Brain

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Twelve (12) facts about Music, and how they affect the Brain

Published May 6, 2015 by teacher dahl

1. goosebumps

The brain can work in ways we can’t comprehend. In numerous studies they have been able to see just how much normal things like music can effect, and even alter, it completely. These facts about music will give you an insight into the complexity of your own mind.

1. The chills you get when you listen to music, is mostly caused by the brain releasing dopamine while anticipating the peak moment of a song.

Dopamine is a feel-good chemical released by the brain. This chemical is directly involved in motivation, as well as addiction. These studies found a biological explanation for why music always has been such a huge part of emotional events around the world since the beginning of human history.

2. brain

2. There are few activities in life that utilizes the entire brain, and music is one of them.

With Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI), a research team recorded a group of individuals who were listening to music. They found that listening to music recruits the auditory areas, and employs large-scale neural networks in the brain. In fact, they believe music can activate emotional, motor, and creative areas of the brain.

3. Music regularly

3. Playing music regularly will physically alter your brain structure.

Brain plas­tic­ity refers to the brain’s abil­ity to change through­out life. Changes asso­ci­ated with learn­ing occur mostly at the con­nec­tions between neu­rons. When studying musicians, they found that the cor­tex vol­ume was high­est in pro­fes­sional musi­cians, inter­me­di­ate in ama­teur musicians, and lowest in non-musicians.

4. The brain responds to music the same way it responds to something that you eat.

As stated above, dopamine is a chemical released by the brain. This chemical is connected with the feeling of euphoria which is associated with addiction, sex, and even eating. Dopamine is what enables a person to feel the pleasures of such things. A study using only instrumental music proves that anticipation for a musical rush released the same kind of reactions in the brain as anticipating the taste of your food.

4. work out

5. Listening to music while exercising can significantly improve your work-out performance.
Dissociation is a diversionary technique which lowered the perceptions of effort. This technique can divert the mind from feelings of fatigue, and heighten positive mood states like vigor. By using music during low to moderate exercise intensities, you will find yourself with an overall more pleasurable experience while working out.

5. choice

6. An emotional attachment could be the reason for your favorite song choice.

Favorite songs are often context-dependent. Even though many people often change their favorite song depending on the most recent releases, it is proven that long-lasting preferences are due mainly to an emotional attachment to a memory associated with the song.

7. heart beat

7. Your heartbeat changes to mimics the music you listen to.
Music is found to modulate heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. The cardiovascular system mirrored deflating decrescendos, and swelling crescendos in a study of 24 volunteers. Distinguishing changes in sound patterns were even found to be equipped in those as small as a developing fetus.

8. Listening to happy vs. sad music can affect the way you perceive the world around you.

The brain always compares the information that comes through the eyes with what it expects about the world, based on what you know. The final results in our mind is what we perceive as our reality. Therefore, happy songs that lift your spirits make you see the world around you differently then that of a sad person.

9. An “earworm” is a song that you can’t seem to get out of your head.

An earworm is a cognitive itch in your brain. This “brain itch” is a need for the brain to fill in the gaps in a song’s rhythm. The auditory cortex is a part of your brain that will automatically fill in a rhythm of a song. In other words, your brain kept “singing” long after the song had ended.

10. dopamine

10. Music triggers activity in the same part of the brain that releases Dopamine, the “pleasure chemical”.

The nucleus accumbens is a part of your brain that releases Dopamine during eating, and sex. The most interesting part, is that the nucleus accumbens is just a small part of the brain that gets effected by music. It also effects the amygdala, which is the part of the brain used to process emotion. for music.

11 Patients

11. Music is often prescribed to patients with Parkinson’s disease and stroke victims.
Music therapy has been around for decades. Music triggers networks of neurons into organized movement. The part of the brain the processes movement also overlaps speech networks. These two key elements help patients overcome the obstacles that most effect them such as basic motor skills, and speech difficulties.

12. skill

12. According to a study, Learning a musical instrument can improve fine motor and reasoning skills.
In a study of children, it revealed that those with three or more years of musical training preformed better in fine motor skills and auditory discrimination abilities then those who had none. They even tested better for vocabulary and reasoning skills, even though those are quite separate from music training.

