24 MAR 2013 by ideonexus

 Benefits of Even Casual Meditation

In 2011, researchers from the University of Wisconsin studied a group of people who were not in the habit of meditating and instructed them in the following manner: relax with your eyes closed and focus on the flow of your breath at the tip of your nose; if a random thought arises, acknowledge the thought and then simply let it go by gently bringing your attention back to the flow of your breath. For fifteen minutes, the participants attempted to follow these guidelines. Then they were broken...
Folksonomies: science meditation
Folksonomies: science meditation
  1  notes

Even introductory mediation pushed practitioners into the left-brain(?) and positive/approach-oriented emotional states.

20 JUL 2011 by ideonexus

 The Importance of Tactile Experience in Infants

Nonetheless, our early touch experiences determine the extent of possible tactile sensitivity. They also play a surprisingly potent role in the overall quality of brain development. We have already seen in Chapter 2 how rats raised in a highly enriched environment develop a thicker cerebral cortex and are actually cleverer than rats raised in a standard laboratory environment. A good share of this enriching experience involves tactile sensation. When young rats are provided with new toys, the...
  1  notes

Rats provided with a variety of constantly changed toys to play with and those touched by their mothers have larger brains and are more cognitively prepared for the world.

18 JUL 2011 by ideonexus

 How Brains Grow Into Bodies

Brain wiring begins with the outgrowth of axons. Once a newborn neuron has migrated, planting its cell body in a permanent position, it sends out a fine axon shoot with an enlarged tip known as a growth cone. At the end of the growth cone are about a dozen long tentacles that shoot out in all directions and act like radar, picking up all manner of navigational signals. They feel out the best-textured surfaces, sniff around for chemical cues, and even use tiny electrical fields to help the axo...
 6  6  notes

Best description yet of the synaptic "pruning" human brains go through as the brain wires up to the body and best reason yet for why children should have rich, mentally-nourishing environments in which to grow so that their synapses don't get unnecessarily pruned, resulting in smaller brains.