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Age Wise

A simple test seems to predict risk from lifestyle factors that can be altered

Suppose a simple test could give you a hint of your risk of developing dementia in years ahead. If you were found to be at high risk, would you change some habits known to affect that risk? Perhaps stop drinking, or eat better, or start exercising?

Such a test has…

From the placebo effect to neuron generation, your gray matter has surprising superpowers

There’s a lot about the brain we still don’t know. In fact, just this week neuroscientists discovered what they’re calling “zombie” brain cells, which only turn on after you die. …

Age Wise

Some old brains look and work like those of twenty-somethings

Among the frustrations of growing older, at least for many of us, is the increasing struggle to remember people we’ve met, or what was for lunch yesterday. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out why: Our brains shrink, and communication between different parts gets fuzzy.

But for some…

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

When I look in the mirror, I see someone way older than my brain expects. My mind is stuck at around age 30, shaving a whopping 28 years off reality. It’s a strange sensation that leaves me feeling like the kid in a room of adults who are all around…

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

In a handful of clinics across Canada and the United States, therapists are administering ketamine to their patients to help them explore the psychological trauma left by racism. Ketamine, a psychedelic drug used in hospitals as an anesthetic and recreationally for its dissociative effects, seems to help people view their…


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

A lot has been written (including by this reporter) about the mental health toll of the pandemic, and for good reason. The latest numbers from the National Pulse Survey, a weekly mental health screen conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. …

Why ketamine is just right for these dissociative times

For legal reasons, I’ll just say the last time I did ketamine was not that long ago, at a house, with two friends, as we played gin rummy and chatted (about what, I do not remember). We each insufflated little bumps off my house key. Soon, the gin rummy stopped…

The Nuance

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

Imagine that you’re about to have a tooth pulled. Your dentist tells you that, unfortunately, the tooth’s roots are infected, and so the procedure is going to hurt. A lot. It can’t be helped.

Now imagine an alternate scenario. You still need that tooth pulled, but this time your dentist…

Your Poor Pandemic Brain

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

Sandro Galea, MD, is a physician and epidemiologist who knows trauma: He has studied people’s mental health in the aftermath of, among other earth-shattering events, 9/11, hurricanes, and civil unrest. In March and April 2020, the Boston University School of Public Health dean conducted one of the first mental health…

The Nuance

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

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…


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