Posts Tagged ‘brain’

Baby’s first smiles give mom’s brain a buzz

July 9, 2008

Tiny grins light up reward centers that lead to quality care, study says. Any mother who’s ever felt a jolt of joy at her baby’s first grin knows how intoxicating that can be.

Now, scientists at the Baylor College of Medicine say there’s more to the baby buzz than just a rush of happy feelings. Turns out that seeing your own child smile actually activates the pleasure receptors in the brain typically associated with food, sex — and drug addiction.

“It may be that seeing your own baby’s face is like a ‘natural high,’ said Lane Strathearn, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor and and Texas Children’s Hospital who studied the brain reactions of 28 first-time moms.

“We know similar brain circuits are activated,” he added. “Whether that feels the same as a shot of cocaine, I’m not sure.” (more…)

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Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness

July 6, 2008

New Research Shows That Humans Have More Control Over Their Happiness Than Previously Thought. What exactly is happening inside the brains of people experiencing joy and happiness? “It’s a very complicated chemical soup,” explained Dr. Richard Davidson, who has made a life’s work out of studying “happy brains.” His lab at the University of Wisconsin is devoted to understanding how much of our joy level is set at birth, and how much we can control.

With a skull cap containing 128 sensors, Davidson’s team can watch a subject’s brain respond to a series of photographs, some pleasant, some distressing.

“We can challenge the brain by presenting these emotional images and look to see how you respond to them,” Davidson said.

ABC News’ Bill Weir underwent the test, and by studying the activity in his left prefrontal cortex, Davidson discovered that Weir’s brain was “more positive than not.” (more…)

Meditation ‘good for brain’

July 2, 2008

Scientists say they have found evidence that meditation has a biological effect on the body.

A small-scale study suggests it could boost parts of the brain and the immune system.

Meditation has been practiced since ancient times, mainly in the East.

“There is increasing evidence that meditation is a useful and, for some people, a powerful therapy.”said Dr Adrian White of the department of Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter.

It is now catching on worldwide as a means to reduce stress or to help with pain caused by various illnesses. (more…)