What is Suicide?

” Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death. Risk factors include mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, and substance abuse, including alcoholism and use of benzodiazepines. Other suicides are impulsive acts due to stress such as from financial difficulties, troubles with relationships, or from bullying. Those who have previously attempted suicide are at higher risk for future attempts. Suicide prevention efforts include limiting access to methods of suicide, such as firearms, drugs, and poisons, treating mental disorders and substance misuse, proper media reporting of suicide, and improving economic conditions. Although crisis hotlines are common, there is little evidence for their effectiveness.

The most commonly used method of suicide varies between countries and is partly related to the availability of effective means. Common methods include hanging, pesticide poisoning, and firearms. Suicide resulted in 828,000 deaths globally in 2015 (up from 712,000 deaths in 1990). This makes it the 10th leading cause of death worldwide.

Approximately 0.5% to 1.4% of people die by suicide, about 12 per 100,000 persons per year. Three-quarters of suicides globally occur in the developing world. Rates of completed suicides are generally higher in men than in women, ranging from 1.5 times as much in the developing world to 3.5 times in the developed world. Suicide is generally most common among those over the age of 70; however, in certain countries, those aged between 15 and 30 are at highest risk. There are an estimated 10 to 20 million non-fatal attempted suicides every year. Non-fatal suicide attempts may lead to injury and long-term disabilities. In the Western world, attempts are more common in young people and females.

Views on suicide have been influenced by broad existential themes such as religion, honor, and the meaning of life. The Abrahamic religions traditionally consider suicide an offense towards God due to the belief in the sanctity of life. During the samurai era in Japan, a form of suicide known as seppuku (harakiri) was respected as a means of making up for failure or as a form of protest. Sati, a practice outlawed by the British Raj, expected the Indian widow to kill herself on her husband’s funeral fire, either willingly or under pressure from the family and society. Suicide and attempted suicide, while previously illegal, are no longer so in most Western countries. It remains a criminal offense in many countries. In the 20th and 21st centuries, suicide has been used on rare occasions as a form of protest, and kamikaze and suicide bombings have been used as a military or terrorist tactic.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide

Shraddha Shankar tells in her own words the experience she´s  had in her attempts of suicide on her life. Watch this interesting video of this brave lady, TED talk.

Is It Possible to Live WITHOUT a Smartphone?

Smartphones have become basic, elemental and part of our lives. They are so useful for communication, have fun and of course, distinguish us among our friends according to the brand you have. On our day’s people are already addicted to this mobiles and even special boxes have been created to lock them away meanwhile you are in a meeting or some social event.

But the theme is not smartphones, but how someone has lived most of her young life without them. Ann Makosinski is a Canadian lady with 18 years old that got her first phone some months ago exactly because she would go to university and needed to call home.

Her incredible story starts on the way her parents grew her up and which is now helping her out to be a brilliant student. Watch her speech on a TED talk in the video below.

What is Obsessive–compulsive disorder? By Samantha Pena

“Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder where people feel the need to check things repeatedly, perform certain routines repeatedly (called “rituals”), or have certain thoughts repeatedly. People are unable to control either the thoughts or the activities for more than a short period of time. Common activities include hand washing, counting of things, and checking to see if a door is locked. Some may have difficulty throwing things out. These activities occur to such a degree that the person’s daily life is negatively affected. Often they take up more than an hour a day. Most adults realize that the behaviors do not make sense. The condition is associated with tics, anxiety disorder, and an increased risk of suicide.

The cause is unknown. There appear to be some genetic components with both identical twins more often affected than both non-identical twins.[2] Risk factors include a history of child abuse or another stress-inducing event.  Some cases have been documented to occur following infections. The diagnosis is based on the symptoms and requires ruling out other drug-related or medical causes. Rating scales such as the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale can be used to assess the severity. Other disorders with similar symptoms include anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, eating disorders, tic disorders, and obsessive–compulsivehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obsessive%E2%80%93compulsive_disorder personality disorder. ”

Samantha Pena tells her experience with an Obsessive-compulsive disorder and the many things that she has to go through in order to live a balanced life.

What Defines You? By Lizzie Velasquez TED talk

Lizzie Velasquez is a brilliant and fantastic 25-year-old lady who was born with a strange syndrome. In her special condition, she can not gain weight at all. During her life, many obstacles have overcome, but she has used them as a ladder to go after her dreams. As far as she´s gone she has achieved some of them and is after more.

