Monday, July 31, 2017

Teenage Brain and NPD

As mentioned earlier, the still-in-process teenage brain is rather narcissistic in its approach to life and living. The process of maturing the teenage brain is designed to move it away from narcissistic behavior to more balanced behaviors. This involves a learning process and the teenage brain either learns it or not. If the teenagers fail to mature and move to more balanced behaviors, they tend to become narcissistic adults. While narcissists are able to feel most emotions as strongly as do others, they seem to lack the essential ability to perceive or understand the feelings of others. As Martha Stout PhD has put it, narcissism is a failure not of conscience but of empathy. Emotionally speaking, narcissists don’t seem to see past their own nose, sometimes flying into narcissistic rages and then lacking the skills to get back on the good side of people they love. That’s exactly what had happened in the interactions between parents and their ‘adult’ son. He had flown into a narcissistic rage when things has not turned out exactly as he expected or wanted on his visit, which had fractured their relationship, yet again. More tomorrow.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Aphorisms, 11

  • If it ain't broke, leave it alone and stop trying to fix it
  • If you do what you've always done you'll get what you've always got
  • If you sleep with dogs, you wake up with fleas
  • If you snooze while you’re awake, you lose
  • Ignorance is bliss—until someone smarter comes along
  • Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery unless you are imitating stupidity
  • Keep your head above water unless you really know how to swim
  • Ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it
  • Keep your nose to the grindstone—if you want to ruin your nose
  • Keep your powder dry and your arrow sharp—which takes brains

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Age-Related NPD

The brain matures more slowly than the body that houses it. Consequently, immature brains are definitely not ‘done’ yet and are innately rather narcissistic, “It’s all about me.” The process of maturing is designed to move these brain to more balanced behaviors. It is believed less of a genetic process and more of a learning process that is either learned or not. If the brain does not learn and mature and move to more balanced behaviors, the brain may become narcissistic. The bad news in terms of relationships is that an antisocial narcissistic adult (whose brain did not learn and move toward more balanced behaviors) may eventually exhibit sociopathic behaviors. What else might you observe? These individuals may have serial sexual affairs saying, “If you’d paid me more attention I wouldn’t have had to go looking for it.” (Blaming) They want to avoid accountability saying, “I’ve made mistakes but I don’t want to talk about any of them, I just want to start from here.” A big question is whether narcissism is treatable. I have heard psychiatrist say, “Yes, some narcissism is treatable,” especially if the individual recognizes their behaviors and wants to become more balanced. If they are in the habit of exhibiting angry narcissistic rages, however, and are unwilling to seek help to view themselves and their behaviors more objectively and course correct, there may be no recovery. More next week.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

NPD Prevalence

Prevalence is the estimated population of people who are managing Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) at any given time in a given general population group. Jean M. Twenge PhD and W. Keith Campbell PhD, authors of the 2009 book The Narcissism Epidemic, estimated the prevalence of NPD in the United States at 6.2% in the general population: 7.7% for males and 4.8% for females. Reportedly, NPD is more prevalent among separated, divorced, widowed, and never married adults. Hispanic females and African Americans may be at higher risk. It comes as no surprise NPD can cause problems in many areas of life including home, school, work, and in all types of relationships and collaborative efforts. This personality disorder is also characterized by a belief that they deserve admiration and special favors in all environments. When they do not receive this at the level expected, they can become disappointed and unhappy. Naturally, they tend to find relationships rather unfulfilling and cannot seem to understand why others to not seek them out and want to be around them. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Brain & NPD, 2

Based on, I’m guessing, some of the ‘news items’ lately, I’ve been asked more questions about narcissism recently, including any role parenting might play in its development. A Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is one of several types of personality disorders, which are mental conditions characterized by traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways (a Mayo Clinic puts it). No surprise, this limits their ability to function effectively and successfully in relationships both personally and professionally. These individuals tend to have an inflated sense of their own importance, which includes a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. Their exhibited persona is that of ultra-confident behavior, but at its core it contains an extremely fragile sense of self-worth or self-esteem, which makes them vulnerable to the slightest perceived criticismreal or imagined—no matter how mild or deserving. More tomorrow.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Brain & Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

