102 Brain-Based Learning Resources For, Well, Brain-Based Teaching – Sara Bass


Researchers in neuroscience, psychology and education are uncovering new information about how brains learn best at an unbelievable pace. We have more insight into the brain’s learning processes than at any other moment in history, and we are poised on the brink of a radical shift of how we think about education.

Researching the conditions that allow brains to learn most easily enables innovation and optimization for learners in formal and informal settings. There are countless applications for the findings of the new science of learning, including:

Deeper understanding of cognitive deficits and the unique circumstances that affect everyone’s learning capacity. More nuanced information about memory, cognition, and comprehension in various settings. Better understanding of motivation, metacognition, and what drives us to learn at all.

We are incredibly excited about all of the new knowledge being discovered by researchers examining the neurological and psychological underpinnings of learning and education systems, and we can’t wait to see what the future has in store.

The organizations, blogs, research labs, and brain-based learning providers below have diverse perspectives and an incredible range of information about the new science of learning, and we think every single one is worth checking out.

Cognitive Neuroscience & Learning Research

Cognitive neuroscience researchers are at the forefront of the new science of learning. Understanding the deep structures of the brain, how they react to sensory input, and how they store information is crucial for attaining a deeper understanding of how people learn.

MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences

MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences combines neuroscience, biology and psychology. They stud specific aspects of the brain and mind including learning and memory, neural and cognitive development, language and reasoning.

Stanford Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Laboratory

Under the direction of Dr. Vinod Menon, the SCSNL investigates human cognition and learning. Based out of Stanford, they use advanced brain imaging techniques such as MRI, DTI, and EEGas well as behavioral, genetic, neural network modeling, and computational methods in their research.

Staglin IMHRO Center for Cognitive Neuroscience

The Staglin IMHRO Center for Cognitive Neuroscience is UCLA’s research center for inquiries into the neural underpinnings and phenotypic conditions that correlate with cognitive anomalies. The center is currently studying the neural bases of creativity, social communication, autism, schizophrenia, memory mechanisms, and many other brain functions, disorders, and conditions.

University of Cambridge Centre for Neuroscience in Education

The main research goal of the Centre is to establish the basic parameters of brain development and understand cognitive skills critical for education. They aim to understand how the brain functions and changes during the development of reading, math, and other subjects.

Midwest Brain & Learning Institute

The Midwest Brain and Learning Institute provides brain compatible learning experiences by bringing educators together with nationally recognized researchers and presenters. They share the latest in neuroscience research and how it impacts the understanding of learning and teaching.

Grisolano Center for Neurodevelopment Blog

The Grisolano Center for Neurodevelopment is a pediatric neuropsychology practice dedicated to helping children overcome challenges in learning and development to create a better life for them today and for the future. Through Neurodevelopmental, Psychotherapy and Cognitive Training & Rehabilitation services, their team is dedicated to understanding the brain functions that affect a child’s behavior and learning abilities, and provide therapy services that help to overcome cognitive issues so the child can thrive academically, socially and emotionally.

The Center believes that knowledge is power and that is why Grisolano.com offers online resources for families, educators and legal professionals. Free downloads and checklists range from information and guides on Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADD/ADHD, Independent Educational Evaluations and Due Process Hearings.

Earli: Neuroscience and Education

The SIG brings together researchers from the fields of educational research, cognitive, and developmental psychology and neuroscience. A team of interdisciplinary people with training in each of these investigate human learning and development.

University of Texas at San Antonio’s (UTSA) Neurobiology Podcast: Neuroscientists Talk Shop

Neuroscientists Talk Shop is the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Neurobiology Podcast. They showcase the work and research of renowned neuroscientists and focus on their work in the field.

Gazzaley Lab

Research in the Gazzaley lab focuses on furthering the understanding of the neural mechanisms, alterations that occur in aging and neurological disease, and how one may intervene therapeutically. Their goal is to understand how a healthy brain functions and be aware of alterations that occur with normal aging and disease.

Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary field devoted to understanding how children’s minds change as they grow up. Their lab specializes in studying a region of the brain known as prefrontal cortex and the cognitive abilities that depend on it.

Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience

Established in 1970, the Salk Institute’s Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience is dedicated to the study language and cognition. Their research is designed to increase our understanding of genetically based disorders and cognitive abilities.

UW Educational Neuroscience Lab

Educational Neuroscience is an emerging field that integrates findings from neuroscience with those from education and cognitive science. Their research examines the neural underpinnings of cognitive processes that are relevant for education and the roles of educational experiences.

Brain, Learning, Animation, and Movement Lab

This animation and movement lab helps teach motor memory, motor control, and even encourages healing after a brain injury. They function as a part of the Department of Neurology at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

PSLC DataShop

DataShop is the world’s largest repository of learning interaction data. Some of their topics include how to improve student learning, detect motivation, and predict student performance.

Cognitive Development Center

The goal in the Cognitive Development Center is to understand thinking and how it changes with development. They work with infants and children to explore the development of memory, language, problem-solving, and flexibility.

Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University

Since 1999, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience has served as the central focus at Duke University for research, education, and training in psychological and neuroscience. Their research focuses on perception, attention, memory, language, emotion, decision making, social interaction, morality, motor control, executive function, and the evolution and development of mental processes.

Project on the Decade of the Brain

The Decade of the Brain was a designation for 1990-1999 by U.S. president George H. W. Bush as part of a larger effort involving the Library of Congress and the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health “to enhance public awareness of the benefits to be derived from brain research”. The initiative was conducted through a variety of activities including publications and programs aimed at introducing Members of Congress, their staffs, and the general public to cutting-edge research on the brain and encouraging public dialog on the ethical, philosophical, and humanistic implications of these emerging discoveries.

Centre for Mind and Brain in Educational and Social Contexts (M-BESC)

The Centre for Mind and Brain in Educational and Social Contexts (M-BESC) aims to develop the understanding of learning and interaction in educational and social contexts by drawing upon, and extending, concepts and techniques situated in the study of mind and brain, and then interrelating this understanding with insights about human interaction and learning derived from other perspectives.
OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) – Brain and Learning

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. They work with governments to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change. They also measure productivity and global flows of trade and investment.

FMRIB Plasticity Group

The FMRIB Plasticity Group, associated with The University of Oxford Medical Sciences Division, is an integrative research group that uses advanced brain imaging techniques to monitor brain change. They also use training programs and brain stimulation to try to influence brain change.

Allen Institute for Brain Science

The vision of the Allen Institute is to decipher how information is coded and processed in the brain. They also work to accelerate the understanding of how the human brain works in health and disease.

UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

The ICN is an interdisciplinary research institute. Their group of scientists and doctors from many different disciplines study mental processes in the human brain, in health and disease, and in adults and children.

George Washington University Center for Applied Developmental Science and Neuroeducation

Situated within the nation’s Capital, The Center for Applied Developmental Science and Neuroeducation at The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD) seeks to develop scholar-leaders, increase research, encourage knowledge sharing, and contribute to local and national policy dialogue. GSEHD aims to be a hub for the application of research from the fields of neuroscience and health sciences to the education and development of children and youth with disabilities.


SEDL is a private, nonprofit education research, development, and dissemination corporation based in Austin, Texas. Their mission is to solve significant problems facing educational systems and communities to ensure a quality education for all learners.

