Category Archives: book review

People may need people and a sense of purpose for health and happiness

People and other species are social creatures whose survival may have been dependent on being part of a group rather than being isolated. Loneliness has been associated with increased inflammation and a reduced resistance to infection by viral diseases. Genetic changes have been found to occur in isolated individuals that lead to the increased inflammatory response in comparison to individuals who have more social support. Our instincts have developed to trust that being part of a group increases our chance of survival. Having a role that fulfills a valued purpose for the group is associated with an increased sense of happiness.

Fitting into groups well can take social skills that need to be nurtured from birth. Infants learn body language at an early age by interacting with a parent who responds to the baby’s cues. If the baby smiles the mother smiles back and the baby learns to smile more readily. If the baby has a mother that doesn’t notice body language though, then the infant may stop smiling as often. Infants and children depend on their caregivers for everything and try to please with their smiles, eye contact, or baby coos. If the infant isn’t receiving eye contact in return however they may stop trying or are scolded they may learn to look away and to avoid eye contact.

Children ideally need emotional support in order to develop trust in themselves and in others. Parents who have limited skills in understanding and accepting their own emotions may not be able to teach their children what they don’t understand themselves. Children who have some role model in their lives who understands emotional skills may cope better than children who don’t.

The topic is discussed in more detail in the book Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents, by Lindsay C. Gibson, PsyD, (New Harbinger Pub., Inc., 2015, Oaklnad, CA) [1] (This book is not a twelve step book and is not affiliated with the Adult Children of Alcoholic or Dysfunctional Parents twelve step group.) An excerpt from page 108:

“Why is emotional connection so crucial?

According to neuroscientist Stephen Porges (2011), mammals have evolved a unique coping instinct in which they are calmed by proximity or engagement with others. Instead of just having the involuntary stress reactions of fight, flight, or freeze, like reptiles do, mammals can calm their heart rate and reduce the physical costs of stress by seeking reassuring contact with others of their kind. Certain vagus nerve pathways in mammals have evolved to allow stress hormones and heart rate to be reduced by confronting in such forms as physical closeness, touch, soothing sounds, and even eye contact. These calming effects conserve valuable energy and also create pleasurable social bonds that promote strong groups.

For all mammals, including humans, something magical happens when this desire to seek comfort switches on. The danger might not go away, but individuals can stay relatively calm as long as they feel tied into their herd, pack, or circle of loved ones. Most mammals have stressful lives, but thanks to their instinct for engaging with others, calming comfort and restored energy are just a friendly contact away. This gives mammals a tremendous advantage over other animals when it comes to dealing with stress in an energy-efficient way, since they don’t have to go into fight, flight, or freeze every time they sense a threat.” [1]

So a sense of connection to others can help reduce the negative inflammatory effects of the stress response. Some stress can be healthy to help get us moving to meet whatever challenge has occurred. Stress may become more overwhelming however if the person is isolated or never learned social skills or trust enough to ask for help or seek out help. Children in situations with emotionally immature caregivers may learn that people around them can’t be trusted or that trying doesn’t lead to success so why bother trying — they can learn  a sense of helplessness and hopelessness rather than finding strength from others.

The book Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents, by Lindsay C. Gibson [1] describes  four different types of emotionally immature caregivers, how growing up with them might affect children and how the children might overcome the lessons they learned later in life as adults who only just discovered that emotions aren’t dangerous things to never be discussed or worse that one might be punished for exhibiting. Some emotionally immature people may feel threatened by strong emotions and may react negatively to children who are simply being children. The child in that situation learns to not trust themselves and may not learn that emotions are normal rather than upsetting or frightening.

Severe childhood trauma can lead to changes in the brain that cause ongoing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A new strategy for treating PTSD has been developed which involves electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve called Vagal nerve stimulation (VNS).  Which the excerpt from the book [1]  suggests is the nerve pathway that naturally is stimulated when social contact is sought during a stressful situation.

Stress and trauma have been too readily available lately. More police officers were shot today in the U.S. in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Three are injured, one critically, and three officers were killed Sunday morning. The gunman was a former marine who drove there from his home in Missouri. The gunman was killed at the scene. Further information about his possible motives are not known at this time. Whether there were any accomplices is not known but it is believed he was a lone gunman and there has been no further shooting in the area.

My condolences and best wishes to the families, friends, and coworkers of the slain officers, may they rest in peace, and to the community of Baton Rouge

Emotionally immature parents may raise emotionally immature children who grow up to raise their own emotionally immature children. Help break the trauma cycle by reading the book Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents, by Lindsay C. Gibson [1]. Whether you are a parent or a teen or an adult learning more about emotional maturity and immaturity can help understand your own emotions and others. Whatever we grow up with will seem normal to us and as adults we tend to seek out similar relationships to those we were familiar with as children — but sometimes what seems normal to some people isn’t normal for everyone else and there is no need to continue living in abusive situations just because it seemed like a normal part of life as a child.

Lack of emotional skills may increase the risk of acting inappropriately when under severe stress. People need the support of people to help reduce negative effects of stress and increase a sense of connection and purpose. People need to learn emotional skills from people who have emotional skills  — or sometimes from a book. [1]

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Against Our Better Judgement; book summary

No one, including the President can get much done without the support of a majority of the legislators. We need to elect  a congress who will work together to promote peace and protection of the environment. Wars on terror have seemed to only cause increased terror and destruction and for what benefit or whose benefit?

Alison Weir is a journalist who didn’t like what she saw when she visited Palestine in the early 2000s and so she started reading and was brave enough to have written a book. It is still dangerous to people’s careers to report on the treatment of Palestine by Israel. It is a short book, 93 pages of text, and 109 pages of footnotes with further details, and 24 pages of works cited, and three pages of books for further reading which didn’t make it into the 93 pages of text. Her original goal was to write an article but it kept getting longer. Her goal was to share this information with the American public because Palestinians are still being mistreated and killed without cause or repercussions. We as a nation are continuing to support this apartheid situation.

This is not a book review in the normal sense of the genre, consider it a book summary or an attempt at the more condensed article that the author may have first envisioned. I encourage you to read the book as there are many more details which I didn’t attempt to include, it is a concise and well written book, but I also know that it is a busy world and not everyone has time to read a book, even an important book that is short in length and tall in character.

This summary was not written with consultation or permission of the author of the book Against Our Better Judgement, please see the website IfAmericaKnew.org for a link to the book and for more information about conditions in modern day Palestine  — any errors contained in this summary are my own and the opinions expressed are my own.

