Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Study: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps treat depression–especially among women–but benefits are declining steadily



Researchers have found that CBT is roughly half as effec­tive in treat­ing depres­sion as it used to be (The Guardian):

Every­body loves cog­ni­tive behav­ioural ther­apy. It’s the no-nonsense, quick and rel­a­tively cheap approach to men­tal suffering…So it was unset­tling to learn, from a paper in the jour­nal Psy­cho­log­i­cal Bul­letin, that it seems to be get­ting less effec­tive over time. Read the rest of this entry »

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) as depression treatment: much promise, some DIY risks

For people with severe depression, incorrect application can worsen their condition or cause memory loss. Nathan O'Nions/Flickr, CC BY-NC

—For peo­ple with severe depres­sion, incor­rect appli­ca­tion can worsen their con­di­tion or cause mem­ory loss. Nathan O’Nions/Flickr, CC BY-NC

Around 350 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide have depres­sion. Anti­de­pres­sant med­ica­tions are often pre­scribed to treat the con­di­tion, along­side talk­ing ther­a­pies and lifestyle changes such as reg­u­lar exercise.

But a sub­stan­tial pro­por­tion of peo­ple either don’t respond to anti­de­pres­sants, or expe­ri­ence such sig­nif­i­cant side effects that they’d pre­fer not to take them.

In search of Read the rest of this entry »

Training our brains’ executive control to reduce rumination and improve mood

happybrainIsraeli com­puter ‘game’ teaches brain to be hap­pier (Haaretz):

There are peo­ple who think dwelling on their emo­tions is help­ful, view­ing it as a kind of wrestling match with their inner demons. But accord­ing to psy­chol­o­gists, it’s Read the rest of this entry »

10 Predictions on How Digital Platforms will Transform Brain Health in 2013

Just a quick note: we’ll host a webi­nar on Jan­u­ary 30th to dis­cuss key mar­ket pre­dic­tions based on “The Dig­i­tal Brain Health Mar­ket 2012–2020: Web-based, mobile and biometrics-based tech­nol­ogy to assess, mon­i­tor and enhance cog­ni­tion and brain func­tion­ing”, our new mar­ket report.

Here are 10 pre­dic­tions, many of which will likely be real­ized before the end of 2013: Read the rest of this entry »

Encephalon: Briefing the Next US President on Neuroscience & Psychology

Dear Mr or Mrs Next US President,

We are glad to wel­come you to our blog car­ni­val. After a short hia­tus, Encephalon is backScience Debate 2008 and gath­er­ing steam. We have pre­pared this “revival” edi­tion just for you, so you can be well informed and impress us all dur­ing the upcom­ing Sci­encede­bate 2008.

With­out fur­ther ado, let’s pro­ceed to the ques­tions posed by 24 blog­gers on neu­ro­science and psy­chol­ogy issues. We hope they pro­vide, at the very least, good men­tal stim­u­la­tion for you and your advisors.

Big Ques­tions

Do I deserve to vote even if I don’t have Free Will? (Marc at Neu­ro­sci­en­tif­i­cally Challenged).

If cul­ture sculpts our brains, what can our brains do to refine our cul­ture first? (Stephanie at Brains On Purpose).

Is God more than a fly­ing brain? (Jes­sica at bioephemera).

Is Your brain really read­ing This? (Pete at Brain Hammer).

A Few Intru­sive Questions

Do you play any musi­cal instru­ment? (Megan at SharpBrains).

Read the rest of this entry »

Closing the Circuit: Helen Mayberg’s research could revolutionize depression treatment

Blue, DepressionNot a day goes by with­out a sig­nif­i­cant depression-related announce­ment. Yes­ter­day, one could read that Older Women More Likely to Suf­fer Depres­sion (than Older Men; in the Wash­ing­ton Post). Today, we see that St. Jude Start­ing Trial On Brain Stim­u­la­tion For Depres­sion (CNN). A few days ago, Blue Cross of Cal­i­for­nia Launched Mater­nity Depres­sion Pro­gram (press release).

Time to step back and ask our­selves ques­tions such as, “What is going On”, “What is Depres­sion”, “What Treat­ments Work, and What is the Lat­est Research”. For­tu­nately, thanks to our col­lab­o­ra­tion with Greater Good Mag­a­zine, Jill Sut­tie offers a fas­ci­nat­ing answers to those questions-and more. Enjoy.


Clos­ing the Circuit

Helen Mayberg’s research could rev­o­lu­tion­ize depres­sion treatment.

— By Jill Suttie.

At some point in their lives, 5 to 12 per­cent of Amer­i­can men and 10–25 per­cent of women will suf­fer an episode of depres­sion, mak­ing it the most com­monly diag­nosed men­tal dis­or­der today. Unlike nor­mal sad­ness, which passes with time, depres­sion feels unstop­pable and causes peo­ple to lose inter­est in nearly all activ­i­ties. Because it affects a person’s abil­ity to eat, sleep, work, and func­tion nor­mally, it exacts a huge cost on the econ­omy, esti­mated at $30 bil­lion dol­lars annu­ally. The cost in human suf­fer­ing can­not be measured.

Mil­lions of peo­ple diag­nosed with depres­sion turn to med­ica­tion as a treat­ment, and many of the most pop­u­lar Read the rest of this entry »