University of Washington Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences

The Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) is an interdisciplinary center dedicated to discovering the fundamental principles of human learning, with special emphasis on work that will enable all children from 0 to 5 to achieve their full potential.


Brain@Work is a research group focusing on the human brain and mind, specifically on neurocognition, learning and memory.

Arizona State University Learning Sciences Institute (LSI)

Arizona State University’s Learning Sciences Institute (LSI) focuses on the generation and dissemination of research on the core human enterprises of learning and education broadly defined. It aspires to be recognized as the leading creation place in the country where researchers, scholars, policy makers, and practitioners collaborate and

Center for Integrative and Cognitive Neuroscience at Vanderbilt University

The Center for Integrative & Cognitive Neuroscience fosters mutual effort and serendipity among groups of investigators across the Vanderbilt University campus to push back the last great frontier in modern science. The Center sustains programs of research to help explain how normal and abnormal behavior and cognition arise from the function of the brain.

Action Potential

Action Potential is a forum operated by neuroscience editors at Nature for the entire neuroscience community. They discuss major new and exciting developments and research currently going on in the world of neuroscience.

Reberlab: Cognitive Neuroscience of Learning and Memory

Reberlab studies the cognitive neuroscience of learning and memory at Northwestern University. Some of their current projects include working memory training and perceptual-motor skill learning.

Thinking about Thinking: Cognitive neuroscience blog

This is a blog about the field of cognitive science and the study of thinking. Topics include computational science, cognitive development, and more.

Brannon Lab

The Brannon Lab studies the development and evolution of numerical cognition. Based out of Duke University, their research and findings are useful for parents, teachers, and others interested in the way we learn.

The Neuroeducation Institute

The Neuroeducation Institute is a two-day opportunity for educators to come together to enhance their teaching through discoveries about the brain and the learning process. They provide educators with knowledge about brain function, memory and learning to equip educators with usable knowledge and practical strategies for the classroom.

Science of Learning Strategic Research Theme (SoL-SRT)

Learning Sciences Researchers at the University of Hong Kong are building interdisciplinary research teams to construct multilevel models and theories of learning that build on the current understanding and methodologies of education and other sciences. They develop research and development programs to advance research, policy and practice related to learning that incorporate cutting edge ideas and techniques from neural physiological, functional, cognitive and socio-affective approaches to learning research.

NeuroEducation Across the Lifespan Laborator

The NeuroEducation Across the Lifespan Lab’s mission is to reveal the brain networks underlying music and the arts, explore the near- and far-transfer of the skills underlying music and art learning, and investigate the benefits of music and arts in education and treatment.

Kim Lab

Kim Lab, located at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Institute of Cognitive Science, is a research lab that works to investigate the cognitive and neural mechanisms that allow humans to understand language. They use neuroimaging and behavioral experimental techniques with the aims of advancing basic science and guiding treatments for disordered language and reading.

The Concepts, Actions and Objects Lab

Using a diverse set of methods to explore the cognitive and neural basis of conceptual domains, the Concepts, Actions and Objects lab group studies the origins and organization of conceptual knowledge.

Special Research Initiative for a Science of Learning

The ARC is a legal agency that advises the Australian government on research matters. Beginning in 2012, started funding a new research center to investigate the complex issues of the human learning process. The center helps bring together cross-disciplinary researchers ranging from neuroscience and cognitive development to pedagogy and educational technology.

Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and Engineering (CENCE)

Located at the University of California’s Irvine campus, CENCE is a multidisciplinary research center that aims to understand the relation between cognitive abilities and neural systems through brain imaging, brain mapping, computational modeling, informatics and engineering techniques.

Learning Sciences Research Institute

The Learning Sciences Research Institute (LSRI) was created in 2007 and is a collaboration between international, national, and UIC-based researchers to improve educational opportunities and environments for an array of learners.

University of California, San Diego, Center for Brain and Cognition

The Center for Brain and Cognition (CBC) at the University of California, San Diego, under the directorship of V.S. Ramachandran, conducts research on the neural basis of perception, cognition, language, attention and memory (also called cognitive neuroscience or behavioral neurology). An additional focus is on neuro-rehabilitation.

Academic Publications
For anyone who can understand dense, academic language, there are plenty of fascinating research papers and academic essays about neuroscience, cognitive studies, and the underpinnings of the biological systems that enable us to learn.

Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Open Access Journal

This journal is for cognitive, affective and social developmental neuroscience. They publish theoretical and research papers on cognitive brain development.

Cognitive Neuroscience Blog

Psychology Press Cognitive Neuroscience Blog publishes news and updates about featured products and notable authors who work in the area of neuroscience. Some of their products include cognitive learning textbooks, research methods, development psychology books, and more.

Pedagogy and the Human Sciences

Pedagogy and the Human Sciences peer-reviewed interactive online journal is a peer-reviewed interactive online journal devoted to the study of teaching and learning in psychology and related fields. Their goal is to promote reflection upon what it means to teach and learn in psychology and related fields.

Cognitive Neuroscience Weekly

This blog is targeted to enthusiastic students, cognitive neuroscientists, and others interested in cognitive neuroscience and highlights some recently published findings of interest. It works to share important and inspiring findings about the brain-mind relationships.

ERIC: Teacher Perceptions of NeuroEducation: A Mixed Methods Survey of Teachers in the United States

This article summarizes teacher perceptions of NeuroEducation. A survey was given to educators about this new development in education and it revealed that educators feel overwhelmingly positive and teachers in the United States are quite enthusiastic about the potential of NeuroEducation,

Mind, Brain, and Education Journal

This online scholarly journal is a great resource for any educator interested in how the science of the mind can be brought into the classroom. Some of their issues and articles are available for free online.

Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

Published by the MIT Press, the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience is a peer-reviewed academic journal for scientific research on cognitive neuroscience and the interaction between brain and behavior. It aims for a cross-discipline approach, covering research in neuroscience, neuropsychology, cognitive psychology, neurobiology, linguistics, computer science and philosophy.

Brain & Learning Blogs
Many researchers and others interested in learning and the brain share their findings or general thoughts on the science of learning through blogs. Some are casual and easy to understand, and some are more dense, but all are worth a look.

Brain PathWays Blog

The Brain PathWays Blog is advanced, practical neuroscience application for daily living. It combines 20 years of research and experience from Stephen Hager and Deanna Phelps, two authors and scientists who have been working in neuroscience for decades. Hager and Phelps have recently launched another website, Neuidentity, geared towards using their combined knowledge of the brain to help others succeed in work, education, and life.

Neuronet Learning Research Blog

NeuroNet is a research-based learning readiness program designed to help students develop fluency in essential reading, math, and handwriting skills. They focus on the concepts of practice, evaluation, and independence as key skills in learning.

Brain Rules

In Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children. In each chapter, he describes a brain rule and what scientists know for sure about how our brains work and then offers transformative ideas for our daily lives.

The Science of Learning Blog

Scientific Learning applies proven research on how the brain learns to accelerate learning. Their blog focuses on research, educational skills, memory programs, brain development, and more.

Brainscape Blog

Brainscape is a web and mobile study platform that helps you learn things faster. Their blog also includes articles about managing stress, increasing memory, and more.

