Friday, August 23, 2019

Brain Belief – Common Questions, 5

Do you have other examples of globalized beliefs that may turn into a bias?

Here are just a few.

You get a low grade on your first science test and someone says jokingly, “Your brain sure doesn’t get science!” You begin to believe that. You flunk your next science test, believe you will likely flunk all science tests, so drop out of school. Over time you develop a bias against science of any type.

You get sick shortly after eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Someone tells you it probably was due to the peanut butter, so globalize that experience and refuse ever to eat peanut butter again.

You pray for a friend to be healed. When the individual does not go into remission as you requested, you believe that prayer never works—in spite of multiple studies showing that in many cases it is linked with healing. Soon you have a clear personal bias against prayer, which gradually turns into a bias against anyone who believes in prayer.

Are “myths” beliefs?  (more to come)

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Brain Belief – Common Questions, 4

What is an example of a belief that turns into a bias?

Let’s say that a mother taught her daughters: “Always use seat covers, wash your hands, and never touch the door handle with bare hands when leaving a public toilet.” That is helpful admonition when applied specifically and appropriately; unhelpful when globalized, if that leads you to avoid desirable and helpful behaviors. On an automobile trip, they used some toilets that were in rest rooms she described as “unbelievably filthy!” Over the trip, this turned into a full-blown germaphobic belief: all public toilets will give my girls a disease. Soon the mother stopped using public toilets. Rather, she would find a wooded spot off the highway and the girls had to pee behind a tree. Over time this turned into a bias that even people who looked unkempt or dogs that were not well groomed were “filthy” and carried many pathogenic organisms. The girls were never allowed to interact with anyone who appeared underprivileged, and certainly never permitted to volunteer feeling the homeless! Beliefs can take on a life of their own when globalized and even turn into zealot or fanatical or compulsive perspectives and actions that become a bias.

Do you have other examples of globalized beliefs that may turn into a bias? (more to come)

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Brain Belief – Common Questions, 3

Can beliefs really impact a brain’s bias?

Yes. Definitely. Beliefs can impact a brain’s bias. Here’s a vehicle metaphor that may help explain this. Vehicles create traffic. If there were no vehicles there would be no vehicular traffic. Once created, traffic can impact vehicles—often impeding their progress and sometimes contributing to accidents. The brain creates the conscious and subconscious minds, which in turn can impact and direct the brain. Once beliefs are firmly entrenched they can influence your brain’s bias assessments along with your resulting decisions and choices, actions and exhibited behaviors.
Anger, fear, belligerence for something that is “different” may surface when that might not otherwise have been the case.

What is an example of a belief that turns into a bias? (more to come)

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Brain Belief – Common Questions, 2

Where do beliefs originate or come from?

Beliefs are tricky concepts. They can originate from almost anything and anyone. Your brain creates your beliefs from what you are taught and from what you learned—two different things. For example, some are taught that anger is a bad thing. From observations of adults in one’s life, your brain may learn that anger is only a bad thing for females—it’s expected and accepted from males. Beliefs may include cellular memory from biological ancestors, role-modeling by anyone in your proximal environment; from interactions with people you admire or don’t wish to emulate, your own life experiences, what you watch on TV and movies, what you read, what political or religious leaders tell you, and so on. In adulthood, it is critically important to ask yourself:  “What do I believe? Where did it come from? Who or what do I believe in?” Your beliefs can impact your brain bias.

Beliefs can impact a brain’s bias? (more to come)

Monday, August 19, 2019

Brain Beliefs – Common Questions

So what is a belief?

As belief can be defined as a state of mind in which you perceive the likelihood of something being true based on empirical (observed, experienced, reported) evidence rather than on established theory or logic. Since every brain is different, some say there are a minimum of 7 billion beliefs on this planet. Humans develop beliefs about everything and once imbedded in your brain, a belief can take on a life of its own, with little thought ever given to how it started, where it came from, or if it is or was ever valid.

Where do beliefs originate or come from? (more to come)

Friday, August 16, 2019

Brain Bias – Common Questions, 9

What do you mean a bias tends to become a belief?

Just that. Studies have identified links between bias and belief. If your bias is that all dogs are dangerous, or all sharks are dangerous, or anyone whose skin tone differs from yours is dangerous, or one political party is more dangerous than the others, or one religion is more dangerous than the others, you can begin to believe that this is absolutely true. Period. Over time, a bias tends to become an entrenched belief, which in turn can reinforce the strength of the bias. As the belief becomes entrenched, it reinforces the bias, which can set a person up to become a zealot or a terrorist or you name it . . . someone whose beliefs and biases are very unbalanced to the point the person believes anyone who has a different belief should be persecuted if not executed.

So what is a belief? (more tomorrow)

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Brain Bias – Common Questions, 8

Why does it matter what your biases are and whether or not you know what they are?

