Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Facial versus Body Language

What is more powerful, facial expression or body language?

Body language may be more innate and reveal more than either spoken or facial language. You can paste an insincere smile on your face. However, it looks different from an innate Duchenne smile that automatically crinkles the corners of your eyes. A post by Svelt Kristo on November 22, 2019, pointed out that 1st impressions are formed by the amygdala, an emotional center in the limbic system. If the face or object is unknown, the brain checks with the hippocampus, the brain’s search engine, to see if it is “safe.” If yes, great. If not, the fight-or-flight stress reaction may be initiated. 

Monday, May 30, 2022

Fair Assessments

Is it fair to make an assessment after only 1/10th  of a second?

Whether it is “fair” or not is an unanswerable question. It is what the brain does, likely linked with its built-in safety bias. Assessments based on facial appearance play a significant role in how individuals treat others and how they are treated. Psychologists have long known that attractive people often get better outcomes. Those who smile appear more charismatic and are likely to get better outcomes. And when you smile even though you may not feel like it, your brain actually responds to that and helps you feel better. Those with a competent-appearing face may influence who is elected to public office. First impressions can be positive or negative, welcoming or off putting. It is what it is. You can do something about both your appearance and your body language.

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Friday, May 27, 2022

Time Lapse and First Impressions

How long does a 1st impression last?

Researchers evaluated five traits including trustworthiness and attractiveness using times of one second, one-half a second, and one tenth of a second. The length of exposure time did not matter. Impression results from one tenth of a second exposure were correlated with impressions made without any time constraints—and were typically the same. Even after six months of getting to know the initial stranger, the first impression still held. Gestures, facial expressions, and body language are part of first impressions.


A new audio podcast is posted every Saturday morning


A new video podcast is posted every Saturday morning


Thursday, May 26, 2022

Do First Impressions Last

Is three seconds the definitive time for a 1st Impression?

 Hang onto your hat. Recent studies have shown that all it takes is one tenth of a second to form a first impression of a stranger after seeing their face. Research has shown that although longer exposures might increase the confidence in that first impression, it does not significantly alter that first impression. It seems that you never have a second chance to make a good first impression professionally and rarely have a second chance to make a good first impression on a personal level. When getting a 1st impression of another individual, take context into consideration. Pick up on multiple body-language cues and be sensitive to cultural differences that may impact expression of body language. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

First Impressions

Is it really true that first impression are formed within the first 10 seconds after you meet someone for the first time?

That used to be the belief. Then additional research cut that time from 10 second to 7 seconds—the amount of time during which a stranger will form a nearly indelible impression of you. Or you form a nearly indelible impression of a stranger. Before long that time was cut from 7 seconds to 3 seconds. This may mean that you need to have your first-impression persona in place not in the blink of any eye but all the time. Knowing who you are and living that knowledge authentically in the moment may be critical to success. Studies have shown that first impressions of an object occur at lightning speed. Apparently, a similar  impression can occur with personality traits.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Spectrum & EEG

Using the new-generation of EEG technology developed by Harvard University, Aditi Shankardass, PhD, reports that nearly 50 percent of children previously diagnosed with autism are found to be suffering from some degree of brain seizure activity that is undetectable to the eye. In some cases, these seizures are the cause of the autism-like symptoms. In other cases, these seizures are not causal, but coexistent to autism and are exacerbating the symptoms. In a few cases, the seizures are mild and possibly unrelated to, or a consequence of, the symptoms. In the cases where these seizures are the cause of the symptoms, once the seizures have been detected and treated, the level and speed of recovery in the children has been remarkable. Dr. Shankardass indicated that “these EEG scans are enabling a more accurate diagnoses and more targeted treatments… hundreds of children, who were undiagnosed or misdiagnosed by the system, are realizing their full potential while their brains can still recover.” 

Monday, May 23, 2022

Spectrum & Brain Seizures


If you are interested in the Autism Spectrum, you may be interested in watching the TED India 2009 presentation by Aditi Shankardass PhD. She specializes in an Electroencephalogram or EEG diagnostic technology developed by Harvard University, which records and analyses the brain’s electrical activity in real time. This allows researchers to watch the person’s brain as it performs various functions, detecting even the slightest abnormalities in these functions, and providing a more accurate and comprehensive clinical picture of the child's brain abnormalities than is available from primarily behavioral observations. According to Dr. Shankardass, results from these EEGs have been startling. More tomorrow.


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Friday, May 20, 2022

Two-Way Street

It should come as no surprise to realize that there is a direct relationship between emotional stress and physical distress. Another mechanism that lends credence to physiology as the source of intestinal dysfunctions is the system of mast cells in the gut that have an important role in immune response. During stress, trauma, or fight or flight reactions, brain neurons call for more immune surveillance, and mast cells in the wall of the GI system are activated. These mast cells release histamines and other inflammatory agents, mobilizing the enteric nervous system to expel the perceived intruders, which can cause diarrhea. According to Dr. Mawe, professor of anatomy and neurobiology at the University of Vermont, In animals, inflammation makes the sensory neurons in the gut fire more often, causing a kind of sensory hyperactivity. He is reported to have said, “I have a theory that some chronic disorders may be caused by something like attention deficit disorder in the gut.”