Brainblogger: Neuroscience

Brainblogger has a rich back catalogue of posts covering neuroscience and its implications for business, politics, and education. This is a great place to start for anyone looking for a casual read about neurscience in easily understood language.

Daniel Willingham: Science And Education Blog

Daniel Willingham earned his B.A. from Duke University in 1983 and his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Harvard University in 1990. His research focuses on the brain, the basis of learning and memory application, as well as cognitive psychology and K-16 education.

R.A.D. by Judy Willis M.D., M.Ed.

This website features the insights, publications, and presentation schedules pertaining to parent and teacher strategies to ignite student learning. Dr. Judy Willis is a board-certified neurologist in Santa Barbara, California and combines her 15 years as a practicing adult and child neurologist with her teacher education training and years of classroom experience.

BrainFacts is full of educator resources, brain basics, and information about diseases and disorders. It also offers accessible information about the function of neuroscience in society and how current research works to advance education and treatments.


Neuroeducation in Spokane applies both psychological and educational strategies to overcome these educational and learning challenges. Counselors stay informed of the latest developments in neuroscience and use this information to overcome the many, varied challenges to academic and personal progress.

The Whole Brain Blog

The Whole Brain Techniques focus on adult learners to improve productivity, creativity, teamwork, sales and other business results. Herrmann International solutions include facilitated classroom workshops, interactive online programming, on-the-job resources and a variety of tools and services designed to optimize individual, team and organizational effectiveness.

Brains: A Group Blog on Topics of Philosophy & The Science of Mind

This site serves a grouping point for various blogs about philosophy and the science of mind. It’s a great resource for anyone looking for a good variety of sources and information in the area of neuroscience.
Improve Your Learning and Memory.

This blog includes summaries of research reports that have practical application for everyday memory. It is written and maintained by a neuroscience researcher, author, and professor.

NeuroLogica Blog: Education

Dr. Novella is an academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine. The NeuroLogicaBlog covers news and issues in neuroscience, but also general science, scientific skepticism, philosophy of science, critical thinking, and the intersection of science with the media and society.

Organizations & Societies

Learning centers, neuroscience societies, and other organizations bring together the many, many people worldwide who have dedicated themselves to the advancement of the science of learning and all its facets.

Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world’s largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. Their members promote public information and general education about the nature, results, and implications of their research.

British Neuroscience Association

The British Neuroscience Association is the largest UK organization representing all aspects of neuroscience from many channels including whole animal behavior to neuroscience applications in the clinic. They aim to promote neuroscience research and advise on issues in neuroscience.

The Neuroeducation Institute

The Neuroeducation Institute is a two-day opportunity for educators to come together to enhance their teaching through discoveries about the brain and the learning process. They provide educators with knowledge about brain function, memory and learning to equip educators with usable knowledge and practical strategies for the classroom.

Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center for Robust Learning (PSLC)

This center uses cognitive theory and computational modeling to identify the instructional conditions that cause excellent conditions for student learning. The researchers study learning by conducting in vivo experiments in math, science and language courses.

Brain Leaders and Learners

This site contains practical tactics for teachers derived from Neuro Discoveries written up by Dr. Ellen Weber. Some topics include how to decrease stress to increase learning as well as how things like play, reading, and discussions lead to increased learning and memory.

Centre for Educational Neuroscience

The Centre for Educational Neuroscience works to create resources and education for educators and scientists invested in brain education. They have seminars, conferences, textbooks, workshops and training for those interested in neuroscience methods for education.

American Society for Training & Development: Brain-Based Learning Resources

Brain-based learning theory focuses on creating an opportunity in which attainment, retention, recall, and use of information is maximized. This concept incorporates the latest research on the brain and encourages application of findings to training and educational learning environments.

Cognitive Science Society

The Cognitive Science Society, Inc. brings together researchers from many fields who hold a common goal: understanding the nature of the human mind. They promote scientific interchange among researchers in disciplines comprising the field of Cognitive Science, including Artificial Intelligence, Linguistics, Anthropology, Psychology, Neuroscience, Philosophy, and Education.
Learning & the Brain

Learning and the Brain provides educational conferences, symposiums and one-day professional development training seminars on the latest research in neuroscience and psychology and their potential applications to education. Teachers, school administrators, psychologists, and clinicians have been attending these conferences for more than a decade to hear from leading researchers.

Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS)

The Cognitive Neuroscience Society is an international group of researchers devoted to “elucidating the biological underpinnings of mental processes.” The organization has a three-day annual conference to present a wide array of findings from neuroscientists all over the globe.

International Neuroethics Society

Neuroethics studies the social, legal, ethical and policy implications of advances in neuroscience. As more research is conducted on the brain, Neuroethics works to help the public understand the issues raised by this research and the powerful new tools being developed, including issues like privacy and safety.

Center for Learning in Informal and Formal Environments (LIFE)

IFE Center researchers represent a broad range of fields, including neurobiology, psychology, education, speech and hearing sciences, anthropology, and sociology and others. Their findings inform learning theories, influence educational practices, and affect technologies designed to enhance learning.

Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center (SILC)
The Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center brings together scientists and educators from many different institutions for the goal of understanding spatial learning and using that understanding to transform education. SILC participants include researchers from cognitive science, psychology, computer science, education, and neuroscience.

Brain, Neurosciences and Education

The mission of this organization is to promote an understanding of neuroscience research within the educational community. They encourage neuroscience research that has implications for educational practice and D85provide a forum for the issues and controversies within these fields.

International Mind, Brain and Education Society (IMBES)

The mission of IMBES is to facilitate cross-cultural collaboration in biology, education and the cognitive and developmental sciences. They work to improve knowledge and create and develop resources for scientists, practitioners, public policy makers, and the public.

General Brain-based Learning Resources
Brain-based learning takes the knowledge we have now about how people learn, and integrates it into educational environments, both formal and informal, to start creating a new paradigm of how education is conducted. These types of resources, and many more, are available online, often for free, for anyone who is passionate about the science of learning.

iBiology’s mission is to convey, in the form of open-access free videos, the excitement of modern biology and the process by which scientific discoveries are made. Their aim is to let you meet the leading scientists in biology, so that you can find out how they think about scientific questions and conduct their research, and can get a sense of their personalities, opinions and perspectives.

LearningRX Braintraining

LearningRx is a successful nationwide network of brain training centers. They focus on changing a student’s underlying ability to learn and read and train and strengthen cognitive skills.

Searching for the Mind: Neuronal Plasticity

Dr. Lieff is a specialist in the interface of psychiatry, neurology, and medicine. His blog focuses neuropsychiatry, neuroscience, psychopharmacology, geriatric psychiatry, and high technology in medicine.

TeachThought: Neuroscience

TeachThought is a great resource for teachers looking for information about common core, technology, and much more. They have a dedicated section to neuroscience and practical uses of how the science of learning can be applied in every classroom.

Midcourse Corrections: Neuroscience

This organization focuses on improving conferences, meetings, training and education. They have several dedicated articles about neuroscience and how understanding how the brain receives and translates information can improve learning.

eLearn Magazine: Neuroscience

eLearn Magazine is a source for information and perspective about education and technology. They offer teachers research, case studies, best practice tips, and other ideas for a successful classroom.

InformED: Neuroeducation: 25 Findings Over 25 Years

This site is full of useful articles on computer based learning. They also work to unearth the best study tips and trends in virtual education to collaborate with educators.

