First, research has shown that siblings are no more alike in personality than two unrelated individuals in the general population. Studies attribute this to the fact that each sibling really grows up in a “different environment.” You may want to refresh your memory on this topic starting with the March 8, 2021 blog. Second, studies have shown that epigenetics (everything that is not genetics) is responsible for about 70 percent of how well and how long a person lives; genetics contributing only about 30 percent. More tomorrow.
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
Stress does appear to be a risk factor for depression. However, studies at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University have discovered evidence that short-term stress such as a series of tough college exams or preparing one’s tax return is not the type of stress that seems to be linked with depression. Instead. is “chronic, unpredictable stress like that which erupts in our personal and professional lives.” For example, working in an environment where the “boss” or “supervisor’ periodically flies into a rage. Or living in an environment where a partner flies into a rage periodically. The kicker is that the brain does not know when this unpredictable stress may occur, which induces changes in the function of these AgRP neurons. “Walking on eggs,” wondering when the next shoe will drop, et cetera, creates a type of unpredictable chronic stress that is now being linked with an increased risk for depression.
Monday, March 29, 2021
So, what’s this I hear about stress linked with depression? I find that contradictory. Just living creates stress, so how come everyone isn’t depressed if stress is linked with depression?
Good question. Yes, “stress is living.” Every time you ask your brain and body to "change," to do something different or in a new way, there is some stress involved. However, there is “stress” and there is “stress.” Eustress is positive stress; distress is negative stress; and misstress involves situations and events that can be stressful but are often overlooked. There also is predictable and unpredictable stress. Scientists at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University have been studying this. They have reported that a tiny group of neurons found exclusively in the bottom portion of the hypothalamus called the arcuate nucleus, or ARC, and are known to be important to energy homeostasis in the body as well prompting us to pick up a fork when we are hungry and see food. Known as AgRP neurons, they are susceptible to stress, which can contribute to depression. It is, however, more complicated than that. More tomorrow.
Friday, March 26, 2021
found that people who enjoyed reading fiction for leisure and who identified as a reader scored higher on language tests, whereas those who read to access specific information scored more poorly on the same tests. Studies have shown the benefits of reading. Besides having better verbal abilities, lifelong readers are known to be more understanding of others, more empathetic, less prejudiced, to attain higher socioeconomic status and even to live longer, healthier lives than non-readers. Set aside 30 minutes every evening with an interesting, fun book (fiction or nonfiction—because fiction is just a story about life) and take turns reading. As time goes by, you may be very glad you became a “reading family.”
“What’s your pleasure? exploring the predictors of leisure reading for fiction and nonfiction” by Sandra Martin-Chang, Stephanie Kozak, Kyle C. Levesque, Navona Calarco & Raymond A. Mar. Reading and Writing
Thursday, March 25, 2021
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
I heard there is a study that said Neurobiology Research is shedding light on the differences between heterosexual brain and non-heterosexual brains. Do you know about it and what does it mean?
The reference is below as reported via Karolinska Institute The study was done in collaboration with the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and King’s College London, UK. What does it mean? According to the researchers, “patterns important for classifying between males and females were less pronounced in non‐heterosexuals . . . These findings support a neurobiological basis to the differences in human sexuality.”
Cross‐sex shifts in two brain imaging phenotypes and their relation to polygenic scores for same‐sex sexual behavior: A study of 18,645 individuals from the UK Biobank” by Christoph Abé, Alexander Lebedev, Ruyue Zhang, Lina Jonsson, Sarah E. Bergen, Martin Ingvar, Mikael Landén, Qazi Rahman. Human Brain Mapping
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
strongest known risk-factor for depression is said to be a lifelong history of stress. According to researchers, early-life stress—depending on its intensity, timing, and other specific features—triggers a threefold increased risk of adult depression. Stress early in life has also been shown to increase a person’s “behavioral susceptibility” to stress later in life—increasing stress vulnerability. Therefore, it would stand to reason that if you had a stressful childhood—especially early childhood—it could be helpful to get serious about developing stress-management strategies and implementing them consistently. Researchers believe this information may lead to more effective therapies for depression.
