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1/30/15 Why Teens Are Impulsive, Addiction-Prone And Should Protect Their Brains
"We have a natural insulation ... called myelin," she says. "It's a fat, and it takes time. Cells have to build myelin, and they grow it around the outside of these tracks, and that takes years." This insulation process starts in the back of the brain and heads toward the front. Brains aren't fully mature until people are in their early 20s, possibly late 20s and maybe even beyond, Jensen says. "The last place to be connected — to be fully myelinated — is the front of your brain," Jensen says. "And what's in the front? Your prefrontal cortex and your frontal cortex. These are areas where we have insight, empathy, these executive functions such as impulse control, risk-taking behavior."

Music therapy reduces depression in children and adolescents

The prefrontal cortex


the prefrontal cortex is considered the most evolved portion of the human brain. Although it has many functions, goal management is its main business. The prefrontal cortex orchestrates attention, working memory, and other cognitive resources in order to help us get what we want. Located right behind the forehead, the prefrontal cortex is considered the most evolved portion of the human brain. Although it has many functions, goal management is its main business. The prefrontal cortex orchestrates attention, working memory, and other cognitive resources in order to help us get what we want. When we work, our prefrontal cortex makes every effort to help us execute our goals. But for a challenging task that requires our sustained attention, research shows briefly taking our minds off the goal can renew and strengthen motivation later on. Doing activities that don't rely heavily on prefrontal cortex function but rely on different brain regions instead, is the best way to renew focus throughout the work day.

  1. Every 20 minutes, stare at something 20 feet away, for 20 seconds.
  2. Sit alone, set an alarm for 10 minutes, take a deep breath and be patient. If you need a little help, try the website Do Nothing for 2 Minutes for a quick session.
  3. Take a 10 minute walk in nature or Look at some pictures of nature of nature or nature videos on your computer
  4. Laugh - Listen to a comedy podcast or a stream a comedy radio station

Nicholas Carr's The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. 3, 2010 Summary: The more distracted we become, the less able we are to experience the subtlest, most distinctly human forms of empathy, compassion, and emotion." Carr, however, fears the Internet will actually cause the brain to take its first step backward in centuries. Americans now spend 8.5 hours a day frenetically interacting with their PCs, TVs, or, increasingly, the smartphones that follow them everywhere. In the process, writes Carr, we are reverting to our roots as data processors. "What we're experiencing is, in a metaphorical sense, a reversal of the early trajectory of civilization: We are evolving from being cultivators of personal knowledge to being hunters and gatherers in the electronic data forest."
The book, an expansion of his 2008 article in The Atlantic.Our constant inundation with electronic stimuli, he argues, is actually changing the brains's wiring. We are also sapping our neurological ability to remember facts or pay attention long enough to fully digest what we read.
He cites enough academic research in The Shallows to give anyone pause about society's full embrace of the Internet as an unadulterated force for progress.

  • people watching a CNN news spot retained far more information without the headlines scrolling by at the bottom of the screen.
  • the more links there are in an article, the lower the comprehension of the reader.
  • our brains automatically overvalue information simply because it's new
  • Neuroscientist Michael Merzenich, says we are "training our brains to pay attention to the crap."
  • Brain & Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California found that while the brain's response to physical pain shows up immediately on neurological scans, people must pay attention for a longer time before their brain shows telltale signs of caring about someone else's pain
  • brain's working memory only has room for 2 - 4 items at a time
  • Can't keep up with a website packed with links, videos, and RSS feeds we become "mindless" consumers of data. This may also explain why sometimes it becomes harder to concentrate the longer you spend browsing the Web.
  • Twitter trains your brain to be even more distracted.
  • Internet Age is less likely than previous eras to produce Einsteins, Edisons, and Tolstoys. Such extraordinary people were not forever distracted from their work by 140-character bursts or incessant YouTube videos.
  • they owe their mastery, in part, to the difficulty of achieving it
  • Theodore Gray, co-founder of search engine provider Wolfram Research, There are a lot of people who think deeply." Thanks to the Internet, they are able to think more deeply about more things."
  • Ray Kurzweill, thinks Carr's argument is bunk. "We have many more people engaged in thinking and writing about issues than ever before. There are 200 million blogs in China alone—despite the censorship."

