Friday, December 8, 2017

Bumper Stickers

  • I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.
  • The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
  • Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.
  • Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.
  • I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
  • Money Isn't Everything... But it Sure Keeps the Kids Calling
  • You have the right to remain silent—anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.
  • I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.
  • The bird’s not dead—but it is electroencephalographically challenged. 
  • Saw it... Wanted it... Threw a fit... Got it!... Now what?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Zoned Out – 3

In this recent study of cognitive lapses due to sleep deprivation, Dr. Yuval Nir, the study’s first author, reportedly said: “We were fascinated to observe how sleep deprivation dampened brain cell activity. Unlike the usual rapid reaction, the neurons responded slowly, fired more weakly and their transmissions dragged on longer than usual.” The cellular communication slowdown was one of the observed results, but overall brain wave activity slowed, as well. Professor Itzhak Fried, who led the study, said: “We discovered that starving the body of sleep also robs neurons of the ability to function properly. This paves the way for cognitive lapses in how we perceive and react to the world around us… Slow sleep-like waves disrupted the patients’ brain activity and performance of tasks. This phenomenon suggests that select regions of the patients’ brains were dozing, causing mental lapses, while the rest of the brain was awake and running as usual.” Bottom line conclusion? Inadequate sleep exerts a similar influence on our brain as drinking too much.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Zoned Out – 2

When the brain lacks sufficient sleep, processes in the brain interact in ways that slow what researchers call “slow behavioral performance” or cognitive lapses. Researchers studied program participants in a variety of situations including after a full night of sleep deprivation. The results showed that just before one of the so-called cognitive lapses (and fortunately none of the participants were driving a vehicle during the study!), “the selective spiking responses of individual neurons in the medial temporal lobe (MTL) are attenuated, delayed, and lengthened.” So no wonder that drivers don’t even realize at times that they are tired and yet can “zone out” enough to result in a vehicle accident. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Zoned Out

A article entitled “ Selective neuronal lapses precede human cognitive neuronal lapses in sleep deprivation” and published in the journal Nature Medicine, reported findings indicating that getting insufficient sleep influences the brain in much the same way as drinking too much. Most states have a “test” to identify when a driver has a blood alcohol level over the legal limit, but no test yet exists to identify drivers that are sleep deprived. Too bad, since sleep deprivation contributes to vehicle accidents and medical errors to say nothing of being linked to morbidity with widespread health effects. These effects include an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart attack and stroke, depression, diabetes, obesity, heart attack, and stroke. More tomorrow.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Intellectual Humility, 10

Speaking of Thanksgiving, several reported that “Thanksgiving was awful this year. Once again, my aunt and brother went at it with tongs and pitchforks. I think next year we’ll have dinner at our house and it will be ‘by personal invitation only!’” Aside from politics, religion, and gender-relationships, most of the disagreements even related to interpersonal relationships, likely boil down to things that really do not matter. They reflect one’s own belief that our view of the situation is right and theirs is wrong. Brain function research indicates that each brain ONLY HAS IS OWN OPINION. Sometimes that is a unilateral view; sometimes it is a view that has been adopted from someone else. Several years ago I began using the phrase, “In my brain’s opinion,” or “My brain’s opinion is …” They were meant to reflect that no brain can “know” everything much less “know” what it knows with infallible accuracy. And what a brain doesn’t even know it doesn’t know can be lethal. In the light of this new research I have a new respect for this phrase: the words are meant to reflect personal Intellectual Humility . . .

Friday, December 1, 2017

Intellectual Humility, 9

It’s interesting to observe the presence—or absence—of Intellectual Humility in politics, religion, business, gender relationships, and families (to name just a few). Exacerbated and compounded no doubt (my brain’s opinion), by the presence or absence of high levels of EQ or Emotional Intelligence. One only has to notice the ancient and continuing animosity between evolutionists and creationists; the endless racial intolerance—even though human brains are all are the same color; the ongoing ecclesiastical disputes about the position of females in religion and the “ordination of women;” to say nothing of the rigid certainty that “marriage” must be between a 46-XX and a 46-XY chromosomal pattern only—despite the fact that chromosomal patterns ranging from 45 to 49 have been identified. More tomorrow.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Intellectual Humility, 8

According to the researchers, Intellectual Humility has huge and far-reaching implications. It may be “The Perfect Personality Trait For Intelligent People!” The new research reveals that being aware you could be wrong is a fundamentally important personality trait; perhaps the most fundamentally important personality trait for a thoughtful person. People who are intellectually humble are better able to assess evidence, tend to stick to their principles once established, and show more integrity. 

