Monday, March 22, 2010

Magical Thinking

Dr. Dido Green at Tel Aviv University has developed an innovative therapy for children with locomotor problems. She teaches them simple magic tricks. They are motivated because the exercises are fun, and they can impress their friends. This leads to more practice, and a marked improvement in skills.

What's next? She plans to study a group of children to see if magic has an impact on their neurological skills. All with a little instruction, rubber bands, and sponge balls. Impressive.

This is an example of how out-of-the-box thinking can lead to significant breakthroughs. Other recent discoveries have challenged traditional thinking about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and bullying.

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have developed a "life shirt" that interprets the wearer's movements. This device can determine whether the subject has bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Information from this study will also be used to develop new treatments.

Psychologists at George Mason University have discovered that many adults who were bullies in childhood actually have a form of social anxiety disorder. They suggest working with bullies to increase self control and reduce impulsive behaviors rather than focusing on aggression alone.

The takeaway from all this? When looking at a problem, take a break and try to see the situation through fresh eyes. Look from a new angle and a unique solution may present itself.