Friday, July 30, 2021

Obesity & Dementia

Are there studies verifying that obesity is more dangerous to the female brain?

 Yes, there are. Studies have shown that being overweight or obese may be even more dangerous to the female brain. Women who are obese throughout life are more likely to lose brain tissue—linked to cognitive decline in the temporal lobe, involved with language, memory, and hearing. As their BMI (Body Mass Index) increased, their risk of brain atrophy (shrinkage) also increased from 13 to 16 percent. Adult obese women showed increased risk of brain atrophy (shrinkage), which increases their risk for brain damage. A higher BMI was associated with shrinkage in every region of the cortex. The higher a woman’s weight and BMI, the worse off she was in terms of brain function. Both males and females with high levels of belly fall risk changes in testosterone. Aromatase, an enzyme in fat cells, converts testosterone to a type of estrogen—which puts the testosterone-estrogen ratio out of balance.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Obesity Epidemic

I am a little tired of hearing about obesity, especially obesity supposedly liked with dementia. What is the real scoop?

 Scientists have identified an obesity epidemic that spans the globe. According to World Health Organization, worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975. In 2020, 39 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese. Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese. Obesity is bad for the brain, period. “Big may be beautiful”—not for the brain.

 Studies of 8,000 twins showed that being overweight doubled the risk of developing dementia; and being obese quadrupled it. A higher BMI (Body Mass Index) was associated with shrinkage in every region of the cortex.

 Individuals with excess belly fat are more than 3 times as likely to develop memory loss and dementia later in life compared with those with a more svelte waistline

 More tomorrow 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Tour de France & Tears, 2

The Tour de France is an annual, multi-stage, road bicycle race held in July. Established in 1903 by newspaper L'Auto, the Tour is the most well-known and prestigious of cycling's three Grand Tours. it consists of 21 day-long stages over the course of 23 days. Make no mistake: it is a very big deal if you are into bicycle racing. It combines brains and brawn—and strategy. Every morning during the race, I turn on the TV and catch up on what happened while I was sleeping. I am not privy to all how all the rewards are shelled out in this 3-week event, not do I pretend to understand all the rules and regulations that allow a person to win. I do know that competitors have trained for years and years, and a win in a very big deal. Tears are a gesture of deep and meaningful emotion and tend to be exhibited by humans—regardless of gender—who have an energy advantage in the frontal right Envisioning Quadrant of the brain. This part of the brain sees the big picture, mentally pictures success, and believes something is likely possible. It is the most likely quadrant to “gesture deep emotions” by tearing up. The young man you may be referring to, was a Stage winner for that day, well on his way to equaling the overall record for number of wins. His brain expressed what a big deal this was through tears. Bravo, both for winning and for living his authenticity. That’s my brain’s opinion. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Tour de France & Tears

I enjoy watching the Tour de France. However, I was almost embarrassed today to see one of the Stage Leaders shed tears. I mean, real men don’t cry. What is with that?

 Ouch. I thought those old stereotypes were finally being put to rest. It is the brain that cries, and whether it does so, depends on several factors—not on whether they represent “real men” or not. Shedding tears depends on the depth of emotion being experienced, what that represents to the brain and the importance placed upon it, and on where the individual’s innate giftedness resides within the brain. You may know that the two brain hemispheres are further divided in two. The top half (frontal right) of the right hemisphere is the home of “gestures.” That’s the part of the brain used primarily when signing a language, when flipping the bird to a reckless driver (like not a good choice), and when experiencing and exhibiting deep emotion. If individuals have not yet identified their brain giftedness in the Frontal right—or have identified with building skills in another quadrant to match family or societal expectations—they may feel deep emotion and repress tears. If they are living authentically, they may tear up.

 More tomorrow.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Isolation & the Brain, 5

There are things you can do to minimize the effect of social isolation as experienced by many during the COVID-19 pandemic. For one, select the behaviors you choose to exhibit with care, to avoid being incarcerated and placed in solitary confinement! This can result in the development of or exacerbations of many emotional problems including psychosis. There is an old saying, “Those who eat alone, die alone.” One of my favorite activities has always been eating with people I dearly love. Since I live alone, that ran into a cement wall when lockdown occurred. At first, I tried playing music while I ate. That probably helped my digestion but did little if anything for the isolation from human contact. My best solution was to find a documentary, favorite sit-com, National Geographic programs, or Blue Planet and watch that as I ate my meals. Not only do I find those programs very interesting, but the visuals and sounds of human voices made a huge difference. I no longer have a live dog, what with so much traveling, and cats make me sneeze and my eye’s run. I do have a fluffy white Persian “adult” toy cat that sometimes sits on my lap. Try strategies until you find what works for your brain. Know that when you reach out to connect with others, they can be benefited as well.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Isolation & the Brain, 4


