Psychology News – 10 August, 2017

Be(lie)ve It or Not: Part Two

Oedipus Cursing His Son, Polynices Source: Henry Fuseli / Wikimedia Commons OWe’ve all heard the old saying, “you are what you eat.” To some extent we are also what we think and what we believe. But just like good exercise must accompany good eating, and the difference between a dream and a vision is a plan, thought without action may also be ineffective. Thoughts are powerful, and positive think…
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Autism Linked to Screen Time

A child who has been diagnosed with autism or autistic spectrum disorder may very well get back on track for normal development if parents take away electronic screens. Source: Pixabay: public domain New medical research has found that young children who spend too much time on electronic screens–TV’s, video games, tablets and computers—have symptoms identical to what psychiatrists typically call…
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Lawsuit Opposes Trump’s Ban on Transgender Military Service

FILE – In this Aug. 3, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. Two LGBT-rights organizations filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, challenging President Donald Trump’s tweets declaring he wants a ban on transgender people serving in the military. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) The Associated Press…
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No, Mr. President, a Wall Won’t Stop Opioid Overdose Deaths

In response to his drug commission’s recommendation to declare the opioid overdose epidemic a national emergency, Trump demurred. Instead of taking the action his commission suggested, he spoke of ramping up law enforcement, in particular working to keep drugs from coming into the country. Trump blustered in favor what is already known to be a failed war on drugs policy, with no word at all about…
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Barriers Prevent Soldiers From Seeking Psychological Help

After two tours of duty in Iraq, Sergeant Eric James of the United States Army returned home to Colorado where he began experiencing symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). James sought out a military psychiatrist for his declining mental health . In over 20 hours of recorded audio, therapists and officers at Fort Carson in Colorado can be heard berating James for suggesting he may be…
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How Children’s Brains Learn to Reason

Reasoning is a critical skill for academic achievement. Source: iStock/RichVintage Reasoning is hard cognitive work. It’s what allows you to understand that if A is greater than B and B is greater than C, then A is greater than C. It lets you fill in the blank: a link is to a chain as a ­­­­­_____ is to a bouquet. (Answer: Flower, because the relationship is part to whole.) Reasoning improves as…
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Effects of increased inflammatory markers during pregnancy

Researchers have shown that increased levels of inflammatory markers during pregnancy can lead to changes in fetal brain development….
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Forever Losing Things? Does that Mean You’re Losing Your Mind?

Are you one of those people who would like to be able to lose weight as easily as you lose everything else in your life? Do you sometimes think you might be an absent-minded professor even though you’ve not stepped foot on a college campus in decades? Do you worry that not only are you forever losing your keys, your glasses, your phone, your ‘you-name-it,’ but perhaps you’re also losing your mind…
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Effects of increased inflammatory markers during pregnancy

Researchers have shown that increased levels of inflammatory markers during pregnancy can lead to changes in fetal brain development….
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They All Look Alike

I was standing near the front of an auditorium, waiting for the social psychologist Claude Steele to give a lecture on stereotype threat. Before Professor Steele appeared, an older White man summoned me toward him. He asked me to sign his book, Whistling Vivaldi , written by Professor Steele. I realized that the man thought I was Professor Steele. I explained that I was not….
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First circuit map of brain’s learning and memory center

A significant development in understanding the brain: Scientists have, for the first time ever described the mushroom body connectome within the brain of fly larvae (Drosophila melanogaster) — the circuit diagram of nerve cells.
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Effects of increased inflammatory markers during pregnancy

Researchers have shown that increased levels of inflammatory markers during pregnancy can lead to changes in fetal brain development….
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Action Video Games Linked to Gray Matter Reduction

An individual’s spontaneous navigation strategy, and the genre played, may determine whether habitual participation in videos games is beneficial or detrimental to brain plasticity. Medscape Medical News…
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First circuit map of brain’s learning and memory center

A significant development in understanding the brain: Scientists have, for the first time ever described the mushroom body connectome within the brain of fly larvae (Drosophila melanogaster) — the circuit diagram of nerve cells….
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Bipolar Disorder Can Be Mistaken For Two Things

Bipolar disorder type II differs from type I. For example person with bipolar type II experiences depressive episodes more than someone who has type I. It’s important to understand different depression types because they differ from one another. It can be difficult to get the correct diagnosis because the symptoms of bipolar type II mirror other mental health conditions. Here are two common…
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People with mental illness reoffend less if on specialty probation