Narcissism and the Brain

Several times I’ve been asked to speak on the topic of “Difficult Brains—Toxic Behaviors.” The goal, of course, is to help people recognize undesirable behaviors quickly. If it involves their own behaviors, they can choose to course correct. If it involve the behaviors of others, they can self-select strategies to protect themselves from at least some of the negative consequences. A parent contacted me and described his emotional pain related to a visit from his adult son. On the surface at least, what the father described fell into the category of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and the reported behaviors were pretty ugly. The son stated, among other things, "I do not have a happy life and it is all your fault. After all, you had me and I did not ask to be born, period. Certainly I did not ask to be born into this family!" It can be tough when the narcissist you know is a member of your own family or, for that matter, yourself. In the latter case, you do have the choice to course correct. More tomorrow.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Dementia and Music

As with AIDS when it was discovered that dementia appeared to result when the HIV attacked glial cells in the brain (which then failed to care for the neurons that died from neglect), Alzheimer’s may be the outcome of an attack on the mitochondria. It is going to be interesting following this line of research. Recently, a friend of mine shared a youtube item about a 95 year old man who had developed dementia and had to be placed in a facility for individuals whose brains were damaged at that level. Although Alzheimer and other forms of dementia are believed to be a type of neurological brain disease, apparently they doesn’t necessarily wipe out all skills and abilities. This man was still able to play jazz! You may want to take a couple minutes and watch this. It brought tears to my heart . . .

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Alzheimer’s and Mitochondria, 2

As with almost anything in the human brain and body, the mitochondria can become damaged, which can result in their failing to create sufficient ATP. Studies have found that mitochondria damage and dysfunction can contribute to a host of human diseases including: include epilepsy, stroke, cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Parkinson's disease, plus a variety of neurological diseases such as autism, dementia—and now it appears, Alzheimer’s. So the tangles and other identified abnormalities may be linked with mitochondrial dysfunction that sets up cells in some brains for Alzheimer’s (rather than being the result of Alzheimer’s disease itself). More tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Alzheimer’s and Mitochondria

Enter the mitochondria. Referred to as ‘organelles,’ mitochondria are oblong or oval in shape and have a double membrane. Found in both animal and plant calls, the numbers of each within a cell varies. For example, mature red blood cells contain no mitochondria at all, likely because red blood cells need all the room possible in the cytoplasm (all the material inside a given cell outside the nucleus) for hemoglobin molecules that transport oxygen to the brain and body. Muscle cells may contain hundreds or thousands of mitochondria. Think of mitochondria as energy factories or energy generating plans, generating energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) a coenzyme that cells use for energy storage. Without sufficient ATP the brain and body tend to malfunction in some way or other. More tomorrow. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Alzheimer’s – Type 3 Diabetes

According to Samuel Cohen, here’s the bottom line: Alzheimer’s does not reflect normal aging. For most people it is not inevitable and the studies are encouraging. And what of the disease being called type 3 diabetes? A research study reported several years ago concluded that the term “type 3 diabetes” accurately reflects the fact that Alzheimer’s Disease or AD represents a form of diabetes that selectively involves the brain and has molecular and biochemical features that overlap with both type 1 diabetes mellitus and diabetes type 2. It appears to involve a form of insulin dysfunction. More tomorrow.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Alzheimer’s – a Disease

