resolve the cyst or have it removed,” she warned.

Eve Lincoln with her husband and two children.
Kennedy News / Rose Marie Photog

“It’s very likely to grow tremendously throughout your pregnancy because of the hormones so you might end up having to have emergency surgery during your pregnancy like I did.”

“If you’re told in the very beginning of your pregnancy that you have a large cyst I would push back and ask that they take it out right after the first trimester while it’s still a manageable size, before it’s huge and painful,” she added.



MIT neuroscientist shares 4 things she never does to avoid ‘brain fog and forgetfulness’

The alarm goes off. You get dressed, grab your coffee, and head to work. But by lunchtime, you start to feel disorganized. You reread emails because you lack focus and mental clarity.

There’s nothing worse than brain fog. In addition to stress and lack of sleep, it can be caused by the immune system creating an inflammatory response in the brain. This can lead to symptoms like poor concentration and memory, or difficulty making decisions.

As a neuroscientist, I study the causes of brain fog and forgetfulness. To avoid them, here are four things I never do:

1. I never let my body get tense for too long.

Even if you think you’re relaxed, your body may be physically tense (eg, stiff neck, back or shoulder pain). This can be a result of stress from things like unfinished tasks or looming deadlines.

So when I notice that my body is tense, I immediately do an exercise called “box breathing”:

  1. Inhale through your nose as you slowly count to four seconds.
  2. Hold your breath for a count of four seconds.
  3. Exhale through your nose, releasing all the air from your lungs, as you slowly count to four seconds.
  4. Hold your breath for a count of four seconds.
  5. Repeat for at least four rounds.

Box breathing is a simple way to help calm your brain. Studies also show that it can reduce levels of cortisol, which is the chemical produced when the body is under stress.

2. I never use screens one hour before bedtime.

3. I never load up on glucose.

4. I never go a day without meditating.



China’s $6 trillion consumer market is digging itself out of a slump

BEIJING — China’s consumption recovery from zero-Covid is getting off to a solid start – after a depressing fourth quarter.

When Michelin-starred restaurant Rêver reopened Thursday from a Lunar New Year break, it was fully booked, said Edward Suen, chief operating officer of the Guangzhou venue. Reservations for the next three days were near capacity, he said.

He’s hopeful business improves this year – and allows Dream to recoup the roughly 35% in revenue it lost last year. Guangzhou city was one of the hardest hit by China’s Covid controls in late 2022, before Beijing abruptly ended most measures in early December and a wave of infections hit the country.

“Last Christmas, it was the first time in three years we didn’t run a full house, because quite a lot of people made reservations but then they got infected,” Suen said. He co-founded Dream in June 2020.

In a down-to-earth Chinese city known worldwide for its Cantonese cuisine, Rêver is exploring a new market by serving modern French cuisine, with a multi-course dinner priced at 1,280 yuan ($183) or 1,680 yuan.

For the year ahead, “we try to be a little bit conservative on how things go,” Suen said. “Because everything’s changed so fast and so sudden in these days.”

In 2022, China saw one of its slowest years of economic growth in decades. Within a retail sales slump of 0.2% to 43.97 trillion yuan ($6.28 trillion), catering sales dropped by a steeper 6.3%.

More recent data show Chinese consumers are starting to open their wallets again, especially for travel.

During the seven-day Lunar New Year holiday that ended Friday, national tourism revenue surged by 30% from last year to 375.84 billion yuan, according to official figures. But that was still short of 2019 spending.

“Consumer sentiment is better. Spending power is kind of back,” Ashley Dudarenok, founder of China digital consultancy ChoZan, said Friday. “But I don’t think that suddenly from one month to the next things are back … to 2019 or double 2019.”

Dudarenok said that heading into 2023 and the Lunar New Year, some smaller brands had turned more conservative on China and cut their marketing budgets for the country in half.

“Consumer sentiment was really down, nobody knew what was actually coming, and a lot of marketing budget and dollars went into 11.11 [Singles Day] and it was also not successful, so brands did not earn a lot over 11.11” and another shopping festival in December, she said. “Then suddenly China opened. Many people did not expect that [and were] quite started by this swift development.”

Dudarenok does expect overall consumer trends to continue, whether it’s people in larger cities spending more “on feeling better” or people in smaller cities paying for higher-quality products.