Each year, some 2 million people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses are arrested for various crimes, inadvertently turning the US correctional system into the nation’s primary provider of inpatient psychiatric care. But an eight-year study now offers a solution….
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They Won’t Stop Because They Can’t Stop

The following is a guest post written by James B., co-author of “The Craving Brain : Science, Spirituality and the Road to Recovery”. Many people think that all an addict has to do is simply not drink or use in order to get clean. They get frustrated when their loved one, friend, or significant other continues to use despite significant consequences. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “Why…
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MRI Scans are Transforming Autism Detection and Treatment

Source: Arren Aljfe/ Flickr Currently, there is no way to diagnose children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) until behavioral traits begin to show at around 24 months of age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites a rate of 1 case of autism for every 68 children in the U.S., and while there is no single known cause, we do know that autism is presented with abnormalities in brain…
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Too near, or too far? What fruit flies teach us about personal space

Until now, little has been understood about the mechanisms that allow us to determine when someone is ‘too near’ our personal space or too far away. A biologist has found dopamine levels in fruit flies can give us clues into humans’ need for personal space….
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Reaction time variation may be a marker that predicts mortality in old age

A common indicator of neurobiological disturbance among the elderly may also be associated with mortality, according to a new study….
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Trump’s So-Called Victory

The post-mortem is not complete. Causes for the triumph of the Republicans on November 8, 2016, are still a hot subject for debate. I have trouble speaking or writing the name of the ostensible victor, so I shall call him “The Joker”. Evil Clowns and Fools have an interesting place in history and literature. Steven King’s “It” is a great fictional example; Wyndam Earle, from Twin Peaks…
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Testing Free Will

Source: dark energy, not expanding Phil: Why the long face? Sophie: My thought experiment failed . The conviction that we have free will runs deep in many people, in part because they perceive themselves to have free will. For most, the conviction is grounded in experience, not rational or philosophical argument. Whenever a person can imagine having acted differently than they actually did act…
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Reaction time variation may be a marker that predicts mortality in old age

A common indicator of neurobiological disturbance among the elderly may also be associated with mortality, according to a new study….
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Improving detection of a ‘date rape’ drug

Because gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), commonly known as a ‘date rape drug’ is rapidly absorbed and metabolized by the body, it’s difficult for law enforcement to tell if someone has been given GHB. Now, scientists report that they have identified a potential biomarker that might lead to tests to detect the compound that could be performed much later than current ones….
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New noninvasive method of intracranial pressure monitoring

Researchers report preliminary findings that show a noninvasive method of monitoring intracranial pressure (ICP) that could rival the gold standards of invasive intraventricular and intraparenchymal monitoring. The device uses advanced signal analysis algorithms to evaluate properties of acoustic signals that pass through the brain in order to determine ICP values….
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Humor Is Social Media’s Antidote for Fire and Fury News

Source: Pamela Rutledge/Shutterstock Widespread and anxious reactions to statements like Trump ’s fire and fury spread fast across the Twittersphere. We can’t blame Twitter alone for the far-reaching impact of this kind of news. Only about 25% of the population is on Twitter (Greenwood, Perrin, & Duggan, 2016). This type of news reverberates across all channels, not just social media the news…
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Criticizing a Saint Part 2

On Humanizing Viktor Frankl: A Reply to My Critics Part Two This is in reply to Michael Bloom who took the time to comment on my previous post (see comment section). It is true that Michael Bloom and I had a short email exchange after he introduced himself as a fellow NYU alumni and Bioethicist. I hoped he could shed some light on the ethical issues plaguing the experimental brain surgeries…
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A taste cell encyclopedia

A significant technological advance now allows scientists to identify the complete set of genes in any type of taste receptor cell. The technology provides taste researchers with a treasure trove of information that will help identify precisely how each type of taste receptor cell carries out its specific function….
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Truth

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” — Albert Einstein What happened to the “simple truth?” “The whole truth and nothing but the truth?” In today’s world, truth seems to be a slippery concept. According to the dictionary, we’ve officially adopted a number of different types of truth. Truthiness: The quality of seeming or being felt to be…
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There is no shame in suffering mental pain | Letters