Stats Data: Ball State University; The Shallows; Nielsen

  • 8.5 Number of hours per day Americans spend interacting with a PC, TV, or smartphone
  • 30-40 Number of times per hour that American office workers check their e-mail
  • 2,272 Average number of monthly texts sent and received by American teenagers, fourth quarter 2008


That's the problem. . . I wasn't thinking!"

Highlights what parents, nurses, and others puzzle over when working with teens... is teen thinking different from that of adults? Do teens think about the same things as adults? How do these similarities and differences account for teen behaviors, attitudes, and health risks? Recent research has brought questions such as these and more to the attention of the public and to those who work with adolescents. This article will synthesize some of the research about the teen brain and discuss the nursing implications of these conclusions. Source

[ 2010 Drop Out Rate ] Does Culture Wire the Teenage Brain?
The teenage brain, like the teenage skull, is a work in progress. Its wiring is incomplete. The various parts of the brain are not yet working in the harmony (or well-tuned disharmony) which comes with adulthood. The research of Janet Werker and others indicates that culture plays an enormous role in the wiring of the infant brain. To what extent does culture and one's position in it, one's interests, occupation, or place in the hierarchy, guide the cerebral wiring which takes place during the teen years?
Skulls, by the way, are arranged in plates. These plates slide over each other, allowing the head to virtually fold like an accordion when the about-to-be newborn is pushed forcibly through a very tight place--the passageway leading from the womb to the outer world. Surprisingly, these skull plates are still not completely knit together when a young adult has reached the ripe old age of 25. It is not so shocking, then, that the brain too is a work still in the making when one is old enough to date and possibly to even pick a mate.

Multi Tasking
Myth Buster

Multi Tasking Teenagers and their Brains - It's a myth, they aren't doing it better or faster, in fact they are hurting their brains. Make them stop and do things one at a time. ~ OUCH!!

1990 - all the wired gagets didn't exist
2006 - in the past 15 years humans didn't change.
2010 - in the past 20 years humans still didn't change.
Jordan Grafman: Chief of the cognitive neuroscience section at the National Institute of Nwurological Disorders and Stoke (NINDS) thinks that decades of research shows that the quality of your output and depth of thought deteriorates as you do more and more things at the same time. You need mental downtime and to relax. The medial Parietal Lobes are active when you are not focused on a task. Brodmann's area 10 located in the anterior prefrontal cortex is used for multitasking. It helps you switch from one thing to the next thing then back to the first thing again. It is one of the first areas in your head to develop and one of the first to deteriorate as you age. Kids and folks over 60 don't multitask as well as the young adult. David E. Meyer director of the Brain Cognition and Action Lab @ the University of Michigan thinks the ability to multitask / process has it's limits even among the your adult. When peopole try to do 2 or more related tasks at the same time or go back and forth quickly between them errors go way way up and it takes longer often TWICE AS LONG.

Multi Task is a Myth The bottom line is you CAN'T simultaneously be thinking about something and do something else / do 2 things at once.

You will never ever be able to overcome the brain's limitations for processing information. Humans can't do it. Habitual multitasking may even result in a condition that your brain gets so overexcited that you can't focus even if you wanted to. If you lose that skill and your will to concentrate it's called MENTAL ANTSYNESS. Parents must set limits for children using their wired gadgets and time. Don't let them be so plugged in that you aren't doing what you would normally TOGETHER.

