Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring timely brain & mental health news and a fun couple of math brain teasers.
#1. Study on the “ABCs of Mental Health” finds that simply believing you can improve mental wellbeing helps actually improve it
#2. “Digital therapeutics” vs. “Mental health apps”: A growing debate on standards, regulation and efficacy
#3. How ’sleeping on it’ can help the prefrontal cortex regulate emotional responses, making us feel better in the morning
#4. NICE in the UK issues recommendation for Sleepio app, the digital cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia by Big Health
Innovation matters: “At a price of £45 per person, Sleepio is cost saving compared with usual treatment in primary care. This is based on an analysis of primary care resource use data before and after Sleepio was introduced in 9 GP practices. Healthcare costs were lower at 1 year, mostly because of fewer GP appointments and sleeping pills prescribed.”
#5. New book provides practical guidance for women (and men) to rebalance our lifestyles and build Cognitive Reserve
Lifestyle matters: “The more complex our lives are, the more we need simple things that can ground us and help us to be more resilient – to rebalance and rebalance and rebalance again. Building the mental muscles to find balance when one gets off balance is a critical skill thrive and to build cognitive reserve in our fast-changing times. As our monthly gatherings showed us over the years, practicing rebalance in good company not only reinforces neural pathways and capabilities but also strengthens the bonds of trust and confidence that are invaluable to build a healthy environment to thrive in.”
#6. Study: Automated VR psychotherapy can help reduce anxiety and distress, especially among those with psychosis and severe agoraphobia
One of the benefits of VR is that patients know they are in a simulation, which enables “psychological distance from problematic reactions,” the study authors wrote. “The process of finding the best uses and implementation methods of this immersive technology at scale in mental health is only beginning.”
#7. Funding for digital health start-ups, especially in mental health, fall substantially in Q1’22
“While all tech sectors received smaller funding totals than the previous quarter, digital health plunged much further than others did … investor interest in mental health tech wavered as the market and public companies like Talkspace and Cerebral come under scrutiny.”
#8. Deep learning model built on neuroimaging data identifies “Brain Age Gaps” as markers of Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
“The main finding of our study is that we could indeed find evidence that high brain age gap is behaving as an accelerated brain aging biomarker.” — Dr. David Jones, neurologist at Mayo Clinic
Finally, a couple fun brain teasers to help you flex your math/ cognitive mental muscles:
#9. Will you finish your thesis on time?
#10. Math brain teaser requiring no math — just perception and cognition
Wishing you and yours a healthy and stimulating June!