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Glia, not neurons, are most affected by brain aging

The difference between an old brain and a young brain isn’t so much the number of neurons but the presence and function of supporting cells called glia. In Cell Reports on January 10, researchers who examined postmortem brain samples from 480 individuals ranging in age from 16 to 106 found that the state of someone’s glia is so consistent through …

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Neuroscientists Identify Neural Networks Confirming Mind-Body Connection

Neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh have identified the neural networks that connect the cerebral cortex to the adrenal medulla, which is responsible for the body’s rapid response in stressful situations. These findings, reported in the online Early Edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), provide evidence for the neural basis of a mind-body connection. Read more

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Study: What Happens When You’re Hypnotized?

Skeptics view hypnosis as a little-understood parlor trick, but a new study reveals real changes occur in the brain when a person enters an hypnotic state. Some parts of the brain relax during the trance while others become more active, said study senior author Dr. David Spiegel, associate chair of psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine. “I hope …

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Do we have free will? Researchers test mechanisms involved in decision-making

Our choices seem to be freer than previously thought. Using computer-based brain experiments, researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin studied the decision-making processes involved in voluntary movements. The question was: Is it possible for people to cancel a movement once the brain has started preparing it? The conclusion the researchers reached was: Yes, up to a certain point—the ‘point of …

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Stories that force us to think about our deepest values activate a region of the brain once thought to be its autopilot

Everyone has at least a few non-negotiable values. These are the things that, no matter what the circumstance, you’d never compromise for any reason – such as “I’d never hurt a child,” or “I’m against the death penalty.”  Real-time brain scans show that when people read stories that deal with these core, protected values, the “default mode network” in their …

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Gary Lachman – Consciousness Wars

The following is an excerpt from my new book, The Secret Teachers of the Western World. In it I look at the history of the western esoteric or ‘inner’ tradition through the lens of the work of two important thinkers, the German-Swiss philosopher Jean Gebser, and the contemporary neuroscientist and English scholar Iain McGilchrist. My central idea is that the western …

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One More Reason to Unplug Before Bedtime – Christopher Bergland

We all know from first-hand experience that the digital age has most of us “plugged in” 24/7. What is the detrimental impact on parents and children of being “plugged in” to digital devices—or in front of a television screen—both day and night? New studies show that turning off the television, unplugging other digital devices, and reading a book before bedtime can: improve a child’s brain function, mental imagery, imagination, theory of mind …