Credible Sources for The Brain

CREDIBLE SOURCE

URL:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mental-downtime/

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“In making an argument for the necessity of mental downtime, we can now add an overwhelming amount of empirical evidence to intuition and anecdote. Why giving our brains a break now and then is so important has become increasingly clear in a diverse collection of new studies investigating: the habits of office workers and the daily routines of extraordinary musicians and athletes; the benefits of vacation, meditation and time spent in parks, gardens and other peaceful outdoor spaces; and how napping, unwinding while awake and perhaps the mere act of blinking can sharpen the mind. What research to date also clarifies, however, is that even when we are relaxing or daydreaming, the brain does not really slow down or stop working. Rather—just as a dazzling array of molecular, genetic and physiological processes occur primarily or even exclusively when we sleep at night—many important mental processes seem to require what we call downtime and other forms of rest during the day. Downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life. A wandering mind unsticks us in time so that we can learn from the past and plan for the future. Moments of respite may even be necessary to keep one’s moral compass in working order and maintain a sense of self.

The rest is history

For much of the 20th century many scientists regarded the idea that the brain might be productive during downtime as ludicrous. German neurologist Hans Berger disagreed. In 1929, after extensive studies using an electroencephalogram—a device he invented to record electrical impulses in the brain by placing a net of electrodes on the scalp—he proposed that the brain is always in “a state of considerable activity,” even when people were sleeping or relaxing. Although his peers acknowledged that some parts of the the brain and spinal cord must work nonstop to regulate the lungs and heart, they assumed that when someone was not focusing on a specific mental task, the brain was largely offline; any activity picked up by an electroencephalogram or other device during rest was mostly random noise. At first, the advent of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in the early 1990s only strengthened this view of the brain as an exquisitely frugal organ switching on and off its many parts as needed. By tracing blood flow through the brain, fMRI clearly showed that different neural circuits became especially active during different mental tasks, summoning extra blood full of oxygen and glucose to use as energy.

By the mid 1990s, however, Marcus Raichle of Washington University in Saint Louis and his colleagues had demonstrated that the human brain is in fact a glutton, constantly demanding 20 percent of all the energy the body produces and requiring only 5 to 10 percent more energy than usual when someone solves calculus problems or reads a book. Raichle also noticed that a particular set of scattered brain regions consistently became less active when someone concentrated on a mental challenge, but began to fire in synchrony when someone was simply lying supine in an fMRI scanner, letting their thoughts wander. Likewise, Bharat Biswal, now at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, documented the same kind of coordinated communication between disparate brain regions in people who were resting. Many researchers were dubious, but further studies by other scientists confirmed that the findings were not a fluke. Eventually this mysterious and complex circuit that stirred to life when people were daydreaming became known as the default mode network (DMN). In the last five years researchers discovered that the DMN is but one of at least five different resting-state networks—circuits for vision, hearing, movement, attention and memory. But the DMN remains the best studied and perhaps the most important among them.”

Description:

Article from Scientific American examining the effect of mental downtime in the form of meditation, napping, and the like on productivity and our brains.

Author(s):

  • Ferris Jabr

Title:

  • Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime

Publisher:

  • Scientific American

Date:

  • October 15, 2013

Citations:

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CREDIBLE SOURCE

URL:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sports/league-of-denial/timeline-the-nfls-concussion-crisis/

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Sample:

“October 1999

NFL RETIREMENT BOARD RULES MIKE WEBSTER PERMANENTLY DISABLED

The NFL Retirement Board rules that Mike Webster’s head injuries from his years playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs left him “totally and permanently” disabled as “the result of head injuries he suffered as a football player.” The ruling isn’t made public until it’s uncovered by FRONTLINE/ESPN reporters Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada.

Webster’s attorney, Bob Fitzsimmons, says the ruling shows that the league should’ve known there was a link between football and brain damage.

“It’s pretty devastating evidence,” he said. “If the NFL takes the position that they didn’t know or weren’t armed with evidence that concussions can cause total disability — permanent disability, permanent brain injury — in 1999, that evidence trumps anything they say.””

Description:

Detailed timeline from PBS on the issue of concussions in the NFL, chronicling their pubilc stances, contributions to research, and injured players.

Author(s):

  • Lauren Ezell

Title:

  • Timeline: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis

Publisher:

  • PBS

Date:

  • October 8, 2013

Citations:

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CREDIBLE SOURCE

URL:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/concussion/symptoms-causes/dxc-20273155

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Sample:

The signs and symptoms of a concussion can be subtle and may not show up immediately. Symptoms can last for days, weeks or even longer.

Common symptoms after a concussive traumatic brain injury are headache, loss of memory (amnesia) and confusion. The amnesia usually involves forgetting the event that caused the concussion.

Signs and symptoms of a concussion may include:

  • Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
  • Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
  • Dizziness or “seeing stars”
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Delayed response to questions
  • Appearing dazed
  • Fatigue

Description:

List of symptoms and causes of concussions from the Mayo Clinic, with details for concussions in children, athletes, and links to more information.