The book “Against Our Better Judgement; The hidden history of how the U.S. was used to create Israel,” by Alison Weir (2014) suggests that our nation has had people in positions of power since the early 1900s who have been promoting a Zionist agenda to takeover Palestine and create a nation for “all” Jews to live. However the Jews throughout the world were more interested in staying settled where they were and were not interested in being singled out as an exclusionary religion. The group working for an Israeli nation were known as Zionist and many Jewish people were anti-Zionist. The media and financial support for creating a nation for Jews in Palestine had become too powerful however. Speaking out against Zionism became dangerous:

“Berger and other anti-Zionist Jewish Americans tried to organize against “the deception and cynicism with which the Zionist machine operated,” but failed to obtain anywhere near their level of funding. Among other things, would be dissenters were afraid of “the savagery of personal attacks” anti-Zionists endured. ref.155. (page 38, Against Our Better Judgement)

There was a lot of dark money already in play as people in the Zionist movement were also involved in banking and the creation of the Federal Reserve. Fund raising efforts also were very successful among people of the Jewish and Christian faiths — creating a nation in the Promised Land for Jewish people sounded nice.

Zionist supporters did get an agreement from the negotiations with Great Britain during World War I promising that if the U.S. could be brought into WWI to help Great Britain win the war, then Jews would be allowed to settle in Palestine. The region where Palestine is located was under the control of Great Britain at the time. And the U.S. was able to be encouraged by Zionist supporters to enter WWI and we did help win the war for Great Britain. And Jewish immigrants were allowed to settle in the Palestine region. The area at the time had been mainly populated by Muslims and Christians living without conflict.

The early Zionist settlers found out however that Jews living peacefully elsewhere did not have a strong urge to move to a desert to grow oranges. European Jewish settlements started experiencing violence that was publicized as hate crimes of anti-semitism but were actually undercover Zionists hurting Jews in order to cause fear and promote immigration to Palestine.

The German people who ended up on the losing side of WWI had some knowledge of the Zionist influence used to bring the U.S. into the war. During the build up to WWII this may have added to the power of Hitler and the Nazi regime. However Zionist worked with the Hitler regime during the 1930s and Jews who wanted to settle in Palestine were allowed to leave and to transfer their financial assets to Palestine. During WWII the areas where Jewish people lived in close communities ended up making it easier for the large numbers of victims of the concentration camps and death chambers.

And the large numbers of deaths made it easier for Zionist efforts after the war was over to work on international sympathy for the cause of having the Palestine area be made into a nation called Israel – partition was promised – Arab groups were supposed to be able to have their own place in the area but it .didn’t work out that way and the plan was “Against Our Better Judgement;” it was expected that a dual nation was not the ultimate goal and that there would be blood shed:

An internal State Department memorandum accurately predicted how Israel would be born through armed aggression masked as defense:

“…the Jews will be the actual agressors against the Arabs. However, the Jews will claim that they are merely defending the boundaries of a state which were traced by the U.N…. In the event of such Arab outside aid the Jews will come running to the Security Council with the claim that their state is the object of armed aggression and will use every means to obscure the fact that it is their own armed aggression against the Arabs inside which is the cause of Arab counter-attack.” (ref.195) (page 48, Against Our Better Judgement)

At the time Zionists were working towards support of a voting majority of the members of the United Nations to accept Israel as a new nation President Truman was in office. He was also pressured to vote to partition the nation of Palestine:

‘Truman wrote in his memoirs: “I do not think I ever had as much pressure and propaganda aimed at the White House as I had in this instance.”‘

The paragraph continues with information by the author of the book:

“There were now about a million dues-paying Zionists in the U.S.” (ref.206) (page 51, Against Our Better Judgement, by Alison Weir, 2014)

And financial incentives were involved as we learn in the next paragraph:

“Then, as now, in addition to unending pressure there was financial compensation, Truman reportedly receiving a suitcase full of money from Zionists while on his train campaign around the country.” (ref.207) (page 51, Against Our Better Judgement, by Alison Weir, 2014)

Enough nations did end up voting for the partition of Palestine to create Israel and there was bloodshed as the fledgling nation cleared out Arabs and Christians, and even went after some British people:

“Begin, head of the Irgun militia, sent the following message to his troops about their victory at Deir Yassin:

‘Accept my congratulations on this splendid act of conquest. Convey my regards to all the commanders and soldiers. We shake your hands. We are all proud of the excellent leadership and the fighting spirit in this great attack. We stand to attention in memory of the slain. We lovingly shake the hands of the wounded. Tell the soldiers you have made history in Israel with your attack and your conquest. Continue thus until victory. As in Deir Yassin, so everywhere, we will attack and smite the enemy. God, God, Thou has chosen us for conquest.'” (ref.246) (page 60, Against Our Better Judgement, by Alison Weir, 2014)

There was an eye witness report of the blood shed that had occurred there:

“Deir Yassin in April 1948 — before any Arab armies had joined the war. A Swiss Red Cross representative was one of the first to arrive on the scene, where he found 254 dead, including 145 women, 35 of them pregnant.” (ref.240) (page 59, Against Our Better Judgement, by Alison Weir, 2014)

Begin ended up traveling throughout America six months later on a tour that the State Department had tried to deny but which had the support of “11 Senators, 12 governors, 70 Congressment, 17 Justices and numerous other public officials,” (ref. 249) (page 60) but the attempt by the State Department to deny Begin’s visa “was overruled by Truman.” (ref.250) (page 61, Against Our Better Judgement, by Alison Weir, 2014)

“Begin later proudly admitted his terrorism in an interview for American television. When the interviewer asked him, ‘How does it feel, in the light of all that’s going on, to be the father of terrorism in the Middle East?’ Begin proclaimed, ‘In the Middle East? In all the world!'” (ref.251) (page 61, Against Our Better Judgement, by Alison Weir, 2014)

At least 33 massacres of Palestinian villages occurred, half of them before a single Arab army joined the conflict. (ref.232) (page 58) The Zionist militias had more weapons (ref.233) (page 58) “and by the end of Israel’s ‘War of Independence’ over 750,000 Palestinian men, women and children were ruthlessly expelled.” (ref.234) (page 58, Against Our Better Judgement, by Alison Weir, 2014)

Zionists had been working within the United States under assumed names during the late 1930s through 1948 under a variety of “organizations, including the ‘Emergency Committee to Save European Jewry’ and ‘American Friends of a Jewish Palestine.‘” (ref.252) (page 62, Against Our Better Judgement, by Alison Weir, 2014) The groups had support from many people.

“Baumel reports that an American Jewish leader who had immigrated to Palestine wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt asking her to withdraw support from the Brando production, [”We Will Never Die!’ celebrating the Jewish contribution to Western civilization”] because its profits ‘were being used to fund terrorist activity.'” (ref.261) Eleanor ignored this advice apparently unaware that it was well founded.” (page 64, Against Our Better Judgement, by Alison Weir, 2014)

Another supporter did withdraw support after finding out that the fund-raising organizations were all connected to the same group and who were connected to terrorism:

“One supporter, best-selling author Pierre van Paassen, resigned when he learned that various Delegation-spawned ‘committees’ to save Jews were all tied to horrific terrorist actions in Palestine.”

