Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The role of relationships during chronic illness





The trust and comfort of family and friends can provide a lifeline and a healing presence during illness. The widespread existence of single households in the modern world leads to the loss of connectedness. Persistent loneliness can cause cardiovascular, hormonal, and immune problems; it can be as threatening as cigarettes, excess alcohol, or obesity. The adverse health consequences are especially dangerous during this time. 

Twenty-five years ago, I was pregnant with my third child. I came down with an intestinal infection, which caused severe diarrhea. A potent antibiotic, which would have treated the problem was out of the question. Every day for eight months of pregnancy and ten months of nursing, I would invariably be miserable and exhausted by 10 am. Constant diarrhea and the resulting hemorrhoids depleted my physical and mental energies. I was depressed. In my helplessness and isolation, I scarcely remembered my past and was not able to comprehend or even be interested in the future. Life became a blur of tentative actions to last until the next emergency that I came to expect. 

When my son was ten months old, antibiotic treatment restored my health, almost overnight. The difficulties of that year were manageable because of my closeness to my family. Intimate relationships are essential for life and become even more meaningful at the intersection of life and death. Our vulnerability nurtures our closeness with those dearest to us. Secure social connections with loved ones provide an emotional strength that ties the patient to the living. 

Like threads in a fabric, all living things and people form an essential interdependence. The richness of existence depends on all of the components of every color yarn. As missing threads create a hole, living things leave a hole behind. According to a foremost cancer physician, David Smithers, the quality of the social milieu has a crucial role in healing. Your survival might depend on your ability to rally friends, family, and coworkers’ support. Advocating on your behalf, they create a climate of moral support. The appeal to take care of one another is vivid in Romans 12:15 (ESV), “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.” 

Socrates reminds us that “an unexamined life is not worth living.” Sometimes a disease that brings death into a close-up view is the best inspiration to discover a more personal relationship to life. Humanity has an innate hunger for meaning in every occurrence of life. Since ancient times, we used the arts and religion to wash off the dust of every day and transcend onto a higher intellectual plane. Recognizing the regularity in the cycles of the natural environment, formed our earliest belief systems, and encouraged the beginning of worship. Religion and spirituality immerse the soul within the mysteries of the universe and society. 


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Monday, December 30, 2019

Meaning is an essential part of a healthy life






Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? The long title of Paul Gauguin’s famous painting raises profound, existential questions. Daily struggles have prevented the deliberation of these questions for most of human history. The remarkable recent advances in science and technology dramatically reduced the number of people living near basic subsistence. For the first time in history, the search for life's meaning through philosophical, scientific, theological, and metaphysical speculation has opened up for many. 

The radical transformation of our living conditions has left our mindset unchanged. Inferiority, fear, insecurity create conflict at home and at the office. Without goals and fulfillment, jobs provide no satisfaction. Busyness and overscheduled daily routines make us addicted to constant information flow and the adrenaline rush of being busy. The continual switch of focus serves only transient gratification; it leaves behind vulnerability and spiritual hunger. A global mental-health epidemic of depression and anxiety, the prevalence of mental diseases and high suicide rates testifies about the human craving for meaning. 

Like a little boat that balances against every surface wave of the river, changes produce feelings entirely independent of conscious influence. Like the gyroscope, we constantly strive for psychological balance (Figure 5). In turn, well-being shows a positive association with meaning and purpose. 

Coherent stimuli predictably enhance the meaning experience. Likewise, a positive contribution to others and the world, and goal-directed behavior leads to meaning and purpose. Whether you embrace a higher power or trust the inherent interdependence of the cosmos, establishing a passion for your life creates an outline for a higher purpose. Whether growing up poor, rich, educated or ignorant, meaningful transformation requires you to step out of your comfort. If you are comfortable, try to feel the pain of others and if you feel pain, step out of your pain and allow the world to embrace you. A larger purpose beyond our welfare, financial, existential struggles is beneficial for long-term well-being. 



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Healthy living and exercise




You are humble, like the dirt under your feet, but your mind carries the reflection of the universe. You are a beautiful, wholesome human being, who deserves to be cherished, respected, and loved. It is your first job to live according to that truth by serving your psychological and bodily health. When you appreciate yourself, then the world takes notice and will respect you in turn. Success is about the future. Not giving the best care to your body and your mind cancels the results of your work. 

Exercise and healthy eating habits are not only for your body but also vital for the mind. A healthy regime that serves your needs and aligns with your goals creates a stable framework that underlies good motivation. The discipline of adhering to a particular eating habit introduces a regular order, which increases your confidence and self-respect. After all, your destiny is formed by the way you live every day. Even small positive steps can have a profound influence on how you feel. Systematic life changes can rejuvenate your spiritual world. 

Studies have consistently shown that exercise has a powerful positive influence on memory and executive function. Weight-bearing movements increase muscle mass and boost the biochemical foundation of the nervous system. Neurological health depends as much on signals sent by the muscles to the brain as it does on directives going to the muscles. Exercise triggers the creation of new neurons, releases feel-good hormones, improves physical and intellectual performance, and life functionality; it is the only proven fountain of youth to date. To stop or reverse the physical and executive decline during aging is a gift that extends the energy and agility of youth. Just do it. 



Active people are naturally happy. 