Defining Brain-Based Education

Let's start this discussion with a simple but essential premise: the brain is intimately involved in and connected with everything educators and students do at school. Any disconnect is a recipe for frustration and potential disaster. Brain-based education is best understood in three words: engagement, strategies, and principles. Brain-based education is the "engagement of strategies based on principles derived from an understanding of the brain." Notice this definition does not say, "based on strategies given to us by neuroscientists." That's not appropriate. Notice it does not say, "based on strategies exclusively from neuroscience and no other discipline." The question is, Are the approaches and strategies based on solid research from brain-related disciplines, or are they based on myths, a well-meaning mentor teacher, or "junk science"? We would expect an educator to be able to support the use of a particular classroom strategy with scientific reasoning or studies.

# about the brain

#brain based learning

#brain development

Brain Development Rate Linked to IQ 3/ 2006 By Robert Lee Hotz,1,5629531.story?coll=la-headlines-columnone

Smart children have a different rhythm in their heads -- a seesaw pattern of growth that lags years behind other young people -- say government scientists who mapped the brains of hundreds of children. Seeking a link between neural anatomy and mental ability, researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health and McGill University in Montreal discovered it where they least expected -- not in sheer brain size or special structures, but in the patterns of childhood growth. Brain development in children with the highest IQ peaked four years later than among average children, the researchers reported Wednesday in the journal Nature. "Smart children really do develop differently, and here is the first physical evidence of that," said UCLA neuroscientist Paul Thompson, an expert on imaging and brain development. "You'd think they'd develop faster and earlier than normal kids. The surprise is they don't." Philip Shaw at the NIMH child psychiatry branch and his colleagues periodically scanned the brains of 307 healthy children from age 5 to age 19. To monitor the living brains, they used magnetic resonance imaging, which can detect the anatomical differences between gray matter, composed of neurons and other brain cells, and white matter, composed of the nerves that connect them. They gauged intelligence by giving each child standard IQ tests. In general, every brain blossoms from a single cell in the womb, growing at a rate of 250,000 cells a minute until, by early childhood, it has more neurons and more connections between them than the average adult brain. Unused cells and synapses then atrophy and die. When the researchers analyzed their images, they discovered patterns of brain development that differed depending on the child's age and IQ. The scans revealed tell-tale waves of change that coursed through the brain's prefrontal cortex -- a thick wrinkled carpet of cells that orchestrates memory, attention, perceptual awareness, language, reason and consciousness. "The story of intelligence is in the trajectory of brain development," Shaw said. "What differs with intelligence is the rate of these changes." Among average children -- those with an IQ measuring 83 to 108 -- the growth of the cortex peaked at age 8, while among those with high intelligence -- rated with an IQ of 109 to 120 -- growth peaked at age 9. The smartest children -- those with IQs measuring 121 to 145 -- displayed a pattern of brain growth that peaked at age 11 or 12, the researchers said. The anatomical scans revealed that among the most intelligent children, the cortex displayed the most prolonged period of growth and the most rapid rate of change. The cortex also was thinner in early childhood, grew thicker, then thinned more rapidly. "There is something very dynamic about these brains," said Judith L. Rapoport, chief of the NIMH child psychiatry branch. "What the intelligent children have is a very malleable brain." By the teen years, however, the cortex could be seen to be thinning in all three groups and, by adulthood, the brains could no longer be distinguished by IQ differences, said NIMH brain imaging expert Jay Giedd. "Even though they end up at pretty much the same place, the shape of the [development] curve and the age at which they peak is very different between the three groups," he said. "We would have missed it if we had looked at adults." No single brain scan could reveal a child's IQ. The patterns only revealed themselves across a large group. The differences are measured in fractions of a millimeter of brain tissue that emerge over a decade or more. "These are tiny changes," Shaw said. "But in brain terms, it is a lot." No one knows whether such subtle developmental changes in the cortex are caused by the genes inherited from a child's parents, by the biochemical influences of life experience, or by the interplay of both. "It is tempting to assume that this developmental change in brain structure is determined by a person's genes," said psychologist Richard Passingham at the University of Oxford, who wrote a commentary accompanying the Nature paper. "But one should be wary of such a conclusion."