“He declared that he did not believe they had the means or intention to truly save Jews from the Nazis, writing: ‘To speak bluntly, that “Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe” is a hoax, in my judgement a very cruel hoax perpetrated on the American public, Jewish and non-Jewish alike.'” (ref.264) (page 65, Against Our Better Judgement, by Alison Weir, 2014)

“…critics point out that it [the group] did not manageto rescue any Jews during the Nazi holocaust,” (ref.265, “though it may have helped contribute to the pressure on President Roosevelt to later create a War Refugee Board.” (ref.266) (page 65, Against Our Better Judgement, by Alison Weir, 2014)

“The group had numerous opponents among Jewish leaders, both Zionist and anti-Zionist. (ref.267) Some, unlike the general public, were aware of the secret connections to Menachem Begin’s Irgun, whose violent tactics many found abhorrent, particularly when they targeted the British at a time that England was fighting to defeat Hitler — the most effective way, many felt, to rescue Jews.” (page 65, Against Our Better Judgement, by Alison Weir, 2014)

The main leader of the many ‘committees’ operating in the U.S. to raise funds was working under the name “Peter Bergson” but was really named “Hillel Kook.” (page 62) His “uncle was Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Kook, often known as ‘Rabbi Kook the Elder.””…and eventually became the ‘Chief Rabbi of Palestine.‘” (page 66) He is the founder of “an ideology that merged a Kabbalistic version of religious Judaism with political Zionism, founding an extremist religious Zionism that continues in existence today.” (ref.273) (page 67)

“The Kabala teaches that non-Jews are the embodiment of Satan and that the world was created solely for the sake of Jews. (ref.274) Rabbi Kook, who achieved saintly status among his followers in Israel and the U.S., stated: ‘The difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews. . . is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.'” (ref.275)

American money raised by just one of the organizations, between 1939 and May 1948, would be the equivalent of $3.5 billion in today’s dollars. (ref.309) (page 73, Against Our Better Judgement, by Alison Weir, 2014) The money was used in part to buy guns for the immigrants already settled in Palestine “for use in taking over the land for a Jewish State.” (ref.306) (page 72, Against Our Better Judgement, by Alison Weir, 2014)

After WWII was over the Zionist movement ran into the same trouble again — refugees didn’t want to move to a desert — they were forced to anyway. Even Jewish orphans were forced to leave families that had been hiding them safely throughout WWII and who frequently had come to love the children and would have happily adopted them. The children were then placed in temporary orphanages in Belgium and were forced to speak only Hebrew. They also weren’t allowed to leave the facilities to seek out whether any of their relatives had survived in order to prevent them from possibly staying in Europe instead of going to Palestine. (page 75-76, Against Our Better Judgement, by Alison Weir, 2014) “Displaced persons” some of whom may already have had visas approved for immigration to other countries were forced to go to Palestine instead drafted into military service. (page 78-79) Where they weren’t treated with equally as the Zionists:

“Israeli author Tom Segev reports that most of the immigrants from Germany were refugees who came ‘against their will… They were not Zionists.’ In Israel they were ‘objects of condescension and contempt.'” (ref.326)

“The American public, however, was led to believe that European Jews desperately wished to go to Palestine, and the well organized, well funded, and frequently ruthless operation behind the emigration was hidden from view. (page 79-80, (page 75, Against Our Better Judgement, by Alison Weir, 2014)

Palestinian Arabs weren’t the only population to suffer massacre and forced eviction by the Israeli forces when the nation was voted into existence.

“Journalist and academic Anders Strindberg reports: ‘In the process of “Judaizing” Palestine, numerous convents, hospices, seminaries, and churches were either destroyed or cleared of their Christian owners and custodians. In one of the most spectacular attacks on a Christian target, on May 17, 1948, the Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate was shelled with about 100 mortar rounds — launched by Zionist forces from the already occupied monastery of the Benedictine Fathers on Mount Zion. The bombardment also damaged St. Jacob’s Convent, the Archangel’s Convent, and their appended churches, their two elementary and seminary schools, as well as their libraries, killing eight people and wounding 120.'” (ref.335) (page 83, (page 75, Against Our Better Judgement, by Alison Weir, 2014)

One financial control is held over a nation’s politicians and its media than history is reported according to the goals of the financiers. Propaganda does not actually mean history didn’t happen but if enough people are led to believe a one-sided story then it is almost as if history didn’t happen.

I will be celebrating Nakba Day this year on May fifteenth [for more info: Nakba Day (The Catastrophe) fifteenth of May, 1948] and as many years as I survive — in honour of the many Arabs, Christians, Jews and British people who lost their lives to Zionist terrorism. And I may visit a cemetery on May seventeenth in memory of the eight people who lost their lives during the shelling of the Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate, on May 17, 1948.

Our nation was founded on a strong belief in the separation of church and state but our priorities were manipulated by financial incentives and threats. It is time to end WWII and let Palestine be free again. Our nation’s War on Terror is actually a war on common sense and a war on decency and a war on the future of the planet. It is past time to stop terrorizing the world and to stop funding apartheid.

And, a second copy of this statement:

This summary was not written with consultation or permission of the author of the book Against Our Better Judgement , please see the website IfAmericaKnew.org for a link to the book and for more information about conditions in modern day Palestine  — any errors contained in this summary are my own and the opinions expressed are my own.

/Disclosure: Opinions are my own and this information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

And If You Feel that Your Physician, Nation, or Planet has been in a Bad Relationship with Pharmaceutical Companies, Then There’s a Book for You Too

This is a continuation of the last post and an earlier series of posts on bad relationships — something I seem to have experience in going back to my childhood. Before I get to the book though, a discussion of my disclosure statement seems pertinent — that statement in italics at the bottom of the page:

  • /Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

The part that is pertinent to the book regarding a possible bad relationship with pharmaceutical companies is the last line:  “Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.” The problem that I’ve experienced in my own health care and that of loved ones is that “individual health care” no longer seems to be very available in the medical system that is currently in mainstream use within the United States. We have switched to a medical system based on “evidence-based medicine” rather than focusing on individualized care of each patient.

To quote myself — The evidence is in, “evidence-based medicine” isn’t working. It is based on clinical trials that group large numbers of people into experimental and control groups and then present the averages as evidence that an experimental treatment worked better than placebo – which might be an actual benign treatment given to the control group to make them and the  research team “blind” to which people are in an experimental group and which people are in the control group. A “double blind” study is considered the gold standard of clinical trials because feasibly the people within the groups and the researchers are blind/unaware of which people are receiving a treatment and which people are receiving a placebo. So feasibly there would be no bias among the researchers regarding whether the experimental treatment had helped or harmed. In reality though, it is extremely difficult to make a truly “blind” study because usually there are differences in negative side effects or treatment benefits among the people in the various different experimental or control groups.

