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Editorial Selections


Looking for an Edge: The Life of a Biohacker
KQED.ORG | 2016-08-25

In Silicon Valley there’s a growing community of biohackers — people who are trying to “upgrade” their bodies and minds. We asked biohacker Eric Matzner if we could film what he does every morning to increase his productivity. Here’s what he showed us.

11 Foods To Eat If You're Having Trouble Focusing Or Concentrating
BUSTLE.COM | 2016-07-25

No one food is magic (except maybe coffee), but if you eat the right balance of nutrients, you might be surprised at how much more alert you'll feel and how much info you can retain. If you want to improve your focus, concentration, and memory, try incorporating these 11 brain-boosting foods into your, and you might see a spike in your productivity.

Could Brain Training Prevent Dementia?
NEWYORKER.COM | 2016-07-23

Even as dozens of researchers, some funded by the National Institutes of Health and other reputable government agencies, continued to insist that the field was not the neuroscientific equivalent of desktop fusion or coffee colonics, the fact remained that no brain game, nor any drug, dietary supplement, or lifestyle intervention, had ever been shown in a large, randomized trial to prevent dementia. That was the case until today, when surprising new results were announced at the Alzheimer’s Association annual meeting, in Toronto.

Can zapping your brain be beneficial?
CBC.CA | 2016-07-20

"You only have one brain. Wait for the research to catch up with all the hype," Krause said.

Silicon Valley entrepreneurs turn to fasting and 'smart drugs'
MERCURYNEWS.COM | 2016-07-09

Woo and other entrepreneurs are using fasts and other tricks to "hack" their brain chemistry like they would a computer, hoping to give themselves an edge as they strive to dream up the next billion-dollar idea. Known by insiders as "biohacking," the push for cognitive self-improvement is gaining momentum in the Silicon Valley tech world, where workers face constant pressure to innovate and produce at the highest levels.

How to Plug In Your Brain
SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | 2016-05-01

The protocol Barbey has designed combines tDCS, nutrition, and cognitive and physical exercise in a comprehensive regimen with the potential to enhance everything from math skills to abstract reasoning. Through his work, he is probing the nature and structure of the human mind and, in the process, asking what it really means to be smart.

A Safe Drug to Boost Brainpower
SCIENTIFICAMERICAN.COM | 2016-03-01

It sounds like a Hollywood movie plot, but a new systematic review suggests that the decades-long search for a safe and effective “smart drug” (see below) might have notched its first success. Researchers have found that modafinil boosts higher-order cognitive function without causing serious side effects.

Seven Ways to Improve Your IQ
MENSHEALTH.CO.UK | 2016-02-09

We’ve consulted leading psychologists to provide seven simple steps to improve your IQ by a not-to-be-sniffed-at 17 points over just one week, and help you solve any problem life can throw at you. Except, perhaps, a punch from Klitschko

Why Nootropics Will Be Big Business In 2016
FORBES.COM | 2016-01-19

Depending on whose numbers you believe, the U.S. supplement industry is either a $12 billion or a $37 billion industry. That’s big by any standard. About half of all adults take some kind of vitamin. To date, food and health companies have mostly ruled the market. Now Silicon Valley is getting in on the action with something called nootropics, which could open a whole new market for tech entrepreneurs.

Your Friendly Guide to Nootropics
MOTHERBOARD.VICE.COM | 2015-11-23

Every morning, Steve Cronin kicks off his day with 15 minutes of mindfulness meditation. For breakfast, he mixes grass-fed organic unsalted butter, MCT oil, and organic coconut oil into his morning tea. He follows this up with a rotating regimen of smart drugs, or “nootropics” that he prepares and encapsulates himself.

Neuroscience


New Frontier for Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy Is Recovery From Stroke
WALL STREET JOURNAL | 2015-07-13

Many questions remain to be answered before DBS can become a clinically useful treatment. The biggest: Will its effects hold in humans? Promoting the formation of new neurons is probably harder in humans than in rats. To date, there isn’t direct evidence that electrical stimulation of the cerebellum will promote the formation of new neurons in humans, although that remains a possibility and a hope, says Dr. Machado.

Missing link found between brain, immune system
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA HEALTH SYSTEM | 2015-06-01

In a stunning discovery that overturns decades of textbook teaching, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist. That such vessels could have escaped detection when the lymphatic system has been so thoroughly mapped throughout the body is surprising on its own, but the true significance of the discovery lies in the effects it could have on the study and treatment of neurological diseases ranging from autism to Alzheimer's disease to multiple sclerosis.

