Summary of “How To Make Music A Useful Part Of Your Life Again”

It’s not “Music on, world off” it’s “Music off, life off.” We need stimulus.
When I brought that with me almost everywhere, the iPhone then made sure I literally had music locked and loaded 24/7.With each new device, music came closer, eventually never leaving our side.
With the advent of the iTunes Music Store in 2003, one by one, these barriers have fallen and enabled compulsive listening to thrive.
With an average battery life of around 8 hours and growing, music isn’t just free and always around, you can also press play and never pause.
While music isn’t exactly multi-tasking, whether it helps you focus depends heavily on what you’re listening to.
“Music is there to take us beyond the everyday, to transcend the ordinary and survey ourselves from a lofty height. Music reconnects us with our instinctual bodily selves when reason, logic and discipline are in danger of crushing us.”However, most of the time, staying in the realm of reason is exactly our job.
“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” - Bob MarleyThe Truth: Our Brains Never Stood A ChanceWe’ve all been to a wedding.
“Listening to music starts with subcortical structures - the cochlear nuclei, the brain stem, the cerebellum - and then moves up to auditory cortices on both sides of the brain.”The oldest part of your brain is the part that reacts first.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The science of Sad: understanding the causes of ‘winter depression'”

They suffer from a particular form of major depression, triggered by changes in the seasons, called seasonal affective disorder or Sad. In addition to depressive episodes, Sad is characterised by various symptoms including chronic oversleeping and extreme carbohydrate cravings that lead to weight gain.
“People who truly have Sad are just as ill as people with major depressive disorder,” says Brenda McMahon, a psychiatry researcher at the University of Copenhagen.
Around 10-15% of the population has sub-syndromal Sad. These individuals struggle through autumn and winter and suffer from many of the same symptoms but they do not have clinical depression.
Around 80% of Sad sufferers are women, particularly those in early adulthood.
In older women, the prevalence of Sad goes down and some researchers believe that this pattern is linked to the behavioural cycles of our ancient ancestors.
One particular hormone, melatonin, which controls our sleep and wake cycles, is thought to be “Phase delayed” in people with severe Sad, meaning it is secreted at the wrong times of the day.
Some populations appear to be particularly resilient to Sad, mostly notable in Iceland.
“Icelanders seem to be genetically protected from Sad,” Levitan says.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Be the Most Interesting Person in Any Conversation, According to Science”

Caroline Webb, the renowned economist, leadership coach, and author of How to Have a Good Day, has helped hundreds of organizations be more effective through behavioral economics, psychology, and neuroscience.
“If you go into a conversation and you’re thinking, ‘Oh, this person looks like a jerk,'” states Webb, “Then what your brain is going to make sure you notice is everything that confirms that they are a jerk. That’s confirmation bias.”
Webb says we need to be determined to find something interesting about the other person, something that you may have heard in the conversation that may be a fascinating fact or idea that you can follow up on with interesting questions of your own.
George Mason University psychologist Todd Kashdan, author of Curious?, states in Greater Good that “Being interested is more important in cultivating a relationship and maintaining a relationship than being interesting; that’s what gets the dialogue going. It’s the secret juice of relationships.”
Even if you’re nervous, Webb says being determined to find something interesting or fascinating in the conversation “Gets your brain more focused on rewards than threats.”
What’s interesting now is that the science is coming in and explaining, “Why is it that someone thinks you’re so amazing when you ask them a question about their views on a topic? Why do people love that so much?” It’s inherently rewarding for their brains.
By taking the initiative and making the conversation about the other person, you train the deliberate system in your brain to be activated in new social situations.
This selfless act of shining the spotlight on someone else first gives you the edge – making you the more interesting person in the room.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Steve Jobs Believed in Boredom”

“Every emotion has a purpose-an evolutionary benefit,” says Sandi Mann, a psychologist and the author of The Upside of Downtime: Why Boredom Is Good.
That’s how Mann got started in her specialty: boredom.
As Mann dived into the topic of boredom, she found that it was actually “Very interesting.” It’s certainly not pointless.
Boredom is the gateway to mind-wandering, which helps our brains create those new connections that can solve anything from planning dinner to a breakthrough in combating global warming.
“Scientifically, daydreaming is an interesting phenomenon because it speaks to the capacity that people have to create thought in a pure way rather than thought happening when it’s a response to events in the outside world,” said Jonathan Smallwood, who has studied mind-wandering since the beginning of his career in neuroscience, 20 years ago.
“Daydreaming is different from many other forms of distraction in that when your thoughts wander to topics, they’re telling you something about where your life is and how you feel about where it is. The problem with that is sometimes when people’s lives aren’t going so well, daydreaming might feel more difficult than it would be at times when their lives are going great. Either way, the point is that it does provide insight into who we are.”
Boredom, if defined just as the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest, overwhelmingly has negative connotations and should be avoided at all costs, whereas brilliance is something we aspire to-a quality of striking success and unusual mental ability.
Steve Jobs, who changed the world with his popular vision of technology, famously said, “I’m a big believer in boredom. … All the [technology] stuff is wonderful, but having nothing to do can be wonderful, too.” In a Wired piece by Steven Levy, the cofounder of Apple-nostalgic for the long, boring summers of his youth that stoked his curiosity because “Out of curiosity comes everything”-expressed concern about the erosion of boredom from the kind of devices he helped create.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why We Still Don’t Understand Sleep, And Why It Matters”

