May 07, 2009

A White Light Experience

Could lasers be more effective at developing concentration than meditation? The current issues of Nature and Neuron report advances in strengthening attention by inducing gamma waves in the brain with pulses of laser light.

For his article on this topic for the New York Times this week, “Ear Plugs to Lasers: The Science of Concentration,” John Tierney spoke to Dr. Desimone, one of the authors of the report in Neuron and the director of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at M.I.T, who suggested that we are close to developing a tiny wirelessly controlled device that would direct low-wavelength light through the skull to help people with schizophrenia and attention-deficit problems.

In researching current work on concentration, John Tierney also spoke to Winifred Gallagher, the author of Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life (reviewed in the new issue of Tricycle), who told him:

People don’t understand that attention is a finite resource, like money. Do you want to invest your cognitive cash on endless Twittering or Net surfing or couch potatoing? You’re constantly making choices, and your choices determine your experience.

That reminds me, I should get back to mapping out the Fall 09 issue…

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