It matters because you can only manage effectively what you can identify, label, and describe. If you do not know your biases, you may exhibit some behaviors that represent low EQ or Emotional Intelligence, such as JOT behaviors:

--Jumping to conclusions that may be way out in left field

--Overreacting and creating emotional tsunamis that can blow up a relationship bridge that may or may not be repairable

--Taking things personally

These types of behaviors typically create messes that just complicate your life and give you and others more problems to deal with. Over time a bias tends to become a belief.

What do you mean a bias tends to become a belief? (more tomorrow)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Brain Bias – Common Questions, 7

Do you only learn biases in childhood?

You can learn a new bias as long as you live. You can become biased against almost anything and anyone. You can develop a bias any time in life, especially if an unpleasant experience is globalized. Meaning that you apply what you learned not only the unpleasant experience but to anything that was connected with the experience. Everything after the brain’s initial and innate bias assessment tends to represent a learned response (based on personal experience, reports from others you trust, what you read or hear on the news…) If it is a valid and appropriate learned response, great—if not, there may be undesirable consequences. Over time, a bias tends to become an entrenched belief, which can strengthen the bias and make it seem very real.

Why does it matter what your biases are and whether or not you know what they are? (more tomorrow)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Brain Bias - Common Questions, 6

What are other common biases?

The sky is the limit, as the old saying goes. Almost anything that exists or happens can become a bias. Here are a few examples:

Gender (male, female, intersex)
Race, skin color
Culture, language
Clothing styles
Hair styles
Recreation, sports
Music, Art
Foods, beverages
Odors, perfumes
Politics, religione
Sexual Orientation
Careers, jobs
Money, wealth
Ideologies, beliefs
Marriage and for whom
Sexual preference
Genetics versus epigenetics
Genetics versus epigenetics
Humor and laughter
Women in business
et cetera

You may have a different bias:  Tattoos? Piercings? Ordination? Addictive behaviors?  What are yours? Have you identified them?

Do you only learn biases in childhood? (more tomorrow)

Monday, August 12, 2019

Brain Bias – Common Questions, 5

Do you have another example of learned bias? 

Suppose you are playing at the beach and are bitten by a rabid dog. That is a very unpleasant experience and you have to receive anti-rabies shots in your abdomen—another unpleasant experience. You are told repeatedly that rabid dogs are dangerous, especially when running wild on the beach. As much as you love going to the beach, you develop a bias against going to the beach because it is deemed unsafe. You also develop a bias against the breed of dog that bit you. Some adults in your life, tell you that all unleashed dogs are dangerous and potentially rabid. Now you take your experience, globalize it, and develop a bias against any dog that is unleashed, anywhere, and at any time. You have now taught your brain to be biased against all dogs. This prevents you from ever having a relationship with a dog and limits you from developing friendships with anyone who owns a dog.

What are other common biases? (more tomorrow)

Friday, August 9, 2019

Brain Bias – Common Questions, 4

What do you mean bias is learned in childhood?

Once you “come out the chute” or surgically physically enter the outside world, you are immediately surrounded and even bombarded with biases from other humans in your environment. For example, if your parents are completely “germaphobic” and believe every other human being is potentially a reservoir of dreadfully dangerous  organisms, you may not be permitted to get within a stone’s throw of your grandparents, aunts or uncles, neighbors, and you name it. If your parents have a bias that breast feeding is best for a newborn, your mother likely will breast feed you. If not, you may be given any number of alternative “milks,” some of which work okay with your brain and body and some that may result in sensitivities, sometimes even seen as colic.

Do you have another example of learned bias? (more tomorrow)

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Brain Bias – Common Questions, 3

Is safety the only bias the brain has?

I suppose that question would depend upon what you lump into the category of “safety.” If you believe that anything and everything unlike you is “no safe,” then that could be a huge pot of “not safe.” It does appear, however, that beyond the instantaneous safety evaluation, each brain does have its own bias: some biases are innate, perhaps related to cellular memory, or even learning in utero. Others are learned and developed beginning very early in childhood. Estimates are that 50% of the problems people face in life are of their own making—and what you don’t know you don’t know can create many of those problems. Which mean, that you might be triggering your own problems because of a brain bias that you don’t even know you have.

What do you mean that bias is learned in childhood? (more tomorrow)

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Brain Bias – Common Questions, 2

Is the brain innately biased?

Turns out the brain does have an innate bias that relates to “safety.” Some studies suggest that the fastest determination the brain ever makes is “Am I safe?” The safety evaluation is triggered whenever the brain sees anything unfamiliar for the first time. For example, when it encounters another human being for the first time , it makes a nano-second-fast evaluation:

        Have I seen this person?
        Have I seen someone similar before?
        Is the person like me or different from me?
        Am I SAFE?

