Tag: psychology

November 2016 Writing for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

I wrote the following articles published in November 2016 by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute:

Linking Patients and Data, Medicine and Science: CAVATICA Data Analysis Platform Launches

Untangling Attention Difficulties in Autism

Smart Robotic Toy Gym Could Identify Early Signs of Babies’ Developmental Delay

Cellular Energy Flaws Studied as Contributor to Schizophrenia

A ‘Critical Mass’ of Mitochondrial Disease Research Accelerates Treatment Quest

CHOP Research In the News: Body and Mind, Stayin’ Alive, ADHD Guidelines, Innovation Leadership

Q&A: How Pediatricians Can Help Suburban Families in Poverty

CHOP Research In the News: From Good Starts to Young Adult Transitions

CHOP Honors Superhuman Abilities of Clinical Research Coordinators

Thick Cortex Could Be Key in Down Syndrome

Reductions in cortical surface area and increases in cortical thickness in brains of youth with Down Syndrome relative to typical controls. Panel (a) displays surface area findings; panel (b) displays cortical thickness findings. The approximate location of peak regions in which cortical surface area and thickness were most different from control are marked with small red circles. Credit: Lee et al., National Institute of Mental Health. – See more at: http://drexel.edu/now/archive/2015/June/Down-Syndrome-Cortex/#sthash.r2hp48On.dpuf

Originally posted on DrexelNow.

The thickness of the brain’s cerebral cortex could be a key to unlocking answers about intellectual development in youth with Down Syndrome. It could also provide new insights to why individuals with this genetic neurodevelopmental disorder are highly susceptible to early onset Alzheimer’s Disease later in life.

Mapping Language in the Brain

Originally posted on DrexelNow.

The exchange of words, speaking and listening in conversation, may seem unremarkable for most people, but communicating with others is a challenge for people who have aphasia, an impairment of language that often happens after stroke or other brain injury. Aphasia affects about 1 in 250 people, making it more common than Parkinson’s Disease or cerebral palsy, and can make it difficult to return to work and to maintain social relationships. A new study published in the journal Nature Communications provides a detailed brain map of language impairments in aphasia following stroke.

How to Harness the Science of Sparking Ideas

Originally posted on DrexelNow.

When you say “aha!” at the spark of a surprising new idea or creative solution to a problem, the idea seems to come out of nowhere. But when such insights pop up without your conscious awareness, how can you train your brain to deliver more of them?

Creative ideas tend to come to people all of a sudden, sometimes in the shower or, famously in the case of Archimedes, who shouted “Eureka!” and ran naked through the streets of ancient Syracuse, in the bath. But, like all ideas, they originate in the brain.

For Drexel psychology professor John Kounios, PhD and his longtime collaborator Mark Beeman, PhD, at Northwestern University, the brain science of  “aha! moments” has been a major focus of their careers. In 2004, the pair sprang to international acclaim with their discovery that “aha moments” originate in a key spot of the brain’s right hemisphere just above the right ear—putting to rest the question of whether sudden insight was indeed a separate form of problem-solving from more deliberate analytic processes. For the next decade, they’ve continued to refine their studies of how creativity, especially sudden insight, works in the brain and in practice.

Now, the two have co-authored a new book bringing that science to life and offering a comprehensive picture of the state of scientific knowledge about insight: “The Eureka Factor: Aha Moments, Creative Insight, and the Brain” (Random House, 2015). It’s the first book about creativity that tells a complete and faithful story of the neuroscience written by the actual scientists who made the discoveries.

The book is packed with anecdotes about creative insights—from character design at Disney Pixar to a concert promoter tasked with pleasing Elvis Presley—taking each story as an object lesson in the ways creativity works in the brain, according to the latest research.

The book also highlights numerous examples and recommendations of techniques to improve creativity—but, Kounios notes, such recommendations must be used with care. Factors including sleep, mood, motivation and working environment can all affect insight and can be modified to inspire more creativity, if handled with appropriate knowledge of what to do.

“There are strategies to be more creative, but you have to understand the process in the brain to use them correctly,” said Kounios, who directs Drexel’s doctoral program in applied cognitive and brain sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Otherwise, the strategy can have opposite of your intended results.”

For example, Kounios noted that a positive mood often enhances creativity—but not if a person is perpetually sunny. “Creativity requires multiple perspectives, so you need something to jar you out of that state of mind, even if it happens to be sad.”

– See more at: http://drexel.edu/now/archive/2015/March/Creative-Insight-Eureka-Factor/#sthash.V7Ai5bCg.dpuf

Psychological Services Center Opens at Drexel, Offering Affordable, Cutting-Edge Care for Philadelphia Region

Originally posted on DrexelNow.

A new center on Drexel University’s campus in the University City section of Philadelphia is now offering high-quality, scientifically informed, affordable psychological services to clients of all ages from the city and surrounding region.

The Drexel Psychological Services Center offers assessments and therapy provided by doctoral students in Drexel’s highly competitive clinical psychology PhD program, who are working as trainees under the supervision of licensed professional faculty from the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Drexel will formally celebrate its opening at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 2.

“A real advantage of coming to Drexel’s Psychological Services Center is that we offer the newest evidence-based assessments and treatments,” said Jennifer Schwartz, PhD, director of the center. “These services have undergone scientific evaluation to demonstrate that they are effective, and are not always available in community practices.”

Most services at Drexel’s Psychological Services Center are offered on a sliding fee scale and medical insurance is not accepted. Fees are typically set to be manageable for clients and depend on the size and income level of the client’s household. The center welcomes members of the surrounding communities and students at other universities, but encourages full-time Drexel students to continue to use the University’s Counseling Center, free of charge.

The center’s areas of specialty align with those of Drexel’s psychology faculty, including:

  • Mood and anxiety disorders, including evidence-based treatments for stress, depression, anxiety, phobias, trauma, grief, relational issues and identity concerns
  • Disorders of eating, including anorexia, bulimia, compulsive overeating and weight management, bariatric surgery evaluations
  • Behavioral medicine, including evidence-based approaches to stress management, sleep disorders, concerns related to reproductive health and living with chronic pain or other physical health problems
  • Clinical neuropsychological assessments including  services for attention and executive functioning, learning and memory, concussion and mild traumatic brain injury and other neurological injuries and diseases
  • Child and adolescent services including evidence-based treatments and assessments for behavioral concerns such as ADHD, mood problems, social skills challenges, academic and school challenges, health risk behaviors and more
  • Forensic psychological assessments, including assessments of intellectual ability and adaptive function for justice-involved individuals

As a training facility for Drexel’s doctoral students, the Psychological Services Center offers many advantages to clients as well as to the trainee clinicians. Clinicians carry small caseloads and are able to devote a great deal of attention to each client. Clinicians are closely monitored by, and meet regularly with, their experienced supervisors to ensure they are delivering the best possible care.

Individuals interested in seeking services at Drexel’s Psychological Services Center should call 215.553.7128 to schedule a no-cost intake appointment to determine if the center is a good fit.

For more information about the Psychological Services Center, visit the clinic website.

– See more at: http://drexel.edu/now/archive/2014/September/Psychological-Services-Center-Opens/