Kinesthesia is my second sensory system and when my English heritage is showing, I am relatively uninterested in touch. When my French heritage pops up, I crave being touched and hugged by my best friends. When that is not possible, I recall in my mind’s eye what that feels like. I score as an ambivert, leaning toward the introverted side of the EAI continuum (extrovert, ambivert, introvert). Most of the time I am okay working alone—and do my best writing or composing in solitude. Periodically, I crave in-person connection and when that happens, I canvass my close friends until I find one who has time to connect with me in person. I am clearly auditory, and my best friends know that. Several times a week, my iPhone vibrates with a call from a best friend. It is a matter of knowing who you are, knowing what you need and what works for you, and taking responsibility to make that happen in a healthy and productive way.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Isolation & the Brain, 3

Other factors play into the impact of social isolation. These include an individual brain’s uniqueness. For example:

 ·       Sensory preference (60 percent of the general population is visual, 20 percent is auditory, and 20 percent is kinesthetic). Kinesthetics are very sensitive to touch and extremely discriminating about who they touch and by whom they are touched. They enjoy touch that they choose and reject touch that doesn’t “feel” right.

·       Familial and cultural imprinting influence how social isolation impacts the person, which is impacted on how much physical touch is familiar. Studies have found that Americans touch family and close friends once per hour when they are together. Brits tend to touch less than Americans or not at all. French and Italians touch family and close friends 100 times an hour.  

·       EAI preference, meaning whether they are extroverted, ambiverted, or introverted.


More tomorrow. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Isolation & the Brain, 2

There are strategies you can embrace to minimize the effect of social isolation as experienced by many during the COVID-19 pandemic. Select the behaviors you choose to exhibit with care, to avoid being incarcerated and placed in solitary confinement. This can result in the development of or exacerbations of many emotional problems including psychosis. There is an old saying, “Those who eat alone, die alone.” One of my favorite activities has always been eating with people I dearly love. Since I live alone, that ran into a cement wall when lockdown occurred. At first, I tried playing music while I ate. That probably helped my digestion but did little if anything for the isolation from human contact. My best solution was to find a documentary, favorite sit-com, National Geographic programs, or Blue Planet and watch that as I ate my meals. Not only do I find those programs very interesting, but the visuals and sounds of human voices made a huge difference. Try strategies until you find what works for your brain.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Isolation & the Brain

I live alone and except for my cell phone, some zoom calls, and delivery persons, I have been isolated. My memory seems much worse that it was at the beginning of the pandemic. Some days I feel like I’m going crazy!

 You are not alone. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2018 found that 1 in 10 Americans feel lonely or isolated all or most of the time—and that was before COVID-19. Social isolation brings with it its own health cost and can affect mental health. The human brain is relational. Granted, different brains need more relational connection than others—but regular human connection is vital. A correlation between viral attacks on the brain and resulting mental-health symptoms has been well-documented since the 18th Century. Social isolation during the early postnatal period of development can lead to several abnormal and lasting behavioral and pathophysiological features resembling the core symptoms of some neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia.  Estimates are that social isolation is the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. 

 More tomorrow.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Advertising & the Brain

I do not understand the reason companies show a picture on the Internet with a catchy title . . . then when you click on it the process begins with 6 lines about something entirely different with a “next” button—37 frames later you may get the answer to the first title question—or not. Drives me crazy! What’s the deal and what do you do?

 Since I am not privy to these companies, I can only guess it’s an advertising strategy—perhaps so you are exposed to all the adds surrounding the “6 lines.” This is my personal modus operandi: If I see an advertisement that looks interesting and I see “next”, I stop. The same with medical promotions that ask you to turn up the volume and listen, only to discover 57 minutes later that the answer is only available by purchasing a product. If the promotion offers a “script” I am more likely to read that and y to do that and have even made a purchase or two. Otherwise, my time is worth much more than that. If you really want to know an answer, google it. You’ll likely find it without having to sufferingly pace yourself hitting “next” or listen to someone drone on and on—unless you have nothing better to do. If you think that is harsh, remember that your time is valuable and does not last forever. Ask yourself, “How do I want to spend it?”

Friday, July 16, 2021

Narcissism Questions, 5

What can a parent do to avoid providing risk factors for a child to develop a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)?

 Some believe that narcissism in adulthood may be the response to anguish from a troubling, difficult, abusive, and inconsistent environment; one in which Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) occur. The healthier and more functional the parent, the healthier and more functional the parenting style is likely to be. For example:

 Be consistent, make sure your words and actions match.

