Friday, March 29, 2019

Cognitive Dissonance, 5

A second way in which a person might try to resolve cognitive dissonance and reduce the resulting discomfort, is to look for new information such as research studies that create some uncertainty about whether the behavior really is that detrimental. For example, an individual knows that wearing a helmet while bike riding can help protect head injury in the event of a crash. The individual finds research that states that wearing a helmet does not always project the rider’s head and prevent injury in the event of a crash. So the individual does not wear a helmet, which reduces some of the discomfort from the difference between his original belief and he behavior choice to not wear a helmet. In the person’s mind, finding that study conclusion validates the decision not to wear protective head gear.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Cognitive Dissonnce, 4

The cognitive dissonance theory suggests that humans have an inner drive to avoid disharmony of thoughts and behaviors and maintain all attitudes and behaviors in harmony, a position referred to as the principle of cognitive consistency. When inconsistency exists between attitudes or behaviors, the person must change something to reduce or eliminate the discomfort of dissonance. There are several ways to reduce the dissonance. For example, if one of the dissonant elements is a behavior, you can change or eliminate the behavior. Because it is difficult for people to alter their behaviors, this mode of dissonance reduction may not be selected. For example, the doctor has told a patient with insulin-dependent diabetes that eating three candy bars a day is wreaking havoc with insulin levels. The patient refuses to alter a high-sugar intakes.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Cognitive Dissonance, 3

According to his biography, Leon Festinger, an American Cognitive Psychologist is best known for his theory of cognitive dissonance. He believed that an inconsistency between two different thoughts, or between thought and behaviors creates psychological discomfort—dissonance. This discomfort can motivate a person to alter either the thoughts or the behavior in an attempt to return to homeostasis or balance. Reportedly Festinger investigated this in a cult that taught the earth was going to be destroyed by a flood. The flood did not happen and Festinger studied what happened to the cult members. Less committed cult members were more likely to acknowledge they had made fools of themselves and chalk it up to “experience.” The extremely committed cult members (who had given up jobs or homes or both to work for the cult) were more likely to reinterpret the outcome in an attempt to reinforce that they had been right all along. For example, they said that the flood did not come and the earth was not destroyed because of their faithfulness to the cult.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Cognitive Dissonance, 2

In order to resolve the discomfort of cognitive dissonance, the individual may  alter one of the attitudes and beliefs or a behavior, hoping to find homeostasis or balance. For example, Mr. A smokes four packs a day and knows that smoking four packs a day can contribute to lung cancer. His uncle died of the disease. Mr. A does not want to discontinue the behavior of smoking. To lower the discomfort, he rationalizes that not every person who smokes four packs a day gets lung cancer. Yes, his uncle did, but his grandfather did not. Therefore this reduces Mr. A’s discomfort and he continues to smoke four packs a day. Mrs. B knows that drinking 3 sodas a day tends increase one’s weight. Mrs. B does not want to give up sodas. To lower the discomfort from cognitive dissonance, Mrs. B decided to spend ten extra minutes walking a couple of times a week. Sometimes the discomfort is lowered by selecting a token concession rather than addressing the real underlying behavior, which may not work long term, however.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance can be defined as the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change. In psychology, cognitive dissonance can be defined as the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, performs an action that is contradictory to one or more beliefs, ideas or values, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values. The current issues related to admission to colleges or universities may relate in part to cognitive dissonance. The mental stress caused by the dissonance can be reduced by the person exaggerating the desirability of the goal or that the end justifies the means.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Hydrogen Water, 2

The active hydrogen in HW functions as an antioxidant that can pass through the blood-brain barrier [BBB], although most antioxidant compounds cannot do this. BBB is a layer of tightly packed cells outside the brain that prevent substances in the blood from diffusing freely into the brain. Oxygen, glucose, white blood cells, nicotine, alcohol, etc., can pass through (Inflammation or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can damage the BBB, thereby increasing permeability). According to Lewis Thomas, MD, Sloan Kettering: The molecule of hydrogen water is small enough to penetrate into cells deeply. The utmost thing is hydrogen water can neutralize ROS, Reactive Oxygen Species, which are notorious for destroying normal cells or for distorting DNAs. (Oxygen free radicals contribute to the development of illness and ultimately are responsible for the aging process.)

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Hydrogen Water

You may recall that some call water (H20 ) the premium beverage for the human brain and body because it absorbs immediately, hydrates better than any other liquid, and requires no digestion. Miners sometimes called water the “other gold.” Outside of oxygen, water is your most essential nutrient because the body cannot manufacture it. Water is said to be the most efficient source of energy in the body. Enter Hydrogen Water or HW. What is it? HW is simply water that has been infused with hydrogen so that its composition is more than 2/3 hydrogen. Remember that water is 2/3 hydrogen and ammonia is 3/4 hydrogen by comparison.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Hydrogen BOnding

Hydrogen is a “bonding element” with a weak positive charge and often combines with other elements that have a negative charge. For example:

    -     Water (H20) is composed of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom, making water 2/3 hydrogen
    -     Ammonia (NH3) is composed of 3 hydrogen atoms and 1 nitrogen atom making it 3/4 hydrogen
    -     Hydrogen holds 2 strands of DNA together to form the elegant double helix, making replication of the strands possible, as they "unzip" along hydrogen bonds.

