Had you read this article ten years ago, you would probably have learned more and remembered it longer. Age-related cognitive decline is nearly universal. But these low-tech lifestyle upgrades are proven to keep your brain healthy, and even make it stronger. Read more at Men’s Journal
Some one in five patients drop out of mental health-care treatment, often because their first treatment didn’t work. Is there a way to predict what will?
A growing number of psychologists and other scientists are using MRI, fMRI and PET on a quest to find out. Although it’s still in the very early stages, their research suggests that clinicians may one day be able to match patients to effective treatments and ease symptoms faster by using information from brain imaging, along with other biomarkers such as DNA and hormone levels.
“It’s possible that within our lifetimes you will go to your doctor’s office, give blood, and if it’s not prohibitively expensive, get an fMRI,” says Gabriel Dichter, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina. “We accept it as part of standard care of neurology and cancer care, so why not for mental health?” Read more
Studies suggest that being overweight or obese and having a diet high in sugar and saturated fat can lead to brain changes in children, affecting learning and memory. It may also hamper their impulse control, making it harder to resist overeating. Read more
As evening approaches in the dementia ward at the Albany County Nursing Home, patients’ irritability and confusion rises. Come nighttime, many residents have problems sleeping — wandering, wheeling or perhaps falling in the halls.
So two years ago, health researchers installed what the home’s nurse manager Karen Pitcher calls “the miracle table,” a repurposed flat screen TV that emits a bluish-white light. They gathered residents around it at mealtimes, and allowed them to congregate there whenever they pleased from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The goal was to help stimulate the residents’ circadian rhythms — the hormones that ebb and flow according to light and other signals — and help correct the sleep disorders that are all too common among the ward’s elderly patients, especially those with dementia.
The miracle table worked some wonders. What happened wasn’t a complete reversal of symptoms, but was significant nonetheless for many patients. Read more
Scientists are putting more effort into studying complementary therapies, including hypnosis, meditation and yoga, that may ease pain with fewer side effects and help people manage their own symptoms. Read more
A growing amount of research suggests that chemicals known as endocrine disruptors — found in everyday household products including pesticides, plastics and fire retardants — may also contribute to a range of behavioral and learning problems, including autism and attention-deficient hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Read more
For decades, placebo response was generally seen as “an uninteresting source of noise that interfered with pharmacological research,” says Bret Rutherford, MD, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University. But these days, scientists are studying placebos as a psychobiological phenomenon and the placebo response as a potentially important part of the success of many medical treatments. Read more