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
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring 12 fascinating neuroscience findings and open questions–and the beautiful image above.
#1. “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.” – Silvia Rodriguez-Rozada, Center for Molecular Neurobiology, Hamburg. Award-winning image shows neuroimaging progress in a century
#2. One more reason why lifelong learning matters: Study: High Cognitive Reserve (CR) seen to significantly lower dementia risk even in the presence of high Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) neuropathology
#3. It’s Friday; perfect time to make some fun and healthy weekend plans: How feeling awe in nature can spur mental well-being and personal growth
#4. Not a bad idea either: On cutting “empty brain calories” by reading a book instead of social media
#5. “…humility helps people let go of defensiveness, take in information that challenges their political views, and see the humanity in people on the other side of the political spectrum. Though it’s not always easy to embrace—especially for those who wrongfully equate it with weakness or a lack of conviction—humility may be what we desperately need right now in the United States.” On perception, cognitive bias and cultivating humility ahead of next week’s vote
#6. “When it feels like the world is crashing down around them, giving young people a moment to feel, express, and receive gratitude can help—and that in itself is something to be grateful for.” Study: A combined teaching + app gratitude program helps adolescents address anxiety and improve mental health
#7. To honor ADHD Awareness Month, let’s address this most important question: What should come first to treat ADHD in children, behavior therapy or stimulant medication?
#8. Debate: Can mindfulness and meditation be harmful? Two new studies answer the question in apparently opposite but actually quite complementary ways.
#10. “…new study funded by the National Institutes of Health that aims to recruit 30,000 volunteers to participate in a memory training study that compares multiple approaches to train working memory”: Given cognitive strengths and needs are diverse, what brain training may work best for each person and under which conditions?
#11. “Virtual reality is a promising skills-based behavioral medicine that has been shown to have high patient engagement and satisfaction,” said Beth Darnall, PhD, AppliedVR’s chief science advisor. “However, chronic pain patients to date have had very limited access to it, so we’re excited to continue working with the FDA to develop our platform and get it into the market faster.” The FDA clears AppliedVR headset to help treat fibromyalgia and chronic pain
#12. “Having run a media company in a tough market with a young, millennial workforce, we witnessed first-hand how there was a complete lack of investment in helping this generation with their mental health in a way that they’re used to: a community product that is mobile-first and video-led. We want to make the world a happier place by making working on your mental health as normal as going to the gym.” — Adnan Ebrahim, co-founder and CEO of MindLabs. What will the ‘Peloton for mental health’ look like five years from now? And, who will develop it?
Wishing you a safe and healthy November,
Alvaro Fernandez and the SharpBrains Team
FDA Designates First Virtual Reality Device for Chronic Pain (Pain News Network):
AppliedVR, a Los Angeles-based virtual reality company, has announced that its EaseVRx headset has received Breakthrough Device Designation from the Food and Drug Administration for treating fibromyalgia and chronic intractable low back pain. [Read more…] about The FDA clears AppliedVR headset to help treat fibromyalgia and chronic pain
Is brain training the cure for car sickness? (The Sunday Times):
RESEARCHERS from the University of Warwick think they’ve found the cure for motion sickness, a condition to which a third of people are highly susceptible and from which anyone can suffer. The implications could be significant should fully driverless vehicles become a reality, with passengers predicted to be more susceptible to nausea while working, reading or watching screens during travel. [Read more…] about Study: Self-driving cars will increase motion sickness…unless we retrain our brains to improve visuospatial skills
Videogame Technology Could Bring Biofeedback Therapy to the Living Room (The Wall Street Journal):
For decades, use of biofeedback to help sufferers of anxiety, among other psychological conditions, has largely been limited to clinical settings with expensive—and somewhat tedious—medical equipment. Now, with an assist from developers of virtual-reality games, effective therapeutic biofeedback is becoming more affordable, accessible and engaging.
Tests of a new generation of products that combine advances in wearable biometric sensors with the immersive—and fun—qualities of virtual-reality gaming have increasingly demonstrated effectiveness in helping anxious subjects achieve states of calm, among other therapeutic uses.
HOW TO TRAIN THE BRAIN: COGNITIVE TRAINING IN LACROSSE (US Lacrosse Magazine):
“Bonnie Rosen has always been interested in finding a training method that extends beyond the lacrosse field. That pursuit has taken her beyond the restraints of physical training in its entirety.
The Temple women’s lacrosse coach uses virtual reality technology [Read more…] about Sports teams find creative ways to cross-train the brain off-field