The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind. - William James (1842-1910)

Effectiveness of an Online Group Course for Depression in Adolescents and Young Adults: A Randomized Trial

Depression is a serious mental health problem, whose first onset is usually in adolescence. Online treatment may offer a solution for the current undertreatment of depression in youth. For adults with depressive symptoms, the effectiveness of Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy has been demonstrated. This study is one of the first randomized controlled trials to investigate the effectiveness online depression treatment for young people with depressive complaints and the first to focus on an online group course. Read the full article at the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

An Honest Perspective on Working with Children with ASD

When asked what the most rewarding experience he has had in working with a child with autism Dr. Robert Naseef responded as follows: “I take great joy in seeing parents fall in love with their child all over again. First, I try to help people look at their grief. It doesn’t help to pretend to be positive when underneath you may be lonely, afraid, or sad.I learned we don’t have to lie to ourselves. You can grieve. You can complain. You can mourn. This helps you to go on, make the best of the situation, and enjoy life.” This is an important perspective to consider and share with parents living with children on the spectrum.

Slower Reaction Times in the Elderly

Recently, Scientific American dedicated their “60-Second Mind” post to the topic of cognitive processing speed in the elderly, supposing that they may respond more slowly to specific tasks not because their cognitive skills are slower but rather because they are more determined to get the task right on the first try. This is certainly not ground breaking research, but those interested might read the full Scientific American article and, if interested, check out a few additional resources provided below related to the impact of aging on other cognitive processes. Happy new year!

  • Rogers, W. A. (2000). Attention and aging. In D. Park & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Cognitive aging. Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.
  • Ebner, N. C. & Johnson, M. K.  (2009). Young and older emotional faces: Are there age group differences in expression identification and memory?  Emotion, 9(3), 329-339.
  • Salthouse, T (1991). Mediation of Adult Age Differences in Cognition by Reductions in Working Memory and Speed of Processing. Psychological Science, 2(3), 179-183.

Dr. William Miller: Motivational Interviewing: Facilitating Change Across Boundaries

This presentation was given byDr. William Miller on March 6, 2009 at the Fourth Annual Health Disparities Conference presented by the Teachers College of Columbia University. Entitled ”Motivational Interviewing: Facilitating Change Across Boundaries”, it is a look into the past, present, and possible future directions of Motivational Interviewing and is a great primer for anyone new to the concept.

Mindfulness with Jon Kabat-Zinn at Google San Francisco

Jon Kabat-Zinn (né Kabat) (born June 5, 1944) is Professor of Medicine Emeritus and founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Kabat-Zinn was a student of Zen Master Seung Sahn and a founding member of Cambridge Zen Center. His practice of yoga and studies with Buddhist teachers led him to integrate their teachings with those of Western science. He teaches mindfulness meditation as a technique to help people cope with stressanxietypain and illness. Here he  leads a session on Mindfulness at Google San Francisco.

The Neurology Of Near-Death Experiences

From Happiness in this World: “I’ve never had a patient confess to having had a near-death experience (NDE), but recently I came across a fascinating book called The Spiritual Doorway in the Brain by Kevin Nelson, M.D. that reports as many as 18 million Americans may have had one. If true, the odds are not only that some of my patients have been among them, but also some of my friends. Which got me wondering: just what does science have to tell us about their cause?” [More]

Thinking Outside the Column: New Insights Into Brain Structure Reveal New Facets of Information Processing in Nervous System

From ScienceDaily: “For more than 50 years, a dominating assumption in brain research was that nerve cells in the cortex of the brain are organised in the form of microscopically small columns. Subsequently, it became a textbook standard that connections are created predominantly between nerve cells within these columns. In a review article for the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, Clemens Boucsein and colleagues from the Bernstein Centers in Freiburg and Berlin show that this view has to be revised: input from cells that lie outside this column plays a much more important role than hitherto assumed.”

The structure of musical preferences: A five-factor model

From the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: “Music is a cross-cultural universal, a ubiquitous activity found in every known human culture. Individuals demonstrate manifestly different preferences in music, and yet relatively little is known about the underlying structure of those preferences. Here, we introduce a model of musical preferences based on listeners’ affective reactions to excerpts of music from a wide variety of musical genres. The findings from 3 independent studies converged to suggest that there exists a latent 5-factor structure underlying music preferences that is genre free and reflects primarily emotional/affective responses to music. We have interpreted and labeled these factors as (a) a Mellow factor comprising smooth and relaxing styles; (b) an Unpretentious factor comprising a variety of different styles of sincere and rootsy music such as is often found in country and singer–songwriter genres; (c) a Sophisticated factor that includes classical, operatic, world, and jazz; (d) an Intense factor defined by loud, forceful, and energetic music; and (e) a Contemporary factor defined largely by rhythmic and percussive music, such as is found in rap, funk, and acid jazz. The findings from a fourth study suggest that preferences for the MUSIC factors are affected by both the social and the auditory characteristics of the music.” [More]

Biomedical technology and the clinic of the future

From “To date, large-scale ‘omics data sets and systems approaches in biology have had a relatively minor impact on the practice of medicine. As new technology brings individual genome sequencing closer to reality and large-scale biology continues to progress, opportunities are likely to open up in disease prediction, prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Here the views of two researchers on the potential of disruptive biomedical technologies in clinical practice are contrasted with the perspectives of a clinician and an entrepreneur in commercial clinical information technology.”

Health Weaver Mobile: Designing a Mobile Tool for Managing Personal Health Information during Cancer Care

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From PubMed: “Cancer patients manage a great deal of information to coordinate their care. Critical aspects of this work take place while patients are away from home or have diminished attention due to symptoms or side effects. We describe the design of HealthWeaver Mobile, a mobile phone application we developed to help patients manage care-related information in such situations. We discuss findings from two participatory design groups with breast cancer patients and the design decisions made to implement functional requirements uncovered in those groups.” [More]

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