My university training was a bit unusual from the usual curriculum followed by registered dietitians because I switched majors and universities at a midpoint.

As a dietitian I was trained in college and during my one year internship regarding how and where to look things up fro unusual diagnoses or symptoms, because dietitians are expected to understand all of the body’s systems and all of the body’s nutrient needs and all of the diagnoses that might affect them. While some dietitians specialize many are expected to provide nutrition assessment and counseling for all patients no matter how unusual their diagnosis or symptoms may be and we are frequently expected to do that with minimal lab tests. We are trained to do a thorough assessment of visual and other symptoms in addition to an in depth interview regarding the patient’s understanding or their symptoms and  to inquire about their usual lifestyle and dietary habits.

Recently I learned that that is no longer the standard approach for physicians, as 80% of a diagnosis is frequently based on lab tests within the current medical system.

The number of years of university or medical training that a dietitian, family doctor, or medical specialist had received in the past has little to do with my concerns over evidence-based medicine or my own care as a patient however. While I can only directly speak for my own two years of training which focused on genetics or my five years of training focused on dietetics (I switched majors), in all likelihood none of us received any training on the cannabinoid receptor system or its role in nutrition, general health or in specialized fields of health care as it is illegal in the United States to research the medical aspects of the cannabinoid system.

I do not feel very safe as a patient personally or for the safety of others seeking healthcare within the current medical system, not just due to evidence-based medicine but also due to the lack of knowledge about basic physiology that has been forced on the medical industry due to the inappropriate listing of marijuana as having no medical benefits. It makes it illegal for researchers in the U.S. to study the cannabinoid system except regarding how the cannabinoid system might relate to addiction or substance abuse and what isn’t researched isn’t taught in medical schools or other university health programs.

However the cannabinoid receptor system has medical benefits throughout all areas of the body whether cared for by medical specialists or by general practitioners or by dietetics professionals. Cannabinoids are in breast milk. They help stimulate the infant to suck and helps prevent low weight gain and failure to thrive. The cannabinoid receptor system helps the fetus implant within the uterus and they are some of the earliest receptors to develop in the fetal brain. There are increased numbers of the receptors in the uterus and increased levels of vitamin D receptors in the placenta. The two systems work closely together and both cannabinoids and hormone D can affect levels of most of the main neurotransmitters in the brain. I’ve been doing independent reading in academic texts and online journal articles since 2010 regarding the cannabinoid receptor system and it has greatly helped advance my understanding of my own health issues and specialized needs related to genetic anomalies. I’ve been slightly unhealthy  with skin eczema and allergies since birth which always suggested to me that I was born with something different than average, but I didn’t know what and my symptoms were never severe enough to rate as “sick” on lab tests. – “annoying hypochondriac” seemed to have scored some points though (more on genetics a little later in this post).

A primary goal in dietetics is to preserve skin integrity – preventing pressure sores from becoming necrotic for example or to prevent intestinal symptoms from worsening in a way that might allow increased permeability of proteins large enough to cause allergies if allowed into the more sterile environment of the body. The gastrointestinal tract is lined with skin that is slightly different than our outer skin but both areas have similar functions to prevent foreign proteins or bacteria or other parasites from entering the interior of the body — our bodies are shaped more like a doughnut with an open center rather than like a solid substance.

Supporting evidence-based medicine has also become a primary goal of dietetics though as the phrase and techniques are now used throughout the insurance payment system and even dietitians need to eat (pun intended). My university training was in 1984-86 and 1988-93, I not only switched majors and universities, I also got married and had a baby in between. My interest in dietetics grew with my appetite and my expanding belly while I was learning firsthand what being a pregnant person was like — uncomfortable is a key word. But I had a midwife who was very experienced and helped me work through the discomforts of pregnancy and guided me towards foods that were both nutritious and easy to digest.

Healthy food and cooking from scratch had also been part of my childhood upbringing so dietetics was a natural fit and genetics had lost some of its interest for me when I learned in my work study job within a genetics research lab (1984-86) that most projects in the field of genetics took twenty years to complete — my attention span at the time did not seem to be twenty years long, however it turns out that my interest in genetics has been lifelong and personally beneficial: see older post. Nutrigenomics [2] is a newer field of study that works with individualized dietary support based on an individual’s genetic structure, metabolic defects that affect nutrient needs are not uncommon and can increase risks for physical and mental health symptoms.

Back to the point, evidence-based medicine in the modern era is largely based on clinical trials that are funded by pharmaceutical companies. Data is often not used if it produces negative results. Research articles are frequently written by ghost-writers who may further manipulate the statistics to produce “statistically-significant” results that favor the experimental pharmaceutical being tested. Negative side effects may be dropped from the results or manipulated in a variety of ways. New drugs only require two statistically significant clinical trials to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. [1]

Physicians are directly marketed to by pharmaceutical companies and indirectly marketed to within academic journal articles that were actually written by the pharmaceutical teams of ghostwriters whose focus includes marketing diseases that are managed by the company’s patent-protected medication. Instead of individualized care we are now more likely to be treated by physicians that have to follow guidelines that are set based on whatever was officially published about the evidence-based clinical trials  — rather than on the unknown amount of hidden data regarding negative side effects of the experimental drugs. Physicians who go against guidelines can face reprimands from their workplace or open themselves up to increased malpractice risks because they weren’t following the evidence-based guidelines. However the newer drugs may not be more effective or safer than older drugs or very different chemically but the value to the pharmaceutical company is that the newer drugs are patent protected and may have a price mark up that might be 50-80 times higher than the older drugs available as generics. Patent protected pharmaceuticals may have a 2500 percent markup above the company’s production costs. Since the end of World War II when health care expenditures totaled about 1% of the U.S. budget we are now spending over 17% of the budget (GDP, Gross Domestic Product) on health care costs (page 157 and 185).  [1]

Following evidence-based guidelines was supposed to increase health and reduce costs but the evidence suggests that it hasn’t.

