Summary of “We Are Letting Brain-Damaged Patients Die on a False Assumption”

Thirty-two percent of patients with severe brain injury die in hospitals, and 70 percent of these do so as a result of life-sustaining treatment being withdrawn, often within a few days of their injury, and long before their prognosis is certain.
The ability to distinguish CMD from vegetative patients could save lives worth living.
For these reasons, asking CMD patients if they want to die is a non-starter for the foreseeable future.
According to the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York, 95 percent of vegetative patients are cared for in long-term care facilities, at a cost of £90,000 per patient, per year.5 The life expectancy for a young adult vegetative patient one year after injury is roughly 10.5 years, meaning their lifetime cost of care would be roughly $1,250,000.
If functional neuroimaging develops to the point where it can be used to reliably distinguish patients who retain consciousness from those who will remain in a vegetative state permanently, it could spare us the enormous expense of keeping alive patients who have no hope of benefiting from extra years of life.
If early detection of consciousness can be linked to recovery, functional neuroimaging could also help doctors and families in making the difficult decision to treat a severely brain injured patient, or allow them to die.
Currently, fMRI is not a part of standard care for patients with severe brain injury.
Mortality associated with withdrawal of life-sustaining therapy for patients with severe traumatic brain injury: A Canadian multicentre cohort study.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Scientists found brain’s internal clock that influences how we perceive time”

Now, a team of Norwegian scientists has confirmed the mechanism the brain uses to make sense of the passage of time as we experience something, thanks to the help of a chocolate-loving lab rat.
Manmade clocks may precisely measure time from a human perspective, the passage of time is remarkably fluid.
Isolate yourself from any markers of time and you will feel less time has passed than actually has, because under those circumstances, the brain condenses time.
How the brain fixes the timing of the events we experience depends on episodic memory.
Our time tracking system has to be flexible because the perception of time depends on context.
How your brain records the passage of time when you are engaged in a mundane repetitive task like playing Solitaire will be different from how it does so if you are experiencing Thai food for the first time.
“The time signal became more precise and predictable during the repetitive task.” They were seeing the changing shape of time in response to different experiences.
“We have found an area with activity so strongly relating to the time of an event or experience, it may open up a whole new research field,” he said.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Your Brain Can’t Let Go of a Grudge”

Feuds seem to be an indelible aspect of the human condition, but why should this be? We spoke to the experts to find out why we love to hold a grudge, and the importance of letting go.
In neurological terms, it involves several brain structures, including the substantia nigra, a midbrain area involved in reward; the ventral tegmental area, a structure that produces and transmits dopamine; the ventral striatum, which is associated with reward, reinforcement, and compulsion; and the prefrontal cortex, the front part of our brain, which, among many other things, helps us to work toward a defined goal.
Michael McCullough, a professor of psychology at the University of Miami, said grudges, and the desire for revenge or absolution, are directly related to goal-seeking and the desire to satiate a craving.
There’s a lot more going on in the brain during a feud than just cravings; in order to have a grudge, we must ruminate, which, in addition to taking up a lot of our time, requires a lot of brain power.
In 2012, McCullough published a followup study showing that cortisol levels linked to an interpersonal conflict decrease when we make conciliatory gestures toward the person who hurt us; forgiveness can be a very powerful thing-even within the circuits of the brain.
A 2005 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that holding a grudge and dwelling on anger is particularly harmful because it increases aggression over extended periods of time-even toward people who have nothing to do with the feud or grudge.
So while carrying a grudge may seem productive or somehow useful, it actually holds us back.
Remember this the next time you’re mired in a feud that seems illogical and unreasonable, and yet you just can’t let go.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Fight insomnia: Here’s how to sleep better”