Thank you for Giles Fraser’s insightful piece on suicide ( It is dangerous to think of suicide as heroic – or cowardly , 8 August). What does take fortitude, though, is facing the reasons for wanting to kill yourself, such as mental pain, profound grief, overwhelming debt, unsustainable rejection etc – and the shame it is thought they bring with them, which we can feel puts us beyond…
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Antidepressant use increases risk of head injuries among persons with Alzheimer’s disease

Antidepressant use is associated with an increased risk of head injuries and traumatic brain injuries among persons with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study. Antidepressant use has previously been linked with an increased risk of falls and hip fractures, but the risk of head injuries has not been studied before….
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New genes discovered regulating brain metastases in lung cancer patients

Researchers set out to find which genes can regulate the cells that initiate brain metastases, and outline their findings in a new report….
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A taste cell encyclopedia

A significant technological advance now allows scientists to identify the complete set of genes in any type of taste receptor cell. The technology provides taste researchers with a treasure trove of information that will help identify precisely how each type of taste receptor cell carries out its specific function….
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This Psychological Epidemic Is Killing Millions Worldwide

One-third of people over 45 have this chronic psychological problem — as do many who are younger. Chronic loneliness affects 42.6 million people over 45-years-old in the United States, research finds. That is one-third of people in the age-group. Being socially isolated and lonely could be worse for public health than obesity. Over 100 studies have found that being lonely is linked to a 50% increase…
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Newly discovered pathway for pain processing could lead to new treatments

The discovery of a new biological pathway involved in pain processing offers hope of using existing cancer drugs to replace the use of opioids in chronic pain treatment, according to scientists….
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Masturbation: Do Boys Do “it” More and Better than Girls?

Source: McLeon91 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 One might argue that given the context of Sweden’s high degree of gender equality, an open and positive approach to sex education , and sexually liberal attitudes, that anything Swedish adolescents might say about sexual issues will not be applicable to US adolescents. Any differences between Swedish and American youth might be the result of reporting…
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Death, Taxes, and Urination

Athletes, airplane passengers, parents of small children, and long haul truckers face the same challenge—timing their urination. Can you make it to the next rest stop? Can you make it to halftime? Can you hold it until we get home? Can you make it until the end of the movie? Pacing your popcorn and large drink at the movie to time your bathroom break is similar to the magnified version of the…
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Keep on a Happy Face

Many of us have known those who are the life of the party, laugh off their problems and keep on a happy face. Yet, could this be a way of covering up depression ? Is feeling sad or depressed so socially unacceptable that we must pretend to be happy? And, could it be possible that the need to be happy actually leads to feeling depressed? A recent study at the University of Melbourne found the high…
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Heartbeats could hold the key to understanding babies’ inner world

A novel new experiment to test how aware babies are of their bodies’ internal signals has been developed by researchers. The ability to consciously sense signals from your body is called interoception, and some people are more aware of these signals than others. These differences between people can influence a wide range of psychological processes, including how strongly you feel emotions, your…
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‘Robin Hood effects’ on motivation in math

Students from families with little interest in math benefit more from a school intervention program that aims at increasing math motivation than do students whose parents regard math as important. A study indicates the intervention program has a “Robin Hood effect” which reduces the “motivational gap” between students from different family backgrounds because new information about the importance…
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5 Things to Teach Your Child to Avoid Impulsivity & Behavioral Issues

Parenting a child with impulsivity and behavioral issues is one tough task, and in some cases when parents visit me and ask for help, they believe it is impossible to teach their kid to avoid these behaviors. Well, in this article I will be walking you through the things to teach your child in order to avoid impulsivity and bad behaviors. First off, you have to understand what the cause of these…
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Seven Studies Show That Virtue Truly Is Its Own Reward

Source: Image by Publicdomainpictures Is Virtue Really Its Own Reward? Doing the right thing doesn’t always get rewarded. (Oh, you’ve noticed that!?) In fact, good intentions and actions often backfire, as reflected in the saying, “No good deed goes unpunished.” To quote Ecclesiastes, “There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: the righteous who get what the wicked deserve, and the…
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Things to Do When You’re Mostly Housebound

