Have you ever heard of the Iceman? He is a remarkable Dutchman who has developed what seems like genuine superpowers. His many accomplishments include hiking up Mount Kilimanjaro wearing just hiking boots and shorts, swimming underwater for over 50m in a frozen Finnish lake and running a marathon 200m north of the Arctic Circle. However the most impressive thing about this particular real-life superhuman is that far from claiming to be unique, instead he boasts that anyone can do it. In the process of taking steps to prove this to the doubters he has brought the Wim Hoff method under scientific scrutiny which has led directly to an amazing discovery – we really can control our immune systems!!
I choose to write about this now because on 1st Jan 2016 I had to shrug off my hangover to fly to Amsterdam. On the 2nd Jan 2016 I met up with a Professor of Immunology to discuss the latest published scientific studies on the Iceman and his disciples designed to test and ultimately explain the mechanisms though which their impressive abilities to withstand the pain of freezing cold temperatures might be achieved. Then on the morning of 3rd Jan 2016 I finally met Wim Hoff and by midday, after just an hour’s training, I was neck deep in a cold lake in the middle of the Dutch countryside with 300 enthusiasts. Life can be strange sometimes.
What I learned over the course of these few illuminating days in the Netherlands at the beginning of the month is that the Wim Hoff technique essentially involves three key processes: hyperventilation, cold immersion and a meditative mind state. Better still, each stage actually feeds into the next in a scientifically plausible manner.
Hyperventilation – what is it good for?
When we think of hyperventilation most people focus on the fact that it will saturate the blood with oxygen thus enabling more energy to be released when performing some kind of physically or mentally demanding task. Of course by breathing in and out, deeply and rapidly, for prolonged periods of time (in my case 3 sets of 30 full inhalation/exhalation cycles) as well as increasing oxygen input it will also eliminate more of the major waste material of metabolism that is carbon dioxide. And this, it turns out, is the most important part of the equation when it comes to withstanding environmental temperatures that would usually be deemed to be painfully cold.
When carbon dioxide is dissolved in your blood it forms a weakly acidic solution called carbonic acid. So the more carbon dioxide in your blood the more acidic it is. Conversely by removing more and more of this carbon dioxide from solution you can consciously exert control over your blood’s pH by making it increasingly alkaline. In fact, it turns out that a pro like Wim can shift his blood pH from 7.2 right up to a more alkaline 7.85. Now that might not sound like a huge difference, but bearing in mind that on a scale that runs from 1 (extremely acidic) to 14 (extremely alkaline) this make 7.2 more or less bang on neutral and 7.85 is getting into the realms of weakly alkaline.
Alkaline blood – so what?
So what happens if you make your blood weakly alkaline through a few bouts of hyperventilation. I’ll give you a clue, why would women in the process of giving birth to a child instinctively hyperventilate? Pain relief. You see what Wim stumbled upon as he was experimenting with different techniques to try and find the peace of mind he sought during the years after his wife died in 1995 leaving him to raise 4 children single-handedly was that by making your blood every so slightly alkaline you render pain receptors inoperable.
There is a special “trimer” protein inside your skin’s nociceptors – the specialised receptors embedded in your skin that send electrical messages to the brain that end up being perceived as painful whenever a potentially damaging stimulus (like extreme cold) is detected in the environment. Trimers are so-called because they are formed from three separate strings of amino acids that wrap around each other to form a complex structure with a very specific function – signalling pain. But in the presence of slightly alkaline blood these three parts separate rendering the pain receptors unable to send any signals. Therefore the invigorating cold can be experienced in the absence of an associated perception of pain! So simple, but so clever.
How Cold Immersion begets a Meditative State
As I discovered on that cool day in early January, once you’ve got your blood alkalinity up through hyperventilation you can immerse yourself in cold water without feeling any pain. You do feel the cold, just with the aversive component of this experience switched off. And it was this experience of cold without pain that helped Wim to focus his mind not on the horrors of the past, not on the worrying aspects of the future, but to be centred entirely on the present. The exhilarating feeling of having the cold pressing in from all sides whilst in a state of undress. Getting into a meditative state through cold immersion was the only technique that reliably helped him to stay “in the moment” sufficiently to achieve the peace of mind he was looking for.
Wim Hoff is a lively character. Sitting still in peace and quiet is simply not his style. He is almost perpetually in motion. Any spare moment he will take the opportunity to do some chin ups, balance his body on his elbow like some kind of breakdance fiend or simply do the splits. And this is a part of the overall process of becoming the Iceman. In addition to the cytokines released in response to regular cold exposure, Wim’s body is also thought to release myokines – messenger proteins released from active muscles. The combination of these influences means that his DNA is being read differently from the rest of us more sedentary modern humans.
Hyper Life versus the Easy Life
It’s almost as if Wim has managed to trick his body into reverting to caveman mode. There is scientific evidence to support the hypothesis that after decades of leading a hyperactive, hyperventilated life including daily exposure to extreme conditions, every single one of his cells has started to read off a different set of genes to the rest of us. I’ve never met anyone with more energy, yet he doesn’t eat breakfast or lunch, just one (presumably huge) meal in the early evening, which is probably how our ancient ancestors dined having spent the whole day hunting and foraging for the evening meal. We modern men and women on the other hand spend our days ensconced in centrally heated / air conditioned homes and workplaces, spending the vast proportion of our days sedentary with packed fridges just a few steps away and so our bodies switch on genes that adequately support this easy life.
A New Perspective
Many diseases that used to kill off our ancestors in huge numbers are now firmly under control thanks to the marvels of modern medicine. Of those which still place our lives and quality of life in peril, several involve and element of over-activity in our immune systems; so-called autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, to name but few. Wim’s brave auto-experimentation, combined with his profound desire to bring his discoveries firmly under the scrutiny of science have enabled the revelation that he has incredible control over his immune system. He (and volunteers who have followed his approach under clinical conditions) can bring down the levels of pro-inflammatory IL-6 and IL-8, whilst boosting levels of anti-inflammatory IL-10 to the point where he doesn’t get sick when exposed to bacterial endotoxins. Whilst control subjects respond to the toxic injection by shivering feverishly within about half an hour, the Iceman sits there unperturbed by the nasties in his bloodstream. The potential to learn his technique in order to reduce overactive immune systems and thereby defeating various autoimmune diseases is bringing hope to many whom had previously lost faith in prospect of a cure.
In addition to these monthly brain blogs, you can follow me on Twitter (@drjacklewis) for daily updates on breakthroughs in neuroscience, buy my first book Sort Your Brain Out at all good bookshops and see me back on your TV’s very soon in two brand new series on insight.tv and Red Bull TV!
As my regulars will know I like to keep abreast of movements in the brain training game market. I’ve reviewed Nintendo DS’s titles from the Dr Kawashima, Lumosity and even some that weren’t specifically designed to improve cognitive functions, yet arguably do. Christmas before last I subscribed my parents up to Lumosity on the iPad. 24 months later my dad still plays on a regular basis. He’s up to 99.9% for his age group in every category bar 1 (where he is up to 99.7%!). This year I’ll be subscribing them to PEAK instead, because having regularly used it on my phone to kill time whilst in transit (or on the throne) for the best part of a year I genuinely think the (relatively) new kid on the block wipes the floor with Lumosity.
All the major players tend to include a core set of “classic” brain training games that are clearly inspired by neurological tests that have been around for many decades e.g. Go/NoGo, Stroop, N-back etc. Unlike their rivals who seem to be happy with the basic versions, PEAK seems to continually evolve each game by adding a twist or making each game a little bit tougher.
Take for instance working memory training – the only games for which there is any half decent published data in the peer-reviewed science literature supporting claims that it can actually improve cognition (and even that evidence is hotly contested!). The spatial working memory training games like PERILOUS PATH (memorise the position of the mines whilst they’re briefly displayed and then trace a path around them from random start to finish points), MEMORY SWEEP (remember and reproduce the position of illuminated blocks in larger and larger grids) and BOUNCE (guess the finishing point of a laser beam sent bouncing across angled mirrors distributed across the grid after a brief glimpse of where they are) have all been done before, but these are all great versions.
PEAK also takes simple versions of classic brain games and takes steps to improve them. For example, RUSH BACK involves simply answering whether each presented image is the same or different as the previous one. A 1-back task like this hardly challenges working memory because you can use iconic memory (the visual impression left in the mind’s eye for a few tens of milliseconds after any object disappears from view). They quite rightly class this as a test of “focus”, because if you lose concentration then it is easy to accidentally push the wrong button. Particularly when you’re trying to go as fast as possible to maximise points. Yet over the months they’ve introduced RUSH BACK PLUS – which is a 2-back task and two other aesthetically appealing variations on this game:
TUNNEL TRANCE – progresses from the 1-back task to the 2-back (same as the image before last?) to the 3-back (same as the one before the one before last) – this really has the potential to genuinely help people hold more information in mind when they are performing a real life task. It probably goes up to 4-back and beyond… if so, I simply haven’t performed well enough at the 3-back task to get promoted to the next level.
PARTIAL MATCH – the task is to rapidly decide whether the image is identical to the last image, completely different, or partially the same (i.e. same colour but different shape or same shape but different colour). This I have never seen anywhere before. I appreciate that PEAK are putting in the effort to innovate and that it took me a surprisingly long time to get the hang of. I’m always mindful that the harder something is to get the hang of, i.e. the more a brain finds it to be a challenge, the more resources are likely to be invested in reinforcing the relevant neural pathways in an effort to adapt the brain to improve that particular mental function. Speaking of which another game that was introduced very recently definitely deserves a special mention… HAPPY RIVER
A common symptom of depression is the tendency to ruminate over negative thoughts or emotions. An effective but simply remedy is to develop the habit of dwelling instead on the positive whilst disregarding the negative. Bear this in mind as you read on because I’m convinced that HAPPY RIVER can only be a power for good, which suggests that PEAK really are keeping an eye on the latest developments in psychology and neuroscience to find inspiration for their new game pipeline.
HAPPY RIVER involves reuniting a baby elephant with its mother. They are on opposite side of the banks of a river that have several rows of words streaming across it either from left to right or right to left. Each of the individual words acts as a raft. By tapping the screen the baby elephant hops forward. Your timing has to be accurate or else you’ll fall into the gaps between each word raft. You also have to be strategic because only those words with positive emotional overtones provide safe passage. Step onto a negative word and you’ll be tipped over into the rapids. So to successfully reunite the baby elephant with its mother you have to focus on the positive and avoid the negative – hence PEAK have created a game that could well encourage a habit that could ever so slightly nudge players towards a more positive outlook and greater mental health.
FLIGHT PATH challenges many different cognitive capacities. You start with a bird’s eye view of some lush green fields at the middle of which are 4 landing spots for airships that fly into view from top, bottom, left or right of screen. Each airship has a different letter and moves at a different velocity. Your task is to plot the movement of each airship so that they line up on the ground in an order that spells a 4-letter word. The airspace can get pretty crowded so half the challenge is to do what all air traffic control professionals do so well – stop the aircraft from smashing into each other and showering the sky with debris. For this game you need to think strategically, flexibly, linguistically, constantly updating the flight paths for a steadily increasing number of craft whilst simultaneously keeping your eye on an icon in the top right corner to win extra points. Although there is no published data yet to prove it, my hunch is that having to divide your attention across so many competing concerns and continually re-evaluate your priorities, will tune up brain pathways that would surely come in useful for any high pressured professional.
In addition to these monthly brain blogs, you can subscribe to my weekly science podcast (or get it on libsyn) and follow me on Twitter (@drjacklewis) for a daily dose of news articles describing the latest breakthroughs in brain science.
First I met a bona fide bionic man in Cambridge – that got me thinking about an essay I wrote whilst in my undergraduate neuroscience days. It explained, in great molecular detail, the obstacles that would have to be overcome for a robotic limb to ever adequately replace the functional repertoire of a severed one. In other words I described what it would take to do a “Luke Skywalker” (for those who actively avoid Star Wars: Luke is the hero who get his arm chopped off in a light sabre battle only to have an operation that replaces the severed limb with a fully-functional robotic one that he controls as effortlessly as the original).
Second I flew to Kyoto – to interview the Godfather of Androids, a man who has created some of the most sophisticated human-like robots in the world. Over ten days of filming I must have come face-to-face with over a dozen robots. Each time I thought back to something that happened, totally spontaneously, during a game of Jenga with Nigel Ackland – my real life Luke Skywalker.
Finally, Nigel performed a manouevre with his robotic arm that no human could with a mortal one. This event brought to mind a classic series of Japanese neurophysiology experiments from the lab of Professor Iriki. These studies expanded our understanding of how brains keep track of the space around us. In particular, how brains distinguish between parts of the environment that can be influenced with a extended arm (plus any tool that provides an extension), and parts that cannot (NB see in particular the original observations from 1996).
Consequently, this month’s brain blog is dedicated to a combination of…
Robotic Technology, Human Determination & Neuroplasticity
The parietal cortex of the primate brain (including the human primate) is responsible for, among several other important functions, our awareness of space. For example, damage to the patch of brain tissue that resides where the parietal lobe borders its temporal and occipital lobe neighbours can lead to neglect if it occurs on the right side of the head (See the images in this free classic paper on neglect if you want to see exactly where in the brain this is) – resulting in the person’s awareness of the left side of everything being highly compromised. Give someone with neglect a piece of paper with circles drawn all over it, asking them to place a mark at the centre of each, they only mark circles on the right side of the page. Ask them to draw a clock face and they will not draw the numbers on the left side (i.e. having successfully drawn a circle and the hours from 12 to 6 on the right hand side, they’ll typically omit the hours of 7 – 8 – 9 – 10 and 11 because they lack awareness of what should be on the left side of a clock face). They will only eat food from the right side of their plate. They will often even only shave the right side of their face, dress the right side of their body. Their awareness of “leftness” has been fundamentally compromised. Such is the importance of the parietal cortex to our awareness of space.
Towards the end of the 90’s and early 00’s researchers working with Japanese macaques trained to reach for food rewards observed that certain neurons would become activated if the treat was placed within arm’s reach. If the primates were provided with a croupier’s rake (usually used in casinos to collect up chips on gambling tables) then neurons representing nearby space that was previously out of reach would become activated once they gained experience using this simple tool to drag the food rewards towards them. The researchers even took it a step further by providing two rakes, one with a short handle and one with a long handle. Neurons representing space out of reach with the short handled rake became recruited into the “network of reachable space” when the macaques figured out they could use the short rake to pull the long rake closer and then use this to drag the treat from the opposite side of the table. Keep this in mind as you read the following account of bionic brain adaptation.
Bionic Brain Adaptation?
Nigel Ackland is a real life bionic man since a nasty industrial accident left his arm mangled and several subsequent botched surgeries led to his decision to have his right arm amputated from the elbow down. Shortly after this operation, he started to develop pain in his phantom limb. His NHS-issued “pincer” enabled him to gain some additional dexterity, but it did little to diminish the phantom sensation of his fingers and wrist locked into an extremely uncomfortable position. However once he started using a cutting-edge bionic arm, equipped with various pre-programmed five fingered hand movements operated via neuronal signals passing from his brain to the muscles at the end of his arm stump, not only did the phantom limb pain start getting better, but the phantom limb started extending gradually from his stump into the hand and fingers of his bionic arm.