According to Professor Leary, “Not being afraid of being wrong—that’s a value, and I think it is a value we could promote.”

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Intellectual Humility, 7

The study authors pointed out that if everyone was a bit more intellectually humble, people would likely all get along better and be less frustrated with each other. Intellectual humility is just as important in business and religion as it is in politics.

According to Professor Leary, “If you’re sitting around a table at a meeting and the boss is very low in intellectual humility, he or she isn’t going to listen to other people’s suggestions. Yet we know that good leadership requires broadness of perspective and taking as many perspectives into account as possible.”

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Intellectual Humility, 6

There were other conclusions coming from a series of four studies investigating intellectual humility. For example, they found that intellectually humble people were:

  • More likely to be non-judgmental,
  • Better able to evaluate evidence,
  • Less likely to ‘flip-flop’ on political issues.

Professor Leary said the personality trait of Intellectual Humility is valuable: “Not being afraid of being wrong—that’s a value, and I think it is a value we could promote.” More tomorrow.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Intellectual Humility, 5

Professor Mark Leary, lead author for the study on Intellectual Humility, reported several key findings. He has been quoted as saying: “There are stereotypes about conservatives and religiously conservative people being less intellectually humble about their beliefs. We didn’t find a shred of evidence to support that.” The research showed that in terms of politics, there was no difference between liberals and conservatives, either, in terms of Intellectual Humility. There are individuals “on both sides of the aisle” who come across as very intellectually arrogant, who think they really “know.” Researchers reported that in addition to extending their understanding of intellectual humility, this research demonstrates that the IH Scale is a valid measure of the degree to which people recognize that their beliefs are fallible. More tomorrow.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Intellectual Humility, 4

Back to “Intellectual Humility.” The new research investigating the concept of “Intellectual Humility,” utilized four studies.

Study #3 found that participants high in intellectual humility were less inclined to think that politicians who changed their attitudes were “flip-flopping.”

Study #4 showed that people high in intellectual humility were more attuned to the strength of persuasive arguments than those who were low.

More tomorrow.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

In the middle of my study and ponderings involving the concept of Intellectual Humility, I pause to give thanks. Not only because I love gathering around the table with my closest family-of-choice members (some of whom are also biological family members) and eating foods that remind me of scores of Thanksgiving days that have gone before; but also because I live in the “Age of the Brain.” My brain finds the emerging research exciting, stimulating, challenging at times, exceeding helpful, and fun! Because of how the information (turned into knowledge and practically applied) has improved and enhanced my life, it has become my mission to share this with others and challenge them to “get to know your brain!” Together, you and your brain are the only “entities” that will be with you for your entire life!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Intellectual Humility, 3

New research investigated the concept of “Intellectual Humility.” According to the study abstract:

Study #1 evaluated the degree to which individuals recognize that their beliefs might be inaccurate, in error, wrong, etc. Using a new Intellectual Humility (IH) Scale, researchers found that intellectual humility was associated with variables related to openness, curiosity, tolerance of ambiguity, and low dogmatism.

Study #2 revealed that participants high in intellectual humility were less certain that their beliefs about religion were correct and judged people less on the basis of their religious opinions. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Intellectual Humility, 2

Humility can be described as a recognition that although some have amazing talents and skills that makes differentiates them from others, it does not make them innately “better than” others. High Intellectual Humility is evidenced by a consistent and courteous respectful for the humanity of others. According to Professor Mark Leary, the study’s lead author: “If you think about what’s been wrong in Washington for a long time, it’s a whole lot of people who are very intellectually arrogant about the positions they have, on both sides of the aisle. But even in interpersonal relationships, the minor squabbles we have with our friends, lovers and coworkers are often about relatively trivial things where we are convinced that our view of the world is correct and their view is wrong.” Researchers wanted to identify “The Perfect Personality Trait For Intelligent People;” the most fundamentally important personality trait for a thoughtful person of any hue. The research was comprised of four studies. More tomorrow.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Intellectual Humility

