Khan Academy Now Available for Kids!

Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. The Kids application is a free, fun educational program for children ages two to six that uses a holistic and personalized approach to encourage independent learning across a robust curriculum, ranging from math to motor development.

For more information and links to download the app, please visit the click here.

Oxford study finds digital screen time has little effect on teen mental health


A new study from researchers at the University of Oxford has tracked data from several hundred thousand subjects finding digital technology use accounts for less than half a percent of a young person's negative mental health. The research suggests everything from wearing glasses to not getting enough sleep have bigger negative effects on adolescent well-being than digital screen use.

Please click here to read the rest of the article.

The Brain in Action: Can you smell it too?

The activity of eleven types of receptors in your nose when you smell different but chemically strongly similar compounds. (Fig. 32-4, Principles of Neural Science, 5th Ed., 2013)

The activity of eleven types of receptors in your nose when you smell different but chemically strongly similar compounds. (Fig. 32-4, Principles of Neural Science, 5th Ed., 2013)

Every so often my wife asks me if I notice a particular smell in the house or garden. I can, when asked, often detect an odour, but I seem to have a much less sensitive nose than she does. I do however like a good red wine with an earthy bouquet. Each bottle I open has an unusual combination of such aromas. My wife often cannot detect the differences in smell between these wines. Does that mean that I have a more delicate sense of smell after all? 

For the rest of Peter Moleman’s article, please click here.

Scientists Find A Brain Circuit That Could Explain Seasonal Depression

Just in time for the winter solstice, scientists may have figured out how short days can lead to dark moods. Two recent studies suggest the culprit is a brain circuit that connects special light-sensing cells in the retina with brain areas that affect whether you are happy or sad.

Together, the studies offer a strong argument that seasonal mood changes, which affect about 1 in 5 people, have a biological cause. The research also adds to the evidence that support light therapy as an appropriate treatment.

This article and audio can be found on NPR’s website, here.

Omikron /Getty Images/Science Source

Omikron /Getty Images/Science Source

Lack of sleep looks the same as severe anxiety in the brain


If you’ve ever found that a poor night’s sleep has left you feeling not only a bit groggy, but also on edge, you aren’t alone. People with insomnia have double the risk of developing an anxiety disorder, and 70 to 80 percent of people with clinical anxiety have trouble either falling or staying asleep. However, until now, how this relationship works in the brain was unknown.

This article can be found here.

For Kids With Concussions, Less Time Alone in a Dark Room


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a major new guideline on diagnosing and managing head injuries in children on Sept. 4, the product of years of work and extensive evidence review by a large working group of specialists in fields ranging from emergency medicine and epidemiology to sports injuries to neurology and neurosurgery.

The guideline, which is the first from the C.D.C. that is specific to mild brain injury in children, advises against the long recovery period, isolated in a dark, quiet room, that has sometimes been used in treatment.

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.


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).

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.