Total 43 News Articles

  • 06 Jan
    eWellness Expert

    How emotion effect your Brain's creativity

    Brain creativity

    Emotional expression affects the brain's creativity network, says a new brain-scanning study of jazz pianists, adding that "happy" and "sad" music evoked different neural patterns in their brains.

    The workings of neural circuits associated with creativity are significantly altered when artists are actively attempting to express emotions, the researchers report.

    "The bottom line is that emotion matters. It can't just be a binary situation in which your brain is one way when you're being creative and another way when you're not," said senior author Charles Limb from University of California-San Francisco.

    "Instead, there are greater and lesser degrees of creative states, and different versions. And emotion plays a crucially important role in these differences," he explained.

    The team focused in a brain region known as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), which is involved in planning and monitoring behaviour.

    The researchers found that DLPFC deactivation was significantly greater when the jazz musicians improvised melodies intended to convey the emotion expressed in a "positive" image (a photograph of a woman smiling) than a "negative" image (photo of the same woman in a mildly distressed state).

    On the other hand, improvisations targeted at expressing the emotion in the negative image were associated with greater activation of the brain's reward regions
    "This indicates there may be different mechanisms for why it's pleasurable to create happy versus sad music," added first study author Malinda McPherson.


    For each musician, any brain activity data generated during these passive viewing periods, including emotional responses, were subtracted from that elicited during their musical performances.


    This allowed the researchers to determine which components of brain activity in emotional regions were strongly associated with creating the improvisations.


    Moreover, Limb said, the research team avoided biasing the musicians' performances with words like "sad" or "happy" when instructing the musicians before the experiments.

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  • 02 Jan
    eWellness Expert

    10 Alternate treatment of depression

     depression

     

    Depression, you're either going through it or you may know someone who is going through depression.

    Sadly, you are in-charge of your emotions and even though friends and family may try their best to brighten up your mood, but eventually you are the boss of yourself. Getting into depression is far easier than getting out of depression. But even though depression is a serious issue, there are solutions available and today we have listed 10 treatments for depression.

    Food for happiness
    When depressed people tend to eat or lose their appetite. But eating the right food is the way to go. Try having nuts, berries, dark chocolates, tomatoes, spinach, coconut, honey, whole grains, etc to pep up your mood. These foods can increase your endorphin levels which can make you happy.

    Quit smoking
    A 2008 study that surveyed 3,000 people found that while smokers had a 6.6 per cent risk of developing lifetime frequency of major depression; it was 2.9 per cent for non-smokers. The Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) survey revealed that about 70% of male habitual smokers and 80% of female habitual smokers had major depression.

    The study also established that 30% of smokers show some symptoms of depression.

    The root cause behind it is Nicotine! Acting as a stimulant it affects the release of neurotransmitters in the brain; consequently, the brain becomes so addicted to the drug that it no longer functions normally without it. After 20-30 minutes of smoking the last cigarette, nicotine withdrawal begins and this leads to anxiety, which is very closely related to depression.

    Exercise
    Researchers found patients who exercised an hour and a half to two hours per week had slightly lower depression scores, which in turn were tied to a reduced risk of re-hospitalizations and deaths related to heart problems.

    Avoid junk food
    Studies have shown that people whose diets include fried foods, processed meats, desserts and high-fat dairy have a higher chance of showing signs of depression. Besides bringing depression, junk food also makes you irritable and aggressive.

    But the study does not mean that you need to cut out junk food completely from your life. Depression, irritation and aggression creep in when you live off junk food very often. Eat junk food in moderation and strict portion control, coupled with a healthy overall eating plan, and you should be okay.

    Avoid late night and TV sessions
    Sitting in front of a computer or TV screen late into the night or leaving it on when you fall asleep could increase your chances of becoming depressed, according to a study by U.S. scientists.

    "The good news is that people who stay up late in front of the television and computer may be able to undo some of the harmful effects just by going back to a regular light-dark cycle and minimizing their exposure to artificial light at night," said researcher Bedrosian.

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  • 31 Dec
    eWellness Expert

    Declining dopamine may explain why older people take fewer risks

    older lady

    Older people are less willing to take risks for potential rewards and this may be due to declining levels of dopamine in the brain, finds a new UCL study of over 25,000 people funded by Wellcome.

    The study, published in Current Biology, found that older people were less likely to choose risky gambles to win more points in a smartphone app called The Great Brain Experiment. However, they were no different to younger participants when it came to choosing risky gambles to avoid losing points. It is widely believed that older people don’t take risks, but the study shows exactly what kind of risks older people avoid.

