10 things you may not know about anxiety

Cold hands and feet? Maybe it's your anxiety.

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  • When we feel anxious, the brain's fight or flight instinct kicks in, and the blood flow is redirected from your extremities towards the torso and vital organs.
  • According to the CDC, 7.1% of children between the ages of 3-17 (approximately 4.4 million) have an anxiety diagnosis.
  • Anxiety disorders will impact 31% of Americans at some point in their lives.
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By the age of 3, children appreciate nature's fractal patterns

Fractal patterns are noticed by people of all ages, even small children, and have significant calming effects.

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  • A new study from the University of Oregon found that, by the age of three, children understand and prefer nature's fractal patterns.
  • A "fractal" is a pattern that the laws of nature repeat at different scales. Exact fractals are ordered in such a way that the same basic pattern repeats exactly at every scale, like the growth spiral of a plant, for example.
  • Separate studies have proven that exposure to fractal patterns in nature can reduce your stress levels significantly.
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Mind uploading: Can we become immortal?

Is the quest to upload human consciousness and ditch our meat puppets the future—or is it fool's gold?

  • Technology has evolved to a point where humans have overridden natural selection. So what will our species become? Immortal interstellar travelers, perhaps.
  • Scientists are currently mapping the human brain in an effort to understand the connections that produce consciousness. If we can re-create consciousness, your mind can live on forever. You could even laser-port your consciousness to different planets at the speed of light, download your mind into a local avatar and explore those worlds.
  • But is this transhumanist vision of the future real or is it a pipedream? And if it is real, is it wise? Join theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, neuroscientist David Eagleman, human performance researcher Steven Kotler, skeptic Michael Shermer, cultural theorist Douglas Rushkoff and futurist Jason Silva.
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Zebrafish give new insight to sound sensitivity in autism

These tiny fish are helping scientists understand how the human brain processes sound.

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  • Fragile X syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by changes in a gene that scientists call the "fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1)" gene. People who have FXS or autism often struggle with sensitivity to sound.
  • According to the research team, FXS is caused by the disruption of a gene. By disrupting that same gene in zebrafish larvae, they can examine the effects and begin to understand more about this disrupted gene in the human brain.
  • Using the zebrafish, Dr. Constantin and the team were able to gather insights into which parts of the brain are used to process sensory information.
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Psilocybin rapidly promotes neuroplasticity in the brains of rats

The compound found in "magic mushrooms" has significant and fast-acting impact on the brains of rats.

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  • Psilocybin and psilocin are chemical compounds found in "magic mushrooms."
  • A recent study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found very interesting results when psilocybin was administered to rats to research the potential impact the chemical could have on the human brain.
  • Several studies have suggested that psilocybin could be a treatment for depression.
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