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Elemental
Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

Neuroscience

In Elemental. More on Medium.

That strange sense of feeling younger than you are is very common

Image: Pixaby

After about age 25, most people think of themselves as younger than their chronological age. …


Drugs like ketamine and psilocybin offer patients a new perspective on their experiences with racism

Photo: Emma Miller/Unsplash

At the heart of this burgeoning field of study is the long-overdue understanding among mental health professionals that trauma due to racism is…


YOUR POOR PANDEMIC BRAIN

Your executive control center has helped your mental health survive the pandemic thus far. Here’s how to strengthen it for the future.

Illustration: Carolyn Figel

In some ways, though, it’s surprising that this number isn’t even higher given the stress, trauma, loss, and loneliness of the past year. The vast majority of people have spent the last…


Author P.E. Moskowitz on March 11, 2021, in Brooklyn, New York. Photos by Yael Malka for Elemental

Why ketamine is just right for these dissociative times


The Nuance

How expectation, emotion, and other neurocognitive factors affect our perception of pain

Illustration: Kieran Blakey for Elemental

Now imagine an alternate scenario. You still need that tooth pulled, but this time your dentist says nothing — one way or the other — about the pain you may feel.

In both of these scenarios, the painful stimulus is the same. The same tooth is going to be pulled, and it will probably hurt either way. But would you experience the same amount of pain…


Your Poor Pandemic Brain

The toll a year of loneliness, stress, fear, trauma, and loss takes on the structure and function of the brain

Animation: Carolyn Figel for Elemental

“We were anticipating to find elevated rates, because we know that [depression increases in prevalence] from…


The Nuance

New research may shake up science’s understanding of the brain and consciousness

Illustration by Kieran Blakey for Elemental

The truck driver’s story sounded far-fetched.

The man claimed that in the middle of his quadruple bypass heart surgery — during which he was fully anesthetized and his eyes were taped shut — he had “come to” and found that he was looking down at his own body and the doctors preparing to operate on it. He described the scene in detail, and he recalled that his surgeon had waved his elbows in the air as if he were mimicking a bird flapping its wings.

Later, when asked about his patient’s peculiar account, the truck driver’s surgeon confirmed that he…


New technology could be a game-changer for neurological disorders

Credit: chaikom / Getty Images

This is a modified excerpt from Inside Your Head 🧠, a weekly newsletter exploring why your brain makes you think, feel, and act the way you do, written by me, Elemental’s senior writer and a former brain scientist. Subscribe here so you won’t miss the next one.

Like nearly all complex machines, your brain runs on electricity. Every time a neuron fires in order to communicate with another neuron, a little burst of electricity courses through the cell to power the message. …


Experts say trying new things can go a long way for the brain

Photo: Lauren Mulligan/Getty Images

If your next search for the car keys sets off such thoughts, keep in mind two reassuring facts. First, some loss of memory is completely normal. Second, there’s a simple, enjoyable technique that can minimize age-related decline.

The specifics vary from person to person, but the idea is the same: Change things up.

“As adults approach retirement age, they come to…


The science behind ‘pink noise’ and scent

Photo: Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

Decades of scientific research performed in controlled laboratory settings have highlighted the damage caused by poor sleep. A lack of quality sleep can harm “neurocognitive performance as well as psychological and physical fitness, readiness, and health,” says Rachel Markwald and Anne Germain, editors of the journal Sleep Medicine Clinics.

We also know sleep affects people’s ability to remember. Short-term sleep deprivation…

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