237 Views

8 Fascinating Things You Need To Know About The Mind

As the New Horizons spacecraft made its historic flight to Pluto and some scientists explored the far reaches of our solar system, others were making some incredible advances in their exploration of the inner workings of the mind.

Studies published shed light on the mysteries of the brain and human behavior, and began paving the way for new treatments to mental and neurological health problems, ranging from addiction to autism to Alzheimer’s disease.

Here are eight fascinating things about the human mind.

1. Smartphones are wildly distracting. 

Americans are spending more time than ever looking at screens, and we’re only beginning to learn how this is affecting our brains.

Just hearing your smartphone vibrate is enough of a distraction to significantly impair focus and productivity, according to a Florida State University study published in August.

Another recent study found that heavy smartphone users are more prone to experiencing “cognitive failures” arising from forgetfulness, inattention and a lack of awareness of one’s surroundings, including things like missing appointments, walking into people and forgetting things.

“The Internet is great, mobile phones are great, but there is a point at which we need to sit back, log off and really start to think about how technology is impacting on our capacity to focus,” said Dr. Lee Hadlington, a psychologist at England’s De Montfort University and the latter study’s lead author. “We are always eager to get the new piece of tech — but not to think about its underlying consequences to our cognitive capabilities.”

2. Psychedelics may be the next big thing in mental health care. 

We witnessed a renaissance in psychedelic research this year. A review of studies on the therapeutic applications of psychedelic drugs, published in September in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, showed that psychotherapy assisted by substances such as LSD, psilocybin (hallucinogenic mushrooms) and MDMA (the active ingredient in Ecstasy) holds promise for treating mental health issues including post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, end-of-life anxiety and depression.

“The studies are showing big effects,” Dr. Matthew Johnson, a behavioral pharmacologist at Johns Hopkins University and one of the study’s authors, told HuffPost. “The exciting thing isn’t just that these drugs work for something that we already have treatment for. It’s that they’re getting big effects on disorders for which we have very poor treatment.”

3. Pollution is worse for the brain than we realized. 

Just months before the world looked on in horror at Beijing’s “airpocalypse,” research found that exposure to air pollution can speed up brain aging, and may contribute significantly to neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The study showed that small increases in exposure to pollution were associated with decreases of white matter in the brain — in other words, exposure to environmental toxins was “shrinking” the brain.

“The evidence so far suggests that pollution could be the most pervasive potential cause of brain disease that scientists have ever discovered,” science journalist Aaron Reuben wrote in Mother Jones in May.

4. The brain and immune system are actually linked.  

This year, University of Virginia neuroscientists uncovered a previously unknown direct connection between the brain and the immune system — a network of lymphatic vessels that previously had only been found to exist below the base of the skull, but were observed for the first time in the brain.

“When we discovered the lymphatic vessels, we were very, very surprised, because based on the textbooks — these vessels do not exist,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Jonathan Kipnis, told HuffPost in June.

ALSO READ  6 Symptoms Of Stomach Ulcer, #2 Will Shock You

The finding could have significant implications for the treatment of brain disorders involving inflammation, such as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and autism.

5. Erasing memories could be the future of addiction treatment. 

Scientists hacking into the brain to erase or transplant memories is no longer just the stuff of science fiction. Memory erasure may soon be a reality, and it could help us better treat drug addiction by targeting drug-related memories.

Landmark research from the Scripps Research Institute that was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry identified a new drug that has the potential to selectively erase dangerous addiction-associated memories in people addicted to meth.

“When the person is in-patient, they’d use this treatment once and it would target those drug-associated memories that could be triggers for them,” Dr. Courtney Miller, one of the study’s authors, said in August. “Later on, when they’re back in the real world, the memories wouldn’t serve as triggers because they’d be gone.”

6. Nature does the mind good. 

We already knew that spending time in the great outdoors comes with significant physical and mental health benefits, but this year, researchers found that the psychological benefits of nature extend even further than we realized.

Research from Stanford University that was published in July found that outdoor strolls reduced the sort of obsessive, negative thoughts that characterize depression.

Another study published last month found that spending time in nature could also have therapeutic applications for addiction, and linked exposure to nature with reduced impulsivity and improved self-control.

“A nature-based treatment component may be a valuable addition to standard therapies for individuals struggling with substance abuse,” Dr. Meredith Berry, a psychologist at the University of Montana and the study’s lead author, told HuffPost.