A new audio podcast is posted every Saturday morning


A new video podcast is posted every Saturday morning


Thursday, May 19, 2022

Neurons Cooperating

Several studies seem to substantiate that gut neurons form an underlying contributor to conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS. It is estimated to impact 20 percent of Americans with symptoms that include abdominal pain and loose stools. Dr. Gershon indicates that many doctors dismiss the severity of IBS and/or attribute it to psychoneurosis because they don't know exactly what it is. Michael Gershon, MD, neurobiologist at New York's Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, has pointed out that antidepressants such as SSRIs, when used in doses too low to treat depression, have been found effective immediately in helping to resolve symptoms in IBS patients. A study by Robert M. Stern, a professor of psychology at Penn State (the results published in the journey ‘Neurogastroenterology and Motility’) found that biofeedback helped people consciously increase and enhance their gastrointestinal activity. They used brain neurons to help the gut neurons. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022


Gary M. Mawe, professor of anatomy and neurobiology at the University of Vermont, has pointed out that the GI tracts of people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) look essentially normal. The default assumption has been that IBS is a psychosomatic disease. It turns out that IBS, like depression, is partly a function of changes in the serotonin system: too much serotonin rather than too little. Typically, when working properly, serotonin is released into the gut and initiates an intestinal reflex. Then it is removed from the bowel by a molecule known as the serotonin transporter or SERT.  This transporter is found in the cells that line the gut wall. People with IBS have insufficient amounts of SERT so they have too much serotonin floating around in the bowl, which triggers diarrhea. The excess serotonin then overwhelms the receptors in the gut, shutting them down and triggering constipation.


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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Butterfly Communication

According to Dr. Gershon, author of The Second Brain, you feel like there are butterflies in your stomach when brain neurons send a message of anxiety to gut neurons. The gut neurons then send messages back up to the brain. However, it has been discovered that gut neurons can work on their own, initiating messages that go up to brain neurons when the GI system isn’t happy. When are the gut neurons unhappy? When you overeat or eat food that irritates the GI system. When you are stressed emotionally, frightened or overly anxious, or have constipation or diarrhea, etc. (Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is not the same as IBD or inflammatory bowel disease.)

Monday, May 16, 2022

Gut Butterflies

Have you ever felt like butterflies were flapping their wings in your stomach? Have you ever heard someone say, “I went with my gut?” Likely that referred to signals from your ENS or Enteric Nervous system, now dubbed Your Second Brain. That is because your gut is filled with neurons that try to get your attention to give you information when it is deemed you need to know.  A sense of butterflies in your stomach can result from a surge of stress hormones released during a fight-or-flight event. Another way of getting communication through to the conscious portion of your brain is through the messages sent from the gut neurons up to your brain neurons.

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Friday, May 13, 2022

Gut Serotonin

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and emotions. that most people associate with the human brain. However, only about 10 percent of serotonin is released in the brain. The other 90 percent—as far as is known—is released in your gut, a fact that likely contributed to adopting the term Your Second Brain. Naturally everything goes better when you have just
right amount of Serotonin. Too little and your mood may fall; too much and you run the risk of being overly anxious. In the GI System, serotonin impacts digestion, bowel movements, and appetite. It can help you realize that you are full, and that eating more food would be over-eating.


A new audio podcast is posted every Saturday morning


A new video podcast is posted every Saturday morning


Thursday, May 12, 2022

Wandering Nerves

Gut neurons talk to brain neurons all the time, typically via the vagus nerves—there are two of them, a left and a right, although they are often referred to just as the vagus nerve. The word “vagus” means wandering in Latin. Indeed, the vagus nerves wander through the body, from the brainstem to the digestive tract and other body organs. It is the longest nerve of the autonomic nervous system in the human body. Gut neurons do not have conscious thought as do many of the neurons in your brain. However, they regularly send messages to the brain. Perhaps 90 percent of the messages traveling back and forth go from gut neurons up to brain neurons. Once the messages are in the 'brain in your head,' some of the information is thought to come to conscious awareness. Perhaps together they want to help you identify the reason that butterflies seem to be fluttering around in your stomach. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022


The gut-brain-axis is a term that refers to the back-and-forth communication system between the brain and the gastrointestinal or GI system. Or, as some might say, the talk that goes on between neurons in the human brain and those in the second brain in the gut. This communication occurs primarily via the vagus nerve. Studies have shown that the gut-brain-axis is becoming increasingly important as a therapeutic target for gastrointestinal and psychiatric disorders. It is thought to play an important role in the relationship between the gut, the brain, and inflammation, especially in disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Neurons in Your Gut

Gut neurons look like those in the brain in your head, eat the same neurotrophic food, and use many of the same neurotransmitters. For example, estimates are that 90 percent of all the serotonin in your entire body lives in your gut or Gastrointestinal System (GI System). The serotonin helps trigger digestion. Neurons also utilize serotonin to send signals up to the brain 'in your head from your 'second brain', information that can impact your desire to eat or not to eat. Serotonin also acts as a go-between, keeping brain neurons up to date with what is happening in gut neurons. Conditions such as anxiety and depressive disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, stomach/duodenal ulcers, and Parkinson's disease are said to have symptoms both at brain-neuron and gut-neuron levels.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Your Second Brain

I just heard a news commentator mention ‘Your Second Brain.’ What is that and where is it?