Whilst playing Jenga with him for my new series Nigel did something quite remarkable, triggering the memory of those Japanese macaques. Reaching with his bionic arm to grab an awkwardly positioned brick, from his side of the table he could only present the back of his hand to the block he was after. Unlike the rest of us mere mortals Nigel can rotate the hand of his bionic arm at the wrist by 360 degrees. To reach the brick in question he simply rotated his hand 180 degrees to face the other way, and then grabbed the block he was after with his bionic thumb, fore- and middle fingers in the usual way. It immediately occurred to me that people with bionic limbs – who can do things a normal human limb can not – may be awakening neurons in their parietal cortex that represent areas of space that have never before been recruited into the “network of reachable space” in the history of our species. Now that is very cool.
In addition to these monthly brain blogs, you can subscribe to my weekly science podcast (via itunes, via libsyn) and follow me on Twitter (@drjacklewis) for a daily dose of news articles describing the latest breakthroughs in brain science.
I used to think that the practice of “mindful meditation” was exclusively the preserve of yogis, Buddhists and New Age hippies fresh back from an extended voyage of self-discovery around Asia. If you’ve ever found yourself caught up in a conversation with an over-enthusiastic traveler fresh back from their adventures you’ll know what I mean. Such folk have usually undergone a wholesale transformation from fairly conventional individuals into barefoot, sandalwood-scented, Thai-dyed, hemp shirt and trousers wearing, bead bracelet bedecked eccentrics who preach the stupidity of capitalism and the supremacy of the compassionate mind-set at any and all available opportunities. My attitude has changed fundamentally in recent months.
A recent review paper (in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, no less) evaluating the flurry of scientific investigations into the possible benefits of practicing mindfulness that have accumulated over the past ten years or so, has given me a fresh perspective. To my surprise it turns out that there is plenty of early evidence attesting to “beneficial effects on physical and mental health; and cognitive performance.”
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
Mindfulness is actually a very simple concept to grasp, if only we’d give it a half chance. From the moment we wake to the moment we go back to sleep our minds are cluttered with innumerable thoughts.
These thoughts tend to focus on the past and the future: conversations, experiences and interactions that occurred in the past and hopes, ambitions, fears and other concerns regarding the future. Mindfulness encourages the development of attention directing and emotional regulating capacities that enable us to focus on the present moment. Ultimately, by getting in the habit of focusing on what we target with our conscious awareness, rather than just allowing ourselves to be buffeted by whatever stimuli, thoughts or feelings happen to flicker through our minds, we can achieve a greater self-awareness.
There are many different ways of achieving a mindful brain state but typically the beginner is encouraged to start by focusing on their breath. They are asked to breath deeply, in and out, right into the belly to ensure their diaphragm is being used to full effect. Whilst performing these simple actions they are regularly reminded to bring their attention back to their breath whenever the mind wanders elsewhere, to notice the cool air passing in through the nostrils on the inhale and the warm air passing out again on the exhale. After a few minutes of this, you are usually instructed to re-direct the focus of your attention on different body parts, moving systematically around the body. Notice the feeling of clothing on skin, upward pressure of the floor (or the chair) on your buttocks – move your mind’s eye from your toes, gradually up through the legs, into hips, up your back, across your shoulders and down your arms to your finger tips.
FOCUS AND RE-FOCUS YOUR MIND
When thoughts pop into your head, as they invariably will, the idea is not to block them or force them out, but simply to acknowledge them without engaging too deeply; focusing attention back on your breath, or touch sensations in a certain body part.
It sounds extremely simple (too straightforward to result in any meaningful benefits surely?!) but most of us are ingrained with deeply entrenched habits of thought such as worrying about events in the past or future or perpetually seeking some form of stimulation that it can take a while to achieve the goal of quiet contemplation of bodily sensations for more than 20 or 30 seconds at a time. But for those who stick at it – regularly, intensively and consistently over many weeks and months – and gradually build their ability to stay in this mindful state for 5, 15, 30, 60 mins at a time, a wide variety of benefits are achievable. And the latest neuroscience studies into mindfulness are homing in on what it going on inside the brain as a result of all this practice.
To find out about how mindfulness changes the brain please click here.
If you love science geekery then my weekly science podcast Geek Chic’s Weird Science may well be right up your alley. It’s available on iTunes, audioboom, libsyn and podbay, with the delectable Lliana Bird who presents every Fri and Sat nights on Radio X.
I also regularly share the best of the day’s neuroscience breakthroughs on Twitter so if you’d like to follow me, please click here –> @drjacklewis
In part 1 of this blog I broadly described the benefits of mindfulness and what it involves. Here I dig into the detail, outlining the parts of the brain that appear, on the basis of a recent review of many brain scanning studies, to be most consistently impacted by the regular practice of mindfulness.
NEUROPLASTICITY IN ACTION?
Using MRI scanning to focus on differences in the physical structure of brains has revealed that the anterior cingulate cortex (highlighted in yellow in the below image), often implicated in studies of attention, is physically thicker and the underlying white matter denser in practitioners of mindfulness who are highly experienced as opposed to those who are relatively inexperienced.
Moderate to severe stress is associated with high levels of circulating cortisol (a “stress” hormone). This is associated with increased density in the amygdala (highlighted in red in the below image) – a structure deep within the tips of the left and right temporal lobes and vital for orchestrating rapid responses to perceived danger. Decreased tissue density is observed within several prefrontal regions and the hippocampus – which also resides within the core of the temporal lobes – serving several memory-related functions and vital for many aspects of cognition. Regular practice of mindfulness appears to reverse this. Cognitive impairment is reduced and presumably an increase in synaptic connectivity accounts for the increase in tissue density within the hippocampal / prefrontal cortex. The enlarged amygdala shrink – presumably due to reductions in the number of synaptic connections between neurons in this region – which is also associated with a reduction in anxious feelings / the attenuation of heightened perception of threat, back down to normal levels.
The default mode network (DMN) describes a group of brain areas that are activated in MRI brain scanning studies when participants are “in between tasks”. At first these activations were thought to reflect the brain at “rest” or in “default mode.” After a few more years of research, during which this same set of activations cropped up under circumstances that couldn’t reasonably be described as “restful” the original conclusion was revised. Considering all the studies in which the DMN kicked into action it seemed much more likely that it relates instead to “mind-wandering.”
In the original studies, when the participant was instructed to “rest” they would invariably use this period to self-reflect or daydream about something completely unrelated to the experimental task (I certainly did when I volunteered for various MRI studies – it’s impossible not to – anyone that’s seen Ghostbusters should know that).
A couple of years ago when I conducted a series of interviews (British Neuroscience Conversations) with various big hitting neuroscientists at the British Neuroscience Association’s conference, neuropsychopharmacologist Prof David Nutt pointed out that, if our “ego” or the “self” lives anywhere in the brain the Default Mode Network is the best candidate.
The medial prefrontal cortex (labelled DMPFC for the dorsal/upper part and VMPFC for the ventral/lower part) and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), i.e. the core DMN regions, were less active in experienced versus inexperienced mindfulness practitioners. As one of the primary aims of many mediation practices is to selflessly accept thoughts and feelings in a non-judgemental, compassionate way – the reduction in these neural correlates of “ego” may well reflect a degree of success in this endeavour.
So inspired have I been by these revelations of fairly solid early evidence attesting to a likely neuroplastic impact of regular practice of mindful meditation on brain areas involved in modulating attention, emotional responses and perhaps even ego that earlier in the year I went to Mykonos for a retreat to immerse myself properly (opening the invitation to anyone who faniced coming along).
Since then I’ve gone on to develop a #brainboost campaign for Weight Watchers in order to help tackle the obesity epidemic by getting people’s brains ready for healthier eating by practising mindful eating, performing a bit of daily brain training to boost their working memory and learning some simple brain hacks, all with a view to eating more strategically.
During my research for this project I came across a nice little book on mindful eating that I would highly recommend: it’s called Eating Mindfully by Susan Albers. Personally I find a lot of books on this topic extremely cringeworthy, but Susan Albers describes the practical tips on how to avoid mindless / emotional eating through mindfulness in a very straightforward manner.
My own book “Sort Your Brain Out” includes a chapter on the kind of foods and eating habits that are good and bad for the brain. In addition, I do a weekly science podcast available on iTunes, audioboom, libsyn and podbay, with the delectable Lliana Bird who presents every Fri and Sat nights on Radio X. And I regularly share the best of the day’s neuroscience breakthroughs on twitter (@drjacklewis).
A new Vodaphone advert hit our screens recently and I hate it with a passion. My gym seems to have it on a loop at the moment and every time I see it I progress through a variety of emotions ranging from mild disappointment to abject rage. It starts innocently enough, depicting a bus weaving it’s way across a patchwork quilt of luscious fields. England’s green and pleasant lands, we might assume. The driver is keeping a kindly eye on his customers through the rear view mirror, a young woman is dozing on her man’s shoulder, a suited middle-aged businessman is reading his newspaper and a teenage girl is listening to music on her headphones. One row in front of our lovers a mum finds herself unable to pacify her crying toddler. We’ve all been there. It’s not a pleasant experience when the calm and tranquility is pierced by the ululations of an irate infant child. One-by-one the cast make faces betraying their discontent over the bawling nipper. In such situations – what can you do? Other than grin and bear it?
On this particular bus, in this particular locale, a hero is at hand. In a bid to bravely defend his belle from her rude awakening, that self same man (one row behind the squalling squib) unsheathes his smartphone. And using the “Power of 4G” summons a cartoon to his screen with which to mesmerise and thus pacify the aforementioned disconsolate child. Miraculously the tears dry up immediately, the sobbing quickly replaced by smiles and giggles of joy. Peace reigns over the bus once more and glances of appreciation ensue.
The boyfriend/man/husband presumably earns himself a family-sized haul of brownie points from girlfriend having demonstrating not just a strong capacity for empathy but a clear aptitude for child wrangling (what a great dad he could be!). Mum is palpably relieved that the blight to everyone’s day has been appropriately dealt with by this marvellous stroke of genius (so embarrassing when he plays up like that!). Even the stressed out businessman seems to have gone a few shades of purple lighter. The teenage girl goes as far as taking off her headphones, momentarily, to revel in the delicious, unexpected peace and quiet before breaking into a private smile. In the estimation of these fine bus passengers, the holder of the phone is clearly nothing less than an absolute legend.
Dora the Explorer is the chosen cartoon and it’s a good choice (a much better choice than Teletubbies, for example). Inexplicably, the language she utters in this British version of the ad is Spanish. I may be showing my ignorance here. Perhaps Dora the Explorer is always aired in it’s original tongue. But it occurred to me that just maybe the ad was cheekily alluding to possibility that the kid might even start to pick up a new language as a fortuitous side effect of this timely intervention. Such is the “Power of 4G”. It’s just a shame that the evidence from several studies indicates that too much screen time spent goggling at idle entertainment displaces valuable time doing other things in the real world that really facilitate a child’s neurodevelopment. Surely encouraging the habit of endlessly distracting kids with smartphones, tablets and laptops throughout their entire childhood is only going to perpetuate this problem, not to mention fueling a boom in short-sightedness.
It’s not just Vodaphone who are at it. Nissan have also released a TV ad recently for the Pulsar. Excitingly it has automatic braking. For those unfortunate circumstances where the driver’s brain is distracted away from the road at precisely the moment the vehicle in front decides to slam on the brakes without warning. The vital milliseconds saved by circumventing the pesky human can make the critical difference between a dangerous fender bender and safely completed journey.
The key message throughout is that the car is carefully built around the driver and therefore every conceivable problem has been anticipated and addressed. In the closing scene two children appear in the back seat fidgeting, shouting and generally being… well… children. In the blink of an eye technology has magically teleported into their midst – the rowdy boys instantly transformed into well-behaved, docile and, most importantly, silent little angels: one absorbed by a tablet, the other gazing out of the window listening to something on a pair of expensive looking headphones (let’s hope it’s my podcast). That’s right kids. Do not interact with each other. That would just cause a disturbance to your father, or whoever he is. Communication must be discouraged when in ear shot of your elders and betters. And remember: silence is golden!
My issue with these ads is not Susan Greenfield-esque. I don’t believe that technology is good or bad. But I do think that to unquestioningly consume limitless hours of screen entertainment at the expense of all other activities would have negative consequences for brain development across childhood. My objection to these ads revolves around that fact that they are normalising, if not positively encouraging, child-rearing behaviours that are likely to be deleterious to the best interests of the next generation.
Study after study has demonstrated that what kids really need if their brains are to develop optimally throughout childhood is lots of interaction with other people. Ideally in the context of unstructured play. Keeping them perpetually spell-bound by computer games, films or cartoons is very much against their best interests.
Infants plonked in front of Teletubbies for hours on end are measurably retarded in their language development and verbal expression in comparison to those rarely exposed to screens in their first 2 years of life. This is ironic given that, allegedly, a large team of child psychologists were assembled by the BBC to consult on what elements should be included in order to optimise neurodevelopment.
Admittedly endless hours of interacting with young kids are shattering. And undoubtedly the most effective method of conjuring some much needed peace and quiet from the endless barrage of questions, perpetual motion, mess, mood swings and tears are screen-based innovations designed specifically to captivate young minds. But the easiest route is rarely the best path and whilst this approach may well be very convenient for frazzled parents it is demonstrably not best for the child.
Advertisers will jump on any scenario that their intended market might be able to relate to so the theme of pacifying noisy kids with tech is not surprising. Yet it supports the proliferation of lazy, unhelpful parenting tricks that ultimately work against the best interests of a whole generation of humans. Whether or not this amounts to a whole hill of beans in the long run is yet to be seen. Yet from what is known with any certainty so far, there are clear indications that screen time should be monitored and possibly limited, or else it will displace the human face-to-face interactions that so beautifully sculpt young brains in preparation for a long life of interacting with other humans.
If you want a child’s neurodevelopment to proceed optimally you should, in my humble opinion, forego the lure of using technological paraphernalia to distract them – unless you are carefully restricting its use at other times – and instead encourage them to engage in some form of play in the real world. And whilst we’re at it you should ensure that as much as possible you give them your full attention. Having your eyes on your smartphone whilst talking to your child is a terrible example to set. So much of communication happens via eye contact and active (as opposed to partially distracted) listening, so if you rob your children of valuable experience with this mode of interaction then their communication skills and social dexterity will suffer.
I’m not saying people should consign their tablets to the rubbish, nor permanently ban children from using all tech. I’m merely encouraging parents to avoid using these tactics habitually. Save it for when you really need it and you will help your kid to develop the full range of skills, both hard and soft, to give them the best possible start in life.
And if you think I’m a luddite after this rant you’d be wrong. If you explore my blog further you’ll find plenty of articles relating to the brain benefits of various computer games. Everything in moderation I say (unless we’re talking about working memory training using the Dual N-Back task or reading books in which case I see no harm in overdoing it so long as combined with a healthy social life :-))
I’ve now been on the motivational speaking circuit for over 5 years. I’ve traveled the length and breadth of the country to perform at speaking engagements in schools, science conferences and a wide variety of businesses. As of this year, on the business speaking front, I’ve been very happy to find myself in great demand not just in the U.K. but all over Europe. In light of this I thought I’d write a quick update to describe which topics have been most popular with my clients.
