A recent study found inconsistent evidence linking the neurotransmitter serotonin to depression. In an article for The Conversation, the authors of the study concluded that it is impossible to say that taking SSRI antidepressants is worthwhile. But is it safe to conclude that serotonin is not involved in depression or that modern antidepressants aren’t helpful in treating the condition? [Read more…] about Debunking the “chemical imbalance” theory yet not throwing out the antidepressant baby with the bathwater
A new digital mental health intervention, Step-by-Step, developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) with the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) at the Ministry of Public Health Lebanon and other partners, was effective in reducing depression among Syrian refugees in Lebanon, according to a study published in PLOS Medicine. [Read more…] about Digital mental health intervention by the World Health Organization (WHO) found to lower anxiety and depression, with improvements maintained at 3‑month follow-up
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring timely brain & mental health news and a fun brain teaser to put your temporal lobes to good use 🙂
“Here, we estimated the impact of different types of screen time (watching, socializing, or gaming) on children’s intelligence while controlling for the confounding effects of genetic differences in cognition and socioeconomic status … Broadly, our results are in line with research on the malleability of cognitive abilities from environmental factors, such as cognitive training and the Flynn effect.”
Fascinating! Having said that…
“Social interaction is hugely important. One study found that the size of our social group is actually associated with the volume of the orbitofrontal cortex (involved in social cognition and emotion). But how many friends do we need? … It is hard to argue with the fact that humans are social animals and gain enjoyment from connecting with others, whatever age we are. But, as we are increasingly uncovering, it also crucial for the health of our cognition.”
“Some people do very well in training, such as playing a video game, but they don’t show near transfer, perhaps because they are using highly specific strategies,” said first author Anja Pahor … “For these people, far transfer is unlikely. By better understanding why this type of memory training or ‘intervention’ works for some people but not others, we can move forward with a new generation of working-memory training games or use approaches that are more tailored to individuals’ needs”
“In our ongoing large-scale study (note: the one right above) we aim to recruit 30,000 adults who are motivated and willing to help us better understand the factors that underlie learning outcomes using a variety of training paradigms and outcome measures. Our endeavor will ultimately contribute to the personalization of cognitive training so that, hopefully, anyone who would like to improve their cognitive functioning will be able to choose the approach that may fit them best.” — researchers Susanne Jaeggi, Anja Pahor, Aaron Seitz @ UC Irvine/ Riverside
Esports are borrowing a page from Pro Sports’ book … we wouldn’t be surprised to see the inverse taking place too in just a few years.
“For those without severe mental illness, app-based therapy may be helpful in matching clients with a professional familiar with a range of problems and stressors. This makes apps attractive to those with anxiety and mild to moderate depression. They also appeal to people who wouldn’t ordinarily seek out office-based therapy, but who want help with life issues such as marital problems and work-related stress.”
#8. And here’s the Brain Teaser: Ready to stimulate those neurons in your temporal lobes?
Wishing you and yours a healthy and fun summer!
It might be surprising to think about browsing for therapists and ordering up mental health care the way you can peruse a menu on Grubhub or summon a car on Lyft.
But over the last decade, digital access to therapy has become increasingly common, in some cases replacing the traditional model of in-person weekly sessions between a therapist and client.
Apps for mental health and wellness range from mood trackers, meditation tools and journals to therapy apps that match users to a licensed professional. My team’s research focuses on therapy apps that work by matching clients to a licensed professional. [Read more…] about Dos and Don’ts of Therapy on the Go: Navigating the use of apps for mental health care
AI Behavior Health Chatbot App Fast-Tracked by FDA (Psychology Today):
Recently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted breakthrough device designation to Wysa’s AI-based digital mental health conversational agent that delivers cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) via a smartphone to adults suffering from depression, anxiety, and chronic musculoskeletal pain [Read more…] about AI-enabled chatbot Wysa receives FDA Breakthrough Device designation for patients with chronic pain, depression and anxiety
Instead of lying awake worrying, we’re often told to “sleep on it” when making decisions both big and small. And there’s actually a scientific basis for this advice. Sleep can influence our response to emotional situations, and helps us to manage our mental health.
To understand why sleep and emotions are so connected, it’s important to first understand what happens in the brain when we encounter something emotive. [Read more…] about How ’sleeping on it’ can help the prefrontal cortex regulate emotional responses, making us feel better in the morning