It refers to the neurons that live in the walls of your Enteric Nervous System or ENS. That’s another term for your Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract or gut. Its two-layered walls stretch from your esophagus to your rectum. Consensus used to be that neurons were relegated to the brain and spinal cord. Then researchers discovered ‘neurons’ in the ENS or GI system, counting perhaps a million or more. As equipment became more sophisticated, estimates were revised upwards to maybe 200-600 million. Recently I heard someone say that there may be as many neurons in your gut as in parts of your brain.  

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Friday, May 6, 2022

Genetic Expression

Why are the 7 billion people on planet earth said to be different?

They are each different because each combination of genome, epigenome, microbiome (with microbiota and virome) and epigenetics are different. These impact and influence your genes along with the behavior and physiology of your cells. Because molecular pathways connect the mind and body, your thoughts, attitudes, and perceptions impact optimal wellness. Everything from your attitudes, mindset, thought patterns, self-talk, beliefs, habits, and addictive behaviors, whether or not you are living a Longevity Lifestyle, what you eat and drink, whether you are hydrated or dehydrated, your sleep patterns, and ad infinitum. Who knew?

 A new audio-video podcast is posted every Saturday morning


Thursday, May 5, 2022

More Genomes

Your genome, 46 or more chromosomes and the guesstimated 30,000 genes on them, was once thought in charge of determining your development. This included your height, skin hue, eye color, IQ, and so on. Additional types of genomes have been described such as:

Epigenome: the set of chemical modifications that can occur to the DNA in the cell, which alter gene expression and are heritable.

Microbiome: a term used to describe the trillions of  microorganisms (such as fungi, bacteria and viruses) that exist in or on your body.

Microbiota: the variety of bacteria in the human body, helpful and harmful.

Virome: the viral component of the microbiome. Its trillions of viruses likely outnumber the microbiota.

A new audio podcast is posted every Saturday morning


 A new video podcast is posted every Saturday morning


Wednesday, May 4, 2022

DNA Alphabet

Dr. John Stamatoyannopoulos is credited with discovering DNA’s secret language. If you think of DNA as a language with 64 letters in its alphabet, it makes sense (metaphorically) that if one of the words is misspelled, the meaning to the phrase or sentence can be completely changed. Imagine you were writing a paper for school and instead of using the word ‘mine’ you used the word ‘mind.’ That ‘mistake’ could give an entirely different meaning to the gist of your homework paper and could result in the professor giving you a lower grade. About 15 percent of DNA’s 64-letter alphabet (codons) are dual-use codons (duons). They do two things at the same time that involve both amino acids and transcription factor (TF) sequences. This means that many DNA changes that appear to alter protein sequences may actually cause disease by disrupting gene control programs or even both mechanisms simultaneously. For example, (e.g., sickle cell anemia can be caused by a change in one single gene). 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Mutations in the Genome

Estimates are that about 5 percent of cells in your body that multiply and divide mutate. That is, the new cell fails to copy the pattern completely and accurately from the original. Think of a mutation as simply a change in the spelling of a DNA sequence. What does that mean? DNA has or is a genetic language that consists of 64-letters known as codons. This DNA alphabet spells out your genetic code. The letters are organized into words and sentences known as genes. Estimates are that humans have about 30,000 genes (far less than as originally believed). Every person’s DNA contains mutations that typically are quite harmless. Others, however, are harmful and may be responsible for triggering abnormal conditions and specific diseases.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Learned or Innate

Can you give me an example of innate body language?

Body language does appear to be innate. If heathy, all infants exhibit the “startle reflex” if they suddenly feel as if they might fall or be dropped. It seems to be built into the emotional expression systems of both brain the body, although not all brains exhibit emotions the same. For example, some brains tear up at the drop of a hat. Some almost never shed tears. Studies done by researchers from British Columbia observed athletes at the Paralympics. Picture two athletes, side-be-side, one with visual sight and one congenitally blind. After winning, both athletes automatically exhibited the same body language to express pleasure at winning, the sighted and the non-sighted.   

Chromosomes and Genome

What is a “genome” and how does it involve chromosomes
The term genome  refers to your complete set of genetic information encoded within 23 pairs of chromosomes in the cell nucleus and the 25,000 to 30,000 genes on them. For over 40 years it was assumed that DNA changes affecting the genetic code solely impacted how proteins were made. According to Dr. John Stamatoyannopoulos, University of Washington associate professor of genome sciences and of medicine, this basic assumption about reading the human genome missed half of the picture. New findings highlight that DNA is an incredibly powerful information storage device. There are, of course other types of "genomes." 

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