Painting by Albert Edelfelt, 1879 Source: Public Domain Due to chronic pain and illness, I’ve had over sixteen years to adjust to being mostly housebound. Here are seven ideas for living a purposeful and fulfilling life even if you’re stuck at home. 1. Bring the outdoors indoors I’ve found that the best way to do this is to grow plants indoors. You could start a little herb garden. It won’t take…
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One step closer in explaining MS relapse during upper respiratory infection

For most of us, the flu is just the flu. We suffer through it for several days, and eventually bounce back. But for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological diseases, the flu can trigger a cascade of immune responses that result in a full-blown relapse of the disease. In a recent study, researchers shed light on what may be happening in the brains of MS patients during upper…
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How sleep helps us to remember and forget at the same time

According to new research, while we sleep, our brains clear out unwanted memories and help us to form new ones. Can we both learn and unlearn while we sleep? A new study suggests that we can. Both processes occur during different phases of sleep, the research shows. Our brains have the ability to come up with creative solutions to problems when we least think about them, and, some think, to learn…
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The Hazards of Self-Criticism

Many of us admire self-criticism. We view this trait as a strong testimony for scrupulousness, honesty, responsibility, and integrity, four highly coveted moral virtues. We also deem self-criticism as a pre-condition for self-improvement and growth. “It is only when we courageously look inside and identify our flaw and own them, that we can begin the journey of correcting – or at least minimizing…
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It’s Not Really about Control: Tips for Frustrated Couples

Source: Pixabay/CCO Creative Commons It happens routinely. So often, when I begin counseling with a couple, not one but both parties complain that the other is trying to control them. And regardless of their partner’s conscious intention, that’s unquestionably their experience—and it’s causing them considerable distress. But the main problem in responding productively to such a grievance is that…
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Tired of Feeling Guilty?

Do you find that a good many of your decisions are made from “I’m going to feel really bad if I don’t do this (or if I do this)”? Do you do a great many things that you don’t really want to do, simply because you feel that you have to, or you ought to, or you feel obligated? Do you feel resentful a good deal of the time, because you’ve been doing so much for other people, who never do anything…
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Love, Sex, and Marriage in the Bible

It may come as a surprise that there is quite a lot of polygamy in the Bible. Some of the better-known polygamists, each with several wives or concubines, include Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Esau, Moses, David, and Solomon. That said, biblical polygamy usually had a bitter ending. According to the Book of Kings, Solomon had ‘seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines’…
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Being Different In America

The challenge that is going to be presented in this post is from the game, “Bounce Back,” a serious game that we developed to teach the skills and the attitudes of resilience .The game presents players with challenges that they or someone close to them might encounter and it asks them to choose the skills and the attitudes of resilience they would use to deal with the challenge. Players can play…
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Podcast 129: September Is the Other January, the Fun of Post-It Notes, and What “They” Think.

Update: I’m excited because my new book, The Four Tendencies , hits the shelves in just 34 days . So close, and yet so far! Elizabeth and I are considering planning a meet-up with listeners and readers on Sunday, September 17, around 6:00 p.m . Would you be interested in coming? What would be a good neighborhood or spot? Weigh in on the Better app, under Events — that makes it much easier to…
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Blocking enzyme linked to Alzheimer’s may reverse memory loss

Researchers can reverse memory loss in mice by interfering with the enzyme that forms the blockade. The enzyme, known as HDAC2, turns genes off by condensing them so tightly that they can’t be expressed….
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This Week in The Journal

Two Coding Schemes in Gustatory Cortex Max L. Fletcher, M. Cameron Ogg, Lianyi Lu, Robert J. Ogg, and John D. Boughter, Jr. (see pages 7595–7605 ) A longstanding controversy in neuroscience regards how tastes are represented in the nervous system. Some researchers have argued for a labeled-line scheme, in which taste-receptor cells and all downstream neurons are dedicated to representing…
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Stimulating Multiple-Demand Cortex Enhances Vocabulary Learning

It is well established that networks within multiple-demand cortex (MDC) become active when diverse skills and behaviors are being learnt. However, their causal role in learning remains to be established. In the present study, we first performed functional magnetic resonance imaging on healthy female and male human participants to confirm that MDC was most active in the initial stages of learning…
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Occipitotemporal Category Representations Are Sensitive to Abstract Category Boundaries Defined by Generalization Demands