There is a huge amount of insight that neuroscience can provide on a wide variety of topics. It’s always satisfying to find that, in tailoring my talks to the specific needs of a client, I’m constantly stumbling upon new areas of neuroscientific endeavour with which I wasn’t previously familiar . No matter what the organisation’s priorities have been in terms of what they want their staff to take away from my talk, a few days of digging around in the neuroscience literature ALWAYS yields some inspiration; shedding an interesting new perspective on virtually any topic. Do get in touch if you have a new challenge for me!
Talks for Schools
Over the past five years I’ve been invited to speak at several different schools across the UK. The aim is to engage young learners, usually in the build up to their big exams, with an upbeat neuroscience narrative that brings to life what exactly is going on inside their brains as they learn. Once students grasp that all their efforts are leading directly to huge changes in the wiring of their brains, adaptations that support the new skills that they are developing through trial and error, their motivation levels invariably rise accordingly.
I give them insights into straight-forward techniques to get brains working better: whether memorising information more thoroughly, managing exam stress more effectively and simply encouraging them to see school as the only viable way (currently) of sculpting young brains in preparation for dealing with whatever adult life might throw at them. The 2015-2016 school year will be my fifth consecutive year of doing my Brain Coach talk at two of the schools I regularly speak at.
Talks For Business: Neuroscience of Decision Making
In the last few of years I’ve been working more and more with senior management teams across Europe to help them understand insights from neuroscience that are relevant to their specific business needs. For example, I helped one of Europe’s “Big Four” auditors win a highly lucrative new business contract by sharing with them my Neuroscience of Decision Making talk in the context of reverse engineering the pitch process in light of the flaws in how the human brain evaluates information when making important choices. By exploiting a large corpus of knowledge generated over the past decade or so from neuroeconomic investigations the realities of how risk, uncertainty and benefit are evaluated in the human brain can be explored in order to concoct strategies that improve the likelihood of developing a successful pitch.
Talks for Business: Neuroscience of Creativity
Since the first outing of my Neuroscience of Creativity talk in 2013 it has evolved into a half-day workshop experience. I’ve been rolling this Innovation Workshop out over the course of 2015 with various members of the Senior Leadership Team at one of the world’s biggest broadcasters by sharing with them everything that science has to offer in terms of techniques that work and those that sound good but ultimately don’t. By assisting them to create an environment that genuinely promotes innovative thinking right at the very top of the organisation and convincing them of the worth of approaches in an evidence-based fashion, the idea is to reduce resistance to some of the seemingly unorthodox strategies in order that they might be allowed to permeate freely throughout the rest of the company.
Sort Your Brain Out
Sadly many people proclaim that their busy lives simply leave no time to read books. So Adrian Webster and I have turned our book Sort Your Brain Out into a live event. Since our first booking late last year we have been enjoying a steady increase in demand for our motivational speaking duet over the past few months and very much hope that this trend continues in the years to come. We are both represented by Gordon Poole Agency and our speaking agent James Poole is always on hand to discuss booking enquiries.
Feeling stressed? Need a break? Fancy spending a few days in paradise to learn how to meditate?Better still would you like to learn more about how your brain works AND simple things you can do every day to be more creative, make better decisions, manage your mood?The SYBO retreats might be just the thing for you!!The venue is the beautiful Greek Island of Mykonos.Your hosts are the beautifully-bendy Jasmyn (see photos) & yours truly: the brain-besotted Dr Jack LewisWe are now offering a fantastic, luxurious, Stress-Busting, Yoga & Meditation Retreat by day with a selection of intellectually-stimulating Brain Talks just before lunch each time, freeing up the afternoons for exploration of the island’s many beaches.Meditation is clinically-proven to reduce stress. So if you’re feeling washed out after a particularly tough start to the year this really will help you to Sort Your Brain Out. It might just change your life. Jasmyn talks everyone through the various yoga moves, in a mixed group of beginners and advanced practitioners, and then concludes with a guided meditation session. These dawn and dusk sessions are complemented with several talks that explain, amongst many other things the science of meditation and why it’s so good for brains. Once a person truly grasps why mindfulness meditation is so good for health of body and brain they naturally become motivated to incorporate it into their daily routine back in the “real world.What to expect from the Neuro-Infused Art of Peaceful Living Retreats this spring / summer?The villas are in a very private neighborhood in Mykonos, Greece.The properties have 4-5 rooms each, sleeping maximum 10 per house.These neuroscience-infused Art of Peaceful Living™ programs lasts 5 days and includes:
- 21-25th May (now fully booked)
Vegetarian breakfast and lunch
Twice daily yoga and meditation practices
Either a treatment at a local day-spa or an in-room massage
All for £1,550 (€2,120) for the Spring retreat during 21st-25th May (SOLD OUT)Did I mention there is a pool?Also please bear in mind that if you want to arrive a few days early or leave a few days later we may be able to arrange accommodation for you at the villa during this time.The rooms each have a queen bed and most have private bathrooms.Every morning, as the host (Jasmyn) prepares your breakfast and lunch, she gives instruction on how to prepare these “plant-based” meals in your kitchen at home as part of the included Look Alive™ Nutrition workshops. These workshops will have recipes, and detailed explanations about why eating a plant-based is beneficial to brain-function and chemistry, physical performance, treatment of psychological disturbances and disorders, as well as a know-how to have your kitchen prepped and ready for easy to make and quick recipes.Yoga classes are all multi-level and while the morning classes can be vigorous exercise, the evening classes are relaxing and recuperative. The morning Vinyassa Yoga classes are more dynamic for beginners to advanced practitioners, and are immediately followed by a meditation class to settle the minds before the day’s activities. And of course there is no obligation to attend classes, so whether you just fancy a lie in or want to go off one afternoon for a wander, that’s totally up to you!Activities include additional excursions on the island, lounging by the on-property pool, or venturing to any of the island’s other many delights.Yoga-Nidra sessions are given at sunset following a gentle Yin-Yoga Flow class incorporating techniques of thai-massage, to restore you and prepare you for the next day’s Vinyassa Yoga sessions or for going out that night! Dinners are not usually included to give attendees freedom to roam in the evenings (unless you request to have a special dinner prepared instead of lunch).Sort Your Brain Out Retreats are 5 days of true luxury living. Treating the body and brain to wholesome, delicious food, body balancing exercise and gentle meditations, all in the privacy of the Maera Villas – with the endless view of the Mediterranean from each of the properties.Bespoke Corporate Retreats for groups of 5 or more people can also be discussed.For enquiries about availability please feel free to drop Jack an email: email@example.com
Daily brain talks from Dr Jack on:
Changing Your Brain
Neuroscience of Creativity
Neuroscience of Meditation
Neuroscience of Temptation
On an annual basis I copy a year’s worth of Tweets and paste them into a blog post to preserve them for posterity. Turns out I’m going to have to start doing this biannually. Why? Because Twitter now only seems to allow access only to the last 6 months worth.
Where all those tweets from earlier years have gone I may never know. But assuming that they’ve all been deleted then I’m relieved that I’ve been archiving them myself. This is because, for me, Twitter serves a valuable role in terms of enticing me to find and flag the three most interesting brain research stories from that day. I’d have been very sad to have lost my chronology of favourite breakthroughs and curiosities from the world of neuroscience because I find it useful resource for several reasons (and you might too):
1) Whenever I’m reminded of something I’ve read in the past I often want to go back to the original article to refresh my memory with the details. The re-visiting process helps me consolidate my knowledge and integrate it with other evidence that I’ve come across during the intervening period. I find that internet search engines are pretty useless in this regard. Any particular search term will invariably return huge amounts of relevant information. Far too much to wade through to be genuinely useful when the goal is to track down a specific, but perhaps obscure, article.
2) Having a separate record of the articles that I thought were interesting, insightful and/or useful enough to bother the Twitter-sphere with also enables me to keep track of which areas of neuroscience are making the greatest strides forward. So this year I finally took the time to categorize and tally as many of my recent Brain Tweets as I could get my hands on to clarify what topics have been the hottest in recent times.
This chart features only those blog categories that contained 10 items or more. Unsurprisingly given that it’s a weekly podcast tweets relating to Geek Chic’s Weird Science topped the bill with nearly 50 (click here if you’d like to download all episodes, for free!).
In 2nd place came the Brain Tech category which includes anything relating to augmenting sick or healthy brains with some kind of man-made technology. Implanted electrodes, direct brain-to-brain intercontinental communication, zapping brains with electrical currents, stem cell therapies and so on.
In 3rd place came the Brain Illness category. This encompasses tweets about developments in all neurological and psychiatric maladies excluding brain injuries and dementia. These each have their own category due to the large numbers of articles I tweeted about on these topics.
In 4th place with 30 tweets came the Drugs category meaning articles that I thought were of broad interest relating to psychoactive drugs (i.e. those that can get into and affect the brain).
Many neuroscientists have been getting their knickers in a twist about the rise of Brain Training games despite scant evidence to back up most of the developers claims so it comes as no surprise that this topic should have stolen 5th place. Neuroplasticity was just two places behind and is a category that I reserve for articles relating to behaviour-induced changes in brain structure and function that are unrelated to commercial Brain Training. I’m not going to bore you by explaining every single category but I should point out that Bad Journo is a category for articles that I thought were misleading / poorly written or articles written to correct / clarify misleading journalistic communications.
So now you have a sense of what each of these categories mean you can now navigate this half year’s worth of brain tweets accordingly and hopefully find what your interested in more easily. Categories in order of most to least often tweeted about are:
Geek Chic, Brain Tech, Brain Illness, Drugs, Brain Train, Brain Imaging, Neuroplasticity, Sleep, Creativity, Neuroscientists, Brain Injury, Senses, Dementia, Neuroanatomy, Bad Journo, Brain Art, Eating, Events, Brain Food, Emotion, Young Brains, Brain Health, Memory, Other Brains, Quotes, Holding Onto Marbles, Neurodevelopment, Evolution, Music, Sex, Altruism, Brain Ageing, Brain Hacks, Gut bacteria, Language, Books, Fun, Learning, Neurosurgery, Reward Pathways, Addiction, Artificial Intelligence, Gaming, Optical illusions, Talks, Vision, Brain Education, Coding, Decisions, Heuristics, Mind over Matter, Navigation, Neuromarketing, Pain, Parenting, Stress, Brain-Gender, Consciousness, Exercise, Habits, History, Intelligence, Morality, Personality, Politics, Reviews, TV, Window to the Soul, Body Language, Film, Free will, Hallucination, Immunity, Impulses, Interview, Meditation, Neuromyths, Poverty, Religion
Listed below, in alphabetic order, for your convenience:
Quitting smoking leads2release of hormone at heart of stress response (CRF) in key part of brain reward pathway (VTA) http://bit.ly/1xiXeXU
The cycle of addiction – this simple but beautiful animation says it all
Use of e-cigarettes does not discourage, and may encourage, conventional cigarette use among US adolescents @JAMAPeds
Workaholism: The Addiction of this Century — via #Neuroscience News – http://bit.ly/1oRkfbY
“necessary role for prefrontal control in generating honest behavior by overriding our tendencies2be self-interested” http://bit.ly/1qf7Nsc
Extraordinary altruists and their oversized amygdalae – would you give a kidney to a stranger for nothing in return? http://n.pr/1C45T1e
People give more generously when the advertising focuses on a needy individual rather than the masses: http://n.pr/13H2Jok
Amazing role reversal in altruistic behaviour (homeless man giving taxi money2damsel) inspires many acts of kindness http://huff.to/1wTEgpv
How the environment impacts childrens’ tendency to be altruistic http://stanford.io/17D7d1h
Kindling altruism in kids is not just for Christmas – “best way2teach generosity is to show it in your own behaviour” http://bit.ly/1Gw03b1
It finally happened: A robot beat the Turing Test (@qz) http://bit.ly/1kaeiEO
Google #Brain -snapping up every deep learning expert / business they can get their hands on: http://wrd.cm/1r3Mole
“New landmark in..history of brain-inspired computing” Super-fast processing/low power consumption: http://bit.ly/1lH2Pyw
System uses information on internet2teach robots how2interact with world using Markov models: http://tcrn.ch/1qcATqs
Part of brain responsible for hangover guilt – is an “intriguing hypothesis” with “no direct implications for humans” http://bit.ly/1pGyt6s
FAIL: “..cause for this behaviour may lie in the “anterior insular cortex”, located behind the forehead.” http://bit.ly/VTK3h2
“Wire your brain for gratitude” – this Forbes article is horrible, it actually made me gag… http://onforb.es/1uASaIw
“Brain GPS” is NOT an “exciting NEW part of.. jigsaw of our brain. O’Keefe’s 1st paper was published in 1971!! http://bit.ly/ZAXRP4
Gambling Addiction Related To Brain Reward System – BBC News I’m ashamed of you – that headline is not “news” http://bbc.in/1CL9n7l
Great example of why people who have only the vaguest understanding of neuroscience shouldn’t write about the brain: http://bit.ly/1k3isUv
‘Sci-Fi or Sci-Fact?’- separating the science fiction from the science fact in the media. http://thescifact.wordpress.com
Humans only use 10% of their #brain, right? Wrong! This myth still lurks, e.g. in new movies like LUCY: http://bit.ly/1rwvtXH #neuroscience
Piece by @m_wall on @TheConversation on ‘cargo cult neuroscience’ in business and education: http://bit.ly/1tAR5Eg
Watson/Crick did not discover DNA. That was Miescher 84yrs earlier. W/C worked out its structure. cc @TheAtlanticTECH
Body language – how it works, where to look and why it evolved in the fist place
Reading http://bit.ly/1oBHTtY which resonates with the ‘Gone Fishing’ principle of @polarbearpirate and @DrJackLewis #SortYourBrainOut
Memoirs of a neurosurgeon, essential reading, methinks: http://bbc.in/1qqkvq7
NYT book review covers recent tomes that consider impacts of the internet / related technologies on our minds: http://nyti.ms/1uFoZZK #SYBO
Sort your brain out is @AmazonUK’s Kindle Daily Deal! http://ow.ly/GjrS4 @DrJackLewis @polarbearpirate Get it NOW!
I’m reading Do No Harm by neurosurgeon Henry Marsh – it is without doubt the best book I’ve read this year: http://bit.ly/1eRYZ1K #xmaslist
Psychology news Why the Elderly Can Die from a Broken Heart http://ow.ly/2NRdjS
In Men, Long-Term Unemployment May Speed Aging – http://psych.ly/I9JfO6 #mentalhealth #health
Older people find it harder to filter out irrelevant info – but retain the mental flexibility of their former selves: http://bit.ly/1z28tT6
2015 looms large and 2014 has flown by, why our perception of time changes as we get older http://buff.ly/1xkMLwV
Older brains work better early: http://bit.ly/1vf4nJy So elders,plan more cognitively demanding chores for the A.M.
Do you want to showcase your artwork or film? Is it about the brain? Show us and feature in our magazine! #NeuroArt http://youtu.be/7mM_8XbhXOo
Cake brains! #MoreBrainz http://bit.ly/1qOVEFL
Can the arts and humanities contribute significantly to the study of the brain? http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0896627314008368 … by Semir Zeki, so the answer is, of course, yes!
