With the explosion in digital entertainment options over the past several decades and the more recent restrictions on outdoor and in-person social activities, parents may worry that excessive engagement with digital technology could have long-term effects on their children’s mental health.
A new study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, however, found little evidence for an increased association between adolescents’ technology engagement and mental health problems over the past 30 years. The data did not consistently support the suggestion that the technologies we worry about most (e.g., smartphones) are becoming more harmful… [Read more…] about Study: Social media and general tech engagement not found to “fry” teenagers’ brains
Brain/ Mental Health
There are many reasons why mental wellbeing is important. Not only is it protective against physical illnesses and linked to greater productivity, but the mental wellbeing of a population is essential for a country’s sustainability, long-term growth and development.
But despite the clear benefits, governments tend to focus public spending on treating and preventing disease, and providing care for those who are ill. While this is important and should continue to be prioritised, such strategies alone won’t increase levels of mental wellbeing overall.
Not only would enhancing mental wellbeing across all segments of the population lead to better health on average, it would also be beneficial from an economic perspective. [Read more…] about Study: Higher mental wellbeing (in 2016) seen to lower healthcare costs (in 2017)
Belfast-based Cumulus raises €6.9m for its ‘Fitbit for the brain’ (The Irish Times):
… Formerly known as BrainWaveBank, the company has developed a wireless electroencephalogram (EEG) headset and proprietary software platform that use advanced analytics and machine learning to measure cognitive fitness.
“This funding will allow us to build on the ground-breaking advances we have made in remote, frequent monitoring of brain activity and cognitive function in the home, in partnership with leading developers of digital biomarkers,” said Mr Cunningham, the company’s chief executive. [Read more…] about Cumulus Neuroscience raises $8.3M to develop EEG-based wireless ‘Fitbit for the brain’
The Rise of Big Data Psychiatry (The Wall Street Journal):
As a physician, I need to figure out three things when a new patient walks into my office: what their life is typically like, what has changed that made them seek treatment and what I can do to help them. It’s a complex problem, and most fields of medicine approach it by taking measurements. If I were a cardiologist evaluating a patient’s chest pain, for instance, I would speak with the patient, but then I would listen to their heart and measure their pulse and blood pressure. I might order an electrocardiogram or a cardiac stress test, tools that weren’t available a century ago.
Because I’m a psychiatrist, however, I evaluate patients in precisely the same way that my predecessors did in 1920: I ask them to tell me what’s wrong, and while they’re talking I carefully observe their speech and behavior. But psychiatry has remained largely immune to measurement. At no point in the examination do I gather numerical data about the patient’s life or behavior, even though tools for taking such measurements already exist. In fact, you likely are carrying one around in your pocket right now. Keep reading essay HERE, adapted from the new book Reading Our Minds: The Rise of Big Data Psychiatry by psychiatrist Daniel Barron. [Read more…] about Reading Our Minds: New book issues strong call to action to modernize psychiatry
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring ten timely resources and research findings for lifelong brain and mental fitness.
#1. Let’s start with a fascinating story and study 🙂
Study with 330 centenarians finds that cognitive decline is not inevitable … (Henne Holstege, PhD, assistant professor at Amsterdam University Medical Center) said her interest in researching aging and cognitive health was inspired by the “fascinating” story of Hendrikje van Andel Schipper, who died at age 115 in 2005 “completely cognitively healthy.”
#2. Neuroscientist Lisa Genova, author of the beautiful novel Still Alice, releases non-fiction book on Memory: “It is sobering to realize that three out of four prisoners who are later exonerated through DNA evidence were initially convicted on the basis of eyewitness testimony. “You can be 100 percent confident in your vivid memory,” Genova writes, “and still be 100 percent wrong” … Genova assures her readers that only two per cent of Alzheimer’s cases are of the strictly inherited, early-onset kind. For most of us, our chances of developing the disease are highly amenable to interventions…”
#3. Timely tips for the weekend: Shape your environment, shape your mind
- Surround yourself with nature
- Create opportunities for awe
- Clear the clutter
#4. “For a mission to succeed, high mental and cognitive function would be absolutely critical; astronauts would be called on to perform demanding tasks in a demanding environment. Losing 20 IQ points halfway to Mars is not an option … Stress—an emotional or mental state resulting from tense or overwhelming circumstances—and the body’s response to it, which involves multiple systems, from metabolism to muscles to memory—may be the chief challenge that astronauts face.” Next in NASA’s path to Mars: Overcoming astronauts’ cognitive and mental health challenges
#5. Study: Depression affects visual perception … making it more accurate (based on a cool optical illusion)
#6. It’s good to have more tools in the neuro toolkit…assuming we use them wisely: Emerging applications of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS): e‑sports skills training, cognitive enhancement in older adults
#8. Mental Health in the Digital Age: From digital therapeutics to personalized mental health solutions: Pear Therapeutics expands platform via partnerships with Empatica, etectRx, KeyWise, and Winterlight
#9. The award was won last year by Indian village teacher Ranjitsinh Disale; who will be next? Final day to nominate teachers for the $1M Global Teacher Prize 2021
#10. And last, but certainly not least, let’s welcome Mental Health Month (May) by appreciating our beautiful brains
Wishing you a mentally healthy and cognitively stimulating month of May,
The SharpBrains Team
The company has been pushing for more reimbursement of its three marketed DTx products in the US following a first FDA approval in 2017.
Pear said that the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) and RecoveryOhio are providing access to Pear’s FDA-approved DTx reSET and reSET‑O, for treatment of substance use disorder and opioid use disorders, respectively. [Read more…] about Ohio joins Indiana and Kentucky in funding Pear Therapeutics’ digital addiction treatments