Categorization involves organizing perceptual information so as to maximize differences along dimensions that predict class membership while minimizing differences along dimensions that do not. In the current experiment, we investigated how neural representations reflecting learned category structure vary according to generalization demands. We asked male and female human participants to switch…
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Effects of Chronic Social Defeat Stress on Sleep and Circadian Rhythms Are Mitigated by Kappa-Opioid Receptor Antagonism

Stress plays a critical role in the neurobiology of mood and anxiety disorders. Sleep and circadian rhythms are affected in many of these conditions. Here we examined the effects of chronic social defeat stress (CSDS), an ethological form of stress, on sleep and circadian rhythms. We exposed male mice implanted with wireless telemetry transmitters to a 10 day CSDS regimen known to produce anhedon…
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Interaction between Scene and Object Processing Revealed by Human fMRI and MEG Decoding

Scenes strongly facilitate object recognition, such as when we make out the shape of a distant boat on the water. Yet, although known to interact in perception, neuroimaging research has primarily provided evidence for separate scene- and object-selective cortical pathways. This raises the question of how these pathways interact to support context-based perception. Here we used a novel approach…
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Contextual and Developmental Differences in the Neural Architecture of Cognitive Control

Because both development and context impact functional brain architecture, the neural connectivity signature of a cognitive or affective predisposition may similarly vary across different ages and circumstances. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the effects of age and cognitive versus social-affective context on the stable and time-varying neural architecture of inhibition, the putative…
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Magnified Neural Envelope Coding Predicts Deficits in Speech Perception in Noise

Verbal communication in noisy backgrounds is challenging. Understanding speech in background noise that fluctuates in intensity over time is particularly difficult for hearing-impaired listeners with a sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). The reduction in fast-acting cochlear compression associated with SNHL exaggerates the perceived fluctuations in intensity in amplitude-modulated sounds….
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Targeted Memory Reactivation during Sleep Adaptively Promotes the Strengthening or Weakening of Overlapping Memories

System memory consolidation is conceptualized as an active process whereby newly encoded memory representations are strengthened through selective memory reactivation during sleep. However, our learning experience is highly overlapping in content (i.e., shares common elements), and memories of these events are organized in an intricate network of overlapping associated events….
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Brief Stimulus Exposure Fully Remediates Temporal Processing Deficits Induced by Early Hearing Loss

In childhood, partial hearing loss can produce prolonged deficits in speech perception and temporal processing. However, early therapeutic interventions targeting temporal processing may improve later speech-related outcomes. Gap detection is a measure of auditory temporal resolution that relies on the auditory cortex (ACx), and early auditory deprivation alters intrinsic and synaptic properties…
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Sleep Disrupts High-Level Speech Parsing Despite Significant Basic Auditory Processing

The extent to which the sleeping brain processes sensory information remains unclear. This is particularly true for continuous and complex stimuli such as speech, in which information is organized into hierarchically embedded structures. Recently, novel metrics for assessing the neural representation of continuous speech have been developed using noninvasive brain recordings that have thus far…
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Blocking enzyme linked to Alzheimer’s may reverse memory loss

Researchers can reverse memory loss in mice by interfering with the enzyme that forms the blockade. The enzyme, known as HDAC2, turns genes off by condensing them so tightly that they can’t be expressed….
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Being Neurotic May Help You Live Longer

New York Magazine : To some people, the word “neurotic” can conjure images of a certain type of psychotherapy: Woody Allen types splayed out on long divans, with Freudian therapists sitting coolly behind them, asking vague questions about Oedipal complexes. Psychology’s come a long way since Freud, though, and today, this scenario feels a bit like an anachronism — and so, in some ways…
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“We need low-cost monitoring technologies to track cognitive processes and capabilities at an individual level” — Danny Dankner, CEO and co-founder of Applied Cognitive Engineering

Danny Dankner Question: Danny, please share 1-2 major brain health needs you observe right now whose solution demands a creative and significant tech-enabled innovation. Answer: We need low-cost monitoring technologies to track cognitive processes and capabilities at an individual level. This would be critical to trace and diagnose deteriorating processes, especially among the “worried well” and…
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Alzheimer’s disease: Targeting enzyme may reverse memory loss

After many years of research, scientists have found that by blocking one specific enzyme, Alzheimer’s-related memory loss could be reversed or prevented. A new study has suggested that it may be possible to reverse the memory loss that occurs in Alzheimer’s disease with drugs that selectively block the ability of the HDAC2 enzyme to interfere with the communication between brain cells….
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Glen Campbell’s Farewell Tour, Accompanied by Alzheimer’s