HLA-DQB1*0602 is pretty common – around one in four people in Europe boasts a copy – but it plays a key role in many cases of narcolepsy, and is present in 98% of those with narcolepsy and cataplexy.
What we now know about orexins also helps explain why losing just a few tens of thousands of cells should result in a disabling, multi-symptomatic disorder like narcolepsy – something that messes with wakefulness and sleep, body temperature, metabolism, feeding, motivation and mood.
Within just 15 years of the Cell publication by Mignot and colleagues that linked a loss of orexin to narcolepsy, Merck had received US Food and Drug Administration approval for suvorexant, a small molecule capable of getting through the blood-brain barrier and blocking orexin receptors.
“Narcolepsy has given us a thread we can pull on to unravel a lot about what underlies the systems that govern wakefulness and sleep.” In his career, Coleman has developed drugs to treat a range of different infections, illnesses and disorders, but the orexin system stands out.
“Wakefulness is a pretty central process for everybody, whether you are a healthy person or have narcolepsy or insomnia. It’s the most exciting thing I’ve had a chance to work on.” The applications of Belsomra may be wider still, with clinical trials proposed to investigate its potential to help shift workers sleep during the hours of daylight, improve the sleep of Alzheimer’s patients, help those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, combat drug addiction and ease human panic disorder.
I am delighted to see these developments, but the millions of us with narcolepsy are still hoping for a drug that could work in the brain to rouse rather than silence the orexin system.
While the symptoms of narcolepsy can vary wildly from one person to the next, the underlying pathology – the absence of orexins – is still the same.
Even more compellingly perhaps, the orchestrating role that the orexins play in the brain suggests the market for such a drug would go far beyond narcolepsy.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Dyslexia: scientists claim cause of condition may lie in the eyes”

French scientists claim they may have found a physiological, and seemingly treatable, cause for dyslexia hidden in tiny light-receptor cells in the human eye.
In people with the condition, the cells were arranged in matching patterns in both eyes, which may be to blame for confusing the brain by producing “Mirror” images, the co-authors wrote in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. In non-dyslexic people, the cells are arranged asymmetrically, allowing signals from the one eye to be overridden by the other to create a single image in the brain.
It offers a “Relatively simple” method of diagnosis, he added, by simply looking into a subject’s eyes.
As most of us have two eyes, which record slightly different versions of the same image, the brain has to select one of the two, creating a “Non-symmetry”.
In the newstudy, Ropars and colleague Albert le Floch spotted a major difference between the arrangement of cones between the eyes of dyslexic and non-dyslexic people enrolled in an experiment.
In non-dyslexic people, the blue cone-free spot in one eye – the dominant one, was round and in the other eye unevenly shaped.
In dyslexic people, both eyes have the same, round spot, which translates into neither eye being dominant, they found.
Dyslexic people make so-called “Mirror errors” in reading, for example confusing the letters “b” and “d”. “For dyslexic students their two eyes are equivalent and their brain has to successively rely on the two slightly different versions of a given visual scene,” they added.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Secrets of Sleep”

Sleep medicine has become a specialty, with fellowship training programs and clinics devoted to caring for those suffering from sleep disorders.
Some forty-seven million adults, according to the National Sleep Foundation, do not get a restorative night’s sleep.
Kryger, a professor at Yale Medical School, is a leader in the field of sleep medicine, and has treated more than thirty thousand patients with sleep problems during a career that spans four decades.
Meir Kryger, who tells the story of Joe in his book, has been working since the nineteen-seventies on a related condition, sleep apnea, in which a person’s airway closes during sleep, breathing stops, and, starved for air, the person awakens.
As we come out of slow-wave sleep, we go through a period of rapid-eye-movement sleep, or REM, one of the most commonly studied phases.
What is “Natural” when it comes to sleep? Reiss looks to the historian A. Roger Ekirch, who, in 2001, documented that in early-modern Europe and North America the standard pattern for nighttime sleep was “Segmented.” There were two periods, sometimes termed “Dead sleep” and “Morning sleep,” with intervals of an hour or more when the person was awake, sometimes called “The watching,” during which people might pray or read or have sex.
All of them lacked electricity and, he posited, occupied environments like those inhabited by early humans, so their sleep patterns most likely “Represented the truly natural way to sleep.” None of the tribes experienced segmented sleep, but daytime naps were important, especially during the summer months.
Reiss, a professor of English, is doubtless familiar with the many reflections on sleeplessness found in Shakespeare, whose Henry IV, conscience-stricken after seizing the throne, laments, “O sleep, O gentle sleep, Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frightened thee, that thou no more will weigh my eyelids down, and steep my senses in forgetfulness?”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “You Think With the World, Not Just Your Brain”