Source: unbelievable-facts.com

Top 10 Controversial Psychiatric Disorders

Published November 3, 2014 by teacher dahl

gender id

Introduction:

The proposed revisions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) have spurred debate over what illnesses to include in the essential psychiatric handbook. Everything from gender identity disorder to childhood mood swings has come under fire, and it’s not the first time. The history of psychiatry is littered with impassioned fights over controversial diagnoses.
1. Gender identity disorder.
Perhaps the most controversial of all current DSM disorders is gender identity disorder. Under the DSM-IV, people who feel that their physical gender does not match their true gender are diagnosed with gender identity disorder (GID). The DSM-5 proposals would revise the criteria for the disorder and change the name to the less-stigmatizing gender incongruence.
But to many, the DSM changes don’t go far enough.
“To have gender incongruence in the DSM-5, as they’ve defined it, still leaves it open to a child being sent to be ‘fixed’ when a child doesn’t have any problems,” said Diane Ehrensaft, a clinical psychologist in Oakland, Calif., who specializes in gender identity issues in children.
In fact, the largest controversy over GID is about an area the DSM doesn’t cover: treatment. Should kids who feel gender mismatched be allowed to define themselves, or should they be encouraged to identify with their physical gender? Those who argue for the latter see their role as helping kids get comfortable in their own skin. Those who argue for letting the child take the lead, like Ehrensaft, say that forcing a kid to live as an unwanted gender causes depression and anxiety.
Therapies like Ehrensaft’s are relatively new, so there are no long-term studies comparing the two approaches. When it comes to examining differences in how the kids turn out, “We don’t know,” said Kenneth Zucker, a University of Toronto psychologist who advocates teaching kids to identify with their physical gender. “We should know in another 10 years.”

sex addiction

2. Sex addiction
According to the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health, sex addiction is marked by a lack of control over one’s sexual behavior. Sex addicts pursue sex despite negative consequences, can’t set boundaries and obsess over sex even when they don’t want to think about it. Self-described addicts report that they get no pleasure from their sexual behaviors, only shame.

This disorder has yet to darken the pages of the DSM, and it likely won’t be included in the DSM-5, either. Instead, the APA is recommending the addition of a new sexual disorder called hypersexual disorder, which doesn’t describe sex as an addiction, but could fit many people who are in treatment.

homosexuality

3. Homosexuality
In perhaps the most famous psychiatric controversy of all, the APA did away with homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973 after much protest by gay and lesbian activists. The change wasn’t easy, but the weight of the scientific evidence suggested that same-sex attraction was a normal variant of sexuality among well-adjusted people.

Still, the APA included a diagnosis in the 1980 DSM-III called ego-dystonic homosexuality. This category was a compromise with psychiatrists who insisted that some gays and lesbians came to them looking for treatment. “This revision in the nomenclature provides the possibility of finding a homosexual to be free of psychiatric disorder, and provides a means to diagnose a mental disorder whose central feature is conflict about homosexual behavior,” explained Robert Spitzer, a member of the APA’s task force, in a 1973 position statement.

But ego-dystonic homosexuality was short-lived. The category didn’t make sense to many psychiatrists, who argued that anxiety over sexual orientation could fit into already-existing categories, according to UC Davis psychologist Gregory Herek. In 1986, ego-dystonic homosexuality disappeared from the DSM.

asperger

4. Asperger’s disorder
In 1994, Asperger’s disorder, which is marked by normal intelligence and language abilities but poor social skills, made the DSM-IV. When the DSM-5 is published in 2013, the disorder may get the boot.

The reason? Research on Asperger’s and high-functioning autism has failed to find a difference between the two diagnoses. Overlap between the two disorders is rampant (up to 44 percent of kids diagnosed with Asperger’s or “other autism spectrum” labels actually met the criteria for high-functioning autism, according to a 2008 survey). If the proposed changes are adopted, people with Asperger’s will be reclassified as having high-functioning autism.

But some Asperger’s advocates disapprove. The high-functioning autism label doesn’t always fit people with Asperger’s, said Dania Jekel, the executive director of the Asperger’s Association of New England, which opposes the change.

“People with Asperger’s are going to be missed,” Jekel said.

Bipolar disorder
5.. Childhood bipolar disorder
If diagnosing adults with a childhood disorder is controversial, so is diagnosing children with a disorder once thought to occur mainly in adults. Bipolar disorder, which is characterized by mood swings between depression and excitability, recently skyrocketed as a childhood disorder. Between 1994 and 2003, the number of doctor visits associated with childhood bipolar disorders went up 40-fold, according to a 2007 study in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.

The problem, according to the APA, is that at least some of that increase is due to changes in the way psychiatrists diagnose bipolar in kids, not an actual increase in cases. To correct the issue, the APA is considering changes to the current bipolar criteria, as well as the addition of a new disorder, temper dysregulation with dysphoria. That disorder would apply to kids with persistent irritable moods and frequent temper tantrums, but has already drawn skepticism from some who believe it pathologizes normal kid behavior.