An article recently published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin reported on investigations of what the researchers labelled Cognitive and Interpersonal Features of Intellectual Humility. It’s an interesting use of words and an interesting concept. So what is “intellectual humility?” First, confusion about what healthy and desirable exist, in part because the concept of humility has been perceived by some as unassertiveness, servility, lack of appropriate personal pride, submissiveness, and so on. Especially in developed countries, these words rarely are seen as representing desirable characteristics. Rather they describe a persona that, as one individual put it, “everything that I do not want to be.” The researchers set about to investigate “intellectual Humility: (so called) and the characteristics that describe it. More tomorrow.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Bumper Stickers

In 2016 I put a few examples of bumper stickers that I had collected in one of my blogs. The really fun part was that readers began sending me more examples. Here are some of them (examples, not the readers!):

·         Pride is what we have. Vanity is what others have.
·         Give me ambiguity or give me something else.
·         Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math.
·         It IS as bad as you think, and they ARE out to get you.
·         Learn from your parents' mistakes; use birth control.
·         Forget the bacon, I’m bringing home crabs
·         Society has enough youth; how about a fountain of Smart?
·         Auntie Em: Hate Kansas. Taking the dog. Dorothy.
·         The wife says I get plenty of exercise just pushing my luck.
·         Where there's a will, I want to be in it.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Prostate Cancer - 9

Bottom line: there is no 100% eradication for Prostate Cancer available regardless of treatment options. However, living the healthiest lifestyle possible is believed to help. I call this a Longevity Lifestyle—and it matters. This type of lifestyle is not a flash in the pan but a way of living for the rest of one’s life. It includes physical and mental exercise, avoiding dehydration, obtaining adequate amounts of sleep, developing a positive mindset and self-talk, careful nutrition with portion control, keeping one’s weight within a recommended range, and so on. Such a lifestyle can help to keep the immune system working well. Those who also choose to “juice” along with a healthier lifestyle may have an advantage—but the measurability is yet unknown and does not replace active treatment).

Hopefully this is a start on developing a better understanding of Prostate Cancer. More in-depth information may be found at

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Prostate Cancer - 8

There are several treatment options to discuss with one’s physician for localized PC (and each has pluses and minuses). For example:

  • Active surveillance (depending on one’s risk category)

  • Radical Prostatectomy (e.g., open or robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery)

  • Radiation Therapy (e.g., Brachy therapy; External beam radiation, x-ray or photon; Tomotherapy; Proton therapy)

  • Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Prostate Cancer - 7

It’s important to do some personal research and collect one’s own personal data and information. There are at least three factors to look at. 
  •     PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen)—Look at the doubling time; how fast PSA is rising.

  • Gleason Score—Look at the score in terms of Low, Intermediate, or High Risk disease

  • TNM (Tumor Lymph Nodes Metastasis)—has the disease spread to other parts of the body

Monday, November 13, 2017

Prostate Cancer - 6

The Gleason Score was named for the pathologist who developed the grading system to determine risk. Beginning in 2018, some expect the categories based on the Gleason Score to be as follows:


or greater

·         Low risk disease: Gleason 6/10, few cores positive, and PSA less than 10.
·         Intermediate risk: Gleason 7/10 and/or PSA 10-20.

·         High risk disease: Gleason 8/10 or above and/or PSA greater than 20.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Prostate Cancer – 5

American Cancer Society recommends that the patient determines screening after discussion with the physician about uncertainties and potential benefits of screening. In general:

  • Recommended age for starting screening is age 50 for average risk who have at least a 10-year life expectancy

  • Recommended age 40-45 for African Americans and men who have had a first degree relative diagnosed with Prostate Cancer before age 65

  • Recommended age 40 with several first degree relatives who have had prostate cancer at an early age

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Prostate Cancer – 4

The other necessary components for a modern prostate screening protocol is the PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen). With its advent, some symptoms have been identified including:

·         Urinary frequency – 38%
·         Decreased urinary stream – 23% (due to enlarged prostate)
·         Urinary urgency – 10%
·         Hematuria (blood in the urine) – 1.4%

No PSA level guarantees the absence of prostate cancer. The risk increases, however, as the PSA level increases For example: about 8% chance of Prostate Cancer with PSA levels of less than or equal to 1 ng/mL. About 25% chance of Prostate Cancer with PSA levels of 4 to 10ng/mL. About 50% and greater chance of Prostate Cancer with PSA levels above 10ng/mL. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Prostate Cancer – 3