7. To boost your mood, boost your bacteria. 

The brain-gut connection has been another major theme in neuroscience and psychology research over the past couple of years. This year, research found that increasing the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut can help to reduce anxiety and also to lessen symptoms of depression.

One study showed that people who have more fermented foods in their diet — which are filled with healthy bacteria known as probiotics — exhibit less neuroticism and social anxiety.

“It is likely that the probiotics in the fermented foods are favorably changing the environment in the gut, and changes in the gut in turn influence social anxiety,” Dr. Matthew Hilimire, an assistant professor of psychology and one of the study’s authors, said in a statement in June. “I think that it is absolutely fascinating that the microorganisms in your gut can influence your mind.”

8. Good sleep is critical to a healthy emotional life. 

It’s well-established that good sleep is crucial to psychological well-being — and that sleep deprivation, on the other hand, raises stress levels and has been linked with anxiety, depression and other mental health problems.

A landmark study published in July in the Journal of Neuroscience found that good sleep is also a key component of emotional intelligence. The researchers showed that losing sleep dulls our ability to read facial expressions, which is an important component of emotional intelligence. On the bright side, dreaming actually boosts this ability, the researchers found.

“It’s almost as though, without sleep, the brain… was unable to put emotional experiences into context and produce controlled, appropriate responses,” Walker said in a statement when the study was published. “Emotionally, you’re not on a level playing field.”

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Latest Posts

#BBNaija: Why Cee-C Is Bbetter Than President Buhari – Reno Omokri
Entertainment
63 views
Entertainment
63 views

#BBNaija: Why Cee-C Is Bbetter Than President Buhari – Reno Omokri

PH - April 21, 2018

Former aide to Ex-President, Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri,in his latest shade on President Buhari has mentioned that a housemate on the Big Brother Naija 2018 reality TV…

Why I Didn’t Do Well At Chelsea – Liverpool Star, Mohamed Salah
Sports
104 views
Sports
104 views

Why I Didn’t Do Well At Chelsea – Liverpool Star, Mohamed Salah

MT - April 20, 2018

While speaking in an exclusive interview ahead of Liverpool’s clash at West Brom on Saturday, on Sky Sports Premier League, Mohammed Salah admitted that he is focusing on…

“Why Soldiers Burnt Houses In Benue State” – Army Spokesperson
Shocking
107 views
Shocking
107 views

“Why Soldiers Burnt Houses In Benue State” – Army Spokesperson

MT - April 20, 2018

The Nigerian army has taken responsibility for the attack, which resulted in burning down of houses in a Benue community on Thursday. The Army said the attack…

Meet Vivian Chiologi, John Shittu’s Wife Who Got Married At 50, Gave Birth At 51
Best of Nigeria
126 views
Best of Nigeria
126 views

Meet Vivian Chiologi, John Shittu’s Wife Who Got Married At 50, Gave Birth At 51

MT - April 20, 2018

My darling Viv, today I celebrate you and I thank God for your life and strength. What a testimony your life has become. You met and fell…

Lazy Youths: Why Buhari Should Apologize And Be Forgiven – Shehu Sani
Politics
91 views
Politics
91 views

Lazy Youths: Why Buhari Should Apologize And Be Forgiven – Shehu Sani

MT - April 20, 2018

SHEHU Sani, Senator representing Kaduna Central, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to apologize over his remarks about Nigerian Youths. While answering a question at the Commonwealth Business…

19-Year-Old Udeh Precious Wins 2018 Sisi Oge Cultural Pageant (Photos)
Best of Nigeria
96 views
Best of Nigeria
96 views

19-Year-Old Udeh Precious Wins 2018 Sisi Oge Cultural Pageant (Photos)

MT - April 20, 2018

19 year old Miss Udeh Precious has emerge winner of the 2018 Sisi Oge Cultural Pageant. The actress and model beat 19 other contestants in the competition…

Nigeria Uninterruptible Power Supply To Reach 4.7% In 2024
Business
82 views
Business
82 views

Nigeria Uninterruptible Power Supply To Reach 4.7% In 2024

PH - April 20, 2018

Nigeria Vision 20:2020 is set to be a major development plan for the country to accelerate growth of commercial and industrial sectors over the coming years. Further,…

Nigeria’s Brent Crude Hits $73.79 per Barrel
Business
88 views
Business
88 views

Nigeria’s Brent Crude Hits $73.79 per Barrel

PH - April 20, 2018

An improvement in Nigeria’s oil earnings is on course as prices held firm on Friday near three-year highs reached earlier this week as ongoing Organisation of Petroleum…

