Why Your Brain Makes You Slip Up When Anxious

Neuroscientists at the University of Sussex’s Sackler Centre and Brighton and Sussex Medical School have identified the brain network system that causes us to stumble and stall.  As musicians, figure skaters and anyone who takes a driving test will know, the anxiety of being watched can have a disastrous effect on your performance.  Now neuroscientists at the University of Sussex’s Sackler Centre and Brighton and Sussex Medical School have identified the brain network system that causes us to stumble and stall just when we least want to.

http://neurosciencenews.com/anxiety-neural-network-3468/

 

Brain Training for Anxiety, Depression and Other Mental Conditions

A new treatment for psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety uses real-time scans to show patients how their brains go awry—and how to fix the dysfunction.  The treatment is called neurofeedback.  There is an urgent need for new approaches for psychiatric disorders, particularly depression. Almost 17% of Americans will suffer from major depression during their lifetime, according to a 2012 study published in the International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research.  Not everyone responds to current treatments like antidepressant medication and talk therapy. In one study of almost 3,000 patients, only about 1/3 of them achieved remission from their depression after up to 14 weeks on the drug citalopram (brand name Celexa).

http://www.wsj.com/articles/brain-training-for-anxiety-depression-and-other-mental-conditions-1453144315

Wired for Gaming: Brain Differences in Compulsive Gamers

Brain scans reveal new connections that are potentially beneficial, harmful.

Brain scans from nearly 200 adolescent boys provide evidence that the brains of compulsive video game players are wired differently. Chronic video game play is associated with hyperconnectivity between several pairs of brain networks. Some of the changes are predicted to help game players respond to new information. Other changes are associated with distractibility and poor impulse control. The research, a collaboration between the University of Utah School of Medicine, and Chung-Ang University in South Korea, was published online in Addiction Biology on Dec. 21, 2015.

One fifth of youngsters suffer from "high anxiety"

 

Almost one in five young people lives with high levels of anxiety, according to figures on wellbeing published by the Office for National Statistics.  The study looked at the wellbeing and mental health of 7.5 million young people in the UK aged 16 to 24.  The figures also show a rising proportion of young people who felt dissatisfied with their health.  But at the more positive end of the scale, almost three-quarters said they were "happy" or "very happy".  The figures from the ONS show a picture of a growing number of young people who are satisfied with their lives - but with a persistent minority reporting unhappiness or suffering from anxiety.

http://www.bbc.com/news/education-34586032

The Surprising benefits of Stress

 

Daniela Kaufer, PhD, is an associate professor at UC Berkeley who studies the biology of stress, examining at the molecular level how the brain responds to anxiety and traumatic events. Her most recent findings show that certain kinds of stress can have surprising benefits. Dr. Kaufer explains the difference between good stress and bad stress, and gives pointers for how to respond to stressful events in a healthy way.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-surprising-benefits-of-stress_us_5626e8fee4b08589ef49a820

Math Tutoring Reduces Anxiety

 

Individualized math lessons improved kids’ arithmetic performance and made them feel more comfortable with the subject.  Anxiety about doing math problems can be relieved with a one-on-one math tutoring program, according to a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine. The tutoring fixed abnormal responses in the brain’s fear circuits.

http://neurosciencenews.com/math-anxiety-amygdala-tutoring-2594/

Meditating Measurably Changes The Brain Even When Not Actively Meditating

A new study has found that participating in an 8-week meditation training program can have measurable effects on how the brain functions even when someone is not actively meditating.  Published research has demonstrated that the practice of regularmeditation can increase brain density, boost connections between neurons, decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety, provide clarity of thought, and increase positive mood endorphins. Other published studies have shown meditation can improve physical functioning, decrease chronic disease risks, and enhance overall quality of life.

http://in5d.com/meditating-brain/

 

This Video Explains the Brain Benefits of Learning Multiple Languages

Learning a second language is great for traveling and getting a better paying job, but it can also make your brain healthier. This video from the TED-Ed YouTube channel explains the different type of multilingual speakers and how speaking multiple languages helps your brain stay healthy. Generally, the earlier a child can start learning a language, the better, but even adults who learn a second language can benefit from it. Your brain can show more activity and a higher density of gray matter that contains your brains neurons and synapses. It’s also possible that knowing and speaking a second language on a regular basis can help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

http://lifehacker.com/this-video-explains-the-brain-benefits-of-learning-mult-1714297402

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMmOLN5zBLY&feature=player_embedded

Brain structure reveals ability to regulate emotions

We all vary in how often we become happy, sad or angry, and also in how strongly these emotions are expressed. This variability is a part of our personality and can be seen as a positive aspect that increases diversity in society. However, there are people that find it so difficult to regulate their emotions that it has a serious impact on their work, family and social life. These individuals may be given an emotional instability diagnosis such as borderline personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder. Previous studies have shown that people diagnosed with emotional instability disorders exhibit a decrease in the volume of certain brain areas. The scientists wanted to know if these areas are also associated with the variability in the ability to regulate emotions that can be seen in healthy individuals. In the current study, 87 healthy subjects were given a clinical questionnaire and asked to rate to what degree they have problems with regulating emotions in their everyday lives. The brains of the subjects were then scanned with MRI. The scientists found that an area in the lower frontal lobe, the so-called orbitofrontal cortex, exhibited smaller volumes in the healthy individuals that reported that they have problems with regulating emotions. The greater the problems, the smaller the volume detected. The same area is known to have a smaller volume in patients with borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder. Similar findings were also seen in other areas of the brain that are known for being important in emotional regulation.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-07/ki-bsr072415.php