These “evidence-based” guidelines can then become incorporated into private insurance or Medicaid standards of care which then are forced on children and their parents and other patients who may have went to a physician with a minor complaint relating to our stressful modern lives but who may then be placed on anti-depressants or anti-psychotics that have been associated with increased risk for suicide and even homicide as well as significant weight gain, elevated cholesterol or diabetes. Asthma drugs and other pharmaceuticals may also be initiated before lifestyle changes are discussed or the patient is given time to try. Pharmaceutical risk management of lab test numbers has replaced individualized health care. [1]

The book for more information about evidence-based medicine’s takeover of individualized health care is “Pharmageddon,” by David Healy, (University of California Press, 2012, Berkeley). [1]

/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Babies have dignity too; Magical Child Matures, a book review

Babies should have the right to human dignity too. The recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage was based on a human right to dignity. The decision has brought up the question of whether polyamory, marriage between more than two people, should be the next human rights question to discuss. [2] Before broaching that topic I would suggest that the infant’s and birth mother’s right to a good delivery and breast feeding experience need to be clarified legally. The legalization of same sex marriage may lead to an increase in the number of infants born to surrogate mothers or other contracted parenting arrangements which may not allow for a normal amount of time for breast feeding. Ideally an infant would nurse for at least 3 to 9 months and in nature primate species tend to nurse their infants for two to three years. Research into artificial womb incubators also exists which might greatly impact the infant’s right to a dignified (ie close to natural) prenatal and birth experience.

I found the book Magical Child (1977) by Joseph Chilton Pearce to be very helpful during my first pregnancy. It is the precursor to the book Magical Child Matures, (E. P. Dutton, Inc., 1985, New York), which I had mentioned in a previous post and again in my last post where I mentioned that it is now selling used for one penny. I posed the question of whether it is worth a penny and answered that, yes, to me it is worth it specifically because of the third chapter which is titled “Bonding and Attachment.”

The author has written twelve books in all and has focused on child development and the importance of the child-parent bond and breast feeding relationship and also on topics of spirituality and the heart-mind connection or  the “compassionate mind.” [1]

In the third chapter of the book Magical Child Matures labor is described from the infant’s perspective. The stress of delivery causes an increase in an infant’s stress chemicals and establishing a breast feeding relationship as soon as possible after delivery helps bring the levels back down to normal levels.

The chapter titled Bonding and Attachment (1985, page 24-40) first describes an ideal delivery experience for the infant and then describes how disturbing delivery could be in an over-crowded and rushed hospital in the 1970s. The baby and mothers from the over-crowded setting are described as black people receiving care at an inner-city hospital and my impression is that he included the information because he’s not racist, because he felt that #Blacklivesmatter and that all mothers and infants deserve a low stress delivery with a positive bonding experience. Bringing up traumatic history reminds us to investigate routine practices and evaluate them for fairness, effectiveness, and safety risks. He includes in the chapter that the old practice of holding a baby upside down and smacking it on the bottom to stimulate their first breath may also have caused some infants to have internal bleeding in the upper spinal column and die prematurely from silent crib death (found in 80% of autopsies of infants who had died of silent crib death in one study) (Magical Child Matures1985, page 35).

He also described a practice that may have been commonly used to save time after delivery in some busy hospitals. The medical professional would just yank the laboring mother’s placenta out by the umbilical cord instead of allowing her body to progress through the final stage of labor at her own pace.

Never discussing uncomfortable history may be more comfortable for us but it doesn’t promote learning from our mistakes or lead to our making changes in routine practices. Holding a baby upside down and smacking it always seemed like a horrible practice to me so finding information that suggests it might indeed have caused traumatic injury was disturbing and revealing. We do many things each day because that is just the way things have always been done but if we never stop to evaluate procedures for their effectiveness or safety then we may be causing harm on a routine basis without realizing it.

Having a baby, for me, was painful and amazing and euphoric and joyful and beautiful, and kind of sweaty and gross, and just as wonderful as the author describes for the well bonded, good delivery experience.

So is the book Magical Child Matures worth a penny (plus shipping and handling)? Yes I think so. The author discusses development of consciousness during the different stages of the lifespan along with his interpretation of how thinking might occur in a triune brain but that speculative discussion of consciousness could be skimmed and the reader may find the developmental information helpful on its own. The author also describes some personal experiences with psychic phenomenon and meditative practices. So that might be a reason for some potential readers to avoid the book or it might be a reason to seek out the book because they are topics that are infrequently discussed.

I’m expecting my first grandchild this month so I made a copy of the chapter on bonding and attachment for the expectant parents just in case they also would find it helpful. However the discussion of bonding and attachment may also be helpful for any age person to read because early childhood experiences might impact our behavior throughout life – a well bonded infant may grow up to be a more trusting adult while a stressed out infant may have more delayed development during early infancy and grow up to be more focused on collecting things and being dominating within relationships rather than being trusting.

The newborn’s first lesson in life is trust. The fetus had warmth and a constant swishing heartbeat and soothing amniotic fluid and suddenly they are forced out into a cold bright noisy world. Newborns certainly don’t deserve to be held upside down and smacked as their first experience in life whatever their skin color may be. And mothers deserve time to labor at their own pace, rather than have the process rushed for the convenience of the medical professional. Hormonal changes occur for the infant and mother during different phases of labor and delivery, rushing the process may interfere with the infant’s health and development and with the development of the mother’s mammary glands and ability to make an adequate supply of breast milk.

Growing a baby isn’t rocket science – it’s much more complicated than that – but worth it. Thanks for sharing your experience in Magical Child Matures, Joseph Chilton Pearce.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a lactation educator and Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

 

Consciousness discussed without zombies, aliens, or frogs; a link

Consciousness may be more non-verbal than we realize. Our verbal mind may have significant input from our nonverbal mind in order to save us time in life threatening situations. A team led by Ezequiel Morsella of San Francisco State University published a paper in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences about their idea regarding consciousness called the “Passive Frame Theory.” Consciousness is suggested to be a frame for directing and constraining the action of the skeletal muscles for productive output but the direction may be more passive than previously theorized.

Time.com: [Why You’re Pretty Much Unconscious All the Time, June 26, 2015]

The zombies, aliens and frogs were in my last post that was about consciousness and nonverbal behavior patterns. Passive Frame Theory sounds much more scientific but I did find the list of nonverbal behavior patterns very helpful for understanding group and individual behavior. The second book in the list from that post used the term “module” to describe behavior patterns – driving the car module, playing tennis module, sweeping the floor module – we don’t think verbally about how we do much of our daily activities and yet somehow we function.

2. Thomas R. Blakeslee, Beyond the Conscious Mind: Unlocking the Secrets of the Self, (iUniverse, Inc. An Authors Guild BackinPrint.com Edition, 1996, 2004, Lincoln, NE), This book is written for the average reader and is not very long. Personally though, I found it so helpful that I followed a reference in it to find the complete list of nonverbal behavior patterns by Paul MacLean in the book: 1. Editor: Harold Harris, Astride the Two Cultures, Arthur Koestler at 70, (Random House,1976, New York) and in the text: 4. Paul D. MacLean,  The Triune Brain in Evolution: Role in Paleocerebral Functions, (Plenum Press, 1990, New York) National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

I happened on the book by David Eagleman, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, (Pantheon Books, 2011, New York)by chance but was glad to find the explanation about Paul MacLean’s work in the more recent book because I had been disappointed not to find more about his work online, so it was an explanation at least.

