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Mind

A comprehensive Microsoft study is offering insights into how living in the digital age is affecting our ability to sustain attention and how our brains are adapting to the constant flow of new stimuli. Although the results confirmed the suspicions that the information overflow is affecting our ability to focus on one task for long periods of time, the news isn't all bad, as it seems we're also training our brains to multitask more effectively.

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Yoga practitioners know firsthand the physical and mental benefits the activity produces, as meditation is often embedded in yoga sessions. Now, yogis have got science to back their claims of well-being and focus, as new research shows more clearly how yoga-induced mindfulness has an impact on pain perception. Read More
Researchers from the Medical University of Vienna have developed a technique that allows amputees to control a robotic prosthesis with their mind when there's no neural connection left to exploit between the brain and the part of the hand that remains. Called "bionic reconstruction," the procedure was applied to three patients who were able to successfully use the prosthesis to undertake routine activities, thereby improving their quality of life. Read More
If a child who's simply very active is mistakenly diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), they can end up on pharmaceuticals such as Ritalin unnecessarily. The problem is, it can be quite difficult to determine if someone actually has ADHD, and misdiagnoses are common. Now, however, researchers from Tel Aviv University have announced that analyzing a patient's eye movements may be the key. Read More
Flying is most definitely a hands-on (and feet-on) job, but it may not always be that way. Turning science fiction into fact, researchers at the Institute for Flight System Dynamics of the Technische Universität München (TUM) and the TU Berlin are developing a way for pilots to control aircraft with their minds alone. According to the team, they have not only demonstrated that it’s possible, but that it can be done with a surprising degree of accuracy. Read More
Seattle-based visual designer Sam Matson has created a headset aimed at helping gamers learn to control "gamer rage." The Immersion headset monitors the user's heart rate and increases the difficulty of a game, the less calm they become. Read More
Earlier this year, we saw an amazing demonstration of an EEG skullcap interface that allowed a quadcopter to be controlled with only thoughts. Now the same technology is pioneering a medical therapy in which stroke patients can use their thoughts to guide a simulation, and thus rebuild damaged neurons. As the “virtual reality hands” provide customization and direct feedback of one’s progress, this could be an improvement over traditional therapy methods. Read More
If someone were looking at a letter of the alphabet that was blocked from your view, would you be able to accurately guess what that letter was? Well, if you were at Radboud University Nijmegen in The Netherlands, you might not have to guess or call in a psychic. Scientists there have used an MRI scanner and a mathematical model to read observed letters, right out of test subjects’ brains. Read More
Imagine if there was a voice in your head that regularly threatened to harm you or your loved ones, or that even ordered you to do so yourself. Awful as that would be, such auditory hallucinations are one of the most common symptoms of schizophrenia, with approximately one in four sufferers continuing to experience them even once taking anti-psychotic drugs. Fortunately, scientists have recently helped some schizophrenics gain control of their condition, by turning those voices into interactive avatars. Read More
It’s a sad fact of life that as we age, our cognitive skills decline. In particular, the “executive function” of our mind diminishes – this function is a key aspect of our memory, attention, perception, and problem solving skills. There may be help, however. Scientists from the University of Iowa are now claiming that by playing a specific video game, test subjects aged 50 and over were able to stop and even reverse the trend. Read More
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