Science graphic of the week – depicting how psilocybin (magic mushrooms) change the brain’s (functional) connectivity http://wrd.cm/1rDv6HZ
Warner Bros style public service announcement re: The Perils of Porn Brain = quite amusing:http://huff.to/1wCqlmu
Nice brain collage BBC news – top notch effort: http://bit.ly/1HEb0c0
One for you @DrJackLewis – Artists and neuroscientists join forces: Art Neuro @theragfactory http://bit.ly/1xdBF90
Beautiful complexity “@andyextance: The ‘brainbow’: Cells tagged with fluorescent proteins”
I WANT ONE!! RT @vaughanbell: 3D-printed Christmas tree decorations of own brain http://3dprint.com/31522/3d-printed-brain-ornaments/ … via @Radiolab
Anyone for a helmet studded with crystals that change colour according to #brain state? No? http://huff.to/1qQMH0o #BCI meets #fashion
Micrograph, created by Spike Walker, depicting dopamine crystals illuminated by polarised light | #WellcomeImages | http://blog.wellcome.ac.uk/2014/08/01/image-of-the-week-dopamine/ …
Neurobiology for dummies courtesy of the brain science podcast #neuroscience #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO #brain http://bit.ly/XfdKtG
I heard about MOOCs long ago (Massively Open Online Courses) – now I’ve actually enrolled in 1! At Yale; on morality: http://tinyurl.com/lnmhrl5
Hands up who wants to learn how the brain deals with space? (space around us, not outer space!) Here’s a free course: http://bit.ly/1uMESvv
Study suggests higher levels of omega-3 in diet are associated with better sleep: http://www.psypost.org/?p=23550
Brain Food: Superfoods for ultimate brain power and what to avoid … good video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KlMxriH4Cg&sns=tw
I love the idea of actively training people to become addicted to healthy food: http://bbc.in/1ur22qB
Fruit and vegetable consumption could be as good for your mental as your physical health http://ow.ly/C035A
vmPFC activity (above bridge of ur nose!) upon viewing different foods is positively correlated with calorie content: http://bit.ly/1rpPyvW
Scientific American made a film which explains why a turkey dinner makes us sleepy. win/fail? http://bit.ly/1xUCkQp
Space-aged brain food put to the test by amusing Guardian blogger: http://bit.ly/1uqnPO1
Recently published paper indicates there are more anti-oxidants in organic than non-organic foods: http://bit.ly/1rf3j49
Eat fish on a weekly basis (don’t stress to much about which type) for your #brain’s sake: http://ti.me/1mh7YgV
Weight loss probiotics? http://bit.ly/1mTl4Ak Does this just allow people2continue keep eating badly;w/out getting fat?
I wonder if cold weather increases glucokinase activity in hypothalamus? I ate a whole pack of Matchmakers last night http://reut.rs/12IcilH
“How to debug your brain..”is 1 of the strangest blog posts I’ve ever read. Can’t work out whether that’s good or bad: http://bit.ly/1t7z8ch
How the #brain makes and breaks habits via @SciAmMIND http://bit.ly/1oeyU3H
Exercise may leave you feeling less anxious because you perceive your environments as less threatening http://on.apa.org/1rWHF6O
Some of those “old chestnuts” that reduce cognitive burden in a world of info overload: http://bit.ly/1qLRD6zThe power of the green office: Having plants around increases productivity by 15% http://ow.ly/AWqPz
Power of tumeric @bbchealth: Curry spice ‘helps brain self-heal’ http://bbc.in/1vkvlfG
Novel approach to treating brain cancer boosted by new UK system of extra support for Promising Innovative Medicines: http://bit.ly/1qYbkLB
Former Surgeon General for US also has #SortYourBrainOut message – he advises weekly saunas to sweat off the toxins! http://bit.ly/1qhQR5O
Has anyone out there ever tried Prof Bartlett’s Brain Vitality Index? Interesting? Motivating? http://bit.ly/WJElzb
Ever wondered if small blood vessels in your brain are getting clogged up? Try standing on 1 leg: http://bit.ly/1wKKcCG
If you do this Brain Health check over the Christmas break -consider your booze levels before getting too concerned! http://onforb.es/1CWtWzg
Get out in that glorious sunshine! Even mild Vit D deficiency is assoc with increase risk of dementia: http://bit.ly/1r0RhZW #skin+sun=vitD
Imagine: in the not-too-distant future school kids might be asked2donate blood2help rejuvenate grandparents’ #brains! http://bit.ly/1ADTmAO
Shed some fat to #SortYourBrainOut by reducing its inflammatory impact on #brain tissue (which promotes #Alzheimer’s) http://ti.me/1vSSJk4
Crafts like knitting work the brain to produce flow which can help to ease symptoms in people w/ PTSD,depression etc: http://cnn.it/1uWAxnb
Keeping your heart & blood vessels in good nick leads to better #brain function http://bit.ly/1olanqU #SortYourBrainOut #neuroscience #SYBO
Physical fitness in childhood improves white matter in the brain – Medical News Today: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/281269.php#.U_tGfu9i1bY.twitter
Pre-natal exposure to phthalates (commonly found in many consumer products) associated with reduced IQ aged 7: http://bit.ly/1Gg2zSL
Tell-tale signs that you might have a brain tumour (hypochondriacs – do not click here)
Brain tumour pressing against temporal lobe causes uncontrollable laughter (gelastic epilepsy) in girl
Autism appears2involve insufficient synaptic pruning resulting in “too many” connection points between brain wires
Disorganised patches of #brain tissue in frontal & temporal lobes may disrupt high level social function in #autism
From lab to real life – environmental enrichment seems to be very helpful for kids with #autism: http://bit.ly/1ltCkSU
Brain degeneracy (it’s good for you!) and people with bits missing from / creatures burrowing through their brains: http://bbc.in/1sJ1X5C
Brains get sick too – teaching kids about mental illness: http://ind.pn/1spdG8S
Default Mode Network (your ego/where you daydream) connections appear to mature more slowly in kids who develop ADHD: http://n.pr/1qXAjx9
Interesting case of a man born with disconnected brain hemispheres
Living With Schizophrenia: The Importance of Routine | NYT
“Alzheimer’s in a Dish” will hopefully accelerate the process of screening new drugs 2treat this devastating illness: http://nyti.ms/ZWyOXv
Autism re-conceived as a disorder of being able to make predictions about what is going to happen next: http://bit.ly/ZdB2AF
Smoking and mental health, what’s the connection? http://www.theguardian.com/science/sifting-the-evidence/2014/jul/15/smoking-and-mental-health-whats-the-connection … Important @soozaphone piece
Take two books and call me in the morning, pediatricians say Great column on prescribing books http://ti.me/1pu7db8 from @anniemurphypaul
Talk about a controversial science topic: paedophile #brain processes child faces differently2others.. http://ind.pn/1oRyDWZ
Tale of discovering that, despite seemingly being a well-adjusted person, you are in fact a psychopath http://bit.ly/1osg9sx
Reduced temporal lobe volumes in #brains of homocidal youth offenders http://bit.ly/1khCUB7
I had no idea that the rate of suicide is much higher amongst men than women – interesting speculations here re: why? http://bit.ly/1xRvq9F
Gene implicated in schizophrenia produces too much protein that prevents dendrites (brain cell “antennae”) from branching out http://fxn.ws/1tq3ruY
Bedside EEG uses graph theory maths to establish whether “anybody’s home?” with patients in vegetative state: http://bit.ly/1CrZnj0
Tumour on pituitary gland causes release of too much growth hormone Can you imagine growing 20cm in just 12 months?! http://dailym.ai/1wIpNLv
Exercise Counteracts Genetic Risk for Alzheimer’s – Scientific American http://buff.ly/1rftlAK
I remember when people were mocked for having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, now neuroscience defines its brain hallmarks: http://stanford.io/1xEj1Hj
Inspiring story of brain machine interfaces helping people with locked in syndrome communicate with the outside world: http://n.pr/1rINUqk
New Multiple Sclerosis research – make local environment of damaged nerve wrappers more conducive to re-myelination: http://tinyurl.com/prfjvmf
Treating depression w/ implants, tricky given brains are like “a hundred billion people all singing at the same time”
Turning anecdotes of antidepressants killing brain cancers into clinical trials is good e.g. of “no profit, no dice”
When dementia comes early: http://bbc.in/1DThNvO
This piece on face blindness by @KateSzell won the @wellcometrust science writing prize http://gu.com/p/43cta/stw
Tongues are connected directly to the brain stem – electrical stimulation in people with MS can improve their gait! http://bit.ly/1uwXjb9
“Oxytocin…attenuates hyperactive amygdalas in social anxiety disorder…explored as a potential treatment for PTSD”
PTSD can develop even without memory of the trauma: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140814123844.htm
A major drawback of MRI is that the machines are big, expensive & immovable – enter DOT: http://bit.ly/1hJsni6
“Sounds create visual imagery, mental images, and automatic projections…” Pattern classifier fMRI experiment: http://bit.ly/1inpfTD
Free will emerges from brain “noise” #neuroscience #EEG http://bit.ly/1l2xbyo
The good, the bad and the ugly of fMRI #brain imaging experiments: http://bit.ly/1lq0DOB
“solid evidence that neural measurement can be useful for..prediction of mass preference” #neuroscience http://bit.ly/1rR9oCr
Using MRI2track human brain white matter volume changes from 7-85 show rainbow-like pattern of expansion&contraction: http://bit.ly/1tDz60c
“decreased #brain activation seen with fMRI may help explain why many chemotherapy patients complain of #chemobrain” http://reut.rs/1nC88D1
Discovery of brain’s Default Mode Network is 1 of best examples of key finding that starts with “huh? That’s weird..” http://m.medicalxpress.com/news/2014-10-brain-mind-rest.html
Reduced blood flow2certain brain areas (posterior cingulate) detected with MRI (ASL) warns of dementia risk early on: http://tinyurl.com/MRIdetectsARCD
How to get disproportionate press coverage of your neuroscience study? Get folks2read Harry Potter in an MRI scanner: http://abcn.ws/1HI8dyF
Heard the 1 about where jokes come from? MRI on 22 improv comedians whilst dreaming up amusing captions for cartoons: http://bit.ly/1ydfwbf
NHS Choices doing what they do so well..this time clarifying news articles on MRI studies of chronic fatigue syndrome http://bit.ly/10NVwl4
“Scientists generate tons of data..nobody uses it. We are building the technology to bring all..that together” http://nyti.ms/1kL9yqA #brain
New #brain imaging technique tracks tau tangles of #Alzheimer’s plus new Alz protein identified: http://abcn.ws/Uc70ec #neuroscience
“#brain scans revealed that..amygdala responded differently to subliminal images of trustworthy &untrustworthy faces” http://bit.ly/1y64NOL
DOT – new way to scan brains. Diffuse Optical Tomography shines light into #brain through scalp/skull: http://bit.ly/1sYQZ95 #neuroscience
Using fMRI to capture transition from counting on fingers to just “knowing” the answer to a sum: http://fxn.ws/1rizTou #SYKBO #neuroscience
Neuroscience Study Finds Brain Can Take Quick Call On Trustworthiness http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/neuroscience-study-finds-brain-can-take-quick-call-trustworthiness-1459915 #neuroscience
Any #brain aneurysm you might have in your noggin=much more likely to burst (haemorrhage) if you smoke http://bit.ly/1tFpKQf
Wide awake man being fitted with Deep Brain Stimulation Electrodes4Parkinson’s – can’t believe they missed 1st time!! http://ab.co/1wd27Ci
Would Neymar be Neymar if he’d followed recommendations for under14’s to “not head the ball in soccer”? http://bit.ly/1poRGtb
Brain Disorders Might Arise from Starving Neurons: http://bit.ly/1qrxdQe
6 yrs of living w/ flashbacks, strange smells, headaches – caused by parasitic worm, living in brain, captured on MRI: http://bit.ly/1t9bSf7
Progress towards new use for MRI in detecting free radicals to assess severity of #brain injuries #neuroscience http://bit.ly/1tL573h
Could American Football Pro’s brain injuries explain violent behaviour off pitch? Is it even above national average? http://nbcnews.to/1wHl541
“Helicopter view” on EEG data allows spreading depolarisation assoc w/ Traumatic Brain Injury2come into sharp relief: http://bit.ly/1ozhcGK
A single season of American Football can damage a kid’s #brain even if they don’t suffer a concussion: http://onforb.es/1l9JPsf #neuroscience
FIFA’s Dazed and Dated Attitude to Head Injuries http://nyti.ms/1nvxYUV – should player with head injury stay on when 3 subs have been used?
Giving erythropoeitin (EPO) to babies born prematurely protects them from #brain damage: http://bbc.in/VN3rfo #neuroscience #SYKBO
How to help babies deprived of oxygen during birth avoid #brain damage? Cool them to 33 degrees C asap: http://bbc.in/1wa99TL #neuroscience
Don’t forget to breathe! Who ever heard of screen apnoea? http://bit.ly/1r00UwN
Inspiring account of woman adapting 2 new life after traumatic #brain injury: http://bbc.in/1ooCRpj #DiaryOfAHeadcase – her title not mine!
Stimulating #brain cells in the motor cortex improves recovery from stroke (in mice using optogenetics) http://bbc.in/YsP15E
Interesting paper about potential4hackers to access personal data via consumer-grade #brain computer interfaces #BCI http://bit.ly/1lv8QNn
Don’t dabble in DIY-tDCS until you at least know the real risks (watch out for those known unknowns): http://bit.ly/1giqOXw
Chip implanted in paralysed man’s brain (eventually) enables him to move his hand again: http://bit.ly/1q8JvAt
US military to invest in research into brain implant to monitor/remedy psychiatric problems of veterans: http://bit.ly/1rcvt1X
What social media tech does2brains 1st bit very similar to Cyber Heads chapter in #SortYourBrainOut http://bit.ly/1utTCQb
Mind boggling that severe #OCD is treated w/ deep #brain stimulation despite noone really knowing how/why it works: http://cnn.it/UFdPpm
“beginning of a future in which people with paralysis will be able to leave the wheelchair & literally walk again” http://nbcnews.to/1oZ66eZ
Love of Johnny Cash induced when #OCD man’s Deep #Brain Stimulation electrodes tickle his Nucleus Accumbens, but why? http://wapo.st/1neiB9X
“Telepathy or a Painstaking Conversation in Morse Code?” Pierre Mégevand goes beyond the media hype: http://bit.ly/1qHg9ax
“West Virginia Uni…won a $539,000 grant to engineer a wearable scanner to image activities of the brain in motion” http://tinyurl.com/oo3y5xy
How science of social pressure is being leveraged by wearable tech companies to make getting fit a battle with others http://bit.ly/WGO1db
Look mum no hands! Flying a plane using the power of thought alone: http://bit.ly/1CbdH1b News clip of an EEG-manipulated flight simulator
Advanced prosthesis restores sense of touch to amputees http://bbc.in/1vSTD1J
Even Just the Presence of a Smartphone Lowers the Quality of In-Person Conversations #psychology #communication http://www.psmag.com/navigation/nature-and-technology/presence-smart-phone-lowers-quality-person-conversations-85805/
AMAZING: “decoder was able to reconstruct which words several..volunteers were thinking, using neural activity alone” http://bit.ly/1p65zNp
During my NeuroBSc I wrote a theoretical essay about wiring a prosthetic hand into neurons of the arm. We are now one step closer… http://bit.ly/1uAjqeT
Electrodes in to human hippocampus via cheek using bendy,MRI-compatible,robot-controlled needles http://bit.ly/1ocoN3u
People who meditate are better at controlling machines via brain-computer interfaces (BCI) than those who don’t: http://tinyurl.com/ku9m9ww
Can you imagine having ur brain wired into a robotic arm and controlling it just by thinking? From the horse’s mouth: http://bit.ly/1x27NNu
I might get one of these thought-controlled brain chips to squirt dopamine into my reward pathways when I daydream: http://bit.ly/1v3EMDF
Neuromorphic chips take flight enabling miniature drones to learn on the fly (literally): http://bit.ly/1phOMXM
Scary that these brain-to-brain studies essentially treat 2nd person as an inert, arm-twitching, zombie: http://bit.ly/110D4VY #neuroethics
This puts the Q “are you a man or a mouse?” into a new light/brave new world http://bit.ly/1yaywL3 Human astrocytes take over mouse brain..
