Summary of “There’s a Dark Side to Meditation That No One Talks About”

We’ve all heard about the benefits of meditation ad nauseam.
In addition to calming the mind and body, meditation can also reduce the markers of stress in people with anxiety disorders.
This demanding and sometimes intensely distressing side of meditation is rarely mentioned in scientific literature, says Jared Lindahl, a visiting professor of religious studies at Brown University, who has an interest in neuroscience and Buddhism.
Along with Willoughby Britton, a psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry at Brown, the two meditators have co-authored a study that documents and creates a taxonomy for the variant phenomenology of meditation.
To conduct their research, the pair interviewed 60 Western Buddhist meditation practitioners who had all experienced challenging issues during their practice.
They included both rookies and meditation teachers, many of whom had accumulated more than 10,000 hours of meditation experience in their lifetime.
Most would not imagine that these side-effects could be hiding behind the lotus-print curtains of your local meditation center.
Who runs into the unexpected hurdles? What are the unique set of factors involved? In which ways do teachers assist students who are struggling? The answers, which still require future research, may one day be relevant to the ways meditation is used as therapy.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How “Useless” Science Unraveled an Amphibian Apocalypse”

At the time, chytrids were about as obscure as a topic in science can be.
Only a handful of people had even heard of chytrids, and fewer still studied them.
Almost overnight Longcore went from obscurity to the scientific center of an amphibian apocalypse.
Longcore happened to know about chytrids because her mentor at the University of Michigan, the great mycologist Fred Sparrow, had studied them.
Much yet remained to be learned-just in the course of her doctoral studies, Longcore identified three new species and a new genus-and to someone with a voracious interest in nature, chytrids were appealing.
“Had I not been studying the ‘useless’ chytrids,” she says, “We wouldn’t have known how to deal with them.” Her research has been crucial-not only the initial characterization, but also her understanding of the systematics and classification of chytrids, which helped provide a conceptual scaffold for questions about Bd: Where did it come from? What made it so strange and so terrible? Why does it affect some species differently than others?
Timothy James, a mycologist at the University of Michigan and longtime collaborator with Longcore, says she’s trained “Countless” other scientists to work with Bd; the chytrid library she keeps in her lab is a global resource.
Lessons learned from the chytrid outbreak have been applied to them and will be applied to future outbreaks, of which there will assuredly be more: For some unknown reason, fungal diseases appear to be emerging faster than other types, and they’re becoming more destructive than they historically were.

The orginal article.

Summary of “and how to avoid its effects”

The effects of a healthy, acute stress reaction are mostly temporary, ceasing when a stressful experience is over, and any lasting effects can sometimes leave us better than we were before.
Many of the players in the stress response have so-called “Non-linear dose-dependent actions” meaning their effects change course with prolonged activity.
In the first study of its kind, Ivanka Savic and colleagues at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and Stockholm University recently compared the brains of people suffering from work-related chronic stress to those of healthy, less stressed counterparts using structural magnetic resonance imaging techniques.
To establish whether chronic stress was simply correlated to the changes or had caused the changes in the stressed individuals, the researchers scanned their brains again after a three month-long stress-rehabilitation program based on cognitive therapy and breathing exercises.
Chronic stress has been linked to hypertension and in a small, randomised trial, US researchers, including Lynn Clemow at Columbia University Medical Center, used stress management training to effectively lower systolic blood pressure in patients with hypertension.
The perceptual element of stress may be the reason some mind-body interventions such as yoga, breathing techniques and focused-attention meditation can benefit stress management through effects on improving emotional regulation, reducing stress reactivity and speeding up recovery after stress.
Our dietary habits modify the micro-organisms living in the digestive tract and these micro-organisms, through cross-talk with immune cells and other routes, can influence how the mind reacts to stress.
Early results suggest taking either a single strain or a combination of probiotics may reduce mental fatigue and improve cognitive performance during stress – but not in the absence of stress.

The orginal article.

Summary of “We’ve Reached Peak Wellness. Most of It Is Nonsense.”