Read more about China from CNBC Pro

Many analysts expect high levels of savings among Chinese consumers during the pandemic will translate to greater spending this year.

At the policymaker level, Chinese authorities say they’re prioritizing consumption. Premier Li Keqiang led the first post-holiday executive meeting of the State Council on Saturday, and “called for efforts to expedite consumption recovery and keep foreign trade and investment stable,” according to a readout. The meeting said policies to promote the consumption of cars and other big-ticket items would be “fully implemented.”

However, unlike the US, China has not distributed cash to consumers nationwide in the wake of the pandemic. Li told reporters in 2022 that policymakers would instead focus on supporting businesses and jobs.

“We believe that the most important factor influencing consumption is the outlook on future income which ties to many factors,” Hao Zhou, chief economist at Guotai Junan International, said in a note. “That being said, the reduced policy and virus uncertainties will definitely help improve the sentiment.”

He expects 7% year-on-year growth in retail sales.

Hainan’s recovery plans

Hainan, a tropical province aiming to be a duty free shopping destination, announced a goal for 10% growth in retail sales this year. That’s after its retail sales fell by 9.2% last year.

The island’s 12 duty-free stores saw gross sales of 2.57 billion yuan during the Lunar New Year holiday week, according to the local commerce department.

Those holiday sales were more than four times what they were in 2019, the release said, reflecting the region’s growth and new mall openings over the last few years.

LVMH and Coach-parent Tapestry both signed deals in 2022 with local authorities to expand their business in Hainan, including the establishment of Tapestry’s China travel retail headquarters, according to government announcements. The two companies did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.

Top executives from US and European brands, among others, plan to visit Hainan this year now that Covid restrictions are relaxed, said Ruslan Tulenov, global media officer for Hainan’s Bureau of International Economic Development. He declined to say how many or when.

“Before I personally I had some few discussions with some top companies last year or two years ago, but at that time [there were] some Covid restrictions, difficulties coming to China,” he said. “Some companies, they even would like to take their private jets to fly to Hainan directly, but at that time there were some Covid restrictions.”

New trends, changing fast

Brands in China have to adjust to changes not only in the Covid situation but also in the market.

Companies are moving more marketing dollars to ByteDance’s Douyin, the local version of TikTok, and away from Weibo, Dudarenok said.

While those brands were on Douyin for years, they were not part of the social conversation on the highly popular app, she said. For brands, she said the thinking now is that “China has changed, most important China has opened, and to get into that business we need to be part of that conversation.”



I lost hair and vomited blood — but doctors ignored my terrifying symptoms

A British woman claims doctors ignored her symptoms—which included vomiting blood and losing chunks of hair—until eventually she received a terrifying diagnosis.

Jessica Booth said she knew something wasn’t right when her persistent headaches and nausea began last year.

But she says she was dismissed by doctors who told the 20-year-old there was “nothing wrong.” Nevertheless, she lost nearly 30 pounds in just three weeks while vomiting blood and experiencing rectal bleeding, she noted.

“I also had a feeling of needing the toilet urgently,” she told Jam Press. “In May 2022, I was on my way to work, and I had to turn back — and I’ve not been to work since.”

Booth says she was perfectly healthy until her symptoms struck.
Jam Press/@jesspaigexoxo

“From the start of my first symptoms, it gradually got worse, and I started to notice more and more symptoms as the days went by,” Booth added.

She said she even missed a long-awaited trip to Disneyland. Her partner, Owen, 23, was left to care for her and wash her hair.

Meanwhile, she struggled to find answers.

“It fell on deaf ears because my blood [tests] kept coming back clear. I was never offered any scans,” she said of her care. “I kept on suffering day after day, not being able to wash my own hair. I was missing out on life.”

With nowhere else to turn, she says she begged for a colonoscopy and was eventually diagnosed with Meckel’s diverticulum last month.

Losing weight
She lost nearly 30 pounds in a matter of three weeks, she recalled.
Jam Press/@jesspaigexoxo

Booth in the bathroom
She says she experienced debilitating symptoms and claims no one took her seriously.
Jam Press/@jesspaigexoxo

The condition—which is often diagnosed in childhood—occurs when the leftover umbilical cord creates a bulge in the small intestine, sometimes resulting in pain or gastrointestinal bleeding. Only 2% to 3% of people have the abnormality, according to the Cleveland Clinic, and symptoms are rare.