Brain Study

Dana is a PhD in Psychology from the University of Cambridge. Her blog focuses on the connection between brains and bodies, and other discoveries in psychology and brain science.


Dr. Kathie Nunley connects current psychological and neurological research to education. Her focus includes writing on the importance of sleep, play, and good nutrition for educational success.

Learning on the Move

This blog includes ways in which physical educators can purposefully plan lessons in order to capitalize on how the brain learns best. There are many resources for teachers to use with the brain compatible learning method.

Whole-Brain Living and Learning

Kathy Brown, M.Ed., is a Licensed Brain Gym Instructor and Consultant. Her most recent project has been the completion and launching of her book Educate Your Brain, through which she describes the basics of the Brain Gym program and how to create a healthy neural environment for learning.

BrightBrain Learning

BrightBrain Learning works to apply enthusiastic and sound teaching to not only make learning easier, but also enjoyable. They tutor students for the SAT, ACT, and other academic courses.

The Second Principle

This blog focuses on holistic learning and concepts like emotional and multiple intelligences and brain-based education. The goal is to help educators teach to a child’s strengths and benefit them as lifelong learners.

Neuroscience Education

This site contains everything you’ve ever wanted to know about neuroscience at the intersection of education. It includes brain quotes, milestones in neuroscience education, tips for increasing memory, brain facts, books about neuroscience and much more.

Brain-Targeted Teaching

Brain-Targeted Teaching designates six “brain targets” for the teaching and learning process and describes brain research that supports each stage. Things like learning evaluations and establishing a positive emotional climate are important in this process.

NIH Videocasting and Podcasting: Neuroscience Lectures

CIT broadcasts seminars, conferences and meetings to world-wide audiences over the Internet as a real-time streaming video. They have a collection of podcasts and lectures on neuroscience freely available in the archives.

Brain Fitness Strategies

Brain Fitness helps people achieve their educational goals through the latest advances in neuromuscular brain development and individualized coaching programs. They assist those with ADD/ADHD, anxiety, or memory problems and anyone else needing academic support.

Posit Science’s BrainHQ

BrainHQ is a place to exercise memory, attention, and more. It was built by a team of top neuroscientists, with exercises proven in dozens of published studies to create real and lasting improvements in brain function.

Jensen Learning’s Brainbased Learning Blog

Eric Jensen is a member of the prestigious invitation-only Society for Neuroscience and the New York Academy of Science. His blog is full of curriculum and other tools and resources for brain based teaching and learning.

Evidence Based Teacher Network

The Evidence Based Teacher Network (EBTN) is an independent network of teachers who wish to use evidence-based methods in classrooms and training. The aim of this website is simply to give teachers access to the evidence-based material already published and available.


ThInk is a blog about the brain, written by expert columnists from across the field of neuroscience and beyond. Its aim is to explore neuroscience in research, medicine, art and everyday life.

Inside the Brain

Inside the Brain is written by Professor William T. (Billy) O’Connor, an internationally recognized leader in both research and education in neuroscience. Billy’s interests encompass all aspects of brain research, including nerve circuitry in neurological and psychiatric disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia. Other interests are the application of recent discoveries in neuroscience to more effective teaching and learning the brain science of learning.

Brain Power Initiative

The Brain Power Initiative is led by leading researchers, institutions and industry partners to create positive changes in early childhood development, education and lifelong learning. Their initiative works to translate the findings of neuroscience into the creation of media, education and programs that directly influence how the brain develops.

Big Ideas in Education: Neuro-Education

Deborah McCallum is an educator interested in neuro-education, technology, and learning. Some blog posts focus on how developments in neuroscience have improved outcomes for students with dyslexia, autism and other learning disabilities.

Talking about learning

This is a blog written by Alma Dzib Goodin. She uses the site as a sort of personal notebook where she shares her neurocognitive approach of learning from a theoretical and sometimes applied perspective, with the overall goal to improve learning.

If everyone who reads our articles, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $5, you can donate us – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

The Harsh Penalty for Willful Ignorance

In 1968, Lyndon Johnson announced he would not accept the nomination of his party for another term as president of the United States.

Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) suffered severe coronary artery occlusion. Conventional medicine had no safe treatment. LBJ knew that men in his family did not live much beyond 60 years.

In 1955, LBJ had the first of several heart attacks. Suffering chronic angina pain, LBJ declined to run for re-election at age 59 and died at 64.

Move forward a few decades and vast improvements occurred in prevention and treatment of heart disease. So much so that Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Dick Cheney were spared the fate of Lyndon Johnson.

In the years spanning 1980 to 2014, there was an astounding 50% decline in cardiovascular-related deaths.1 The reasons have a lot to do with what readers of this magazine practice every day to reduce their risk of atherosclerosis.

There have also been massive enhancements in coronary artery stenting and surgical bypass procedures. None of these interventions are perfect, but they’re better than enduring chronic chest pain, disability, and fatal heart attack, as LBJ and others suffered during his era.

But did Lyndon Johnson really have no effective treatment option in 1968? And are other former presidents following optimal coronary prevention strategies today?

Even a cursory review uncovers startling lapses by presidential cardiologists in initiating steps to prevent and reverse coronary artery blockage. This fate often befalls high-end individuals who get the “best” of conventional care, which inherently overlooks novel approaches to better treatments.

This tragedy persists today because many people are not utilizing affordable methods to identify their vascular risk factors in time.

President Dwight Eisenhower suffered his first heart attack in 1955. He had an ischemic stroke in 1957.

By the time of his death in 1969, Eisenhower suffered seven heart attacks, along with multiple diseases related to the unhealthy lifestyle of his era.2

Lyndon Johnson was 46 years old when his first heart attack struck in 1955. LBJ suffered angina pain until he succumbed to heart disease in 1973.3

In 1972, former president Harry Truman died from coronary artery disease,4 as did almost one million other Americans that year.

Back in those days, recovery from a heart attack was a slow and arduous process. Doctors recommended bed rest, no physical activity, and little in the way of dietary changes.

Was this vascular disease carnage necessary? A review of the published literature dating back to the 1940s reveals millions could have been spared…if only their doctors had bothered paying attention.5-7

Pioneer of Modern Cardiology

John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D., was a physicist turned medical doctor whose early work on radioactive isotopes resulted in his being recruited to work on The Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bomb.

Dr. Gofman’s expertise on the biological effects of radiation caused him to take a controversial position. He documented how diagnostic X-rays are a cause of cancer and artery disease, something most in the medical establishment still refuse to accept.8-13

In 1947, Dr. Gofman began research that led him to conclude that cholesterol is a cause of atherosclerosis.6,7

Dr. Gofman and his colleagues were the first to show that specific fractions of cholesterol such as LDL (low-density lipoprotein) contribute to clogged arteries.14

In 1951, Dr. Gofman was involved in the publication of possibly the first book advocating low-fat/low-cholesterol diets to prevent heart disease.15

John Gofman was a Life Extension® member. I was privileged to have Dr. Gofman call me to express his gratitude for warning our readers about the dangers posed by radiation-emitting imaging devices (such as CT scans). Dr. Gofman regretted that so few physicians paid attention to his books, which documented higher cancer rates in those exposed to medical radiation.

