NSF REAL funding to Kane to study effects of mind-wandering
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Please tell us about your interest in applied brain science. What areas are you most interested in?
I am mostly intrigued by brain training and behavioral response using neuro/biofeedback and augmented/virtual reality.
What is one important thing you are working on now, and where can people learn more about it?
We are working on ways to leverage augmented reality for fully immersive experiences that can impact mood. This will allow us to work with patients even if they are on the other side of the world.
What excites you the most about your current line of work?
As the Founder of the New Dawn Advanced Mind and Body Research and Development, I am passionate about helping people that suffer with depression, bipolar, pain and childhood issues that the current health system often wipes off as ""too hard."
What are 1–2 key things you'd like every person to understand regarding his/ her own brain and mind, that you think is commonly misrepresented or not addressed in the popular media?
I believe few people understand that anyone can refine mind state easily, either via meditation, EEG technology or even a single breath.
Where do you see clear "low-hanging fruit" to enhance behavioral and brain health based on neuroscience and innovation?
Using cutting edge technology, we can envision producing an interactive virtual reality that responds to the user's mind state using neuro/biofeedback. We are looking at a whole new world of brain training and human machine interaction.
What surprised you the most at the 2013 SharpBrains Virtual Summit?
The big data elements of the technology that is already available, which can open a world of opportunity in health, psychology and neuroscience.
Finally, what do YOU do to stay sharp?
Biofeedback for mind state training.
—This conversation is part of the interview series with Speakers and Participants in the 2013 SharpBrains Virtual Summit (September 19-20th). Previous interviews include:
I am pleased to announce the publication of the following chapter in The Handbook of Educational Theories. Click here to review/read the chapter.
Agency Initiative Will Focus on Advancing Deep Brain Stimulation
By JAMES GORMAN
Published: October 24, 2013
. . .
The federal Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as Darpa, announced Thursday that it intended to spend more than $70 million over five years to jump to the next level of brain implants, either by improving deep brain stimulation or by developing new technology.
Justin Sanchez, Darpa program manager, said that for scientists now, "there is no technology that can acquire signals that can tell them precisely what is going on with the brain."
And so, he said, Darpa is "trying to change the game on how we approach these kinds of problems."
The new program, called Systems-Based Neurotechnology and Understanding for the Treatment of Neuropsychological Illnesses, is part of an Obama administration brain initiative, announced earlier this year, intended to promote innovative basic neuroscience. Participants in the initiative include Darpa, as well as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
The announcement of Darpa's goal is the first indication of how that research agency will participate in the initiative. The money is expected to be divided among different teams, and research proposals are now being sought.
Darpa's goal would require solving several longstanding problems in neuroscience, one of which is to develop a detailed model of how injuries or illnesses like depression manifest themselves in the systems of the brain.
The next step is to create a device that can monitor the signs of illness or injury in real time, treat them appropriately and measure the effects of the treatment. The result would be something like a highly sophisticated pacemaker for a brain disorder.
Darpa is asking for research teams to produce a device ready to be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for approval within five years.
"Is it overambitious? Of course," said Dr. Mayberg, adding that working with the brain is "a slow process." But she said that it was an impressive first investment and that the clear emphasis on human illness was "stunning."
Is it possible for a brain scan to predict whether a recently paroled inmate will commit another crime within 4 years? A new study by Aharoni et al. (2013) suggests that the level of activity within the anterior cingulate cortex might provide a clue to whether a given offender will be rearrested.
Dress this up a bit and combine with a miniaturized brain-computer interface that continuously uploads EEG activity to the data center at a maximum security prison. There, machine learning algorithms determine with high accuracy whether a given pattern of neural oscillations signals the imminent intent to reoffend that will trigger deep brain stimulation in customized regions of prefrontal cortex, and you have the plot for a 1990s cyberpunk novel.
