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A charity put her face on a poster and told all of London her secret. How would you have handled it?

I know Ruby Wax takes it seriously, otherwise she wouldn't have devoted her life to it. But I think her ability to joke about mental illness helps fight the stigma.

A charity put her face on a poster and told all of London her secret. How would you have handled it?

"I said, 'Yeah,' and I thought it was going to be a tiny fingernail clipping of a picture, but they were huge posters all over the U.K. — gigantic."

What is neuroplasticity?

Neuroplasticity in adults is burgeoning area of brain research that studies how adult brains learn and adapt to their environments — especially when it's injured somehow. It's trying to determine whether the brain is more like a bone (something that stops growing at adulthood and never grows again) or more like a muscle (something that get bigger, smaller, stronger, or weaker based on use).

So far, much of the research is showing that the brain is like a muscle you can train.

So if you work hard to learn the roads and landmarks of London, the part of your brain responsible for memory and navigation may get physically larger. But what about other parts of your brain?


But the power of changeable brain is not an infinite brain.

While some brain function can be restored after certain types of brain damage, neuroplasticity researchers are not sure the brain can recover from anything. Some types of brain damage are simply permanent even with time and treatment.

How can this help people like Ruby Wax who live with mental illness?

Researchers are finding that people with mental health issues like depression, addiction, and schizophrenia, are experiencing the flip side of neuroplasticity: Parts of their brains are shrinking or otherwise becoming less effective. In conjunction with standard treatments like therapy or medication, certain brain-stimulating activities seem to slow or reverse this "negative neuroplasticity."

So should I start exercising my brain?

The research doesn't indicate that it's as easy as looking at more things to get a bigger thalamus the way you would do more sit-ups to develop your abs. But if you want to have a stronger brain, several activities seem to make the brain faster, stronger, and more resilient.

But what about brain games?

The only peer-reviewed studies on the effect of brain games seem to be those commissioned and paid for by Lumosity, the leading brain game company. But that doesn't mean the research is bad; they've been working with some of America's most prestigious universities and hospitals.

Though the jury is still out on the myriad apps that purport to make you smarter, the research is promising. Even if regular cognitive "exercise" doesn't change the physiology of your brain, it certainly seems to have an effect on how well you think.

Albert Einstein

One of the strangest things about being human is that people of lesser intelligence tend to overestimate how smart they are and people who are highly intelligent tend to underestimate how smart they are.

This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect and it’s proven every time you log onto Facebook and see someone from high school who thinks they know more about vaccines than a doctor.

The interesting thing is that even though people are poor judges of their own smarts, we’ve evolved to be pretty good at judging the intelligence of others.

“Such findings imply that, in order to be adaptive, first impressions of personality or social characteristics should be accurate,” a study published in the journal Intelligence says. “There is accumulating evidence that this is indeed the case—at least to some extent—for traits such as intelligence extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, and narcissism, and even for characteristics such as sexual orientation, political ideology, or antigay prejudice.”

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'Merry Christmas' on YouTube.

The world must have been—mostly—good this year. Because Elton John and Ed Sheeran have teamed up to gift us all with a brand new Christmas single.

The song, aptly named “Merry Christmas,” is a perfect blend of silly and sweet that’s cheery, bright and just a touch bizarre.

Created with the holiday spirit in every way, it has whimsical snowball fights, snow angels (basically all the snow things), festive sweaters, iconic throwbacks and twinkling lights galore. Plus all profits from the tune are dedicated to two charities: the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

I personally don’t know which is more of a highlight: Ed Sheeran channeling his inner-Mariah, performing a faux sexy dance in a leg revealing Santa outfit, or him flying through the air with a giant Frosty the Snowman … who seems to be sporting glasses similar to Elton’s. Are we meant to believe that Elton is the Snowman? This music video even has mystery.
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