Author(s):

  • Mayo Clinic Staff

Title:

  • Symptoms and causes

Publisher:

  • Mayo Clinic

Date:

  • No date.

Citations:

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CREDIBLE SOURCE

URL:

http://brainimaging.waisman.wisc.edu/~perlman/0903-EmoPaper/BishopMindfulnessDefinition2004.pdf

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“There has been substantial interest in mindfulness as an approach to reduce cognitive vulnerability to stress and emotional distress in recent years. However, thus far mindfulness has not been defined operationally. This paper describes the results of recent meetings held to establish a consensus on mindfulness and to develop conjointly a testable operational definition. We propose a two-component model of mindfulness and specify each component in terms of specific behaviors, experiential manifestations, and implicated psychological processes. We then address issues regarding temporal stability and situational specificity and speculate on the conceptual and operational distinctiveness of mindfulness. We conclude this paper by discussing implications for instrument development and briefly describing our own approach to measurement.”

MLA Citation:

Bishop, Scott R. et al. “Mindfulness: A Proposed Operational Definition.” Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice 11.3 (2004): 230-241.  (PUT DATE OF ACCESS HERE). <http://brainimaging.waisman.wisc.edu/~perlman/0903-EmoPaper/BishopMindfulnessDefinition2004.pdf>.

In-Text: (Bishop et al.)

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APA Citation:

Bishop, S., Lau, M., Shapiro, S., Carlson, L., Anderson, N.D., Carmody, J. … Devins, G. (2004). Mindfulness: A proposed operational definition. Clinical Pyschology: Science and Practice 11(3), 230-241. doi:10.1093/clipsy/bph077

In-Text: (Bishop et al., 2004)

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CREDIBLE SOURCE

URL:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2693206/

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“This article provides a review of recent studies examining the effects of meditation training on attention and emotion. Despite a large number of scientific reports and theoretical proposals 4–8, little is known about the neurophysiological processes involved in meditation and the long-term impact of meditation on the brain. The lack of statistical evidence, control populations and rigor of many of the early studies, the heterogeneity of the studied meditative states, and the difficulty in controlling the degree of expertise of practitioners can in part account for the limited contributions made by neuroscience-oriented research on meditation. The absence of a clear operational definition of meditation limits this research. Here we offer a theoretical framework, based on traditional meditation texts and modern neuroscientific conceptions, in which some standard meditations are grouped into two broad categories: focused attention (FA) and open monitoring (OM) meditation (box 1–box 2, table 1). These categories are used to delineate the specific psychological processes implicated in these two practices and to derive neuro-functional predictions. We also present key findings illustrating how meditation may affect mental processing and the brain. The overall purpose of this framework is to produce an operational definition for FA and OM meditative practices that can be adopted in the scientific study of effects of meditation training on the mind and the brain (see also 9–11).”

MLA Citation:

Lutz, Antoine, Heleen A. Slagter, John D. Dunne, and Richard J. Davidson. “Attention regulation and monitoring in meditation.” Trends in Cognitive Science 12.4 (Apr., 2008): 163-169. (PUT DATE OF ACCESS HERE). <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2693206/>.

In-Text: (Lutz et al.)

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APA Citation:

Lutz, A., Slagter, H., Dunne, J., & Davidson, R. (2008, Apr.). Attention regulation and monitoring in meditation. Trends in Cognitive Science, 12(4), p. 163-169. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2008.01.005

In-Text: (Lutz, Slagter, Dunne, Davidson, 2008)

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CREDIBLE SOURCE

URL:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/05/26/harvard-neuroscientist-meditation-not-only-reduces-stress-it-literally-changes-your-brain/

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Sample:

“It’s well-documented that our cortex shrinks as we get older – it’s harder to figure things out and remember things. But in this one region of the prefrontal cortex, 50-year-old meditators had the same amount of gray matter as 25-year-olds.”

MLA Citation:

Schulte, Brigid. “Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, here’s how it changes your brain.” washingtonpost.com. The Washington Post, 26 May 2015.  (PUT DATE OF ACCESS HERE). <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/05/26/harvard-neuroscientist-meditation-not-only-reduces-stress-it-literally-changes-your-brain/>.

In-Text: (Schulte)

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APA Citation:

Schulte, B. (2015, May 26). Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, here’s how it changes your brain. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/05/26/harvard-neuroscientist-meditation-not-only-reduces-stress-it-literally-changes-your-brain/

In-Text: (Schulte, 2015)

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CREDIBLE SOURCE

URL:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-meditation-overrated/

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Sample:

“Describing their results in January in JAMA Internal Medicine, the researchers found moderate evidence that mindfulness meditation alleviates pain, anxiety and depression—the latter two to a similar degree as antidepressant drug therapy. Mindfulness meditation, the most widely researched approach, requires focusing one’s attention on experiencing the present moment. The scientists did not have enough data to assess other common claims of its benefits, including that it improves mood or attention, or other forms of meditation, such as mantra-based practices.”

MLA Citation:

Moyer, Melinda Wenner. “Is Meditation Overrated?” scientificamerican.com. Scientific American, 1 May 2014.  (PUT DATE OF ACCESS HERE). <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-meditation-overrated/>.

