Mental and degenerative disorders are among the most costly and common causes of disability in society today. Because the brain is the most complex organ in the human body, diagnosing and treating problems when things go wrong poses enormous challenges. Even before the 1990s was designated the Decade of the Brain, the potential of neuroimaging—the technology that makes it possible to see inside the working brain—was a major focus in [Read more…] about Neuroimaging, big data and mental health: A survey of the land
About the Image:
“With this image I want to illustrate the large advances made in imaging methods over the past century, allowing modern neuroscientists to look at neurons in ways that Cajal could have only dreamed of. The composition was created by mirroring an image of two pyramidal cells of a mouse hippocampus. [Read more…] about Evolution of Cajal’s drawings: Award-winning image shows neuroimaging progress in a century
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring 14 research findings, resources and tips for brain health … and starting with this fascinating study:
- Five are “neck up:” Lower education level, Lower cognitive activity, Head trauma, Repeated episodes of depression, High-levels of long-term stress.
- Five are “neck down:” Hypertension in mid-life, Orthostatic hypotension, Diabetes, High BMI, High levels of homocysteine. Systematic review finds ten lifestyle factors that clearly impact the probability of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
#3. “The healthiest people are the ones who grow with age and experience; even in times of trouble like these.” — Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD, President of the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation. On Stress, Yoga Meditation, and The Evolution Revolution
#4. “Acceptance that Alzheimer’s disease is a lifestyle disease, little different from other age-related diseases, that is the sum of a lifetime is the most important breakthrough of the decade.” — George Perry, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Higher body mass index (BMI) linked to lower blood supply to the brain in large neuroimaging study
#5. “Attention is a scarce resource. Think about your attentional focus as the beam of a light. If the light is on an object it cannot be on other objects at the same time with the same intensity … Although we typically have the feeling that multitasking saves us time, it is often not the case.” Simple, quick brain teaser to test the limits of multitasking
#6. If it appears to rotate, RT Fun optical illusion to tease your mind
#7. Every cloud has a silver lining: How and when will the telemedicine surge reach mental healthcare?
#9. “In a time when emotions like stress, anxiety, boredom, and anger are hard to avoid, a new study suggests that a particular meditation practice can help us face them.” Study: Meditation practice, both formal and informal, helps develop equanimity over time
#10. Ever since discovering Barbara Arrowsmith-Young’s life trajectory via Normain Doidge’s fantastic book The Brain That Changes Itself, we have been impressed by her creativity, stamina and courage. Coming soon: Virtual World Tour at the frontier of applied neuroplasticity, education and learning difficulties
#11. “Neural signals will be used to develop algorithms that will help researchers determine the optimal brain state under which individuals can receive information. From there, the team will determine the most effective means of enhancing the subjects’ ability to intake and process information. This could range from non-invasive neuromodulation—or brain stimulation—techniques to the use of augmented reality to alter perceived environmental conditions.” Air Force announces research platform to harness closed-loop neurotechnology and accelerate learning “on the fly”
#12. Good to hear that “ensuring the privacy and security of study participants’ data is a high priority for both UCLA and Apple. UCLA will process and maintain study data in a secure environment … UCLA and Apple will analyze the data only after they are coded and stripped of names and other contact information.” UCLA launches major mental health study collecting & analyzing data from Apple wearables to better understand depression and anxiety
#13. Flexibility is good except when it isn’t: Study finds how scientists can reach different conclusions analyzing the same brain scans
#14. “I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one” — Gandhi, as quoted in Seven evidence-based reasons to start meditating yesterday
Wishing you a safe and healthy September,
Alvaro Fernandez on behalf of the SharpBrains Team
Neuroimaging: Many Analysts, Differing Results (Dana Foundation):
For decades, both the research and medical communities have relied on neuroimaging tools like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to give them a window into the living human brain. Such scans have provided unprecedented insights into the brain’s structure and function – and the field, as a whole, has used this technique to better understand how the brain gives rise to thoughts, emotions, and actions. But as neuroimaging technology has advanced, so have the different analysis tools and the number of ways one can evaluate the resulting data. Now, the results of unique research project, the Neuroimaging Analysis, Replication, and Prediction Study (NARPS), suggest that different analyses can lead to strikingly different results from the same data set.
Super-Agers Show Resistance to Tau and Amyloid Accumulation, Maintain High Cognitive Function (Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging press release):
Super-agers, or individuals whose cognitive skills are above the norm even at an advanced age, have been found to have increased resistance to tau and amyloid proteins, according to research presented at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) 2020 Annual Meeting. An analysis of positron emission tomography (PET) scans has shown that compared to normal-agers and those with mild cognitive impairment, super-agers have a lower burden of tau and amyloid pathology associated with neurodegeneration, which probably allows them to maintain their cognitive performance. An image showing the comparison of tau and amyloid distribution patterns in these different cognitive aging trajectories has been selected as SNMMI’s 2020 Image of the Year. [Read more…] about Brain scans show lower accumulation of tau and amyloid pathology among cognitive “super-agers”
“Brain scans of adolescents who are heavy users of smartphones, tablets and video games look different from those of less active screen users, preliminary results from an ongoing study funded by the National Institutes of Health show [Read more…] about Large NIH study to collect and share data on the impact on kids’ brains of screen time and other social, behavioral, physical and environmental factors