3. Joseph Chilton Pearce, Magical Child Matures, (E. P. Dutton, Inc., 1985, New York) – This one is an odd book that sells for a penny used on Amazon – Is it worth a penny? to me the chapter on Bonding and Attachment is worth the price of three sets of copies at least but that is a longer discussion for another post.

 

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Books about thinking and non-verbal behavior patterns

Following a quotation from one book led me to an interesting book about creativity that was inspired by the author Arthur Koestler. He wrote fiction and non-fiction works. The book “Astride the Two Cultures, Arthur Koestler at 70,”(1976), is a collection of essays by a variety of authors. The title refers to the two cultures of art and science -or fiction and non-fiction. The various authors explore the theme of creativity and how both artists and scientists may share creative thought processes and the idea is also explored that creativity in science and art may frequently involve non-verbal insights which then need to be translated into words or chemical symbols, or notes in a musical score.

Some of the contributing authors also touch on the idea that great thinkers build on the thoughts of other great thinkers. One of Arthur Koestler’s books, The Sleepwalkers, (1968, 2nd ed.),  focused on the life and work of the early astrophysicist Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) but Arthur Koestler ended up including information about the work of some of the thinkers who had proceeded or followed Kepler in the early study of our solar system. Kepler had the revolutionary idea that the planets revolve around the sun instead of the sun revolving around Earth. That sort of thinking at the time could get you thrown in jail as Galileo Galilei  (1564-1642) found but Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1726) may have been spared by keeping his ideas more private until after his death.  Ideas can lead to more ideas in the future – the tree of knowledge grows and blossoms over generations of thinkers.

  1. Editor: Harold Harris, Astride the Two Cultures, Arthur Koestler at 70, (Random House, 1976, New York)
  2. Thomas R. Blakeslee, Beyond the Conscious Mind: Unlocking the Secrets of the Self, (iUniverse, Inc. An Authors Guild BackinPrint.com Edition, 1996, 2004, Lincoln, NE) The section titled The Reptilian Brain, pages 212-215, quotes part of Paul MacLean’s list of 24 reptilian behavior patterns that was included in Astride the Two Cultures on page 196.
  3. Joseph Chilton Pearce, Magical Child Matures, (E. P. Dutton, Inc., 1985, New York) This book expands on his previous book, Magical Child, with the author’s interpretation of how our consciousness and thought processes might function within a triune brain of Paul MacLean’s theory. Chapter 3 of the book, titled: Bonding and Attachment, discusses how an infant’s birth and early breastfeeding experience may affect the newborn’s physical and mental development. Development of different stages of consciousness and behavior patterns throughout the lifespan are discussed in later chapters. Meditation and chakra energy centers are also discussed.
  4. Paul D. MacLean,  The Triune Brain in Evolution: Role in Paleocerebral Functions, (Plenum Press, 1990, New York) National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland, “written by the author in his capacity as an employee of the United States Government and is thus considered a work of the United States Government.”
  5. David Eagleman, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, (Pantheon Books, 2011, New York) Paul MacLean’s theory is described in a brief paragraph in this book on page 110 with the summary that the details of the theory have “fallen out of favor among neuroanatomists, but the heart of the idea survives: brains are made of competing subsystems.”

David Eagleman suggests in his book Incognito [5] that a dual processing mechanism of emotional and rational thinking is the currently accepted approach in the field of neuroanatomy rather than the triune theory suggested by Paul MacLean. While the details of neuroanatomy may be out of date in his book, The Triune Brain in Evolution, [4], the observations of animal behavior presented in his work seems timeless – or priceless as animal species become extinct or lose their native habitats to encroaching civilization or other invasive species. Paul MacLean’s book with 579 pages of text and 55 pages of bibliography is not written for the average reader but it is a fascinating compilation of over a century of research and observations about animal and human behavior. Knowledge grows as it passes from one thinker to the next – Kepler probably didn’t get every detail of astrophysics right but Galileo and Newton were there to fill in more details and other thinkers have followed along since.

Non-verbal communication is my first language – English was my second language starting around age two and a half. Paul MacLean’s theory does include a basic premise that the brain includes a dual processing mechanism of non-verbal and verbal thinking and behavior patterns – and that the various areas of the brain aren’t always in good communication with each other. David Eagleman’s book Incognito mentioned research that has used the term zombie brain patterns and alien hand syndrome but the term software was also used. There are no aliens in alien hand syndrome. If the connection between the right and left hemispheres of the brain is damaged than the person loses normal control of one hand. The left hemisphere controls the right hand and the right hemisphere controls the left hand – no aliens though. [5, page 131-132] I personally am more comfortable with the idea that my brain – or hardware – may come pre-loaded with some innate survival behavior patterns – or software -than that my brain has zombie or alien thought processes.

Hunger is a biological feeling rather than an emotion in the typical sense of the word. Foraging is a survival behavior pattern that is seen in many species including humans – think of gathering wild berries in season or of browsing all the stores during the holiday season looking for the best deals. Frogs will flick their tongues out to capture a fly when they sense rapid movement of a small object and they will leap away when they sense movement of a large object, [5]  – does that mean frogs have zombie brain patterns? – or does that mean they have survival behavior patterns which can occur more rapidly than verbal thinking typically requires?

Good athletes practice so much that their bodies respond to the fast pace of the sport faster than conscious thought – rational, verbal analysis of a play can inhibit the player.

If you would rather not think about zombies, aliens, or frogs, then Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a currently accepted strategy in the field of mental health care that was first developed by Marsha Linehan in 1993 (1997, 2001) to help individuals gain better understanding and acceptance of their non-verbal and verbal thoughts, motives, and behaviors; and to develop more effective strategies for coping  with strong emotions; and for improving communication with others and with oneself. It can be difficult to let others know what your concerns are if you aren’t able to put words to your feelings.

Workbooks are available based on the DBT techniques which can be used individually or with a trained clinician; one example is: “The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation & Distress Tolerance,” by Matthew McKay, Ph.D, Jeffrey C. Wood, Psy. D, and Jeffrey Brantley, MD, (New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2007, Oakland, CA). [6]

If you like thinking about thinking or about squirrel monkeys, Komodo lizards and ethology then read on. We are told by Paul MacLean in The Triune Brain in Evolution that the word ethology became popularly known in the 1920s – I had to look it up, so it may not have remained popular. According to The New Oxford American Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 2001, New York) ethology is “the science of animal behavior,” or “the study of human behavior and social organization from a biological perspective.” There are peer reviewed journals for the topic such as the Journal of Ethology so the science of animal behavior is still of interest to some researchers.

