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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Update: Four tips to practice good mental hygiene during the coronavirus outbreak

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Time for a new edi­tion of Sharp­Brains’ e‑newsletter, fea­tur­ing this time 14 time­ly news and resources for men­tal health and brain health inno­va­tion.

First of all, let’s remain safe, healthy, and cen­tered dur­ing the cur­rent health cri­sis by fol­low­ing these tips pro­vid­ed by the Greater Good Sci­ence Cen­ter at UC Berke­ley:

1. Stay calm and focused
2. Pay atten­tion to those doing the right thing
3. Show grat­i­tude
4. Remem­ber our com­mon bonds

1) “Of course, all of these guide­lines don’t sup­plant the impor­tance of prac­tic­ing good hygiene. We need to con­tin­ue to fre­quent­ly wash our hands and avoid touch­ing our faces, so that we can lessen the chance of infect­ing our­selves and oth­ers. But we also should remem­ber our men­tal hygiene—staying calm our­selves, being grate­ful espe­cial­ly to those doing the right thing, and remem­ber­ing our com­mon human­i­ty. In this way, we can help to make the world safer for all of us.” Four tips to prac­tice good men­tal hygiene dur­ing the coro­n­avirus out­break

2) “Before any­thing else, prepa­ra­tion is the key to suc­cess.”
–Alexan­der Gra­ham Bell

Thank­ful­ly, neu­rotech pio­neer Tan Le out­lines sev­er­al areas where we can take a prac­ti­cal approach to address changes already under­way and lay the ground­work for a more seam­less tran­si­tion to a new era. Fast For­ward to 2040: How to pre­pare for the new era in brain enhance­ment that will change the way we think, work, and heal

3) Here’s a beau­ti­ful way to explore the anato­my of brain regions and brain func­tions. The Vir­tu­al Brain Web Atlas: How the Mind emerges from the Brain

4) “Before stu­dents decide to slip in their ear­buds, though, they should care­ful­ly con­sid­er both their musi­cal selec­tion and the nature of the task” … because “We found that (1) music gen­er­al­ly impaired com­plex task per­for­mance, (2) com­plex music facil­i­tat­ed sim­ple task per­for­mance, and (3) pref­er­ence for exter­nal stim­u­la­tion mod­er­at­ed these effects. There­fore, the data sug­gest that music’s effects on task per­for­mance depend on the music, the task, and the per­former” Does music facil­i­tate or impair cog­ni­tive task per­for­mance? It depends…

5) Because learn­ing can­not, must not, ever stop: Meet the Top 50 final­ists for the Glob­al Teacher Prize 2020

6) Any plans for the sum­mer? Four ways hik­ing pro­motes cog­ni­tive and emo­tion­al health

7) Har­ness­ing tech to pro­mote social con­nect­ed­ness: Every Wednes­day start­ing today we can join scientist/ entre­pre­neur Rana el Kaliou­by online to dis­cuss her new book! Vir­tu­al book tour to explore the fron­tier of Emo­tion­al Intel­li­gence and Tech­nol­o­gy

8) On-field or off-field, train­ing goes on: Sports teams find cre­ative ways to cross-train the brain off-field

9) “You Can’t Man­age What You Can’t Mea­sure” has­n’t yet reached pub­lic health … but it will. To screen, or not to screen (for demen­tia), that is still the ques­tion

10) Sum­ma­riz­ing a recent study, “children’s sleep should be eval­u­at­ed as part of an ADHD eval­u­a­tion as sleep dif­fi­cul­ties are more com­mon … address­ing sleep issues in chil­dren with ADHD is a fea­si­ble and rel­a­tive­ly low-cost approach that can be a valu­able treat­ment com­po­nent for many chil­dren.” Study: A brief sleep inter­ven­tion can bring mea­sur­able and sus­tained ben­e­fits to chil­dren with ADHD

11) Some may and will dis­agree, but net net this offers a major oppor­tu­ni­ty to har­ness smart­phone use data for good: Ver­i­ly and LivaNo­va accel­er­ate efforts to detect and treat depres­sion

12) Poten­tial big news in the neu­ro­mod­u­la­tion mar­ket; coro­n­avirus or not we all have awe­some brains and will expe­ri­ence brain/ men­tal health needs in the future: Medtron­ic might acquire LivaNova’s neu­ro­mod­u­la­tion busi­ness

13) What if “An employ­er wants to reduce the risk of on-the-job dis­abil­i­ty, so it screens appli­cants for neu­ro­log­i­cal mark­ers that they are pre­dis­posed to chron­ic pain and depres­sion…” Let’s antic­i­pate the poten­tial mis­use of neu­ro­log­i­cal data to min­i­mize the risks–and max­i­mize the ben­e­fits

14) The first brain teaser/ test here is espe­cial­ly rel­e­vant these days … Sev­en fun brain teasers to hon­or our unique Brains and Minds dur­ing Brain Aware­ness Week 2020

 

Have a good and healthy Spring,

The Sharp­Brains Team

Could technology help cure depression among older adults? (Short answer: Yes)

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Why tech­nol­o­gy — not med­ica­tion — is the future of treat­ing old­er adults with depres­sion (McK­night’s Long-term Care News):

The go-to treat­ment for many cas­es of depres­sion is med­ica­tion.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this treat­ment option can cause as many issues as the prob­lem it is try­ing to solve. Anti­de­pres­sants can put res­i­dents at greater risk of falls, neg­a­tive health com­pli­ca­tions and oth­er poor con­di­tions. Some stud­ies indi­cate that anti­de­pres­sants may not be effec­tive for most old­er Amer­i­cans. Read the rest of this entry »

Study finds limited benefits from cognitive bias modification (CBM) training, calls for further research

Faces along a pos­i­tive-neu­tral to neg­a­tive-neu­tral spec­trum, and a sad face, from Peters et al. (2017)‘s CBM for facial inter­pre­ta­tion train­ing. Cred­it: Uni­ver­si­ty of Bris­tol

Could cog­ni­tive inter­ven­tions be use­ful in treat­ing depres­sion? (Sci­ence News):

A new study by exper­i­men­tal psy­chol­o­gists from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Bris­tol has exam­ined whether cog­ni­tive bias mod­i­fi­ca­tion (CBM) for facial inter­pre­ta­tion, a dig­i­tal health inter­ven­tion that changes our per­cep­tion for emo­tion­al expres­sions from neg­a­tive to pos­i­tive, might be use­ful in treat­ing depres­sion. Read the rest of this entry »

Challenge: How to spur meaningful, targeted & safe adoption of emerging neurotechnologies

neuroelectrics_capA cap that treats depres­sion? Check the sci­ence before get­ting excit­ed (The Guardian):

Yes­ter­day, an arti­cle in the Entre­pre­neurs sec­tion of the Guardian pur­port­ed to reveal a “cloth cap that could help treat depres­sion”. This claim has caused some alarm in the neu­ro­science and men­tal health fields, so it’s impor­tant to look a lit­tle more close­ly at what the man­u­fac­tur­ers are actu­al­ly claim­ing. Read the rest of this entry »

Therapy or antidepressants? Coming soon: Brain activity “fingerprints” to personalize depression treatments

mental health.

To Treat Depres­sion, Drugs or Ther­a­py? (The New York Times):

Until recent­ly, many experts thought that your clin­i­cian could lit­er­al­ly pick any anti­de­pres­sant or type of psy­chother­a­py at ran­dom because, with a few clin­i­cal excep­tions, there was lit­tle evi­dence to favor one treat­ment over anoth­er for a giv­en patient Read the rest of this entry »

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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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