ADHD in adults

6. Adult ADHD
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a well-known childhood diagnosis. Kids with ADHD have trouble sitting still, paying attention and controlling their impulses. Only recently, however, have psychiatrists begun to diagnose ADHD in adults.But just as ADHD in children was criticized as over-diagnosed, so is adult ADHD. A common accusation is that psychiatrists are conspiring with pharmaceutical companies to sell more ADHD drugs, writes New York University psychiatrist Norman Sussman in a March 2010 editorial in Psychiatry Weekly. However, adult ADHD is here to stay, Sussma writes: “The benefits of pharmacologic and behavioral therapies are well-established.”

diassociative disorder

7. Dissociative identity disorder
Once known as multiple personality disorder, dissociative identity disorder was made famous by the book “Sybil” (Independent Pub Group, 1973), which was made into a movie of the same name in 1976. The film and book told the story of Shirley Mason, pseudonym Sybil, who was diagnosed as having 16 separate personalities as a result of physical and sexual abuse by her mother.
The book and the movie were hits, but the diagnosis soon came under fire. In 1995, psychiatrist Herbert Spiegel, who consulted on Mason’s case, told the “New York Review of Books” that he believed Mason’s “personalities” were created by her therapist, who — perhaps unwittingly — suggested that Mason’s different emotional states were distinct personalities with names. Likewise, critics of the dissociative identity diagnosis argue that the disorder is artificial, perpetuated by well-meaning therapists who convince troubled and suggestible patients that their problems are due to multiple personalities.
Nonetheless, dissociative identity disorder has weathered this criticism and won’t undergo any major changes in the DSM-5.

narcisstic disorder
8. Narcissistic personality disorder
Someone with an inflated ego, need for constant praise and lack of empathy for others might sound like a shoe-in for psychotherapy. But the introduction of narcissistic personality disorder into the DSM in 1980 was not without controversy.

The biggest problem was that no one could agree on who had the disorder. Up to half of people diagnosed with a narcissistic personality also met the criteria for other personality disorders, like histrionic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder, according to a 2001 review in the Journal of Mental Health Counseling. Which diagnosis they got seemed almost arbitrary.

To solve the problem, the American Psychiatric Association has proposed big changes to the personality disorder section of the DSM-5 in 2010. The new edition would move away from specific personality disorders to a system of dysfunctional types and traits. The idea, according to the APA, is to cut out the overlap and create categories that would be useful for patients who have personality problems, not just full-blown disorders.

penis envy

9. Penis envy
Sigmund Freud revolutionized psychiatry in the late 1800s and early 1900s with his theories on the unconscious state, talk therapy and psychosexual development. Nowadays, many of these theories — like his conclusion that young girls’ sexual development is driven by jealousy over lack of a penis and sexual desire for their father — seem outdated.

But not everyone has consigned Freud to the dust heap. Organizations like the American Psychoanalytic Association still practice and promote Freudian-style psychoanalysis, and groups like the International Neuropsychoanalysis Society try to combine cutting-edge neuroscience research with Freud’s century-old theories. How successful they’ll be is unknown: A 2008 study in the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association found that today’s psychology departments rarely teach psychoanalysis.

hysteria

10. Hysteria
In the Victorian era, hysteria was a catch-all diagnosis for women in distress. The symptoms were vague (discontentment, weakness, outbursts of emotion, nerves) and the history sexist (Plato blamed the wanderings of an “unfruitful” uterus).

The treatment for hysteria? “Hysterical paroxysm,” also known as orgasm. Physicians would massage their patients’ genitals either manually or with a vibrator, a task they found tedious but surprisingly uncontroversial. More contentious was the practice of putting “hysterical” women on bed rest or demanding that they not work or socialize, a treatment that often worsened anxiety or depression.

According to a 2002 editorial in the journal Spinal Cord, the diagnosis of hysteria gradually petered out throughout the 20th century. By 1980, hysteria disappeared from the DSM in favor of newer diagnoses like conversion and dissociative disorders.

Source : livescience.com

Seven (7) Secrets to Prevent Mental Fatigue

Published October 19, 2014 by teacher dahl

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If your brain is always working overtime to make it through your never-ending to-do list, it may be time to give it a rest. These 7 tips can help you back off and be even more productive.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed just thinking about all you have to do? Do you find yourself snapping at others who seem to be too laid back? Have you given up too many things that you used to enjoy because you’re too focused on work? You may be a victim of mental fatigue.