Her speech is a motivation to all of those people that see life like a big mountain that they are not able to manage. Watch her incredible story and how she has turned negative into positive even though people attacked her for doing nothing them.

What is Progeria?

“Progeria is an extremely rare genetic disorder in which symptoms resembling aspects of aging are manifested at a very early age. Progeria is one of the several progeroid syndromes. Those born with progeria typically live to their mid-teens the too early twenties.  It is a genetic condition that occurs as a new mutation and is rarely inherited, as carriers usually do not live to reproduce. Although the term progeria applies strictly speaking to all diseases characterized by premature aging symptoms and is often used as such, it is often applied specifically in reference to Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS).

Progeria was first described in 1886 by Jonathan Hutchinson. It was also described independently in 1897 by Hastings Gilford. The condition was later named Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome. The word progeria comes from the Greek words “pro” (πρό), meaning “before” or “premature”, and “gēras” (γῆρας), meaning “old age”. Scientists are interested in progeria partly because it might reveal clues about the normal process of aging.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progeria

Sam Berns 17 years old on his TED talks establishes the basic things he does in his life to live it happy. We can accomplish all our dreams come true nothing can stop us. “Around the world only 350 kids suffer from progeria, just to give you an idea of how rare this disease is.”

What happens in your brain when you pay attention?

Attention isn’t just about what we focus on — it’s also about what our brains filter out. By investigating patterns in the brain as people try to focus, computational neuroscientist Mehdi Ordikhani-Seyedlar hopes to build computer models that can be used to treat ADHD and help those who have lost the ability to communicate.

“A new study by MIT neuroscientists reveals how the brain achieves this type of focused attention on faces or other objects: A part of the prefrontal cortex known as the inferior frontal junction (IFJ) controls visual processing areas that are tuned to recognize a specific category of objects, the researchers report in the April 10 online edition of Science.

Scientists know much less about this type of attention, known as object-based attention, than spatial attention, which involves focusing on what’s happening in a particular location. However, the new findings suggest that these two types of attention have similar mechanisms involving related brain regions, says Robert Desimone, the Doris and Don Berkey Professor of Neuroscience, director of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and senior author of the paper.

“The interactions are surprisingly similar to those seen in spatial attention,” Desimone says. “It seems like it’s a parallel process involving different areas.”

In both cases, the prefrontal cortex — the control center for most cognitive functions — appears to take charge of the brain’s attention and control relevant parts of the visual cortex, which receives sensory input. For spatial attention, that involves regions of the visual cortex that map to a particular area within the visual field.

In the new study, the researchers found that IFJ coordinates with a brain region that processes faces, known as the fusiform face area (FFA), and a region that interprets information about places, known as the parahippocampal place area (PPA). The FFA and PPA were first identified in the human cortex by Nancy Kanwisher, the Walter A. Rosenblith Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at MIT. ” https://news.mit.edu/2014/how-brain-pays-attention

Trends modern urban design: Peter Calthorpe

1 of every 2 humans live in cities and this will soon be 2 of every 3. The city defines the quality of life of its inhabitants more than any other factor at a mass scale, and on the individual. The impact of a city is huge. From climate change to economic vitality to our very well-being and sense of connectedness. How a city is designed matters. Peter Calthorpe is already at work planning the cities of the future and advocating for community design that’s focused on human interaction. He shares seven universal principles for solving sprawl and building smarter, more sustainable cities.

The power of sound: Are those Binaural Beats just BS? Oh no! You have NO idea…

How powerful is Music? Our research says: VERY! Humanity has loved music as early as it could keep a beat. It’s the language of emotion. It holds a deep and rooted place in our civilization and sound has an even deeper relationship with our biology, instinct and subconscious. As our knowledge and technologies evolve, so has sound and music.

We can induce energy, fatigue, sadness or happiness and many other human states of being from music. At a social level it’s also fascinating. The sophistication of music as a form of information has many interesting implications; as a religious tool, a form of cultural identity, a symbol of status, an art, a business, a form of marketing, a form of protest, propaganda, generational fandom icons, a form of manipulating our minds in order to generate various “mental states” and even as a weapon!. Some of these musical pioneers go as far as to claim that binaural beats can produce experiences similar to being in high on drugs   others I actually use produce states of concentration, that if mixed with instrumental music, have an awesome effect on my own productivity, focus and concentration. Can it really help you focus? Is it a productivity tool? The answer is yes, the right music and sounds help in the right circumstances. But more importantly we are only now realizing the true power of manipulating sound, we are only scratching the surface!