Reportedly, most cases of prostate cancer are identified by screening of asymptomatic males and most cases show no symptoms—but there is controversy regarding screening. The American Cancer Society and American Urological Association have issued guidelines that differ on specific points but agree on the value of prostate screening on selected populations, for patients who agree to screening after a discussion of the risks and benefits. Males with a positive family history who are most likely to benefit from screening are those with a first degree relative who had advanced PC at diagnosis, who developed metastatic PC, or who died of PC. Physical examination alone cannot differentiate between benign prostatic disease (BPD) and cancer. There are two necessary components for a modern prostate screening protocol. One component is a DRE (digital rectal examination):
·        It tends to be examiner dependent (e.g., how skilled or experienced the person is)
·        Serial examinations over time are best for comparison.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Prostate Cancer – 2

Who is at risk for Prostate Cancer (PC)? Males, of course—because they are the only ones who have a prostate gland. Is there a cause? Researchers are trying to figure that out. Current studies are investigating the role of STDs (Sexual Transmitted Diseases), prostatitis, alcohol use, or diet. Diet is believed to play a role in the development of PC although no specific diet can prevent or eradicate it. Prostate cancer, like other cancers, is an extremely complex process. The principal message from nutritional studies in humans has been an endorsement of the benefits of a diet consisting mainly of vegetables, fruits, fiber, and fish, combined with restricted caloric intake and/or exercise to maintain or achieve a healthy weight. More tomorrow. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Brain and Prostate Cancer (PC)

Recently I’ve received quite a number of questions from females asking if there is an easier way to help their brains understand prostate cancer, the risks, and the treatment options—a husband or brother or father or friend having recently been diagnosed. PC is the most common cancer in US males after skin cancer and the second leading cause of death from cancer. Although often slow growing, PC nonetheless accounts for almost 10% of cancer-related deaths in males. Estimates are that one in six white men and one in five African-American men will be diagnosed with PC. (It is diagnosed in an estimated 80% of males who reach age 80). No wonder mothers, sisters, wives, aunts, girlfriends, etc., are concerned about their male loved-ones! As you may know, the walnut-sized prostate gland produces fluid that helps to transport semen. The gland itself surrounds the urethra that carries urine and semen out of the body. Naturally as the prostate enlarges, it can impact the flow of urine. More tomorrow. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Bumper Stickers

If everyone is unique, does that mean the whole world is a cacophony?

There's a fine line between genius and insanity—and I'm walking it.

If this is life, I'm canceling my reservation and I want a refund!

We've got what it takes to take what you've got. The IRS.

Laziness pays off in the moment. Hard work has a future payoff—often much larger.

There are three kinds of people: those who can count and those who cannot.

Keep honking—while I reload.

If you are reading this, STOP and watch the road.

Body by Nautilus; brain by Mattel.

Boldly going nowhere.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Sleep-Mood Link

According to lead author Patrick Finan, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of medicine, when your sleep is disrupted throughout the night, you miss an opportunity to progress through the sleep stages to get the amount of slow-wave sleep that is key to the feeling of restoration. Know yourself. If light bothers your sleep, make sure your room is a dark as possible or wear eye protectors. Remove electronic equipment from the bedroom (e.g., TV, computer, iPad). If sound bothers your sleep—and you’re not a new parent!—wear earplugs or take turns wearing earplugs on alternate nights. Avoid eating heavy food for dinner or, if possible, eat before six o’clock. Turn off electronic equipment an hour before bedtime as it takes about an hour for the brain to readjust from the electronic lights.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Sleep Fragmentation and Negative Mood

The group with delayed bedtimes did showed a link with negative moods. However, when compared with the delayed bedtime group, the forced-to-wake group participants had shorter periods of deep, slow-wave sleep. The lack of sufficient slow-wave sleep showed a statistically significant association with a reduction in positive mood—suggesting that sleep fragmentation is especially detrimental to a person’s positive mood. The interrupted sleep also reduced energy levels as well as feelings of sympathy and friendliness. Researchers also said the study suggests that the effects of interrupted sleep on positive mood can be cumulative, because differences between the two groups showed up after the second night and continued the day after the third night of the study. “You can imagine the hard time people with chronic sleep disorders have after repeatedly not reaching deep sleep,” commented one of the researchers.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Sleep Fragmentation and Negative Mood

