The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a clinical trial using a neuroimaging helmet made by Los Angeles-based Kernel to track what happens in the brain when a human takes a psychedelic dose of ketamine. [Read more…] about FDA-approved, Cybin-sponsored clinicial trial to measure ketamine’s impact on the brain via Kernel Flow neuroimaging helmet
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
How much of a treatment is mind over matter? It is well documented that people often feel better after taking a treatment without active ingredients simply because they believe it’s real — known as the placebo effect.
A team of researchers from Michigan State University, University of Michigan and Dartmouth College is the first to demonstrate that placebos reduce brain markers of emotional distress even when people know they are taking one. [Read more…] about Study: The placebo effect works even when people know they are taking a placebo
Large Study Confirms Vitamin D Does Not Reduce Risk of Depression in Adults (Mass General press release):
Vitamin D supplementation does not protect against depression in middle-age or older adulthood according results from one of the largest ever studies of its kind … “There was no significant benefit from the supplement for this purpose. It did not prevent depression or improve mood,” says Olivia I. Okereke, MD, MS, of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Psychiatry Department.
Over the past 15 years there has been growing awareness that many college students without an ADHD diagnosis use ADHD drugs. On some campuses, rates of self-reported non-medical use have exceeded 30% of students.
The primary reason students report taking ADHD drugs is to enhance their academic performance. And, the strong majority of students — over 80% in a study I conducted — believe it is helpful for this purpose.
Furthermore, students who report problems with attention are more likely to report non-medical use than other students; this suggests that some self-medicate to address their perceived attention difficulties. [Read more…] about Study finds mixed results of Adderall as cognitive enhancer (seems to boost emotion more than cognition)
When I was 10 years old, I hated doing the dishes. In an attempt to talk my parents out of making me do this hated chore, I pretended to be ill by hanging my head, sighing, sniffling, and walking lethargically to my bedroom, all to no avail—I still had to do those dishes.
But, the next day, I woke up with the flu —a 104-degree fever and stomach pains to match. Boy, were my parents surprised! And, so was I. But, how many of us have had similar experiences, where our minds seemed to somehow impact our bodies in weird, unexplainable ways? How many of us have made doctors’ appointments only to watch our fevers drop or held our children close and stopped their coughing fits? Clearly, something is going on, isn’t it? [Read more…] about On “ethical placebos,” Medicine, and Mind/ Body interactions: A book review