Have a Headache? You Probably Don’t Need a Brain Scan

March 28th, 2014 by MacLean Fitzgerald

s-BRAIN-SCAN-largeIt was recently reported that for every 8 American patients who see a doctor about a headache, 1 of those patients gets a brain scan done as part of the medical evaluation. The problem? Almost all of these scans are medically unnecessary, yet they cost a total of over $1 bilion per year. As well, brain scans expose patients to harmful radiation and can lead to further unnecessary tests.

Looking at … read more

Knitting May Alleviate Depression and Anxiety, Make You Happier

March 27th, 2014 by Marghi Merzenich

knitting_000A new study from Britain has found that knitting may offer some benefits for the brain. The results are very early, but more studies are underway and scientists hope to find further evidence that knitting and other craft activities can help alleviate depression and anxiety and increase happiness.

There is a growing body of evidence that creative hobbies can be good for happiness and well-being, but this … read more

Use Your Smartphone Before Bed? You May Be Less Productive the Next Morning

March 20th, 2014 by Karen Merzenich

smart phone sleepingIf you’re like me, you may find yourself using your smartphone to answer work emails right before going to bed. But I may try to break that habit, as new research has found that using a smartphone at night can make you less productive the next day at work!

Two recent studies found that people who use their smartphones after 9:00 PM have more trouble sleeping and feel “more tired and less engaged” at work the … read more

Is PTSD Contagious?

March 19th, 2014 by Marghi Merzenich

military coupleYou have probably heard of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – but are you aware that it can be contagious? Studies have shown that people close to those suffering PTSD, like military spouses, may experience a condition known as Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder (STSD) from repeatedly hearing about catastrophic events from a loved one.

A study from 2011 found that combat-related PTSD is linked with higher … read more

In Honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Here Is a Very Green Brain Teaser

March 17th, 2014 by MacLean Fitzgerald

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In honor of March 17th, I wanted to share a cool optical illusion that’s all about being green.

Take a look at this image. You probably see a blue and yellow spiral with a lime green and turquoise spiral going through it. Right?

image 1

Not exactly. In fact, the lime green and turquoise spiral are both… wait for it… the exact same color of green. By making everything else black, … read more

Why Does Brain Speed Matter, and What Can I Do to Improve It?

March 12th, 2014 by Michael Merzenich

brain speedI just saw an article in Scientific American about why brain speed is important, how it decays as we age, and what the effects are on daily life over time. But this is nothing new: we have been talking about brain speed for years!

Some highlights from the article include:

“Studies suggest that the speed of information processing changes with age… such that our thinking speeds up from childhood to adolescence, maintains a period of … read more