Let’s Focus on Concentration First

According to Julian Treasure, a “Sound Consultant” we cached on Ted, there are 4 ways sound affects us, most of them at a very unconscious level:

  • Physiologically: We are wired to react to sound, abrupt ones make us jump and our hearts race; slow soothing sounds make us relax, some are just annoying.
  • Psychologically: Sounds produce more complex emotional states, like alertness, sadness, happiness.
  • Cognitively: Sound is a way of transmitting information and also our brain processes sound to understand information. So, environments where there are many conflicting and chaotic sounds, ( like an open plan office), lead to productivity decrements of 60%, while blocking of the sound with headphones that have soothing and motivating melody push productivity back up to the upper 90%.
  • Behaviorally: Dance music motivates, uncomfortable sounds push you to move away. For retailers, bad “Soundscapes” can lead to a 28% decrease in sales.

Julian proposes a method of analyzing behavior and music with the following diagram:

  He also proposes 4 golden rules when it comes to “Soundscape Design”:

Studies have demonstrated that teenagers are hearing music to get homework done and while cramming for tests, which seems interesting since it can be as distracting and counterproductive as it could be a super concentration tool. The difference is what kind of music you choose: If it’s blocking other external sounds and is simple and has no lyrics, then odds are its going to help. The frequency and type of music heard is key to understand how it affects our tasks. Complex music is supposed to be bad for styding. Source:  https://www.ijiet.org/papers/206-K20024.pdf

But to really understand how music affects focus, let’s talkd about those 2 thought-interrupting words: “Pay Attention”

Kahneman´s model of attention says that the amount of attention deployed is a limited resource, like bandwidth or a water pipe, there is only so much audio information that can go into your brain at any one time. In addition, it also states that the amount of attention required for multiple tasks depends directly on the amount of attention required by each single task. Difficult tasks demand more attention than easier ones. Deep focus can is the difference between being able to process something or failing to do so.

Kahneman’s model of divided attention proposes a model of attention which is based around the idea of mental efforts. This is a description of how demanding the processing of a particular input might be.

Some tasks might be relatively automatic (in that they make few demands in terms of mental effort) despite the fact they have a high information load.

Some activities are more demanding (and therefore require more mental effort than others). The total available processing capacities may be increased or decreased by other factors such as arousal.

Several activities can be carried out at the same time, provided that their total effort does not exceed the available capacity

Rules or strategies exist which determine the allocation of resources to various activities and to various stages of processing. Attention capacity will, therefore, reflect the demands made at the perceptual level, the level at which the input is interpreted or committed to memory and the response selection stage.” – Source: https://www.furthereducationlessontrader.co.uk/kahneman%20model%20of%20attention.htm

History says that study of “attention” started in the 1950´s and the theory that has gained more acceptance by researchers is Kahneman´s theory of attention. The model used to explain the effects of background television on cognitive tasks. According to the model, there are two ways that a participant working on a task can interfere. The first one is the capacity of interference; this occurs when the amount of attention is not enough to achieve the demand of the cognitive activities done. The second interference is structural interference, this happens when there are two cognitive activities on the way and both require the same amount of attention to be processed and the participant does not have enough concentration for both of them. The structural interference happens when the capacity exceeds. Link: josotl.indiana.edu/article/download/1733/1731

In Kahneman´s model of attention, music is also a distracting element on activities as reading. A study conducted by this model of attention tried to establish how two types of music; hip-hop and classical music affect a reading task, in simple words, which can be most interfering.

A study on “Reading Comprehension” tested three conditions of sound and concentration: No sound, low information load music and high information load music. The information in music was categorized according to loudness, variety, complexity, and tonal range of music. Results revealed that participants that read under the influence of low information load music had a better performance than the one who read in silence and also did better than the ones who studied under the effect of high information load music. It seems high information load music can produce anxiety and stress that impacts the completion of the task. Low information music can help and improve focus and there for increase the odds of individuals to complete tasks. In teaching and learning processes, music can come in handy to improve the rate of learning and the time it takes to complete it. Classical music is used as background music in educational videos because it is considered low information load music.

