Brain and Behavior

ADRA2B: The Genetic Variation that Determines Our Emotional Reactions


A new scientific study validates how truly awesome we are.

It's a tough world out there for a person who is super sensitive.

If you're a woman and you're sensitive, people think of you as being fragile or crazy. If you're a man and you're too sensitive, people might think you're weak or, god forbid, womanly.

But a recent study about the brains of sensitive people proves that there's nothing wrong with sensitive people, we're just programmed differently. In fact, our sensitivity is a great thing!

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Brain and Behavior

Neuroplasticity and Technology: How Our Brains Respond


Smartphones and other electronic devices have changed the way we communicate and the way we interact with the world. But to what extent can technology change us? Most importantly, can it change our brain?

When neurons communicate with each other they generate brain waves. These are the result of the synchronized rhythmic activity of thousands or even millions of neurons. There are different types of brain waves and they can be detected through electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings, each having a specific EEG pattern. Each type of brain wave is associated with different states of brain functioning.

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Brain and Behavior

How Complaining Can Alter Our Perception

It is intuitive that a negative attitude and constant complaining are bad for us, but can it really affect our brain? It turns out that there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that negativity can alter our perception of life by changing the connection of the neurons in our brain. This would then result in increased stress levels, which is linked to chronic diseases and mental health problems.

A common perception of complaining or “venting” is that people feel better after getting their emotions out. Contrary to popular belief, however, studies have shown that expressing negativity can be bad for the mood of both the complainer and the listener, and here we briefly discuss a few findings on how negativity can impact our well-being.
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Aging

A Look at How Our Brains Organize Memories Over Time


Research on the organization of our memory has long been a topic of fascination among neuroscientists given that this could lead to treatments for reversing cognitive impairments. Here, we review some recent findings on how memory is organized which show the importance of a coordinated “wave” of neuronal activity in spatial navigation, and the temporal nature underlying how linked memories are encoded.

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Brain and Behavior

Why I Prescribe Pokemon Go for My Patients

This week, the parent of one of my patients asked me about Pokémon Go. She was concerned with her child’s obsession and felt like this could lead to social or emotional problems.

Electronics, as with most things, are good in moderation -- but Pokémon Go isn’t your average video game. Unlike games that keep people glued to the couch, Pokémon Go requires people to get up, move around, and interact with others. What that means to me as a child psychiatrist is that it comes with a variety of health benefits. Exercise is as good for the brain as it is for the rest of the body. I’ve seen people walking, riding their bikes, and finding more excuses to get outside because of Pokémon Go.

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Anger

6 Tips for Cutting Off Contact with Narcissistic Family Members

Our family has the ability to frustrate us like no one else can. But what can you do when the family you were born into is not only frustrating, but cruel, condescending and downright abusive?

We all have our limits and if you were raised in a household where abuse or mental illness was part of everyday life for you, your willingness to tolerate your family’s bad behavior may be higher than most people’s.

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Brain and Behavior

Your Life: Are You Winning or Losing?

Many of us have given up on ourselves. We've given up on our ability to manage who we want to be and how we want to live. Modern life comes with a plethora of distractions. Abandoning the potential of our own lives has become the new normal.

I'd like to offer another way: viewing life as a poker game, with mindfulness as your poker face. One of the goals of mindfulness is to redirect us into the game of our own lives. Mindfulness can also help us be a little more playful when we've been dealt what we perceive to be a bad hand.

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Anxiety and Panic

Waiting for an Autism Diagnosis

Tommy was having trouble growing up.

He wasn’t talking at age 2. We waited it out for a bit, but, at 3, when he was still barely communicating, we sought out professional speech therapy. We found a great therapist at our local children’s hospital. With help, Tommy began to communicate more. The therapist worked on his vocabulary and eventually on one-step commands.

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Brain and Behavior

The Brain Has a Mind of Its Own

It doesn’t take an encounter with a bear or a threatening gun to trigger symptoms of the fight or flight response. I experienced similar phenomena when undergoing a consultation with a surgeon for an elective, life-altering surgery.

Her bedside manner exuded a cold, indifferent and detached attitude. With barely a glance at me, she entered the consulting room and settled into her chair. A few perfunctory questions and she did her due diligence by rattling off the risks involved with a robotic monotone that had been programmed into her. A few hasty and superficial parting words and the meeting ended abruptly.

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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: September 24, 2016


Well, it's finally fall, y'all!

Though my neck of the woods is still squeezing out every last drop of 90-degree weather it can.

If you're chilling at home like I am (and hey, even if you're not you can check them out later!), take a minute to catch up on the latest about a possible connection between internet addiction and mental health issues, how to cure your fear of flying, a new plan for schools to support students' mental health problems, and more.

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Addiction

Vulnerability Equates to Success

As a society, we tend to hide from being vulnerable. We are taught from an early age to be strong, be confident, to be anything but vulnerable. This thinking, however, is flawed. Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage. It is not weakness.

When we are vulnerable, we are showing courage. We are thinking with our brains while also using our intuition. We are creating change and learning to adapt. We are, in the best sense, living. So, if we are afraid of being vulnerable, are we afraid of truly living?

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