|Current stimulation may keep visual neurons alive after injury -- but at a cost
||Researchers report that for rats and mice, repetitive transorbital alternating current stimulation (rtACS) may help preserve visual neurons from cell death after injury.
|New way of preventing pneumococcal brain invasion
||An international team of researchers has identified two receptors on the cells in the blood vessels of the brain that can be blocked and thereby prevent pneumococci from entering the brain. The study shows that the use of antibodies that block the receptors can potentially be used as a new therapeutic strategy for pneumococcal meningitis.
|How to Live Life to the Fullest
||In 2007 travel writer Leigh Ann Henion was on a mountaintop in Mexico watching a million monarchs soar above her. The butterflies had left their homes in Canada and the U.S. to wait out the winter — flying up to 3,000 miles to get there. … ...
|Blind people have brain map for 'visual' observations too
||Is what you're looking at an object, a face, or a tree? When processing visual input, our brain uses different areas to recognize faces, body parts, scenes, and objects. Scientists have now shown that people who were born blind use a 'brain map' with a very similar layout to distinguish between these same categories.
|Computer game could help children choose healthy food
||A simple brain-training game could help children choose healthy snacks instead of chocolate and sweets, according to a new study.
|Finding traces of memory processing during sleep
||Sleep helps us to retain the information that we have learned during the day. We know from animal experiments that new memories are reactivated during sleep. The brain replays previous experience while we sleep – and this replay strengthens memories overnight. Up to now, it was hard to demonstrate such a reactivation in humans, because the activity of individual neurons cannot be observed and most memories will activate entire networks of brain regions. Scientists have now applied new statistical pattern detection methods from the field of machine learning to get around these problems
|Diverse populations make rational collective decisions
||Yes/no binary decisions by individual ants can lead to a rational decision as a collective when the individuals have differing preferences to the subject, according to new research.
|Tool may help determine older adults' history of sports concussions
||A new study in retired athletes takes the first steps in developing an objective tool for diagnosing a history of sports concussions.
|Math Teachers Get the Worst Student Evaluations
||Customer satisfaction is important, and if you work in higher education, you know that schools are no exception. At colleges, student evaluations of teachers often factor into hirings, firings, promotions – and, of course, tenure, the holy grail for professors. If you’ve attended a college but never worked at one,...
|Required Summer Reading
||In a landmark study of why human beings believe what they believe and do what they do, Robert Sapolsky demonstrates that brains and cultures evolve; genes don't determine anything.
|How to Handle a Toxic Relationship
||Last week, I had lunch with a friend. As we were walking out, she mentioned that she had to see someone who hadn’t always been kind to her, a relationship that caused her more stress and suffering than anything else. She’d been avoiding the meeting, but now it looked inevitable.
“She just makes me so anxious,” she said, gritting her teeth. I’ve been there myself. Lots of times. Some relationships, though toxic, seem impossible to avoid. Perhaps you have a constantly criticizing mother-in-law, or a neighbor who seems emotionally stuck in seventh grade. Maybe it’s a boss who belittles you when he’s stressed—or someone who is so under your skin you hold entire conversations with them in your head.
If you, too, have struggled with a toxic relationship, I hope this little instruction manual will help you.
1. Accept that you are in a difficult situation, dealing with a very difficult relationship
Your choices here are fairly limited, and, strangely, acceptance is always the best choice. You can judge and criticize the other person, but that will probably make you feel tense and lonely. Alternately, you could nurse your anxiety and despair that you’ll never be able to get along with them, which will make you feel stressed and sad. You can definitely deny their existence or pretend that they aren’t bothering you. You can block their texts and emails, and avoid every situation where they’ll turn up.
These are all tactics of resistance, and they won’t protect you. Ironically, these tactics will allow the other person to further embed themselves into your psyche.
What does work is to accept that your relationship with them is super hard, and also that you are trying to make it less hard. This gentle acceptance does not mean that you are resigned to a life of misery, or that the situation will never get better. Maybe it will—and maybe it won’t. Accepting the reality of a difficult relationship allows us to soften. And this softening will open the door to your own compassion and wisdom.
Trust me: You are going to need those things.
2. The other person will probably tell you that you are the cause of all their bad feelings
This is not true. You are not responsible for their emotions. You never have been, and you never will be. Don’t take responsibility for their suffering; if you do, they will never have the opportunity to take responsibility for themselves.
3. Tell the truth
When you lie (perhaps to avoid upsetting them), you become complicit in the creation and maintenance of their reality, which is poisonous to you. For example, they might ask you if you forgot to invite them to a party. You can easily say yes, that it was a mistake that they didn’t get the Evite, and did they check their spam folder?
But lying is very stressful for human beings, maybe the most stressful thing. Lie detectors detect not lies, but the subconscious stress and fear that lying causes. This will not make the relationship less toxic.
So, instead, tell the truth. Be sure to tell them your truth instead of your judgment, or what you imagine to be true for other people. Don’t say “I didn’t invite you because it would stress Mom out too much to have you there” or “I didn’t invite you because you are a manipulative drama queen who will find some way to make the evening about you.”
