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Quote of The Day 9-18-2015

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe…Whatever you are, be a good one… Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power…” Abraham Lincoln

 

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Universe is ‘Giant Brain’

Physicists Find Evidence That The Universe Is A ‘Giant Brain’
Huffington Post UK | By Michael Rundle Posted: 27/11/2012 09:59 GMT | Updated: 27/11/2012 12:38 GMT

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The idea of the universe as a ‘giant brain’ has been proposed by scientists – and science fiction writers – for decades.
But now physicists say there may be some evidence that it’s actually true. In a sense.
According to a study published in Nature’s Scientific Reports, the universe may be growing in the same way as a giant brain – with the electrical firing between brain cells ‘mirrored’ by the shape of expanding galaxies.
The results of a computer simulation suggest that “natural growth dynamics” – the way that systems evolve – are the same for different kinds of networks – whether its the internet, the human brain or the universe as a whole.
A co-author of the study, Dmitri Krioukov from the University of California San Diego, said that while such systems appear very different, they have evolved in very similar ways.
The result, they argue, is that the universe really does grow like a brain.
The study raises profound questions about how the universe works, Krioukov said.
“For a physicist it’s an immediate signal that there is some missing understanding of how nature works,” he told Space.com.
The team’s simulation modelled the very early life of the universe, shortly after the big bang, by looking at how quantum units of space-time smaller than subatomic particles ‘networked’ with each other as the universe grew.
They found that the simulation mirrored that of other networks. Some links between similar nodes resulted in limited growth, while others acted as junctions for many different connections.
For instance, some connections are limited and similar – like a person who likes sports visiting many other sports websites – and some are major and connect to many other parts of the network, like Google and Yahoo.
No, it doesn’t quite mean that the universe is ‘thinking’ – but as has been previously pointed out online, it might just mean there’s more similarity between the very small and the very large than first appearances suggest.

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Daniel Ruano Testimonial

January 3, 2013
Brain Training Centers of Florida
Re: Daniel Ruano DOB: 11/3/2011

Daniel was born with certain abnormalities. After surgery to correct one of his conditions Daniel “coded” in the recovery room. All his MRIs revealed severe brain trauma and damage to all four hemispheres of the brain and the medical prognosis was not very hopeful.

This was a very stressful time for the family and we sought comfort and solace in prayer and by placing our trust in God’s care and guidance.

Daniel’s mom, Kenia saw a news spot on Univision and at the same time another relative also saw the program which spoke of brain training performed at The Brain Training Centers of Florida. Relatives began calling relatives and we all sensed that this was more than just chance but an answer to prayer.

We contacted Geoff Cole explaining Daniel’s medical condition. Geoff was cautious in not giving us any false expectation because of Daniel age and his medical history. But Daniel was destined to become the first infant under 2 years old to receive brain training.

Baby Daniel to everyone’s surprise began to react positively after the first session with Geoff. The first notable change was that Daniel began sleeping at night which was a relief for the family and for Daniel.

After a few sessions Daniel began to focus his eyes and began tracking moving objects and became more aware of his environment. He observed object on the walls next to his bed and even began making new vocal sounds. He began to cry to express his discomfort, hunger and the desire to be cuddled.

We have seen improvement with each session but we also understand that brain training is not a cure but a means to enhance Daniel’s quality of life.

We are very grateful to Geoff Cole and the wonderful staff at Brain Training Centers of Florida for their care, positive attitude and support. We would recommend any parent hoping to improve the quality of life of their child; no matter what their handicap to seriously consider brain training as a supportive therapy

For the Family;
________________________
Rev. Frank A Cebollero, M.Th.

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Use It or Lose

It ain’t no muscle. But, it sure is an energy hot.

Weighing in at about three pounds in the average adult, the human brain represents about 2 to 3 percent of the body’s weight but consumes 20 percent of its total energy output.

And, now there’s science-based evidence that – in a very significant way – the brain behaves like a muscle: It obeys the old gym law “Use It Or Lose It.”