According to Dr. Helmenstine, bonding occurs because the electron is not shared evenly between a (positive) hydrogen atom and a negatively charged atom:  the hydrogen in a bond still only has 1 electron, while it takes 2 for a stable electron pair. The result is that the hydrogen atom carries a weak positive charge, so it remains attracted to atoms that still carry a negative charge.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019


Hydrogen (H) is the lightest element in the periodic table with a standard atomic weight of 1.008. Touted as the most abundant chemical element in the universe, it is said to make up 75 percent of normal matter by mass and more than 90 percent by number of atoms. At standard temperature and pressure, hydrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, nonmetallic, highly combustible gas (The sun is 75 percent hydrogen and nearly 25 percent helium with a few extra elements thrown in.) Most of the hydrogen on earth exists in molecular forms such as water or organic compounds. Hydrogen is considered to function as a “bonding element” in many cases. Hydrogen bonding occurs between a hydrogen atom and an electronegative atom such as oxygen, fluorine, and chlorine. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

Hydrogen Water and Health

You may have heard lately about HW or hydrogen water. I’ve had several texts and emails asking for my take on it. To begin, I need to back up and remind you of some high school chemistry. I nearly burned down the lab when something I want working on blew up. No one was hurt but I decided definitely not to become a chemist! An ion is an atom or a group of atoms with an electric charge. Positive ions, or cations, are formed by the loss of electrons; negative ions, or anions, are formed by the gain of electrons. You may recall that atoms typically have two electrons. The hydrogen ion or atom is composed of 1 proton and 1 electron and carries a weak positive (+) charge. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

PTSD, TBI, and Moral Injury

Over the past ten years or so, Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTS or PTSD) have become household terms. This is due in part at least to the maturation of attitudes about the costs of war. In a similar manner, moral injury is now the object of growing focus by researchers and academics. The type and severity of trauma that can cause PTSD, may also cause moral injury, as well. The Moral Injury project has pointed out that by its nature, moral injury does not necessarily present itself immediately. Some will experience questions of moral injury days soon after an incident. For others, however, difficulties will not surface for years. An experience with potential for moral injury is typically realized after a change in personal moral codes or belief systems. It might be helpful to do a personal inventory and ask oneself if moral injury could be something that is being wrestled with—sometimes without having had a label to pin on the internal conflict.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Moral Injury Project

Syracuse University has initiated a ‘Moral Injury Project.’ Reportedly, the Moral Injury Project at Syracuse University in New York State was formed in Summer 2014 after a gathering of academics, administrators, researchers, religious scholars, veterans, professors, chaplains, and mental health providers addressed the question: What are we doing about moral injury among US military veterans? Among other things, this project as defining moral injury as the damage done to one’s conscience or moral compass when that person perpetrates, witnesses, or fails to prevent acts that transgress one’s own moral beliefs, values, or ethical codes of conduct. War is one (but not the only) thing that can cause this damage. Abuse, rape, and violence may cause similar types of damage. “Soul repair” and “soul wound” are terms already in use by researchers and institutions in the United States who are exploring moral injury and pathways to recovery.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

“Canary in the Coal Mine”

Doctors Talbot and Dean describe physicians as the ”canaries in the health-care coalmine,” and point out that doctors are killing themselves at alarming rates; some estimate at rates twice that of active duty military members. This may be all wrapped up with moral injury due to the way health care is administered with no apparently way to alter the system. For physicians, a perception that they are failing to consistently meet patients’ needs has been found to have a huge and profound impact on the personal wellbeing of the physician. Talbot and Dean believe that this is the crux of consequent moral injury for doctors.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Moral Injury or Burnout

Burnout can be described as a group of symptoms an individual exhibits, including exhaustion and cynicism, which can combine to decrease one’s productivity. More recently the term Moral Injury is being applied to health-care professionals, physicians in particular. There is a difference between “burnout” and “moral injury.” A 2018 article by Simon G. Talbot and Wendy Dean was titled: “Physicians aren’t ‘burning out.’ They’re suffering from moral injury.” Silver, a journalist, described moral injury as the result of “perpetrating, failing to prevent, bearing witness to, or learning about acts that transgress deeply held moral beliefs and expectations.” Put another way, moral injury occurs when a brain perceives that there has been a betrayal of what is “right” by another individual or by one’s self as in “I did this.”  