Six years before Glen Campbell died, at the age of 81, the world learned that this beloved country music star had Alzheimer’s. The diagnosis was made in front of a camera for a documentary called “I’ll Be Me.” So many conflicting feelings arise in the watching of this movie. It is a valuable glimpse into end-stage Alzheimer’s. At the same time one has to wonder how Campbell really felt about…
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Teen Therapy Without Parental Consent

Typically when it comes to mental health treatment for adolescents, it is the parents who motivate and push their children to attend an evaluation or treatment session. The teens themselves may be willing participants, but usually these appointments would never occur without a parent’s active involvement. In some cases, however, things run in reverse, and it is the adolescent him or herself…
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Uncovering the Secrets of a Trustworthy Face

Scientific American : We tend to trust the people around us. We trust cab drivers and doctors with our lives, we trust chefs handling our food, and we trust strangers to watch our belongings while we step away. But trust is not like candy on Halloween, we do not just give it to anyone who knocks on our door. Psychologists have long been interested in understanding what leads people to trust other…
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Parents’ disagreements about bedtime can affect coparenting relationship

Positive parental teamwork is key to promoting healthy child development, but when mothers have stronger opinions than fathers about how to tend to their infants in the middle of the night, the coparenting relationship can suffer, says a group of researchers….
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‘Ego-dissolving’ psychedelic drugs could assist with mental health

The altered state of consciousness and temporary lack of ego that results from using psychedelic drugs could help some mental health patients recover from their symptoms, according to academics….
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Free Live Webinar: Sustaining Positive Brain Change

Most of the moments of life our brain is making decisions for us based on implicit monitoring of internal and external cues. In this talk you’ll learn some of the science about how our environments we live in play a crucial role in healthy brain development, supporting positive behavioral change, and the opportunity for enduring well-being. Please join us for Sustaining Positive Brain Change Live…
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Scientists prevent neurodegeneration-associated protein clumping in lab study

Scientists report in a new study that by imitating a natural process of cells, they prevented the formation of protein clumps associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia . In lab cultures of human and yeast cells, the scientists stopped the harmful clumping of FUS proteins by exposing them to phosphorylation, a process that makes precise changes to the amino…
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When you’re blue, so are your Instagram photos

Instagram photos can be examined by a computer to successfully detect depressed people, new research shows. The computer results are more reliable (70 percent) than the diagnostic success rate (42 percent) of general-practice doctors. The approach promises a new method for early screening of mental health problems through social media….
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Study Shows Some Video Games Can Impact Brain’s Learning & Memory System

In a new study of video games, researchers found that the hippocampal system of the brain is influenced by the navigation strategy that a person employs as well as the genre of the game. The hippocampus is the brain region associated with spatial learning, navigation, and memory and is critical to healthy cognition. The more depleted the hippocampus becomes, the more a person is at risk of…
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It’s Not My Fault. The Millennial Answer to Everything!

On August 1, 2017, the parents of 12-year old Mallory Grossman filed suit in N.J. Superior Court alleging that the school district where their daughter attended sixth-grade was at least partially responsible for her death. Sadly, Mallory committed suicide , purportedly based upon relentless cyberbullying and online harassment, an escalating epidemic among adolescents. While this tragic death may…
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Healing through the Lens: Using Photography to Shift Perspective and Increase Self Awareness

It is nearly a decade ago that I first picked up a camera, that I saw for the first time my world view through a fresh perspective. I noticed the environment that surrounded me in ways that previously had gone unnoticed. The more I explored photography the deeper my connection to nature and the outside world. Previously I had become disconnected, had lost motivation, and didn’t have a strong…
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Do You Get Hearing Loss Exhaustion?

