April 23, 2014
How Going To Space Can Mess With the Astronaut Brain

The first astronauts who set foot on the moon were quarantined for three weeks when they returned to Earth. Scientists weren’t sure what kinds of lunar germs they might have brought back with them. 

That level of caution may sound absurd today, but a new study shows trips to outer space can still mess with astronauts on a physiological level. 

New research from Johns Hopkins finds that long-term deep space missions can alter brain proteins and cause cognitive deficits like lapses in attention and slower reaction times. Researchers came to this conclusion by exposing rats to high-energy particles that simulate the conditions that astronauts would experience in deep space, then running them through a series of test that mimic the fitness assessments that astronauts, pilots, and soldiers are required to take. 
But the strange thing scientists found is that deep-space conditions don’t affect everyone the same way.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

How Going To Space Can Mess With the Astronaut Brain

The first astronauts who set foot on the moon were quarantined for three weeks when they returned to Earth. Scientists weren’t sure what kinds of lunar germs they might have brought back with them. 

That level of caution may sound absurd today, but a new study shows trips to outer space can still mess with astronauts on a physiological level. 

New research from Johns Hopkins finds that long-term deep space missions can alter brain proteins and cause cognitive deficits like lapses in attention and slower reaction times. Researchers came to this conclusion by exposing rats to high-energy particles that simulate the conditions that astronauts would experience in deep space, then running them through a series of test that mimic the fitness assessments that astronauts, pilots, and soldiers are required to take. 

But the strange thing scientists found is that deep-space conditions don’t affect everyone the same way.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

April 23, 2014
Study: Bullied Kids At Risk for Mental Health Problems 40 Years Later

Frequent and occasional bullying were both associated with a higher risk for depression, psychological distress, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety disorders in middle age.
Read more. [Image: spDuchamp/Flickr]

Study: Bullied Kids At Risk for Mental Health Problems 40 Years Later

Frequent and occasional bullying were both associated with a higher risk for depression, psychological distress, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety disorders in middle age.

Read more. [Image: spDuchamp/Flickr]

April 23, 2014
The Doctor Who Coaches Athletes On Sleep

As the NBA and NHL playoffs start, a Harvard sleep specialist advises rest, not more practice, for championship teams.
Read more. [Image: Adam Hunger/Reuters]

The Doctor Who Coaches Athletes On Sleep

As the NBA and NHL playoffs start, a Harvard sleep specialist advises rest, not more practice, for championship teams.

Read more. [Image: Adam Hunger/Reuters]

April 23, 2014
An Israeli and Palestinian, Brought Together By Breast Cancer

"We are not the ones at war," Ibtisam told me. "It’s our governments, not us."
Read more. [Image: Yitz Woolf]

An Israeli and Palestinian, Brought Together By Breast Cancer

"We are not the ones at war," Ibtisam told me. "It’s our governments, not us."

Read more. [Image: Yitz Woolf]

April 22, 2014
Prescribing Anxieties for Anxiety

“Some of the things I’m about to say might not make sense,” began O.M., a 22-year-old cancer survivor. He had the far-off look in his eyes that I recognized from so many of the other study participants. They sound like travelers, struggling to describe exotic foreign lands to the people left back home. That struggle is a sign that the treatment has worked. Ineffability is one of the primary criteria that define a mystical experience.
“I was outside of my body, looking at myself,” O.M. continued, “My body was lying on a stretcher in front of a hospital. I felt an incredible anxiety—the same anxiety I had felt every day since my diagnosis. Then, like a switch went on, I went from being anxious to analyzing my anxiety from the outside. I realized that nothing was actually happening to me objectively. It was real because I let it become real. And, right when I had that thought, I saw a cloud of black smoke come out of my body and float away.”
The encounter with the black smoke was just one of many experiences that O.M. had that day. As his mind, “like a rocket,” traversed vast expanses, his body never left the comfortable and well-worn couch at the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research in Midtown Manhattan. The athletic first-year medical student is one of 32 participants in a New York University study examining the hallucinogen psilocybin as a treatment for cancer-related anxiety.
Read more. [Image: NYU]

Prescribing Anxieties for Anxiety

“Some of the things I’m about to say might not make sense,” began O.M., a 22-year-old cancer survivor. He had the far-off look in his eyes that I recognized from so many of the other study participants. They sound like travelers, struggling to describe exotic foreign lands to the people left back home. That struggle is a sign that the treatment has worked. Ineffability is one of the primary criteria that define a mystical experience.

