Friday, February 12, 2016

Free Will—or Not

Do you really have ‘free will’ or is that yet another figment of human imagination? Philosophers in many countries have debated that very question for centuries if not eons. Benjamin Libet, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco, conducted an experiment in the 1980’s to assess the nature of free will. Subjects hooked up to an electroencephalogram (EEG) were asked to push a button whenever they liked. They were also asked to note the precise time that they first became aware of the wish or urge to move. According to a report by Kurzweil, Libet’s experiments showed that distinctive ‘readiness potential’ brain activity began, on average, several seconds before study participants became aware consciously that they planned to move. Libet’s conclusion was that the desire to move arose unconsciously, and ‘free will’ could instead only come in the form of a conscious veto of what he called ‘free won’t.’ More to come.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Event Boundary

I often get questions about the reason a person decided to retrieve something from another room and, once there, cannot recall what they wanted to retrieve. Enter “Event Boundary.” Psychologists at the University of Notre Dame have discovered that passing through a doorway triggers what's known as an “Event Boundary” in your brain. This ‘boundary’ separates one set of thoughts and memories from the next. It appears that as you move through a ‘doorway’ your brain files away the thoughts you had in the previous room and prepares a blank slate for the new room. So it’s pretty simply—at least it consistently works for my brain. As I walk through the doorway I say aloud what it is I want to retrieve in the next room or garage or whatever. Voila! My brain hangs onto it. Wonderful!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Abuse-Autism Link

Studies found that women who had suffered abuse were 60 percent more likely to have a child with autism. Researchers hypothesize that the long-lasting impact of abuse on a women’s brain and body, including the immune system and stress response system may be responsible for their increased chance of having a child with autism. If the trauma is current and ongoing, seek help immediately to either stop the trauma or remove yourself from it. If it was in the past you can’t change the past. But you can recover and create a healthier future for yourself. 

  (Andrea L. Roberts et al.Association of Maternal Exposure to Childhood Abuse With Elevated Risk for Autism in Offspring Autism and Maternal Exposure to Childhood Abuse.”)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Trauma and CRF

People sometimes ask if it’s worth it to do the work necessary for recovery from identified childhood trauma. Corticotropin Releasing Factor or CRF is a very powerful brain substance. Effects of CRF in limbic brain regions have been associated with increased fear, alertness, decreased appetite and libido, all functions relevant in the Fight-or-flight response and dysregulated in depression and anxiety disorders. Over-activity of the CRF/CRF1 receptor system has been demonstrated to be one of the long term neurobiological sequelae of early life trauma, a major risk factor for the development of affective disorders (such as depession). In fact, both rodents and non-human primates exposed to adverse experiences in early life exhibit evidence of hyperactivity of the CRF system as adults. Recovery work may be able to dampen down some of this CRF hyperactivity.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Override Your Genetic Code for Cancer

According to David P. Rakel, MD, director of integrative medicine at the University of Wisconsin, School of Medicine and Public health, even if your family has a history of cancer, there are things you can do to bathe that gene in a way to keep it from expressing itself. This means your genes may produce healthy tissue instead of tissue that is diseased or cancerous. Your lifestyle choices can override your genetic code and effectively reduce or even eliminate your chance of repeating your family’s history of poor health . . . We have the choice to bathe our genes with joy, happiness, exercise, and nutritious foods, or we can bath them with anger, lack of hope, unforgiveness, junk food, and a sedentary lifestyle. . . (LaBrec, Adelle. How to Reprogram Your DNA for Optimum Health.)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Rare Blood Type Registry

Fortunately, the American Red Cross has the world’s largest registry of rare blood donors and maintains a supply of frozen rare blood available for immediate shipment anywhere in the world. Here are a couple URLs that may be helpful if you’re looking for additional information or want to register.

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Rare Blood Types

The Bloodbook website lists rare ethic-related blood types. Here is an example of the most common blood types in the most often seen rare ethnic categories:

African American Blacks - U- and Duffy-
American Indians and Alaskan Native peoples – RzRz
Pacific Island peoples and Asians - Jk ( a- b- )
Hispanics - Di ( b- )
Russian Jews - Dr ( a- )
Whites - Kp ( b- ) and Vel

This means, of course, that minority and diverse populations play a critical role in meeting the constant need for blood for diversity.