from the world's big
Unraveling the mysteries of adult neurogenesis may have clinical applications.
- Neuroscientists don't know the degree to which adult human brains generate new neurons.
- A new study found that adult-born neurons in lab rats continued to grow and mature long after infant-born ones stopped.
- Understanding the process of neuron birth and death can help scientists understand the causes of neurological disorders.
Getting better with age<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQxODQ1NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNjQxMjkwN30.eGwCMbptF8egRSgm4wyIBlAvjv6x8tqB5pauGurioHc/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C4%2C0%2C5&height=700" id="5b72b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="50b37ca4d09cd4f1db9136b07810874d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Reconstructions of adult-born neurons from rats undergoing maturation. Left to right: 2-weeks old, 4-weeks, 6-weeks, and 24-weeks.
Optimize Your Brain: The Science of Smarter Eating | Dr. Drew Ramsey | Big Think<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a5fc406dabd4e2acb818f68be3378bb5"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/J8BnvIku0kw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6659986/#:~:text=Neurogenesis%20in%20adult%20humans%20remains%20a%20controversial%20area%20of%20research%20among%20neuroscientists.&text=While%20some%20researchers%20report%20that,brains%20persists%20into%20old%20age." target="_blank">The challenge of measuring adult neurogenesis</a> is difficult, but it's not impossible. A big part of the solution is knowing what to measure and where. While this new study was performed on rats—and therefore may be a poor predictor of what we'll see in humans—it can direct future research by showing neuroscientists where to look and what to look for.</p><p>And unlike the hard problem of consciousness, unraveling <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/neurogenesis-in-adults" target="_self">the mysteries of adult neurogenesis</a> may have clinical applications. Better the lifecycle of neurons may reveal how neurological disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease emerge. There's <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6091047/" target="_blank">even research</a> linking disorders such as depression and anxiety to neurogenesis activity. </p><p>This knowledge may lead to new treatments, but if not, it could also reveal a better understanding of how our lifestyles and environments support brain health and regeneration <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/super-agers-brain" target="_self">throughout human life</a>.</p>
Living like a genius and finding ways to "optimize" sleep is not necessarily good for your health. Here's why.
- A seemingly common trait of geniuses like Nikola Tesla and Leonardo da Vinci is that they operated (and excelled) on very few hours of sleep per night. BrainCraft's Vanessa Hill explains that while unorthodox sleep patterns may have worked for them, your mileage may vary. Attempting to sleep like a genius could "wreak havoc" on your brain and be detrimental to your health.
- There are three different types of sleep patterns: monophasic sleep (one chunk at night for a recommended 6-8 hours), biphasic sleep (two chunks in a 24-hour period), and polyphasic sleep (three or more chunks in a 24-hour period). While sleeping, you cycle through four stages: two light, one deep, and one REM.
- Switching sleep patterns can disrupt these stages, as can consuming alcohol. So while attempting to maximize your creative time, you may be denying your brain and body the time it needs to recover, which can be dangerous.
Three scientists examine three dimensions of psychopathy: neurological, social, and criminal.
- How are the brains of psychopaths wired differently? In this video, psychologist Kevin Dutton, neuroscientist (and psychopath himself) James Fallon, and professor of psychiatry Michael Stone take the wiring apart.
- In neurotypical people, the amygdala and the orbitofrontal cortex inhibit one another to allow for reasonable, moral decision-making. Psychopaths don't have that mechanism.
- Up to 80% of who a psychopath will turn out to be is down to environment. Intelligence, natural aggressiveness, and your family and friends determine whether a psychopath will grow up to make a killing or just "make a killing in the market," as a famous headline once said.
A specialized MRI sensor reveals the neurotransmitter's influence on neural activity throughout the brain.
Using a specialized magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sensor, MIT neuroscientists have discovered how dopamine released deep within the brain influences both nearby and distant brain regions.
A groundbreaking Stanford University study explains the areas of the brain that are impacted by hypnosis.
- Hypnosis refers to a trance state that is characterized by extreme suggestibility, relaxation, and heightened imagination.
- According to a Stanford University School of Medicine study, there are three areas of our brains that change during a state of hypnosis.
- This groundbreaking study provides information on how hypnosis impacts the brain, which could lead to new and improved pain management and anxiety treatments in the future.
Hypnosis: a brief history<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM4MDUzOS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyODE0NTIxMn0.8i-niurp_iqtQtLAItVe4bYVzsCvP510dhMITGPs47E/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C52%2C0%2C52&height=700" id="ec42b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1af341304e578f5bf20858cb7e872c86" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="swinging pocket watch" />
Along the way, there have been many pioneers in the feild of hypnosis research.
