Friday, April 29, 2022


Humans typically have 22 pairs of chromosomes (one donated from each biological parents) plus a 23rd pair that are the sex chromosomes. Typically, a female human has two “X” chromosomes, and a male human has an “X” and a “Y” chromosome—for a total of 46 chromosomes. A sperm is the smallest human cell. The ovum is the largest human cell. With more research and advanced equipment, however, it has been discovered that some individuals have more than 46 chromosomes. Up to 49 chromosomes have been identified in some studies. The extra chromosomes tend to be multiples of the two sex chromosomes: “X” or “Y”.

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Thursday, April 28, 2022

DNA & Chromosomes

DNA and Chromosomes

Chromosomes are the structures that house the DNA in the nucleus of a cell. Reportedly night-nine percent of all DNA is housed in the chromosomes. The remaining one percent is housed in the mitochondria, These tiny rod-shaped organelles are the power generators or energy factories inside the cell. They convert oxygen and nutrients into energy that is stored as adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This chemical energy is the "currency" of the cell that powers all its metabolic processes. If the mitochondria stops working properly you are out of energy. Period.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022


I keep hearing about DNA but I truly do not understand it! Can you give me a simple explanation?

 DNA is an acronym for deoxyribonucleic acid. Reportedly it was first discovered in 1869. It took another 74 years before researchers realized that DNA was linked with genetic inheritance and could be passed along from one biological generation to the next. Ten years later, four individuals (James Watson, Francis Crick, Rosalind Franklin, and Maurice Wilkins) reported the structure of DNA as a double-helix polymer that consisted of two strands of DNA wound around each other. A polymer is simply a large molecule that is a combination of segments known as genes that are, bonded together. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Heart & Emotional Intelligence

According to HeartMath, “heart intelligence is really the source of emotional intelligence.Researchers now believe that you do a type of ‘thinking’ with your heart. Because the heart is a subconscious organ, however, it must communicate with the brain in order for you to become ‘consciously aware’ of what your heart is thinking. Your heart and brain neurons communicate continually through what has been called an unmediated channel (described as having no valves or governers). As with your brain, your heart can be happy, angry, fearful, or sad. Without even knowing about neurons in the heart, poets and writers have written about how this organ thinks and feels. The English language (and likely many others) contains euphemistic phrases to describe how the heart thinks and feels: heartache, heartbreak, broken heart, anguished heart, heart-felt, generous heart, disheartened, burden on my heart, hard heart, soft heart, no heart, pounding heart, trembling heart, lighthearted, heartburn, and so on. 

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Monday, April 25, 2022

Thinking Heart

I just heard someone say that we think with our hearts, not just with our brains. Tell me another!

 Another story? According to Sir Ken Robinson, stories can reach and educate both heart and mind. It was once believed, of course, that neurons lived only in your brain and in the central and peripheral nervous tissue. Now it is known that there are neurons in many places throughout your body. In your heart, for instance—that organ about the size of your fist that keeps blood pumping to your brain, bringing oxygen and nutrients to your neurons. Once thought to contain only muscle cells, researchers have found that your heart contains at least 40,000 neurons. They look like much like brain neurons, use similar neurotransmitters, eat the same type of neurotrophic food—and ‘think.’ Admittedly, it’s a new way of perceiving functions of the heart. No wonder eloquent writers and speakers often use ‘stories’ as their basic communication medium.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Are You Ever Bored?

Are you ever bored? What is boredom anyway?

 One dictionary defined boredom as “a state of being bored.” Very helpful, that. A friend of mine defined it as “Your brain is begging you to get a life.” Merriam-Webster put it this way: The state of being weary and restless through lack of interest. Am I ever bored? I can’t think of a time as an adult when I was bored. I may have been uninterested in what another person was waxing eloquent about, but those times just give me the opportunity to think up my next blog, or book, or podcast. Here are a couple of interesting (to me!) quotes:  

“Nobody is bored when he is trying to make something that is beautiful or to discover something that is true.” William Inge 

“The cure for boredom is curiosity.”  —Dorothy Parker

  Life is too short for me to be bored! 