So, in 1951, Dr. Gofman, a prestigious individual, promoted a book that revealed the role of diet and LDL cholesterol in arterial disease. Yet mainstream cardiology behaved as if this scientific evidence did not exist.

In 1959 and again in 1965, the FDA proclaimed it illegal for food makers to promote healthy diet as a way of preventing artery disease.16-18

First heart attack at age 46 (1955)

  • Chronic angina (chest) pain
  • Declined to run for re-election at age 59
  • More major heart attacks
  • Dead at age 64 (1973)

(Conventional Treatments Lacking)


Role of Nathan Pritikin

Nathan Pritikin was a millionaire inventor in areas as diverse as engineering, photography, and aeronautics.

In 1957, at age 40, Pritikin was diagnosed with severe coronary artery disease. Faced with a lifetime of ever-increasing disability, he pored over the scientific literature and formulated a diet and exercise program to treat his ailment.19 After nine years of trial and error, he had effectively treated himself.

Long before the medical establishment acknowledged the role of poor diets causing serious illness, Pritikin created a program using food and exercise as medicine.

Pritikin was an engineer…not a doctor. His revolutionary departure from the flawed theories of the 1950s caused him to become a public enemy of the medical establishment.

Despite many clinical successes, Nathan Pritikin was accused of being a charlatan. For much of the 1970s, Pritikin waged battles with government and private health agencies, as well as the American Medical Association.20,21 The establishment refused to accept that what one ate had anything to do with heart disease risk.

In 1987, the Journal of the American Medical Association announced a study that showed regression of atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries of humans who reduced their blood cholesterol by a similar degree as was accomplished using the Pritikin protocol.22

Had Dwight Eisenhower or Lyndon Johnson paid attention to published scientific studies linking poor diets to coronary artery disease, they could have been spared years of suffering and premature death.

Bill Clinton underwent procedures in 2004 and 2010 to reopen blocked coronary arteries. Surgical complication resulted in his being rehospitalized.

  1. 2004 – Coronary Bypass, Age 58
  2. 2010 – Coronary Stents, Age 63

(These procedures were not safely available to LBJ in the 1955-1973 era.)

Improved Heart Attack Prevention

We know far more now than what John Gofman and Nathan Pritikin uncovered more than 60 years ago.

Back in those early days, there were no well-known effective methods to lower vascular risk factors (such as elevated LDL) other than strict low-calorie/ultra low-fat diets. Few people of that era were willing to give up their bacon, butter, steak, and eggs, let alone start eating healthy vegetables and fruit.

Today we know that not all fats are dangerous. For instance, solid data supports the value of extra-virgin olive oil23-25 and omega-3 fatty acids in lowering cardiovascular risk and risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.26-29

In lieu of the ultra low-fat diet espoused by Nathan Pritikin, the preponderance of data indicates that following a Mediterranean-style diet is an effective and practical way to reduce one’s cardiovascular risks.30,31

What’s more, there is a new test that measures factors that oxidize LDL, and thus provides a better marker of correctable vascular risk than John Gofman’s discovery of LDL in the late 1940s.

Since our inception, Life Extension® has advised healthy people to keep their LDL (low-density lipoprotein) below 100 mg/dL. Those with pre-existing coronary artery disease should strive to push LDL below 70 mg/dL.

The medical community now concurs with our LDL guidelines. I’m pleased that we can now identify earlier stages of atherosclerosis using a blood test that measures apolipoprotein B.

I’m even more excited that we are able to add apolipoprotein B to our popular Male and Female Panels at no extra charge!

George W. Bush underwent aggressive diagnostics before his heart was damaged by a heart attack. According to a news report,

“He was more than 95 percent occluded. With a blockage like that in a main artery you’re supposed to die…”

2013 – Coronary Stent, Age 67


Danger of Elevated Apolipoprotein B

Apolipoprotein B is found on all non-HDL cholesterol particles, such as LDL and VLDL.

The higher the ApoB number the more dangerous the situation. Higher ApoB generally equates to a higher amount of glycated and oxidized LDL particles, which are initiators of dangerous arterial plaque.32

Having a higher ApoB (apolipoprotein B) level can be a stronger heart attack predictor than LDL cholesterol.33,34

Until recently, testing one’s blood for apolipoprotein B (ApoB) was expensive. Even today, commercial labs charge $150 for this test (ApoB) of vascular risk.

Dick Cheney survived multiple heart attacks and eventual heart failure. He is alive only because of technological advances.

  • 1988 – Coronary Bypass, Age 47
  • 2000 – Coronary Stents, Age 59
  • 2010 – Ventricular Assist, Age 69
  • 2012 – Heart Transplant, Age 71


Check Your Apolipoprotein B at No Added Cost!

Those with high apolipoprotein B blood levels are at greater risk for coronary artery disease.35

If an apolipoprotein B blood test comes back high, steps can be initiated to correct this.

The incredible news is that apolipoprotein B has been added to the Male and Female Blood Panels many of our supporters have done each year.

The addition of this vascular risk marker makes these comprehensive blood panels a greater value…at no additional cost!

1981: DHEA replacement

  • 1981: Homocysteine reduction
  • 1983: Low-dose aspirin
  • 1983: Coenzyme Q10
  • 1996: Public access to blood tests

We defied conventional “reference ranges” for glucose, LDL, and blood pressure, arguing that optimal ranges were far lower than mainstream medicine believed at the time.

How Blood Tests Are Saving Lives

Every day, we at Life Extension® receive calls from people asking what they should do to reduce their degenerative disease risks. My response is that we have no idea until we review their blood test results.

In many cases, blood test panels that new people submit consist of little more than measures of glucose, lipids and liver/kidney function. Omitted almost always are tests for C-reactive protein, DHEA, homocysteine and other controllable risk factors

To resolve this lack of data, we combined the most powerful indicators of heart attack/stroke risk into comprehensive Male and Female Blood Panels.

The retail price of having all these tests done can approach $900. We’ve been able to use our high volume to drive the cost of these popular panels down to $199 during our annual Lab Test Super Sale.

I’m proud of how we’ve added more tests to these panels over the years, such as 25-hydroxyvitamin D and hemoglobin A1c… without raising the price!

We sometimes find our supporters are taking too much vitamin D or DHEA and are able to suggest they reduce their dose. In other cases, we identify markers that predispose one to cancer, dementia, atherosclerosis, or kidney failure.

Once uncovered via comprehensive blood testing, most people are able to move these markers into safer ranges.

Turn back the clock just 54 years, and history reveals how the FDA and medical establishment ridiculed the notion that poor diets were a cause of artery disease.This medical ignorance resulted in the most famous political leaders of their day keeling over from heart attacks before the public’s eyes.

For example, Dwight Eisenhower smoked four packs of cigarettes a day until he quit in 1949. Combined with his high saturated-fat intake, he was at great cardiac risk. Here is what President Eisenhower ate the day of his first heart attack:36

  • Breakfast: sausage, bacon, mush, hotcakes
  • Lunch: hamburger with raw onion
  • Dinner: roast lamb

Heart attack and/or stroke claimed the lives of most of the presidents in the past century including Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, and Richard Nixon (hemorrhagic stroke).

Annual Lab Test Super Sale

The high cost and hassles of blood testing in conventional settings precludes many people from availing themselves of a proven preventive diagnostic.