Do you get hearing loss exhaustion? I sometimes do. Particularly on days where there is more listening than normal required — like at a conference or when there is a social gathering at the end of the day. Even family outings can be exhausting if everyone is talking at once and there is plenty of activity. One time there was such an exhausting activity, I just walked out in order to save my…
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What Self-Talk Reveals about the Brain

What Self-Talk Reveals about the Brain Studies of the conversations people have with themselves open a window on the hidden workings of the mind My alarm woke me early. I was in a hotel room in London, near the headquarters of the BBC. I hadn’t slept well. When I looked in the bathroom mirror, I saw someone pale and slightly terrified. I had reason to feel nervous. In just over an hour I would be…
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Tiny molecule has big effect on brain’s ability to learn

Prenatal brain development is a crucial period, and as new research has found, even small alterations to the way brain cells develop can have significant effects later in life. Scientists have shed light on the role that small molecules called microRNAs play in early brain development. The research found a close link between early brain developmental events and changes in cognitive function…
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Marijuana associated with three-fold risk of death from hypertension

Marijuana use is associated with a three-fold risk of death from hypertension, according to new research….
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Zoos Shall Not Kill Healthy Animals: A Moral Imperative

Thou shall not kill healthy zoo animals A few months ago I posted an essay titled ” It’s Still Not Happening at the Zoo: Sharp Divisions Remain ” that was a summary of a meeting held at the Detroit zoo called ” Zoos and Aquariums as Welfare Centres: Ethical Dimensions and Global Commitment .” I was very pleased to be at the meeting and I learned a lot. However, one of the main questions, namely…
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Cost-Benefit Analysis Favors Intensive Early Intervention for Autism

Early therapeutic intervention is considered best practice for children with an autism spectrum disorder. But many insurance carriers and agencies are reluctant to pay for the care. New research suggests the costs associated with the intensive treatment are quickly recovered as the children will need less services over time. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects one in every 68 children in…
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Thank you, Sinéad O’Connor, for showing the messy reality of mental illness | Paris Lees

T hree cheers for Sinéad O’Connor , who has this week torn down the glossy facade of the public debate around mental health. The video the Grammy-award-winner posted to her Facebook page on Monday – a motel room recording that has caused concern around the world – is not easy viewing. Seeing her desperate call for help and her honesty about suicidal feelings is excruciating. And not just because…
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One Parent Can Do Just as Good a Job as Two, Women Say

The 21st century has been a time of growing diversity in family forms and ways of living. Single parenting , no parenting, living single, living alone, living with friends, and many other non-traditional living arrangements are all on the rise. How do American women view these innovative ways of living? New findings from a national survey suggest that single and married women, with and without…
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What Does Your Dog Really Want?

Earlier this year Alaska became the first state to pass a law requiring the consideration of pets’ well being in custody disputes. Seeing that pets, especially dogs, are commonly treated as family members, this may seem like a long overdue change. But it raises the difficult question of determining what’s best for an animal: How do we know what a pet wants?…
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Imaging Study Shows Gender Differences in Brain Activity

A new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease shows that women’s brains are significantly more active in several regions, particularly in the prefrontal cortex (involved with focus and impulse control) and in the limbic or emotional areas of the brain (involved with mood and anxiety). The brains of men showed more activity in the visual and coordination centers. Understanding these…
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Work-Life Balance Often Modeled by Parents

Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) researchers discovered the way we prioritize work versus family life is greatly influenced by childhood experiences in the family home. Study co-author Dr. Ioana Lupu explains that previous work-life balance investigation has focused more on the organizational context or on individual psychological traits to explain work and career decisions. The new study…
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On Seeking Counseling Before You Need To

Many clients I see here in private practice in the Midwestern area of Illinois are often very stressed. They come in appearing very calm and as soon as I get to the point on my questionnaire about what brings them their they tell me, often with tears and a sense of shame about how long they have been struggling due to their busy lives, lack of self-care and fears of the judgement might have about…
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What not to say to people living with dementia | Yvonne Manson

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me” – so goes the old saying, a child’s mode of defence against bullies in the playground. But the fact is that words do hurt. Quite apart from obvious insults, language can be a subtle but insidious weapon – especially when it comes to older people. Much has been said about what language to use around cancer patients. It’s time to…
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This Psychological Epidemic Is Killing Millions Worldwide

One-third of people over 45 have this chronic psychological problem — as do many who are younger. Chronic loneliness affects 42.6 million people over 45-years-old in the United States, research finds. That is one-third of people in the age-group. Being socially isolated and lonely could be worse for public health than obesity. Over 100 studies have found that being lonely is linked to a 50%…
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What is paresthesia? Causes and symptoms