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Sunday, November 17, 2019

Specific neurons map location in the human brain

Illustration of parts of the brain - EPS VECTOR format also available in my portfolio.



Individual neurons appear to function as 'memory-trace cells' that track spatial memory. Virtual-reality tasks tested the patients' memory for object location. Spatial cognition is represented by "place cells" and "grid cells" in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex (EC), located in the side of the brain (so-called temporal lobe). The EC is also one of the first regions of the brain affected by the onset of Alzheimer 's disease. The new study has shown that individual neurons are connected to specific memories during recall, functioning as a GPS.

In the study, implanted electrodes were hooked to individual neurons in neurosurgical patients. The patients were asked to remember locations in a virtual-reality (VR) environment. Specific "memory-trace cells" tuned their activity to a particular place. Acting like a GPS, the neurons recorded the position in space and its memory. The activity of these neurons unmistakably identified the memory. 

The interconnection of space and memory in the brain tracks our experiences, which enables us to make fast decisions. Diseases, like Alzheimer's, may cause memory deficits by disrupting the activity of location cells. Enhancing flexibility to change might improve your resilience to the disease.


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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The importance of sleep for your body and your mind



Sleep is so critical for our bodies and minds that sleep deprivation can cause death without any morphological changes to the brain. It strengthens the immune system and helps regulate metabolism. It can clear out toxins that build up in the brain and prevent neurodegenerative diseases. All phases of sleep, from the lightest slumber to the deepest unconsciousness, are essential processes that allow our minds and bodies to recover from the messiness of our day. In the process, sleep improves learning and memory. 

Sleep deprivation makes us less intelligent, more forgetful. It makes our immune system function less efficiently, increasing the likelihood of disease. Abnormal sleep seems to play a role in many diseases like heart conditions, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Lack of sleep appears to damage gene function, the production of some hormones, and leads to premature aging and even early death.



Read more: 

You Need to Prioritize Sleep









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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Social change must go hand in hand with technological transformation

Money dollars PNG image



Since the formation of the first city-states in ancient Mesopotamia, social structures went through an impressive evolution in search of a progressive and democratic social structure. Because technological progress has been closely intertwined with social changes in the past, the breathtaking speed of technological transformation is indicative of an incoming social upheaval. Increasing social tension in many parts of the world indicates that only serious reforms can address the current economic and social problems.

The internet represents the roughness and lawlessness of the wild west. Patients records are not safe in Hospitals, interference from foreign governments taints democratic elections, and company security is uncertain, in spite of enormous investments. The stability of financial systems depends on government intervention.

We are at a threshold of a dramatic technological leap that requires unprecedented changes in the social structure. Automatization is about to replace tedious jobs with positions that require creativity and intelligent decision-making. The incoming block technologies will increase the safety and security of social institutions and financial systems. The combination of cheap energy and mechanization will make significant increases in GDP possible.

Hundred years ago, social security and access to health care gave dignity to the aging population. In the twenty-first century, we need to extend similar protection to everyone. A security net from catastrophic events, such as major diseases will reduce crime, it will reduce bureaucracy, and it will liberate the human intellect. To protect the social fabric, the introduction of the universal basic income is necessary, as well. I believe the above changes will liberate the phenomenal human intellect. Because we do not trust the security of our future, we devote immense mental power to cheat others and the system. Trust in our government institutions, companies, the internet, and each other is only possible by feeling underlying security in the future. When people work for the common good instead, we will achieve incredible progress.





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Saturday, November 2, 2019

Mental Energy and the social brain





According to the philosopher Thomas Nagel, our greatest intellectual challenge is to explain the physical basis of mental processes. The physics of the mind is becoming a popular subject of scientific investigation. In emotional animals, a brain-based self-regulating system produces motivation. By integrating the animal's past, and present, the mind projects sensory experience to anticipate the future.

The brain's self-regulation is based on its ground state, the so-called resting-state networks. These dense connectivity hubs integrate information. The reliance on the continually changing mental and brain state on the constancy of the resting-state indicates its crucial importance for life. Stimulus evokes a repeating period, but the brain recovers its resting-state automatically. The evoked cycle is the energy cycle of the brain, which permits thermodynamic considerations. Thermodynamics examines the relationship between all forms of energy.

Every evoked cycle changes the complexity of the brain's neural network and mental energy. Mental energy or intrinsic motivation is a long-term ability based on mental fluidity that allows trust, belief, and confidence. It enables a consistent exertion of mental effort toward achievement. It increases future freedom, predicts enhanced performance, learning, and creativity, and it plays a vital role in personality development and wellness across life.  

Positive emotions evoke a cycle that increases mental energy and mental freedom. They increase confidence, trust, immune function, and other parameters of health. Confidence and ambition are drivers of progress because ambitious people choose more challenging jobs, they solve more challenging problems and pick the hard, more thorough path toward success.

When we form negative emotions, the cycle runs in the reverse direction. Therefore, it accumulates information, which reduces mental energy. Information-rich states reconstruct the past and cause regret, rumination, and remorse, which cause anxiety, insecurity, and depression. The lack of mental energy might play a role in psychiatric diseases and might be a detectable first signal before functional and anatomical changes. Publications by respected laboratories show that the loss of mental energy might be the harbinger of AD, schizophrenia, other mental diseases, and immune problems. 

Keep yourself happy, and your mind will reward you with achievement and health. 


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