     

    The steady decline in risky choices with age matches a steady decline in dopamine levels. Throughout adult life, dopamine levels fall by up to 10% every decade.

    Dopamine is a chemical in the brain involved in predicting which actions will lead to rewards, and the researchers previously found that volunteers chose significantly more risky gambles to win more money when given a drug that boosted dopamine levels.

    “As we age, our dopamine levels naturally decline which could explain why we are less likely to seek rewards,” explains lead author Dr Robb Rutledge (UCL Institute of Neurology and Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research). “The effects we saw in the experiment may be due to dopamine decline, since age was associated with only one type of risk taking and mirrored the known effects of dopamine drugs on decision making. Older people were not more risk-averse overall, and they didn’t make more mistakes than young people did. Older people were simply less attracted to big rewards and this made them less willing to take risks to try to get them.”

    The experiment involved 25,189 smartphone users aged 18-69 who played a game in The Great Brain Experiment smartphone app that involves gambling for points.* In the game, players start with 500 points and aim to win as many points as possible in thirty different trials where they must choose between a safe option and a risky 50/50 gamble.

    In the ‘gain’ trials, players can either choose a guaranteed number of points or a 50/50 chance of winning more points or gaining nothing. The ‘loss’ trials are the same in reverse, where players can lose a fixed number of points or gamble with a chance of losing more points or nothing. In the ‘mixed’ trials, players can choose zero points or to gamble with a chance of either gaining or losing points.

    On average, all age groups chose to gamble in approximately 56% of the loss trials and 67% of the mixed trials. In the gain trials, 18-24 year olds gambled in 72% of trials and this fell steadily to 64% in the 60-69 age group.

    This study also involved mathematical equations which allowed the authors to make specific predictions for how loss of dopamine would affect decision making.

    “A loss of dopamine may explain why older people are less attracted to the promise of potential rewards,” says Dr Rutledge. “Decisions involving potential losses were unaffected and this may be because different processes important for losses are not affected by ageing.

    “Political campaigners often frame voting decisions negatively, for example saying that UK households would be £4,300 worse off if the UK decides later this month to leave the EU rather than £4,300 better off if the UK decides to remain part of the EU. They already know that negative messaging helps to persuade older people, whereas a more optimistic approach that emphasizes large potential rewards might appeal more to younger people who are less likely to vote. Our new findings offer a potential neuroscientific explanation, suggesting that a natural decline in dopamine with age might make people less receptive to the positive approach than they would have been when they were younger.”

    Dr Raliza Stoyanova, from the Neuroscience and Mental Health team at Wellcome, which funded the study, says: “This study is an excellent example of the use of digital technology to produce new and robust insights into the workings of the brain. Smartphone apps allowed the researchers to capture decision-making outside of typical ‘lab’ settings, and to reach more people from varied backgrounds than is typically possible.

    “It will be exciting to see what else the data generated from the Great Brain Experiment will reveal about risk and decision-making, as well as other complex brain processes like memory and attention.”

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  • 31 Dec
    eWellness Expert

    Study finds that our level of wisdom varies depending on the situation

    woman thinking

    Photo credit: Micah Esguerra

    While we may think of some people are consistently wise, we actually demonstrate different levels of wisdom from one situation to the next, and factors such as whether we are alone or with friends can affect it, according to new research from the University of Waterloo.

    The study defines wise reasoning as a combination of such abilities as intellectual humility, consideration of others’ perspective and looking for compromise. The work appears in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

     

    “This research does not dismiss that there is a personality component to wisdom, but that’s not the whole picture,” said Professor Igor Grossmann, from the Department of Psychology at Waterloo and lead author of the paper. “Situations in daily life affect our personality and ability to reason wisely.”

    The observation that wise reasoning varies dramatically across situations in daily life suggests that while it fluctuates, wisdom may not be as rare as we think. Further, for different individuals, only certain situations may promote this quality.

    “There are many examples where people known for their critical acumen or expertise in ethics seem to fall prey to lack of such acumen or morals. The present findings suggest that those examples are not an anomaly,” said Grossmann. “We cannot always be at the top of our game in terms of wisdom-related tendencies, and it can be dangerous to generalize based on whether people show wisdom in their personal life or when teaching others in the classroom .”

    By examining conditions and situations under which people may or may not show wisdom in their lives, researchers and practitioners may learn more about situations promoting wisdom in daily life and recreating those situations.

    For the next stage of this work, Grossmann and his team are preparing a tool to assess wisdom according to the situation. They have plans to conduct the first-ever longitudinal study aiming at teaching people to reason wisely in their own lives.

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