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ADHD and ADD

ADHD is Real (Like All Mental Disorders Are)

I recently came across the unintentionally funny op-ed piece by John Rosemond, a family psychologist known for his controversial views on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other childhood behavioral issues. In the piece, he laments how he was dis-invited from a recent speaking invitation because of his views.

In short, he says, "Those facts include that ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and bipolar disorder of childhood are not realities; rather, they are constructs."

Of course they are constructs. But so is nearly everything we've created to navigate human existence.

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Brain and Behavior

Subtle Tools of Unconscious Power

Embodied Cognition is a branch of neuroscience which explores the unconscious effects of touch (and other senses) on the mind and emotions.

Soft Things


Touching a "soft" article or texture has been linked to creating deeper states of kindness and social friendliness.1,2

Feeling a soft object (like a teddy bear) stimulates the motor cortex, which in turn stimulates the higher thought centers. The implications suggest that squeezing a rubber ball before (or during) a meeting, for example, could enhance a situation that requires social affiliation, relaxation, tolerance, or similar moods.
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Brain and Behavior

How Revisiting Your To-Do List Can Be a Good Thing

“We have to start putting ourselves on the to-do list.” – Giuliana Rancic

I don’t know about most people, but I’m an inveterate list-maker.

I have to-do lists for pending bills, lists for appointments for myself and separate ones for other family members, lists of groceries to buy at different stores, lists of deals to take advantage of, lists of birthdays, anniversaries and other important life events, lists of TV shows to record on the DVR, lists of new TV shows or movies to check out, lists of websites (so I don’t forget them or can’t retrieve them in case the computer dies), and so on.

Sometimes all these lists need a thorough cleaning. Translation: I find the best way to deal with them is to revisit each list.
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Brain and Behavior

Do You Know the Signs of Stress?

“Stress is an alarm clock that lets you know you’re attached to something that’s not true for you.” – Byron Katie

As a run up to the holidays, doesn’t it seem like everyone’s rushing around trying to cram too much into too little time? Crazed to find a parking space in an overcrowded lot, racing to get into the elevator before the door closes or hitting the door-close button so no one else can get in, exhibiting uncharitable, rude and potentially unhealthy behavior when trying to snatch the last sale item and so much more are all signs of stressed-out individuals.

Is it any wonder the commercials for antacids and headache pills proliferate this time of year? But what about really acknowledging you're stressed and doing something about it? Here are telltale signs to pay attention to:
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Brain and Behavior

Timing Is Everything: How to Produce Your Best Work

Producing high-quality work day after day is no small feat. When you use your brain on perpetual overdrive, you’re bound to hit productivity slumps where it feels like you’re fresh out of new ideas.
While there’s no shortage of tricks and tips to hack your way to more innovative thinking, timing is everything, says sleep doctor Dr. Micheal Breus, author of The Power of When. He believes working in sync with our body’s natural clock is the key to unlocking success to produce our best, most creative work.
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Brain and Behavior

Psychology Around the Net: November 4, 2017


This week's Psychology Around the Net covers artificial intelligence and psychiatry, a decline in teachers' mental health, how to continue making progress, and more.

Let's go!

Artificial Intelligence Is Here and It Wants to Revolutionize Psychiatry: Are we more comfortable sharing our true feelings and deepest secrets with a machine we assume won't (or at least at this point in time, can't) judge us or bring other uncomfortable consequences? Could artificial intelligence make a...
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Brain and Behavior

Smartphone-Based Interventions for Depression

Technology is rapidly advancing and more people are depending on it to stay in touch with friends, finding the quickest way to work or doing their weekly shopping. It is no surprise that people are turning to their smartphones to improve their mental wellbeing. There are many mobile applications available on smartphones that claim to improve your mental health, however not all mental health apps are created equal and it is important to know how to make sure the one you are using is truly helpful.

Joseph Firth and colleagues conducted the first meta-analysis of apps for depressive symptoms in October 2017, which was published in the
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Antidepressant

How I Dealt with Depression After Brain Surgery


Once again I was on the phone to my friend, sobbing. She’d put up with my tears every day since I left the hospital. Two or three daily meltdowns were the norm.

Many of my tears were over things that would have merely irritated me before: misplaced scissors, dirty socks in the middle of the living room, a brief computer glitch.

I have cavernous angiomas, tangles of malformed blood vessels, scattered throughout my brain. Two of them -- one larger than a golf ball in my right parietal lobe, and the other, smaller, in my brain stem -- had bled, and I underwent brain surgeries to remove them.
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Brain and Behavior

A Connection Between the Zika Virus and Curing Brain Cancer?


Not long ago, Zika virus was dominating headlines. A new infection was hardly ever heard about before then, yet is now affecting hundreds of thousands of people in Latin America, causing disfiguration and microcephalia in new-born babies. Microcephalia is caused by severe delayed and abnormal development of the brain, resulting in the range of intellectual disability, dwarfism, poor motor functions and speech. With no cure or even preventive vaccination available, many women in the most affected regions were reportedly considering postponing any planned pregnancies.

The virus was actually discovered back in 1947 in Zika forest in Uganda (and this is where its name comes from). The pathogen is related to better known viruses causing dengue and yellow fever. The disease is spread predominantly by one type of mosquito and was a rare occurrence until the epidemics of 2015–2016, when in Brazil alone well over 100,000 cases were reported. The disease caused particular concern as it coincided with the run-up to the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.
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Brain and Behavior

The Amazing Way Forgetting Helps Your Brain Function


The idea that forgetting is important for the proper functioning of the brain and memory may sound counterintuitive. However, forgetting is part of the process of memorizing, and it does not make us any less smart.

Research shows that our brain has active mechanisms for forgetting. Both storing and losing memories are important for selecting and holding the most relevant information.

Forgetting helps to get rid of outdated information. Forgetting the details also helps to generalize past experiences into specific categories and thus create appropriate responses to similar situations in the future.

Forgetting details helps us to remember what needs to be remembered. You cannot craft a good text without deleting and proofreading its parts. As the saying goes, it is the empty space between the notes that makes the music.
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ADHD and ADD

Smartphone Use in America: Is It Contributing to Cognitive Decline?

I may not be a genius, yet I do believe I possess critical thinking ability. While my refusal to allow myself to be hijacked by the siren song lure and promise of smartphone dependence and over-reliance, I recognize that I’m likely in the minority. Still, a growing body of scientific evidence points to the possibility that smartphones, despite their usefulness, may be culprits in the dumbing down of America. In short, smartphones may be making us dumber.

Already, I can hear the cries of outrage and imagine the flurry of protests. After all, smartphones have made our lives simpler, brought technology to our fingertips (literally), erased geographic boundaries, connected us in ways never possible, and so much more.
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