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Posts Tagged "mental health"


A New Scientific American eBook, Understanding Addiction, Examines the Multifaceted Issue of Substance Abuse

Addiction eBook cover

Many former substance abusers or addicts will likely tell you that beating their addiction was the hardest thing they’ve ever done. With more research pointing to the genetic underpinnings of diseases such as alcoholism, and with more treatments aimed at the physiology—rather than psychology—of addiction, the road to sobriety could someday be less frustrating. In [...]

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Why Screening Teens for Mental Illness Is a Terrible Idea

teen sitting on floor with head in hands

Mental illness can afflict children, just as cancer and other diseases do. Many young people quietly struggle with depression and other disorders, which may provoke them to commit suicide, the third-most common cause of death among teenagers. So from one perspective, programs like TeenScreen—designed by a group at Columbia University and now operating in schools [...]

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Guest Blog

Why We Need More Scientists in Davos


Science at the World Economic Forum is about inspiration, solutions and collaboration. First and foremost, leaders come together in Davos to address global challenges such as antibiotic resistance, climate change and understanding the human mind. Science has a critical role to play helping leaders understand why we have these problems, and increasingly leaders are looking [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

The Growing Economic Burden of Depression in the U.S.

Credit: Luis Sarabia/Flickr

Depression in America costs society $210 billion per year, according to the newest data available, yet only 40 percent of this sum is associated with depression itself. My colleagues and I have found that most of the costs of depression are for related mental illnesses, such as anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

Why We Need to Abandon the Disease Model of Mental Health Care

A Prescription for Psychiatry, book cover.

The idea that our more distressing emotions such as grief and anger can best be understood as symptoms of physical illnesses is pervasive and seductive. But in my view it is also a myth, and a harmful one. Our present approach to helping vulnerable people in acute emotional distress is severely hampered by old-fashioned, inhumane [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

To Feel Meaningful Is to Feel Immortal

Still Life with Skull by Philippe de Champagne (1602-1674). (Wikimedia Commons)

Imagine when our ancestors first started to look up at the stars and question their place in the universe. Why are we here? Are we alone? What happens to us when we die? It is difficult to know for sure at what point in time we became a species obsessed with existential questions. We can [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

Technology May Lift Severe Depression, but Full Recovery Takes Time

Courtesy of Dave Gingrich via Flickr.

This blog is the last in a series of guest posts on technology and the brain to celebrate Scientific American Mind’s 10-year anniversary. The magazine’s special November/December issue similarly highlights the interface between code and thought in profiling a future, more digital YOU. I have been a practicing psychiatrist at the Cleveland Clinic since 1989. [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

Can Video Games Diagnose Cognitive Deficits?

Five brain-training games available as an iPad “app” from Lumosity were evaluated as tests of cognitive dysfunction in cirrhosis: (a) Circles is a test of spatial orientation, information processing speed and attention. Colored circles appear one at a time and a user must decide whether each is a match when compared with the circle that showed up earlier. (b) Color Match evaluates selective attention, cognitive flexibility and processing speed. The names of two colors appear and the test-taker must decide whether or not the top word names the font color of the bottom word. (c) Memory Matrix taps visuospatial memory. A pattern of tiles appears on a grid; when the pattern disappears, a test-taker attempts to recreate it. (d) Lost in Migration examines attention as well as visual field and focus. Five birds appear and a user indicates the direction of flight of the center bird. (e) Chalkboard Challenge involves quantitative reasoning. A player must determine which arithmetic figure has the greatest value between two choices.

This blog is the third in a series of guest posts on technology and the brain to celebrate Scientific American Mind’s 10-year anniversary. The magazine’s special November/December issue similarly highlights the interface between code and thought in profiling a future, more digital YOU. Video games are an increasingly common pastime, especially for children, adolescents and [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

Internet Addiction: Real or Virtual Reality?

Credit: Sam Wolff via Flickr

In 1995, Ivan Goldberg, a New York psychiatrist, published one of the first diagnostic tests for Internet Addiction Disorder. The criteria appeared on, a psychiatry bulletin board, and began with an air of earnest authenticity: “A maladaptive pattern of Internet use, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress as manifested by three (or more) [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

Can a Mnemonic Slow Age-Based Memory Loss?

basketball court - plant artist composite

One of the tragedies of aging is the slow but steady decline in memory. Phone numbers slipping your mind? Forgetting crucial items on your grocery list? Opening the door but can’t remember why? Up to 50 percent of adults aged 64 years or older report memory complaints. For many of us, senile moments are the [...]

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More Science in the Sunshine State

In the Sunshine State, science is ready to bloom. On December 5, I attended the official grand opening of the new, $64 million, 100,000-square-foot Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience in Jupiter—and the first of the Max Planck Institutes outside of Europe. The institute will focus on the human brain, which scientific director and CEO [...]

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Talking back

Sleep’s Role in Obesity, Schizophrenia, Diabetes…Everything

Is sleep good for everything? Scientists hate giving unqualified answers. But the more sleep researchers look, the more the answer seems to be tending toward a resounding affirmative. The slumbering brain plays an essential role in learning and memory, one of the findings that sleep researchers have reinforced repeatedly in recent years. But that’s not [...]

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