Monday, March 22, 2021
My mother and her siblings experienced high levels of abusive-type stress growing up. They all suffer from depression. She has little observable stress now, but she is still depressed. What’s the deal?The “deal” may be that studies at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have shown that stress early in life increases one’s susceptibility to additional stress in adulthood. Stress, is of course, an epigenetic factor involving lifestyle—as opposed to genetics involving genes and chromosomes. The epigenetic modification, triggered by early-life stress, apparently impacts an important part of the Brain Reward System known as the nucleus accumbens, an essential component of the brain's reward system. It appears a specific enzyme associated with medium spiny neurons of the nucleus accumbens bidirectionally controls stress susceptibility. More enzyme equates with increased stress susceptibility. Less enzyme is linked with decreased stress susceptibility. More tomorrow.
Friday, March 19, 2021
Here are a few caveats.
Remember, you forgive others for your health. Failure to forgive yourself and others is harmful to your health.
2. One or both parents might not realize how their comments made parts of your childhood difficult. They may have done the best they knew to do—which does not alter the fact of how they behaviors impacted you.
3. Once you speak aloud to their picture, then let the anger, resentment, bitterness, sadness—whatever—go. Imagine they are rose pedals in the palm of your hand and gently blow them away.
4. Forgive yourself for believing the things they said to and about you—for such a long time. It was only their brain’s opinion, and you are the only person who really knows who you are innately.
5. Enjoy becoming the best “authentic you” possible. You can do it!
Thursday, March 18, 2021
Both my parents had favorites—the kids who were more like them. I resembled my mother’s older sister. They did not get along so you can imagine how I fared! I would like to dump the stress of unforgiveness. What to do? They are both deceased. End Quote:
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Dr. Bita Yadidi has described forgiveness as being willing to let go of the conclusions and assumptions the person has made and simply look at what happened as an experience in my life. Some experiences are good, some not so good. It is what we do with those experiences and the weight or importance we give them that makes the difference over time. When I looked at sibling differences in my family-of-origin as simply an experience in my life—one of many—it was quite simple to forgave family members for their comments. It was just their brain’s opinion—largely based on ignorance and their own issues. I also forgave myself for believing what they said hook line and sinker—for such a long time. “What were you thinking?” I asked myself and had to laugh. If I could learn to do that, I bet you could, too.
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Monday, March 15, 2021
First, it is important to understand in my brain’s option that according to Aristotle, any person who can make you angry becomes your master. From a brain function perspective on forgiveness, I believe that is because unforgiveness always involves some anger—and that anger keeps your brain and emotions thinking and feeling angry. Unforgiveness also involves resentment (which may be part of anger along with bitterness). In the words of Catherine Ponder, when you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel; forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free. More tomorrow.
Friday, March 12, 2021
I have read that forgiveness is important for health and longevity but I do not feel like forgiving my family for punishing me because I was not like my siblings. Did you forgive your family?
Thursday, March 11, 2021
You are so welcome. My own experience was somewhat similar. In my case it was: “If she didn’t look so much like her father, I would think they had sent the wrong baby home with me from the hospital.” I went away to college at age 17 and never returned home to live—partly because I felt so “different.” Initially—and unfortunately—I put that down to likely having a lower IQ than the rest of the family members (again from comments about my ideas being “dumb.”) this vantage point I can recognize how who I am must have been a big puzzle for my family—I can laugh about it now. We each only know what we know. Knowledge has power—one reason for continuing to gain knowledge. As we know better, we can live better. Congratulations on owning your own uniqueness.
The findings were published online by Cambridge University Press, Behavioral and Brain Sciences. According to the abstract, the authors hope the information “draws attention to the far-reaching implications of finding that psychologically relevant environmental influences make children in a family different from, not similar to, one another.”