New Alzheimer’s treatment fully restores memory function
SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE | 2015-03-18

Publishing in Science Translational Medicine, the team describes the technique as using a particular type of ultrasound called a focused therapeutic ultrasound, which non-invasively beams sound waves into the brain tissue. By oscillating super-fast, these sound waves are able to gently open up the blood-brain barrier, which is a layer that protects the brain against bacteria, and stimulate the brain’s microglial cells to activate. Microglila cells are basically waste-removal cells, so they’re able to clear out the toxic beta-amyloid clumps that are responsible for the worst symptoms of Alzheimer’s. [Sci Transl Med 11 March 2015 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaa2512]

What are the Unsolved Problems of Neuroscience?
DISCOVERMAGAZINE.COM | 2015-02-28

In an interesting short paper just published in Trends in Cognitive Science, Caltech neuroscientist Ralph Adolphs offers his thoughts on The Unsolved Problems of Neuroscience.

Day dreaming helps the mind in doing complex tasks later
INDIATIMES.COM | 2015-02-24

In an unanticipated finding, the present study demonstrated how the increased mind wandering behavior produced by external stimulation not only does not harm subjects' ability to succeed at an appointed task, it actually helps. Bar believes that this surprising result might stem from the convergence, within a single brain region, of both the "thought controlling" mechanisms of executive function and the "thought freeing" activity of spontaneous, self-directed daydreams.

How Can A Stroke Change Your Brain?
WGBHNEWS.ORG | 2015-02-20

When neuroanatomist Jill Bolte-Taylor felt her brain shut down during a stroke, she was more fascinated than panicked. Even though she spent eight years recovering, she's grateful for the stroke.

Pollution Damages Short Term Memory, IQ and Brain Metabolism
ZMESCIENCE.COM | 2015-02-12

City smog significantly lowers children’s IQ, while also raising the risk for Alzheimers disease. A new study has found that children living in highly polluted cities are at an increased risk for detrimental effects to the brain, including short-term memory loss.

The Coming Boom In Brain Medicines
FORBES.COM | 2015-02-11

Last year investors poured $3.3 billion into firms that are developing drugs for brain-destroying or psychiatric illnesses, more than in any of the last ten years, says NeuroPerspective. Some big drug companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Roche and Novartis, are finding ways to reinvigorate their efforts. New medicines for severe depression, psychosis and schizophrenia could reach the market within the next few years, and treatments for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and some forms of autism are a real possibility, too.

New Brain Decoder Could Boost Neuroscience Research
THEATLANTIC.COM | 2015-02-10

“I think what's exciting about this finding,” explains Turk-Browne, “is the idea that certain aspects of cognition like attention are only partly consciously accessible. So, if we can directly access people's mental states with real time fMRI, we can give them more information than they could get from their own mind.”

Protein linked to longevity and enhanced cognition protects against Alzheimer's symptoms
MEDICALXPRESS.COM | 2015-02-10

Scientists from the Gladstone Institutes and the University of California, San Francisco report in the Journal of Neuroscience that raising levels of the life-extending protein klotho can protect against learning and memory deficits in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Remarkably, this boost in cognition occurred despite the accumulation of Alzheimer-related toxins in the brain, such as amyloid-beta and tau.

Nootropics


Silicon Valley entrepreneurs turn to fasting and 'smart drugs'
MERCURYNEWS.COM | 2016-07-09

Woo and other entrepreneurs are using fasts and other tricks to "hack" their brain chemistry like they would a computer, hoping to give themselves an edge as they strive to dream up the next billion-dollar idea. Known by insiders as "biohacking," the push for cognitive self-improvement is gaining momentum in the Silicon Valley tech world, where workers face constant pressure to innovate and produce at the highest levels.

A Safe Drug to Boost Brainpower
SCIENTIFICAMERICAN.COM | 2016-03-01

It sounds like a Hollywood movie plot, but a new systematic review suggests that the decades-long search for a safe and effective “smart drug” (see below) might have notched its first success. Researchers have found that modafinil boosts higher-order cognitive function without causing serious side effects.

Why Nootropics Will Be Big Business In 2016
FORBES.COM | 2016-01-19

Depending on whose numbers you believe, the U.S. supplement industry is either a $12 billion or a $37 billion industry. That’s big by any standard. About half of all adults take some kind of vitamin. To date, food and health companies have mostly ruled the market. Now Silicon Valley is getting in on the action with something called nootropics, which could open a whole new market for tech entrepreneurs.