The group with delayed bedtimes did showed a link with negative moods. However, when compared with the delayed bedtime group, the forced-to-wake group participants had shorter periods of deep, slow-wave sleep. The lack of sufficient slow-wave sleep showed a statistically significant association with a reduction in positive mood—suggesting that sleep fragmentation is especially detrimental to a person’s positive mood. The interrupted sleep also reduced energy levels as well as feelings of sympathy and friendliness. Researchers also said the study suggests that the effects of interrupted sleep on positive mood can be cumulative, because differences between the two groups showed up after the second night and continued the day after the third night of the study. “You can imagine the hard time people with chronic sleep disorders have after repeatedly not reaching deep sleep,” commented one of the researchers.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Insomnia and Sleep Quality

Uninterrupted sleep for the amount of time your brain requires, gives you the opportunity to move through all the sleep stages to receive the amount of slow-wave sleep that is key to feeling restored when you awaken. Frequent sleep disruptions is a relatively common occurrence among new parents, health care personnel who are on-call, and individuals with insomnia. A common symptom of insomnia involves negative mood changes, although the biological reasons for this have been unclear. A study by researchers at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine decided to investigate the link between insomnia and a depressed mood. To do this, they brought three groups of healthy participants into the sleep lab for three nights. The results of the study were reported in the journal Sleep.

  • The First group were allowed to sleep normally
  • The Second group had their usual bedtime delayed
  • The third group were awakened on purpose throughout the night

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Alpha Partner, 4

More questions I’ve received:

“Can two alphas ever partner successfully?”

(My brain’s opinion is certainly—as long as each is healthy and functional enough to compete with himself/herself only and never compete with each other—just collaborate with humor and genuine respect for each other’s innate giftedness.”


“Have you read Suzanne Venker’s book “The Alpha Female's Guide to Men and Marriage?”


(No, but I will look into that this week . . . see what she has to say and how that dovetails with my own observations and study . . . and then maybe I’ll write some more on this topic.)

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Alpha Partner, 3

More questions I’ve received:

“Can an alpha female ever manage being in a relationship when she is usually right and it’s obvious that her partner is making big mistakes?”


(Being right in your own mind is one thing, and, yes, it’s tough when you have a track record of usually being correct. However, your brain has no right to prevent another brain from trying their way or attempting that person to conform to your perspective. Freedom of thought is one of the few freedoms a human being really has—and a brain convinced against its will is of the same opinion still.)


“How can an alpha female partner with someone she loves and then sit back and watch them take a course of action she knows from experience will not work?”


(Every human being has the inalienable right to be unwise and to follow unfortunate courses of action. There will be consequences but an alpha female is not jury and judge. She can make a suggestion but then must be wise and healthy enough to have no agenda about whether or not the other person will take the suggestion. And she can take steps to protect herself if the course of action could negatively impact her financially—often a prenuptial agreement is wise.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Alpha Partner, 2

These are some of the questions I’ve received latelywhich no doubt reflect current issues in our societyalong with my initial response:

“Can an alpha female ever have a good marriage?”


(I should think so—and it will require skill and strategies.)


“Can an alpha female ever manage both a career and a rewarding marriage successfully?”

(Many do. If she wants both -- and both will require skills and strategies. Those needed to be “the boss” at work, however,  differ from the skills and strategies required at home because the environments are different.)


“Can an alpha female ever become subservient enough to keep peace in a relationship?”

(Subservient is never a desirable goal in any relationship. Honest discussion with the intent never to try to control another’s perspective—is.) More tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Alpha as Partner

As one person put it: Over the last fifty years women have become more powerful in the workplace—but the divorce rate has also risen. Interestingly, estimates are that 70% of divorce actions currently are initiated by females. The reason? I doubt anyone really knows. However, a contributing factor may be that an alpha female has had to learn to make decisions and take charge. Often in the work world she is “he “boss.” This pattern may not work so well in one’s personal life, however, which becomes a real dichotomy and challenge for many alpha females. How does one “be in charge during 10-hour days at work six days a week” and then suddenly “flip that coin at home?” It’s not easy, as many women who have partnered with an alpha male understand. And the kicker is, males are often attracted to alpha females in the dating world and then want something else once they marry. More tomorrow.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Alpha Female (so called)

Comments related to Alpha Females abound. I’ve received several lately. For example:

- This country rewards alpha females.
 Alpha females are the quintessential modern women.
Alpha females are successful in today’s marketplace.
I really enjoy alpha females until we go to dinner and she wants to “go dutch” or worse yet “pay for my meal! I’m the man!”
 What can you suggest or what can I read about Alpha females ‘cuz they’re tough to be married to or partnered with!