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Studies have identified the importance of environmental influences on personality, cognition, and psychopathology among siblings. Research also converges on the remarkable conclusion that these environmental influences—rather than genetic inheritance—make two children in the same family as different from one another as are pairs of children selected randomly from the population. This helps to explain how one child may end up an axe murderer, while all the other siblings have no tendency toward any type of similar behavior and are horrified (and sometimes vilified) when such information is released. The findings were published online by Cambridge University Press. According to the abstract, they hope the information draws “attention to the far-reaching implications of finding that psychologically relevant environmental influences make children in a family different from, not similar to, one another.” More tomorrow
Tuesday, March 9, 2021
Their parents and extended family members (e.g., some elderly relatives may have died before the youngest child was born)
Parenting style (e.g., often most strict with the eldest child and much more relaxed with subsequent children)
Other siblings (e.g., eldest, middle child(ren), youngest child)
Pets (e.g., a puppy versus a senior dog, or no pets at all
Different classmates and teachers - sometimes a different school
Perhaps a difference in financial security
Different health issues, especially with older family members
There may be many more examplesMore tomorrow
Monday, March 8, 2021
Studies (Plomin and Daniels) have concluded that siblings have no more in common in their personalities than two completely unrelated strangers. Your observations appear to be correct—even if 50 percent of your genetic code is the same—for your family. The five siblings will be different. Researchers have found that the differences do not lie in the genetic code, but in the environment in which siblings grow up. “But we all live together in the same house,” you say. That may be true in the sense that you reside in the same living quarters. The answer to this conundrum appears to be that each child actually grows up in a different environment. More tomorrow.
Friday, March 5, 2021
Thursday, March 4, 2021
It likely comes down to mothering styles. Some hover over their children almost constantly, micromanaging them, keeping them busy every waking moment, and at times almost acting as 24/7 “servant,” or even living vicariously through their offspring. Some well-meaning mothers want to give their child(ren) the best of everything, including everything the mother felt she missed growing up. They fill their child’s time with so many lessons and events and activities that the kids themselves can feel overwhelmed, become exhausted, lose their zest for living, and become depressed. More tomorrow.
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
The human body and brain both need adequate amounts of exercise on a regular basis in order to function well. Going on a 3-hour-bike ride over a weekend does not compensate for 12 hours per day of sitting. The consequences can be increased weight gain for children as well as adults, lowered brain function (as vigorous exercise helps sweep the brain of waste products and replenish nutrients), and so on. Richard Restak, MD, has been quoted as saying: “Physical exercise is the single most powerful tool you have to optimize your brain function.” A study of 11-year-old children shed some light on this. . Moderate to vigorous exercise was linked with improved academic performance in Science, Math, and English. The improvement was also seen in exams scores of tests taken when the study participants were 16 years old. Of particular interest, science improvement among girls benefited the most from extra exercise.
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
A positive, empowering, affirming mindset contributes to positive results—in the brain as well as the body. Conversely, a negative, disempowering mindset contributes to negative results. Every thought you think, every decision you make, and every action you take is a health-relevant behavior because it affects every cell in your brain and body and moves you toward illness or toward wellness. C. Everett Koop, former Surgeon General of the United States of America, was reported as saying, “No prescription is more valuable than knowledge.” I would agree and add this: when practically applied daily, it can help you stay healthier and younger for longer.
Monday, March 1, 2021
Brain and body can communicate with each other via chemical messengers—and tend to do so constantly. What happens in the brain affects the body—and vice versa. You can choose to think a specific thought or replace it with a different thought. You can choose to act based on the thought or refrain from acting. Peter McWilliams, author of You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought, wrote that a negative mindset is the precursor of all life-threatening illnesses. Negative thinking (e.g., unresolved anger, fear, sadness) appears to be a key contributor to lowered levels of health and wellness. You have the power to choose the thoughts you hang on to and ponder.