Your Friendly Guide to Nootropics
MOTHERBOARD.VICE.COM | 2015-11-23

Every morning, Steve Cronin kicks off his day with 15 minutes of mindfulness meditation. For breakfast, he mixes grass-fed organic unsalted butter, MCT oil, and organic coconut oil into his morning tea. He follows this up with a rotating regimen of smart drugs, or “nootropics” that he prepares and encapsulates himself.

Oxford University meta-study touts Modafinil as cognitive enhancer
HTTP://METRO.CO.UK/ | 2015-10-28

Professor Guy Goodwin, President of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology said ‘This overview suggests that, on current evidence, modafinil enhances cognition independent of its known effects in sleep disordered populations.

Modafinil: the future of neuroenhancement?
INDEPENDENT.CO.UK | 2015-08-27

Our new research reviewing the cognitive effects of the “smart pill” modafinil has found that it can improve the performance of healthy people on cognitive tasks, meaning it can be considered the first of these “neuroenhancement agents”. But, what is also clear is that we need to radically improve the way that we analyse the effect this kind of drug has on both healthy brains and wider society.

While collecting the data for our study, we were surprised by the methodology used by the studies we were examining. First, the total number of studies that focused on healthy people was very low, as was the number of people they each assessed – around 30 participants per study, on average. Second, many of the studies used cognitive tests that seemed inappropriate – tests normally used to assess cognitive defects in people with neuropsychiatric illness or neurological disorders. The problem with this is that healthy people perform very well in them without taking the drug – known in science as a “ceiling effect” – and so improvements in performance on a substance are harder, if not impossible, to detect.

Smart Regulation For Smart Drugs
TECHCRUNCH.COM | 2015-05-22

“For the modern mad men and wolves of Wall Street, gone are the days of widespread day drinking and functional cocaine use. Instead, in this age of efficiency above all else, corporate climbers sometimes seek a simple brain boost, something to help them to get the job done without manic jitters or a nasty crash. For that, they are turning to nootropics,” writes Jack Smith IV on the cover story for an April 2015 edition of the New York Observer.

‘Brain Drinks’ Might Make You Less Smart
WIRED.COM | 2015-01-22

The results really couldn’t be much worse for a drink with a brain logo that claims to be specially formulated to boost your focus and concentration. The investigating team led by Charles Walters concluded that they “cannot recommend NeuroSonic as a cognitive enhancer for their fellow college students.”

What’s The Truth About “TruBrain”?
DISCOVERMAGAZINE.COM | 2015-01-14

So what does piracetam do to you? truBrain seem to be noncommittal on that issue. Their above-quoted description makes no direct claims about piracetam’s efficacy. We’re told that it’s designed to boost memory, and may increase neurotransmission – but does it?

Are 'smart pills' the best way to stay sharp?
CNN.COM | 2014-12-11

"Where can you draw the line between Red Bull, six cups of coffee and a prescription drug that keeps you more alert," says Michael Schrage of the MIT Center for Digital Business, who has studied the phenomenon. "You can't draw the line meaningfully - some organizations have cultures where it is expected that employees go the extra mile to finish an all-nighter.

Diet


11 Foods To Eat If You're Having Trouble Focusing Or Concentrating
BUSTLE.COM | 2016-07-25

No one food is magic (except maybe coffee), but if you eat the right balance of nutrients, you might be surprised at how much more alert you'll feel and how much info you can retain. If you want to improve your focus, concentration, and memory, try incorporating these 11 brain-boosting foods into your, and you might see a spike in your productivity.

Are smartphones making our children mentally ill?
TELEGRAPH.CO.UK | 2015-03-21

She is emphatically not anti-internet, but rather anti- the negative side effects of it on our young. “It is battering our children’s brains. They have no times for the goodies in life – kindness, acceptance, conversation, face-to-face, nature, nurture. They need to find a sense of purpose by connecting with other people, not being on the Internet all the time.

Nurturing The Brain – Part II, Chocolate
BRAINBLOGGER.COM | 2015-02-28

The neurobiological effects of flavanols are believed to occur by direct promotion of neurogenesis through the expression of neuroprotective and neuromodulatory proteins which regulate neuronal function and brain connectivity. Flavonols, whose cardiovascular beneficial effects are well-known, may also improve blood flow and angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels) in the brain. Protective effects of long-term flavanol consumption have also been shown in animal models of normal aging, dementia, and stroke. Human studies have provided evidence for a positive effect of cocoa flavonoids on vision, cognition, learning, memory, mood, and reduced cognitive decline in aging and Alzheimer’s disease.

Resveratrol Not Only Good for the Heart but Halts Memory Loss As Well
GENEGNEWS.COM | 2015-02-05

Resveratrol has been widely touted for its potential to prevent heart disease, but Dr. Shetty and a team that includes other researchers from the health science center believe it also has positive effects on the hippocampus, an area of the brain that is critical to functions such as memory, learning, and mood.

