Know where to look

What I learned in college is that knowing where to look something up for more detail is the critical skill to learn. Knowledge is fluid, as more is learned some of the old information is confirmed and some is modified or found to be inaccurate.

” I am not young enough to know everything.” – Oscar Wilde

The older you get the more you realize how little you know in relation to what is known and what has yet to be discovered or clarified.

Librarians and social workers are skilled at knowing where to look for more information or who to ask about resources that might be available.

Public health education involves some social work and librarian skills – no one can know everything but a public health educator tries to have access to more information about many things.

Taking note of where information is located and remembering where you left the note is a skill that librarians excel at – having a file system on paper, or virtually, can also help organize your memories. Do you file information by categories or alphabetical order or by Dewey Decimal system?

A description of working memory, short term memory skills for every day activities, is available by ADDitude, a magazine site focused on Attention Deficit Disorder: Improve Working Memory. It includes tips for tasks like improving your ability to remember where you put your keys or that you have an appointment scheduled. My own tendency to lose my car keys led me to develop the habit of only putting them in a few places, my purse or right hand pocket, and also a habit of checking that they are there in the pocket every time I go through the door to leave a building. Not trying to multitask is a tip that may help most people concentrate better as research suggests that it uses more energy to keep switching back and forth between tasks. (PsychologyToday/multitasking)

For long term memory building, writing notes down in physical handwriting also seems to help fix the memory in our long term storage better even if we don’t look at the note again. (PsychologicalScience/note taking) I have gotten better at using the typewritten note taking ability of this blog site because it has a search capacity. As long as I remember key words that I used I can usually find where I had written something. Learning is more likely to be retained if the information is reviewed occasionally, and in order to review it occasionally you need to be able to find it again. The internet is a big place, I like to leave myself a trail of bread crumbs to help me navigate.

Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use.

Science can take awhile

The progress of scientific research builds on earlier work and goes through phases of brand new discoveries that may be thought of as odd or unnecessary until more time and more work occurs. The Nobel Prize awards includes three scientific categories, Physics, Chemistry, and Physiology or Medicine. The average time lag between the date of the research that recognition is being given for is often more than twenty or even thirty years. (1) The main thing they winners of the Nobel Prize in science categories may have in common is perseverance.

Osamu Shimomura is a Japanese scientist who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2008 along with two others (Roger Y. Tsien, Martin Chalfie), for research that was published in 1954. The work was on green fluorescent dye that is now used regularly for cell staining techniques to make parts of the cell more visible. (2) Fifty four years for a discovery to progress through the stages of “How odd,” to “That is interesting but what is it good for?” to “What did we ever do without this wonderful technique?” Perseverance is essential in science.

My point is simply that science developments take time, time to do the original research and more time for it to be put to use by other researchers in various ways. Collaboration is also typical, teams tend to win the awards in science rather than individuals. Different perspective can add to a better understanding of a topic.

Courses I’m taking or have taken recently on neurobiology, I am learning more about myelin and how it is made and used in brain and nerve cells. I started writing about the topic earlier in the summer and found I needed more background information. If interested the courses are free or a certificate can be earned for a small sum of money but no college credits are earned.

My 50 plan? Keep learning more about preventative health care strategies and functional foods that help manage and prevent inflammation and oxidative stress, in order to protect my own nerves and brain cells. Pain hurts, numbness and paralysis is disabling, and cognitive skills are nicer to have than to not have. If I can record the information I discover for the use by others that may help others. The planet needs healthy people. Medical supplies and prescription medications can add to the pollution of the planet. Functional foods and preservation of health would be helping to reduce the pollution burden for the planet and reduce expense for individuals, businesses and governments.

The articles I’ve written about protecting myelin and who is at risk for demyelination include:

I probably won’t be around for another 54 years but I have a right to try to stay healthy for the years I do have left – the main point is that science takes time and it is collaborative. By sharing my notes, maybe some other people will be helped in their pursuit of individual health or research goals.

  • 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.
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osamu_ShimomuraFortunato, Santo, Growing time lag threatens Nobels, Nature, 508, page 186, (10 April 2014) https://www.nature.com/articles/508186a
  2. Osamu Shimomaru, Wikipedia,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osamu_Shimomura

Tips for Changing Habits

Habits are the daily routines that we don’t even think about. It saves energy and stress for the brain to have routine patterns to our lives. The more decisions we have to make about little things, the less energy we may have to focus on work or for important decisions.     

Planning routine actions in advance can help by having already made the decisions about the actions before being in a rush to get to work or school on time. Having an outfit clean and ready the night before an early day; lunch ready to go in the refrigerator; and a quick morning routine for getting dressed, having breakfast, and getting out the door, can leave you relaxed and on time for the early appointment.      

New habits can be easier to stick with when you add the new behavior to a current routine – need to take a medication or vitamin daily?  Try leaving the bottle next to your toothbrush and always take it in the morning after brushing your teeth.  Substituting a new action for a habit that you want to stop may make it easier to change the routine than focusing only on stopping an old habit – want to quit smoking? Substitute going for a very short walk instead.     

Writing down a goal with an action plan and timeline can help and then tallying the goal behavior on a daily checklist for a month or two can help reinforce the new habit long

  • More information about changing old habits or making new ones is available here: The 3 R’s of Habit Change: How to Start New Habits that Really Stick, jamesclear.com.   
  • 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.