Aim for balance, avoid erratic actions/reactions, unpredictability.

Be calm. Parental anxiety can trigger insecurity in children.

Be kindly realistic in terms of praise and criticism. Avoid extremes: lavishing exaggerated praise and/or criticizing them far too harshly.

Give loving attention. Negative attention is still attention.

Role model the behaviors you want to see in the child. Training by example is generally the most successful style.

The child is not “bad,” but loved, even when behaviors need tweaking. 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Narcissism Questions, 4

I do not understand the perspective that those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder have low self-esteem. How can that be?

Studies have shown that individuals with NPD do have low self-worth. This makes them hypersensitive to perceived criticism or defeat. They are prone to feelings of shame, humiliation, and worthlessness over minor or even imagined incidents. They usually mask these feelings from others with feigned humility; or by isolating themselves socially; or by reacting with outbursts of rage and/or defiance; or by seeking revenge. They utilize various strategies to protect the self at the expense of others. Although overconfidence tends to make individuals with NPD ambitious, it does not necessarily lead to success and high achievement professionally. Thus, they be unwilling to compete or may refuse to take any risks in order to avoid appearing like a failure. In addition, their inability to tolerate setbacks, disagreements, or criticism, along with lack of empathy, make it difficult for such individuals to work cooperatively with others or to maintain long-term professional relationships with superiors and colleagues.

More tomorrow 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Narcissism Questions, 3

What causes a person to develop a Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

According to the DSM-5, the exact cause or causes are unknown. Potential contributors include: 

  • ·            Genetic changes and heritability
  • ·            Changes in the structure or functioning of the brain
  • ·            A parenting style either excessively pampering/spoiling or excessively critical (either can start a child on a journey of entitlement, an overestimation of his/her own abilities, the manipulation of others for his/her own ends, and a need to be viewed as better than everyone else). 

Risk factors may include: 

  • ·       Family history of mental health disorders
  • ·       Unpleasant family life during childhood
  • ·       Adverse Childhood Experiences, ACE’s
  • ·       Conduct disorder during childhood 

More tomorrow. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Narcissism Questions, 2

Is Narcissism heritable and is it increasing?

A study of 304 sets of twins examined genetic and environmental bases of two dimensions of narcissism: intrapersonal grandiosity and interpersonal entitlement. Study reports indicated: We are living in a narcissistic age. Narcissists attach superfluous importance and excellence to themselves at the same time they enjoy exploiting and manipulating others. Both grandiosity (23 percent) and entitlement (35 percent) were found to be moderately heritable, while simultaneously showing considerable non-shared environmental influences, meaning they were largely independent of each other in terms of their genetic and environmental sources. There is some sense that this disorder is increasing, partly perhaps because some think this is a Narcissistic Age--with competitive emphasis on individuals. The behavior typically begins by late adolescence or early adulthood and occurs across a variety of social situations.

 More tomorrow. 

Monday, July 12, 2021

Narcissism Questions, 1

These blogs are helping me identify some of my relationship problems and are giving me hope . . . it wasn’t totally “all my fault” after all any time I didn’t do exactly what one of my friends wanted me to do. Would you repeat a definition, please? 

There are more questions being raised on this topic than I ever expected! Glad to. Here it is.

Narcissism is characterized by a grandiose sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy for others, a need for excessive admiration and attention (even negative attention is attention), inability to accept criticism of any type, and a belief that one is unique and therefore deserving of special treatment in recognition of their perceived higher status—along with low self-esteem that may be camouflaged. They tend to devalue, derogate, insult, and blame others, often responding to threatening feedback with anger and hostility. In severe cases, the individual views everyone as inferior and may be intolerant of being asked any questions or of any disagreements. More tomorrow. 

Friday, July 9, 2021

More Indian Hills Signs

 I think they are exceeding clever. I hope that “brain” does some more.

 I am going to start collecting highlighters. Mark my words.

When you said life would get back to normal after June, Julyed.

What do you call a hippie’s wife? Mississippi.

Nothing tops a plain pizza.

When you teach a wolf to meditate, he becomes aware wolf.

The girl in the middle of the tennis course is Annette.

Water is heavier than butane, because butane is a lighter fluid.

My son wants to study burrowing rodents. I told him to gopher it.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Narcissism, 9

Is there any treatment that can help individuals deal with a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)?

