Brain Blogging, First Edition

Brain_Blogging_Carnival2.jpgWelcome to the first edition of Brain Blogging (brought to you by the GNIF Brain Blogger)! This new blog carnival aims to review posts “related to the brain and mind that go beyond the basic sciences into a more human and multidimensional perspective.”

Being a part of Blog Carnival network, we were thrilled to receive many pertinent and interesting entries.

In this edition, we have divided the posts into Mastering Cognition and Knowing One’s Self, and Social Support. Enjoy your readings!

Mastering Cognition – the new craze

Caroline Latham of SharpBrains: Your Window into the Brain Fitness Revolution presents three blog posts. First, in Is brain fitness scientifically proven to improve cognitive skills?, Latham discusses the talk about brain fitness with scientific studies published in JAMA and consults non-scholarly discussions. By uncovering the myths in brain development and plasticity, the author claims that one can train “mental muscles” for cognitive improvement (and perhaps prevention of neurological disorders). Second, in New Research on How to Maintain a Sharp Brain, Latham summarizes brain fitness programs and assets three musts for any brain workout routine: “novelty, variety, and stretching practice (increasing challenge each time).” Lastly, she contributes Are cognitive abilities the same thing as intelligence? claiming that cognitive abilities are skills that anyone can improve with a little work, as opposed one’s IQ.

Just in time for the New Year, Hal Sommerschield of the North Star Mental Fitness Blog tries to answer Why Resolutions and Will Power Fail. By simplifying failure to our unconscious rejection of new ideas (programs), he proposes reprogramming one’s unconscious mind to get the task done.

For those who have existing cognitive dysfunction, cranial electromagnetic stimulation (CES) may prove to be a useful non-invasive therapy. Our own Eileen Jones composed a complete account of the CES procedure, patient experience, effectiveness, adverse effects, and its future.

John Hill from the Universe Of Success contributes You Are What You Think About. Hill says, “When you get caught in the rut of thinking negatively or spending a lot of time thinking about your problems, you are effectively creating more of the same.” He is perhaps the most avid preacher of positive psychology when he says, “If you are a generally happy and positive person, your own personal vibration level will be relatively high and you will naturally emit positive thoughts or vibrations out into the universe and they will return to you more positive and happy experiences.”

Knowing One’s Self – (posts with excerpts)

Travis Wright presents Choose To Be Around People Who Make You Think posted at Cultivate Greatness, saying, “Turn off your TV!”

Choose to be around smart people… people who you learn something from when you are around.
Stepping into the TV realm is like checking your consciousness at the door and being 100% reliant on the cable providers to give you something nice to look at.
Most people have such shallow conversations, that it is literally mind-numbing.

Alexander Becker presents Perception without Judegment posted at WOW, saying, “Judgement evokes judgement and builds a reality on top of reality.”

Judging attempts to create reality instead of accurately and passively registering it.
Since all perception is subjective, any expressive image is an uninvited disturbance of an ideal, pure reality as perceived by an arbitrary, third person observer.

Vahid Chaychi presents Yoga Is the Brightest Way to Light posted at

Yoga is a way to light and happiness.
Yoga facilities the brain chemical reactions.
You don’t have to have a teacher to feel the pleasure that Yoga will bring for you.

Brandon Peele presents The Economics of Self-Awareness posted at GT.

What this cross-training produces is an understanding of the deep-seeded emotional drivers which determine our actions (psychological), of deeper-realities than those typically present at work, on TV, etc. (contemplative), the creative impulse within and the gift of life (cognitive) and the relationship between mind, body and soul (kinesthetic).

Craig Harper presents Multi-dimensional Health…. (I’m not a body; it’s just where I live) posted at Renovate your life with Craig, saying, “It’s my belief that the common perception of health is a very limited, ignorant, one-dimensional and misleading perspective. In fact, I believe that many people who would typically be regarded as healthy (from a clinical perspective) are, ironically, quite often the opposite.”

Does our broadly-accepted criteria for evaluating health really provide us with an accurate overall representation of an individual’s health, given that we’re not just a bunch of ligaments, tendons, bones, blood vessels, nerves, organs and muscles?

Laura Young presents The Path is Made by Walking: Insight is Optional posted at Dragon Slayer, saying, “Or ability to predict the future as well as our memories of the past are both flawed. So why the dogged pursuit of insight and understanding?”

No matter how earnestly we search into our psyches, we are subject to our own revisionist histories. From a neuropsychological perspective, our brains are designed to make our stories complete, whether the story is accurate or not.
Understanding helps us assign proper blame.
In the end, it boils down to this: Your life has always been, and will always be, a paradox.

Social Support

We received an entry by Isabella Mori of Change Therapy. Mori was emailed a letter from Marja Bergen, a friend who lives with bipolar disorder, on Mental Health and Churches. The letter confronts the correlation between the devil and mental illness. Moreover, it assets that the many uninformed church “support staff” and clergy are inhibiting mental health coping efforts. However, the underlying spirit of her letter suggests that spirituality, religion, and church support should serve as therapeutic components for individuals with mental illness and that they all can co-exist. In fact, the unity may serve as a significant coping measure for sufferers.

Last but not least, Patti Wilson-Herndon wrote a special piece for the GNIF Brain Blogger outlining her family’s journey with her son living with major depressive and bipolar disorder. She writes,

I can manage the misunderstood response to my son’s illness by some family members and friends in a logical frame; easier now for me than it was several years ago. That helps me cope and live in better peace. Still sometimes, but to a lesser degree, that disconnect has been especially painful. Peoples’ ambivalence, and then to the opposite intensity, their rush to character judgment is, quite literally, emotional “assault�? rubbed into an already serious wound. I’m convinced the response offered by some friends and family members would be much different if the chronic illness my son suffers were to be say, cancer or multiple sclerosis.

The last two articles hint towards stigmatization of the mentally ill. In 1999, the U.S. Surgeon General identified stigma as the single largest barrier to future progress in reducing the disease burden of mental illnesses. Moreover, if the stigmatization of mentally ill individuals is not countered and eliminated, progress towards improving the overall mental health of our society will always be hindered (Mental Health Stigmatization: A Report of the GNIF). Further research into combating stigmatization and discrimination against individuals with psychiatric disorders is necessary for effective eradication.

That concludes this round of Brain Blogging. As a monthly blog carnival, our next (second) edition will air February 4, 2007. Please remember to submit your blog entries by the end of the preceding month (January) by using the online submission form. We will do our best to review and include your entry! Thank you.

Shaheen E Lakhan, MD, PhD, MEd, MS, FAAN

Shaheen E Lakhan, MD, PhD, MEd, MS, FAAN, is a board-certified neurologist and pain specialist, medical educator, and scientist. He is the executive director of the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation (GNIF). He is a published scholar in biomarkers, biotechnology, education technology, and neurology. He serves on the editorial board of several scholarly publications and has been honored by the U.S. President and Congress.
See All Posts By The Author