DIY Brain Zapping Meets the World of Internet Marketing http://bit.ly/1nROJ16
Does controlling the cursor by moving your tongue around in your mouth sound futuristic? Yes? Well – future is here: http://bit.ly/1o5ZWXI
For those who missed this on XFM’s #GeekChic last Sun – wearable robot providing 2extra fingers 4tricky manual tasks: http://bit.ly/1sJLmg6
Progress & stumbling blocks in the development of an implantable chip that might one day boost #memory: http://bit.ly/1wE62Uv #neuroscience
Wearable robotics will really catch on when they produce force illusions to pull hand towards destination, like this: http://bit.ly/1jSZKzZ
“High-tech shower cap” controls glioblastomas 4 longer by disrupting cancer division via local electromagnetic fields http://bit.ly/1EuUgVD
Deaf tech transformation: #GoogleGlass could help deaf communicate @BBCNews http://bbc.in/1qXJbRP
EEG from person1 imagining moving hands/feet (in India) used2induce visual experience via TMS in person2 (in France) http://bit.ly/1tSLqsh
The wisdom in exercising caution with DIY attempts2enhance #brain function w/ TDCS,via the delicious http://bit.ly/1tSLqsh
Deep brain stimulation is big business. Dutch firm Sapiens acquired by Medtronic for $200,000,000 http://on.wsj.com/1q1j92r #DBS #neurosurgery
Navy Uses Exoskeletons for Shipyard Maintenance | Defense Tech http://ow.ly/AGyi1
One for you, @DrJackLewis “@sweatscience: brain stimulation on elite endurance athletes: http://www.outsideonline.com/fitness/bodywork/the-fit-list/Inside-Red-Bulls-Project-Endurance.html?c=n
Philips & Accenture IT team up to develop brain computer interfaces for people with #ALS: http://fxn.ws/1qVyK1c
IBM’s bee brain capacity SyNAPSE chip soon to be released into the hands of universities, next stop – Skynet? http://bit.ly/1AZOs0O
The man who grew eyes’ fascinating piece by @mocost for @guardian http://ow.ly/ALBrX
Old skool Dr Kawashima’s Brain Age re-launched on the Wii U Virtual Console: http://aol.it/1uy3Pch
Brain training package LearningRX claims new data shows transfer of benefits beyond trained skills: http://bit.ly/1j59rUY
Remarkable documentary detailing Navy SEAL training that enables recruits to control their brain’s fear response: http://bit.ly/1pEgs48
Lumosity brain training (which my parents are now hooked on) tries2expand its 60M users thru android: http://bit.ly/1qVNFci
Top ten #brain training apps courtesy of Huffington Post: http://huff.to/1kN3r3G
Most people “know it is possible to maintain a healthy brain, but more than half of respondents admit they don’t know how” http://huff.to/VdC26n
Excellent summary of the issues surrounding Brain Training by @dana_fdn http://dana.org/Cerebrum/2014/The_Brain-Games_Conundrum__Does_Cognitive_Training_Really_Sharpen_the_Mind_/
“Can you really teach people to be mentally tougher?” http://bbc.in/1qK2t0U
Brain training games must play second fiddle to regular exercise & social engagement if you want to #sortyourbrainout http://ti.me/1DxtiKc
Latest brain training app on the block, Berlin cash-backed Memorado, raises $1.3M in seed funding: http://tcrn.ch/1tZOSCz
Meditation suggests that happiness is…a skill, something you can train just [like training] your body in the gym” http://bit.ly/1qmw9B9
Could a Video Game Be the Key to Stroke Recovery? http://ow.ly/C9BSE
Forget brain training games; spend your lunchtime trying to wrap your noggin around these classic mind benders: http://bbc.in/ZLxwh4 #SYBO
If Brain Fit Clubs crossed the pond & popped up in the UK – would anyone go for it? Or could it only work in the USA? http://bit.ly/1shD1PW
Regular exercise helps kids brains,improving ability2 “block out irrelevant information&concentrate on..task at hand” http://tinyurl.com/Play4urBrain
Sort Your Brain Out! @DrJackLewis & @polarbearpirate share their top tips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wS857UVWqPQ&list=UUAvEpbsRFKYkc7zgCU6IHyw (thanks @fifthframe) #SYBO #Brainpower
Time “spent doing solo software drills..not spent hiking, learning Italian..playing w/ ur grandchildren”=not worth it http://bit.ly/1xcSFfj
MUST READ-> Fostering and Measuring Skills: Improving Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills to Promote Lifetime Success http://go.shr.lc/1zwSV8I
Expanding working memory boosts fluid intelligence This free game will help you do just that! http://bit.ly/1nZO4Xa #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO
1 hour after waking up from general anaesthetic my spatial working memory has plummeted from ~12 items to ~8.
16hrs after waking from general anaesthetic not only did spatial working memory return2normal but I smashed my Go-NoGo record
BBC article on first results from The Great Brain Experiment @CitizenBrains http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-28447177
All the best scientists experiment on themselves 😉 http://bit.ly/1kWicID I’m studying my working memory, are you? #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO
I’m going to master this dual 3-back task if it kills me: http://bit.ly/1nZO4Xa #braintraining #workingmemory #fluidintelligence #SYBO
If, like me, you’ve really struggled with transition from Dual 2-Back to Dual 3-Back.. soldier on!! http://bit.ly/1nZO4Xa #SortYourBrainOut
Took me 50 trials 2 reach Dual 4-Back! If @ first you don’t succeed.. http://bit.ly/1nZO4Xa #braintraining #workingmemory #SortYourBrainOut
Brain train gaming for sporting prowess, anyone? http://bit.ly/1uv2EcK #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO
RE https://twitter.com/sciammind/status/539760126714855424 … Brain Training Doesn’t Make You [Much] Smarter via @sciammind
Want to help your kids code? Ages 5+ in England will be learning – we’ve got tips for parents: http://ow.ly/B5QfK
If I was 13 I would KILL to do this MT @alomshaha: London parents: UCL are running FREE coding tuition for 13-18yo http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-coding-club/
East London Kids To Be Offered Training Loans To Learn Coding http://tcrn.ch/1ybcAh
The claustrum – brain area that appears to be the ON/OFF switch for conscious awareness: http://bit.ly/1pXbUWH
Has team of Max Planck neuroscientists affectionately referred to as “The Greek Mafia” finally cracked consciousness? http://bit.ly/1u2NRtE
Extremely thorough account of investigations into links between creative genius and mental illness: http://bit.ly/1qdzWAt
“Creativity is a perversely difficult thing to study” Steven Pinker on fMRI exp on creative writing: http://nyti.ms/1pwI5Ow
Can epilepsy fuel creativity? http://bit.ly/1uU9dIY
http://bit.ly/1oBHTtY is very relevant to Gone Fishing (For Great Ideas) chapter in our book #SortYourBrainOut by @polarbearpirate & myself
Link between creativity & subclinical levels of madness (colloq.) has always rung true to me. Finally some hard data: http://bit.ly/1wm5G6u
Magic of a powerful narrative – a neuro perspective: http://bit.ly/1nMzTf2 Great article from the Mack Daddy of oxytocin – Paul Zak #SYBO
Innovation MYTHS: open-office plans decrease productivity, group brainstorming -> fewer & worse ideas than solo http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118815/innovation-districts-are-oversold-you-cant-engineer-creativity
Why we all need to make time to play: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/oct/05/why-play-is-important-to-us-all-lauren-lavern
Imagination and Reality Flow in Opposite Directions in the Brain: http://neurosciencenews.com/eeg-neural-circuit-reality-imagination-1560/
#creativity in decline amongst youngsters despite broadly accepted importance in achieving success: http://onforb.es/1k3HwvE
How do ideas happen? And how do we feed our brains to have more of them? @mattfutureproof gives it some thought: http://futureproof.co.uk/no-idea-about-ideas/
Finding inspiration in your sleep: http://bit.ly/1B8MpsT #SortYourBrainOut #creativity #innovation #SYBO
Robin Williams, 2010 in the Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com/film/2010/sep/20/robin-williams-worlds-greatest-dad-alcohol-drugs
The relationship between mental illness & creativity is not straightforward: http://bit.ly/1r7dr1s #psychology #genius #madness #brain
The War on Fun: How Modern Culture is Killing Creativity http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/the-war-on-fun-how-modern-culture-is-killing-creativity/
Why You Should Doodle More. #creativity http://zite.to/1qUI0Y8
Not acting fast enough to save Earth from climate change/not saving enough for retirement -caused by same brain flaw? http://bit.ly/1zeU5r6
Excitement and anxiety battling it out in #brain during a decision where you win either way (WIN-WIN): http://bit.ly/1ldofmO #neuroscience
Our “gut feelings” are messages that simplify life decisions for us by guiding our attention toward smarter options.. http://lnkd.in/d3jze79
36-pronged approach simultaneously targeting diet, exercise, sleep, brain stimulation improves memory in mild Alz: http://bit.ly/1nJvgm9
Investigating links between mental illnesses / immune system; particularly depression and Alzheimer’s: http://bit.ly/16IzIKo #thankyouHenry
“Puzzles and crosswords could be best way to beat dementia” http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/488869/Puzzles-and-crosswords-could-be-best-way-to-beat-dementia
Dose of curcumin (in turmeric) enables eye test4 Alz to catch it early enough4development of new drugs: http://bit.ly/1q9KDou
Study reveals how gardens could help dementia care http://bit.ly/1l1xGoR
Testing people’s sense of smell may provide clues to accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques of Alzheimer’s: http://bit.ly/1zBSQ6O
Everyone back to bed! Research on how sleep relates to onset of #dementia: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140701091458.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fmind_brain%2Falzheimers+%28Alzheimer%27s+News+–+ScienceDaily%29
On the connection btw Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and cinnamon — @Alzheimersnet via @APlaceForMom http://bit.ly/1mJWfGw
The value of Exercise: being physically active in middle age may reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease in old age http://bit.ly/1uGHRVS
In case you missed the chat about chemical Brain Enhancement the first time round: http://bit.ly/1rTaSj9
New study suggests magic mushroom therapy much more effective than nicotine replacement for smoking cessation: http://bit.ly/ZjidMU
Didn’t even realise methamphetamine caused #brain damage, let alone this finding that THC protects against it: http://ti.me/1pmZ8nj
Popular anti-depressant drug (SSRIs), long thought to take weeks to take effect, changes healthy brains in just 3hrs: http://ti.me/Yyrnyt
Antipodean link between cannabis & suicide risk is tenuous. Correlation does not mean causation, explained here: http://bit.ly/XnwGGh
Fantastic article in this month’s The Psychologist by @ProfDavidNutt on therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs: http://bit.ly/W34JCJ
Finally homing in on truth behind the proposed link between childhood cannabis use & psychosis in later life? http://bit.ly/XFxtCv
In the Q&A after my brain talks one topic consistently seems to pique curiosity: CAFFEINE -so I wrote a blog on it.. http://bit.ly/1ry3qZx
Worth further study? Of 446 adults treated 4 head trauma, lower incidence of death among those testing +’ve for THC: http://bit.ly/1uapOW4
“1 transcendent trip can alter people’s personalities on a long-term basis..making them more open..more appreciative“ http://bit.ly/1zJd0yg
If this wasn’t the NYT/well-written I’d never have retweeted yet another piece entitled “This Is Your Brain On Drugs” http://bitly.com/1thHVvC
Cannabis is orexigenic (i.e. smoking weed gives you the munchies) now we have a better understanding of the mechanism http://bit.ly/1ouaI1s
If your nightly cup of cocoa has a whopping dose of flavanols – it might just improve your memory: http://bit.ly/1wBPorI #SortYourBrainOut
Microbubbles + ultrasound = ferrying drugs across the blood brain barrier: http://bit.ly/1DADhNL
This type of article usually makes me cringe. This 1 didn’t! Brain benefits of green tea etc: http://bit.ly/1t3HINJ #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO
Does cannabis really shrink your brain and compensate by increasing connectivity? NHS Choices set the record straight http://bit.ly/10XXoY5
Electrical brain stimulation 2 – Caffeine 1 http://bit.ly/1vpJb3o
Update on therapeutic uses of MDMA (ecstasy) and psilocybin (mushrooms): http://bit.ly/1p1UmGV #brain #neuroscience
Smart drugs like modafinil don’t make your brain work better if you’re a bright spark: http://bit.ly/1BJoaUN #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO
A little bit of booze improves your sense of smell: http://bit.ly/1np1FLV #neuroscience #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO
Supplementing radiation therapy with cannabinoid drugs slows down the progression of brain cancers even more in mice: http://ind.pn/1vcf9Rj
The bonding hormone oxytocin inhibits the fear center in the brain – http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/285441.php
Finally a proper nootropic on the horizon! Keep an eye on Ana Pereira’s clinical trial of riluzole in mild Alz. http://bit.ly/13tDDIG #SYBO
The American Academy of Neurology calls for more long term studies into therapeutic use of medical marijuana: http://bit.ly/1vBWLfv
#marijuana &your #brain -does it REALLY do significant damage? http://bit.ly/1uwNau1 #neuroscience #hippocampus #amygdala #SortYourBrainOut
Drugs in space and sleepless in the shuttle http://wp.me/ptsTD-7RJ
More on impact of #cannabis use on the adolescent #brain, courtesy of Nature: http://bit.ly/1sz41LV #neuroscience #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO
Great news for drunks! New compound seems to mitigate against the brain damage that results from binge drinking: http://bit.ly/1FKLmRf
Laughing gas shows therapeutic promise in treatment-resistant clinical depression: http://bit.ly/1zHjJ9Z
Smokers have tougher time quitting menthol cigs – menthol alone increases nicotinic receptors in pleasure pathways! http://bit.ly/1IJ86TS
Time for another cuppa? Nice animation from @AsapSCIENCE about caffeine & how it affects your brain http://bit.ly/1qbq7Cd
“Eating a lot of sugar or other carbohydrates can be hazardous to both #brain structure and function”: http://bit.ly/1pMHgAk
2.1Bn people on Earth are obese/overweight; that’s a lot of narrowed #brain blood vessels : http://bbc.in/1lSW6Rl
People w/ “binge eating disorder..lower grey matter volumes..in OFC&striatum” which help keep track of goals/rewards: http://bit.ly/1ktGBDd
After eating – leptin travels up to #brain – reducing hunger – via astrocytes not just neurons: http://bit.ly/1rGQvpN
“mother’s high-fat diet triggers brain inflam in..developing fetus leading2anxiety&hyperactivity in offspring” [mice] http://fxn.ws/1C5UxNG
“trans fats increase the shelf life of foods..reduce the shelf life of people” +it makes you stupid: http://onforb.es/1xS2oZT
Another reason to stay in – Home cooking a main ingredient in healthier diet: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141117084711.htm
Obesity=chronic low-grade inflammatory state, influencing neuropsychiatric status thru’ effects of inflammation on brain (Castanon et al, 2014)
Cell hub within amygdala (renowned for it’s role in fear response) switches off urge to feed: http://bbc.in/1uy92G6 #neuroscience #brain
“Signals in the #brain that tell us to stop eating function less efficiently as we approach mid-life” http://bit.ly/1BdT8BD #thankyouHenry
Forget the gastric band, to reduce obesity we may some day just crank up the juice on our vagus nerve stimulator: http://bit.ly/1o65u9E
Weight gain/obesity from high fat/high sugar diet prevented when receptor is blocked – but where do the calories go? http://bit.ly/1uf9V2F
More mindless eating of high calorie food when brain area implicated in resisting impulses is experimentally zapped: http://bit.ly/1r7rtyv
Doh, why did I do that? How could I be so stupid!! (Rat regret) http://bit.ly/1oGdPQE
Longest running study homes in on what really makes men happy: http://bit.ly/1jvAuME
“aggressive men’s blood pressure went down..non-aggressive men..blood pressure [rose,whilst watching violent scenes]” http://bit.ly/1uyW5Jf
“I’ve got a bad feeling about this” Habenula #brain region activated when viewing images assoc w/ nasty consequences http://bbc.in/1pzAATn
Changing flavour of a mouse’s emotional associations w/ a specific environment thru’ #optogenetic #brain stimulation: http://bbc.in/1qLM9Yl
“fine-grained patterns of neural activity w/in orbitofrontal…code that captures an individual’s subjective feeling” http://bit.ly/1wb9pSy
“Chewing gum, surprisingly, improved mood, possibly because chewing seems to increase blood flow to brain” http://bbc.in/1DANoAg
“What we have found is a process that may dampen the brain’s sensitivity to negative life events.” http://bit.ly/ZBYW9P
As days get shorter “production of a transporter protein ramps up in S.A.D., lowering available serotonin” http://bbc.in/1ye9RlH
Ever noticed that musclebound gym freaks seem particularly moody? Appears that stronger men are quicker to anger: http://bit.ly/1qvZE0Y
Exercise protects against depression – but how? – The rise of PGC-1a1 as a possible mechanism http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/283057.php
Today=Big Day. When that paralysed person kicks off the World Cup they’ll feel underfoot via their arm: http://bit.ly/1iqKGU4
#Brain play at Young Vic, London: “The Valley of Astonishment” until 12th July http://bit.ly/1peny3J
Fancy trying some EEG Pong? Just head down to the Royal Society’s Summer Exhibition starting 1st July http://bit.ly/1q9txWN
If anyone over there in the US lives near the Franklin Institute this Your Brain exhibition sounds ace! http://bit.ly/1xTJUc3
Birdies for brains – golfing 100 holes in 1 day to raise money for brain charity http://kare11.tv/1kY0Fh0
You’ve been quoted in my #Storify story “The App-othecary: Is the future of medicine calling?” http://sfy.co/a00Pk
#Today is #World #Brain #Day !! Love your brain http://www.wfneurology.org/world-brain-day#
If I was in Philadelphia right now I would go, immediately, to the Franklin Institute’s Neural Climb: http://bit.ly/1zA2ozO Sounds awesome!