“I was outside of my body, looking at myself,” O.M. continued, “My body was lying on a stretcher in front of a hospital. I felt an incredible anxiety—the same anxiety I had felt every day since my diagnosis. Then, like a switch went on, I went from being anxious to analyzing my anxiety from the outside. I realized that nothing was actually happening to me objectively. It was real because I let it become real. And, right when I had that thought, I saw a cloud of black smoke come out of my body and float away.”

The encounter with the black smoke was just one of many experiences that O.M. had that day. As his mind, “like a rocket,” traversed vast expanses, his body never left the comfortable and well-worn couch at the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research in Midtown Manhattan. The athletic first-year medical student is one of 32 participants in a New York University study examining the hallucinogen psilocybin as a treatment for cancer-related anxiety.

Read more. [Image: NYU]

April 22, 2014
Meaningful Activities Protect the Brain From Depression

Our entire lives, when you think about it, are built around rewards — the pursuit of money, fun, love, and tacos.
How we seek and respond to those rewards is part of what determines our overall happiness. Aristotle famously said there were two basic types of joy: hedonia, or that keg-standing, Netflix binge-watching, Nutella-from-the-jar selfish kind of pleasure, and eudaimonia, or the pleasure that comes from helping others, doing meaningful work, and otherwise leading a life well-lived.
Recent psychological research has suggested that this second category is more likely to produce a lasting increase in happiness. Hedonic rewards may generate a short-term burst of glee, but it dissipates more quickly than the surge created by the more selfless eudaimonic rewards.
"Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed or even selfish life, in which things go well, needs and desire are easily satisfied, and difficult or taxing entanglements are avoided," a study in the Journal of Positive Psychology found last year.
Read more. [Image: Natesh Ramasamy/flickr/Olga Khazan]

Meaningful Activities Protect the Brain From Depression

Our entire lives, when you think about it, are built around rewards — the pursuit of money, fun, love, and tacos.

How we seek and respond to those rewards is part of what determines our overall happiness. Aristotle famously said there were two basic types of joy: hedonia, or that keg-standing, Netflix binge-watching, Nutella-from-the-jar selfish kind of pleasure, and eudaimonia, or the pleasure that comes from helping others, doing meaningful work, and otherwise leading a life well-lived.

Recent psychological research has suggested that this second category is more likely to produce a lasting increase in happiness. Hedonic rewards may generate a short-term burst of glee, but it dissipates more quickly than the surge created by the more selfless eudaimonic rewards.

"Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed or even selfish life, in which things go well, needs and desire are easily satisfied, and difficult or taxing entanglements are avoided," a study in the Journal of Positive Psychology found last year.

Read more. [Image: Natesh Ramasamy/flickr/Olga Khazan]

April 21, 2014
Who Will Watch When You Fall? A Radar Detection Program for the Elderly

With age comes risk of serious injury or death related to falling down. In the next three decades, the number of Americans over 65 will double. Many want to live at home indefinitely. One man has a solution.
Read more. [Image: AP/Amin/Hamblin]

Who Will Watch When You Fall? A Radar Detection Program for the Elderly

With age comes risk of serious injury or death related to falling down. In the next three decades, the number of Americans over 65 will double. Many want to live at home indefinitely. One man has a solution.

Read more. [Image: AP/Amin/Hamblin]

12:22pm
  
Filed under: Health Aging Falling Radars Radar 
April 18, 2014
Do You Walk Enough?

April 18, 2014

Sad Desk Lunch: Is This How You Want To Die?

How to avoid working through lunch, and diseases related to social isolation.

Read more.

April 17, 2014
Our Gullible Brains

Can a person be bright? Cold? Soft? Sweet? When the psychologists Solomon Asch and Harriet Nerlove posed these questions to a group of 3- and 4-year-olds in 1960, the response, on the whole, was skeptical. “Poor people are cold because they have no clothes,” one child said. By second or third grade, though, children could understand the psychological meanings of these so-called double-function terms and how they relate to the physical world.
Read more. [Image: Rami Niemi]

Our Gullible Brains

Can a person be bright? Cold? Soft? Sweet? When the psychologists Solomon Asch and Harriet Nerlove posed these questions to a group of 3- and 4-year-olds in 1960, the response, on the whole, was skeptical. “Poor people are cold because they have no clothes,” one child said. By second or third grade, though, children could understand the psychological meanings of these so-called double-function terms and how they relate to the physical world.

Read more. [Image: Rami Niemi]

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