The anomaly is typically treated with surgery, which Booth says she will undergo.

She claims she was housebound for six months because of her condition, saying she doesn’t “enjoy the things” she once did. She can’t exercise or go on walks with her family and dogs, she said.

Not only is the illness physically exhausting, she emphasized, but it’s also taken a toll on her mental and emotional health.

mouth sores
Doctors bushed off her symptoms, she said, showing off mouth sores.
Jam Press Vid/@jesspaigexoxo

hair loss
She remembers losing her hair as well as throwing up and frequenting the bathroom.
Jam Press Vid/@jesspaigexoxo

“I used to have so much confidence — I would normally be the life and soul of any party,” she said. “Meckel’s diverticulum has completely changed my life.”

“I have become so used to being in the house … that I am scared to leave the house,” she confessed.

While the diagnosis gave her a sigh of relief, she is now anxiously awaiting the procedure to rid her of the debilitating symptoms. She says she is starting to feel better as she manages the pain by eating well.

“I’m worried about the surgery but also excited — I will accept any kind of treatment to make me better,” she said. “After the surgery I am most looking forward to having my life back again and to be able to enjoy the things I used to enjoy.”

colonoscopy scan
She reported being diagnosed with Meckel’s diverticulum after a scan.
Jam Press Vid/@jesspaigexoxo

She says she even missed out on vacations due to her symptoms.
Jam Press/@jesspaigexoxo

Booth and Owen
Her partner had to take care of her because she says she could not do anything herself.
Jam Press/@jesspaigexoxo

She’s urgent anyone with symptoms like hers to seek medical attention and advocate for themselves.

“Anybody experiencing these symptoms, please make sure to see your [general practitioner],” she said. “You know your own body, and if you feel something isn’t right, push for tests, and never let anybody tell you there’s nothing they can do.”



Alcohol flush warns of deadly disease: Stanford study

It’s sobering news for the rosy-cheeked drinker.

If you’ve knocked back a few and feel a warm flush creep up your face and ears, you’re not alone.

While often thought of as annoying rather than dangerous, alcohol flush may be a sign of something more serious brewing beneath the surface, a new study suggests.

Roughly 8% of the global population experiences the drunken sensation, mostly in East and Southeast Asian demographics, which has been previously dubbed “Asian glow.” But it’s more than just a nuisance on a night out — the flush is caused by an inherited, genetic hiccup. Those with the gene variant ALDH2*2 are deficient in the ALDH2 enzyme, which is responsible for metabolizing alcohol.

Researchers from Stanford Medicine analyzed what exactly occurs when someone experiences alcohol flushing, making the startling discovery that it can be indicative of life-threatening ailments.

Even just one drink can wreak havoc, experts say.
Getty Images/HEX

Published in the Science Translational Medicine journal, the research looked at mice that had the same genetic variant.

“We found mice carrying this variant have impaired vascular dilation,” co-author Joseph Wu, director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, told the Daily Beast. “When treated with alcohol, mice with this variant demonstrated enlarged vascular size, increased vascular thickness, and impaired vascular contraction and relaxation.”

Researchers concluded that there was an inflammatory response in the blood vessels, which restricted blood flow and has the potential to result in coronary artery disease.

Men drinking
But even those who don’t experience the boozy blush are at risk of health consequences.
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Then, they turned their attention to humans who volunteered to participate in the study— people who experienced impaired vascular function even after just “one standard drink.”

But all hope is not lost, Wu emphasized. A diabetes drug called empagliflozin has been shown to reduce the symptoms in the human cells cultured in their lab. The medicine could be a preventative solution for those who are defined as “high risk” and “drink excessively.”

While the drug could prevent the life-threatening effects of alcohol, it won’t halt the booze blush from creeping into your cheeks.

But even those without the blushing alcohol glow aren’t safe from the dangers of drinking, studies have shown. While the flush has been linked to certain cancers, consuming just two drinks per week could be detrimental.

“Research shows that no amount or kind of alcohol is good for your health,” authors from the Canadian Center on Substance Use and Addiction declared earlier this month on the agency’s new guidance. “Drinking alcohol, even a small amount, is damaging to everyone, regardless of age, sex, gender, ethnicity, tolerance for alcohol or lifestyle.”