Inside the Brain: An Interactive Tour
The human brain is in many ways a fantastic and enigmatic part of the body, and only within the past few decades have scientists begun to understand its many nooks and crannies. When the brain is beset with any number of neurological conditions, it changes in a myriad of ways. This website, provided by the Alzheimers Association, provides an interactive tour of the brain of a person with Alzheimers disease. The tour contains sixteen interactive slides, and each slide contains informative text that provides background material. The first seven slides contain a bit of background information about the brain, such as what the brain is composed of and how it functions. Rounding out the site are a selection of links to sites that provide additional information on the brain, such as the Harvard University Whole Brain Atlas site and the BBCs Interactive Brain Map.

The Whole Brain Atlas has your brain in pictures... Keith A. Johnson, M.D. and J. Alex Becker, Ph.D. from Harvard. Each Whole Brain sub-page consists of a nifty graphic and plenty of medical terms. The folks at Harvard also display the visual results of brain ailments like stroke and Alzheimer's -- even Mad Cow Disease. The Whole Brain is one of the first (and best) examples of what the Web can do to help explain the human body.

Take a Classical Intelligence IQ Test
This IQ test measures several factors of intelligence, namely logical reasoning, math skills and general knowledge. It also measures your ability to classify things according to various attributes, and to see analogies and relations among concepts or things. It doesn't take into consideration verbal, social, or emotional intelligence.

Take a Culture-Fair IQ Test

Reawakening the creative mind
Australian scientists say they have created a 'thinking cap' that will unleash creativity. The invention raises the possibility of being able to unlock one's inner genius by reawakening dormant parts of the brain.

Comment from:
Dr. Neil Greenberg, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
This work emerged from an interesting place run by an interesting guy. Allan Snyder said "When I have an idea, I try to make it vivid enough so that an experimentalist might realise it in a laboratory and then the technologists might grab it," he says. "I get the answer and get out. I'm not a competent experimentalist so why try to do it." According to comments made after he received the 1997 Australia Prize, after attention for key work on the development of optical fiber, he was recruited to head a unit at the Australian National University in Canberra. He said he loves the creative freedom the job provides and went on to say, "Our society gives more kudos to those who implement ideas, especially if they make money from it, whereas the person who had the idea is generally forgotten. That's why I'm delighted to have won the Australia Prize. . . . It's a triumph for the Institute of Advanced Studies at the ANU that a dreamer can be allowed to prosper."
In the review biographies of Australia Prize winners, Snyder characterized the brain is the ultimate non-linear device. "We don't passively look onto the world," he says. "Signals actually change the neural connectivity of our brain as they go in." The work on non-linear science has prompted Snyder's latest passion: the mind and how it works. He was recently appointed foundation director of the ANU's Centre for the Mind and says he has big things planned for the Centre. -- this was in 1997. The Centre has some distinguished scientists, scholars, & personalities identified as Fellows, but their website has a highly commercial flavor.

'Brain atlas' maps out how the human mind works 2003
At the University of California in Los Angeles, from data collected from the analysis of over 7,000 brains by a team across six countries over the past nine years an International team of scientists unveils the world's first "brain atlas". Neurologists and researchers will be able to access a database via the internet that offers extremely detailed three-dimensional images of the workings of the brain at a microscopic level. The images have the potential to transform neurosurgery by allowing doctors to plan operations through maps that show how each area of the brain is used for vital tasks from memory to speech. 2009 update

Dr. Pat Goldman-Rakic was the first researcher to chart the frontal lobe of the brain, the executive center responsible for personality, reasoning, planning, insight and other high-order cognitive functions. Located behind the forehead, the frontal lobe was once regarded as inaccessible to rigorous scientific analysis. But Dr. Goldman-Rakic used various techniques -- drugs, electrical impulses, behavioral responses and other methods -- to explore and describe its structure.

