When a trauma patient is admitted to a hospital, doctors don’t only have to treat the most visible injuries, but also have one, pressing worry looming over their head: Has the patient suffered any brain damage? Unlike a broken bone which can be stabilized with a rod, brain damage cannot be reversed; severe traumatic brain injury (sTBI) survivors hence experience permanent functional disabilities due to the brain’s poor capacity to generate. The reality is that doctors can administer some type of remedy for a wide range of other illnesses, but hit an insurmountable wall when it comes to brain injuries — injuries that ravage the control center of a person, impeding them for the rest of their life.[…]
Throughout the ages, people have pondered the significance of dreams. The Greeks and Romans were convinced that dreams had prophetic powers but it wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung came up with some of the most widely-known theories to date.[…]
Throughout our extensive history, humans have evolved; minor changes in the genome of one became more widespread throughout the population over time, eventually leading to advantageous, groundbreaking changes in human structure and function. Similarly, research in neuroscience has uncovered the extent of the extensive change that the human brain has undergone; the overall trend is that it has grown larger, leading to an increase in human intelligence and capability.[…]
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘Liar Liar, Pants on Fire’; it’s a common, charming phrase often
found in the children’s vernacular, used primarily when one has caught someone or suspects
someone to be lying. Maybe you’ve even used it once as a kid yourself — or adult, who am I to
When heinous crimes occur, prosecutors often struggle to find the reason why. After all, wouldn’t it be difficult — almost impossible, even — to determine what caused someone to kill an innocent human being? What could potentially motivate someone to start fires, commit robberies, and cause overall chaos? Although criminals come in all shapes and sizes, some neuroscience research has identified biological commonalities — or risk factors — amongst those who have committed crimes. In other words, researchers are getting closer to mapping out the mind of a criminal.[…]
I pride myself on being a person with common sense. I pride myself on not being an idiot most of the time. I like that I’m rational and usually logical. You probably are too! You and I hold a plethora of information about how the world works in our brains, likely more than any species has ever had before. Humans have built cars and buildings, created language, harnessed electricity, seen atoms, and figured out how they work. What a race the humans are! What triumphs of rationality and intelligence![…]
How does the brain know when we should sleep? Well, our brain helps regulate our sleeping schedule through our circadian rhythm. Our circadian rhythm can be defined as the brain’s system of determining when our body needs to sleep or stay awake based on environmental factors, like whether it is sunny or dark outside. According to the National Sleep Foundation, different ages require varied amounts of sleep to stay healthy. Children ages 6-13 require 9-11 hours of sleep, teens ages 14-17 need 8-10 hours of sleep, and adults ages 18-64 require 7-9 hours of sleep.[…]
Killing an approximate 122,019 people in 2018 in the United States alone, Alzheimer’s disease
is fatal and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It is the only illness on the list
that cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed. In fact, a person diagnosed with the severe form
of senile dementia is estimated to live for an estimated three to eleven years. While the disease
does not actually kill a person, the abnormal protein deposits destroy a person’s brain cells,
which subsequently lead to fatal complications, such as the formation of blood clots, or not
being able to swallow. When a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is truly heartbreaking;
while they suffer the complications, they also lose their sense of self. The disease claims their
precious memories, which makes the situation all the more devastating for the family. However,
a recent study conducted by the biopharmaceutical company Alzheon has alleged that we should
not give up hope on a potential cure for the gut-wrenching disease.
The following blog is a winner of the Brainy Blog Competition.
Ever since mankind has learned how to write, it has become a fundamental part of our history — manifesting into an intricate art, in some cases. We see this in historic empires, namely the Islamic Empire, where Arabic handwriting branched into a unique form of Arabic calligraphy and has since been used to spread religious messages. Similarly, calligraphy and brush lettering have been prevalent in Japan and China since the medieval ages. As we approach the modern era, we’ve seen more distinct forms of calligraphy and hand-lettering, such as the classic ‘old English letters’. Personally, hand-lettering has played a major role in my life; it has served as a hobby and a source of therapy. I find the greatest pleasure in bringing ordinary words to life with different strokes and embellishments — as displayed in the image above. Similarly, I am often guilty of redefining my calligraphy style in school notebooks and worksheets.
However, recent observations have proven that practicing hand-lettering has the ability to improve brain function. Specifically, handwriting — and thus hand-lettering — increases language processing skills. The ability to process language is controlled by multiple areas of the brain. For instance, the Broca’s area — located in the frontal lobe of the brain — is linked to speech production and language comprehension. Further, the Wernicke’s area — located in the cerebral cortex — is involved in understanding written and spoken language. In fact, according to a study performed at the Indiana University, the action of writing by hand increases neural activity in these areas of the brain — much like meditation (as shown by high-tech resonance imaging). It also unleashes creativity not easily accessed in any other way.
The reasoning behind these results is substantial. When a person practices handwriting (as supposed to typing), they are taking the time to absorb — and process — what is being written. It is a slower process, and hence a more beneficial one. Handwriting is a complex task that involves multiple visual perception skills such as eye-hand coordination (the ability to coordinate eye movement with hand movement), visual discrimination (the ability to classify objects or shapes based on visual information) and position in space or spatial relationships (the ability to process information about oneself in relation with their environment in space, orientation, and position). Put in more simpler terms, while handwriting requires us to transfer our thoughts on paper, it also requires us to analyze other factors like size, propritions, and spacing; the intertwinement of these two distinct processes is what enhances mental cognition.
Even though these studies are predominantly centered around day to day handwriting, the same findings can be applied to hand-lettering and calligraphy, as well. When creating a hand lettered piece, the same visual perception and planning skills are employed. In the process of transferring a phrase on paper, the artist is forced to consider artistic elements — such as format, fonts, and stroke size. Because more time and effort is utilized in forming calligraphy letters, the resulting phrase is absorbed and processed better; compared to normal handwriting, hand-lettering increases neural activity further. Whenever I need to remember something important, such as a quote, I turn to my brush pens and “calli-grafy” it — doing that seems to store the phrase in my brain for a very long time!
In summary, hand-lettering is an increasingly popular art that has taken numerous forms throughout time. However, this intricate and historic art is sometimes overshadowed by the prospect of typing — which has made transferring thoughts on paper effortless. Nonetheless, hand-lettering has proven to have significant value; while being a form of art and relaxation, it also increases neural activity, improves language processing, and enhances visual perception skills. I have full confidence that as time progresses, hand-lettering and calligraphy will continue to be treasured.