Deep Brain Stimulation: A Cognitive Panacea?

His name is Andres Lozano, and he's a virtuoso (we encourage you to watch his TED talk to see him change lives with the flip of a switch) on the cutting edge of neuroscience. His canvas: the human brain. His brush: deep brain stimulation. The technique, allowed by state of the art surgical techniques, allows him to implant electrodes virtually anywhere within the brain. If we imagine the brain to be a big circuit board, these electrodes are like…

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The Nietzsche Hypothesis: How Failure Fuels Fulfillment

In 1887,  famed philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote as follows: To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities — I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished: I have no pity for them, because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not — that one endures. At first…

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The Five Best Brain-Boosting Rituals

Your brain is your engine of success. Research suggests that adopting the five following rituals will keep it finely tuned into your golden years. Savor the little victories: your brain doesn't know the difference between little ones and big ones, but perceived progress is an enormous driver of positive behaviors and neurochemistry. Consider a morning routine that ends with an accomplishment (working out, writing a blog entry, etc.) to get your victory in the bag at the…

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Can Adults Grow More Neurons?

The short answer is "yes," through a process called neurogenesis. Unsurprisingly, one of the primary areas for neuron growth is the portion of the brain called the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory and learning. Neuroscientists estimate that we generate approximately 700 neurons there a day, and that by middle-age, we've replaced all of the hippocampic neurons we were born with with new ones. Now for the elephant in the room regarding neurogenesis: can we control it? Again,…

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Binge-Watching = Brain Drain

Recent cognitive performance studies suggest that binge-watching TV on a regular basis is bad for your brain. Specifically, researchers at the University of California followed individuals with low exercise levels and high television consumption over 25 years to determine whether these behaviors would negatively effect their midlife cognitive performance. Unsurprisingly, the researchers found what they were looking for. Both the group of individuals who did not exercise and the group that watched more than three hours of daily TV over the…

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Brain Boosting Beats: Rhythm’s Effect on Focus

Since ancient times, drums have been the centerpiece of some of humanity's most important moments.  The rhythm of drums spirited soldiers into battle and elevated souls into alternative realities during religious ceremonies. Neuroscience is now revealing what humanity has innately appreciated all along: rhythm moves us--all the way down to our brain waves. Specifically, electroencephalographs (EEGs), which measure the electrical impulses in the brain, have revealed that drums stimulate the brain, causing its brainwaves to resonate in time with their rhythm…

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Vinpocetine: The MVP of Nootropic Supplementation

The most powerful of Mental Mojo's active ingredients is plant-derived Vinpocetine, also known as “Viagra for the brain.”[1] As stated in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, Vinpocetine “turns up our mind and keeps our lights bright at the same time that it helps our cardiovascular and GI systems, along with muscles, joints and sensory organs to function better.” [2] Vinpocetine’s brain-boosting benefits stem from its increase in cerebral oxygen delivery, scavenging of hydroxyl radicals and…

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Machines That Read Your Mind: The New Focus on Neurotech

Innovators in the neurotech industry will soon be able to use technology to read your mind: the proof is in the patents.  Indeed, patents in neurotechnology have skyrocketed from 300 a year in the 2000s to over 1,600 last year.  The most fascinating of those patents describe technologies that detect your emotional state and play appropriate music (e.g. Mozart when you are concentrating on something), read your brainwaves to determine what you truly think about a product…

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Tech Use Up, Memory Capacity Down: Techniques to Counteract it

Remember the days before smart phones where we actually memorized dozens of phone numbers? We don't really do that anymore, and it could be directly linked to why more of us are routinely forgetting where we put our keys or where we parked our car. Science shows us that technological conveniences like smart phones and GPS are making our memories worse. However, you can improve your memory with techniques as simple as doodling. Read on for more…

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What Drives Decisiveness?

Paralysis by analysis: we've all been there.  But the average CEO has to complete 139 tasks each week, and must make 50% of the decisions underlying them in 9 minutes or less.  How do they do it?  In her TED talk, Sheena Iyengar identifies and explains how "choice overload" catalyzes indecision, and identifies four techniques that can help overcome it: cut, concretize, categorize and condition for complexity.  Check out her presentation here, and if you're in a…

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