We resolved this problem 22 years ago by enabling readers of this magazine to order low-cost blood tests direct, and then to visit a drawing station in their area at their convenience.

Results come back in less than a week and are emailed and mailed directly to you. If you have any questions, our Wellness Specialists are available to assist seven days/week at no charge.

Once a year, we discount prices of all blood tests. This serves as a convenient reminder to have one’s annual tests performed and save 50% in the process.

People often comment on the degree of variability in blood results that can occur over a year’s time. This variance can be a result of normal aging, use of a new drug, or lifestyle alteration.

In any case, gaining knowledge that a blood marker is out of balance enables corrective actions to be taken before serious illnesses manifest.

This year’s blood test sale expires on June 4th, 2018.

To order the new Male or Female Blood Panels (that now include ApoB) at the bargain price of $199, call 1-800-208-3444 (24 hours) or log on to: LifeExtension.com/labservices


I hope the historical data conveyed in this editorial enable readers to understand that atherosclerosis is a normal part of aging.

One reason heart attacks did not kill more people in years 1900-1944 is that average life expectancy during this period was only 55 years.

Now that people are living longer, they need to be vigilant in protecting against arterial occlusion, and it starts with comprehensive blood tests.

By: William Faloon


Standardized Patients Play Active Role in Medical Education

Newswise — WINSTON–SALEM, N.C. – May 16, 2018 – They’re actors, but they don’t perform on stage or in front of cameras. And they don’t do drama or comedy. Rather, they specialize in injuries and illnesses.

“I’ve had every disease you can imagine,” said Donna Sparks, a retired teacher who, along with her husband, Jeff, has been acting sick for 10 years at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

Donna and Jeff Sparks are among the role-players known as standardized patients. They are people who have been trained to accurately and consistently portray the physical signs or symptoms of medical conditions and the emotional characteristics and everyday concerns of actual patients in simulated clinical sessions with medical students, physician assistant students and others who are pursuing health care professions.

The purpose of these encounters is both simple and important: to give prospective providers the opportunity to develop both clinical skills and “bedside manner” before they begin to practice medicine for real.

“It’s definitely valuable,” said Lauren West-Livingston, a third-year student at Wake Forest School of Medicine. “We get to practice with these patients in a controlled environment so that when we go on to see real patients in the hospital or in clinic we have some experience, and some confidence.”

Standardized patients – also referred to as simulated patients or patient actors – are employed at most medical schools and teaching hospitals in the United States. The concept was introduced at the University of Southern California in 1963, more fully developed at the University of Arizona in the 1970s and widely adopted by medical schools – including Wake Forest School of Medicine – in the 1980s.

“Standardized patients are vital in helping us prepare our students for their future careers in health care,” said Mary Claire O’Brien, M.D., the Wake Forest medical school’s senior associate dean for health care education. “Our students are able not only to practice their clinical work but also to learn the importance of building relationships with their patients, empathizing with them and doing what’s best for them physically, emotionally and financially.”

Wake Forest medical students have clinical sessions with standardized patients – SPs for short – during all four of their years at the school. To give the students the most realistic experience possible, the sessions are held in specially equipped examination rooms at the Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education and cover a wide variety of medical scenarios – such as conducting a routine physical examination, diagnosing a minor ailment or delivering a negative prognosis about a life-threatening disease – with all types of people.

Wake Forest School of Medicine currently has a roster of 85 patient actors, said Kendall Freeman, manager of the Standardized Patient Program, which is part of the school’s Center for Experiential and Applied Learning. These men and women range in age from 20 to 75, have body types spanning the spectrum from athletic to obese, are members of different racial and ethnic groups and come from diverse socioeconomic, educational and occupational backgrounds.

“Right now we have pretty much everybody,” Freeman said.

To maintain that mix, hiring is done on the basis of demographic need, Freeman said. Otherwise, there are no requirements for becoming a standardized patient, and acting experience is definitely not necessary. That’s because SPs are obliged to strictly stick to the script in the clinical sessions, for which the medical aspects are standardized to allow for direct comparison and consistent evaluation of the students’ clinical skills.

At Wake Forest School of Medicine, newly hired standardized patients undergo a full day of training. To prepare for sessions with students, all SPs receive, usually one or two weeks in advance, detailed instructions and, if needed, additional training for the particular medical scenario.

And while emoting and improvisation are taboo, the SPs are, in addition to presenting a specific medical condition, sometimes called on to portray patients with assorted attitudes, behaviors or issues related to or independent of their health status.

“There are patients who intentionally make it difficult for us to get the information we need,” said West-Livingston, who is pursuing a Ph.D. along with her medical degree. “The sessions also can include what are called opportunities for empathy, where they’ll say ‘I’m worried about my job’ or ‘My insurance doesn’t cover that’ and we have to take a break from the diagnostic side and focus on the human aspect.”

Faculty members evaluate the students’ performances in the simulations but the SPs also have input, submitting a written evaluation sheet after each session.

“One thing we evaluate the students on is how comfortable we feel with them,” Donna Sparks said. “Do they listen to us? Do they show empathy and concern? Do they use layman’s terms instead of medical jargon?”

Being a standardized patient is not, it must be said, a regular part-time job. The hours are not steady, the need for SPs varies throughout the year and each actor is by nature ineligible to participate in more than half of the simulated clinical sessions. (“I don’t qualify for ectopic pregnancy,” Jeff Sparks noted.) But the position does have its rewards beyond the pay, which at Wake Forest is $20 an hour.

“It’s very gratifying to see how the students progress from their first year to their fourth year,” Jeff Sparks said. “It’s quite a change.”

“For me, this is another way that I can continue teaching and keep myself busy during retirement,” Donna Sparks said. “The students are so appreciative of what we do, and we really enjoy working with them.”

That feeling extends both ways. The sessions with the standardized patients, West-Livingston said, “are most people’s favorite part of the curriculum.”

Maintaining a Daily Rhythm Is Important For Mental Health,Study Suggests

Setting an alarm might be the only thing that helps you get up in the morning, but try setting one at night to remind you when it's time to go to bed. Click through our gallery for other tips for better sleep.