Emotional: Don’t Hide Your Feelings, Get Help When You Need It. Another big issue with what passes for modern-day wellness is that it creates the impression that everyone is happy all the time and that you should be, too.
A recent poll from the market research company YouGov found that 30 percent of millennials say they feel lonely and 22 percent said they have zero friends.
People with fit mindsets tend to overemphasize their initial feelings, search for perfection, and quit when the going gets tough.
An app called Track Your Happiness has allowed thousands of people to report their feelings in real time.
A study published earlier this year in JAMA Network Open found that people without a strong life purpose-defined as a sense of feeling rooted in your life and taking actions toward meaningful goals-were more than twice as likely to die between the years of the study compared with people who had one, even after controlling for things like gender, race, wealth, and education level.
The work of Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, has shown time and time again that experiencing awe-watching a beautiful sunset, listening to moving music, witnessing a master at their craft-leads to self-transcendence and feelings of spiritual connection.
Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure, and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you.
On a macro level, ask yourself these questions: Do I live in a place that feels unlivable? Does my commute totally suck my soul? I’m aware that I’ve got a lot of privilege to suggest moving geographically, but the kind of move I’m suggesting is one away from crazily expensive, competitive, and congested cities.

The orginal article.

Summary of “11 Simple Ways to Improve Your Memory”

Whether you want to be a Jeopardy! champion or just need to remember where you parked your car, here are 11 things you can do right now to turn your mind from a sieve into a steel trap.1.
Studies have shown that 8 seconds is the minimum amount of time it takes for a piece of information to go from your short-term memory to your long-term memory.
A different study found that women who kept fit over six months significantly improved both their verbal and spatial memory.
Studies have found that the processes your brain goes through while you’re asleep actually help you remember information better the next day.
Large, bold fonts may actually hurt your ability to remember, as studies found that when asked to memorize a list of words, people predicted they would recall bold words easier than non-bold words, and therefore studied them less, leading to the opposite result.
Studies have found that people do better on both visual and audio memory tasks if they are chewing gum while they do them.
One of the weirdest and most effective ways to remember something is to associate it with a visual image.
In studies, people who were given a doodling task while listening to a boring phone message ended up remembering 29 percent more of what was on the tape than people who just sat still and listened.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Therapy wars: The Revenge of Freud”

Cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT, is a down-to-earth technique focused not on the past but the present; not on mysterious inner drives, but on adjusting the unhelpful thought patterns that cause negative emotions.
CBT has always had its critics, primarily on the left, because its cheapness – and its focus on getting people quickly back to productive work – makes it suspiciously attractive to cost-cutting politicians.
Seek a therapy referral on the NHS today, and you’re much more likely to end up, not in anything resembling psychoanalysis, but in a short series of highly structured meetings with a CBT practitioner, or perhaps learning methods to interrupt your “Catastrophising” thinking via a PowerPoint presentation, or online.
The analysts’ arguments fell on deaf ears so long as experiment after experiment seemed to confirm the superiority of CBT – which helps explain the shocked response to a study, published last May, that seemed to show CBT getting less and less effective, as a treatment for depression, over time.
“I went to the early seminars on cognitive therapy to satisfy myself that it was another approach that wouldn’t work,” David Burns, who went on to popularise CBT in his worldwide bestseller Feeling Good, told me in 2010.
A few years ago, after CBT had started to dominate taxpayer-funded therapy in Britain, a woman I’ll call Rachel, from Oxfordshire, sought therapy on the NHS for depression, following the birth of her first child.
Some studies have sometimes seemed to unfairly stack the deck, as when CBT has been compared with “Psychodynamic therapy” delivered by graduate students who’d received only a few days’ cursory training in it, from other students.
“People who say CBT is superficial have just missed the point,” said Trudie Chalder, professor of cognitive behavioural psychotherapy at the King’s College Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience in London, who argues that no single therapy is best for all maladies.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Diet That Might Cure Depression”

In a one abstract, researchers studying 964 elderly participants over six and a half years found those who followed the DASH diet, which emphasizes whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, had lower rates of depression, while those who ate a traditional Western diet were more prone to depression.
“Medications to treat depression are wonderful, but for many people, it’s going to be a combination of things.”
Past research has found that following the DASH diet was associated with reduced depression in adolescent girls and with less physician-diagnosed depression among thousands of Spaniards.
The results in teens suggest that diet could be a way to stave off some mental disorders entirely, since half of all mental illnesses start in the teen years.
The evidence suggests diet improves depression symptoms even when controlling for factors like income or education, says Felice Jacka, a professor of nutritional psychiatry at Australia’s Deakin University.
Jacka found in 2010 that women who ate a diet high in produce, meat, fish, and whole grains had lower odds of major depression and anxiety than others.
Jacka told me that at this point, the connection between diet and depression is so well-established that more studies like Cherian’s aren’t really necessary.
The real connection between diet and mental health might be closer to the work of a different 19th-century figure: The French lawyer Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, who wrote, in 1825, “Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Decision-making: why smart people make bad choices”