The Emerging Field of Nutritional Mental Health
CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE | 2015-02-02

The current revolution is broader, consisting of the rapidly accumulating knowledge of how inflammation, microbiome imbalance (gut dysbiosis), oxidative stress, and impaired mitochondrial output affect brain function. Suitable interventions for fighting inflammation, restoring normal gut function, reducing oxidative stress, and improving mitochondrial metabolism incorporate lifestyle variables, including nutrients and probiotics.

What Is Bulletproof Coffee and Should You Be Drinking It?
THEFASHIONSPOT.COM | 2014-12-30

Darretta also points out that people may react very differently to Bulletproof coffee because the rate at which a person metabolizes caffeine (which you can find out with a test like 23andMe) will determine the impact caffeine has on your chances for heart disease. Your sensitivity to mold will have an impact on how much mycotoxins really adversely impact you, etc. Meaning that just because you read about someone else having an amazing experience drinking the coffee, it doesn’t mean that you will.

Spice up your memory
MONASH.EDU | 2014-11-18

Adding just one gram of turmeric to breakfast could help improve the memory of people who are in the very early stages of diabetes and at risk of cognitive impairment.

Omega-3s Could Curb ADD In Kids, And Most Americans Still Don't Consume Enough
MEDICALDAILY.COM | 2014-11-13

There have been literally thousands of studies analyzing and confirming over and over again how beneficial omega-3s are to the body. One of the most important findings was published in the DHA (docasahexaenoic acid) Oxford Learning and Behavior (DOLAB) study. In a double-blind randomized study, children were given either an omega-3 DHA or a placebo, and within 16 weeks parents reported a significant improvement in their child’s reading ability and behavior.

8 Foods that Benefit Your Brain
COSMOPOLITAN.COM | 2014-11-06

To help you keep your mind in tiptop shape, Stephanie Clarke and Willow Jarosh, registered dietitians and co-owners of C&J Nutrition, have shared their top eight foods to benefit your brain: Coffee, Walnuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Salmon, Whole Grains, Dark Chocolate, Avocado, and Water.

Rationing in World War 2 increased intelligence of Britons
TELEGRAPH.CO.UK | 2014-10-30

A study by the University of Aberdeen and NHS Grampian has found that children who grew up during the Second World War became far more intelligent than those who were born just 15 years before. Researchers think that cutting rich, sugary and fatty foods out of the diets of growing children had a hugely beneficial impact on their growing brains.

BrainTraining


Could Brain Training Prevent Dementia?
NEWYORKER.COM | 2016-07-23

Even as dozens of researchers, some funded by the National Institutes of Health and other reputable government agencies, continued to insist that the field was not the neuroscientific equivalent of desktop fusion or coffee colonics, the fact remained that no brain game, nor any drug, dietary supplement, or lifestyle intervention, had ever been shown in a large, randomized trial to prevent dementia. That was the case until today, when surprising new results were announced at the Alzheimer’s Association annual meeting, in Toronto.

Brain Training Exercise Gives Athletes 'Super Vision'
YAHOO.COM | 2015-05-15

As the players' ability to distinguish the contrast improved, the contrast in the grating got fainter and the task got harder. At the end of the task, the players' eyesight had improved by about 30 percent on a visual acuity test, and many of them reported subjective improvements in their vision, Seitz said.

For an Aging Brain, Looking for Ways to Keep Memory Sharp
NYTIMES.COM | 2015-05-11

Participants aged 60 to 85 who trained on the game for four weeks improved their ability to focus well enough to outscore untrained 20-year-olds, and they maintained the benefit for at least six months. Effects of the training transferred to other cognitive skills known to decline with age: sustained attention, divided attention and working memory, the researchers reported in the journal Nature. In addition, physical evidence of the benefit was demonstrated with electroencephalograph measurements of brain activity that indicate cognitive control.

What Science Tells Us About Brain Training Games
LIFEHACKER.COM.AU | 2015-05-08

Although practice makes perfect, any improvement is usually limited in its scope. So, practising the piano does not make you a better basketball player, but it might help your xylophone playing. However, playing basketball should have cardiovascular benefits that improve performance not only on the court, but also in the swimming pool. Likewise, gaming may help certain cognitive processes that have benefits beyond the particular game being played — but not in everything our brains do.

Brain Training: Eyeglasses help improve 'focus'
19ACTIONNEWS.COM | 2015-04-17

Mother and son developers, Lindsay and Devon Greco, say the glasses read brain activity. When you are fully concentrating, the lenses become lighter. The company says by working to keep the glasses clear, users train their brain to focus.