The study, published Tuesday in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry, looked at disruptions in the circadian rhythms — or daily sleep-wake cycles — of over 91,000 adults in the United Kingdom. It measured these disruptions using a device called an accelerometer that is worn on the wrist and measures one’s daily activity levels. The participants were taken from the UK Biobank, a large cohort of over half a million UK adults ages 37 to 73.
The researchers found that individuals with more circadian rhythm disruptions — defined as increased activity at night, decreased activity during the day or both — were significantly more likely to have symptoms consistent with bipolar disorder or major depression. They were also more likely to have decreased feelings of well-being and to have reduced cognitive functioning, based on a computer-generated reaction time test.
For all participants, activity levels were measured over a seven-day period in either 2013 or 2014, and mental health proxies such as mood and cognitive functioning were measured using an online mental health questionnaire that participants filled out in 2016 or 2017.
“It’s widely known that a good night’s sleep is a good thing for well-being and health. That’s not a big surprise,” said Dr. Daniel Smith, professor of psychiatry at the University of Glasgow and a leading author on the study. “But I think what’s less well-known and what comes out of this work is that not only is a good night’s sleep important, but having a regular rhythm of being active in daylight and inactive in darkness over time is important for mental well-being.”
The findings were found to be consistent even when controlling for a number of influential factors including age, sex, lifestyle, education and body mass index, according to Smith.
“I think one of the striking things that we found was just the consistency in the direction of our association across everything we looked at in terms of mental health,” Smith said.
Daily circadian rhythm is controlled by a collection of neurons in an area of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus helps regulate a number of important behavioral and physiological functions such as body temperature, eating and drinking habits, emotional well-being and sleep, according to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.
The findings are consistent with research indicating a link between sleep disruptions and mood disorders. A 2009 study, for example, showed that men who worked night shifts for four years or more were more likely to have anxiety and depression than those who work during the day.
However, the new study is the first to use objective measurements of daily activity and is among the largest of its kind, according to Aiden Doherty, senior research fellow at the University of Oxford, who was not involved in the research.
“This study is the first large-scale investigation of the association of objectively measured circadian rhythmicity with various mental health, well-being, personality and cognitive outcomes, with an unprecedented sample size of more than 90 000 participants,” Doherty wrote in an email.
“Previous studies have been very small (in just a few hundred people), or relied on self-report measures (asking people what they think they do). … However, this study used objective device-based measures in over 90,000 participants; and then linked this information to standard measures of mood disorders, subjective well-being, and cognitive function,” he added.
The findings have significant public health consequences, particularly for those who live in urban areas, where circadian rhythms are often disrupted due to artificial light, according to Smith.
“By 2030, two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in cities, and we know that living in an urban environment can be pretty toxic to your circadian system because of all the artificial light that you’re exposed to,” Smith said.
“So we need to think about ways to help people tune in to their natural rhythms of activity and sleeping more effectively. Hopefully, that will protect a lot of people from mood disorders.”
For those who struggle to maintain a consistent circadian rhythm, certain strategies — such as avoiding technology at night — have proven to be an important part of good sleep hygiene.
“Not using your phone late at night and having a regular pattern of sleeping is really important,” Smith said. “But equally important is a pattern of exposing yourself to sunshine and daylight in the morning and doing activity in the morning or midday so you can actually sleep properly.”
Based on the observational nature of the study, the researchers were unable to show causality, meaning it is unclear whether the sleep disturbances caused the mental health problems or vice versa.
“It’s a cross-sectional study, so we can’t say anything about cause and effect or what came first, the mood disorder or the circadian disruption,” said Kristen Knutson, associate professor of neurology at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study.
“And it’s likely they affect each other in a circular fashion,” she added. The researchers also looked exclusively at adults between age 37 and 73, meaning the results may not apply to younger individuals, whose circadian rhythms are known to be different than those of older adults, according to Smith.
“The circadian system changes throughout life. If you’ve got kids, you know that very young kids tend to be nocturnal,” Smith said. “My suspicion is that we might observe even more pronounced effects in younger samples, but that hasn’t been done yet, to my knowledge.”
But the study adds more credence to the idea that sleep hygiene — including maintaining a consistent pattern of sleep and wake cycles — may be an important component of good mental health, according to Smith.
“It’s an exciting time for this kind of research because it’s beginning to have some real-world applications,” Smith said. “And from my point of view as a psychiatrist, I think it’s probably under-recognized in psychiatry how important healthy circadian function is, but it’s an area that we’re trying to develop.”

 May 15, 2018

6 Ways To Cope With Depression & Lift Your Mood

how to cope with depression when you're feeling down

Some days, you just can’t bear to feel depressed for another minute. Are you looking for some things that you can do to help with depression when you simply can’t stay down?

Do you have days where you wake up depressed and wonder how you are going to get through your day? Where you know that you have to function but you just don’t know how?

When it comes to coping with depression, here are 6 things you can do right now to lift your mood and bring yourself out of it — even for just a few moments:

1. Get some exercise.


One of the quickest and most effective ways to alleviate depression is getting some exercise.

Exercise produces endorphins, which are chemicals that elevate your mood. So, simply put, it’s mighty difficult to be depressed when endorphins are racing through your body.

And don’t think that you have to go for a long run or hit the gym — although you certainly can. Research shows that all it takes is 30 minutes of exercise that raises your heart rate to get those endorphins raging.

So go for a walk, dance around your living room, and play with your kids. Do whatever you can do get that heart rate elevated and those endorphins activated.

RELATED: How To Deal With Depression And Anger At The Same Time

2. Eat a good breakfast.

Eating when you are depressed can seem almost impossible. But eating a healthy and protein-filled breakfast is an excellent way to elevate your mood.

Seratonin, another chemical mood enhancer, is produced by the breakdown of proteins in the body. Eating a protein-rich breakfast will, like exercise, produce chemicals in your body that alleviate depression.

So make yourself some eggs for breakfast. Or maybe some yogurt with fruit and nuts. Perhaps a chia seed pudding. Even cereal with milk will give you a good protein and serotonin boost first thing in the morning to get you on your way.

3. Have sex.


There are two things that happen when you have sex. The first is that you feel emotionally connected to someone and the second is that your orgasm generates all sorts of feel-good chemicals — chemicals that, once again, counteract that depressed feeling.

The other thing that happens is that sex keeps your mind off your depression and an excellent way to get rid of depression is to ignore it completely. Without your attention depression tends to slink away, unhappy that it isn’t occupying your every thought.

So have sex. You will be glad you did!

4. Schedule a coffee with a friend.

I know that when you are feeling depressed, getting out and talking with someone, anyone, seems daunting. But it has been proven that spending time with loved ones elevates one’s mood every time.

When we spend time with friends, the love, and laughter that we share trigger those feel-good chemicals, dopamine, and serotonin. So just by interacting with someone, sharing words and thoughts and laughs, you can raise your mood.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Hold Up Your End Of The Relationship When You Have Depression

5. Smile.


Did you know that the act of smiling actually elevates one’s mood?

The act of smiling, of your muscles working together to turn your mouth upwards, activates the release of those mood-enhancing chemicals — dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. Once again, your body will be flooded with things that will reduce your depression immediately.

6. Do something nice for someone else.

An excellent way to lift your depression is to do something nice for someone else.

This world that we live in can be a very challenging place, with people rushing around with their own agendas, caught up in their worries. You are probably that way too.

So think about what it feels like when someone does something nice for you.

How about that gentleman who opened the door for you? Or the barista who put an extra shot in your cup, no charge. Or the lady who ushered you forward in the grocery line because you only had one item. Didn’t those small things make you feel great?

Do those kinds of small things for someone else and make someone else’s life a better place. By doing so, you will once again activate those feel-good chemicals in your body, ones that will wash that depression away.

So you see, there are things that you can do to help get rid of depression when you simply can’t be down.

Get some exercise, eat well, fool around, hang out with friends, smile and help others. All of those things will take you outside of yourself and make you feel better.

You can do it!

However, if your depression doesn’t get lifted, or it comes back, it is essential that you see your primary care doctor right away, to make sure that it doesn’t get worse and so that you can be happy.

RELATED: 5 Things You Must Try Before Turning To Mood-Boosting Medicines

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live. Contact her for help or email her at mitzi@letyourdreamsbegin.com.

The Deadly Viruses Being Used To Combat Incurable Cancers


Zika, polio and adenovirus are hardly the first trio that comes to mind when considering the ‘next big thing’ in cancer therapy. Polio alone killed over 3,000 Americans per year in the 1950s before vaccination programs and continues to ravage the developing world, while babies with severe brain deformities due to Zika are still being born in South America.

