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This site is an archive of our Well Written Blog posts until April 2020. For the most up-to-date content visit NWIJournal.com.

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What is Drunkorexia, and why should you care? (December 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, October 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012

Drunkorexia is not a medical term. It's not even in the dictionary (yet), but if the trend continues to grow, it just might end up between "drunk-o-meter" and "drupaceous"in Websters. It is currently defined as swapping food calories for alcohol calories. It is also being compared to eating disorders like anorexia nervosa.

It's safe to say that this "trend" is most common in college females (according to a 2008 Sunday Times article) but men can also fall prey to the philosophy of simply skipping lunch to save room for more alcohol calories.

Not only does this lead to quicker intoxication, it can result in serious health implications and risks.

If there is no food in the body and an individual consumes alcohol, especially in high amounts, the body absorbs the alcohol faster leading to intoxication and rapid impairment of judgment.

According to an article in The Sunday Times, nutritionist Ian Marber explains a possible reason for the unhealthy growing trend, "It's socially acceptable to be drunk, but it's not okay to be fat. Marber also notes that he has seen signs of a drunkorexic lifestyle in clients he knows understand the consequences of this type of behaviour.

And although those with this condition believe they are still getting their daily calories, it's not in the way nature suggests they do so. The body is starving itself which leads to malnourishment, and problems with metabolism.

It's important to eat before drinking alcohol to slow to affects it has on the body and mind and to make sure the body is getting what it needs to survive. From a health and wellness perspective, it's better to eat a big dinner and have extra calories for the day, than to starve and live off of alcohol.

This is also where moderation of alcohol intake comes up quite clearly again. Not only is drinking on an empty stomach that much worse for you, those that try this new "diet" are most often drinking more than the established "heavy" drinking limits. Remembering moderation is essential in ensuring personal safety and making sure drunkorexia isn't a trend that catches on.

Spicer, K (2008). Drunkorexia - too much booze and too little food - is affecting more and more women. The Sunday Times. Accessed November 29, 2010 from http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/features/article3570712.ece

By Jackie Lutze, NWI Intern

Tags:  Alcohol  December 2010  Diet  Emotional  Nutrition  Physical  Social 

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Fun Facts (December 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, October 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012

Because wellness is sometimes about change, this month's fun facts are dedicated to the things that change around us!

US scientists calculated that Santa would have to visit 822 homes a second to deliver all the world's presents on Christmas Eve, travelling at 650 miles a second.

Those lighting candles for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa contributed to the $1.3 billion worth of candles shipped in the United States in 2002.

The world's tallest Christmas tree at 221 feet, was erected in a Washington, D.C. shopping mall in 1950.

The bestselling Christmas single ever is Bing Crosby's White Christmas, shifting over 50million copies worldwide since 1942.

The Beatles hold the record for most Christmas number one singles, topping the charts in 1963, 65 and 67.

Holidays then and now

Source: From http://fun.familyeducation.com

Then: The original ball lowered in Times Square on New Year's Eve in 1907 was made of iron and wood and decorated with 100 light bulbs.

Now: The modern New Year's ball is made of Waterford crystal, covered with 696 light bulbs, 96 strobe lights, and 90 rotating pyramid mirrors.

Then: Poinsettias were first introduced into the United States in 1828 by the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett.

Now: Poinsettias are now grown in all 50 U.S. states and represent over 85 percent of potted plant sales during the holidays. Over $220 million worth of poinsettias are sold during holiday season!

Then: Hershey's started wrapping their Hershey's Kisses in red, green, and silver foil for the first time in 1962. The success of the holiday-wrapped Kisses led Hershey's to dress up their little chocolates for the Easter, Valentine's Day, and fall harvest seasons.

Now: Hershey's now wraps up to 1,300 Hershey's Kisses a minute. That gives them the capacity to make approximately 33 million Hershey's Kisses a day, or more than 12 billion a year.

Then: In 1949, the tree at Rockefeller Center was strung with 7,500 bulbs.

Now: Now more than 25,000 bulbs are strung on the tree—that's more than five miles of lights!

Then: The first American mention of a Christmas tree was in 1747 and strictly speaking, it wasn't a tree at all but a wooden pyramid covered with evergreen boughs and decorated with apples.