Brain-training, exercise, diet keep elderly mental decline at bay
REUTERS.COM | 2015-03-12

Older people at risk of dementia who follow advice on healthy eating, exercise and brain-training can slow down cognitive decline, particularly in their ability to organize and regulate thought processes, researchers said on Thursday.

What Science Really Tells Us About Brain Training Games
LIFEHACKER.COM.AU | 2015-03-09

So when scientists are measuring an individual’s behavioural performance via tests exploring explicit abilities and achievement (such as exams, essays and presentations — measures likely to occur in the classroom), they find brain-training programs are ineffective. However, when scientists are measuring the physical characteristics of an individual’s brain via physiologic imaging equipment (such as fMRI, EEG, and TMS — measures unlikely to occur in the classroom), they find brain-training programs are effective.

10 Best Brain Training Apps
TOMSGUIDE.COM | 2015-02-17

Many people spend a great deal of time in the gym working on our bodies, but can we say the same about our minds? Just like a healthy physical form, a healthy mind also needs to flex its mental muscles and get some exercise. In fact, there are studies that show playing puzzle games can help increase mental agility. Brain training apps combine the latest in brain science with puzzles and mind games in order to exercise your faculties. Check out 10 of the best brain training apps on Android and iOS devices below.

Don't Waste Your Money on "Brain Training" Schemes
IO9.COM | 2015-01-14

Brain training is, essentially, practice. It's hearing practice, noticing practice, problem-solving practice, memory practice, and attention practice. If a person gets these things in their life, there isn't really any need to train with a game. Brain-training, if it is thoroughly tested, could be valuable for people who need special help with one skill, or who don't currently have the time, resources, or energy to get out into the world. If, however, it gives someone an excuse to not engage in social, intellectual, or even physical activity, it can do exactly the opposite of what it promises.

High-Tech for Brain Training: Top 12 News in 2014
HUFFINGTONPOST.COM | 2014-12-31

Same as with physical fitness, maintaining if not enhancing brain fitness requires a holistic approach which includes mental novelty, variety and targeted challenge. Our routine-driven daily mental activities are simply not enough. One can achieve this in multiple ways: learning and practicing a new language, mastering meditation, rotating through complex professional assignments, volunteering to run a hiking or cycling club... and, also, understanding, navigating and using the emerging technology-enabled brain fitness toolkit at our disposal.

Meditation


Mindfulness May Make Memories Less Accurate
PSYCHOLOGICALSCIENCE.ORG | 2015-09-09

Mindfulness meditation is associated with all sorts of benefits to mental and physical well-being, but a new study suggests that it may also come with a particular downside for memory. The findings, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, show that participants who engaged in a 15-minute mindfulness meditation session were less able to differentiate items they actually encountered from items they only imagined.

Exercise, music and meditation: How to rebuild your brain after a stroke
EXPRESS.CO.UK | 2015-03-01

Listening to music is a little bit of magic for the brain, as countless studies have proved. Scientists believe it’s because music activates lots of brain regions at once – attention, memory, verbal, emotion and meaning. One study in Finland among stroke patients who listened to music every day for two months found they had better verbal memory and focused attention after the trial.

Long-term meditation tied to less brain loss
REUTERS.COM | 2015-02-16

The new study “adds a little bit more evidence to the idea that the brain has plasticity, and by practicing certain mental activities, such as meditation, we can see structural changes in the brain as a result,” he said.

Finding your zen on a smartphone
WIRED.CO.UK | 2015-01-01

When former monk Andy Puddicombe announced his idea to teach mindfulness with an app, his Tibetan Buddhist teacher was horrified. "I felt very unsure as well," says Puddicombe, cofounder of LA-based Headspace. "In the Tibetan tradition, there's an unbroken oral lineage from teacher to student of almost 900 years. There's a risk in scaling something like this, taking it out of its environment, diluting it."

Mind over matter, brain alone can tone muscle
BREITBART.COM | 2014-12-24

New research suggests muscles respond to simple thoughts of exercise; simply imagining exercise can trick the muscles into delaying atrophy and even getting stronger. It’s further proof that brain and body, which evolved together, are more intwined than separate.

Evan Thompson’s ‘Waking, Dreaming, Being’
NYTIMES.COM | 2014-12-19

[Book Review] Thompson argues that these contemplative practices are relentlessly empirical. “In the yogic traditions,” he writes, “meditation trains both the ability to sustain attention on a single object and the ability to be openly aware of the entire field of experience without selecting or suppressing anything that arises.”