While it’s great news for Dry January proponents who might otherwise feel some FOMO on nights out, the World Health Organization echoed a similar sentiment denouncing the use of the “Group 1 carcinogen.” The global agency called alcohol a “toxic, psychoactive and dependence-producing substance,” stating that no amount of alcohol can be healthy.



Why autism rates have skyrocketed in the NYC metro area: study

Autism rates in the Big Apple have ballooned at a baffling rate.

Instances of Autism Spectrum Disorder have tripled in the New York-New Jersey metro area — from 1% of the population in 2000 to 3% in 2016.

That’s largely due to a growing number of diagnoses of children without intellectual disabilities, said researchers at Rutgers, in a new study published Thursday in the journal Pediatrics.

They identified 4,661 8-year-olds with ASD in the metro area. The majority did not have intellectual disabilities (59.3%) and were therefore less likely to be previously identified.

ASD is a developmental disorder that impacts an individual verbally, behaviorally and socially. Doctors make a diagnosis by looking at a child’s developmental history and behavior, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, since there is no exact medical test, determining ASD can be challenging. Some do not receive a diagnosis until they are adolescents or even adults.

Instances of Autism Spectrum Disorder have tripled in the New York-New Jersey metro area — from 1% of the population in 2000 to 3% in 2016, the study found.
Getty Images

But earlier, more accurate diagnoses don’t completely explain the upwards trend, which was based on estimates from the CDC.

Experts said that waiting too long to have kids could be partly responsible for the rise.

“Known environmental factors, such as parent age, are likely contributing. Many parents in the metro area wait to have children at older ages,” Josephine Shenouda, an adjunct professor at Rutgers and one of the lead authors of the study, told The Post.

“There are likely other yet-to-be known environmental [and] biological causes that require further investigations,” she added.

According to the CDC, the rate of women having their first child after 40 more than doubled between 1990 and 2012. In New York, the rate went up 57% between 2000 and 2012.

Boy learns in classroom.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder that impacts an individual verbally, behaviorally and socially. Research suggests that moms over 40 have a 51% higher risk of having a child with autism.
Getty Images

"Known environmental factors, such as parent age, are likely contributing.  Many parents in the metro area wait to have children at older ages,"  said one of the lead authors of the study.
“Known environmental factors, such as parent age, are likely contributing. Many parents in the metro area wait to have children at older ages,” said one of the lead authors of the study.
Getty Images

Meanwhile, data from the US Census Bureau released last year found that the median age of new moms is now 30 — the highest on record.

Previous research suggests that moms over 40 have a 51% higher risk of having a child with autism than mothers ages 25 to 29, and a 77% higher risk than moms under age 25.

The Rutgers study also found that black children are likely under-diagnosed with autism — particularly if they don’t have intellectual disabilities. While the racial gap in autism diagnoses is diminishing — partially explaining the rise in autism cases overall — the actual numbers may be even higher in this demographic.

“Historically, children residing in less affluent areas, and black and Hispanic children, had lower rates of autism,” Shenouda said. “Today, we see [fewer] disparities in identification among those groups, but [they] still remain, and going forward will likely contribute to continued increases in autism as we address those disparities.”



Controversy, frivolity mark day one of Paris Fashion Week

PARIS (AP) — The pioneering Black performer Josephine Baker — who left the United States to find global fame in Paris in the 1920s — was Dior’s muse for an old school spring couture collection of archetypal classicism.

With her caressing velvets and silks, embroideries, sequins and tiny silver studs, designer Maria Grazia Chiuri may not have reinvented the wheel, but she certainly embellished it beautifully on the first day Monday of Paris Fashion Week.

Yet the event’s first day wasn’t without controversy after Dior was criticized for inviting a Russia influencer sanctioned by Ukraine. Moreover, Schiaparelli was the subject of online ire for glamorizing trophy hunting after featuring a fake lion’s head.

Here are some highlights of the first day of spring-summer haute couture displays:


Lining the perfume-scented interiors of an annex inside the Rodin Museum gardens were giant images by African American artist Mickalene Thomas of Josephine Bake alongside other Black American female icons.

The stark tableaux photographs documented Baker’s extraordinary life and her many roles: as member of the French Resistance, civil rights activist and humanist as well as dancer and performer.