The state that was the first to pass a law prohibiting the execution of mentally disabled death row inmates is revisiting a requirement for defendants to prove the disability beyond a reasonable doubt — the strictest burden of proof in the nation.
A state House committee is holding an out-of-session meeting Thursday to seek input from the public. Other states that impose the death penalty have a lower threshold for proving mental disability, and some don't set standards at all....
Georgia's law is the strictest in the U.S. even though the state was also the first, in 1988, to pass a law prohibiting the execution of mentally disabled death row inmates. The U.S. Supreme Court followed suit in 2002, ruling that the execution of mentally disabled offenders is unconstitutional....
Thursday's meeting comes against the backdrop of the case of Warren Lee Hill, who was sentenced to die for the 1990 beating death of fellow inmate Joseph Handspike, who was bludgeoned with a nail-studded board as he slept. At the time, Hill was already serving a life sentence for the 1986 slaying of his girlfriend, Myra Wright, who was shot 11 times. Hil
l's lawyers have long maintained he is mentally disabled and therefore shouldn't be executed. The state has consistently argued that his lawyers have failed to prove his mental disability beyond a reasonable doubt. Hill has come within hours of execution on several occasions, most recently in July. Each time, a court has stepped in at the last minute and granted a delay based on challenges raised by his lawyers. Only one of those challenges was related to his mental abilities, and it was later dismissed.
A coalition of groups that advocate for people with developmental disabilities pushed for the upcoming legislative committee meeting and has been working to get Georgia's standard of proof changed to a preponderance of the evidence rather than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Hill's case has drawn national attention and has shone a spotlight on Georgia's tough standard, they say.
The process has taken an enormous amount of education, said Kathy Keeley, executive director of All About Developmental Disabilities. Rather than opposition to or support for the measure she's pushing, she's mostly encountered a lack of awareness about what the state's law says, she said. The groups are hoping to not only express their views at the meeting, but also to hear from others to get a broader perspective, Keeley said. The changes should be relatively simple and very narrow in scope, targeting only the burden of proof for death penalty defendants, she said.
Ashley Wright, district attorney for the Augusta district and president of the state District Attorneys' Association, said prosecutors question the logic of changing a law that they don't see as problematic and that has repeatedly been upheld by state and federal courts. "The district attorneys don't believe that you change a law for no reason and, in this case, the law appears to be working," she said. "Where has a jury done a disservice? Why are we putting all our eggs in the defendant's basket and forgetting that there's a victim?"
Prosecutors agree that the mentally disabled shouldn't be executed, and defendants are frequently spared the death penalty when there is proof of their mental disability supported by appropriate documentation from credible and reliable experts, she said.
But Hill's lawyer, Brian Kammer, argues that psychiatric diagnoses are complex, and "experts who have to make diagnoses do not do so beyond a reasonable doubt, they do it to a reasonable scientific certainty." Furthermore, he said, disagreements between experts make the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard nearly impossible to meet.... In Hill's case, a state court judge concluded the defendant was probably mentally disabled. In any other state, that would have spared him the death penalty, Kammer said.
Michele Tine. Working Memory Differences Between Children Living in Rural and Urban Poverty. Journal of Cognition and Development, 2013; : 130614095141000 DOI: 10.1080/15248372.2013.797906
This study was designed to investigate if the working memory profiles of children living in rural poverty are distinct from the working memory profiles of children living in urban poverty. Verbal and visuospatial working memory tasks were administered to sixth grade students living in low-income rural, low-income urban, high-income rural, and high-income urban developmental contexts. Both low-income rural and low-income urban children showed working memory deficits compared to their high-income counterparts, but their deficits were distinct. Low-income urban children exhibited symmetrical verbal and visuospatial working memory deficits compared to their high-income urban counterparts. Meanwhile, low-income rural children exhibited asymmetrical deficits when compared to their high-income rural counterparts, with more extreme visuospatial working memory deficits than verbal working memory deficits. These results suggest that different types of poverty are associated with different working memory abilities.