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. In fact, the habits we …

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 ADHD began as children with …

MIND Diet Prevents 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 the effects of specific dietary components …

Attentional Bias Modification Prevents Depression

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 treatment of depression and as …

Memory and Cognitive Problems

Memory and/or cognitive problems are the rule rather than the exception in people with mood disorders1. There are a number of reasons for this and figuring out the best approach to these problems is tricky. Mood episodes (episodes of mania, hypomania or depression) appear to be harmful to the brain. Studies find that those with the largest number of episodes …

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 I test drive this application, …

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 or mania. These functional brain …

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 reach self improvement through shaming …

WorkSurfing

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 the importance of taking regular …

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 people, he or she might …

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 turn decreases risk factors for …

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 do something. Give it a …

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 less activated in bipolar, no …

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 apparent sense of others (especially …