Alpha females can be just as problematic as are Alpha males. Both are often very assertive, quick, sharp, and try to be in control because it feels safer—even though much of “control” is illusion. More tomorrow.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Bumper Stickers, 3

  • Humans come into the world naked, wet, and hungry—then things get sticky.
  • Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.
  • Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.
  • Out of my mind...Back in five minutes.
  • Hang up and pay attention to driving.
  • Take an IQ test. I did. Got an “F”
  • Ever stop to think and forget to start again?
  • Treat your kids kindly as they’ll be selecting your nursing home.
  • Always remember you're unique...Just like everyone else.
  • If you think nobody cares, miss a couple payments.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Exercise & Depression, 4

In a TV interview, the former first lady basically said that a sedentary lifestyle is killing Americans. Unfortunately, sedentary lifestyles are becoming even more common throughout the world. Rates of depression appear to be growing, as well. The results of this survey are particularly pertinent because they reveal that even small lifestyle changes can reap significant mental health benefits. Dr. Harvey, lead researcher, says they are still trying to determine the reason that exercise appears to have this protective effect. It may be due to the combined impact of the various physical and social benefits of physical activity. Harvey says he believes there is great potential to integrate exercise into individual mental health plans and broader public health campaigns. “If we can find ways to increase the population’s level of physical activity even by a small amount, then this is likely to bring substantial physical and mental health benefits.”

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Exercise & Depression, 3

Dr Samuel Harvey, lead author for the largest survey of its kind for any link between exercise and depression, said, “We’ve known for some time that exercise has a role to play in treating symptoms of depression, but this is the first time we have been able to quantify the preventative potential of physical activity in terms of reducing future levels of depression. These findings are exciting because they show that even relatively small amounts of exercise, from a minimum of one hour per week, has the potential to deliver significant protection against depression. Dr. Harvey found it fascinating that the first hour of exercise turned out to be crucial. Most of the mental health benefits of exercise were realized within the first hour of exercise undertaken each week. The researchers concluded that just one hour of exercise a week reduced the chances of developing depression by a massive 44%.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Exercise & Depression, 2

In the largest survey of its kind, researchers monitored 33,908 “healthy” Norwegians for more than 11 years. The cohort of adults were selected on the basis of having no symptoms of common mental disorder or limiting physical health conditions. Validated measures of exercise, depression, anxiety, and a range of potential confounding and mediating factors were collected. The practice of regular leisure-time exercise was associated with a reduced incidence of future depression but not of anxiety. The majority of this protective effect occurred at low levels of exercise and was observed regardless of intensity. After adjustment for confounders, the population attributable fraction suggests that, assuming the relationship is causal, researchers estimated that 12% of future cases of depression could have been prevented by just one hour of exercise per week. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Exercise & Depression

Dr. Samuel Harvey is the lead author of a study that evaluated the impact of exercise on depression and anxiety. The results were reported this month on line. According to the study abstract, the purpose of this study was to address:

1)   whether exercise provides protection against new-onset depression and anxiety

2) if so, the intensity and amount of exercise required to gain protection

3) The mechanisms that underlie any association between exercise, depression, and anxiety.

In the largest survey of its kind, the anxiety and depression levels of 33,908 Norwegians were monitored for more than 11 years.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Lectins, 2

Lectins may be harmful, at least for some people, if consumed in excess in uncooked or improperly-cooked forms. Some think that the negative effects of lectins are due to gastrointestinal distress through interaction of the lectins with cells in the intestines. Symptoms of toxicity may include diarrhea, nausea, bloating, and vomiting. Some have suggested that there are ways to reduce the toxicity of lectins. For example: soaking legumes and beans for a couple of hours in water with a little added lemon juice and then cooking them in a pressure cooker. Thinking back to my childhood, I recall that my mother always cooked legumes and beans in a pressure cooker. I think I’ll get one and try doing this myself. Can’t hurt!