Among philosophers, biologists, and cognitive scientists, this nightmare is an exciting new field of study, known as embodied or extended cognition: broadly, the theory that what we think of as brain processes can take place outside of the brain.
The octopus has a bizarre and miraculous mind, sometimes inside its brain, sometimes extending beyond it in sucker-tipped trails.
Neurons are spread throughout its body; the creature has more of them in its arms than in its brain itself.
The body codes how the brain works, more than the brain controls the body.
The way in which the brain approaches the task of walking is already coded by the physical layout of the body-and as such, wouldn’t it make sense to think of the body as being part of our decision-making apparatus? The mind is not simply the brain, as a generation of biological reductionists, clearing out the old wreckage of what had once been the soul, once insisted.
Isn’t the phone, now, part of the physical structure of the brain?
Extended cognition promises to rip up the idea of a mind that lives only in the furrows of the brain, but it doesn’t always follow through.
The list will still do its work if you are dead. If we can accept that a grocery list is in some way thinking, is the part of the mental apparatus that remains lodged in the human brain really so central? The thought-capacity of objects is indifferent to whichever bit of brain is plugged into it.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Inside the Moonshot Effort to Finally Figure Out the Brain”

To overcome such limitations, Cox and dozens of other neuroscientists and machine-learning experts joined forces last year for the Machine Intelligence from Cortical Networks initiative: a $100 million effort to reverse-engineer the brain.
The MICrONS teams-one led by Cox, one based at Rice University and the Baylor College of Medicine, and a third at Carnegie Mellon-are each pursuing something that is remarkably comprehensive: a reconstruction of all the cells in a cubic millimeter of a rat’s brain, plus a wiring diagram-a “Connectome”-showing how every cell is connected to every other cell, and data showing exactly which situations make neurons fire and influence other neurons.
The first step is to look into the rats’ brains and figure out what neurons in that cubic millimeter are actually doing.
The proteins can be inserted into a rodent’s brain chemically, carried in by a benign virus, or even encoded into the neurons’ genome.
Then a team headed by Harvard biologist Jeff Lichtman cuts the brain into slices and figures out exactly how the neurons are organized and connected.
Next, at another lab down the hall, lengths of tape containing several brain slices each are mounted on silicon wafers and placed inside what looks like a large industrial refrigerator.
Each neuron, no matter its size, puts out a forest of tendrils known as dendrites, and each has another long, thin fiber called an axon for transmitting nerve impulses over long distances-completely across the brain, in extreme cases, or even all the way down the spinal cord.
There are two broad theories about what the feedback is for, says Cox, and “One is the notion that the brain is constantly trying to predict its own inputs.” While the sensory cortex is processing this frame of the movie, so to speak, the higher levels of the brain are trying to anticipate the next frame, and passing their best guesses back down through the feedback fibers.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How To Fall Asleep And Why We Need More”

How To Fall Asleep And Why We Need More : Shots – Health News “Human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent gain,” says sleep scientist Matthew Walker.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends an average of eight hours of sleep per night for adults, but sleep scientist Matthew Walker says that too many people are falling short of the mark.
The reason is this: We know that if I were to deprive you of sleep for an entire night – take away eight hours – and then in the subsequent night I give you all of the sleep that you want, however much you wish to consume, you never get back all that you lost.
It’s more than that, because it also turns out that they are trying to sleep off a debt that we have actually saddled them with by way of this incessant model of early school start times.
On how the quantity and quality of sleep decreases with age.
We need just as much sleep in our 60s, 70s [and] 80s, as we do when we’re in our 40s. It’s simply that the brain is not capable of generating that sleep, which it still needs, and the body still needs.
“I can have a cup of coffee after dinner and I fall asleep just fine, so I’m not one of those people that is sensitive to caffeine.” And that’s quite dangerous, because we also know that even if you can fall asleep, the depth of the sleep that you have when caffeine is swilling around within the brain is not going to be as deep anymore.
Once again, you’re not quite aware of how bad your sleep was when you had alcohol in the system.

The orginal article.