Birth Of A Notion: Master Planners In Brain May Coordinate Other Areas' Roles In Cognitive Tasks Full Text at the Washington University School of Medicine
Scientists have used data from scans of 183 subjects to identify brain areas that consistently become active in a variety of cognitive tasks, such as reading, learning a rhythm or analyzing a picture. These brain images point out the areas most consistently active during a variety of cognitive tasks.
If the brain in action can be compared to a symphony, with specialized sections required to pitch in at the right time to produce the desired melody, then the regions highlighted by the new study may be likened to conductors, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis assert.
"They appear to be helping to determine which brain regions will contribute to a cognitive task and when those regions will play a part in that task," says lead author Nico Dosenbach, an M.D./Ph.D. student. "Every time you move from not working on a task to working on a task, these areas seem to become active."
The study, published in the June 1 issue of Neuron, highlighted three regions, the dorsal anterior cingulate and the left and right frontal operculum. The cingulate is found near the midline of the top of the brain; the opercula are at the base of the brain in both the left and right hemispheres.
"For years, when you looked at maps of what different parts of the brain do, the opercula have often been blank," notes senior author Steven Petersen, Ph.D., James S. McDonnell Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience; professor of neuroscience, of neurobiology and of radiology; and associate professor of neurological surgery. "We have been struggling to figure out what they do, and now these data suggest the opercula may be involved in the creation of what neuroscientists call a task set."
Task sets are plans for accessing different parts of the brain to achieve a goal, such as reading the word "dog," coming up with verbs associated with the word "dog" or determining the color of the letters in the word "dog."
Much of the human brain's power derives from what Petersen calls "flexible configuration of processing systems," or the ability to take one stimulus and process it in different ways to produce different feedback. Different parts of the brain have specialized abilities that can contribute in various ways to completion of different tasks. They just have to be lined up to play their part when their abilities are needed.
Other neuroscientists previously have implicated the cingulate in a variety of specialized cognitive tasks, Dosenbach notes, but the new analysis may change their thinking.
"It's a question of whether the cingulate has specific contributions to make in all these tasks, or whether it plays such a very basic role that its participation is almost always required," he explains.
The researchers' theories are reinforced by akinetic mutism, a condition that occurs in patients who suffer a lesion from stroke or surgery that includes the cingulate. To varying degrees, such patients are minimally active.
"If you give them a cup of coffee, they'll drink it, but they'd never ask for a cup of coffee," Petersen explains. "If you ask them how they are, they'll tell you, 'I'm fine,' but they won't tell you a story."
"They seem to have problems voluntarily entering a task state," Dosenbach says. "They can do tasks with very explicit instructions, but are much less proficient at what's called random generation tasks, such as coming up with random words. So there is some other evidence that the cingulate really is an important contributor to task sets."
The analysis was based on data from eight separate functional brain imaging studies conducted over the course of five years. According to Petersen, the volume of data provided by the different studies was essential to making sure that the areas highlighted in the analysis were contributing at a very basic level, rather than at the specialized level of a particular task.
"Some neuroscientists were certain what we should have found with this analysis, and they were concerned when we didn't find what they expected," he says. "But it's a huge dataset, and the results were very clear."
For example, one brain area thought likely to be active in creating task sets, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, did not become active as consistently as the cingulate and the opercula.
"We're not implying that this region isn't important," Petersen says. "In this study, though, it just didn't come up as consistently as the cingulate and the opercula."
Although many of the tasks in the eight studies were language-related (reading a word or naming verbs associated with a given noun, such as "bark" for "dog"), some were not. Subjects in one study had to tap their fingers in time to a rhythm. Another group had to judge the orientation of lines. A third group was asked to match short graphic squiggles. The non-linguistic tasks produced the same results, according to Petersen.
Petersen and his colleagues plan follow-up studies to further understand the roles of the cingulate and the opercula in creating task sets and to see if these regions have similar roles in children of various ages. They are also planning to use a new type of functional brain imaging to look at the connections between other brain areas and the cingulate and the opercula.
Dosenbach NUF, Visscher KM, Palmer ED, Miezin FM, Wenger KK, Kang HC, Burgund ED, Grimes AL, Schlaggar BL, Petersen SE. A core system for the implementation of task sets. Neuron, June 1, 2006.