A new audio-video podcast is posted every Saturday morning

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Spine and Stress

The Switzerland study involved two consecutive weeks with 512 days of observation of 39 office employees. Researchers wanted to evaluate whether or not work stress make you shorter. A 1-point decrease on a 5-point scale of perceived job control (the degree to which an employee feels free to set his or her pace or change the sequence of tasks) is associated with an additional 1 millimeter of daily spine shrinkage, a phenomenon linked to lower-back pain, According to the abstract, they found that after adjustment for sex, age, body weight, smoking status, biomechanical work strain, and time spent on physical and low-effort activities during the day, lower levels of daily job control significantly predicted increased spinal shrinkage. So, if you perceive your job is stressful, it might be helpful to ‘reframe’ the stress part.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Stress and the Spine

Does work stress really make you shorter? Tell me it isn’t so!

On average, normal spinal shrinkage causes people to lose about 14 millimeters, or 1% of their stature over the course of a day.  This is due to fluid loss from the intervertebral disk. With adequate sleep, they tend to recover their height. Researcher Ivana Igic and two colleagues from the University of Bern in Switzerland, performed an ambulatory field study of daily work stressors, job control, and spinal shrinkage among Swiss office workers to assess daily spine shrinkage, a phenomenon linked to lower-back pain. They wanted to investigate whether spinal shrinkage was greater during workdays compared with nonwork days, if daily work stressors were positively related to spinal shrinkage, and whether or not job control was negatively related to spinal shrinkage. More tomorrow.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Personality Disorders

What triggers personality disorders?

 Good question! In some individuals, the brain seems more susceptible for developing a Personality Disorder. There may be a genetic component, as the child of a parent with one of these disorders has a higher risk of developing a personality disorder themselves. In the case of Antisocial Personality Disorder (includes common terms of sociopath and psychopath), it also appears there needs to be an environmental cofactor or trigger to result in a dangerous form of the APD. The most common trigger in those with a higher risk is childhood abuse—often referred to in some studies as Adverse Childhood Experiences of ACEs. The incidence of severe Antisocial Personality Disorders is fairly rare, about 1 percent of the population. Those with an APD diagnosis or behavioral characteristics can be like a chameleon, exhibiting differing behaviors based on their environment. 

Monday, April 18, 2022

Narcissistic & Sociopathic Behaviors

Are individuals who exhibit narcissistic behaviors related to sociopaths?

They are “related” in that both terms are included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Edition 5. They are listed under Personality Disorders, Cluster B: Antisocial Personality Disorder (including common labels such as sociopaths and psychopaths); Borderline Personality Disorder; Histrionic Personality Disorder; and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Another way to view this is that likely all Antisocial Personality Disorders are narcissistic, although not all narcissists have an Antisocial Personality Disorder. There is evidence that a narcissistic adult, whose brain during adolescence (e.g., all adolescent brains are considered somewhat narcissistic) did not learn to move toward more balanced behaviors, may eventually exhibit an Antisocial Personality Disorder and can become extremely dangerous.

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Friday, April 15, 2022

Learn to be Brain-Body Wise

Yes, it can. Intuition, used properly, may trigger brain or body clues. 
Does your body give you clues when you are around a specific individual? Does your stomach tighten if you see their phone number showing on an incoming call? Do they put you down unless you go along with whatever they want to do? Do they criticize you to others (sometimes under the guise of ‘wanting to help you’ or to ‘resolve an issue that is in their minds only’? Do they blame you, which is an attempt to justify their behavior and feel better about their choices? Are they targeting you with “love bombing, but which requires that you do whatever they want you to do with them? Hone your intuition. It is a built-in safety mechanism in the brain. Pay attention to it. If you sense something isn’t ‘right’ or ‘safe’ about the relationship, protect yourself. This may mean ending all contact with the individual. You may want to access the Relationship Evaluation on my website to give you some clues (

 A new audio-video podcast is posted every Saturday morning 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Body Clues & Narcissism

How does the body give you clues about narcissistic behaviors in others?

