"There’s a problem with the drugs used in mental health care: You have to be on them for them to work. Even then, they can be expensive and have detrimental side effects.
"Ville Tapio had an idea to do it better. He runs a private psychiatry center in Helsinki, and psychiatrists had told him they were reluctant in particular to hand out drugs for patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD drugs are psychostimulants, they are frequently abused, and kids can be prescribed them young and kept on a regimen for years.
"Tapio's alternative? Getting people with mental health concerns to play video games. They're special video games, of course—ones that can change how your brain works, with a technique loosely termed gameified neuroplasticity therapy.
"The idea isn’t totally out of the blue. The University of Helsinki is well known for its neuroscience, with researchers already investigating how brain activity changes when people do different things. Scientists there have already tinkered around with game play, checking out local Helsinki production Angry Birds to test why the game was so addictive, and it's all part of a push by Finnish developers to build games that do good."
Can you imagine feeling Earth's magnetic field on the tip of your tongue? Strangely, this is now possible, using a device that converts the tongue into a "display" for output from environmental sensors.
The tongue is known to have an extremely dense sensing resolution, as well as an extraordinary degree of neuroplasticity, the ability to adapt to and internalize new input. Research has shown that electro-tactile tongue displays paired with cameras can be used as vision prosthetics for the blind or visually impaired; users quickly learn to read and navigate through natural environments, and many describe the signals as an innate sense. However, existing displays are expensive and difficult to adapt. Tongueduino is an inexpensive, vinyl-cut tongue display designed to interface with many types of sensors besides cameras. Connected to a magnetometer, for example, the system provides a user with an internal sense of direction, like a migratory bird. Piezo whiskers allow a user to sense orientation, wind, and the lightest touch. Through tongueduino, we hope to bring electro-tactile sensory substitution beyond the discourse of vision replacement, towards open-ended sensory augmentation that anyone can access.
Gershon Dublon of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology devised a small pad containing electrodes in a 5 × 5 grid. Users put the pad, which Gershon calls Tongueduino, on their tongue. When hooked up to an electronic sensor, the pad converts signals from the sensor into small pulses of electric current across the grid, which the tongue "reads" as a pattern of tingles.
Dublon says the brain quickly adapts to new stimuli on the tongue and integrates them into our senses. For example, if Tongueduino is attached to a sensor that detects Earth's magnetic field, users can learn to use their tongue as a compass. "You might not have to train much," he says. "You could just put this on and start to perceive."
Dublon has been testing Tongueduino on himself for the past year using a range of environmental sensors. He will now try the device out on 12 volunteers.
Blair MacIntyre at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta says a wireless version of Tongueduino could prove useful in augmented reality applications that deliver information to users inconspicuously, without interfering with their vision or hearing. "There's a need for forms of awareness that aren't socially intrusive," he says. Even Google's much-publicised Project Glass will involve wearing a headset, he points out.
Norman Doidge, M.D., discusses why the concept of brain plasticity—the brain's ability to grow and change in structure and function in response to experience—is “the most important change in our understanding of the brain ...
In his review of various approaches to early childhood education in the 1960s (e.g., Operation Head Start, Perry Preschool Project, etc.), psychologist David P. Weikart cited literature on neuroplasticity in adult rats (Weikart, ...
Picture Source As many of my clients can attest, I am endlessly fascinated by the field of neuroscience and the useful applications it has in my own work. Perhaps you're aware but it wasn't until the 21st century that ...
The Age (blog) Let the good ideas flow The Age (blog) Practicing mindfulness (or, in simple terms, just switching off and relaxing the brain) improves the neuroplasticity of our brains and helps us to stay calm, focused and present.
Carlos Eduardo Santin Dominguez's insight:
Lo cual nos lleva a ubicar a la neuroplasticidad entre el stress y la relajacion
New Theory of Synapse Formation in the Brain Science Daily (press release) This so-called neuroplasticity not only plays a key role in learning processes, it also enables the brain to recover from injuries and compensate for the loss of functions.
"Mental Capital Care Ltd has partnered with University of Helsinki in a Computer Enabled Neuroplasticity Therapy (CENT) research and development project. The aim of the project is to study and develop a novel treatment method for undesired behavioral and brain states (e.g. ADHD, memory problems and depression). The project is motivated by well-known limitations of medical treatment; although pharmacotherapy is an essential part of any intervention, some patients always fail to respond favorably, adverse effects cause significant problems, and long-term benefits as well as compliance rates remain low.
"These challenges can be partially solved by Computer Enabled Neuroplasticity Therapy (CENT) which is based on giving the subject instant feedback (neurofeedback) of his/hers brain activity (EEG) in order to alter undesired activation towards more favorable brain states. This might be a promising method of treatment in the future due to its efficiency, lack of adverse effects and, most notably, long-term effectiveness.
"The prevalence of ADHD in Finnish 8-year-olds is estimated at 4% (DSM-III) (Almqvist 2004), while among Finnish 16-18 year olds it rises to 8.5% (DSM-IV) (Smalley et al., 2007). ADHD’s medical treatments do not offer a lasting impact and are causing common and difficult side effects and high treatment costs. Given that in Finland medication therapy for ADHD is the lowest among all Scandinavian countries (Zo ega et al., 2011), Finland’s need for other treatments may be substantial."
Carlos Eduardo Santin Dominguez's insight:
Anhadiendo el estimulo positivo reinforzante al cambio deseado.
"Addiction has been a divisive term when applied to various compulsive sexual behaviors (CSBs), including obsessive use of pornography. Despite a growing acceptance of the existence of natural or process addictions based on an increased understanding of the function of the mesolimbic dopaminergic reward systems, there has been a reticence to label CSBs as potentially addictive....... Nevertheless, the new combined paradigm that amalgamates addictions to both substances and behaviors is beginning to assert itself....."
The news in Britain has been peppered with stories about the scandal of our youth, who are being sexualized at increasingly younger and younger ages. Blame is being laid at the foot of products and entertainment which is ...
As mounting evidence suggests that musical training enhances the brain's processing of speech sounds, Dr. Aniruddh Patel will review the evidence for such effects, and offer a theoretical framework for understanding how ...
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