Depending on the brain’s assessment, it prompts you to approach or withdraw—to “move forward toward” or to “move back away from”—the person.

Is safety the only bias the brain has?  (more tomorrow)

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Brain Bias - Common Questions

What is Bias? 

A bias can be defined as an inclination for or against something and appears initially to be related to safety, but it can expand to include anything and everything. Bias assessments may be the fastest decisions the brain ever makes, occurring at nano-second speeds and is related to a perception of safety. Typically, the brain seems to feel safer around what is familiar and what is most like it.

Is Bias a good thing or a bad thing?

It can be either one. Used appropriate it can be life-saving. Used inappropriately it can be deadly. It can impact your beliefs, lead to bullying behaviors, escalate into bigotry, and then can influence your own brain’s bias and the actions you take and the behaviors you exhibit.

Is the brain innately biased? (more tomorrow)

Monday, August 5, 2019

Autism and Vaccines

Some a still convinced that “vaccines are responsible for autism. “Sure, 10 years ago studies were initiated to evaluate this possibility. However, according to Autism Science Foundation, the question “has been answered.”

Studies evaluated children who received vaccines and those who didn’t, or who received them on a different and slower schedule. They found that there were no differences in their neurological outcomes. Multiple studies have also investigated mumps, rubella, and measles vaccinations, along with thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative). “The results of studies are very clear; the data show no relationship between vaccines and autism. (This site lists studies and a reading list.)

Friday, August 2, 2019

Autism and Genes, 3

In the research group, the study appears to show that Autism is linked more to genetics (perhaps up to 80%) than any environmental factors.

Andrew Adesman, M.D., chief, developmental and behavioral pediatrics,Cohen Children's Medical 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Autism and Genes, 2

In the researched subjects, the study found that that genes related to synapse function in the cortex were affected. Also, the microglial supporting cells (involved with the brain’s immune system also showed problems with genes. [Note: I found it fascinating that the glial cells were implicated. You may recall hearing news that the dementia related to HIV infection and AIDS appears to have resulted due to the dysregulation and death of the microglial cells—and without their support and care for the neurons, they died]

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Autism and Genes

In the research sample, this study found some commonality between Autism and Schizophrenic in terms of genetic underpinnings. According to the abstract, autism and schizophrenia represent diametric conditions with regard to their genomic underpinnings, neurodevelopmental bases, and phenotypic manifestations. This showed up in some dysregulated genetic under-development in Schizophrenia versus dysregulated over-development in Autism. There were also some findings in the signaling systems linked to schizophrenia that showed some overlap with those for autism and for ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Autism and Shared Common Genetic Risk Factors

In reportedly the largest study of its kind to date (2006), researchers concluded that some neuropsychiatric diseases appear to share some common genetic risk factors: Autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Autism and Its Underpinnings

The incidence of Autism (or its identification) seems to be increasing. People want to KNOW what are the underpinnings or contributors and can it be prevented. Every year more studies reports are adding to the body of knowledge. Two main theories are being investigated:  Anatomical and psychological. (Poor upbringing per se has pretty well been discounted.) Genetic dysfunction and possibly mirror neurons may be the most promising path.

Rather than try to restate the abstracts, I will share some study URLs or reports that seem to be whittling away at this bit by bit. You can try to access them directly if you are interested. Currently they are all functioning. However, sometimes the addresses are changed or removed, as you know.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Blue Light Waves and Prudence

Blue light waves from the sun are here to stay—at least for the foreseeable future. Blue light waves from electronics are here to stay, too, and more types of electronics are being invented. It is possible to enjoy the benefits of sunlight—and you couldn’t live without it—and also benefit from electronics and still minimize the hazards. Consider:
  1. When out in bright sun wear dark glasses (along with a hat when at the beach or out in the middle of the day) to help reduce the blue waves that reach the retina
  1. When using electronics:

 ·       Look “up and away” into the distance every few minutes
·       Consciously blink more frequently
·       Stay well hydrated to help keep eyeballs moisturized
·       Use blue-light-blocking glasses or screens to reduce the blue waves that reach the retina
·       Get up and move around for a couple of minutes every 30 minutes of screen time
·       Create and live a balanced lifestyle that includes disconnecting from electronics for some period of time every day

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Blue Light Waves and Protection

Researchers say that while filters in human eye such as the cornea and the lens do a decent job of blocking ultraviolet rays from reaching the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye, those filters do not block natural or artificial blue light from reaching the retina. That is the reason it is important to wear sunglasses when out in the bright sun. Some are also choosing to wear special blue-light blocking glasses or screen protectors when using electronic devices. Studies have shown that exposing your eyes to a digital device for two consecutive hours can cause eyestrain and fatigue—to say nothing of exposure to artificial blue light waves. Estimates are that 60 percent of people who use electronic devices spent an average of six hours a day viewing a screen. That’s a great deal of unprotected exposure to artificial blue light waves—and no one knows what that is doing to the developing brain and eyes.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Blue Light Waves at Night