Read ’em and sleep: how one tweet led to a literary lock-in http://gu.com/p/42nvn/tw via @guardian
Very much looking forward 2 speaking at the London Business Forum event with @polarbearpirate tomorrow morning: http://bit.ly/11iQKMr
The App-othecary: Is the future of medicine calling? is hosted by @DrJackLewis at @acmedsci on 18th in London http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-app-othecary-is-the-future-of-medicine-calling-tickets-13850500219
Did #brains of pre-human ancestors thrive on bug diet / the challenge of making #tools to get at them? http://bit.ly/1qJPVDZ
Brawn v brain: During human evolution, the brain got stronger and our muscles weaker
Protective buttressing of the hominin face #sexualdimorphism #evolution
Did Standing Up Change Our Brains? http://neurosciencenews.com/bidepal-walking-cognitive-brain-change-1045
huh, interesting…Non-dominant hand vital to the evolution of the thumb http://bit.ly/1ulHl15
8,000 yr old (prob. human) brain found preserved in skull during archaeological dig in Norway: http://bit.ly/1nCc1si
Neanderthal trait found in archaic early human skull http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/07/2014/neanderthal-trait-found-in-archaic-early-human-skull …
Having been bored all week by Luc Besson’s Lucy inspired resurgence of articles on 10% #brain myth, this tickled me: http://bit.ly/1nB8NVD
Free will emerges from brain “noise” http://bit.ly/1l2xbyo #neuroscience #EEG #freewill #noise #brain #SortYourBrainOut via @DrJackLewis
X-ray GIFS of the human body in action http://bit.ly/1A4LrfB
Mathematical proof that hipsters all look alike http://wapo.st/1zk0otu
PNIS, it’s like The Onion for science: http://pnis.co/index.html
Immersive virtual reality gaming is now so good it might be game over for reality, new blog just posted http://bit.ly/1lNOLYr
Video gaming in kids might not have adverse impact on cognition but “displacement threat” should not be trivialised http://bit.ly/1nKeKx9
Anyone want to make a game with me? http://www.tiga.org/repository/documents/editorfiles/onlinesubscribers/tiga_sources_of_finance_document.pdf
“Throw Trucks With Your Mind..ultra-violent meditative competitive game” – anyone? http://lat.ms/1oQ7HpM
Nearly lunchtime (in Europe at least) Perfect opportunity to listen to ep1 of our brand new podcast!: http://bit.ly/1lwfx8E
New improved #GeekChicPodcast – out now!! Getting people hooked on healthy food, brain-to-brain comms & titanosaurs http://bit.ly/1qH2K2i
Saving lives with crisp packets, Xe memory erasers & @AsapSCIENCE animations on internet brains #geekchicpodcast ep4: http://bit.ly/1rinZJl
A True and Complete Account of the Neuroscience of Zombies – Scientific American http://ift.tt/1HeHLfT
Amazing Rosetta images show Philae bouncing 1km off comet: http://po.st/N8Im3Q by @jtemperton
New #GeekChic popscience podcast from me & @Xfm_Lliana. This week: pandas who fake it & lesbians who don’t need to http://tinyurl.com/mhvyt6x
Do we actually dream in slow motion? Find out in @DrJackLewis and my geek chic Podcast here: https://itun.es/gb/MYC82.c
Ever heard of coloured icebergs? Read about this natural phenomenon here: http://bit.ly/terranostra #travel #nature
#geekchicpodcast episode 4: http://bit.ly/1rinZJl
Cockroach biobots have caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Energy: http://bit.ly/1ui1Lbi
Geek Chic Science Weekly podcast will be available for download from today onwards #geekchicpodcast https://itun.es/gb/MYC82.c
Geek Chic Podcast Episode2 – Out Now!! How to get hooked on healthy food, vulcan-esque communication &huge dinosaurs: http://bit.ly/1qH2K2i
Geek Chic Weird Science Podcast is finally on iTunes!!! Pls download all episodes for FREE & share x https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/geek-chics-weird-science/id921816230?mt=2
Geek Chic Weird Science podcast, download, for free, from iTunes & listen anytime you like: https://itun.es/gb/MYC82.c
In Jan 2014 @Xfm_Lliana invited me2chat weird&wonderful science stories on XFM every Sun. Now we have a podcast! Ep1: http://bit.ly/1lwfx8E
Looking for some Fri distraction? #geekchicpodcast Ep3 Jack The Ripper Special -has science finally cracked the case? http://bit.ly/1qXEIBC
#geekchicweirdscience podcast ep9 Nobel Special is OUT NOW!! http://tinyurl.com/pw9w77a Catching up on new approaches to investigating Brain GPS
Abolishing arachnaphobia by taking a scalpel to the brain;very halloweeny article from New Scientist http://bit.ly/1089Cg7 @GCweirdscience
Anchoring the brain’s compass: http://bit.ly/1vzVYzV Little amuse bouche ahead of this week’s #geekchicweirdscience podcast @GCweirdscience
Curious about teleportation? Baffled by quantum entanglement? Prof Gisin explains all in our latest GCWS podcast: http://tinyurl.com/GCweirdscience
DidUcatch new ep of #geekchicweirdscience podcast? Killer whales speaking dolphin, transplanting sexual organs&more! http://tinyurl.com/pw9w77a
Geek Chic Weird Science ep10 – miracle spinal surgery, hoverboards, re-heated pasta, tractor beams & birds on Prozac: http://tinyurl.com/pw9w77a
Dolphins can detect magnetic fields and might well use this ability to help them navigate the oceans: http://bit.ly/1vbV1tO
Geek Chic Weird Science podcast ep7: “Teleportation Special” OUT NOW!! @Xfm_Lliana & I interview a quantum genius…
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/geek-chics-weird-science/id921816230?mt=2 … – ep6 – Out now! Cunningly cultured chimps, (potentially) calamitous comets & [gasp] a coffee crisis on the horizon
Rosetta Mission selfie http://wrd.cm/1wjGa3c
Thanks @DrJackLewis & @Xfm_Lliana for the fun interview abt the hippocampus, place cells & Nobel prize https://itun.es/i6B33FT
This one’s also very #geekchicweird science: http://echinoblog.blogspot.ca/2014/10/five-points-about-fossil-history-of.html
Being Halloween ’n’ all presumably someone out there fancies making a zombie..here’s a 1-stop-shop from @SciencePunk: http://amzn.to/1udf2V2
Bounce baby bounce: http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2014/11171502-rosetta-imaged-philae-during.html … #philae bounce data
Ever wondered how “homing” ravens in Game of Thrones reach their destination? Brain gyroscope+gravity detectors: http://bit.ly/1EG6iYQ
Geek Chic’s Weird Science podcast ep14 http://bit.ly/1rpMfIh Will we Clone Wooly Mammoths? Is Brain Electrocution better than Coffee? Et al
Spider brain, spider brain, does whatever a spider brain does… Delving into the jumping spider brain: http://nyti.ms/1yTGZQ7 @GCweirdscience
PODCAST: ep15 @GCweirdscience Do we dream in slow motion? Could you live a life aquatic? How to make a digital animal http://bit.ly/1rpMfIh
When Philae/Rosetta were first launched from French Guiana ten years ago..Twitter had yet to be invented via @RogerHighfield @GCweirdscience
“whales,dolphins&elephants share our ability2learn new vocalisations/3groups of birds:songbirds,parrots&hummingbirds” http://bit.ly/1AcRtdw
Print a personalised virus to kill your specific cancer and for a fraction of a price http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22429990.200-i-want-to-print-personalised-cancer-drugs-in-a-day.html … – amazingly beautiful idea
Very Blade Runner, this: extracting images from corneal reflections http://ow.ly/GwUSZ
Lego robot with a worm brain: http://nydn.us/1ITmrgE OpenWorm project seems to be capturing imaginations all over the world @GCweirdscience
JanisCarter lived in cage onGambian river in effort2reintroduce domesticated chimp2wild: http://bit.ly/1B94mYi @Radiolab #SelfExpHeroes
New #GeekChic popscience podcast from me & @DrJackLewis. This week: pandas who fake it & lesbians who don’t need to http://tinyurl.com/mhvyt6x
PODCAST: we look back on the best weird science stories from 2014 in our 17th episode of @GCweirdscience http://bit.ly/1rpMfIh @Xfm_Lliana
Which is better: http://brainsciencepodcast.com/ or @GCweirdscience (paranormal science special will be released tomorrow!!) #battleofthepodcasts
No but seriously this is great – Swiss / Ukranian collaboration on homing pigeons, study required huge meteor crater: http://bit.ly/1EG6iYQ
This account of human evolution sees us merely as puppets dangling on the strings of our gut bacterial puppeteers! http://theatln.tc/1mIVtAV
Balanced, well-written account of story-so-far re science taking influence of gut on brain more & more seriously: http://bit.ly/ZSBh5g
Nice update on the latest research investigating the link between gut bacteria and brain function from Nature http://bit.ly/1v5thvr #SYBO
“armies of bacteria living in our guts can pull the strings in our #brains to get what they want” http://onforb.es/1riA8jh #neuroscience #SYBO
Daily microbiome tracking – I wish I could have done this for my connectome!
Gut bacteria may influence food cravings2get what they want by sending message2 #brain via vagus nerve: http://bit.ly/1tLIhtA #weirdscience
Brains go to great lengths to preserve personal narratives -only getting labelled “confabulation” once at the extreme http://bit.ly/1nXJB8P
I don’t have a stock portfolio… but if I did I’d certainly keep these psychological biases in mind: http://onforb.es/1ou2oP6 #SortYourBrainOut
Attractive people are often assumed to be “good” but does being “good” bias people to rate them as more attractive? http://bit.ly/1rk7lEt
“Aldini zapped the #brain of a decapitated criminal by placing a metal wire into each ear & then flicking the switch” http://wrd.cm/1nUd5VT
Mosso machine 1882: get person balanced on plank, play them a sound, blood rushes to #brain, tipping the balance! http://n.pr/VzEyDu
Holding Onto Marbles
“Less time sitting down” = better way of helping older people keep their white matter in good nick: http://bit.ly/1ucWqQi #SortYourBrainOut
“cognitive health in old age reflects the long-term effects of healthy, engaged lifestyles” …but not “brain games” http://stanford.io/1rXY05B
Brain Age test for middle aged people to slam the brakes on our descent into cognitive decline – NICE! http://bit.ly/10OrbTA #RetirementDNA
Brain function can improve as you age: http://bit.ly/1yR3sgs – great to hear given that I’ve spent all day thinking about #RetirementDNA !!
I did a little piece in the Independent Online on Holding Onto Your Marbles to promote #SortYourBrainOut http://ind.pn/143Scnb #SYBO
You are what you..do for a living: http://yhoo.it/1ATx54x Daily mental activity induced by your job can help u build cognitive reserve #SYBO
The big message for #brain health to aid the battle against dementia in 2015? “Use It Or Lose It” http://ind.pn/1zN8dIY #SortYourBrainOut
“parts of the brain that were the last to develop were also the first to show signs of age-related decline” http://bbc.in/1ALZhX8
After decades of slowly increasing IQ it looks like we might now be going backwards. But why? http://bit.ly/1toL8JA #SortYourBrainOut
Outgamed by a chimp – in your face Homo sapiens! http://bit.ly/1nSsRj4
What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Neuroscience w/ @DrJackLewis
Time to learn a new language? “those who spoke2or more languages had significantly better cognitive abilities” http://bbc.in/1tAAZYi
“Listening effort and accented speech”. http://feedly.com/e/Scjtk42b The case for NOT outsourcing call centers?