So he decided to write a book about how to sleep better.
Nicholls surveyed the latest medical research on sleep, interviewed many of the researchers involved, and underwent intense sleep therapy to treat his own condition.
Henry Nicholls The simplest thing is to work on something called “Sleep stability,” which is very common advice in insomnia clinics and something my physician, Dr. David O’Regan, recommended as part of my cognitive behavioral therapy course for insomnia.
Children need much more sleep, teens still need a lot of sleep, and, as an adult, you’re probably looking at somewhere between six and nine hours of sleep in order to be healthy.
A lot of people get obsessed with this goal of getting eight hours of sleep every single night, and because they’re someone who just doesn’t need that much sleep, or they can’t reliably sleep that long, they get anxious about it and that actually creates issues with insomnia.
I’m not a physician, so I can’t give advice about which medications to take and when, but the consensus among the specialists I spoke to was that you should try to get your sleep stability right first, and make sure that you’re getting consolidated sleep and not waking up all the time.
Sean Illing Is bad sleep better than no sleep? In other words, is it better to just get up and do something productive rather than lying in bed for hours frustrated about not being able to fall asleep?
Sleep specialists have established that staying in bed while you’re anxious or not sleeping is one of the most common contributors to chronic insomnia, because it trains the brain and creates bad associations.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to sleep better”

So he decided to write a book about how to sleep better.
Nicholls surveyed the latest medical research on sleep, interviewed many of the researchers involved, and underwent intense sleep therapy to treat his own condition.
Children need much more sleep, teens still need a lot of sleep, and, as an adult, you’re probably looking at somewhere between six and nine hours of sleep in order to be healthy.
A lot of people get obsessed with this goal of getting eight hours of sleep every single night, and because they’re someone who just doesn’t need that much sleep, or they can’t reliably sleep that long, they get anxious about it and that actually creates issues with insomnia.
What did the sleep specialists you spoke to say about people using melatonin or other over-the-counter or prescription meds to help with sleep?
I’m not a physician, so I can’t give advice about which medications to take and when, but the consensus among the specialists I spoke to was that you should try to get your sleep stability right first, and make sure that you’re getting consolidated sleep and not waking up all the time.
Sean Illing Is bad sleep better than no sleep? In other words, is it better to just get up and do something productive rather than lying in bed for hours frustrated about not being able to fall asleep?
Sleep specialists have established that staying in bed while you’re anxious or not sleeping is one of the most common contributors to chronic insomnia, because it trains the brain and creates bad associations.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Skim reading is the new normal. The effect on society is profound”

My research depicts how the present reading brain enables the development of some of our most important intellectual and affective processes: internalized knowledge, analogical reasoning, and inference; perspective-taking and empathy; critical analysis and the generation of insight.
Research surfacing in many parts of the world now cautions that each of these essential “Deep reading” processes may be under threat as we move into digital-based modes of reading.
In this hinge moment between print and digital cultures, society needs to confront what is diminishing in the expert reading circuit, what our children and older students are not developing, and what we can do about it.
If the dominant medium advantages processes that are fast, multi-task oriented and well-suited for large volumes of information, like the current digital medium, so will the reading circuit.
Many readers now use an F or Z pattern when reading in which they sample the first line and then word-spot through the rest of the text.
When the reading brain skims like this, it reduces time allocated to deep reading processes.
The possibility that critical analysis, empathy and other deep reading processes could become the unintended “Collateral damage” of our digital culture is not a simple binary issue about print vs digital reading.
We need to cultivate a new kind of brain: a “Bi-literate” reading brain capable of the deepest forms of thought in either digital or traditional mediums.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What happens when you spend a year using science to improve your brain”

Neuroplasticity is real – that is, the brain really can change and learn and improve based on experience.
“So,” wondered science journalist Caroline Williams, “If brain training isn’t the way to apply it, what should we be doing?” Williams is the author of My Plastic Brain: One Woman’s Yearlong Journey to Discover if Science Can Improve Her Mind.
One of the poster children for neuroplasticity are the London taxi drivers, and studies show that as taxi drivers learn to navigate the streets and memorize the routes, the hippocampus – the part of the brain that does spatial navigation – gets larger.
I spent weeks and weeks trying to improve my navigational skills using wearable technologies and afterward, I got put into a brain scanner and they did an fMRI while I was pretending to navigate.
It’s like, I’m short and no amount of thinking I should be taller is going to help and it might be the same way for some parts of the brain.
There are things out there that try to blind people with complicated words, like a particular app that claims to improve your focus by playing specific music that gets your brain waves working in a particular way.
Most generic brain training apps, games, puzzles and so on are still not going to be that helpful, or do anything that wouldn’t happen by just having a conversation or doing something interesting you enjoy.
It’s not going to be something like, “I’m going to work on my hippocampus now.” That’s not going to be very useful to the average person, but you might be able to work to different brain zones or states.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Consciousness Studies Show Human, Macaque Brains Flicker Every 4 Seconds”