 An estimated 80 percent of your brain and all of your body are part of the huge subconscious mind. The first clue that someone is trying to “love bomb” you or take advantage of you may be discomfort in some part of your body or your brain becomes anxious when you think about that person or their behavior. Perhaps you get a tightening in your gut when thinking about doing what they are asking you to do or about their behaviors to you—such as tracking where you are likely to be at any given time on a specific day. When this happens, pause and ask yourself: “What is my body trying to tell me?” For example, when I was consulting for Youth Authority and interacting with females who had experienced “date rape,” almost to a person they would say, “You know, I felt a bit uneasy or even queasy as I went to get into the car with this person. However, I brushed it off and told myself, ]don’t be silly, everything will be just fine’—only everything wasn’t just fine, as I soon found out.” The brain and body take in at least 10,000 pieces of sensory data per second and often pick up something that the person has missed at a conscious thought level.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Random Act of Kindness & Narcissism


Is it wise to do random acts of kindness for someone with narcissistic behaviors?

 I believe in random acts of kindness and do them every chance I get. It’s one thing to voluntarily do a random act of kindness, it’s another to spend your time dancing to someone else’s needy tune--or as the old proverb goes, avoid throwing your pearls to swine. The “time” requirements tend to increase dramatically along with acting out when you set your boundaries. No relationship is 100% functional and affirming all the time. Sometimes you give more, sometimes they do. There needs to be a balance, however, over time. If you are your friend’s primary resource or they get your attention through bad behavior or unwise choices or by pestering your spouse or child, rethink the relationship. Relationships that are not healthy and reciprocal are like a mild headache that you try to ignore but that somehow escalates into a major migraine on a regular basis. 

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Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Ego-Centric Narcissism

Is Narcissism Ego-Centric and is that exhausting?

If you define Ego-Centric as self-centered thinking in which you are concerned primarily about yourself with little or no regard for the feelings or desires of others, then yes, narcissism is ego-centric. “It’s all about me” is a key characteristic of narcissism. This characteristic is often seen in children and adolescents before their brains mature (and in adults whose brains have never “matured” properly). Is ego-centricity? Likely to everyone trying to deal with it. How is your energy level after spending a relationship encounter with them? Do you feel drained or energized? If you fail to meet their every request, do they become verbally abusive or complain about you to others or make it obvious that they are avoiding you? It In my brain's opinion, it is very exhausting trying to deal with a Personality Disorder. If you have a relationship that seems more exhausting than others, you may want to take the Relationship Evaluation Assessment on my website:

Monday, April 11, 2022

Tips for Escaping the Catastrophizing trap, Cont’d

Create problem-solving and coping strategies for high-probability events (e.g., earthquake, tornado, or flooding risks.) Believing yourself capable of managing undesirable events can reduce catastrophizing.

 Practice thinking ahead. Take proactive steps to prevent what can be prevented and plan how to handle what was not or could not be prevented. I tell my brain: Arlene, in an earthquake, you are doing do such-and-such.

 When negative things happen—and they will, as no one gets off this planet unscathed—learn as much as you can from them. Be willing to try new options which sometimes can result in wonderful new opportunities.

 Look for the happy and positive things in life. Stop focusing on and ruminating about all the negative experiences while glossing over positive experiences as if they were just luck or a fluke. Do random acts of kindness. They help the brain feel better. 

If you have difficulty or continue experiencing catastrophizing thoughts, seek professional help. 

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Friday, April 8, 2022

Escaping the Catastrophizing Trap

Catastrophizing is unhealthy for both brain and body and unpleasant to hear. Fortunately, it is possible to develop a new mindset and habits. Here are several tips.

Become aware of yourself experiencing cognitive distortions and picturing a catastrophe. Estimates are that 50 percent of problems in life are of a person’s own making based on personal choices. Identify a past problem and imagine a different outcome based on making a different choice.

·       Distinguish between positive, neutral, negative, or catastrophic outcomes. Failing to be hired in a job you wanted or failing an exam can be a negative outcome. It does not mean you will never find a job or be doomed to fail all exams.

 Practice weighing possibility versus probability. Consider a range of potential outcomes from low possibility to high probability. If you do not know how to swim, spontaneously trying to swim the English Channel would be a poor choice with a high probability of serious consequences. More to come.