This is unbelievably amazingly awesome – Star-Trek style instant voice translation
“people who speak more than 1 language fluently have better memories..more cognitively creative & mentally flexible” http://bit.ly/1rODTNM
If you get someone to say a word out loud, but tweak the sound of their own voice, you can make them talk nonsense: http://bit.ly/1xEGBT1
Mandarin speaking nanny for your infant child,perhaps? Adult brains recognise language features from infancy exposure: http://ti.me/1zDi8jV
“..striatum learns the pieces of the puzzle and then the prefrontal cortex puts the pieces.. together.” http://bit.ly/1lUHip6 via @PsyBlog
What goes on inside the brain as we learn from our mistakes http://ti.me/1qBjfwJ
Don’t Dismiss MOOCs – We’re Just Starting To Understand Their True Value: http://www.science20.com/the_conversation/dont_dismiss_moocs_we_are_just_starting_to_understand_their_true_value-144160
Dopamine helps with math rules as well as mood: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141205093831.htm
Utilise the “dead time”: Essential health info,distilled into small chunks,offered not force fed -perfect!
Nice short video with distinguished neuroscientists explaining basics of #memory: http://bit.ly/1nuJPcC
Bring unpleasant memory to mind, inhale Xenon, goodbye emotional pain – future of recovery from heartbreak / trauma? http://bit.ly/1rinZJl
Incredibly intricate interplay between hippocampus and septum enables us to create chunks of memory: http://stanford.io/1qct5GK #neuroscience
Default mode network, usually associated with daydreaming/mindwandering, very much involved in certain memory tasks: http://bit.ly/1sh2Hrk
Obama dishes out: $810k MIT – determining which exact brain circuits are involved in generating short-term memories that influence decisions
fMRI: CA3 overlap in #hippocampus may explain when we find it “difficult2differentiate between similar past memories” http://bbc.in/1mfkjGb
“frontoparietal network plays key role in analysis,memory retrieval,abstract thinking&problem-solving/fluidity2adapt” http://bit.ly/1A8dEBm
NEWSFLASH: memory may not be in synapses http://bit.ly/1DUXmSH Next they’ll say action potentials are just there 2 generate electric fields
On the topic of TMS.. 20mins of daily magnetic stimulation for just 5 days improved memory in study of 16 volunteers: http://bit.ly/1qlNN5w
Shedding New Light on the Formation of Emotional Fear Memories: http://neurosciencenews.com/memory-formation-hebbian-plasticity-1605/ #neuroscience #memory
Mind Over Matter
Cool! RT @mrianleslie: This is amazing: the neuroscience behind Bruce Lee’s “one-inch punch” http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/nueroscience/the-science-of-bruce-lees-one-inch-punch-16814527
Mind over matter – Wim Hof can withstand freezing swims/hikes in bare skin – 3 tricks to control his body & #brain: http://bit.ly/VQBVNS
These incredible robot exoskeletons used in Korean shipyards remind us of something… More: http://ow.ly/zVJ54
Possible neurobiological basis for tradeoff between honesty and self-interest http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902114230.htm
Morality pills: reality or science fiction? http://www.theguardian.com/science/head-quarters/2014/jun/03/morality-pills-reality-or-science-fiction
Musical training improves various aspects of executive #brain function in old & young alike http://bit.ly/1p9jaCR
Speaking of Default Mode Network: activity ramps up when you hear song you like -is this losing yourself in the tune? http://huff.to/XvXxQA
Numerous benefits of providing music lessons to underprivileged kids includes improved language processing http://n.pr/1nMzbZL
Music saved my voice: http://bit.ly/1v0ApGZ Brain aneurysm robs music teacher of ability to speak, melodic intonation therapy wins it back
Been wondering when a band would jump on the binaural beat bandwagon – headphones on – relaxing?: http://bit.ly/1k9Dcv8 #SortYourBrainOut
What Wired thinks about a music neuroscience app that helps you increase focus by many hundred % http://wrd.cm/1j8VSu9 #neuroscience #music
Why is melody in the high notes and rhythm in the bass: http://bit.ly/1A5RsJO #neuroscience #music #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO
Fascinating research from @hugospiers throws more light on #brain navigation systems http://bit.ly/1nWhMTx
Bat Nav http://bbc.in/124L3lb @GCweirdscience
Your brain’s internal compass – the stronger the signal it produces, the better your sense of direction: http://bbc.in/1r5IY48 @hugospiers
If your brain was size of planet Earth..this infographic shows size of its nuts&bolts http://bit.ly/1jUrCTq
The Neuromythology of Einstein’s Brain http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/2014/05/24/myth-einsteins-brain/
Leonardo Da Vinci with his neuroscientist hat on: http://bit.ly/1Afvwfz #neuroscience
If I get hold of a cow brain would anyone be interested in bringing their kids2see a live dissection? http://bit.ly/1yjsFTz @GCweirdscience
Convention Defying Brain Cell: new neuronal “short-circuiting” feature spotted in brain’s memory bank: http://bit.ly/ZknTqq
Brain’s glial cells – long thought2be *just* passive support cells – increasingly recognised to play important roles: http://bit.ly/1qwK2Y5
Prodding around inside human brains during neuroanatomy practicals I always wondered what the choroid plexus was for: http://bit.ly/1rF1LQL
From physics to neuroscience: “Single neurons, he said, are fairly well understood, as are small circuits of neurons” http://nyti.ms/1xq0gbL
Bizarre Human Brain With No Wrinkles Discovered http://www.iflscience.com/brain/lost-and-found-smooth-human-brain
Major brain pathway rediscovered http://gu.com/p/43cmm/stw
100 missing brains: http://bit.ly/1zmmRpD If you are entrusted with Einstein’s brain you really should take more care.. @GCweirdscience
Regions of the brain strengthen with age http://medx.cc/334222167 #neuroscience
Astrocytes:always the bridesmaid,never the bride in discussions about #brain function;’til now? http://bit.ly/1qKqxBt #neuroscience #memory
Investigating factors that cause the #brain surface to fold up forming the distinctive peaks & valleys: http://bit.ly/1o9ih6A #neuroscience
Ultra-fine particles found in air pollution seem to play havoc with early brain development
Consumption of highly-sweetened drinks throughout adolescence leads to cognitive impairment (in rats, so far) http://bit.ly/1s4q0rm
Great advice re: how best to stretch a child’s #brain described at 3m40s in this lovely interview: http://bit.ly/1mDK2r6 #SortYourBrainOut
Baby’s brain rehearse speech five months before they talk http://bit.ly/1ne4HUC @ScienceDaily #babytalk #SYKBO via @perked_brain
“..newborn #brains grew at an average rate of 1%/day” Cerebellum doubles in size over 1st 90days http://bbc.in/1pMeC2q #neuroscience #SYKBO
“When it comes to #brain development, time in the classroom may be less important than time on the playground” http://n.pr/1p9PMdK #SYKBO
On topic of importance of play4children.. Nils Norman compared adventure playgrounds across globe, book only £85!!: http://amzn.to/1oqSlDh
The Case for Packing Libraries Full of Toys and Games – http://www.citylab.com/work/2014/08/the-case-for-packing-libraries-full-of-toys-and-games/375530/ … #creativity
Young humans grow up much slower than our primate cousins because our #brain is so “energy expensive”: http://bit.ly/1p9Jpsb #neuroscience
Interesting thoughts on using insights from neuroscience in #advertising / #marketing: http://bit.ly/1pZqMIt via @stromilof #neuroformed
So good it needed tweeting twice: http://bit.ly/1rR9oCr Shared brain activity in few predicts audience preferences at large #neuroformed
Happy shoppers come in many varieties: run-of-the-mill happy, happy-excited. happy-aroused & (beware) happy-frenzied! http://n.pr/11vQjxY
Christian Jarrett is worried about the impact of neuromyths on society
Exploding the 10k hrs of deliberate practice #myth – it’s no guarantee for greatness
Beware fake brain science in schools: http://slate.me/1yjtsEg
NHS Choices continue to marshal the dubious fringes of science journalism – multi-tasking shrinks your brain, huh? http://bit.ly/1CrolB3
“30mins..daily training for 1 month..improvement in..ability to understand speech in noisy..conditions” http://bit.ly/1pAFh20
This is the most accurate description of our study: Media multitasking ‘brain shrink’ claims unproven NHS Choices – http://www.nhs.uk/news/2014/09September/Pages/Claims-media-multitasking-shrinks-brain-unproven.aspx
Bats are the only creature that can see using echolocation, right? Wrong! This amazing young blind lad can do it too: http://youtu.be/TeFRkAYb1uk
Brain Scans Reveal Gray Matter Differences in Media Multitaskers: http://neurosciencenews.com/gray-matter-acc-multitasking-1358/ … #neuroscience
Brainy processing at your fingertips http://gu.com/p/4xbpk/tw #neuroscience
Football “is a triumphant display of the incredible plasticity of the human brain http://bit.ly/1lkr3RP
How Culture Shapes Our Senses – NYT http://nyti.ms/1oUsT9S @tanyaluhrmann Ht @somatosphere
Making it to 24 years old without realising your whole cerebellum is missing is a true testament to neuroplasticity: http://bit.ly/1rXP3ja
My PhD supervisor used2say painters were visual scientists. Here @wiredscience effectively suggests same4film editors http://wrd.cm/1pMHIS0
When it comes to changes in brain thickness… Bigger is not always better: http://wrd.cm/1taWfr8 #geekchicweirdscience @GCweirdscience
Coaxing brain support cells (glia) to convert into electrical brain wires (neurons) to fix damaged parts of the brain http://bit.ly/1yY0aYd
Zoe Kourtzi leads Adaptive Brain Computations project in Cambridge; aiming to understand & test how learning happens: http://bit.ly/1t9XoM8
“Vagus nerve stimulation takes advantage of the brain’s neuroplasticity” to cure tinnitus: http://bit.ly/1rcV1bm #neuroscience #tinnitus
Well read? How digital reading is changing (hurting) comprehension. http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/mariakonnikova/2014/07/being-a-better-online-reader.html
Intensive smartphone use causes your brain’s territory for processing thumb sensations2enlarge: http://fxn.ws/1xqnpOz 169articles in 4days!
Neuroplasticity in action – how your touch screen devices are changing your brain: http://bbc.in/1zTWzvY #SortYourBrainOut @polarbearpirate
The Tortured Brain – Insightful article that pulls together info on CIA torture practices, neuroplasticity & PTSD: http://bit.ly/1whLEax
Something special about neuronal gamma activity (40Hz)-making mouse #brain supersensitive2gentle touch: http://bit.ly/1pvFLIk #neuroscience
Sleep-Dependent Neuroplastic Changes during Auditory Perceptual Learning http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1074742714002111
If I was Miguel Nicolelis I’d B getting really nervous about 2morro’s brain-controlled exoskeleton world cup kick off http://bit.ly/1kKhxI6
Here’s a short film I edited & animated of interviews with top scientists at last year’s BNA conference http://bit.ly/1mNF2hl
Here’s a taste of 10 interviews I filmed w/ top neuroscientists at the British Neuroscience Association conference http://bit.ly/1mNF2hl
Trouble at t’mill: KCL scientists facing mass redundancy. Sounds brutal. My heart goes out… http://bit.ly/T32nlT
Did I mention I interviewed some of world’s top neuroscientists &cut a short animated film? http://bitly.com/1mNF2hm
On subject of @hugospiers, here he describes role of #hippocampus in imagining future scenarios http://bitly.com/1mNF2hm
How to Criticize with Kindness: Daniel Dennett on the 4 Steps to Arguing Intelligently http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/03/28/daniel-dennett-rapoport-rules-criticism/ … via @timetit
Nice interview with Charles Spence in CB. Even manages to diss post-pub peer review on the way http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096098221400387X
Charles Limb – head & neck surgeon, improv pianist & rapper exploring brain mechanisms of creativity: http://bit.ly/ZMAAKo @GCweirdscience
Future of the Brain, anyone? Collection of essays from some of the world’s leading thinkers in neuroscience: http://bit.ly/1DGxTMy
Coming soon ‘The Para-Academic Handbook’ http://hammeronpress.net/page19.htm <you don’t have to be in academia to do good research or innovative practice
Meet the mother and father of cognitive neuroscience @utafrith & @cdfrith | @mocost http://gu.com/p/4x56x/tw via @guardian
Fascinating article: http://bit.ly/1vblwDw by @hugospiers – who we interviewed for next week’s #geekchicweirdscience Nobel Special podcast
John O’Keefe is a living legend anyway & now his scientific genius has been recognised with a Nobel prize! http://tinyurl.com/johnokeefenobel #brainGPS
My favorite professor of behavioral economics, @danariely recommends MOOC by @paulbloomatyale, so I’ll be tuning in. http://ow.ly/C8DcK
One of my favourite personalities in #neuroscience defending Europe’s Human Brain Project from a broadside attack: http://bit.ly/1t3imgF
Successful trepanation on Mongolia/China border 2,300 years ago – what was the motive for this hole-in-head surgery? http://dailym.ai/1p2g7XI
Genius! Neurosurgeon predicts diagnosis of brain area impacted by stroke – asking patient to speak a 5 word sentence: http://n.pr/1mG9COM
Fantastic description of how surgical treatment of epilepsy helps us do phenomenal #brain research: http://nyti.ms/1kDsAz2 #SortYourBrainOut
Can’t get enough of the concept of playing the violin whilst surgeons operate on your #brain: http://cnet.co/1tjWnCd #neuroscience #SYBO
The Fascinating Reason This Man Is Playing Violin During His Own Brain Surgery by @erbrod http://mic.cm/1sRlj5s via @MicNews
Here You can change some visual attributes to increase or decrease the café wall illusion. http://joyfulcoder.net/cafewall/
This is definitely one for @GCweirdscience Spinning chocolate cake illusion: http://youtu.be/HxSN1FkcZ64 Stunning #GeekChicWeirdScience
Optical illusions anyone? Go on, you know you wanna spend your lunch break tying your occipital lobe in knots: http://wrd.cm/1vlRIV1
Other Creatures’ Brains
Devil rays have “sponge-like mesh of large&small arteries” to warm their #brains during 2km deep dives http://bbc.in/1qR5fyV #neuroscience
39,000 year old Wooly Mammoth brain (with a well preserved “tough mother”): http://bit.ly/1sscZVX @GCweirdscience
“humble nematode worm has..its neural connections hot-wired,changing the way it responds 2 salt&smells” http://bit.ly/1rcXJxt #neuroscience
Elephant’s nose best: African elephants have twice as many olfactory genes as any other mammal. http://feedly.com/e/r_rCUv8d
Giant prawn fossil discovered in China has perfectly preserved 520Million year old #brain: http://bit.ly/1nO2f6m #archaeology #neuroscience
Dolphins & Beluga whales squeal with delight when they know a prize is coming their way: http://bit.ly/1twlbbV #brain #reward #weirdscience
Lethal aggression in Chimpanzees is better explained by adaptive strategies rather than human impacts http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v513/n7518/full/nature13727.html
If crayfish can convert blood cells2brain cells2replace damaged ones-why cant we? http://bit.ly/1nLlKYV #neuroscience #transdifferentiation
In other news today, scientists have taught fish how to walk http://bit.ly/1qDaoM9 http://youtu.be/mKxRe0hAQmg?list=UU7c8mE90qCtu11z47U0KErg
Swearing when you hurt yourself actually makes it feel better. http://DiscoverMagazine.com Cursing & #hypoalgesia.
Chronic back pain? Maybe it’s time to quit smoking http://bit.ly/1s1vu3d I find the explanation hard to believe; make of it what you will !