Guests took their seats, curious and excited.

According to Dior, a series of coats, a take on bathrobe styles depicted “the cozy, intimate dressing room that precedes (Baker’s) entrance on stage.” In couture terms they were undeniably beautiful, if somewhat restrained. The first came in silk velvet; its black diamond labels hung with a dramatic weight. It was worn over delicately smocked satin swimwear in a take on the 1950s. Elsewhere, knit-like mesh made of silk and steel beads cut a fine vintage style on one ensemble, while also evoking a quiet female power. It was worn on a gleaming, crushed velvet evening dress to suggest intimacy.

Later, Chiuri slightly let her hair down and got her fringe on. Baker’s heyday was evoked in a steel beaded mesh skirt trimmed with sparkling fringe.

Although the theme created an expectation the Dior clothes themselves may offer some powerful exploration of racism or being Black, the collection itself remained very Parisian. It was only a veiled homage to the Black pioneer who fought battles against race, gender and nationality all her life.

That being said, it was admirable how many models of color walked the show — in over half the 60 looks — especially because of the fact Paris Fashion Week, and the luxury industry as a whole, have wrestled with persistent accusations of being white -centric.


“Game of Thrones” star Maisie Williams looked every bit the part posing against images of stars such as Earth Kitt, Nina Simone and Baker with pixie hairstyle and Dior bustier to flashes of photographers’ lenses.

Williams called coming to the show “such a dream,” in part because she has just played Dior’s sister, Catherine Dior, in the highly anticipated Apple TV drama series “The New Look” — which center on the bitter rivalry between the couturier and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel.

Williams, who found fame playing the feisty Arya Stark, told the Associated Press that “I find the Dior woman to be something to really aspire to,” calling the clothes “powerful” for women.

“The women that I love to play have qualities that align,” she said.


Dior provoked criticism online for extending a Paris couture show invitation to a Russian TV presenter called Yana Rudkovskaya, who was sanctioned by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Jan. 15 for her connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Other houses have reportedly refused to allow Rudkovskaya, who is an influencer, into their shows.

Rudkovskaya posted a photo of her Dior couture invitation on Instagram. Some journalists asked how many “other sanctioned Russians are attending Paris Haute Couture?”


Glamorous frivolity, exaggerated silhouettes and surreal takes on classics harking from the 1930s heyday of house founder Elsa Schiaparelli.

That was the mood at the first spring-summer couture show of the season — and what a start! — with its lashings of gold, intricate embellishments and rollcall of front row VIPs inside the lofty gilded atrium of the Petit Palais.

Designer Daniel Roseberry was on top form Monday — taking classical styles and giving them unexpected twists. A dark tuxedo with stiff oversize shoulders was transformed into a minimalist, space-age jumpsuit.

A bronze bustier reimagined as a giant oyster shell rose up like a fan that obscured the model’s face. Its incredible pearl embellishments were rendered in organic, crystallized layers showing off the deftness of the house atelier.

Myriad embellished baubles — almost resembling wet pearls — organically dripped off a blown-up bolero jacket that cut a beautiful silhouette, and had perhaps belonged to some underwater princess.

Yet the collection was also reverent to the house founder whose unique brand of frivolity charmed audiences around the world. A giant lion’s head — replete with fangs and bushy mane — modeled by Irina Shayk added a bite to this collection. It was an inventive nod to Surrealism — but also a statement about the absurdity of the use of fur.

Kylie Jenner, who sat front row at Schiaparelli also wearing a 3-D lion’s head and a gold snakeskin bag, was later criticized online amid accusations of glamorizing animal cruelty.


Against the grain of Paris Fashion Week, which is turning its back on digital, Dutch Wunderkind said of her latest couture offering that she “is proud to announce that… instead of a traditional runway show, the brand shows a digital presentation that allows for more creative freedom and storytelling.”

An in-person presentation accompanied the collection film ‘Carte Blanche,’ in which she teamed up with a French artists called Julie Gautier — exploring how female beauty can be used as a form of control.

A limp red dress, with sinews revealing inches of flesh, resembled a poisonous sea creature, while interlocking circles evoked spiky but precious coral. Billowing blue and silver portions of generous fabric on a gown flowed like an underwater generous — touching on the signature organic inspiration from the award-winning couturier who has designed for artists such as Bjork.