Definition of Multiple Intelligences

Synesthesia providing valuable clues to understanding the organization and functions of the human brain when the senses--touch, taste, hearing, vision and smell--get mixed up instead of remaining separate. Magic
- Mushrooms Create a Hyperconnected Brain
Psilocybin may create a brain state akin to synesthesia


Brain cells between your left eye and ear control the powers of language, social graces and reasoning. In general, the left hemisphere of the brain controls language, memory and emotional control, while the right side is dominant in visual and musical ability. Dr. Miller began to think of the left side of healthy brains as a bully, suppressing the creative instincts of the other side."I've wondered whether this dominant hemisphere which shapes our linguistic perceptions of the world may in some ways dampen our visual ways of thinking, which is, I think, at the core of great art," he says.

Play Brain Games


UCLA press release, researchers Matthew Lieberman and Naomi Eisenberger have discovered the true source of a "broken heart" and "hurt feelings".
Their study involved a multiplayer game while the subjects were in an fMRI. Some participants were occasionally excluded, unbeknownst to them, to provide a feeling of being a social outcast. The MRI showed activation of areas of the brain commonly associated with physical pain.

Pathways of emotion - from cortex to peripheral organs - source
Researchers from Boston University have unravelled the neural pathways that transmit information about your surroundings to your organs, enabling them to respond appropriately. Neurons originating in high-order brain structures transmit signals about the environment relatively directly to low-order structures in the spinal cord. There is just one structure in the middle - the hypothalamus. The pathway then connects to autonomic nerves, which originate in the spinal cord, to regulate organ function. Helen Barbas, the research team leader, says: "The existence of these pathways has implications for several psychological conditions. For example, these pathways may be excessively active in anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and obsessive-compulsive disorder - conditions in which the emotional experience is extreme relative to the situation. Similarly, these pathways may be abnormally inactive in psychopathic individuals, who lack appropriate emotional responses." Other research in humans has implicated the prefrontal cortex in these conditions. When this area is damaged, patients lack emotional propriety and do not show the changes in heart rate and the skin responses that normally accompany emotional arousal.


Patch of brain put to sleep Local snoozing makes for better learning By Tanguy Chouard 6/04
A good night's rest is hard work for parts of your brain, say US neuroscientists. Regions related to learning show increased activity in sleepers who spent their evening mastering a new skill, they say. The discovery shows that sleep is valuable for consolidating new information and is not a simple 'standby' mode. Local brain processing during the night led to new skills being more firmly cemented, the research indicates.
Giulio Tononi of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his colleagues measured electrical brain signals in subjects who learned a simple computer game before going to sleep. The kind of activity that occurs during sleep was increased in a penny-sized region in the brains of slumbering subjects who had learned the game. Just playing the game did not have this effect. The researchers conclude that sleep falls on brain circuits that have been changed, not just used, during the day. And someone with more of such activity in this area, which is in the top right hemisphere, tends to perform better in the morning, they report in a paper published online by Nature. This is the first time that waking behaviour has been shown to affect a specific part of the human brain during slumber. "It's a very elegant study," says Robert Knight, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley.

Night shift

When the brain goes to sleep, its nerve cells synchronize their firing to generate a pattern called slow-wave activity (SWA). SWA characterizes the long periods of deep sleep, which are interrupted by short bouts of rapid eye movement when dreaming occurs. Sleep specialists know that SWA somehow reflects a need to rest. Someone who has been awake for a long time will display more pronounced SWA at the beginning of the night. "But the real questions are: what is it in you that really needs to rest, and what for?" says Tononi. "Is it your whole body or just the brain cells that had something special to do during your day?" If SWA is needed by local brain regions, he reasoned, one should be able to increase SWA locally as a result of a specific task. He points out that some animals, such as dolphins, can send the two halves of their brain to sleep independently, and carry on regardless.