On one of our “walk and talks” around the lush trails of Rock Creek Park in DC surrounded by bikers, runners, cars and the occasional deer, Wendy and Lisa talked about aging. Wendy’s mother, who had her children in her early 20s, was still joining the family’s grueling summer hikes with her children and nine grandchildren well into her 60s. Wendy mused about how much older she would be when their kids could have their own kids. It dawned on her that her health was not just a here and now issue, but an investment in that future. We agreed to help each other cultivate the habits and make time to build strength as well as reserves, both physical and mental, for the long-term. Their goal: to enjoy being active in their 40s and 50s while also laying the groundwork to continue being active into their 60s, 70s, and beyond. [Read more…] about New book provides practical guidance for women (and men) to rebalance our lifestyles and build Cognitive Reserve
The number of people struggling with poor mental health and mental disorders has been rising around the world over the past few decades. Those who are struggling are increasingly facing difficulties accessing the kind of support they need – leaving many waiting months for help, if they even qualify for treatment.
While it’s clear that more needs to be done to improve access to treatment, it doesn’t mean people inevitably have to struggle with their mental health as a result. In fact, there are many things people can do on their own to maintain good mental health – and even prevent mental health problems from developing in the first place. According to our recent research, one of the steps you can take to improve your mental wellbeing may be as simple as believing that you can.
In our recent study, we asked 3,015 Danish adults to fill out a survey that asked questions about mental health – such as whether they believe they can do something to keep mentally healthy, whether they had done something in the past two weeks to support their mental health, and also whether they were currently struggling with a mental health problem. We then assessed their level of mental wellbeing using the Short Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale, which is widely used by healthcare professionals and researchers to measure mental wellbeing. [Read more…] about Study on the “ABCs of Mental Health” finds that simply believing you can improve mental wellbeing helps actually improve it
Living through the COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on people’s mental health and well-being. Restricted movement, loss, and isolation have led to increases in depression, anxiety disorders, stress, sleep disorders, and more. The effects have been even harsher for teens.
How can we help protect our well-being during this particularly difficult time? Though a public health response is definitely called for, one way we might try to help ourselves this year is spending more time immersed in nature. In the last decade or so, research on the health benefits of nature experiences has exploded, confirming what many people know intuitively—that green spaces are good for mental well-being, whether you’re walking outdoors, looking at beautiful views, or even just seeing videos of nature. [Read more…] about From forest bathing to urban parks: How nature helps protect our well-being during a pandemic
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring important brain & mental health news plus a few fun brain teasers to test your reasoning skills and more…
“Technology can not only help us grow out of unhealthy habits, it is also possible to expand human mental capacities … although it will be necessary to analyze “the how and when” of these uses: they must be ethically sound and ensure that results are beneficial to society.” — our very own Álvaro Fernández, hoping you all agree 🙂
If you prefer to read the article in Spanish: Cómo hacer de la tecnología un aliado en el cuidado de la salud mental
“As with any tool, behavior, activity, or technology, smart phones have the potential to be either a useful and highly constructive asset or a destructive and harmful diversion from life … What is the impact on brain development during the first 25 years of life when a significant part of each day is spent looking into a smart phone and the resulting cognitive and emotional experiences?”
“Certain types of dementia, particularly vascular dementia, are caused when there is less blood flow reaching the brain. This can damage our brain cells. Recent studies have also shown that the parts of our brain that process sounds (our auditory system) have many blood vessels and are vulnerable to damage … Another area of research is looking at whether hearing loss indirectly affects dementia risk by making it harder for people to stay connected. Social isolation is another known risk factor for dementia.”
“The findings of this randomized clinical trial suggest that CCBT with a modest amount of clinician support has potential for wider-spread implementation as an effective, acceptable, and efficient treatment for depression in primary care.”
“It is time that EEGs for the brain become as accessible as EKGs for the heart to patients throughout the country. For too long essential neurological services have been inaccessible to large parts of our population” — Dr. Chaudery, Principal at Genoa Ventures (co-lead investor)
“The combination of SST and a pharmaceutical regimen has been proven in studies to reduce the recurrence of mental disorders, the companies said. Their first jointly developed program will be directed toward schizophrenia patients, and they’re predicting that the immersive nature of Jolly Good’s VR will make the SST therapy more engaging and effective than standard methods.”
“Most people have all heard of the fight-or-flight system—that’s the stress system, it makes your heart rate go up and you can run away really fast. Well, people don’t realize that through evolution in parallel with the fight-or-flight system evolved an equal and opposite part of our nervous system that’s nicknamed the “rest-and-digest” part of the nervous system, or parasympathetic nervous system. It’s basically the de-stressing part of our nervous system. That is what we need to activate to bring ourselves back to equilibrium when we’re in a stressful state.”
Finally, as promised, a few fun brain teasers to test your reasoning skills–and more. Enjoy!
#11. Did you notice the jump? Good reasoning and problem-solving often requires proper attention to detail…
Wishing you and yours a healthy and safe March,
The SharpBrains Team
Making technology an ally in mental health care (Fundación Innovación Bankinter):
Interest in using technology for mental health dates back to the mid twentieth century. “Studies began back in the 1960s, given the growing concern about addiction in children (especially) and adults,” clarifies Álvaro Fernández Ibáñez about the beginning of this discipline.
Sesame Street, the well-known American show, is a project that developed to “master the addictive qualities of television and do something good with them“, in the words of its producers. As Fernández Ibáñez points out, these programs appeared to “channel technology in a way that is beneficial to cognitive and mental health,” which indicates that this interest is not temporary.
But it is new in other areas. For obvious reasons, the study of the Internet and social networks is much more recent than that of television, and is usually divided into two major trends: [Read more…] about Challenge ahead: Harnessing technology for good mental health
Lyra Health scores $235M and buys employee assistant program ICAS World (MobiHealth News):
Employer-focused digital mental health provider Lyra Health announced a whopping $235 million Series F round led by Dragoneer. Salesforce Ventures and Coatue also participated. This new infusion of cash brings the company’s total raise to over $900 million.
The funding coincided with the news that Lyra Health is acquiring employee-assistant program ICAS World for an undisclosed sum. ICAS was founded in 1987 and provides coaching and counseling services to employees. The service offers phone, face-to-face or web-based treatment. [Read more…] about Lyra Health, Big Health and Mantra Health raise a combined $332M to commercialize digital therapeutics for mental/ behavioral health