By Hank Pellissier
The sun's strong rays aren't just damaging your children's epidermis — they’re also diminishing their brainpower. Frying lazily for days on end on the hot sand can shrivel a person's smarts up to 20 IQ points, according to research by Professor Siegfried Lehrl of Germany's University of Erlangen. An excess of inactivity reduces oxygen to the brain, dimming neurons and literally causing frontal lobes to shrivel. Add to that dehydration from excessive heat or alcohol, and it gets worse, decreasing brain cell volume by as much as 15 percent.
What you can do: Thankfully, the effect is temporary and can be remedied when the brain is cooled and energized. To keep your young sun worshiper's noggin sharp, encourage scampering in the shade and drinking fluids. Vigorous exercise is superb for developing minds because it instigates the creation of new neurons (brain cells).
Next: Eat wisely »
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