More evidence that brain training has benefits- but only very specific to the training

More evidence that brain training has benefits- but only very specific to the training

No ‘far transfer’ – chess, memory training and music does make you better at chess, memory training and music” discusses a review of several meta-analytic studies assessing the evidence for “far transfer” learning – the theory that training in one brain domain transfers to another domain. Or, does learning to ride a BMX bicycle result in better skills are riding a unicycle, or piloting a helicopter? The article concludes: “Limiting the analysis to the best-designed studies, they found little or no evidence of far-transfer. The only exception was a robust effect of working memory training on other memory tasks, which

Depression: brain scan can predict response to treatment (medication)

Depression: brain scan can predict response to treatment (medication)

“Brain activity can predict success of depression treatment”reports on a study to be published by JAMA Psychiatry in the June 28 edition. The study builds on previous studies, which have identified neurological markers that predict how patients will respond to antidepressant medication. The study identified more specific markers. The authors conclude that for patients with the marker of low response, “clinicians could decide to start with more aggressive treatment at the outset, such as a combination of pharmacology and psychotherapy, and importantly, monitor these patients more closely.”  From ScienceDaily, read the original article.

Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy – May Be Ready for Prime Time

“A New Way for Therapists to Get inside Heads; Virtual Reality” was published by the New York Times on 7-30-17. This article reports on a new Silicon Valley startup called Limbix, a company that bills itself as providing “modern treatment tools for therapists.” Limbix provides a “treatment dashboard” for therapists that enables them to assign work with their patients between appointments by providing assignments, thought records, guided meditations, and more.  It also provides a mobile app for patients which enables them to access their assignments.

Neurofeedback as treatment for depression: some companies make unsupported claims

“Neurofeedback Could Fight Depression-or Just Empty Your Wallet” was posted by Bloomberg BusinessWeek on 5-18-17. This article discusses the emerging field of “neurofeedback,” which is part of the huge brain-training market. The article discusses one company in particular, Neurocore LLC, based in Florida and owned in part by US Education Sec. Betsy DeVos. This company claims to be able, using advanced EEG technology, to be able to help people “optimize their brains” and to improve cognitive performance, diagnose ADHD, and even to provide “a lasting solution” for depression.

Study finds light from devices to reduce melatonin, affects sleep

Artificial light from digital devices lessens sleep quality: Melatonin skyrockets when blue light is blocked was posted by the ScienceDaily blog on 7-28-17. This article briefly reviews the importance of sleep for various health functions, and summarizes the results for a study that found people using devices in the crucial hours before bedtime to have significantly reduced production of melatonin, by up to 50%!