Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best mental health-related stories you may have missed. This week, we have more technology that will be designed to understand our minds better than we can, a look at how sleep affects mental health beyond the impact of being tired, and some disturbing findings about poverty and the brain.
“For Schwoebel, this work is personal: he thinks this approach may help solve problems his older brother faced in seeking treatment for schizophrenia. Before his first psychotic break, Schwoebel’s brother would send short, one-word responses, or make cryptic to references to going “there” or “here”—worrisome abnormalities that “all made sense” after his brother’s first psychotic episode, he said.”
The Atlantic looks into how we could turn diagnostic criteria into algorithms, and how machines may be able to take it from there.
“Cartwright spent nearly three decades investigating “how a mood disorder that affects cognition, motivation, and most of all the emotional state during waking shows itself in dreams.” What proved particularly difficult was understanding the basis for this poor dream recall during REM sleep, since anti-depressants suppress that stage of the sleep cycle, but early research suggested that this very suppression of REM might be the mechanism responsible for reinvigorating the depressed.”
Brain Pickings shares details from the book The Twenty-four Hour Mind — and apparently, Star Trek: TNG may have gone a bit overboard when it predicted what would happen if we stopped getting our REM sleep.
“So far, location-tracking seems to be the most useful. ‘People whose movement through geographic space seemed to be more rhythmic had lower anxiety and depression levels,’ says Schueller. As people get depressed, the normal patterns start to slip. ‘Maybe they forget an appointment, decide not to go out with their friends, travel to and from work at later or earlier hours,’ he says.”
When you’ve been living with mental health issues for a while, you may have a routine down — but being able to track the point when your routine slipped from healthy to potentially unhealthy could help earlier on. Wired has more.
“Immordino-Yang’s work is contributing to a growing field called the neuroscience of poverty. Though it’s still largely based on correlations between brain patterns and particular environments, the research points to a disturbing conclusion: Poverty and the conditions that often accompany it—violence, excessive noise, chaos at home, pollution, malnutrition, abuse and parents without jobs—can affect the interactions, formation and pruning of connections in the young brain.”
Growing up in poverty may have devastating effects on mental well-being, and that may be in part because it impacts brain development. Newsweek explores the issue.
And that’s it for us this week. If you’re working through the weekend, you may want to check out our white paper. If not, what are you planning to do with the time off? I’ll be taking a break to get ready for World of Warcraft: Legion while the rest of the Take This team gets ready to bring our programs to PAX West next weekend.
Till we meet again on Monday, take care of yourselves, and take care of each other.