How to tame a wandering mind

18 October 2014
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I am about to be zapped in the head with an electromagnet, once a second, for eight minutes. I fidget, trying to get comfortable in a huge black chair with jointed metal arms that stand between me and the door. I feel faintly ridiculous wearing a tight headband with what looks like a coat hook on the top. “All you need to do is relax,” says Mike Esterman, the researcher about to zap me. That’s easy for him to say – he’s holding the magnet. I’ve come to the Boston Attention and Learning Lab in the US to try and train my brain to focus better. Esterman and fellow cognitive neuroscientist...

Relationships are the key to retirement happiness

18 October 2014
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MARC FREEDMAN: While having enough money in retirement can’t be discounted, it isn’t the key to fulfillment in the second half of life. With more time for themselves, individuals are often surprised to discover—or rediscover—new sources of meaning. They increasingly find that happiness is found not in having more, but in connectingmore deeply. Stanford developmental psychologist Laura Carstensen has shown, for example, that as people become more conscious that the years ahead are likely fewer than those behind, they focus much more on the relationships that matter most. And these bonds...

Professors say new sexual assult policy is one-sided

18 October 2014
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i i A group of professors at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Mass., has slammed the school’s new sexual assault policy, saying it gives victims an unfair advantage. Darren McCollester/Getty Images hide caption itoggle caption Darren McCollester/Getty Images A group of professors at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Mass., has slammed the school’s new sexual assault policy, saying it gives victims an unfair advantage. Darren McCollester/Getty Images Just a few months after Harvard University announced a new, tougher policy against campus sexual assault, a group of Harvard law professors...

Children who care for adults spend nearly 2 hours a day as caregivers

15 October 2014
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A new study of Florida middle-schoolers found that kids who are called on to care for adult family members suffering from diseases or aging-related disabilities spend nearly two hours per weekday providing help, often at the expense of the child’s own school work and well-being. The young caregivers — 62 percent of whom were girls, compared with 38 percent who were boys — assisted adults in their households by helping them to get around, dressing them, feeding them, giving them medications or performing other tasks. And that, of course, was time the children were not studying or exercising...

A new Alzheimer’s breakthrough could be a game changer

15 October 2014
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Scientists recreated what goes on in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients in a 3D culture dish that could speed development of new drugs for the disease Researchers have overcome a major barrier in the study of Alzheimer’s that could pave the way for breakthroughs in our understanding of the disease, a new report shows—and that new understanding could, in turn, pave the way for drugs that treat or interrupt the progression of the neurodegenerative condition. For decades, animals have been the stand-ins for studying human disease, and for good reason. Their shorter lifespans mean they can model...

When your child’s behavior is troubling you

15 October 2014
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These are difficult times to be a parent. Amidst a still-unstable economy, the stakes have never been higher for parents to ensure their children receive the best education and opportunities. But even the most attentive moms and dads may be fearful after seeing media reports of challenges that everyday children face: ADHD, autism, over-medication, drug abuse— the list goes on.   Underneath the hyped-up stories lie some real causes for concern. For example, about 7.5 percent of children aged 6–17 years who used prescribed medication during the past six months did so to treat emotional or behavioral...

Emotions linger after forgotten events in Alzheimer’s patients

15 October 2014
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Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required. ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: A new study suggests people with Alzheimer’s may keep feeling happy or sad even after they’ve forgotten why they feel that way. Researchers played movies for patients, like “When Harry Met Sally” or “Sophie’s Choice.” Five minutes later, many people forgot that they had seen the movie, but their feelings remained. Edmarie Guzman-Velez is one of the study’s authors. She’s at the University of Iowa and joins...

Countering negative self-talk

10 October 2014
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How we talk to ourselves affects everything. It influences everything from how we feel about ourselves to the decisions we make. Negative self-talk can sabotage and undermine our efforts in any part of our lives. For instance, if you keep telling yourself you’re unworthy or incapable — “I can’t do this! I’m not smart enough!” — you might not pursue a promotion or ask for a raise at work. If you keep telling yourself you’re undeserving of love — “I have too much baggage!” — you might not date or date people who mistreat you. You might stay in toxic relationships, and let...

Cannabis is as addictive as heroin

08 October 2014
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:: Cannabis doubles the risk of psychosis and schizophrenia, with withdrawal symptoms including anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite and depression; :: Driving after smoking cannabis doubles the risk of a car crash, with the risk heightened yet further if you have had a drink; :: As many teenagers now smoke cannabis as cigarettes. The Daily Mail quoted Prof Hall as saying: “If cannabis is not addictive, then neither is heroin or alcohol. “It is often harder to get people who are dependent on cannabis through withdrawal than for heroin. We just don’t know how to do it.” Less...

What’s next in the fight over same-sex marriage?

08 October 2014
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