Man behind meditation app goes from monk to millionaire
TELEGRAPH.CO.UK | 2014-10-12

“I realised I felt more passionate about teaching meditation than I did about being a monk,” he explains, “and that being a baldheaded guy in a skirt presented considerable challenges in terms of making mediation more accessible.” Although Andy didn’t realise it at the time, this is when the idea of Headspace first took root.

Scientists Have Finally Proven What Yoga Lovers Have Known for Centuries
MIC.COM | 2014-07-03

It was a simple, but enlightening discovery: When scientists looked at the brains of expert meditators, they found some startling physical changes. Extra wrinkles (which in the case of the brain happens to be a good thing) lined the cortex, the outer portion of the brain responsible for complex thinking like abstraction and introspection. The hippocampus, the seahorse-shaped brain structures that help us process memories, was generally bigger and more dense.

This Practice May Boost Intelligence And Lower Stress By Re-Wiring Your Brain
HUFFINGTON POST | 2013-09-16

Meditation and mindfulness aren't just buzz words. A growing body of scientific research shows that the simple act of sitting still in thought confers long-term health benefits -- and even changes in brain function. What exactly have scientists discovered? Here are eight scientifically backed benefits to meditation....BENEFIT #1. Your mind gets stronger and faster. BENEFIT #2. Your brain's anatomy changes. BENEFIT #3. You process emotions differently....

What Happens to the Brain When You Meditate
LIFEHACKER.COM | 2013-08-26

Ever since my dad tried to convince me to meditate when I was about 12, I’ve been fairly skeptical of this practice. It always seemed so vague and hard to understand that I just decided it wasn’t for me. More recently, I’ve actually found how simple (not easy, but simple) meditation can be and what huge benefit it can have for my day to day happiness.

Meditation


Mindfulness May Make Memories Less Accurate
PSYCHOLOGICALSCIENCE.ORG | 2015-09-09

Mindfulness meditation is associated with all sorts of benefits to mental and physical well-being, but a new study suggests that it may also come with a particular downside for memory. The findings, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, show that participants who engaged in a 15-minute mindfulness meditation session were less able to differentiate items they actually encountered from items they only imagined.

Exercise, music and meditation: How to rebuild your brain after a stroke
EXPRESS.CO.UK | 2015-03-01

Listening to music is a little bit of magic for the brain, as countless studies have proved. Scientists believe it’s because music activates lots of brain regions at once – attention, memory, verbal, emotion and meaning. One study in Finland among stroke patients who listened to music every day for two months found they had better verbal memory and focused attention after the trial.

Long-term meditation tied to less brain loss
REUTERS.COM | 2015-02-16

The new study “adds a little bit more evidence to the idea that the brain has plasticity, and by practicing certain mental activities, such as meditation, we can see structural changes in the brain as a result,” he said.

Finding your zen on a smartphone
WIRED.CO.UK | 2015-01-01

When former monk Andy Puddicombe announced his idea to teach mindfulness with an app, his Tibetan Buddhist teacher was horrified. "I felt very unsure as well," says Puddicombe, cofounder of LA-based Headspace. "In the Tibetan tradition, there's an unbroken oral lineage from teacher to student of almost 900 years. There's a risk in scaling something like this, taking it out of its environment, diluting it."

Mind over matter, brain alone can tone muscle
BREITBART.COM | 2014-12-24

New research suggests muscles respond to simple thoughts of exercise; simply imagining exercise can trick the muscles into delaying atrophy and even getting stronger. It’s further proof that brain and body, which evolved together, are more intwined than separate.

Evan Thompson’s ‘Waking, Dreaming, Being’
NYTIMES.COM | 2014-12-19

[Book Review] Thompson argues that these contemplative practices are relentlessly empirical. “In the yogic traditions,” he writes, “meditation trains both the ability to sustain attention on a single object and the ability to be openly aware of the entire field of experience without selecting or suppressing anything that arises.”

Man behind meditation app goes from monk to millionaire
TELEGRAPH.CO.UK | 2014-10-12

“I realised I felt more passionate about teaching meditation than I did about being a monk,” he explains, “and that being a baldheaded guy in a skirt presented considerable challenges in terms of making mediation more accessible.” Although Andy didn’t realise it at the time, this is when the idea of Headspace first took root.

Scientists Have Finally Proven What Yoga Lovers Have Known for Centuries
MIC.COM | 2014-07-03

It was a simple, but enlightening discovery: When scientists looked at the brains of expert meditators, they found some startling physical changes. Extra wrinkles (which in the case of the brain happens to be a good thing) lined the cortex, the outer portion of the brain responsible for complex thinking like abstraction and introspection. The hippocampus, the seahorse-shaped brain structures that help us process memories, was generally bigger and more dense.