Paresthesia is a burning sensation that may affect limbs and extremities, such as hands and feet. Paresthesia is numbness or a burning feeling that occurs most often in the extremities, such as the hands, arms, legs, or feet, but that can happen elsewhere in the body as well. It is the same “pins and needles” feeling that happens when someone sits on their leg or foot for too long….
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Different sensory pathways engaged in feeling and responding to external temperature

To maintain the body at an appropriate temperature despite changes in the environment, there are a number of physiological and behavioral responses that can be adopted, such as shivering or moving into or out of direct sunlight. Although these responses are well understood, there is still a lack of understanding of the nerve and brain pathways that control them….
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MRI contrast agents accumulate in the brain

The International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) has provided new guidance in the use of contrast agents during MRI scans . Emerging research suggests gadolinium-based contrast agents, injected in a patient’s veins to brighten tissues in MRI images, accumulate in the brain. More than 300 million doses of such drugs have been administered since their introduction in 1987….
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Scientists reveal role for lysosome transport in Alzheimer’s disease progression

Researchers from Yale University School of Medicine have discovered that defects in the transport of lysosomes within neurons promote the buildup of protein aggregates in the brains of mice with Alzheimer’s disease . The study, which is published in The Journal of Cell Biology (JCB) , suggests that developing ways to restore lysosome transport could represent a new therapeutic approach…
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Researchers are studying psychopathic chimps to better understand the human variety

By Emma Young To understand the drivers of a psychopathic personality (marked by callousness, disinhibition and superficial charm), it’s worth looking at our closest relatives. Some chimps, like some people, score highly on scales designed to evaluate psychopathic tendencies. And new work in Frontiers in Neuroscience reveals a potentially important genetic contributor to psychopathic traits in…
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Redistribution is supported by compassion, envy, and self interest, but not sense of fairness.

A huge collaboration looks at support for redistribution of wealth from an evolutionary psychology perspective: Significance Markets have lifted millions out of poverty, but considerable inequality remains and there is a large worldwide demand for redistribution. Although economists, philosophers, and public policy analysts debate the merits and demerits of various redistributive programs…
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Deep Listening in Personal Relationships

For the most part, in all relationships there’s one person who speaks and one who listens. But . . . is the listener really listening? Many people think they’re better listeners than studies show they actually are. The goal of deep listening is to acquire information, understand a person or a situation, and experience pleasure. Active listening is about making a conscious decision to hear what…
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13 Societal Trends

Source: Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain In understanding and negotiating our fast-changing world, it may be helpful to keep its major trends top-of-mind: Less heterosexual, more pansexual. Society’s mind-molders—the schools, colleges, and media—have, for years now, focused on increasing sexual minorities’ rights. A recent manifestation is the pansexual movement: replacing labels such as straight…
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Australians Will Vote on Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters on Tuesday he would “give all Australians a say” on whether same-sex marriage should be legal. “I’ll be voting yes, as will (my wife), I’m very open about that but the Australian people are never wrong when they vote, whether it’s for governments or on matters like this, their vote will be respected,” Turnbull said. The governing Liberal National…
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Playing with your brain: Negative impact of some action video games

Human-computer interactions, such as playing video games, can have a negative impact on the brain, says a new Canadian study. For over 10 years, scientists have told us that action video game players exhibit better visual attention, motor control abilities and short-term memory. But, could these benefits come at a cost?…
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Longevity hormone boosts memory and protects against brain aging in mice

In a study that augues well for the therapeutic potential of klotho — a life-extending protein hormone that a minority of people naturally produce at high levels — scientists have found that administering a fragment of the klotho protein to young, aging or impaired mice rapidly improves their cognitive and physical performance….
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Human gut microbe may lead to treatment for multiple sclerosis

A human gut microbe may help treat autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, report scientists in a new article….
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Sleep disorders linked to preterm birth in large California study

Pregnant women who are diagnosed with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and insomnia appear to be at risk of delivering their babies before reaching full term, according to an analysis of California births….
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Longevity hormone boosts memory and protects against brain aging in mice

In a study that augues well for the therapeutic potential of klotho — a life-extending protein hormone that a minority of people naturally produce at high levels — scientists have found that administering a fragment of the klotho protein to young, aging or impaired mice rapidly improves their cognitive and physical performance….
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Human gut microbe may lead to treatment for multiple sclerosis

A human gut microbe may help treat autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, report scientists in a new article….

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