As a physician who has studied how perception alters behavior, I believe that to understand what compelled them to do something so foolish, a more relevant question would be, “What were they perceiving?”.
Understanding the science of regrettable decisions Several years ago, I joined forces with my colleague George York, a respected neurologist affiliated with the University of California Davis, to understand why smart people make foolish choices in politics, sports, relationships, and everyday life.
We found dozens of studies confirming that doctors, the people we trust to keep us safe from disease, fail to wash their hands one out of every three times they enter a hospital room, a mistake that kills thousands of patients each year.
The study suggests it was a subconscious shift in perception that can occur even when subjects think they’re alone.
These examples have demonstrated how people behave in the context of controlled research studies.
Based on the available neurobiological data, the most logical conclusion is that these temp workers, seeking the reward of a full-time position, experienced a subconscious shift in perception that led them to behave in ways they probably regretted once the show was aired.
Why we stick with bad decisions after we make them The Dateline experiment showed us that situations involving fear and reward can lead to poor “Snap judgments.” But what would cause someone to stand by a foolish decision?
It’s unclear whether Holmes studied or knew about the neurobiological progressions that distort our perceptions, but she used them to perfection.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Science Says Parents of the Most Successful Kids Do These 10 Things”

Still, scientists and researchers have made a lot of progress studying what the parents of the larger share of successful people have in common.
Here are 10 of the most important things those parents do, which I found while compiling my free e-book, How to Raise Successful Kids.1.
Parents who want to give their kids a leg up and set them on the road to success will uproot their lives if necessary.
So what do parents of successful kids do, armed with that knowledge? It’s simple to say and hard to execute: They model good relationships with friends and family, and they encourage their children to nurture their relationships, too.3.
Parents of successful kids learn to praise in a way that encourages positive lifelong habits.
A couple of years ago, Julie Lythcott-Haims, a former dean of freshmen at Stanford University and the author of the book, How to Raise an Adult, said one of the best pieces of advice she had for parents was to make their kids do chores-and never do their homework for them!
Don’t worry, we don’t mean that you’ll always support them financially! Instead, this is about one of the hottest debates in parenting circles: whether parents should encourage their kids to “Suck it up” when they are hurt or suffer setbacks, or instead “Run to their side.”
“Parents who respond to their children’s emotions in a comforting manner have kids who are more socially well-adjusted than do parents who either tell their kids they are overreacting or who punish their kids for getting upset,” child psychologist Nancy Eisenberg of Arizona State University said in an interview.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Science Says Parents of the Most Successful Kids Do These 10 Things”

Still, scientists and researchers have made a lot of progress studying what the parents of the larger share of successful people have in common.
Here are 10 of the most important things those parents do, which I found while compiling my free e-book, How to Raise Successful Kids.1.
Parents who want to give their kids a leg up and set them on the road to success will uproot their lives if necessary.
So what do parents of successful kids do, armed with that knowledge? It’s simple to say and hard to execute: They model good relationships with friends and family, and they encourage their children to nurture their relationships, too.3.
Parents of successful kids learn to praise in a way that encourages positive lifelong habits.
A couple of years ago, Julie Lythcott-Haims, a former dean of freshmen at Stanford University and the author of the book, How to Raise an Adult, said one of the best pieces of advice she had for parents was to make their kids do chores-and never do their homework for them!
Don’t worry, we don’t mean that you’ll always support them financially! Instead, this is about one of the hottest debates in parenting circles: whether parents should encourage their kids to “Suck it up” when they are hurt or suffer setbacks, or instead “Run to their side.”
“Parents who respond to their children’s emotions in a comforting manner have kids who are more socially well-adjusted than do parents who either tell their kids they are overreacting or who punish their kids for getting upset,” child psychologist Nancy Eisenberg of Arizona State University said in an interview.

The orginal article.