This Practice May Boost Intelligence And Lower Stress By Re-Wiring Your Brain
HUFFINGTON POST | 2013-09-16

Meditation and mindfulness aren't just buzz words. A growing body of scientific research shows that the simple act of sitting still in thought confers long-term health benefits -- and even changes in brain function. What exactly have scientists discovered? Here are eight scientifically backed benefits to meditation....BENEFIT #1. Your mind gets stronger and faster. BENEFIT #2. Your brain's anatomy changes. BENEFIT #3. You process emotions differently....

What Happens to the Brain When You Meditate
LIFEHACKER.COM | 2013-08-26

Ever since my dad tried to convince me to meditate when I was about 12, I’ve been fairly skeptical of this practice. It always seemed so vague and hard to understand that I just decided it wasn’t for me. More recently, I’ve actually found how simple (not easy, but simple) meditation can be and what huge benefit it can have for my day to day happiness.

Exercise


High-Intensity Interval Training And Brain Health
BRAINBLOGGER.COM | 2015-07-19

Physical inactivity is one of the top ten risk factors for poor health, being associated with an increased risk of premature cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Exercise, on the other hand, is known to benefit the brain by promoting angiogenesis (new blood vessel formation), neurogenesis, and synaptic plasticity, thereby improving cerebral blood flow and metabolism and counteracting age-associated cognitive decline and dementia.

Drumming Improves Quality of Life in Many Ways
HUFFINGTONPOST.COM | 2015-05-21

So just what is the science? When it comes to our health, drumming may:

1. Improve cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure, stress and anxiety levels, and blood lactate (lactic acid that can cause pain and inflammation). 2. Support brain health by enhancing executive function and improving callosal white matter microstructure in people, specifically in people with neurological conditions like Huntington's Disease. 3. Reduce pain by activating the production and release of feel-good endorphins in people playing music or drumming. Endorphins promote a sense of well-being, and can improve mood, boost immunity, and help us feel connected to others. 4. Reduce stress hormones by decreasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol. When cortisol levels drop, it can give the body's natural killer cells a boost, which in turn boosts immunity.

5 Ways Working Out Makes You Smarter
STACK.COM | 2015-04-01

Working out isn’t just good for the body, it’s good for the mind. Multiple studies have found that exercise has synergistic effects on brain power. Here are five ways that working out can make you smarter.

Power nap of just 45 minutes can boost memory five-fold
DAILYMAIL.COM | 2015-03-22

The scientists, from Saarland University in Germany, said that during sleep, bursts of brain activity known as sleep spindles play an important role in consolidating newly learned information.

Why It Should Always Be the Season for Exercise
HUFFINGTONPOST.COM | 2015-01-13

Although it may come as no surprise that exercise is good for your brain, we still do not have the metrics to guide optimal exercise for mental health. Today, the most common explanations for how exercise boosts mental health are that when we exercise we release endorphins that make us feel good and that exercise increases blood flow to our brains. Another explanation is that when we become more "physically fit," our brains become more fit. But the truth is that scientists still cannot fully explain the numerous mental health benefits of exercise.

Exercise can improve memory in 60-year-olds
MOLECULAR PSYCHIATRY | 2014-10-14

A new study, in which researchers from Karolinska Institutet participated, shows that physical activity can improve memory performance in older people through increasing volume and blood flow in an area of the brain called hippocampus. It is the first time these connections are being studied in people over 60 years of age. The results are published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Brain: Why exercise boosts IQ
BBC.COM | 2014-10-10

In the future, some researchers are looking into specially designed “exergames” that incorporate physical activity with cognitive training to give your brain the best possible workout; early results suggest that the sum is greater than the individual parts.

Why Walking Helps Us Think
THE NEW YORKER | 2014-09-03

Walking on a regular basis also promotes new connections between brain cells, staves off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age, increases the volume of the hippocampus (a brain region crucial for memory), and elevates levels of molecules that both stimulate the growth of new neurons and transmit messages between them.

CrossFit, neuroscience, surviving the zombie apocalypse: Is your workout a fraud?
SALON.COM | 2014-07-13

The major difference between the movements in this grown-up playground and the kind that happen at a conventional gym is the neurological elements of fitness: coordination, accuracy, agility, and balance. These capabilities require a knitting together of nerves and muscles and adaptations in the brain. They can only be acquired through practice, and are accelerated by coaching. They are entirely absent from the kinds of workouts that people do at gyms.