Neuroscientists have known for a long time that a baby’s brain generates roughly twice as many nerve cells as it needs to function; through “paring” at various stages of infancy/childhood/adolescence, the brain ultimately eliminates those cells that do not receive sufficient chemical and electrical stimulation to survive. The process, often called “apoptosis” or “programmed” cell death, occurs when a brain cell, neuron, loses its battle with other cells to receive essential stimulation. Based on studies of the developing brain, researchers at the Queensland Brain Institute of The University of Queensland (Australia) have identified a critical clue to understanding why nerve cells die in neurodegenerative diseases. This self-destructive process is not only a normal part of human brain development, but it also plays a role in strokes, Alzheimer’s and motor neuron diseases, leading to the loss of essential nerve cells from the adult brain.

Reporting in the Journal of Neuroscience, Dr. Elizabeth Coulson and her colleagues have identified stimulation as a critical factor in the cell-death process. “It appears that if a cell is not appropriately stimulated, it self-destructs,” reports Dr. Coulson. “We know that a lack of both chemical and electrical stimulation causes the cells to self-destruct. But we believe that nerve cells will survive if appropriate electrical stimuli are produced to block the self-destruct process we have identified.”

A next step in research will be to determine whether dying cells receiving only electrical stimulation can be rescued. While years of research have been critical in determining factors regulating nerve cell survival, it will be a long process to combat neurodegeneration.

Francis J. (Skip) Flynn, Psy. D.

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Problems related to early use of alcohol

It just may be that it doesn’t matter which came first, the chicken or the egg. At least when it comes to the issue of later development of alcohol-related problems.

It now appears that age at first drink (AFD) and rapid progression from first drink to intoxication are both major – and independent – risk factors for the development of alcohol-related problems among college undergraduates.

“Many studies have found relationships between an early AFD and a range of negative alcohol-related outcomes in life, including the development of alcohol use disorders, legal problems like DUI, and health problems like cirrhosis of the liver,” noted Meghan Rabbitt Morean, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine.

“There is also evidence that beginning to drink at an early age is associated with more immediate problems, such as compromised brain development and liver damage during adolescence, risky sexual behaviors, poor performance in school, and use of other substances like marijuana and cocaine,” said Morean, a corresponding author of the study which will be reported in the November 2012 issue of Alcohol: Clinical & Experimental Research and is now available at Early View.

Morean and her colleagues studied 766 incoming freshman females and 194 males, using data obtained from bi-annual assessment from the summer after senior year of high school through the fall of their fourth year of college – four years. Participants self-reported their age of drinking onset and age of first self-defined intoxication, as well as frequency of heavy drinking and alcohol-related problems.

When the researchers looked at the effects of AFD and the time from first use to first intoxication as predictors of heavy drinking and problems across the four years, they found “… beginning to use alcohol at an earlier age was associated with heavier drinking and the experience of more negative consequences during senior year of college,” reported Morean. “Quickly progressing from first alcohol use to drinking to intoxication was also an important predictor of heavy drinking and the experience of alcohol related problems during senior year of college.

“It is important to speak to children and adolescents openly about the dangers of heavy drinking and provide them with correct information, for example, ‘how many drinks does an average male/female need to drink to exceed the legal level for intoxication?” said Morean. “It is also extremely important to remember that heavy drinking during adolescence and early adulthood is not confined to college campuses. Most adolescents begin drinking during high school, a significant portion of whom begin drinking heavily. To help address this, we suggest that new alcohol prevention and intervention efforts targeting high school students be developed with the goal of delaying onset of heavy drinking among those at increased risk due to an early onset of drinking.”

Francis J. (Skip) Flynn, Psy. D.

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Meditation

Buddhism, Taoism. Islam and animism. Protestant, Orthodox – Russian and Greek – and Roman and Uniate Catholic Christianity. Prayer in tongues and silence. Incense and holy water or megachurches with rock bands and secluded mountain-top monasteries.

So many types of religious experiences and expressions. Because one size does not fit all.

And now we know that one form of meditation doesn’t fit all.