To understand these “Rhythms of attention,” Fiebelkorn suggests imagining standing in Times Square on New Years’ Eve, surrounded by people, cars, and music.
The scene presents far more sensory information than one human brain is capable of sorting through, and so, the brain deals with all of the information in two ways.
Like a filmstrip, the brain takes snapshots of these moments and pieces them together into a cohesive narrative, or “Perceptual cycle.”
It feels continuous because our brains have filled in the gaps for us, explains Berkeley’s Knight Lab researcher and first author Randolph Helfrich, Ph.D. to Inverse.
“Because when we look at brain data we see a pattern that waxes and wanes, they’re never constant and stable. Everyone perceives the world as continuous and coherent, but the real tricky part is, how does the brain do that?”.
The teams behind both studies analyzed data from both human and macaque brains during a series of tasks to understand how the brain stitches together a coherent narrative when it’s only got snapshots to work with.
About four times every second, the brain stops taking snapshots of individual points of focus – like your friend on the corner in Times Square – and collects background information about the environment.
Without you knowing it, the brain absorbs the sound of the crowd, the feeling of the freezing December air – which it later uses to stitch together a narrative of the complete Times Square Experience.

The orginal article.

Summary of “To Remember, the Brain Must Actively Forget”

Past theories about forgetting mostly emphasized relatively passive processes in which the loss of memories was a consequence of the physical traces of those memories naturally breaking down or becoming harder to access; those engrams may typically be interconnections between brain cells that prompt them to fire in a certain way.
Now researchers are paying much more attention to mechanisms that actively erase or hide those memory engrams.
It involves a certain subset of cells in the brain – which Ronald Davis and Yi Zhong, who wrote the paper that introduced the idea, casually call “Forgetting cells” – that degrade the engrams in memory cells.
Previous studies have shown that neurogenesis can be important to the formation of new memories: In tests on lab animals, drugs that inhibit neurogenesis in the hippocampus can interfere with new memory formation, and drugs that enhance neurogenesis seem to help with learning new tasks if they are given before the learning process.
If the added neural wiring overlaps with the circuitry holding older memories, it may damage the older engrams or make it harder to isolate the old memories from newer ones.
Frankland’s explanation is that older memories are less sensitive to this effect because the brain gradually transfers important memories from the hippocampus to the cortex for long-term storage.
The pair, who have been studying how sea slugs form memories for a decade, recently switched their attention to the neurobiology of how the animals forget.
Even after a week – a significant part of a sea slug’s one-year lifespan – the brain is still not back to the way it was before it acquired the memory.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The brain may clean out Alzheimer’s plaques during sleep”

In one landmark experiment, Holtzman toyed with mice’s sleep right when the animals’ brain would normally begin to clear A-beta.
Researchers from Germany and Israel reported in 2015 in Nature Neuroscience that slow-wave sleep – the deep sleep that occupies the brain most during a long snooze and is thought to be involved in memory storage – was disrupted in mice that had A-beta deposits in their brains.
At the study’s start, participants answered questions about their sleep quality and received brain scans looking for plaque deposits.
People who reported excessive daytime sleepiness – a telltale sign of fitful sleep – had more plaques in their brains to start with.
“Five percent from one night of sleep deprivation is far from trivial.” And while the brain can likely recover with a good night’s sleep, the question is: What happens when sleep deprivation is a pattern night after night, year after year?
Flow of cerebrospinal fluid in a mouse’s brain is much higher during sleep than when the animal is awake.
Using data from almost 2,500 people in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, researchers at the New York University School of Medicine found that people with sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea showed signs of mild cognitive problems and Alzheimer’s disease at younger ages than those who did not.
“If we find out that sleep problems contribute to brain amyloid – what that really says is there may be a window to intervene,” Bendlin says.

The orginal article.