Fast-Paced Cartoons May Hurt Kids’ Attention, Memory
By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Health News
From the article:
“The fast-paced shows may have a negative impact, Lillard says, because of the rapid presentation of the events. These engage the senses rather than the brain areas engaged in memory, controlling inhibition, and problem solving, she says.
When a child sees a cartoon character that jumps from one activity to another, much faster than in real life, she says, ‘they become neurologically exhausted and it inhibits the ability to concentrate.'”
“All in the ADHD family: Diagnosis in Kids can Spotlight Parents’ own Condition”
NBC News, Rock Center
11 min, 55 sec
This video profiles two people who were not diagnosed with ADHD until adulthood. It is not uncommon for someone to first consider that they may have ADHD after one of their children has been diagnosed.
NBC’s Kate Snow also talks to a woman who conducted a study where she examined a cohort of children diagnosed with ADHD and then followed up with them 33 years later.
In addition, she speaks with a researcher about the differences that have been found between ADHD and non-ADHD adults in brain neuroimaging studies.
RIP Oliver Sacks. “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” is one of my favorite books from graduate school. It brings the complexity and fragility of the way our brains function to life in a fascinating and sometimes unsettling way.
CNN: “And the Secret to Happiness Is…”
by Sanjay Gupta, MD
2 min, 0 sec
Dr. Gupta makes a number of interesting points in this video.
- Happiness can help you live a longer and happier life.*
- Much of our happiness is related to our social connections. So having no social connections is correlated with less happiness and a shorter lifespan.
- Telomeres are the caps on our DNA chromosomes that measure our cellular age. The older we get, the shorter the telomeres. Someone without any close social ties will have shorter telomeres than someone of the same age with at least one close friend.
- People who tend to have a lot of negative thoughts are three times as likely to develop health problems as they age. But research indicates that even just pretending to be an optimist can help reverse this trend. In addition, changing the habitual way we think is one of the core skills that you develop in cognitive behavior therapy.
* Those of you familiar with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy will understand that happiness is not as straightforward of a concept as it may seem and being fixated on being happy actually make you miserable. But that’s a whole other discussion. But a very interesting topic. If you’d like to read more you can check out Russ Harris’s book “The Happiness Trap.”
“A Little Meditation Goes a Long Way: A new study offers the strongest evidence to date that meditation can change the structure of your brain”
By Jason Marsh, February 9, 2011, as published online in the “Greater Good” newsletter through the University of California, Berkeley.
This article describes the results of a neuroimaging study that looked at participants of the 8 week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. Participants reported meditating for 30 min. per day on average. Neuroimaging found that the amount of gray matter thickened after 8 weeks of meditating in a number of regions including the hippocampus (involved in memory, learning, and emotion regulation), the temporo-parietal junction and posterior cingulate cortex (involved in empathy), and the cerebellum (which also plays a role in emotion regulation).
The article also points out that exercise can also increase the volume of the hippocampus. They reference a study that was done that compared two groups of 60-somethings. One group walked around the track three times per week for a year and the other group was less physically active. In the walking group the hippocampus increased in volume and in the non-walking group it became smaller.
Walking mediation anyone?