The benefits of psychological treatment for chronic back pain http://blog.backpainrelief.net/the-benefits-of-psychological-treatment-for-chr
Fascinating! Gay dad #brain responds to new parenting role (adoption) just like both straight parents: http://ti.me/1jWeNbd
Many pregnant women are slightly iodine deficient which can have knock on effect on their baby’s #brain development: http://bit.ly/1k952k6
Supportive parenting is neuroprotective: http://bit.ly/1pGUuxm
Amazingly, fatherhood actually changes a man’s #brain: http://wrd.cm/1qKEoDw #neuroplasticity #neuroscience #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO
For those archaic types that still believe a good spanking is good for your kids – not true, read this: http://cnn.it/1x0ORN7 #neuroscience
What is introversion? What REALLY defines an introvert? Or an extravert for that matter http://bit.ly/1oJ0qaw
Why The Myers-Briggs Personality Test Is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific via @bi_strategy http://www.businessinsider.com/myers-briggs-personality-test-is-misleading-2014-6
Negative correlation discovered between pornography consumption&volume of striatum (drive, reward etc) #neuroscience http://reut.rs/1tT54Ej
“increasing numbers of young men…cannot maintain an erection because they’ve wrecked their appetite w/ pornography” http://bbc.in/1jlZ8lW
Pornography ” is an addictive, disruptive drug in visual form.” http://ow.ly/FbTqM h/t @EduardoZugasti
Poverty can be so cognitively demanding – little mental energy left for anything else
Sports psychology perspectives on Luis Suarez’s propensity to bite people http://bit.ly/VqvGB9
Nice example of using knowledge of the #brain to underpin habits of thinking that help you get what you want http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/07/brain-science-get-what-you-want_n_5455366.html?ir=Healthy+Living
Psychology is weird, child psychology is much weirder. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/06/developmental_psychology_s_weird_problem_children_from_rich_educated_families.html By @jane_c_hu via @le_feufollet
“Science does not know it’s debt to imagination”
“There is a road from eye to heart that does not go through the intellect” #SortYourBrainOut
Levi Roots’ reggae reggae message: Be yourself Believe in yourself If you fail in 1 passion – merge it with another 1
“I have decided to be #happy, because it’s good for my health.” -Voltaire
“ If you were a plant…you would think of a drug as this: ‘Something I use to make animals do what I want’ ” @zoecormier SexDrugsRock (2014)
“Any fool can know. The point is to understand” ― Albert Einstein
If you don’t know where you are going, any path will get you there. ~ Lewis Carroll
“Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculptor of his own brain” – Santiago Ramón y Cajal
“The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to burn” ― Bertrand Russell
Bit of light Fri reading on “Neurotheology – neurological study of religious & spiritual experiences”
Wow – that’s 3/3 book reviews so far suggesting Susan Greenfield’s new book is more “Mind Cringe” than “Mind Change”: http://econ.st/1thls49
1st thought: ‘TV series called “Hack My Brain” – why didn’t I think of that?’ then I actually read the review – Ouch! http://nyti.ms/1saEZ6B
“the striatum shows more activity to monetary rewards when the reward was judged to be fair” http://bit.ly/1sGyh5x #SortYourBrainOut
Doing it with someone else makes it feel more intense: http://tinyurl.com/Do1tTogether …whatever “it” may be!
How to create an addictive gaming experience? Hijack the reward system. Unfortunately, it really is as easy as this.. http://n.pr/1oUcljA
Study investigating curiosity highlights the importance of dopamine in learning… not just pleasure and drive: http://bit.ly/1vyhlyk
Stimulation of the “pleasure hub” (VTA) whilst mouse dreams of a certain place in space makes it prefer it when awake http://n.pr/1BQwDp6
Learning about #science through #comedy: http://bit.ly/1uWMiju
Loving animations like this that illustrate our #brains in action..even with the inevitable corner-cutting: http://bit.ly/1cKa7An #SYBO
This truly is a thing of beauty: http://bit.ly/1pLYoUe Immaculate narrated-animation depicting 2000yrs of human migration via @tomstafford
“Stem cells in the tongue produce new taste cells every fortnight” http://bbc.in/1xbDiY2
Olfactory Reveille: it’s now possible to purchase an alarm clock that emits the smell of bacon at “wakey-wakey” time! http://bit.ly/1BxT0MK
New study: Neurons in your skin perform advanced calculations http://ow.ly/3pNMcr
Newsweek Interview: Digitising Smell: The Third Sense Is Coming to Your Phone – interview with @adriancheok http://www.newsweek.com/2014/09/19/digitising-humanity-about-take-another-huge-step-forward-smell-269729.html
Every cloud… silver lining of #dyslexia is a #brain that is more adept at certain visual abilities: http://bit.ly/1z4IQQq #neuroscience
Reaching for object of unknown size in cluttered environment people grasp correctly anyway – spooky! http://bit.ly/1GHHmiV @GCweirdscience
Bee brains – with only a million neurons (we have 86 Bn!) – can still see the big picture: http://bit.ly/1w4zKp8
Cunning study: how brain makes vision feel Hi-Def despite fovea only covering area size of thumbnail at arm’s length: http://bit.ly/1waUDxo
Why we don’t (usually) notice stunt doubles: http://bit.ly/1sQle3S Brain design “feature” not “flaw” #SYBO #SortYouBrainOut @GCweirdscience
Can humans really distinguish 1 trillion different odours? Or just 10? http://arxiv.org/abs/1411.0165 via @ewencallaway
Neuroscience of Taste: Chef’s Creations Delight the Senses – Live Science http://ift.tt/1EZ3PJs
It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas: The neuroscience of our nostalgia. http://ow.ly/GplSt #science
The taste of music – courtesy of the crown prince of multisensory interactions: Prof Charles Spence http://bit.ly/1yz5H69 #SortYourBrainOut
If it was 1st April there’s no way I would post this – ‘average’ person can guess ur car from ur face: http://bit.ly/1tLDzfl #weirdscience
How #brain sees shape that isn’t really there. Less activity required when illusory contours perceived http://bit.ly/1sR6QZw
Insights into vision from people blind from birth but given back the gift of sight in adulthood by science/medicine: http://nyr.kr/1qkNeZT
Where Hollywood movies and #neuroscience converge: http://wrd.cm/YWb1WU #brain #vision
How I Rebuilt Tinder And Discovered The Shameful Secret Of Attraction http://www.buzzfeed.com/annehelenpetersen/we-are-all-classists?bffb&utm_term=4ldqpgp#18dhj72 … oh, this is quite interesting!
Easy Access Internet Porn: “..worries &frightens people..creates anxieties about their bodies &sexual performance…” http://bit.ly/1xtwqVZ
The headline we’ve all been waiting for: Sex is good for your brain http://huff.to/1neOpMc … it was only a matter of time
Lesbians have more orgasms than straight women – so should straight men ask lesbian friends 4 some tips? http://bit.ly/1vFhK2k #sexhospital
I’ve compiled clips from TV series I’ve presented http://bitly.com/1u10k21 Please watch&let me know which clips are best #crowdsourcedshowreel
Thank you @jjunno for your selections: “TM05-SH04-HT01 and you had at HT 03 :)” #crowdsourcedshowreel
Using Wisdom of Crowds to make perfect showreel, pls pick favourite clips: http://bit.ly/1u10k20 #neuroscience #brain #crowdsourcedshowreel
“Working antisocial hours can prematurely age the brain&dull intellectual ability” #SortYourBrainOut – get a new job? http://bbc.in/1x28EyH
Not just too little (<6hrs) but also too much (>8hrs) sleep is linked2poorer cognitive function in older people http://bit.ly/1rFrgjK
“The less older adults sleep, the faster their brains age” http://bit.ly/1sTSrvQ
ASMR for #insomnia? Soothing/tingling sensation travels over scalp in response2specific types of sensory stimulation http://nyti.ms/1tyjv2T
I often bang on about importance of good night sleep 4 #brain health -so it’s good to see evidence accumulating http://reut.rs/TcTHKv
Doesn’t surprise me one little bit: http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29166466 … I often find myself continuing daytime tasks in my sleep (even debugging code!)
Earlier I admitted2solving computer programming bugs in my sleep.According2 @sciammind it’s been going on since 60’s! http://bit.ly/1oBHTtY
Implanting designer gene into certain region of brainstem makes deep sleep switch-on-and-offable: http://bit.ly/1s6gE1T
In #SortYourBrainOut @polarbearpirate & I stress importance of sleep for brain health,here’s why + ways2improve sleep http://bit.ly/1BdicI6
It’s not big, it’s not clever… going without sleep is deleterious to brain function: http://theatln.tc/1wfaM7n #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO
Love how cunning yet simple this experiment is: http://bbc.in/1r9SN1a – establishing whether or not we dream in slow motion via @BBC_Future
To Sleep, Perchance To Learn: why memory suffers when we’re sleep deprived & the chemical injection that can boost it http://n.pr/1BQwDp6
“#memory distortion is greater after #sleep deprivation..people are getting less sleep each night than..ever” http://bit.ly/1ne7M68 #SYBO
#Meditate While Lying in Bed For More Restful #Sleep http://ow.ly/Gebe6 #SortYourBrainOut
Get a new iPad for Christmas? Don’t use it just before bedtime or it will screw up your sleep: http://bit.ly/1xrLuEA #SortYourBrainOut
‘Sleep drunkenness’ more common than thought, new study finds – Health – http://TODAY.com http://ow.ly/AMb6q
The chicken and egg of sleep problems / beta amyloid deposition in the brain of elderly people: http://bit.ly/1vzkuf8 #SortYourBrainOut
Why we yawn: http://bit.ly/1H7se0c @GCweirdscience @Xfm_Lliana #behindthepaywall
#Stress, can provide benefits IF you don’t let it hang around too long | p129 http://ow.ly/AIcqk @drJackLewis
How #stress hormones promote #brain’s building of negative memories (@ScienceDaily) http://bit.ly/UvhoO2 #trauma
Impact of stress on body and #brain is a core part of #SortYourBrainOut philosophy. Brilliantly described here: http://n.pr/UdECbJ #SYBO
Last week i did a talk on #bodylanguage @MiddlesexUni & promised i’d write a blog up about it. I’m a man of my word: http://bit.ly/1mzlKw9
Confirmed panellists for “The future of self-hacking”: @DrJackLewis, @StuartCalimport, and Andrew Vladimirov http://www.meetup.com/London-Futurists/events/190686472/
Insight into how NatGeo decides what kind of series to fund – stumble on something that works, copy it: http://fxn.ws/1oNHHKp #scienceTV
Could viewers hear me mutter, under my breath, right at the end: “ethically dubious.. but lovely” – I wonder? #ThisMorning #miniWinnie
Fascinating! People more comfortable sharing secrets w/ #virtual human (computer controlled) than real 1 http://bit.ly/1oFjCCT #psychiatry
Window to the Soul
“pupil dilation correlated more closely with perceived effort than actual effort” – for both physical & mental effort http://bit.ly/1udmkWt
Catching undiagnosed glaucoma before it damages vision – simply by analysing eye movements whilst people watch telly: http://bit.ly/110f99a
In low-income neighborhoods, 1 book is available for every 300 kids. In richer areas the ratio is 13 books per child http://anniemurphypaul.com/2014/06/why-pediatricians-are-prescribing-books
What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades: http://nyti.ms/1kqAhfj
What happens in a teenager’s brain when they are criticised by their mother (what it means is another matter) http://wrd.cm/1uOM5by #SYKBO
Analysis of 5-HT receptors in brainstems of babies who died of SIDS (a.k.a. cot death) reveal new subtypes/functions: http://bit.ly/16IzIKo
A Vaccine for Childhood Anxiety: Effort-Based Praise http://ift.tt/1rUTZTK #psychology
Baby brains – how you curate their environments & choreograph their social interactions sculpts their personality: http://huff.to/1xz0O21
Newborns spend about 16-17 hours sleeping a day. But about 80% of neonatal and newborn sleep time is actually REM (‘dreaming’) sleep.
What a year 2014 has been! On a personal level I have passed a few major career milestones (those are the firsts). So I thought I’d use my December blog post to briefly reflect upon my highlights of 2014.
My first book Sort Your Brain Out surpassed all expectations (well, mine anyway) by staying in the top ten of the W H Smith’s Travel outlet Non-Fiction Chart throughout 2014. This is despite the fact it was only ever supposed to be displayed on the Business Chart shelves.
Never in a million years did I expect my first pop at writing for the general public to sell 25,000 copies in the first nine months!! My heartfelt thanks go out to Adrian Webster (@polarbearpirate) for putting up with me as we went through the process of co-authoring together. We have already started to be booked for joint speaking engagements (to find out more, just click here) and I’m very much looking forward to spending more time in his genuinely energizing company over the coming years.
I would also like to offer huge thanks to everyone who has supported us by buying a copy and particularly those who took the time to write us a review or get in touch with us on Twitter to say how useful they found it / how much they enjoyed it. It really does make it all worthwhile to know that it is making a difference in people’s lives!
This all started in January 2014 with a regular science spot on Lliana Bird’s (@XFM_Lliana) weekly XFM radio show. Over the course of nine months spent diligently investing every Sunday morning into researching and then memorising the best of the week’s quirky science stories, by September it had evolved into a fully-fledged podcast (you can download it for free by clicking here).
Birdy and I were thrilled to find ourselves immediately rocketing towards the top of the iTunes Natural Science Podcast Chart, in the most excellent company of the likes of The Infinite Monkey Cage, The Naked Scientists, Radio Lab and various offerings from the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4. It felt like Christmas had come early when iTunes told us that we’d made it into their “Highlights of 2014” list.
None of this would have been possible without Lliana’s determination to constantly push and experiment with different ideas (so much so that I’ve nicknamed her ‘Dynama’) and our sound producer Richard Boffin’s (@Boffintosh) diligence in finding great sound tracks, clips and effects to lift the whole production week in week out.
FIRST PRIME-TIME APPEARANCE ON BBC1
I’ve been talking neuroscience on the box since 2007. I started out on BBC2 with People Watchers, hit my first primetime audience on Sky One with How To Get What You Want and started reaching a global audience through various Discovery series such as The Tech Show. However although back in 2008 I did do a couple of experiments on the BBC1 Breakfast sofa with Bill Turnbull and company to promote the launch of People Watchers and had appeared in shows with huge viewing figures on ITV (This Morning) and Channel 4 (The Secret Life of Buildings), an appearance on a primetime BBC show has always, frustratingly, eluded me. Until now!
I’m thrilled to announce that I have finally been invited to contribute to a primetime BBC1 show. If you switch over to the “How To Save £1,000” Watchdog Special at 8pm on Thurs 15th January you will find me, early on in the programme, re-enacting the classic Walter Mischel’s Marshmellow Test with some very cute 4-year-olds and describing how this can explain difficulties that most of us encounter when trying to save money.
If you’ve ever found yourself struggling to resist the temptation of squandering cash on things you want but don’t really need then you may well find this show very interesting. Our brains don’t make it easy for us to forego immediate gratification in favour of greater rewards in the long term but it IS possible. My role in this show is to frame the basic problem. I’m led to believe that it is chock full of practical suggestions on how to circumvent it.
Wishing you all a fantastic end to 2013 and a Happy New Year.
If you’d like to follow me on Twitter please click here: @drjacklewis
If you’d like to see my latest showreel then please click here: Showreel 2014
If you’d like to purchase a copy of my book please click here: Sort Your Brain Out
If you’d like to download my podcasts for free please click here: Geek Chic’s Weird Science