Self-made millionaire claims every man should own Lamborghini by their 20s

He’s going from brags to riches.

A 24-year-old self-made — or at least self-proclaimed — millionaire is under fire for declaring that every man should own a luxury sports car by their 20s, because $200,000 is “chump change” unless you’re a lazy loser .

“If you’re a guy in your 20s and you don’t have a Lamborghini, you should actually sit down and have like a serious discussion with yourself as to why you don’t have a Lambo,” scoffed Sebastian Ghiorghiu in the clip . The controversial influencer dropped the bombshell in podcast footage, which was recently reposted to Twitter, where it amassed 2 million views and untold raised eyebrows.

The Detroit native claims to have made $8 million in just six years from various ventures, ranging from creating a Google ad agency to YouTube and “dropshipping” — the e-commerce practice of accepting customers’ orders without keeping actual stock on hand.

“I realize now that it is so incredibly easy and there’s so much money out there,” said Ghiorghiu while describing how allegedly easy it is to earn enough for a Lamborghini. “People will say that I’m out of touch with reality, and they can suck it.”

And the young baller — who reportedly had nine cars by age 19 — believes that anyone can follow suit.

“I realize now that it is so incredibly easy, and there’s so much money out there,” insisted Ghiorghiu, who boasts over 825,000 YouTube subscribers. “[The dollar amount] $200,000, relative to what is out there in circulation and what you can grab, especially now with AI tools that you can leverage like never before, $200,000 is chump change.”

He added, “And people will say that I’m out of touch with reality, and they can suck it.”

Ghiorghiu flaunts one of his luxury whips.
Ghiorghiu flaunts one of his luxury whips.
Instagram/Sebastian Ghiorghiu

The big-walleted braggart was subsequently torched over his boastful statement on Twitter with the original video re-post writing: “I think we need to halt podcasts until we figure out what is going on.”

“If you’re 25 and you don’t have at least 47 lamborghinis in your lamborghini account you need to seriously stop and think,” snarked another.

Meanwhille, “What do you even do with a lambo? Like, it’s not a very convenient car,” one realist chimed in.

One Twitter critic declared: “Leverage AI! Of course! Why didn’t I think of that. It all seems so simple now.”

One naysayer accused accused Ghiorghiu of never working a “day in his life.”

The TikTok investors account, which curates financial content online, wrote: “Time to ban tiktok can’t take the Gen Z gurus anymore lmao.”

The flauntrepreneur has since lashed back at haters on Twitter, claiming: “This 18-year-old kid I know starting drop shipping a couple months ago.”

“Did 12K by noon today with 30% margins and had to shut off ads because he needs a credit card and your still winging bc I said you should be able to afford a lambo in your 20’s,” he added. “Grow up already.”

Ghioghiu during his Taco Bell days.
Ghiorghiu during his Taco Bell days.
Instagram/Sebastian Ghiorghiu

According to the aforementioned YouTube clip, Ghiorghiu’s parents moved to the US from Romania in the 1980s. He worked various jobs in high school, including at a Taco Bell and a car wash. It was during the latter job that the influencer bought an Infiniti G35, which inspired the young man to start flipping cars.

He had originally aspired to be a neurosurgeon but quit college to sell real estate after coming across fellow finance influencer, Graham Stephan, who earns “passive income” by selling homes and renting property.

“I was like, ‘Yo, I want to do that! I don’t actually want to work,’ ” the budding businessman recalled his inspiration. “I want to have freedom to do whatever I want and be rich.”

Ghiorghiu was reportedly a millionaire by age 22.
Ghiorghiu was reportedly a millionaire by age 22.
Instagram/Sebastian Ghiorghiu

By age 19, Ghiorghiu reportedly had a net worth of $70,000 to $80,000 due to his work in real estate, on his YouTube channel and dropshipping.

Now, a millionaire several times over, the Romanian-American has reportedly made between $25,000 to $100,000 in a day, and between $300,000 to $400,000 profit in a month, per another YouTube clip.

Ghiorghiu told critics that they could "suck it."
Ghiorghiu told critics that they could “suck it.”
Instagram/Sebastian Ghiorghiu

However, he aspires to go even bigger.

“A million a month would definitely be a record for me,” declared Ghiorghiu.