Adam Burke, professor of Health Education at San Francisco State University and the director of SFS’s Institute for Holistic Health Studies has highlighted the importance of ensuring that new meditators select methods with which they are most comfortable, rather than what is most popular at the moment.

Meditators who select the “best fit” are most likely to stick with the practice, argues Burke, in a new study published online July 7, 2012 in Explore: the Journal of Science and Healing

Burke argues that the wrong fit may cause new meditators to abandon the practice, losing out on its myriad of personal and medical benefits. “Because of the increase in both general and clinical use of meditation, you want to make sure you find the right method for each person,” reported Burke, noting that there have been very few studies comparing different meditation techniques on a head to head basis to examine individual preferences or specific clinical benefits.

Burke studied 247 participants and four popular meditation methods – Mantra, Mindfulness, Zen and Qigong Visualization – to see if novice meditators favored one over the others. Participants were taught each technique and asked to practice at home and, at the end of the study, evaluate which they preferred.

The two simpler methods – Mantra and Mindfulness – were preferred by 31 percent of participants; Zen and Qigong were preferred by 22 and 14.8 percent respectively. While the results make it clear that no one technique is best for everyone and even less common methods – Zen and Qigong – are preferred by some, there is value in introducing new meditators to a simpler, more accessible method. Of note is the fact that older participants, who grew up when Zen was becoming one of the first meditation techniques to gain attention in the U.S., were more likely to prefer that method.

Burke observed that Mindfullness is the most recent technique to gain popularity and is often the only one with which novices and/or healthcare professionals are familiar. Not surprisingly, Mindfulness was most preferred by the youngest study participants.

He noted that simply because a particular form of meditation is popular at the moment does not mean that it is “best” for everyone. “In truth, different people like different things. One size does not fit all.” Burke noted that if an individual is not comfortable with the first form of meditation he/she uses, that individual may be less likely to continue meditating and would lose out on the benefits of meditation including reduced stress, lower blood pressure and enhanced performance in a wide range of activities.

Burke called for continued research to determine if particular methods are more effective in addressing specific health issues, such as addiction and, thereby, allowing professionals to guide patients toward the techniques that would be most effective for each individual.

Francis J. (Skip) Flynn, Psy. D.

Brain training through brain wave optimization using real time balancing is also a very effective tool for treatment of many health issues. The Brain Training Centers of Florida offices are open 7 days per week from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM for the convenience of our clients. For further information call (305) 412-5050

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Intelligent Sex Texting – Almost an oxymoron

“Intelligent sex texting” – it’s almost an oxymoron.

At least when it comes to about 30 percent of teens, according to a new report in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, a JAMA Nework publication.

Sexting – the electronically sending sexually explicit images or messages from one person to another – is so popular that it may constitute one of many “Not My Child” parents’ worst nightmares.

Researcher Jeff R. Temple, PhD of the University of Texas Medical Branch and his colleagues studied 948 students aged 14 to 19 years old (55.9 percent female) at seven public high schools and considered the association between sexting and sexual behaviors. Participants self-reported their history of dating, sexual behaviors and sexting. The assessed teen sexting with four questions: have they ever sent naked pictures of themselves through text or email, have they ever asked someone to send them a naked picture, have they been asked to send naked pictures of themselves to someone, and, if so, how bothered were they by the request.

Specifically, more than 1 in 4 adolescents have sent a nude picture of themselves through electronic means, about half have been asked to send a nude picture, and about a third have asked for a nude picture to be sent to them,” reported the authors. “Boys were more likely to ask and girls were more likely to have been asked for a sext.” In addition, white/non-Hispanic and African American teens were more likely than the other racial/ethnic groups to have been asked and to have sent a sext.

Of note, the research found that for both boys and girls, teens who sexted were more likely to have begun dating and to have had sex than those who did not sext.

“Given its prevalence and link to sexual behavior, pediatricians and other tween-focused and teen-focused health care providers may consider screening for sexting behaviors. Asking about sexting could provide insight into whether a teen is likely engaging in other sexual behaviors (for boys and girls) or risky sexual behaviors (for girls),” the authors noted.