Some believe that the photoreceptor cells in the retina display the highest rate of oxidation of all cells in the body. Apparently, unprotected exposure is bad enough during daylight hours—worse at night. Researchers have linked exposure to artificial blue wave light at night (e.g., working the night shift) to an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, obesity, some types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and an increased risk for depression. This may be because blue light waves can suppress the production of melatonin. Lowered levels of melatonin are linked with inadequate amounts of sleep; inadequate amounts of sleep are linked with the development of chronic illnesses; chronic illnesses are linked with a potentially shortened lifespan. It’s a vicious circle.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Artificial Electronic Blue Light Waves

Because they are shorter, Artificial Electronic Blue Light Waves or High Energy Visible (HEV) wavelengths flicker more easily than longer, weaker wavelengths. This type of flickering creates a glare that can reduce visual contrast and affect sharpness and clarity. This flickering and glaring may be one of the reasons for eyestrain, headaches, along with physical and mental fatigue caused by many hours sitting in front of a computer screen or other electronic device. Natural filters in the human eye do not provide sufficient protection against blue wave light rays from the sun, let alone the blue light emanating from these devices and from fluorescent-light tubes. Prolonged exposure to blue light may cause retinal damage and contribute to age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to loss of vision over time.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Blue-Violet Wave Light

The sun gives off a natural form of blue light waves that appears blue-turquoise in the visible light spectrum. This has slightly lower energy and a corresponding lower potential to cause damage. Filters in the human eye are better able to filter out this natural source of blue light, although wearing dark glasses when out in bright sunlight is recommended for prevention. So what is the problem? Technology! The closer blue light waves fall toward the Blue-Indigo end of the visible spectrum, the more risk they pose to your eye health. These are the type of blue light waves that emit from the LED screens of computers and smartphones and tablets and so on. These highest energy blue light waves can cause the most damage to your macula. With the huge increase in LED screen time in recent decades, human eyes are being asked to handle vast amounts of artificial blue light waves, putting a serious strain on vision.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Retina and its Macula

Perhaps the subtlest, but most serious risk of blue light is long-term damage to your macula. The macula is the central area of the retina and is of particular interest to retina specialists. The macula is an oval-shaped pigmented area near the center of the retina. Remember, that the retina is the light sensitive tissue which lines the inside of the eye. The macula is the functional center of the retina. Over time, exposure to the sun’s blue light can lead to thinning of your macula, which can accelerate your eyes’ aging process, leading to age-related macular degeneration. This disease often appears as blurred spots in your vision and, in some people, can advance to loss of vision. Here’s the main problem: not all blue light waves are created equal.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Retina and the CNS

When sunlight enters the eye, it strikes the light-sensitive retina. Remember, the retina is part of the central nervous system (CNS) and is connected to the brain via the optic nerve. The retina contains different types of cells. The photoreceptor cells are sensitive to light. I’m sure you’ve heard of rods and cones. These cells are specialized neurons in the human eye. Rods are more sensitive to light and help you see under low-light conditions. They do not process color vision, however. Cones are capable of color vision and are responsible for high spatial acuity. They need more light to produce a correct signal, however, so may find it difficult to process color on a dark night outdoors. The photosensitive retinal ganglion cells discovered only in the past decade or so, communicate not only with the master circadian pacemaker located in the suprachiasmatic nuclei or SCN of the hypothalamus, but also with many other brain areas that are known to be involved in the regulation of several functions including health.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Blue Light Waves and the Brain

No doubt you noticed the band of blue light on the drawing of the electromagnetic spectrum. Blue light has one of the shortest and highest-energy wavelengths. Blue light waves are everywhere. Did you ever wonder the reason the sky looks blue? When the sun’s rays travel through the atmosphere, the high-energy blue waves crash into the air molecules, scattering blue light everywhere. Blue light waves from the sun helps you feel alert, be in a pleasant mood, strengthen your immune system, and regulate your circadian rhythm. When you are out of doors, you can be exposed to blue light wherever the sun’s rays can reach you. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Electromagnetic Spectrum and the Eye

The human eye is sensitive to only one part of the electromagnetic spectrum: visible light. Light is made up of electromagnetic particles that travel in waves. Every wavelength is represented by a different color. The human eye is able to “see” colors in the visible light portion of the spectrum. (An exception is an eye that has some type of color-blindness.) You might want to search for pictures of the electromagnetic spectrum on the Internet—some clearly show the position of the colors that are also often seen in a rainbow. Imagine cutting a horizontal slice from a rainbow and placing it in a straight line. From left to right the human eye can see violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. The colors blur into each other without clear demarcations between each distinct color.