Weekend Better Brain Breakfast # 5

Meditation may help addiction

Over at Integratedneuroscience they have an interesting post about the growing body of research and practical tips on how you could use meditation to help with addiction:

…the mindfulness that accompanies meditation has shown to be more effective than behavioral strategies that encouraged avoiding thoughts of substance use. Such thoughts inevitably surface in recovery, and meditation may offer a method for awareness and acceptance of these thoughts. This, in turn, may limit the transformation of these thoughts into the action of substance use.

You don’t need to be addicted to drugs to use meditation to help you with other urges, such as overeating. The general concept is:

In Vipassana meditation, one does not try to deny or ignore thoughts related to addiction. Rather, when a thought or craving to use arises, Vipassana meditation teaches one to observe and accept the presence of the thought while not over-identifying with it. In this way, one can acknowledge the reality of such thoughts while learning to refocus energy and intention elsewhere. This type of meditation is appealing to some because it avoids blame and stigmatization related to the addictive thought process, while also acknowledging its reality.

Lover hurts, or at least the lost of love hurts.

We feel better and more alive when we are in love, but after a breakup things are not so rosy. When scientists scan the brain of people that have gone through a breakup but are viewing a picture of their former mate while being scanned:

…the spurned lovers showed activity in parts of the brain’s reward system, just as happy lovers do. But the neural pathways associated with cravings and addictions  were activated too, as was a brain region associated with the distress that accompanies physical pain.

So this is maybe why a breakup is as difficult as going cold turkey off some addictive drug.

How Positive Coaching affects the brain

Over at Senmes I found this short video discussing the difference between positive coaching which ‘opened’ up the brain compared to to more critical negative type coaching which “closed” the brain. Give it a view.

Positive coaching and the brain

Grass Fed Beef

If you are a meat eater should you be eating grass or grain fed beef? Over at Mark’s Daily Apple Mark covers this issue by looking at a recent study. In this study they examined people that were on a 4 week diet in which that ate beef that had been fed either grains or grass for 6 weeks.

Grass-finished eaters saw improved plasma and platelet fatty acid composition: less omega-6, more omega-3. This would presumably lead to a more balanced inflammatory response and, thus, better health.

Read the rest of his post for the complete story. The ratio of omega 3 and 6 is also considered important for brain health. The modern diet is heavily weighted toward omega 6 compared to 3, so any food choices we can make toward higher omega 3 (compared to 6) may provide better brain health.

The Next 100 billion technology market: gene sequencing

For a bit of brain stimulation and to keep up to date on a fast rising business and the latest in gene sequencing technology go check out this Fortune magazine article on the next 100 billion technology market.

Neuro-Lit-Crit: what the heck is that?

Neuro-Lit-Crit. Furthering our brain stimulation – can neuroscience energize (save) University Literature departments? In this NY times article they discuss the rise of Neuro-Lit-Crit and what it has to offer.