Monday, March 11, 2019

Brain & Moral Injury

Reportedly, the term “moral injury” was first used in the context of members of the armed services to describe individual responses to a person’s actions in a war situation. The concept of moral injury includes psychological, social, cultural, and spiritual aspects of trauma. Moral injury among combat veterans tends to be diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. An individual signs up for the military believing in the purpose and then finds out that the purpose is actually different from what he or she believed. This can result in a sense of moral injury due to a sense of betrayal. Individuals who have seen and experienced death, destruction, and violence and/or who have had their beliefs shattered (e.g., sanctity of life, safety, love, health, peace) can also suffer moral injury. It can also be experienced by those who have been transgressed against (e.g., whistle-blowers who identify something they believe is unconscionable and then who are retaliated against). Identification of moral injury begins in the brain.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Spontaneous Remission, 2

According to Bernie Siegel, most patients who, instead of dying as predicted, get well—view their illness or disease as a wake-up call. The wake-up call prompts them to think carefully about how they are living, about a Longevity Lifestyle, if you will. They tend to change how they have viewed life, how they have lived life to date, and make major alterations in what they think, talk about, eat and drink, and how they feel, who they hang out with, and how their spend their time. Human beings (especially younger human beings) often perceive that “it won’t happen to me,” or “I’m different and exempt from what happens to other people.” The changes people make in their lifestyle when they almost die with a severe illness or disease, tend to begin with the realization that they are NOT exempt from the laws of nature, from the consequences of their own choices. Amazingly, the human body is quite resilient and making immediate different choices can lead to improved health and wellbeing—and sometimes to spontaneous remission. 

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Spontaneous Remission

Some healthcare professionals have projected how long a specific patient will live based, of course, on large sample studies of relevant data. Some patients die as predicted; some die sooner than predicted; and some out-live the predictions by years and years. What makes the difference? Apparently the patient’s own belief about what will happen. Caryle Hirshberg and Marc Barash, researchers at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, reportedly assembled the largest database on spontaneous remission in the world. One would think many publishers would be excited to publish their book entitles Remarkable Recovery: What Extraordinary Healings Tell Us About Getting Well and Staying Well. Not so. They reported that it took them several years to find a publisher willing to publish their book. Hmmm.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Health, Longevity, and Belief

In his book The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things, Larry Dossey, MD wrote that you cannot escape the power and influence of your beliefs. Pay attention to them because they can make the difference between life and death, health and illness. No doubt you have heard of spontaneous remission. According to the Psychology Dictionary, spontaneous remission refer to the reduction or disappearance of symptoms without any apparent therapeutic intervention. Dr. Al Seibert talks about this in his book The Survivor Personality, as well. In fact, there is an entire chapter devoted to “Self-Managed Healing.” So does Bernie Siegal in his book Love, Medicine, and Miracles. The bottom line appears to be that what an individual believes often happens. I recall a wise mentor saying that people rarely receive what they “deserve,” in life; they often get what they “expect.’ What do you believe about health and longevity? What do you expect? It matters!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Drinking Hot Water

Studies are showing some benefits of drinking very warm or hot water containing a tablespoon or two of lemon juice first thing in the morning. These potential benefits include:

  •      Boots up metabolism and increases the rate at which the body burns calories 
  •        Dissolves phlegm and helps clear nasal congestion 
  •        Soothes abdominal muscles 
  •        Helps flush waste from the body 
  •        Aids cellular repair that can improve skin elasticity 
  •        Flushes toxins out through pores in the skin 
  •        Activates receptors found in the stomach, esophagus, intestines,         and mouth that stimulate Brain Reward System 
  •        Helps break down fat deposits in the body and blood stream

Monday, March 4, 2019

Ice Water and the Brain

Information has been released related to drinking very cold or ice water and potential problems that can cause. Ice cubes are often not a clean as one would wish, some having been found to contain bacteria and fungi in restaurants as well as in homes. Various reports connect drinking ice water with:

·       Increased risk of a headache (more common in females) and a potential link with migraines
·       Increased risk of a sore throat
·       Increased expenditure of energy as the body’s core temperature needs to be raised to the average of 98.6 F or 37 C.

Friday, March 1, 2019

DID and the Brain, 5

DID is fairly rare but estimates may be inaccurate as this condition or phenomena is often misdiagnosed. The Calvin A. Ross Institute for Psychological Trauma has estimated that perhaps 3 million individuals suffer from DID in the USA. A DID specialist has explained a way to better understand the development of the different identities or alters. Think of them as compartments (cabinets, drawers) that the mind forms to create a type of mental insulation. These compartments are designed to isolate the traumatic experiences within the individual person’s mind where they are not easily accessible. Some think the compartmentalization is also trying to keep the healthier part of the person separate (day by day) from all the trauma. One of the benefits of therapy is helping individuals admit that what happened to them was indeed abuse (that for many had never been reported much less acknowledged) and deal with the fear that has been many times a constant companion. Fortunately, much can been done to make life better for individuals diagnosed with DID.