Although there is no cure for Narcissistic Personality Disorder per se, treatment and therapy can help people manage their moods, change their disruptive behaviors, and treat comorbid problems such as anxiety and depression. When an individual wants to improve and is willing to work at altering thought processes and exhibited behaviors, it can be done. The brain has plasticity, meaning that it can rewire itself to exhibit more functional behaviors. Unfortunately, the reality is that those with NPD think they are just fine and blame everyone else for everything perceived as undesirable. Treatment and therapies may include: 

·       Psychotherapy is often a first line of treatment to help individuals understand their condition and learn to manage emotions appropriately.

·       Medications may be prescribed to manage some of the symptoms, especially if anxiety and/or depression are present.

·       Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be helpful to manage thinking and behavior dysfunctions.

·       Individuals may need assistance in focusing on the treatment plan and being open minded about the benefits. They may need encouragement to discuss feelings and experiences with family members or trusted friends.

Learning the importance of and living a balanced lifestyle can be important as fatigue, loss of sleep, improper eating habits, and even dehydration can make it more difficult to manage emotions appropriately. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Brain and Narcissism, 8

Factors that have been identified as possible contributors to the development of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder, include:

 An oversensitive temperament (personality traits) at birth.

Excessive admiration that is never balanced with realistic feedback.

Excessive praise for good behaviors

Excessive criticism for undesirable behaviors in childhood

Overindulgence and overvaluation by family members or peers.

Being praised for perceived exceptional looks or abilities by adults

Adverse Childhood Experiences (e.g., abuse)

Unpredictable or unreliable caregiving from parents

Learning manipulative behaviors from parents or peers

Valued by parents as a means to regulate their own self-esteem

More tomorrow

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Brain and Narcissism, 7

When does a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) develop?

That is a complex question. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a complex condition that may be comorbid with other affective and personality disorders. The roots of NPD tend to reach back into childhood. The disorder itself may be diagnosed after age 18. A combination of multiple factors—environmental, social, genetic, neurobiological—likely play a role in formulating a narcissistic personality. There is evidence that NPD is heritable, and individuals are at a higher risk of developing the disorder if there is a family history of the disorder. Cultural elements are believed to influence the prevalence of NPD as well, since NPD traits have been found to occur more frequently in modern societies than in traditional ones.

 More tomorrow. 

Monday, July 5, 2021

Brain and Narcissism, 6


What do I look for so I can avoid becoming personally involved with someone who has NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder)?

According to the DSM-5 Manual, a Narcissistic Personality Disorder is characterized by overtly emotional and unpredictable behavior, a pattern of grandiosity, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. Those with a diagnosis of NPD typically exhibit many of the following symptoms: 

Exaggerate their achievements

Expectations to be recognized as superior

Need continual admiration from others

Grandiosity with expectations of superior treatment from others

Fantasies of power, success, intelligence, attractiveness, etc.

A self-perception of being unique, superior, and associated with high-status people and institutions

Sense of entitlement to special treatment

Expect other to acquiesce to them or be obedient to their wishes

Exploitative of others to achieve personal gain

Unwilling to empathize with feelings, wishes, and needs of others

Intensely envious of others

Tend to believe that others equally envious of them

More tomorrow.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Brain & Narcissism Revisited, 5

I made the acquaintance of a person who I just found out has been diagnosed with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Trying to keep the relationship on track has been difficult. Is this something serious? Is there anything I can do to “fix” them?

It is important to realize that a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a type of mental illness. In the latest DSM-5 Manual. NPD is under the umbrella of Cluster B Personality Disorders, which also includes:

 Antisocial Personality Disorder

Histrionic Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder.

You cannot “fix” another brain. The individual must come to the realization that his or her behaviors are resulting in broken relationships and be willing to seek help. It is important to recognize the symptoms so you can take steps to protect yourself as needed.   

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Brain & Narcissism Revisited, 4

What can you do when confronted by a person exhibiting narcissistic behaviors? First, recognize that it involves:

Their complete self-absorption (it is all about them)

An inability to manage anger

Low levels of self-esteem

Virtually nonexistent Emotional Intelligence skills

A failure to be empathetic

A definite tendency to blame others for everything

Poor coping styles with the ups and downs of life

Low motivation for improvement

Refuse to accept blame or responsibility when it is not yours. One problem is that someone with NPD tends to “hear a negative” even if none was intended. When I encounter narcissistic behaviors, I ask myself: “Will this matter in 12 months?” If the answer is no, I simply get through that encounter as soon and as gracefully as possible and immediately find something for which to be grateful—to keep my brain upshifted. If the answer is yes, then I address the issue functionally. Meaning, I set and implement appropriate boundaries to protect myself. When the narcissist is an adult family member, you can still choose to limit your exposure, set and implement appropriate protective boundaries, and avoid taking their narcissistic behaviors personally. More tomorrow.