Francis J. (Skip) Flynn, Psy. D.

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Sociometric versus Socioeconomic Status

A Bentley Continental Supersports Coup goes for somewhere north of a cool quarter million.

A Harvard undergraduate degree – roughly $50,000 a year if you live on ramen noodles when the dining halls are closed.

A twenty-plus days European cruises – chump change.

The respect and admiration of your friends and neighbors. PRICELESS.

It’s not just a riff on a clever commercial. It’s actually the truth.

At least in regard to overall happiness, according to a psychological scientist Cameron Anderson of the Haas School of Business, University of California (Berkley). Haas and his coauthors found that higher socioeconomic status not only doesn’t equate with a greater sense of well-being, but higher sociometric status – respect and admiration in your face-to-face groups including friendships, neighborhood, and athletic team – might make a difference in overall happiness.

“Having high standing in your local ladder leads to receiving more respect, having more influence, and being more integrated into the group’s social fabric,” noted Anderson in reporting a series of four studies in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science – June 20, 2012.

In the first study, the researchers surveyed 80 college ROTC students who participated in 12 different campus groups, including sororities. Peer sociometric statuses were calculated through a combination of peer ratings, self-report, and the number of leadership positions each student held; students also reported their total household income and answered questions related to their social well-being. In the ROTC study, sociometric status – but not socioeconomic status – predicted students’ social well-being scores, even after accounting for gender and ethnicity. The researchers replicated these results in a second – larger and more diverse – sample of participants. They found the relationship between sociometric status and well-being could be explained – in part – by the sense of power and social acceptance students said they felt in their personal relationships.

In a third study, the researchers found evidence that the relationship between sociometric status and well-being could actually be evoked and manipulated in an experimental study.

In the final study, researchers studied MBA students in “the real world” and found that sociometric status and well-being changed as students moved from pre-graduation to post-graduation and corresponded to changes in the students social well-being. A post-graduation sociometric status predicted social well-being more strongly than did post-graduation socioeconomiuc status.

“I was surprised at how fluid these effects were – if someone’s standing in their local ladder went up or down, so did their happiness, even over the course of 9 months,” noted Anderson.

Taken as a whole, the studies provide clear evidence for the relationship between sociometric status and well-being. “One of the reasons why money doesn’t buy happiness is that people quickly adapt to the new level of income or wealth. Lottery winners, for example, are initially happy but then return to their original level of happiness quickly,” noted Anderston.

At the same time, however, “It’s possible that being respected, having influence, and being socially integrated never gets old.”

Francis J. (Skip) Flynn, Psy. D.

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Parent: Friend or Parent?

I am tired of an all-too-popular piece of (for want of a better phrase) parental crap: The idea that parents and children are “friends.” In truth, I want to slap the stupidity of parents who tell me “My child is my best friend” or “I’m my child’s best friend.” It’s bogus, easy, cheap, and bovine digestive byproduct.

Years before my father was even in ill health, I had mentally written the opening lines to the sermon I would one day deliver at his funeral: “I don’t remember when; I don’t remember where; I don’t remember to whom he was speaking; but, one day I heard my father say, ‘I will never be a friend to my children. I will always be their father.’ And it was true. ‘Til his death, our father was always our father.”

Now, new evidence of the importance of fathers – especially those who encourage their children to live physically and intellectually healthy lives.  

             Even as the nation’s most exclusive universities are moving away from the privileged status of “legacy” applicants – students who get a leg up on their competition for admissions because their parents or grandparents attended the school, it appears that sons of fathers with high incomes tend to end up with higher than average incomes themselves.

But (and it’s a big BUT), new research shows that it’s not just dad’s money that helps a son on his way to personal success: “Human capital” endowments passed from fathers to sons –“smarts,” advice, a work ethic, or some other intangible – may be more important to the next generation’s success than the size of dad’s paycheck. If money is the only thing that matters in the intergenerational transfer of income, then the son of the lucky father would end up with a higher income than the son of the unlucky father.