Photo by Brian A Jackson on Shutterstock<p>The "modern father" of hypnosis was Austrian physician Franz Mesmer, who gave us the word "mesmerism", which can be another word referencing a hypnotic state. Mesmer had an idea for which he called "animal magnetism" - and the idea was that there are these kinds of natural energy sources that could be transferred between organisms and objects.</p><p>Along the way, hypnotism has had many other pioneers who have furthered the fascinating phenomenon. One of the most notable is James Braid, an eye doctor based in Scotland who became intrigued with the idea of hypnosis when he discovered a patient in his waiting room had fallen under something of a trance after staring at a lamp. He gave the patient come commands, and the patient obliged, remaining in a trace-like state the entire time. </p><p>Braid's fascination grew and through more tests, he determined that getting a patient to fixate on something was one of the most important components to hypnosis. He later would publish a book on what we now know as the <a href="https://books.google.be/books/about/The_Discovery_of_Hypnosis.html?id=Vs35STwQYQoC&redir_esc=y" target="_blank">discovery of modern hypnosis</a>.</p><p>Later, James Esdaile, a British surgeon based in India during the mid-1800s established that this kind of trance hypnotic state was extremely useful in pain relief practices. He performed hundreds of major operations using hypnotism as his only anesthetic. When he returned to England in an attempt to convince the medical establishments of his findings, they paid no mind to his theory in favor of new chemical anesthetics such as morphine, which was <a href="https://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/painkillers/a-short-history.html" target="_blank">relatively new at the time</a>. This is where the use of hypnotics for medicinal purposes halted and much of the reason why hypnosis is considered an alternative approach to medicine in today's society.</p><p>Jumping forward to the 1900s, Frenchman Emile Coué moved away from the conventional approaches that had been pioneered with hypnotism and began his work with the use of auto-suggestion. </p><p>He is most famous for the phrase: <em>"Day by day, in every way, I am getting better and better." </em>This technique was one of the first instances where affirmation hypnosis was used and it has been growing through various counseling programs and therapy techniques ever since.</p><p>In modern times, one of the most recognized authorities on clinical hypnosis remains to be Milton Erikson, a well-known psychotherapist who did most of his work around 1950-1980. He was fascinated with human psychology and devised countless innovative ways to use hypnosis in his clinical practices. </p>
Scientists scanned the brains of 57 people during a guided hypnosis session.
Image by vrx on Shutterstock<p><strong>Changes found in three areas of the brain during hypnosis may suggest future alternative treatments for anxiety and pain management.</strong><br><br>Over the years, hypnosis has gained a lot of traction and respectability within both the medical and psychotherapy professions. According to a 2016 Stanford University School of Medicine study, there are three areas of our brains that change during a state of hypnosis - and this could actually be used to benefit us.</p><p>Scientists scanned the brains of 57 people during a guided hypnosis session, similar to one that may be used to help treat anxiety, pain, or trauma. </p><p><strong>First, there is a decrease in dorsal anterior cingulate activity. </strong></p><p>This is part of the brain's salience network that is responsible for <a href="https://www.alleydog.com/glossary/definition.php?term=Anterior+Cingulate+Cortex" target="_blank">psychological functions</a> like decision making, evaluation processes, and emotional regulation as well as physiological functions such as blood pressure and heart rate. </p><p><strong>Next, there is an increase in the connection between the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the insula. </strong></p><p>The <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/dorsolateral-prefrontal-cortex" target="_blank">dorsolateral prefrontal cortex</a> is associated with executive functions such as working memory and self-control. The <a href="https://www.spinalcord.com/insular-cortex" target="_blank">insula</a> is a small region of the cerebral cortex that plays a significant role in pain perception, social engagements, emotions, and autonomic control. </p><p>This is described by the lead researcher of the study as a kind of "brain-body connection" that helps the brain process and control what's going on in the body. </p><p><strong>Finally, there are reduced connections between the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the medial prefrontal cortex. </strong></p><p>The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex becomes less connected to the medial prefrontal cortex and the <a href="https://www.jneurosci.org/content/32/1/215" target="_blank">posterior cingulate cortex</a>, both of which are strongly associated with neural activity and cognitive tasks.</p><p>This decrease very likely correlates to the disconnect between someone's actions and their awareness of their actions, according to the lead researcher on the project. </p><p><strong>How does this change the way we view hypnosis?</strong></p><p>Understanding exactly which areas of the brain are impacted during hypnosis can pave the way for groundbreaking research into the use of hypnosis for medicinal purposes.</p><p>"Now that we know which brain regions are involved," says David Spiegel, MD, professor and researcher on the project, "we may be able to use this knowledge to alter someone's capacity to be hypnotized or the effectiveness of the hypnosis for problems such as pain control." </p><p>While more research is needed, the study is certainly a groundbreaking head-start in what could eventually be known as hypnotic treatments for things like anxiety, trauma and pain management. </p><p>"A treatment that combines brain stimulation with hypnosis could improve known analgesic effects of hypnosis and potentially even replace addictive and side-effect-laden painkillers and anti-anxiety medications," explains Spiegel. </p>