Taking a walk 'makes your brain grow'
DAILYMAIL | 2014-02-17

Researchers found that an energetic stroll three times a week increased the size of the hippocampus, the brain’s memory hub, which is one of the first areas to be destroyed by Alzheimer’s disease.

HardTech


Can zapping your brain be beneficial?
CBC.CA | 2016-07-20

"You only have one brain. Wait for the research to catch up with all the hype," Krause said.

How to Plug In Your Brain
SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | 2016-05-01

The protocol Barbey has designed combines tDCS, nutrition, and cognitive and physical exercise in a comprehensive regimen with the potential to enhance everything from math skills to abstract reasoning. Through his work, he is probing the nature and structure of the human mind and, in the process, asking what it really means to be smart.

Constantly checking your mobile phone can lead to 'cognitive failures'
INDEPENDENT.CO.UK | 2015-08-17

But whether the most digitally active people are more distracted because their excessive online activity makes them jittery or hyperactive, or whether it is the other way around – that they are more drawn to these activities because they naturally have short “attentional control” – is unclear at this stage, he says. Dr Hadlington does have a theory, however: that it is a mix of the two. In other words, those people already suffering from short attention spans are drawn to the distractions of modern technology, which makes it even harder for them to pay attention to their surroundings. His research has been published in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour. He is now working on research to answer this question more comprehensively and to look for ways to solve the problem.

Adventures in transcranial direct-current stimulation.
NEWYORKER.COM | 2015-04-06

This was my first experience of transcranial direct-current stimulation, or tDCS—a portable, cheap, low-tech procedure that involves sending a low electric current (up to two milliamps) to the brain. Research into tDCS is in its early stages. A number of studies suggest that it may improve learning, vigilance, intelligence, and working memory, as well as relieve chronic pain and the symptoms of depression, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, and schizophrenia. However, the studies have been so small and heterogeneous that meta-analyses have failed to prove any conclusive effects, and long-term risks have not been established.

The Electric Mood-Control Acid Test
TECHNOLOGYREVIEW.COM | 2015-03-12

A wireless signal from a smartphone app controls the frequency and intensity of the pulses, gradually changing them in five- to 20-minute long programs that Thync calls vibes. The amount of electricity it produces is small—once it’s set up properly, I can barely feel it. Yet Thync says it has a marked impact on key parts of a person’s brain. An energy vibe, the company contends, can make you feel as if you’ve just had a Red Bull or similar energy drink. The calm vibe—the one I just ran—is for “whenever you’re frustrated, anxious, or stressed.”

Is your satnav harming your brain?
DAILYMAIL.COM | 2015-03-02

Can't recall a friend's phone number? Press the speed dial on your mobile. Don't know the way to their house? Use a satnav. Modern technology has taken the strain off our brains with the answers to so many problems available at the click of a button. But is there a dark side to all this convenience? Growing scientific evidence suggests a future where our brains may prematurely fail in later life through under-use, thanks to Mother Nature's rule that we 'use it or lose it'.

Will 2015 Be The Year Our Smartphones Link Up To Our Brains?
POPSCI.COM | 2015-02-25

Thync bills itself first and foremost as a neuroscience company. Its sole product—slated for release later this year—is a smartphone-controlled wearable device that will allow the user to actively alter his or her brain’s electrical state through transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). The big idea: give users active influence over their brain chemistries, and therefore their moods, their anxiety, and even their mental productivity—an app that can conjure feeling of calm and tranquility or dial up a user’s attention and focus on demand.

Second blow to the head for effects of brain zapping
NEWSCIENTIST.COM | 2015-01-29

"Most studies have more than one outcome measure, such as accuracy, speed, errors made and so on," explains Horvath. And while one study may show, for example, improved accuracy on a memory task after tDCS but no effect on speed or errors, another memory study may show improved speed, with no effect on accuracy or errors. When put together they cancel each other out. This pattern played out in studies of memory, processing speed and mathematical ability, Horvath found.

Scientist Says tDCS Has No Effect
SPECTRUM.IEEE.ORG | 2015-01-21

Jared Horvath, a neuroscientist at the University of Melbourne, in Australia, looked at every study of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) that reported an impact on cognitive and behavioral activities .... He then excluded results that had not been replicated by other researchers.... While many of the more than 200 individual studies that remained claimed to have found significant effects, those effects disappeared after Horvath’s number crunching.

Electricity Could Boost Your Kid's Brainpower
KUOW.ORG | 2015-01-13

An Oxford University researcher will soon test whether applying an electric current to part of the brain can help children learn math — an effect previously demonstrated in adults. And some parents are eager to gain access to the device.