Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Four guidelines for smart use of smartphones

These days, you can’t go any­where with­out hear­ing about how tech­nol­o­gy is ruin­ing every­thing, includ­ing our hap­pi­ness. There is some truth to this, but it’s not the whole sto­ry.

Tech­nol­o­gy can be bad for us—for exam­ple, when social media gives us FOMO (fear of miss­ing out) or traps us in fil­ter bub­bles that pre­vent us from see­ing mul­ti­ple points of view on impor­tant issues. As a soci­ety, we are increas­ing­ly con­cerned that tech­nolo­gies like smart­phones and social media result in more social com­par­i­son, bul­ly­ing, and loneliness—all stum­bling blocks to hap­pi­ness. Tech­nol­o­gy seems to be bad for our hap­pi­ness when it inter­feres with the men­tal, social, emo­tion­al, and behav­ioral process­es that con­tribute to well-being.

But we often fail to real­ize (and dis­cuss) the ways that tech­nol­o­gy can also sup­port hap­pi­ness and well-being—for exam­ple Read the rest of this entry »

Neuroengineering meets neuroethics to address treatment-resistant depression

Dr. Maryam Shanechi. Cred­it: USC Viter­bi

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Is This the Future of Men­tal Health? (USC Viter­bi School of Engi­neer­ing):

Brain–machine inter­faces (BMIs) pro­vide a direct path­way to the brain to trans­late brain sig­nals into actions … Below, Shanechi (Note: Maryam Shanechi, PhD, assis­tant pro­fes­sor of elec­tri­cal and com­put­er engi­neer­ing) answers some ques­tions about her work and what the future might hold for our under­stand­ing and treat­ment of men­tal dis­or­ders.

What poten­tial does this hold for the future not just of men­tal health, but of under­stand­ing our brains as a whole?

Neu­ropsy­chi­atric dis­or­ders are a major cause of dis­abil­i­ty world­wide with depres­sive dis­or­ders being the most dis­abling among them. About 30% of major depres­sion patients are treat­ment-resis­tant – that’s about 5 mil­lion peo­ple in the US alone. Read the rest of this entry »

Kids for life? Pros and cons of lifelong neuroplasticity, as seen via our emotional development

– Win­dows of plas­tic­i­ty in brain devel­op­ment. Adapt­ed from Hen­sch T.K. (2005). Crit­i­cal peri­od plas­tic­i­ty in local cor­ti­cal cir­cuits. Nature Reviews Neu­ro­science, 6(11), 877–888

The Brain’s Emo­tion­al Devel­op­ment (Dana Foun­da­tion’s Cere­brum):

Humans are like­ly the most emo­tion­al­ly reg­u­lat­ed crea­tures on earth. Com­pared to oth­er ani­mal species, we can mod­u­late and mod­i­fy emo­tion­al reac­tions and expe­ri­ences, even very intense ones, through a large and sophis­ti­cat­ed emo­tion reg­u­la­tion reper­toire that includes skills of dis­trac­tion, reap­praisal, lan­guage, pre­dic­tion, social inter­ac­tion, sup­pres­sion, and more. At times, these skills require effort, and at oth­er times, they seem reflex­ive and auto­mat­ic. Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Mindfulness training for teachers can result in a better learning environment for students

No one would argue with the fact that teach­ing is stress­ful. Not only is the work high­ly chal­leng­ing, teach­ers are also fre­quent­ly under­paid, under­val­ued, and sub­ject to harsh scruti­ny. No won­der teacher burnout is on the rise and that many feel like leav­ing their pro­fes­sion.

But teacher stress is not only a prob­lem for teach­ers; it can also be a prob­lem for stu­dents. Read the rest of this entry »

What piece of the Brain Health Puzzle are you missing? Read and share $1 e‑book in honor of Brain Awareness Week

SharpBrains-Guide-to-Brain-Fitness-BAW_blog
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In hon­or of Brain Aware­ness Week –start­ing today!– we’d like to bring your atten­tion to a great book for any­one inter­est­ed in dis­tin­guish­ing between the myths and real­i­ties of neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty and brain health.  Read the rest of this entry »

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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