Friday, January 7, 2011

Rudeness Is a Neurotoxin

"Studies have shown that children exposed to serious psychological trauma during childhood are at risk of suffering increased psychiatric disorders, including depression, anger, hostility, drug abuse, suicidal ideation, loneliness and even psychosis as adults. Using modern brain imaging, the physical damage to these children's brain development can be seen as clearly as a bone fracture on an X-ray. Early-childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse and witnessing domestic violence undermine the normal wiring of brain circuits, especially those circuits connecting the left and right sides of the brain through a massive bundle of connections called the corpus callosum. Impairment in integrating information between right and left hemispheres is associated with increased risk of craving, drug abuse and dependence, and a weakened ability to make moral judgments." 

This article is written by Douglas Fields Ph.D., Chief of the Nervous System Development and Plasticity Section, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and adjunct professor in the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Program at the University of Maryland.  Published in the Huffington Post on January 5, 2011, the article explores "rudeness" as it relates to Dr. Fields' scientific research on the biological basis human development.

Link to Full Article 

I first became familiar with Dr Fields' work after reading his most current book, The Other Brain.  This book is an excellent source of information for anyone interested in psychology, neurobiology, and brain science.  It explores the subject of glia and recent scientific research that has established important links between glial cells and brain function.  This research has played a large role in the new understanding of psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression, and in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.  The author also explains how glia are implicated in the newest biological models of addiction.  Dr. Fields offers the reader an extraordinarily informative overview of glia research from it's origins to the newest discoveries in the field.  I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in behavioral neuroscience.    

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

6 Steps to Achieving Creativity in Business, Personal Life

 It turns out that the creative process involves both art and science

What does it take to produce something truly original? The notion that creativity is the province of right-brain, left-handed artsy types is outdated, says Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and author of Emotional Intelligence. "The creative brain state accesses a whole range of connections throughout the brain," he says. In fact, the latest research suggests that less than a second before the proverbial light bulb switches on, a spike in gamma brain waves appears to bind cells in several regions of the brain into a new neural network.

This article, published yesterday in U.S. News, explores the origin of creativity in the brain.  It offers a step by step guide to harnessing our creative powers using techniques that include mindfulness, mental imagery, and critical analysis.

Link to Full Article