 A new audio-video podcast is posted every Saturday morning

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Catastrophizing Brain Filtering

Brains that catastrophize tend to dwell on disappointment and disaster, filtering out all positives until they seem to recognize only negatives. They tend to keep repeating whatever they did before, which did not work, while hoping for a different outcome. Many throw up their hands and refuse to problem solve, period, believing they are helpless and everything in life is beyond their capability. They often respond to helpful suggestions with: Nah, that won’t work. They may stop trying to learn or neglect to apply new information, convinced it won’t help anyway, or try blame others in an effort to reduce some of their own discomfort. Since they rarely are open to trying other options, they may miss opportunities that do exist, thus becoming their own worst enemy. Remember the words attributed to Winston S. Churchill, reportedly a bit of a worrier himself: “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Catastrophic Thinking

What is Catastrophic thinking?

Catastrophic thinking is a cognitive or thinking distortion included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) 5th edition under Somatic Disorders. Fear, the underlying emotion for catastrophic thinking, is exhibited as persistent anxiety and worry. Some learned this in childhood from observing adults around them. Others developed this mindset after bad things happened. They quickly learned to imagine the worst possible scenario, jumping straight to the conclusion that it likely will happen. It’s as if they actually look for disasters to occur. If it does, they say, ‘I knew it! It always goes wrong. It’s hopeless.” Researchers of chronic pain have identified a three-step thinking pattern related to catastrophic thinking: Rumination, Magnification, and Helplessness. Unfortunately, it can become a habit and can lead to depression. More tomorrow.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2022

SCN & Rapid Changes

Hear Ye Hear Ye as the old town crier used to say. The SCN or brain’s internal circadian rhythm clock does NOT react well to rapid changes in light and dark (outside of the sun’s regular rise and setting). Rapid changes produce circadian disruption problems that can cause sleep dysfunction, daytime sleepiness, an increase in accidents, suppressed immune system, and so on. Rapid changes may be seen in shift work, especially if the shifts change frequently, and in jet lag. The number of time zones that are crossed is the factor in jet lag. Estimates are that it can take one day for every time zone crossed for the SCN or brain’s internal circadian rhythm clock to catch up. E-W or W-E flights are more problematic than N-S or S-N flights. Going straight north or south might have no time changes at all. Going West to East  is more problematic because you lose an hour. Going East to West is still problematic but slightly less so but milder because you gain time, which seems to hit the SCN less dramatically.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Jet Lag

I would really like to understand what happens in the brain with Jet Lag. Before travel was curtailed, I regularly flew to and from London and I always had Jet Lag. Any ideas?

Deep within your brain, located in the front portion of the hypothalamus, is a pacemaker or circadian clock. It is known as the Suprachiasmatic Nuclei or SCN. Its two portions contain about 10,000 neurons . It has two nuclei (portions) containing about 10,000 neurons. Reportedly, the sun clock has a 24-hour rhythm that is about 23 hours and 58 seconds long. The SCN or circadian rhythm clock has an internally driven 24-hour rhythm that tends to run slightly longer than 24 hours by a few minutes. The clock needs to reset itself every day by the sun’s sunlight. If for some reason sunlight cannot enter the eye, the circadian clock does not reset and a non-24 hour syndrome can occur. 

Friday, April 1, 2022

April Fools' Day

How in heaven’s name did April Fool’s Day come about? It’s plain ridiculous!

Thanks for the question. I didn’t know so I looked it up. Its exact origins remain a mystery, although it is still celebrated on April 1st annually. There is speculation it may have started in1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, per the Council of Trent decision in 1563. The mandate changed the New Year to begin the first of January. In the Julian Calendar, the new year had started with the spring equinox around April 1. People who were a bit slow to get this news and were either unaware or reticent to get on board were called “April fools.” They often became the butt of hoaxes and jokes. According to, “The embrace of April Fools’ Day jokes by the media and major brands has ensured the unofficial holiday’s long life.” Some people, caught unawares, can be quite gullible on April 1st. Personally, I always try to double check what I am told on that day and avoid swallowing everything I hear hook, line, and sinker.

 A new audio podcast is posted every Saturday morning