 

How to help an anxious child live a full life

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Are kids more anxious these days? There’s no way to really know, but researchers say anxiety is one of the more common mental health problems facing children and adolescents today. Lynne Malcolm and Olivia Willis take a look at the causes of anxiety, the best ways to manage it, and how understanding children’s emotional development can give important insight into the adults they become.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/allinthemind/how-to-help-an-anxious-child-live-life-to-the-full/6643066

 

What do we do when antibiotics don’t work any more?

Penicillin changed everything. Infections that had previously killed were suddenly quickly curable. Yet as Maryn McKenna shares in this sobering talk, we've squandered the advantages afforded us by that and later antibiotics. Drug-resistant bacteria mean we're entering a post-antibiotic world — and it won't be pretty. There are, however, things we can do ... if we start right now.

http://www.ted.com/talks/maryn_mckenna_what_do_we_do_when_antibiotics_don_t_work_any_more?share=170e30bc19

 

Young people may not grow out of ADHD: many of those diagnosed suffer memory problems even as adults, scan reveal

  • Brain scans have revealed that those diagnosed with the condition show differences in their brain structure later in life
  • They also perform poorly in memory tests compared to their peers
  • The findings suggest that aspects of ADHD may persist into adulthood, even when current diagnostic criteria fail to identify the disorder

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3217170/Young-people-NOT-grow-ADHD-diagnosed-suffer-memory-problems-adults-scans-reveal.html#ixzz3kb3uTsoH


     

 


 

Are healthy girls affected physically by their mothers’ depression?

Researchers following adolescent and pre-adolescent healthy daughters of mothers with a history of depression, have found that the chromosomes of these high-risk girls show signs of cellular aging.  In a paper published in the Sept. 30 edition of Molecular Psychiatry, Stanford scientists found that telomeres, the caps at the end of chromosomes whose length shortens as a person ages, are shorter than normal in girls whose mothers have had multiple episodes of depression.  What was especially surprising, according to these researchers, was that these 10-to-14  year-old girls with telomere shortening showed no signs or symptoms of depression at the beginning of the study, when their telomeres were measured.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/11/24/are-healthy-girls-affected-physically-by-their-mothers-depression/

Stress in early childhood changes how people deal with challenging situations later in life

Traumatic events leave their mark. People exposed to a traumatic experience early in life are more likely to be affected by illnesses such as borderline personality disorder or depression. However such experience can also have positive effects in certain circumstances. Thus, moderate stress in childhood may help a person develop strategies to better cope with stress in adulthood.  Further, it has long been recognised by psychologists and psychiatrists that the negative effects of trauma experienced by parents can be seen in their children, but the molecular mechanisms underlying such transmission are only beginning to be identified. A research team led by Isabelle Mansuy, Professor of Neuroepigenetics at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, has for the first time tested in mice the degree to which the beneficial effects of stress can be passed to following generations.

 

Inside the psychology of productivity: Burned out? Can't get it all done? The problem might be in your head

You wake up with it in the morning and go to bed thinking about it at night: an ever-crushing load of emails, meetings, conference calls, and tasks that needed to get done yesterday. Family time means reading sales reports in the room where your kids are playing video games. For entrepreneurs, there's soooo much to get done--85 percent of fast-growth-company CEOs work 10 or more hours a day, according to a recent survey of the Inc. 500. Under such circumstances, personal productivity isn't just a metric. It's also a mandate.  Recently, a glut of tools and systems has emerged to help you measure, manage, and maximize what you accomplish. But not all impediments to productivity result from poor organization. Many are psychological. Behavioral economics reveals the wacky ways people think about financial costs and rewards. Similarly, psychologists, business researchers, and even philosophers are illuminating people's idiosyncratic approaches to getting stuff done.

http://www.inc.com/magazine/201503/leigh-buchanan/the-psychology-of-productivity.html

Methods of alleviating anxiety

In my previous post, Understanding Anxiety as a Symptom: Not the Problem, I focus on what causes the brain/body reaction to produce anxiety symptoms, such as racing thought, heart pounding, bodily trembling, profuse sweating, and inability to control breathing, just to name a few.  Many people have written to me telling me what has worked for them to alleviate theiranxiety (link is external)symptoms, such as taking specific medicationlaughing, praying, exercising, singing and meditating. I’m not a medical doctor (M.D.) nor am I a prescribing psychologist. I do know that there are prescribed medications and over the counter medications (OTC) that truly work and help with the various symptoms. In my life, especially when I have to get my yearly MRI brain scan, medication has truly helped. With all my training, during this type of event, I prefer medication.

 https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-resilient-brain/201407/methods-alleviating-anxiety?collection=1070769