Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Epigenetics research opens potential door to prevent neurodevelopmental disorders

Sai Ma, for­mer Vir­ginia Tech bio­med­ical engi­neer­ing Ph.D. stu­dent, and Chang Lu, the Fred W. Bull pro­fes­sor of Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing at Vir­ginia Tech. Cred­it: Vir­ginia Tech

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Epi­ge­net­ic Changes Guide Devel­op­ment of Dif­fer­ent Brain Regions (Dana Foun­da­tion):

It’s one of the great­est stand­ing mys­ter­ies in neu­ro­science: Giv­en that each cell in the human body con­tains the same DNA, how, exact­ly, does the brain devel­op into dis­tinct func­tion­al regions, sup­port­ed by dif­fer­ent cell types? And how might that devel­op­men­tal pro­gram go awry, result­ing in neu­rode­vel­op­men­tal dis­or­ders like schiz­o­phre­nia or autism? The answers may be the epigenome Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Psychedelics can promote neural plasticity in the prefrontal cortex and expand pathways for mental health

– Cred­it: Cell Reports 2018 23, 3170–3182DOI: (10.1016/j.celrep.2018.05.022). Copy­right © 2018 The Authors

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Psy­che­delics in Neu­rol­o­gy: Poten­tial for Improv­ing Neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty (Neu­rol­o­gy­Times):

Back in the 1950s, research was prov­ing that psy­che­del­ic agents could be effec­tive in the treat­ment of var­i­ous neu­ropsy­chi­atric dis­or­ders. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, just as sci­ence was explor­ing their ben­e­fi­cial effects, the coun­ter­cul­ture was explor­ing and embrac­ing their effects. Slow­ly but sure­ly, psy­che­delics were asso­ci­at­ed with rebel­lious youth and the tumul­tuous anti-war move­ment. As a result, the gov­ern­ment shut down most of the research.

The 1990s saw renewed inter­est in psy­che­del­ic com­pounds as a means to address neu­ropsy­chi­atric dis­or­ders. Research explored the ben­e­fits of MDMA and ket­a­mine to treat mood dis­or­ders and post­trau­mat­ic stress dis­or­der. Now, a new study sheds even more light on the promise these agents might pro­vide. Read the rest of this entry »

Coming soon: Assessing your mental health while you talk on a phone, type on a keyboard, or scroll through a website

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Tech Watch­es You for Dig­i­tal Symp­toms of Brain Dis­or­ders (IEEE Spec­trum):

The med­ical pro­fes­sion­als tasked with car­ing for our minds don’t have an easy job. To diag­nose peo­ple with neu­ropsy­chi­atric dis­eases, doc­tors can per­form brain scans, but such scans are expen­sive and the results are some­times inscrutable. The oth­er options include con­duct­ing time-­con­sum­ing cog­ni­tive tests, or rely­ing on doc­tors’ own sub­jec­tive analy­ses.

See­ing an oppor­tu­ni­ty, a num­ber of star­tups have devised quan­ti­ta­tive meth­ods to diag­nose dis­eases or assess men­tal health while patients com­plete rou­tine activ­i­ties, like talk­ing on a smart­phone, typ­ing on a key­board, or scrolling through a web­site. Here are three com­pa­nies that say they can lift the “fin­ger­prints” of men­tal dis­or­ders from people’s mun­dane behav­iors.

Con­tin­ue read­ing arti­cle to get a good update on Mind­strong Health, Neu­raMetrix and Win­terLight Labs. Read the rest of this entry »

Study finds continued birth of new neurons (neurogenesis) well into our 70s

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New brain mem­o­ry cells devel­op well into old age (Reuters):

Well into our 70s, we con­tin­ue to devel­op new cells in an area of the brain respon­si­ble for new mem­o­ries and explo­ration of new envi­ron­ments, sci­en­tists report.

These new brain cells sus­tain our abil­i­ties to make new mem­o­ries, learn, and cope with the envi­ron­ment, and they are impor­tant for Read the rest of this entry »

Update: New book by Daniel Goleman & Richard Davidson describes how long-term meditation can improve our minds, brains, and bodies

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Time for Sharp­Brains’ Sep­tem­ber e‑newsletter, this time dis­cussing a range of top­ics from med­i­ta­tion research to the first FDA-cleared dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tic to upcom­ing events at the fron­tier of applied brain sci­ence. Also, a warn­ing: Par­ents, coach­es, teach­ers, –you can read why below–  let’s find safer sports for kids to play than Amer­i­can foot­ball.

New research

New tools

New thinking

Upcoming events

 

Have a great month of Octo­ber!

The Sharp­Brains Team

 

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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