Stressful situations can cause anxiety, our body’s natural response to stress. But feelings of apprehension can also be accompanied by physical effects such as rapid breathing, increased heart rate and nausea. How our brain perceives these physical changes – in particular, breathing – could be key to better understanding anxiety disorders and treating them. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in Europe, affecting about 25 million people across the region.
Who hasn’t heard the statement that we only use 10 per cent of our brain? That listening to Mozart’s music makes you smarter or that most learning happens in the first three years of life? Or that a person who is “right-brained” is more creative? Another widespread idea is that we are either visual, auditory or kinesthetic (more sensitive to touch) and that we learn better according to these “styles.”
Which sleep stage is most important for learning: REM or non-REM? Does sleep improve learning by enhancing skills while people snooze, or by cementing those skills in the brain so that they’re less likely to forget them? Do these processes occur every time someone sleeps, or only after they have learned something new? The answer to these questions, according to a new study on visual learning, is all of the above.
Tension while waiting for test results, the fear of not making it, the feeling of being under pressure, apprehension - these emotional states often come with physical illnesses like backache, headache, nausea, tachycardia, tremors, difficulty breathing, dizziness. These illnesses, which vary in intensity and duration, are all associated with anxiety, which includes a variety of disorders. While there is no definite cure for anxiety, neuro-scientific research is making progress to develop new diagnostic tools and more efficient treatments.
A key biomolecule that enhances the repair of your gut lining by prompting stem cells to regenerate damaged tissue has been discovered by Monash University researchers. The study, published in Cell Stem Cell and led by Professor Helen Abud and Dr. Thierry Jardé from Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, investigated the environment that surrounds gut stem cells and used “mini gut” organoid methodology where tiny replicas of gut tissue were grown in a dish.
Oxytocin, the hormone that induces feelings of love and well-being within us, has been found to reverse some of the damage caused by amyloid plaques in the learning and memory center of the brain in an animal model of Alzheimer’s. One of the main causes of Alzheimer’s is the accumulation of a protein called amyloid beta (Aβ) in clusters around neurons in the brain, which hampers their activity and triggers their degeneration.
Psychiatric classifications catalogue the many forms of mental ill-health. They define what counts as a disorder and who counts as disordered, drawing the boundary between psychological normality and abnormality. In the past century that boundary has shifted radically. Successive classifications have added new disorders and revised old ones. Diagnoses have increased rapidly as new forms of human misery have been identified. The wider psychiatric classifications cast their net, the more people qualify for diagnoses and the more treatment is considered necessary.
Researchers at Queen’s University have established a method that, for the first time, can detect indirectly when one thought ends and another begins. Dr. Jordan Poppenk and his master’s student, Julie Tseng, devised a way to isolate “thought worms,” consisting of consecutive moments when a person is focused on the same idea. “What we call thought worms are adjacent points in a simplified representation of activity patterns in the brain.