Instead, tell them your truth: “When you are in my home, I feel jittery and nervous, and I can’t relax, so I didn’t invite you to the party. I’m sorry that I’ve hurt your feelings.”
It takes courage to tell the truth, because often it makes people angry. But they will probably be mad at you anyway, no matter what you do. They almost certainly won’t like the new, truth-telling you—and that will make them likely to avoid you in the future. This might be a good thing.
4. If you feel angry or afraid, bring your attention to your breath and do not speak (or write) to the person until you feel calm
It’s normal to want to defend yourself, but remember that anger and anxiety weaken you. Trust that soothing yourself is the only effective thing you can do right now. If you need to excuse yourself, go ahead and step out. Even if it is embarrassing or it leaves people hanging.
5. Have mercy
Anne Lamott defines mercy as radical kindness bolstered by forgiveness, and it allows us to alter a communication dynamic, even when we are interacting with someone mired in anger or fear or jealousy. We do this by offering them a gift from our heart. You probably won’t be able to get rid of your negative thoughts about them, and you won’t be able to change them, but you can make an effort to be a loving person. Can you buy them a cup of coffee? Can you hold space for their suffering? Can you send a loving-kindness meditation their way?
Forgiveness takes this kindness to a whole new level. I used to think I couldn’t really forgive someone who’d hurt me until they’d asked for forgiveness, preferably in the form of a moving and remorseful apology letter.
But I’ve learned that to heal ourselves we must forgive whether or not we’re asked for forgiveness, and whether or not the person is still hurting us. When we do, we feel happier and more peaceful. This means that you might need to forgive the other person at the end of every day—or, on bad days, every hour. Forgiveness is an ongoing practice, not a one-time deal.
When we find ways to show mercy to even the person who has cost us sleep and love and even our well-being, something miraculous happens. “When we manage a flash of mercy for someone we don’t like, especially a truly awful person, including ourselves,” Anne Lamott writes, “we experience a great spiritual moment, a new point of view that can make us gasp.”
Here’s the real miracle: Our mercy boomerangs back to us. When we show radical kindness, forgiveness, and acceptance—and when we tell the truth in even the most difficult relationship—we start to show ourselves those things. We realize that we can love and forgive and accept even the most terrible aspects of our own being, even if it is only for a moment. We start to show ourselves the truth, and this makes us feel free.
And, in my experience, this makes all we have suffered worth it.
|How to Say No When Someone Asks to “Pick...
||When you’re an expert in any field, people may regularly ask to “pick your brain,” buy you lunch or some other form of asking for advice. For free, of course. If you feel conflicted at time like these, it makes perfect sense. Your schedule is … ...
|Study finds evidence of intergenerational trauma in grandchildren of Holocaust survivors
||The intergenerational transmission of trauma is a controversial topic in psychology. But new research suggests that intense trauma can in fact be passed down to future generations. The study, published in the journal Psychiatry Research, provides preliminary evidence that grandchildren of Holocaust survivors may be more susceptible to anxiety induced by Islamic State (ISIS) atrocities [...]
|Newborn Babies’ Brains Are Specialized for Speech
||Babies have a certain genius when it comes to learning language, and it turns out that some of the pieces of language acquisition are already in place at birth. In particular, babies seem to have brains that react differently to speech than to other sounds, even other forms of communication....
|The Reality of Conversion Disorder
||Stress is widely defined as a constraining force or influence. Sooner or later, it affects everyone. Most of the time, it’s temporary, but what happens when it’s not? Long term emotional stress can frequently occur with past trauma, producing a series of real and sometimes … ...
|Basis of 'leaky' brain blood vessels in Huntington's Disease identified
||By using induced pluripotent stem cells to create endothelial cells that line blood vessels in the brain for the first time for a neurodegenerative disease, neurobiologists and colleagues have learned why Huntington’s disease patients have defects in the blood-brain barrier that contribute to the symptoms of this fatal disorder.
|Sick kids live longer, but brain function may suffer
||Hundreds of thousands of children with chronic illnesses who used to die are now surviving their disease and treatment—which is amazing. But their brains are being damaged in the process of keeping them alive. This first ever research quantifies the IQ impact of six main illnesses and looks and the common threads that connect them. It also takes next steps on how psychologists can team up with surgeons/oncologists, etc. to help treat kids and their parents, so they can thrive in school and life.
|Should You Set Clear Work-Home Boundaries?
||Here are five tips for striking the right balance between your job and personal life.
|Improvement Means Progress
||“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.” – Mark Twain If you’re waiting for everything to be right, you’ll find that you never get anything done. Of course, you want the result for any undertaking to be the best it can be, but striving for … ...
|Watching Our Children Cope with Narcissist Abuse
||One of the most difficult pains to endure as a parent is to watch our children’s other parent totally abuse, ignore, criticize, abandon, reject or otherwise disappoint our children. We know that our children are innocent in who their parents are. And as we, the … ...