Archive for April, 2016

We May Have Been Wrong About Autism And Empathy

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

[N]ew research, published Tuesday in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests that while social deficiencies are one aspect of autism, this stereotype is nothing more than a myth. In fact, individuals with autism are far from indifferent to the suffering of others.

“It’s a common but very unfortunate misunderstanding that individuals with autism do not care for other people, or that they don’t love other people,” Dr. Paul Wang, senior vice president of medical research for the research and advocacy organization Autism Speaks, who was not involved in the study, told The Huffington Post. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

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Why Silence Is So Good For Your Brain

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

We live in a loud and distracting world, where silence is increasingly difficult to come by — and that may be negatively affecting our health.

In fact, a 2011 World Health Organization report called noise pollution a “modern plague,” concluding that “there is overwhelming evidence that exposure to environmental noise has adverse effects on the health of the population.”

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Anxiety Could Be The Reason You Made A Bad Decision

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

It disrupts decision-making pathways in the brain, neuroscientists find.
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A new study from neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh finds that anxiety disengages the prefrontal cortex, a brain region that’s critical for flexible decision-making, as well as attention and higher-order thinking.

“Anxiety is a mental health issue that affects our day-to-day life, including our decision-making,” Dr. Bita Moghaddam, a neuroscientist at the university and the study’s lead author, told The Huffington Post in an email. “By understanding the biological processes that make this happen, we can hopefully come up with better ways of treating this aspect of anxiety.”

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How The Democratic Elite Betrayed Their Party And Paved The Way For Donald Trump

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

In the depths of the Great Recession, Paul Ryan worried that the social safety net was becoming “a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency.” Unemployment had spiked not because of a financial crisis, but because the poor had suddenly decided in unison to be very lazy. Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comment was nearly as dismissive as Williamson’s vitriol.

But this only explains why the rabble are abandoning their well-heeled overlords in the GOP. It does not explain why they have embraced a xenophobic authoritarian instead of, say, the Democratic Party.

The most comforting rationale for Democratic true believers is that these voters are racist and ignorant and hostile to Democratic policies on social issues. That’s part of the explanation. But the full truth is a bitter pill for Democrats to swallow. Thomas Frank’s new book Listen, Liberal Or, Whatever Happened to the Party of People? documents a half-century of work by the Democratic elite to belittle working people and exile their concerns to the fringes of the party’s platform. If the prevailing ideology of the Republican establishment is that of a sneering aristocracy, Democratic elites are all too often the purveyors of a smirking meritocracy that offers working people very little.

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5 Types Of Meditation That Don’t Require Sitting Still

Monday, April 4th, 2016

Contrary to popular belief, meditation doesn’t always mean sitting in lotus pose with your eyes closed. In fact, most people are unaware that you can practice meditation virtually anywhere — sitting still is not a requirement.

The true beauty of meditation lies in the fact that you can make your practice perfectly suited to your personal needs. The benefits are also undeniable: Studies show the practice can prevent disease and reduce inflammation, be an effective form of treating depression and increase happiness levels. It is even thought to prevent signs of aging in the brain.

Everyone can take advantage of meditation’s perks, regardless of whether or not they want to sit in one place. Below are five types of meditation you can do on the move:

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Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.

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