Mental fatigue is the result of brain over-activity. It can happen when you expend too much mental effort on a project or task. You may pride yourself on your laser-focusing ability, spending long hours on a task, day in and day out. But every strength, taken to the extreme, becomes a liability. Your overdrive eventually catches up with you, and you deplete your mental gas tank. The result is mental fatigue.

Research shows that mental fatigue results in an inability to concentrate and an increase in simple mistakes. Unchecked, mental fatigue leads to feeling stressed, irritated that you can’t keep up and even depressed. What’s more, being in a state of mental fatigue not only affects your well-being, it also spills over into your interactions with family and others you associate with. It’s draining for them to be around someone who is continuously mentally exhausted.

If you think you may be mentally fatigued, here are seven tips to help you prevent and combat it.

low yield act1. Stop Low-Yield Activities
Be ruthless about how you spend your time. Instead of mindlessly moving from one task to the next, focus on activities that grow your business. Stop burning away hours reading Facebook updates or answering useless emails. Instead, keep those activities for a scheduled, timed break, then move away to something more worthwhile. Don’t meet with acquaintances who want to get together for coffee—these are often people who have time to waste and want to waste it with you.
Use the time you’ve saved to learn new things, and pursue activities that increase your well-being and the quality of your life. Focus on strengthening your bonds with family, friends and associates. Do what fuels your mind and fills your heart. If you rescue wasted time consistently over the course of a year, you’ll be richer for it and will feel more energized.

time box2. Use the Timebox Technique
Timebox is a term that originated in the software development industry. It’s defined as a period of time during which a task must be accomplished. Entrepreneurs like Steve Pavlina use timeboxing as a way to manage work projects. Because timeboxing forces you to limit the time you allot to certain tasks that run the risk of taking far more time than they’re worth, it counteracts any perfectionist approaches to the wrong tasks and ensures that you do the best job you can within a set time frame.

music

3. Try Focus@Will
Focus@Will is a music service that’s based on the latest research in neuroscience. The selected music helps you focus, reduce distractions and retain information. As the company behind this intersection of art and science explains, most people can only concentrate for about 100 continuous minutes:
“The focus@will system makes it easier for you to get into the concentration flow, and then keeps you there. It works in the background by subtly soothing the part of your brain, the limbic system, that’s always on the lookout for danger, food, sex or shiny things.”
By staying focused, you can get more done in a shorter amount of time, so you can free up more time and reduce your chances of mental fatigue. Entrepreneur Sean Ogle described the program as “magic.” You can try it out for free for 30 days and see what happens.

eyes kindness4. Be Kind to Your Eyes
Staring at a computer for long hours while you work causes eye fatigue, which can tire you out and negatively affect your ability to focus. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to avoid this. For example, every once in a while, look away from your computer screen and focus on distant objects or take a minute to stare out the window. Also, lower the brightness of your monitor—research shows that when you lower the brightness, the reduction in your ability to focus drops by half and you feel less fatigued.
Check out “How to Combat Eye Fatigue Right Now” for other ideas.

ready to go
5. Don Your Sneakers
Research reported in Science Daily reveals that a bout of exercise makes the brain more resistant to fatigue. According to the study, “These findings could lead to the enhancement of athletic performance through reduced mental and physical fatigue.” What works for athletes can also work for you.

nothing for awhile

6. Learn to Do Nothing Once in a While
We’re a nation of doers—continuously on the go, rushing from meeting to meeting, project to project. Even when we’re on vacation, a large number among us spends more time surfing the Internet rather than surfing the waves. John Lennon once said, “Everybody seems to think I’m lazy. I don’t mind, I think they’re crazy. Running everywhere at such a speed, till they find there’s no need.” Planning for a little idleness in your week is a smart move if you’re trying to refresh your spirit—it’s a powerful antidote to mental fatigue.

sleep debt
7. Reduce Your Sleep Debt
Sleep debt is the difference between the amount of sleep you should be getting and the amount you actually get. It’s not uncommon for professionals to miss several hours of sleep for a few days in a row. This is a surefire way to invite mental fatigue.
Research shows, on average, Americans lose one hour of sleep each night—more than two full weeks of slumber every year. This has a negative impact on our health. As the research shows, you can’t train yourself to be a “short sleeper.” What’s more, a study found that the more tired you get, the less tired you feel, which makes you think you’re not shorting yourself. It’s time to earn back your lost sleep: Make it a practice to go to bed when you’re tired and give your body the rest it needs so you can stop mental fatigue in its tracks.
“The energy of the mind is the essence of life,” Aristotle said. Energy is everything. Mental fatigue saps us of our most precious life energy. These seven strategies will help you guard against this.

Source: americanexpress.com

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