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Music is a Protective Factor

The University of Southern California Brain and Creativity Institute recently published their research tracking the impact of music education on the developing brain, specifically children who live in poverty, an indicator of Adverse Childhood Experiences. The preliminary results show positive outcomes for students exposed to music education. The study revealed the growth of white matter, improved decision making and impulse control for children participating in music education when compared against the control group. 

The intersection of violence and poverty has been validated by scientific research, using music as a protective factor the USC Brain and Creativity Institute is preventing violence.  This study is shaping the future of Brain Health, and these discoveries will build a more compassionate society.


Brain Health the Paradigm Shift We Need

We use the term “brain health” because mental health is intangible; it comes with the fear, trepidation, shame, and stigma of the unknown. The invisible world of ‘mental’ illness often comes with a label (“You are… depressed, bipolar, ADHD, etc.”) and, more often than not, creates a barrier to people getting help for themselves or for their loved ones as a result of the associated shame, stigma, fear, and discrimination. We need to recognize that the brain is just another organ and is the source of all our memories, feelings, and behaviors. Therefore, if our behaviors are abnormal, it is the result of abnormal chemistry and/or structure. There are real, physical manifestations within the brain that can be imaged, measured, quantified, and understood – we can work with that. We can identify risk factors that lead to violent and aggressive behaviors as well as protective factors that move us away from violence and towards compassion, kindness, connection, and resilience. We are bridging the biochemical and behavioral sciences to make the invisible visible. 

One of our objectives at The Avielle Foundation is to replace the use of mental health with brain health in our daily dialogue and medical care.  Join us in ending the stigma and add brain health to your vocabulary.

This article by  John V. Campo, MD in Statnews.com lays out the importance of treating brain health in the same way we treat physical health.  John V. Campo, MD, is professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio.

Cardiff University’s Brain Research Imaging Centre Making the Invisible Visible

Our brain is the most complex and mystifying organ in the natural world. It is home to our memories, feelings, and behaviors. It manages all of our biological needs and senses. It is the filter through which we interpret and interact with the world. It is a dynamic organ, either growing or atrophying; it never finds a static state to be content. This profound capacity for change, for neuroplasticity, is the essence of our humanity. Indeed it is this capacity to imagine, experiment, and learn that makes such a unique species.

Photo Credit: Cardiff University’s Brain Research Imaging Centre.

This video released by the BBC made with MRI scans from Cardiff University’s Brain Research Imaging Centre shows the intricate and complex beauty of our brain, the different layers of color illustrate the pathways of communication and density of the brain.

Take some time to watch this short clip, share it, especially with your children. Make the invisible visible to inspire the next generation of change makers.

Watch the video here  Whats the brain’s wiring looks like: Fergus Walsh





National Geographic: What Science Tells Us About Good and Evil

Earlier this summer Lynn Johnson, a photo journalist with National Geographic, visited The Avielle Foundation. Lynn was working with journalist Yudhijit Bhattacharjee on an article investigating the science of behavior, specifically what makes us violent and compassionate. They traveled the country interviewing and photographing experts studying violence and compassion as well as those who have shown extraordinary altruism through their actions.  Their plan was to release the article later this fall. The events in Charlottesville, VA expedited the publication of the article.

Photograph by Lynn Johnson
National Geographic AUGUST 16, 2017
What Science Tells Us About Good and Evil

This weekends tragedy is an amplified reminder that violence is an ignored public health epidemic. The article highlights the importance of our mission, to prevent violence and build compassion through neuroscience research, community engagement, and education.  

Read the National Geographic article here

How to Manage Back to School Anxiety

Back to school can be like landing a plane after an exciting trip. Summer allows for looser structure, individual exploration, late nights, new friends, and spontaneity. With all this excitement we want to give our children the longest runway to get back into the school year routine. Re-introducing the home routine in advance of the start of school may not be well received, but it will put our children in the best position to transition into the new school year.

Our second submission in our Back to School Brain Health series comes from Jerry Bubrick, Ph.D. Senior Director, Anxiety Disorders Center at the Child Mind Institute. We’ve have partnered with the Child Mind Institute on several projects, and the insights CMI offers on children’s Brain Health is best in class.

Take a little time to familiarize yourself with dynamics of a new school through Dr. Burbick’s article. You can imagine… if once a year you were given two and a half months off, knowing when you returned to work you had a new boss and co-workers you would be a little anxious. Even children with unique challenges are incredibly resilient and even more so when surrounded by protective factors. Take a little time to familiarize yourself with dynamics of a new school through Dr. Burbick’s article.

To get more information from the Child Mind Institute click here.