Recently I watched a TED talk by Samuel Cohen. He mentioned several things I found interesting. The term itself dates back 114 years to 1906 when a German physician and neuropathologist by the name of Dr. Alois Alzheimer presented a case history before a medical meeting. He discussed a 51-year-old woman (Auguste Deter) who suffered from a rare brain disorder. A brain autopsy identified the plaques and tangles that today characterize Alzheimer's disease. Currently 40 million people around the world are believed to have Alzheimer’s and by 2050 it is estimated that 150 million people worldwide will have that diagnoses. It is the most expensive disease currently, without hard data on how to prevent, cure, or slow down its progress. Good news comes from findings at the University of Cambridge, where scientists have been studying Alzheimer’s for the past ten years. More tomorrow.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Aphorisms, 10

  • Possession is nine-tenths of the law
  • Winners never quit and quitters never win
  • You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar
  • Knowledge is power—if you’re smart enough to apply it
  • You can fool some people all the time, and all the people some of the time, but never all the people all the time
  • You may kill a person, but never an idea
  • You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot force it to drink
  • You may take the boy out of the country, but not the country out of the boy
  • Fight city hall? Are you nuts?
  • You get what you pay for

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Dunning-Kruger Syndrome, 4

A New York Post article “Why Losers Have Delusions of Grandeur” (May 23, 2010), indicated that identification of the Dunning-Kruger Syndrome derived from the cognitive bias evident in a criminal case. McArthur Wheeler reportedly robbed banks with his face covered with lemon juice because he believed lemon juice would make his face invisible to the surveillance cameras. His incompetence was based on his mistaken ideas of the chemical properties of lemon juice, thinking that it formed a type of invisible ink. Much of the incorrect self-assessment of competence may result from a person's ignorance of the standards of performance of a given activity. In addition, in comparison with high performer, poor performers do not seem to learn from feedback that suggests a need for them to improve. Too bad!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Dunning-Kruger Syndrome, 3

David Dunning in his book Self-insight: Roadblocks and Detours on the Path to Knowing Thyself. Psychology Press, 2005 (p. 14–15) pointed out in essence that you only know what you know. He referred to the Dunning-Kruger Syndrome as "the Anosognosia of everyday life,” referring to a condition in which a disabled person either denies or seems unaware of his or her physical incapacity. Dunning said: "If you're incompetent, you can't know you're incompetent. . . . The skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.” The pattern of overestimation of competence appeared in studies of reading comprehension, of the practice of medicine, of motor-vehicle operation, and the playing of games such as chess and tennis. Dunning and Kruger's research also indicated that training in a task, such as solving a logic puzzle, increases one’s ability to accurately evaluate how good they are at that task. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dunning-Kruger Syndrome, 2

The corollary to the Dunning–Kruger effect indicates that persons of high ability tend to underestimate their relative competence, and erroneously presume that tasks that are easy for them to perform also are easy for other people to perform. According to an article by Dunning and Kruger, "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments" published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology [77 (6): 1121–34]: the cognitive bias of illusory superiority results from an internal illusion in people of low ability and from an external misperception in people of high ability; that is, the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others. More tomorrow.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Dunning-Kruger Syndrome and the Brain

The Dunning-Kruger effect or syndrome can be described as a cognitive bias. David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University experimentally observed this effect in 1999. Wikipedia has pointed out that although the Dunning–Kruger effect was formulated in 1999, the cognitive bias of illusory superiority has been referred to in literature throughout history. For example, Confucius (551–479 BC) reportedly said, “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” And William Shakespeare (1564–1616) wrote in As You Like It, “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” The Dunning-Kruger Syndrome is said to occur when relatively unskilled or incompetent individuals suffer from illusory superiority. They mistakenly assess their ability to be much higher than is accurate. More tomorrow.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Brain & Dehydration, 5

Dehydration tends to be even more problematic for the very young and the elderly (some estimated that the average person over age 55 is dehydrated). Dehydration can contribute to problems such as: Acid-alkaline imbalance, Constipation, High blood pressure, Immune suppression, Weight gain, and Wrinkling of skin and internal body organs. By the time you feel thirsty, you are likely already dehydrated, so drinking to thirst is likely not your best bet. How much water do you need on a daily basis? That will depend on factors such as: Some are now advocating that instead of counting out eight glasses of water, a better formula is to take in enough water to pea one or two pale urines per day. (Discuss with your physician or healthcare provider if you a condition that must limit water intake.) Of the six categories of essential nutrients, staying hydrated may be the one I track most closely