In-Text: (Moyer)

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APA Citation:

Moyer, M. W. (2014, May 1). Is Meditation Overrated? Scientific American. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-meditation-overrated/

In-Text: (Moyer, 2014)

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CREDIBLE SOURCE:

 

URL:

http://www.boston.com/jobs/news/jobdoc/2014/10/creating_landmark_research-bas.html

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“Q: You worked with researchers from Harvard to look at the use of e-readers by students with dyslexia. What did you find out?

A: We wanted to know about whether iPods, Kindles, iPads or other e-readers could help dyslexic students read faster and more accurately. Landmark high school students were tested by a visual learning lab to see if changing fonts, word spacing or letter size could help reduce ‘visual attention deficit,’ which is an inability to concentrate on letters or words. Researchers found that the short lines on an e-reader can reduce this distraction and help readers concentrate. So now we know that these devices aren’t just technological gadgets but an educational resource for those with dyslexia.”

MLA Citation:

Keene, Cindy Atoji. “Creating ‘Landmark’ research-based strategies for dyslexic readers”. www.boston.com. Boston Globe Media Partners, n.d.  (PUT DATE OF ACCESS HERE). <http://www.boston.com/jobs/news/jobdoc/2014/10/creating_landmark_research-bas.html>.

In-Text: (Keene)

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APA Citation:

Keene, C. (n.d.). Creating ‘Landmark’ research-based strategies for dyslexic readers. Retrieved from http://www.boston.com/jobs/news/jobdoc/2014/10/creating_landmark_research-bas.html

In-Text: (Keene)

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Read More Comments Off on Dyslexia and Schools, Interview About New Learning Methods – Boston Globe

CREDIBLE SOURCE:

 

URL:

http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa63/aa63.htm

Sorry to bother you but you should probably sell your old books…

Samples:

“Difficulty walking, blurred vision, slurred speech, slowed reaction times, impaired memory: Clearly, alcohol affects the brain. Some of these impairments are detectable after only one or two drinks and quickly resolve when drinking stops. On the other hand, a person who drinks heavily over a long period of time may have brain deficits that persist well after he or she achieves sobriety. Exactly how alcohol affects the brain and the likelihood of reversing the impact of heavy drinking on the brain remain hot topics in alcohol research today.”

“Blackouts are much more common among social drinkers than previously assumed and should be viewed as a potential consequence of acute intoxication regardless of age or whether the drinker is clinically dependent on alcohol (2). White and colleagues (3) surveyed 772 college undergraduates about their experiences with blackouts and asked, “Have you ever awoken after a night of drinking not able to remember things that you did or places that you went?” Of the students who had ever consumed alcohol, 51 percent reported blacking out at some point in their lives, and 40 percent reported experiencing a blackout in the year before the survey. Of those who reported drinking in the 2 weeks before the survey, 9.4 percent said they blacked out during that time. The students reported learning later that they had participated in a wide range of potentially dangerous events they could not remember, including vandalism, unprotected sex, and driving.”

MLA Citation:

“Alcohol’s Damaging Effects on the Brain”. pubs.niaaa.nih.gov. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Oct. 2004.  (PUT DATE OF ACCESS HERE). <http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa63/aa63.htm>.

In-Text: (“Alcohol’s Damaging Effects on the Brain”)

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APA Citation:

Alcohol’s Damaging Effects on the Brain. (Oct, 2004). Retrieved from http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa63/aa63.htm

In-Text: (Alcohol’s Damaging Effects on the Brain)

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Read More Comments Off on Alcohol Effects on Brain, Damage, Blackouts and Memory Lapses, Treatment

CREDIBLE SOURCE:

 

URL:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/05/02/180036711/imagine-a-flying-pig-how-words-take-shape-in-the-brain

Sorry to bother you but you should probably sell your old books…

Samples:

“Just a few decades ago, many linguists thought the human brain had evolved a special module for language. It seemed plausible that our brains have some unique structure or system. After all, no animal can use language the way people can.”

“A flying pig has meaning to us because our brain is using things we have seen — pigs and birds — to create something we’ve never seen. And Bergen says we also draw on personal experience when we use language to convey abstract ideas — like truth, or justice, or even the word “meaning.””

“Philosophers have been debating the importance of metaphors like these since the time of Aristotle. But now, brain researchers like Krish Sathian at Emory University are getting involved.”

MLA Citation:

Hamilton, Jon. “Imagine a Flying Pig: How Words Take Shape In The Brain.” npr.org. NPR, 2 May. 2013.  (PUT DATE OF ACCESS HERE). <http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/05/02/180036711/imagine-a-flying-pig-how-words-take-shape-in-the-brain>.

In-Text: (Hamilton)

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APA Citation:

Hamilton, J. (2 May, 2013). Imagine a Flying Pig: How Words Take Shape In The Brain. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/05/02/180036711/imagine-a-flying-pig-how-words-take-shape-in-the-brain

In-Text: (Hamilton, 2013)

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