To jump ahead to page 199 of The Triune Brain in Evolution the curious reader can learn that “Squirrel monkeys commonly roll food pellets or grapes on the tip of their tails.” Sadly we then learn that damaging a specific area of the brain will disrupt the ability. This bit of animal trivia is cute but not too relevant to humans off the basketball court. However many hours of watching Komodo lizards and other animals in their native habitats led to a list of behavior patterns that are seen in many species; the behavior patterns like the frog catching a fly or avoiding a predator may help support survival of the individual or the group. Our non-verbal brainstem and limbic areas of the brain may lead us into performing behavior patterns that our verbal mind may then try to rationalize in words – do we go to every store during the holiday rush in order to get the best deal or to enjoy the holiday spirit? – or because our non-verbal self is energized by the thrill of foraging for the best deal?

Non-verbal behavior patterns that may be based in activity from the brainstem area are listed on page 100, The Triune Brain in Evolution. (This area of the brain is rich in the neurotransmitter dopamine so conditions, substances, or stages of life that affect dopamine levels may also affect the likelihood of these behaviors occurring.) Table 6-1. Special Forms of Basic Behavior

  1. Selection and preparation of homesite
  2. Establishment of territory
  3. Use of home range
  4. Showing place preferences
  5. Trail making
  6. Marking of territory
  7. Patrolling territory
  8. Ritualistic display in defense of territory, commonly involving the use of coloration and adornments
  9. Formalized intraspecific fighting in defense of territory
  10. Triumphal display in successful defense
  11. Assumption of distinctive postures and coloration in signaling surrender
  12. Use of defecation posts (or areas away from sleeping areas and trails)
  13. Foraging
  14. Hunting
  15. Homing
  16. Hoarding
  17. Formation of social groups
  18. Establishment of social hierarchy by ritualistic display and other means
  19. Greeting
  20. Grooming
  21. Courtship, with displays using coloration and adornments
  22. Mating
  23. Breeding and, in isolated instances (in reptilian species), attending offspring
  24. Flocking
  25. Migration

[4]- Paul D. MacLean,  The Triune Brain in Evolution: Role in Paleocerebral Functions, (Plenum Press, 1990, New York) National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

The limbic area of the brain is associated with several non-verbal behavior patterns having to do with bonding and caring for offspring.

Six types of general behaviors have also been observed in many species that may occur as part of the other behavior patterns.

  • From page 143, Table 10-1. General (“Interoperative”) Forms of Basic Behavior: 1) Routinizing, 2) Isopraxic, 3) Tropistic, 4) Repetitious, 5) Reenactment, 6) Deceptive.[4]- Paul D. MacLean,  The Triune Brain in Evolution: Role in Paleocerebral Functions, (Plenum Press, 1990, New York) National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

There is a tendency to like following routines, 1) routinizing, and repeating usual behavior patterns, 4) repetitious. 2) Isopraxic behavior is the tendency to behave the same way as other members in a group. 3) Tropistic (from the Greek word tropos which means “a turning,” page 145) is used in biology to describe behaviors that seem to be elicited or “turned” on or off by an external signal such as the colorful pattern seen on another member of the species – the same bright color might elicit the response even if it seen on an inanimate object instead of another member of the species. 5) Reenactment is used to describe the repetition of a more complex series of behaviors than the typical routine. The more complex route might have been life saving once and it then may have became part of the daily routine even though the danger was no longer present. 6) Deceptive behavior has been observed by Komodo lizards when they hunt deer. The large lizards will hide along the trails used by deer and wait for the deer to happen along – no chasing necessary.

June 26, 2015 Additional Note: I was having trouble saving the draft a few days ago so I went ahead and published the post instead. The zombie behavior patterns described in frogs in an earlier paragraph and in the book Incognito  [5] might also be described as a tropistic behavior. [4, page 145] The frogs instinctively respond to a small rapid motion with a flick of their tongue to try to catch prey – turning towards the prey – and they respond to a large motion by hopping away to avoid a predator – turning away from danger. Having tropistic instincts seems like a more realistic and helpful description to me. I found all of the books that I listed helpful in different ways, as different perspectives, and I was disappointed to find only limited information available online about the triune brain theory – a brief overview of the basic theory is available in several places but I didn’t find the list of behavior patterns anywhere else online. The details of neuroanatomy is a rapidly changing field but basic animal behavior patterns may show repetition because our basic anatomy and DNA is very similar across many lifeforms.

/Disclosure: This information is presented for educational purposes within fair use and material provided within a publication of the U.S. government./

How we praise children may be instilling a more entity or incremental theory about personality traits

How we praise one another or ourselves may be affected by whether we have an entity theory or incremental theory about personality traits such as intelligence, or other traits such as trustworthiness or fairness. Hearing praise about what a good child we are can leave the underlying impression that if circumstances were different then we would be a bad child. Praise about how good we were for scoring well on the test or for drawing a pretty picture may be leaving the impression that next time if we score poorly on the test or make a less nice drawing that we are a bad child. [1]

Praise that focuses on the effort involved – or lack of effort – instead focuses on the job at hand rather than any innate goodness or badness. Praise about the effort involved, such as, “Great, you finished almost all of the questions and put in a lot of work on solving them, with more time you may have been able to finish all of the problems,” might be more successful in the long run at promoting a sense that working hard on a problem can lead to success without placing an external judgement on the child’s general goodness or badness. Praising the process that a child used rather than praising or criticizing the child may help children feel more confident about their ability to successfully handle challenges. Praise feels good in the short term but can lead the child to  be more self critical and to give up when they run into more difficult work. [1]

Research suggests  that people with a more fixed view of personality, or entity theory, may be judging others and themselves more harshly. While people with the more fluid view of personality, the incremental theory that people can change and improve their skills over time, make fewer snap judgments about themselves or others. [1]

Within the field of nutrition people who are trying to practice healthier eating habits may face setbacks in their food choices. It is important for the overall success of the dietary changes for them to see the unhealthier choices as simply unhealthier choices for that day or meal rather than a more general reflection of their overall chances of sticking with the new eating habits over time. One day’s unhealthy choices are unlikely to lead to long term ill health but if the unhealthy choices are viewed as proof that the person is a bad person who might as well give up trying then the day’s unhealthy choices might add to the long term risk of ill health. Eating disorders can be a person’s way of trying to cope with unrecognized emotional issues. Gentleness with oneself while trying to practice new eating habits may help with getting through minor setbacks without giving up on the overall goal of change.