However, if human capital matters, the two sons may end up with more similar incomes. Among the clues for fathers’ “human capital”:  educational levels and the nature of their occupations. Fathers with more education or those who work in jobs that require specialized skills are considered to have higher human capital endowments that could be passed to sons.

Reporting in the June 8, 2012 edition of the Journal of Political Economy, researchers Lars Lefgren, Matthew J. Lindquist and David Sims explored the relationship between the incomes of fathers in differing labor market conditions. They theorized that if the income correlation weakens for fathers and sons in various situations, they could conclude that money isn’t the only thing that matters.

And that was exactly what their study found. Income differences not related to a father’s human capital were weaker predictors of the son’s income. In other words, human capital does matter.

“We conclude that, for the men in our dataset, differing human capital endowments passed from father to son account for about two-thirds of the overall intergenerational income,” reports Sims, an economics professor at Brigham Young University and one of the study’s authors.

And, when it comes to children’s health, researchers at Oregon State University have demonstrated that parents are a major factor in whether young children are active or couch potatoes.

Reporting in the journal Early Child Development and Care (available online June 21, 2012), researchers at Oregon State University found that children who had “neglectful” parents, or whose parents weren’t home often and who self-reported spending less time with their kids, were getting half-an-hour more television and computer game time- “screen time” on average each weekday.

And, in an age when childhood obesity is skyrocketing, all of the children ages 2 to 4 were sitting more than several hours per day.

“Across all parenting styles, we saw anywhere from four to five hours a day of sedentary activity,” noted lead author David Schary. “This is waking hours not including naps or feeding. Some parents counted quiet play – sitting and coloring, working on a puzzle, etc., – as a positive activity, but this is an age where movement is essential.

The researchers – Schary, a doctoral student in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU, Bradley Cardinal, a professor of social psychology of physical activity, and Paul Loprinizi, who completed his doctorate at OSU and is now at Bellamine University (Kentucky) – considered four parenting styles: authoritative (high warmth and control), authoritarian (controlling, less warm), permissive (warm, low control) and neglectful (low control and warmth).

In the sample of almost 200 families, all of the children were sitting four to five hours in a typical day; however, children in the more neglectful category were spending up to 30 additional minutes a day watching television, playing video games or being engaged in some other form of “screen time.”

“A half hour each day may not seem like much, but add that up over a week, then a month, and then a year and you have a big impact,” observed Schary. “One child may be getting up to four hours more active play every week, and this sets the stage for the rest of their lives.”

And, to complicate matters even more, parents who were less participatory during the week did not make up for it on weekends. In fact, just the opposite is true. Sedentary time increased nearly one hour each weekend day. And, as Cardinal noted, sedentary behavior goes against the natural tendencies of most preschool-age children. “Toddlers and pre-school age children are spontaneous movers, so it is natural for them to have bursts of activity many minutes per hour. We find that when kids enter school, their levels of physical activity decrease and overall, it continues to decline throughout their life. Early life movement is imperative for establishing healthy, active lifestyle patterns, self-awareness, social acceptance, and even brain and cognitive development.”

In addition, Schary and Cardinal examined the same group of students and asked about the ways parents support and promote active play. They found that parents who actively played with their children had the most impact, but that any level of encouragement, even just watching their child play or driving them to an activity  – made a difference.

“When children are very young, playing is the main thing they do during waking hours, so parental support and encouragement is crucial,” said Schary. “So when we see preschool children not going outside much and sitting while playing with a cell phone or watching TV, we need to help parents counteract that behavior.”

In the end, part of the lesson of these studies is that it is the role of parents to model the need for intellectual inquiry and the importance of active, physical runnin’ around, tree climbin’ real play. If you’re a parent, be a parent: Get off the couch and away from the flat screen and video game controllers and go out walking, running, swimming or biking with your kids. Take them to the games and other physical activities that encourage mental and physical growth and fight the epidemic of childhood obesity. Your kids are kids. They should be playing like kids. They aren’t Idaho, red or sweet potatoes. Don’t allow or encourage them to act like couch potatoes.

 Francis J. (Skip) Flynn, Psy. D.

 

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