It was just a dream… by Michelle Carr

Lucid dreams are the experience of being conscious while dreaming. Most of us can only remember our dreams when we wake up. Many people achieve lucidity for a moment or two before waking up. But some people regularly have lucid dreams, in which the world around them seems tangible and real, and they are “awake”, and aware that they are dreaming.

Ursula Voss at the Goethe University Frankfurt has discovered a way to use electrical brain stimulation to induce lucid dreams. Kristoffer Appel at Osnasbrück University is now able to communicate with lucid dreamers inside their dreams. This might one day lead to new therapies for anxiety disorders.

One participant looked around his dream for something that might convey signals from outside. He was in a bus terminal, and spotted a ticket machine. Soon, it began to beep.

The article also contains instructions on how to achieve lucid dreams yourself.

New Scientist No. 3113, 18th February 2017, p. 32 – 35.

Advertisements

Worry… Worry… Worry… Worry… , by Linda Geddes.

One in six of us will suffer from an anxiety disorder at some time of our lives. Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health problem in the Western World. It is worse for young people, and the focus of our anxieties tends to change over the course of a lifetime.

This article asks if it is getting worse, what are the causes of anxiety, whether there is such a thing as an anxious personality, and what are the best strategies to combat anxiety (physical exercise is quite a good one).

“The amygdala is linked to parts of the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortex that process social information and help us make decisions. During bouts of everyday anxiety, this brain circuit switches off then on again – but Oliver Robinson at University College London and his colleagues have shown that in people with anxiety disorders it seems to get stuck in the on position.”

New Scientist No. 3094, 8th October 2016, p.32-35.