Thursday, January 28, 2010

Synesthesia Revisited

Is synaesthesia a high-level brain power? That’s the title of an article by Ewen Calloway that was posted by NewScientist. Studies by Jamie Ward and colleagues at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK, suggest that this phenomenon may be the result of a special ability in the brain areas used for language and attention.

“Earlier, another research group at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany, taught 16 colour-grapheme synaesthetes to equate characters from an ancient Slavic script none had seen before with letters and numerals they already associated with colours. “


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Invictus Revisited

I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul. –William Ernest Henley (English Poet 1849-1903).

These are the last two lines in an originally untitled poem. The now-familiar title Invictus (Latin for unconquered) reportedly was added by Arthur Quiller-Couch when he included the poem in The Oxford Book of English Verse (1900).

While visiting my cousin in South Africa some years ago, I traveled to Robbins Island and stood in the cell that Nelson Mandela had occupied for so many years. The guide explained how important Invictus had been to Mandela. He reportedly pondered it frequently during his 9,000-plus days of incarnation, especially those last two lines.

That visit was reawakened in memory when I watched the film Invictus. As you no doubt already know, the movie—starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon—is the story of Mandela’s early struggles to unite his country of South Africa. Those challenges are presented through the story of the Springbok team’s preparation for, and eventual winning of, the World Cup in 1995. They were led by rugby team captain, Francois Pienaar (played by Matt Damon).

Brian Moore commented about the movie: “One critic, David Ansen, has written that the story is ‘one that would be hard to believe if it were fiction. The wonder of Invictus is that it actually went down this way.’ It is still too early to assess the true significance of that triumph and the part rugby played in the unification of post-apartheid South Africa, but nobody should doubt that its influence was real.”

I decided to craft my own Invictus for 2010: to remind me to walk my own path, avoid being a victim of circumstance, and live a balanced brain-friendly lifestyle.

I am mentor of my mind, shaman of my soul, and conductor of my life symphony.

Write your own personal Invictus. Read it aloud several times a day. Make this first year in the second decade of the 21st Century the very best yet!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Alzheimer's disease

How much television do you watch on a daily basis? Cleveland Clinic studies, 2001: Watching too much television (e.g., 4 hours a day on average) was linked to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The brain is not active when it is being glued to television.

Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking, p. 218-219. NY:Avery Press. 2003.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


I'm intrigued by this word: Biogerontology. A new book by 40 co-authors (The Future of Aging: Pathways to Human Life Extension)is purporting that human life can be extended through the therapeutic use of biogerontology (e.g., sirtuin-modulating pills, new concepts for attacking cardiovascular disease and cancer, mitochondrial rejuvenation, stem cell therapies and regeneration, tissue reconstruction, telomere maintenance, prevention of immunosenescence, extracellular rejuvenation, artificial DNA repair, and full deployment of nanotechnology). Interesting concepts. The book is a bit pricey so I doubt I'll purchase it, at least not right away, as some of these concepts are likely decades in the future. Interesting, however.