Tag Archive: cognition

Mar 11

TV Watching Leads to Impaired Cognition

How can we build up foundational, long-lasting healthy habits while young? We know it’s important—a perennial question, if not one we face day-to-day. By building those habits early on, we can set ourselves up for healthier living long-term, and place our children on a better track for a healthier, more positive adolescence and early adulthood. …

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Feb 10

Adult ADHD

Adult ADHD May Be Distinct From Childhood ADHD Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children may be distinct from and unrelated to ADHD in adults, according to a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry. It is long been understood that adult ADHD is the natural extension of childhood onset ADHD. In other words that adults with …

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Aug 17

MIND Diet Prevents Memory Loss

MIND Diet Prevents Cognitive Decline and Memory Loss

Researchers at Rush University have developed a diet (the MIND diet) that appears to be associated with significantly reduced cognitive decline in aging. The diet was developed from three sources of information: the Mediterranean diet (as elsewhere on this blog), the DASH diet for the prevention of hypertension, and a review of the literature on …

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Mar 23

Attentional Bias Modification Prevents Depression

Attentional Bias Modification

A middle-aged nurse wrestling with depression said she want to do “everything” that she possibly could to improve her mood. She doesn’t have access to therapy through her insurance, and she’s already vigorously pursuing mindfulness practice, but her request reminded me of an article I recently read on Attentional Bias Modification as both a possible …

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Jan 15

Sleep Deep Cleans Your Brain


Beep, beep, beep, beep! Snooze……Beep, beep, beep, beep! You open your eyes, roll out of bed and start wondering why you stayed up so late to watch another episode of your favorite TV series, play another video or computer game, or catch up with your friends, etc. We have busy and full lives, which results …

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Oct 03

Lithium, Bipolar and Creativity

A very talented writer who we’ve been seeing for about six months has noticed that her creativity seems to be way down. Creativity is a fundamental part of her view of herself. She is very upset. Her concern is that the lithium she has been taking might be the cause. However, she has been quite depressed …

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Sep 30

Cognition Enhancing Apps

An experimental computer program is associated with improved attention and working memory in people over age 60, even 6 months after training. Somewhat fuzzy-brained after a poor night of sleep I ran across this summary of a paper that was just published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature (Anguera JA et al., Nature 2013 Sep 5; 501:97). Where could …

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Sep 19

My Brain Isn’t Working

 Difficulties with cognition and focus are almost universal in folks with moods. In the scientific literature there have been attempts to distinguish between mood related problems and problems that tend to persist regardless of mood state. There is probably nothing that can more profoundly affect our brain’s ability to focus than an episode of depression …

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Jun 26

Know Your Body

Geneen Roth talks about how infatuated she was with her imperfections while growing up. She was constantly thinking of how much better looking she would be if she didn’t have certain features. If only she could cut out all the flaws, so just her best features would remain she could be happy.  Roth tried to …

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Feb 21


The New York Times recently published an intriguing article entitled “Relax, You Will Be More Effective.” It arrived at just the right time. Preparing for an upcoming vacation had made me particularly hectic. And then, while I was on vacation and writing this post, I got a blog post from MoodScope which was devoted to …

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Feb 18

Trickster Brain

If you want to figure out if something is true or not, you’re probably better off not going to a psychiatrist. Therapists really have no greater ability to decipher what the truth is than anyone else. On the other hand, if you go to see a decent, “good enough” therapist, with enough experience working with …

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Dec 29

Exercise and Brain Health

According to the Exercise and Brain Health: Good Points to Remember article in the December 27, 2012 issue of Bipolar Network News, “(…) exercise is extremely important in (…) helping to improve depressed mood, increasing cardiovascular fitness, and maintaining healthy cognition.” It is also suggested that aerobic fitness may increase the size of the hippocampus which in …

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Dec 20

Mindfulness in the News

A number of people called my attention to the December 15 NY Times The Power of Concentration article written by Maria Konnikova on the topic of mindfulness. As I read it, I noticed certain parallels with my December 8 2-Minute Meditation blog post, mainly that there is recent research that shows that as little as …

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Nov 14

Depression: “I Can’t Do This”

One of the things that we spend a lot of time thinking about is the “I can’t do that” process. How it is that someone can’t get out of bed, or take a shower, or any number of other things… It is actually a step forward often when the other person says, “I can’t do …

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Oct 22

Should or Could?

The idea for today’s post comes from a wonderful online resource for folks with moods –  MoodScope.com (they have an interesting mood tracker app and blog). They wrote about the power of changing a single word in one’s thoughts – going from I should do something, or I should have done something, to I could …

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Sep 14

Fallow Fields

Farmers will sometimes leave a field “fallow” – they won’t plant anything in it but rather let native plants grow in it – as a way of rejuvenating the land. Then when they do plant the field it is often very productive. We were talking with one of our clients this morning about the topic …

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Aug 12

Bipolar Brains

After years of trying, a group of researchers down at UCLA (led by Lori Altshuler) may have succeeded in identifying important changes in brain function that are associated with bipolar moods. They have found two specific areas of the brain that show pretty consistent changes associated with bipolar. One area (the orbitofrontal cortex) is generally …

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Jul 31


Getting things done can be a real struggle when you are experiencing low mood. When we are depressed, we lack the energy and sense of pleasure or mastery that makes it possible to get essential tasks done. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, we often postpone getting things done until we feel like doing them. …

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Jul 08

Self-Consciousness: You Can’t Fool Yourself

Many years ago we read a book by renowned social psychologist George Herbert Meade entitled Mind, Self and Society. In it Meade wrote about the origins of self-consciousness in childhood experiences. If you follow the development of children you notice that at first they act as though they and the world are one, with no …

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Jul 07

What Happens in Depression?

We were just getting ready to write a post about brain imaging findings that help to explain what happens in depression when we got the latest copy of the American Journal of Psychiatry and found an elegant meta-analysis (review of many other studies) that does much of the work for us. If you want to …

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