Despite this, these killer viruses may well be a surprising source of hope for those with currently incurable cancers.

The idea to use viruses as cancer therapy is not new, having been proposed in a hard-to-pinpoint time in the early 20th century, with traceable work beginning in earnest in the 1960s. My earliest experience of a cancer research lab was fifteen years ago in London, UK when I was still in high school, with a scientist studying viral therapies for pancreatic cancer. As I progressed through my education, finally becoming a cancer research scientist, I would sporadically check in on viral treatments, wondering whether much progress had been made and if anything had been approved.

For several years, nothing stood out, but in 2015, I discovered that Amgen’s Imlygic (also known as T-VEC), a herpesvirus-based therapy for melanoma, was the first viral therapy to be FDA-approved. One of the more surprising results from initial trials and data gained with more widespread use since then, has been that infection of tumor cells with the virus itself, is not the only way in which the therapy affects the cancer.

Phil Daschner, Program Director of the NCI’s Cancer Immunology, Hematology and Etiology department, said: ‘Imlygic not only treated the primary tumor, but It triggered the immune system to go after the metastases too.’

This was somewhat a surprise to the researchers conducting the trial. Imlygic had not only shown efficacy in treating the tumor which it was targeted to, but had also somehow triggered the destruction of far-away metastatic tumors, despite not directly entering those cells.

‘Imlygic showed us that the effect of these therapies was not just virus going into the cells until the tumor cell breaks open and lyses. The immune system gets involved, increasing the response,’ said Daschner.

Imlygic remains the only viral therapy fully FDA approved to this date, but more are edging their way through the trial system. Pleasingly, a couple of them are designed to tackle a devastating type of brain cancer called glioblastoma, which Senator John McCain was recently diagnosed with, which only around 10% of patients survive for 3 years or more post diagnosis and most die within a year.

Zika would seem to be an odd solution to this problem, producing devastating effects in infected babies, resulting in abnormally small and deformed brains. But it is just this propensity to affect developing brain cells that may make it a suitable treatment for glioblastoma, which originates from similar pools of developing brain cells. Duke University scientists also won FDA breakthrough therapy status for their poliovirus-based brain tumor therapy in 2016, so unusually brain cancer has found itself at the forefront of developing these breakthrough therapies.

Another researcher leading the development of viruses against hard-to-treat brain cancer is Juan Fueyo, M.D. at the MD Anderson Cancer Centre, Department of Neuro-Oncology. He recently led a trial of a new adenovirus-based therapy for glioma called tasadenoturev, which binds selectively to tumor cells, with very promising results. Similar to the early results for Imlygic, the immune system played a huge role in the anti-tumor effect of the adenovirus therapy.

‘When we designed oncolytic viruses, we didn’t originally think it was immunotherapy. It’s the immune system that is actually orchestrating the destruction of the tumor and our current hypothesis is that this (not the virus itself) is the main mechanism of treatment,’ said Fueyo.

In Fueyo’s most recent study, 37 patients with recurrent brain cancer, including 28 with glioblastoma were treated with tasadenoturev. Five patients survived more than 3 years after the treatment, with one patient surviving 4.5 years and still alive at the time of publication of the paper in February of this year.

These may seem like fairly sobering survival statistics when compared to more treatable cancers, but for this type of aggressive brain tumor, this is notable progress. In Fueyo’s trial, those who did respond to the therapy achieved survival times in excess of the expected and a superior quality of life on treatment, however, almost all of the patients finally succumbed to their disease.

‘In this fight between the cancer and the immune system, the cancer won, eventually,’ said Fueyo.

The current hypothesis as to why this happens seems to be similar to that for many cancer relapses; that there is a tiny proportion of cancer cells already existing in the tumor which are resistant to the therapy. Most of the tumor cells are killed by the therapy, scans no longer pick up the tumor and patients seem to be in remission, but months or years later, this small population of cells multiplies into a fully fledged, therapy-resistant tumor. Researchers aren’t yet sure how this resistance against viral therapies works and Fueyo stresses that further clinical trials will try to address this.

Conventional therapies for brain tumors such as invasive surgeries, radiotherapy and chemotherapies such as temozolomide, often come with a host of side effects, which can greatly impact quality of life, perhaps an even more important consideration for those who are unlikely to achieve cure and where the goal is not just more time, but more quality time. One of the most interesting revelations of the study was that patients experienced minimal side-effects from the treatment.

‘Patients on our trial had an excellent quality of life. They were able to return to their lives, to work. None of our patients had toxicity,’ said Fueyo.

The variety of viruses that researchers are modifying to target different types of cancers is extensive. Polio and Zika for brain tumors, adenoviruses for multiple tumor types, including pancreatic and even measles virus for ovarian cancer and leukemia, but should a line be drawn where we conclude that some viruses, for example, Ebola – are just too dangerous to try to make cancer therapies from?

‘All of this hype saying all viruses can be modified – I don’t believe that, I think we will end up using three or four types of virus, ultimately. In some clinical trials with viruses, patients have died, we need to study this carefully and figure out which are toxic,’ said Fueyo.

As Fueyo eludes to, not all patients in trials with viral cancer therapies have experienced minimal to no side effects like his patients.

‘Viruses are dangerous, they are dirty bombs which of course we try to control but they can behave in an unregulated way, we must be careful’ said Fueyo.

So after decades of research, why have viral therapies just now started to make it through approvals and into human clinical trials?

‘The molecular engineering of safety components has become easier with the greater knowledge of viral genomes and techniques like CRISPR, for example,’ said Daschner.

‘In the 90s, no pharma company would invest in oncolytic viruses, it was just too risky,’ said Fueyo.

Today, multiple pharma companies are running oncolytic viral therapy discovery programs including Pfizer, Celgene and Bristol-Myers Squibb.  After Imlygic’s successful FDA-approval and promising early clinical trial results for glioblastoma viral therapies, can we expect viral therapies to flood the market now?

‘Imlygic set an important regulatory precedent, I don’t see it as a floodgate opener, more that Imlygic expanded the pipeline for the development of these viral therapies. Much like immunotherapy and CAR-T-cells, it’s going to take time for approval of these therapies,’ said Daschner

Both Fueyo and Daschner are enthusiastic about the potential for viruses in cancer therapy, particularly in combination with immunotherapy agents that are designed to unleash the immune system on cancers.

‘The potential for viral vectors and immunotherapy agents is huge,’ said Daschner.

Soon after Imylgic’s first promising trials on melanoma, researchers published data showing that combining Imlygic with the PD-1 blocking immunotherapy agent pembrolizumab was more effective than using either alone.

Several additional combination therapies are indeed snaking their way through the clinical trial system with trials for liver, colorectal and lung cancers ongoing in the U.S. and treatment of brain cancers continues to lead the way with a large U.S. based 13 center clinical trial combining the adenovirus and Merck’s PD-1 targeting immunotherapy agent, pembrolizumab with the hope that the combination will further strengthen the immune system to attack the tumor.

Viruses are undoubtedly still in the early stages of development, but people with rarer tumors with low survival rates currently will be relieved that their cancers are at the forefront of drug development for a change, often being overlooked for more common cancers.