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Brain & Dehydration, 4

1% level of dehydration is said to correlate with a 5% decrease in cognitive function (e.g., fuzzy thinking, math confusion, forgetfulness, and lack of ability to focus). Some of the cognitive malfunction may result from shrinkage of brain tissue (e.g., as dehydration sets in, brain tissue begins to pull away from the skull), a potential contributor to the development of dementia. Losing only 1-2% of your body’s water weight can result in weakness and fatigue. The movement of water in and out of the cells functions much like a hydroelectric plant to create energy. When water levels fall, the production of energy also falls. Losing 10% of your body’s water can lead to life-threatening heat stroke. Fruit juices, sodas, soft drinks, and other sugary beverages promote dehydration—as the body uses water to process them. Ethanol (alcohol) depresses the level of anti-diuretic hormone, increasing urine volume to the extent where more fluid is lost in urine than is gained in the drink. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Dunning-Kruger Syndrome, 3

David Dunning in his book Self-insight: Roadblocks and Detours on the Path to Knowing Thyself. Psychology Press, 2005 (p. 14–15) pointed out in essence that you only know what you know. He referred to the Dunning-Kruger Syndrome as "the anosognosia of everyday life.” This term refers to a condition in which an individual with some type of disability either denies or seems unaware of his or her physical incapacity. Dunning said: "If you're incompetent, you can't know you're incompetent. . . . The skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.” The pattern of overestimation of competence appeared in studies of reading comprehension, of the practice of medicine, of motor-vehicle operation, and the playing of games such as chess and tennis. Dunning and Kruger's research also indicated that training in a task, such as solving a logic puzzle, increases one’s ability to accurately evaluate how good they are at that task.

Brain & Dehydration, 3

You can survive much longer without food than you can without water. Humans have been known to survive up to 8 weeks without food IF they have water. Survival without water may be 3-7 days (100 hours at an average temperature outdoors). Normally there’s more water inside cells than outside; dehydration reverses that ratio. The duration of survival depends on body weight, genetic variation, level of health, and the presence or absence of dehydration. In presence of dehydration, the stress response is triggered and brain areas related to anger, fear, and alertness are activated. You lose water every time you exhale, when you sweat, when you discharge urine and feces, and if you vomit or throw up. This water must be replaced. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Brain & Dehydration, 2

A nutrient can be defined as a substance that provides nourishment that is essential for the maintenance of life and for growth. An essential nutrient is one that the body cannot synthesize on its own or not to an adequate amount—must be taken into the body from the outside in order for the brain and body to function properly. There are six major categories of nutrients: Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals, and Water. No surprise, water is considered the most essential nutrient because it is required for all body processes. The body is basically a solution of about 70% water. Within the body, estimated percentages vary based on the type of tissue. For example: Blood 83%, Bones 22%, Brain 75%, Brain cells 85%, Heart 79%, Kidneys 83%, Liver 86%, Muscles 75%, and so on. More tomorrow.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Brain & Dehydration

Several have asked about the impact of dehydration on the brain, especially in light of the unusually high temperatures that recently have been occurring in various parts of the world. Estimates are that this planet is approximately 75% water and 25% solid matter and many individuals recognize the potential dangers that may result when that ratio is altered by severe weather. The human body consists of approximately the same ratio—but many people do not seem as cognizant of what happens when that ratio is altered. Personally, I find the topic of dehydration very interesting. It may be the ultimate stressor for the human brain. The brain is the first body system to recognize a stressor and it responds with nanosecond speed to trigger the stress response. More tomorrow.