Thursday, October 12, 2017


Lectin is the name for a type of protein that is concentrated more in some foods than others. Foods with the highest lectin activity include: grains (especially wheat), legumes (especially soy), some nuts, dairy, and nightshades (e.g. eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, etc.). The frequent consumption of large amounts of lectins has been shown potentially to damage the lining of the digestive system. An article published in April of 2017 suggests that lectins can cause disease. Some lectins can actually move through the intestinal wall and even deposit themselves in distant organs. If you are interested more information can be found at this link.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Rat Leptin Studies

Studies with rats have shown that Leptin resistance (in combination with insulin resistance and weight gain) is seen in rats after they are given unlimited access to palatable, energy-dense foods. This effect can be reversed when the rats are again fed a better diet and are not given unlimited access to the food. This suggests the value of human beings moving toward a balanced intake of foods that are unrefined along with appropriate portion control. Interestingly, this approach is what is mirrored in the Longevity Lifestyle Matters program. Studies in 2008 (led by Shapiro) and in 2010 (led by Oswal) suggest that that the main role of leptin is to act as a starvation signal when levels are low and to help maintain fat stores for survival, rather than a satiety signal to prevent overeating. Leptin levels signal when an animal has enough stored energy to spend it in pursuits besides acquiring food.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Leptin Sensitivity

In obesity, a decreased sensitivity to leptin can occur. The consequences of this result in the person’s inability to detect satiety, even though there may be high energy stores. No surprise, any decline in the level of circulating leptin impacts brain activity in areas that involve the cognitive and/or emotional control of appetite. In 1996 a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine [334 (5): 292–5] reported that while leptin typically reduces appetite as a circulating signal, obese individuals generally exhibit a higher circulating concentration of leptin than normal weight individuals This is likely due to their higher percentage of body fat. In addition, they also ten to show leptin resistance similar to the insulin resistance seen in people with type 2 diabetes. However, the elevated levels of leptin fail to control hunger or modulate their weight.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Leptin vs Lectin

I know it can be confusing since there is only a one-letter difference between these two words. It’s worth paying attention to what they mean or represent, however. Leptin is an extremely vital and valuable hormone. When you hear the word Leptin, think “thin.” Really. Because it comes from a Greek word meaning thin. Made by fat cells, this substance—known as the “satiety hormone” is designed to put on the hunger brakes. Leptin is opposite—no surprise—from grehlin, its opposing hormone known as the “hunger hormone.” Both hormones can bind to receptors in the hypothalamus to regulate appetite: Grehlin pushes you to eat; leptin says that you have enough energy and need no more food. More tomorrow.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Brain and Hugs, 2

Sheldon Cohen, who led the study on hugging at Carnegie Mellon University, said that the research” suggests that being hugged by a trusted person may act as an effective means of conveying support and that increasing the frequency of hugs might be an effective means of reducing the deleterious effects of stress. The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy. Either way, those who receive more hugs are somewhat more protected from infection." “But I live alone and there’s no one to hug,” some say. That may be a challenge although just because you live with someone doesn’t guarantee a good hug. There are families that live together but fail to hug each other. Fortunately, I have a few relatives and a couple close friends who are skilled huggers—it’s both an art and a science and may be the ultimate “being rather than doing” affirmation. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Brain and Hugs

Research at Carnegie Mellon University studying the impact of conflict and social support—including hugging by trusted persons. Lead researcher Sheldon Cohen and associates assessed 404 healthy individuals including the frequencies of interpersonal conflicts and receiving hugs. The 404 participants were then exposed to a cold virus and quarantined to assess for infection and symptoms of illness. They found?

  • Perceived social support reduced the risk of infection associated with experiencing conflicts. Hugs were responsible for one-third of the protective effect of social support

  • Among participants who became infected, greater perceived social support and more frequent hugs both resulted in less severe illness symptoms whether or not they experienced conflicts 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Are You A ‘Hugger?’

"Are you a “hugger?” Did you come from a family of “huggers?” Growing up I hugged my pets (the ones that were huggable – it’s a tad difficult to hug a snail or a box turtle or even a parakeet!) I sometimes hugged close friends (but not always as hugging was never a measure of how much I cared about and valued a specific individual). It’s commonly understood that ongoing stressors such as conflict with others can reduce immune system function and increase the risk of infection. And the brain and immune system have their hands in each other's pockets, so to speak. Recently research by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University looked at conflict and social support—including hugging by trusted persons—and its association with risk of infection and with severity of illness symptoms.