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The Latest Brain and Mind News

I occasionally cruise the internet in search of news about the brain and/or mind. I primarily report on recent scientific research, but any interesting article might be worth including when I do these updates. I also include information from links sent to me by subscribers (thank you) to The Mind Power report. Here are a few of the latest items...

Control a Person's Brain

The first human-to-human brain interfacing experiment has been a success. Researchers at the University of Washington have used a noninvasive technique to transmit a brain signal from one person to another by way of the internet. The first person sent a brain signal that caused the second subject to move his finger. More specifically, Rajesh Rao, wearing a cap with electrodes, looked at a video game on his screen and imagined moving his hand to hit the "fire" button. On the other side of the campus, Andrea Stocco "involuntarily moved his right index finger to push the space bar on the keyboard in front of him." Perhaps soon you will be able to connect to a person brain on the other side of the planet and make that person dance like a puppet.

How to Plant Ideas in Someone's Head

I am not sure that there is much scientific evidence for the article I found on this topic, but I thought you might find it interesting anyhow. It suggests that you "talk around and idea" rather than talking about it directly. So you might talk about getting the flu rather than suggesting directly to a friend or family member that they get a flu vaccination. Planting a seed of doubt is another trick discussed. If you want to dissuade someone from buying a business, for example, you might appear to be supportive while introducing some doubt: "Yeah, it sounds like you could really make some money with that if you don't mind all that risk." Presumably the listener will start wondering about the risks, which is the idea you wanted to plant.

But do you want to plant ideas in people's minds? I suppose the ethics of the practice might revolve around your intent and whether it is harmful or not. But whatever you decide as far as your own use of tricks like these, knowing about them is a good way to protect yourself from their influence.

Sleep to Detoxify Your Brain

Research from the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Center for Translational Neuromedicine shows that sleep is necessary for brain detoxification. The system that clears out toxins from your brain revs up during quality sleep. Some tips for better sleep: keep your bedroom dark, keep it cooler (but not so cold that you wake up), move radios and other electrical devices away from the bed, and don't eat too close to bed time.

Your Daily Rituals

I found an interesting article on the daily rituals of famous creative people. Benjamin Franklin liked to run around naked, for example, calling this his "air bath," and Beethoven counted out exactly the same number of coffee beans every morning for brewing his morning drink. I'm not interested in trying either of those, but I think some sort of rituals or habits are helpful to creativity. Doing things the same way makes it very automatic, and that leaves the mind free to work on other matters. If you were to vary your routine every morning and try new ways to do the necessary tasks constantly, your creativity might be there in finding new ways to wash dishes and such, but if you want it to be expressed in other ways, morning rituals in particular seem like a good idea.

I have tea and eat dark chocolate every morning, and then sit at the computer ready to work. But I also think it makes sense to think about the rituals and exchange them for better ones from time to time.

Brain Cancer Cure?

Scientists at Karolinska Institutet and Uppsala University found a way to explode brain cancer cells. A substance called Vacquinol-1, when given as tablets to mice, caused glioblastoma cells (an aggressive type of cancer) to essentially break apart. The tumor growth in the mice was reversed. Let's hope further studies have similar results and that the procedures work in humans as well. I'll keep you posted if there is more to report.

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