Tag Archives: the brain

Politics and the Brain

Are there different regions of the brain that create a liberal, moderate, or conservative way of thinking? Are these particular and other types of political ideologies learned from our parents? The answer is probably both.

Like any other belief system we are most likely the product of genetics and environmental shaping. That shaping can take many years and it is okay to have a different political leaning at one age versus another. The critical thing is to understand your own belief system and values and act consistently with them. You may find that your values change over time based on experience and that is also okay.

Far too often people will get into strong verbal disputes about politics and it tends to be about one’s belief about how terrible this guy is or how great that lady is. In fact, most of us do not know our political leaders and it is also probably true that most leaders are decent people. What we really need to discuss in civil ways are our beliefs and why we think such beliefs can advance something good. It is okay to disagree. When it gets personal the conversation has moved from the beliefs.

As neural plasticity involves a type of shaping of the brain for thought, emotion, and behavior we can be fairly sure that our political philosophy has a place within the cortex that is dynamic and probably attached to emotional centers. When we connect the philosophy with reason and communication skill we have developed a real talent. When we remain at the emotional level and try to articulate our beliefs we might get a bit personal.

Stick to your own values and what you believe regardless of any leader. These are your beliefs and that is a good thing

Quiet the Brain

In addition to a good night sleep and plenty of rest to enable the brain to consolidate information learned during the day, the brain also benefits from quiet moments during the day.

A quiet moment does not involve any goal, task completion, or endpoint. It is about process and about being in the here and now. A quiet moment can occur anywhere at any time so long as you permit your brain to shut down and to turn inward.

Removing structure and demand from your existence enables your brain to freely roam and to explore ideas and feelings that get shut out with structure and task driven behavior. Your most creative moments will come from such experiences.

It is not easy to create quiet moments. You need to establish parts of your day when you remove all chores, all responsibilities, and all task demands. It is simply time to be, for you to exist. It might mean a walk, sitting on a bench or under a tree, or playing an instrument. There is no conscious deliberation, it is meditative and introspective.

Sounds easy, but it is not. Give it a try and perhaps you will get in touch with your creative side!

Benefits of a Brain Healthy Lifestyle

The Brain and Autopsy

Neuropathologists can confirm clinical diagnoses at death by doing an autopsy. Such work can reveal the presence of markers characteristic of particular diseases. This might include neurofibrillary tangles and neuritic plaques indicating the presence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or stroke as examples.

The other interesting thing about autopsies of the brain is that the neuropathologist may uncover something peculiar about the person’s brain that can help to explain that person’s talent or brilliance in a particular activity. One example is Einstein’s brain that had a slightly different area of the parietal lobe relative to the rest of the population. This might help to explain his appreciation of space and numbers.

As I watched the recent funeral of Michael Jackson the most salient issue for me was the children. Like many, I hope and pray for their wellbeing and comfort. I have also noticed multiple articles in the media on determining cause of death in this case and the value of conducting an autopsy of the brain.

I understand the need to determine cause of death; however I am hopeful that any autopsy of the brain also sheds light on the brilliance and creative spirit of Michael. I wonder if the neuropathologist might discover some ideas within the folds and grooves of the brain that help all of us understand not only the brilliance of Michael, but of the human brain and our potential to create.

Freedom and the Brain

Canada and the United States have celebrated their nation’s birthdays and freedom. The cost of such freedom has been and continues to be paid with significant sacrifice and loss of life. Freedom is a great gift and certainly one deserving the rich celebration every year.

I wonder about the brain and freedom and believe the natural existence for our brain is to be free. Our brain is at its best when it is creative and free to imagine, dream, and innovate. Structure and imposed limitation on the brain’s ability to think and to speak is both unnatural and unhealthy.

Surveys have documented the number one value for an older adult is independence. Freedom to move, live, make decisions, and act as one wishes is what independence is about. Dependence on others is the antithesis of freedom and a state of being that most of us fear.

We can enjoy the fact that we in Canada and the United States live in freedom, that we have independence, and that our brains have every opportunity today to create a great innovation that will change the course of mankind!

Please Speak into my Dominant Ear

ear

The human brain has what is known as a dominant side and a non-dominant side. Dominance is determined by where language is processed and for the vast majority of humans we believe the dominant side is the left side or left hemisphere. Interestingly, we are not sure why the left side evolved to be dominant, but perhaps it had something to do with cave men and women using their right hands more often.

As language is processed primarily by most in the left hemisphere it is important to note that words are best processed when spoken into the right ear. The right ear processes information primarily using the left hemisphere while the left ear uses the right hemisphere.

A recent study found that words were more deeply processed when spoken into the person’s right ear. Therefore, if you want me to remember something for you please speak to me on my right side.