Brain Frequency and Sound Frequency

Music is sound, we divide sound based on frequency and we also divide brain activity in to ranges of frequency. Now we know that music affects us, that a specific piece of music with low information load will help us concentrate better, especially if it’s providing a protective “Sound Curtain” that replaces the bad sounds from the environment with soothing simple ones, and that this kind of background study music or noise is better than silence. But did you know that the “frequency of sound” has a special relation with the frequency of the brain? The effort and study of manipulating brain waves with sound waves is what many call binaural beats.

“At the root of all our thoughts, emotions and behaviors is the communication between neurons within our brains. Brainwaves are produced by synchronized electrical pulses from masses of neurons communicating with each other.

Brainwaves are detected using sensors placed on the scalp. They are divided into bandwidths to describe their functions, but are best thought of as a continuous spectrum of consciousness; from slow, loud and functional – to fast, subtle, and complex.

It is a handy analogy to think of Brainwaves as musical notes – the low frequency waves are like a deeply penetrating drum beat, while the higher frequency brainwaves are more like a subtle high pitched flute. Like a symphony, the higher and lower frequencies link and cohere with each other through harmonics. ”

  • “Delta waves (.5 to 3 Hz) are the slowest brain waves and occur primarily during our deepest state of dreamless sleep. Theta waves (3 to 8 Hz) occur during sleep but have also been observed in the deepest states of Zen meditation.
  • Alpha waves (8 to 12 Hz) are present when your brain is in an idling default-state typically created when you’re daydreaming or consciously practicing mindfulness or meditation. Alpha waves can also be created by doing aerobic exercise.
  • Beta waves (12-30 Hz) typically dominate our normal waking states of consciousness and occur when attention is directed towards cognitive and other tasks. Beta is a ‘fast’ wave activity that is present when we are alert, attentive, focused, and engaged in problem solving or decision making. Depression and anxiety have also been linked to beta waves because they can lead to “rut-like” thinking patterns.
  • Gamma waves (25 to 100 Hz) typically hover around 40 Hz and are the fastest of the brain wave bandwidths. Gamma waves relate to simultaneous processing of information from different brain areas and have been associated with higher states of conscious perception.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201504/alpha-brain-waves-boost-creativity-and-reduce-depression

“When you concentrate with profound focus on something, the electrical patterns in your brain slow down and relax, and the amplitude of your brain-waves generally stabilizes in the alpha wave range. The concept called “brainwave entrainment” can help you get to that state of mental focus (Super Study Mode).

Brainwave entrainment is any method that causes your brainwave frequencies to fall into step with a specific frequency. It’s based on the concept that the human brain has a tendency to change its dominant EEG frequency towards the frequency of a dominant external stimulus (such as music, or sound).”

What the future brings: The cherry on the top, very cool, but very scary new sound technology.

We will leave you with this amazing advanced on technology that helps put sound anywhere you want, and mute it at hairline borders on the space around it. This new Hypersonic Sound is to Sound, like what the laser is in regards to light.

Woody Norris shows off two of his inventions that use sound in new ways, including the Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD. He talks about his untraditional approach to inventing and education, because, as he puts it: “Almost nothing has been invented yet.”

Sitawa Wafula talks of Living with Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a chronic disorder that composes of recurrent unprovoked seizures. It is common that many people have different types of seizures and many other neurological symptoms. The brain is considered the cause of this disorder since it is where it all starts and it may affect any part of the body. The effects on the body are diverse and have profound impacts all derived from the electrical events occurring in the brain. An epilepsy diagnosis is confirmed when one or more seizures with no other explanation happened. A seizure is related to brain injury but for real the exact cause is completely unknown in most cases Source: https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/epilepsy-101/what-epilepsy

Once homebound by epilepsy, mental health advocate Sitawa Wafula found her strength in writing about it. Now, she advocates for others who are yet to find their voices, cutting through stigma and exclusion to talk about what it’s like to live with the condition. On this opportunity, Sitawa Wafula narrates her experience living with epilepsy and the difficulties she has to pass, including her studies she loves so much.

 

 

“I believe in an Africa Where people with Mental health disorders have access to information and get appropriate support”