The book Self-theories; Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development, (1999), by Carol S. Dweck, is written for the academic field of social psychology however it is a review of research and doesn’t go into detail about statistical analysis which makes it fairly accessible for the general interest reader. It is part of the series Essays in Social Psychology by Psychology Press. [1]

Anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder characterized by severe control of caloric intake, is mentioned as an example of a condition where individuals can harm themselves in the pursuit of a perfect self ([1], page 138) but the book is not about nutrition specifically. It discusses how cognitive therapy techniques can help children and adults learn more productive views of self and how well meaning praise may actually be promoting increased risk of giving up when setbacks are encountered. How we talk to children and adolescents about their size can have significant impact on the risk of their developing disordered eating patterns:

In addition, history of depression and history of teasing by a teacher or coach have been linked to the onset of an eating disorder 30. [2]

A focus on healthy exercise habits and regular meals of various types of foods may be more helpful than overly focusing on weight or size or a few specific food choices. Health occurs over time not just at each meal. Process oriented help for healthy eating might better focus on helping the person recognize their hunger and fullness signals and recognizing when thirst for water might actually be the primary body sensation they are feeling.

The fixed or entity theory of self might suggest to a child or adult that their ability to change their eating habits or fitness level is not possible while a fluid incremental theory of self might suggest that with effort the child or adult’s ability to change their eating habits or fitness level is possible. It can be helpful to not make weight loss or size changes the primary goal when trying to help someone address eating habits. Changing habits can support a healthy gradual change in weight or size or may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as Type II diabetes or high blood pressure from developing even if there aren’t large changes in weight or size. Cognitive behavior therapy can be helpful for promoting healthy eating and lifestyle changes. [23]

/Disclosure: I am a nutritionist. Disclaimer: Information presented on this site is not intended as a substitute for medical care and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment by your physician. Please see a health professional for individualized health care services./

  1. Carol S. Dweck, Self-theories; Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development, (Psychology Press, 1999, Ann Arbor) [1]
  2. Denise E. Wilfley, Ph.D., Rachel P. Kolko, B.A., and Andrea E. Kass, B.A., Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Weight Management and Eating Disorders in Children and AdolescentsChild Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2011 Apr; 20(2): 271–285. . Full text available online. [2]
  3. Rebecca Murphy, DClinPsych. et al, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Eating Disorders, Psychiatric Clinics of North America Vol 33, Issue 3, Sept. 2010, Pages 611–627. Full text available online. [3]

 

If laughter is the best medicine, then self advocacy may be the second best, and a U.S. physician has written a prescription for both; a book link

There are no guarantees in life except that it doesn’t end well but a physician has written a guide that may help patients navigate through the U.S. medical system. The book “Prepare to Defend Yourself . . . How to Navigate the Healthcare System & Escape with Your Life,” (2014) by Matthew Minson, MD is a patient guide written with sensitivity and humor . . . and the cartoons are funny too. [1]

The author shares the background history of medical care and addresses how changes in the current medical industry has made individualized care of patients more difficult for physicians and for patients. The guide has helpful worksheets of information to keep on hand in case of emergencies, [2], and questions to ask before an emergency occurs (ideally, get the book now, before you need it).

The book’s publication was with the support of the Texas A & M School of Rural Public Health, “whose mission is to improve the health of communities through education, research, service, outreach, and creative partnerships.” The author completed his medical residency in Anesthesiology but since then has worked extensively in the field of emergency and disaster response at federal and corporate levels. [3]

More information about the book and copies of worksheets from the book are available on the website: preparetodefendyourself.com.

Happy April Fool’s Day, but the need for self advocacy as a patient is no joke. Arm yourself with knowledge and a side of laughter, the end result will be the same but quality of life is something to protect every day.

/Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and  the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

A very important book, “Half the Sky”

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (2009is a book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas D. Kistof and Sheryl WuDunn. The book has also been made into a PBS series. The authors shares stories and statistics from around the world about women and girls and men and boys. Women’s rights are human rights and frequently the stories show that helping women helps the whole family and even the whole community. [halftheskymovement.org]

“Women hold up half the sky.” -Mao Zedong

Women are certainly holding up their half of the sky in China where some of the world’s richest women now work and live.

The following quote makes me glad I wasn’t forced to get braces for my crooked teeth and that I wasn’t expected to have my body cut in sensitive areas in order to suit the marital expectations of my cultural group. The speaker has helped groups of women and families work together to change long held customs.

“Everybody has to change together, or you will never be able to marry your daughter,” Molly says. “My mother put me in braces, and I bled and I cried for two years, and an African woman could have come over and said: ‘How can you do this to your daughter?’ And my mother would have said, ‘I saved from my little salary to straighten my daughter’s teeth, so she can get married. How dare you say I am cruel!'” – Molly Melching, Tostan program, page 227

The book Half the Sky  presents the painful issues that women and girls and their loved ones are facing around the world on a daily basis. The book covers adult topics, uncomfortable but better to face and discuss than to suppress and hide behind closed doors. Women with education and income tend to spend more on the health and education of their children. Girls with more education tend to have children later which is also safer for their bodies.

Women can hold up their half of the sky better when they have skills and confidence and are allowed to speak about their concerns. Half the Sky is a doorway to some of their stories, both painful and hopeful. Contact information is included for the organizations that are described in the book. (2009)

Coffee is a methyl donor, yippee for my DNA

Proper methylation of DNA regulates which sections of DNA are active and will be used to direct metabolic activities in the body and which sections are turned off. Some people have metabolic defects in their ability to methylate normally. Problems in the normal methylation cycle may be more common for people on the autism spectrum and in some other genetic conditions like Down’s Syndrome.

The following website has a book available to read online that includes information about metabolic differences that have been found to be more common for people on the autism spectrum. Methylation differences in metabolism are discussed in Chapter 2 of the book Autism: Pathways to Recovery, by Dr. Amy Yasko. In the chapter coffee and Ritalin are described as methyl donors, and it is suggested that they might be helpful for some people for that reason.  Defects in the normal ability to methylate DNA is impaired in some people which may leave their immune systems over active with autoimmune symptoms or underactive and more susceptible to actual threats. [dramyyasko.com/resources/autism-pathways-to-recovery/chapter-2/]

A book available online, thanks to the author Dr. Amy Yasko. She mentions in the opening paragraph of Chapter 1 that the U.S. population grew by 13% in the 1990s and the number of people with autism grew by 172% in the same time frame. Read more: [dramyyasko.com/resources/autism-pathways-to-recovery/chapter-1/]

In 1975 the rate of autism was 1 in 5000.  Approximately one child of every 88 born in the year 2000 were found to have autism and the rate was 1 in 68 – one infant out of every 68 children born in 2002 were found to have autism. [aplus.com/a/scientist-claims-half-of-children-will-have-autism-by-2025]

There may not be a ‘cure’ for autism but there are nutritional strategies that help manage some of the more common metabolic differences if parents and health professionals are allowed to acknowledge the existence of the differences.

/Disclosure: I am not recommending coffee for children or infants.  This information is provided for educational purposes and is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./