Debbie Rise’s Sister Tee-Rise Releases Gospel single “First Loved Me”
Entertainment
91 views
Entertainment
91 views

Debbie Rise’s Sister Tee-Rise Releases Gospel single “First Loved Me”

PH - April 20, 2018

Temilolu Olurishe also known as Tee-Rise is a young lady with a desire to express her worship to God in her songs while she helps others enjoy…

WATCH: Chimamanda Adichie Talks #MeToo, Feminism and Gay Rights on CNN
Best of Nigeria
91 views
Best of Nigeria
91 views

WATCH: Chimamanda Adichie Talks #MeToo, Feminism and Gay Rights on CNN

PH - April 20, 2018

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was on CNN to discuss the #MeToo movement, feminism, and rights of LGBT people with Christiane Amanpour. The writer who revealed earlier this week…

19-Year-Old Udeh Precious emerges Winner of the 2018 Sisi Oge Cultural Pageant
Art, History and Culture
89 views
Art, History and Culture
89 views

19-Year-Old Udeh Precious emerges Winner of the 2018 Sisi Oge Cultural Pageant

PH - April 20, 2018

The 19-year-old model, actress and show host, Udeh Precious, beat stiff competition from 19 other contestants to emerge winner of the 2018 Sisi Oge Cultural Pageant. Precious,…

BBNaija: Tobi Bakre Is Not A Lazy Nigerian Youth; Check Out His 5 Professions..
Best of Nigeria
94 views
Best of Nigeria
94 views

BBNaija: Tobi Bakre Is Not A Lazy Nigerian Youth; Check Out His 5 Professions..

MT - April 20, 2018

Shared Via IG With Caption .. Nigerians are one of the most resourceful and hardworking people in the world. From generation to generation, this has remained true.…

Veteran Actress, Ireti Doyle Shares How She Almost Lost A Job “For Being The Wrong Skin Colour”
Entertainment
85 views
Entertainment
85 views

Veteran Actress, Ireti Doyle Shares How She Almost Lost A Job “For Being The Wrong Skin Colour”

PH - April 20, 2018

Veteran actress Ireti Doyle, in a post on her Instagram page, is speaking about colorism. In her post, she details how she almost lost a major gig…

1771 Cases of Domestic Violence, 138 Against Men, Recorded in 10 Months in Lagos
Shocking
78 views
Shocking
78 views

1771 Cases of Domestic Violence, 138 Against Men, Recorded in 10 Months in Lagos

PH - April 20, 2018

The Lagos State Domestic Violence & Sexual Violence Response Team (DVSRT) recorded 138 cases against men between May 2017 and March 2018. This was revealed by the…

5 Women-Owned Tech Spaces that VP Osinbajo Could Have Visited During #VPTourOfTech – Mary Olushoga
Business
80 views
Business
80 views

5 Women-Owned Tech Spaces that VP Osinbajo Could Have Visited During #VPTourOfTech – Mary Olushoga

PH - April 20, 2018

Why are women innovators largely ignored in Nigeria’s male-dominated technology spaces? Why didn’t Vice President Osinbajo visit any women-owned spaces during the highly popular and attention-grabbing #VPTourofTech?…

#ReadyToBeatMalaria: Chimamanda Adichie Joins Bill Gates, Prince Charles at Malaria Summit in London
Food and Health
90 views
Food and Health
90 views

#ReadyToBeatMalaria: Chimamanda Adichie Joins Bill Gates, Prince Charles at Malaria Summit in London

PH - April 20, 2018

Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave a speech at the Malaria Summit on Wednesday, 18th of April,in London, England. The Malaria Summit was held to urge Commonwealth…

Mace Theft: How Ike Ekweremadu Redeemed Lawmakers’ Image
Politics
127 views
Politics
127 views

Mace Theft: How Ike Ekweremadu Redeemed Lawmakers’ Image

PH - April 20, 2018

A member of House of Representatives, Rep. Joseph Akinlaja (Ondo-PDP), has said Deputy President of the Senate, Mr Ike Ekweremadu’s wisdom saved Nigeria a greater embarrassment on…

Why Federal Government Wants Rail Line Between Nigeria And Niger – Amaechi
Business
102 views
Business
102 views

Why Federal Government Wants Rail Line Between Nigeria And Niger – Amaechi

PH - April 20, 2018

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has explained that the rail line from Kano in Nigeria to Maradi in Niger Republic was mainly to encourage business owners…

Loading...