Now: Once the tree idea caught on, it grew by leaps and bounds. Between 34 and 36 million Christmas trees are now produced each year in the U.S. The industry employs more than 100,000 people, and more than one million acres of land have been planted with Christmas trees.

Then: Artificial Christmas trees were on the market by 1900. They were available by mail from Sears, Roebuck and Company, and cost 50 cents for 33 limbs, or a dollar for 55 limbs.

Now: Most artificial trees are now manufactured in Korea, Taiwan, or Hong Kong and contain non-biodegradable plastics and metals. They usually range in price from $200 to $2,000.

Then: The first Christmas card, created by a London businessman, was printed in England in 1843. Three years later, the first commercial Christmas cards were available to the public. One thousand cards in all were produced and they were an instant success.

Now: The holiday season is now the busiest time of the year for the US Postal Service. Last year, more than 20 billion cards, letters, and packages were sent, causing the USPS to hire nearly 40,000 temporary workers and put thousands of additional trucks, trains, and planes in service.

Then: In 1939, an advertising employee at the department store Montgomery Ward wrote the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for a store promotion. That year the store gave away 2.4 million copies of the story.

Now: Ten years later, Gene Autry recorded the song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Since then it has sold over 80 million copies. Rudolph has definitely gone down in our holiday history!

By Jackie Lutze, NWI Intern

Tags:  December 2010  Fun Facts  Holiday  Intellectual 

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Quotes (December 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, October 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012

December Quotes are dedicated to winter as a good time to slow down, recap, and consider what comes next. The Buddha will be our guide for this process.

Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.

With gentleness overcome anger. With generosity overcome meanness. With truth overcome deceit.

Speak or act with an impure mind and trouble will follow you.

Speak or act with a pure mind and happiness will follow you as your shadow, unshakable.

In this world hate never yet dispelled hate. Only love dispels hate. This is the law, ancient and inexhaustible.

Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace. Better than a thousand hollow verses is one verse that brings peace.

There is no fire like passion, no crime like hatred, no sorrow like separation, no sickness like hunger, and no joy like the joy of freedom…

You too shall pass away. Knowing this, how can you quarrel?

It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.

You are the source of all purity and impurity. No one purifies another.

It is better to do nothing than to do what is wrong. For whatever you do, you do to yourself.

To share happiness and to have done something good before leaving this life is sweet.

Master your words. Master your thoughts. Never allow your body to do harm. Follow these three roads with purity and you will find yourself upon the one way, the way of wisdom.

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.

The mind is everything; what you think you become.

Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.

It is a man's own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.

Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death can erase our good deeds.

On a long journey of human life, faith is the best of companions; it is the best refreshment on the journey; and it is the greatest property.

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.

The greatest prayer is patience.

Never speak harsh words for they will rebound upon you. Angry words hurt and the hurt rebounds.Like a broken gong.

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

Tags:  December 2010  Emotional  Inspiration  Intellectual  Physical  Quotes  Spiritual 

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When Eating in Patterns is King (September 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
Many popular nutritional recommendations are outdated, misleading and missing the bigger picture suggest Dariush Mozaffarian and David Ludwig from Harvard University. The standard advice to avoid saturated fat, eat plenty of fiber, and avoid added salt and sugar are impractical, have been corrupted for commercial gain and may not be the best recommendations for your health.
In a recent editorial in the Journal of The American Medical Association the Harvard Medical School doctors make a plea to change current nutritional recommendations from a focus on nutrients to recommendations that focus on healthful dietary patterns and with good reason.

What is wrong with our current approach?Current nutrition guidelines focus on recommendations around measurements of calories, salt, fat and sugar and fiber but it is unlikely that individuals can accurately measure their daily intake of these items. Plus, the doctors suggest that not enough evidence exists that modifying your intake of single nutrients will improve your health. Cutting total or saturated fat intake has little effect on your risk of developing heart disease for example.
Furthermore a focus on nutrients has become misleading, foods rich in healthy fats may be categorized alongside fatty fast food and unhealthy processed foods may be fortified with single nutrients and sold as healthful.

A different approach…The doctors are recommending that individuals turn from counting nutrients to focusing on healthful foods and dietary patterns.
Healthy eating patterns and foods include minimally processed foods and vegetable oils, with few highly processed foods or sugary beverages. These types of diets, the doctors explain, are naturally lower in salt, trans fat, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, and added sugars; are higher in unsaturated fats, fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and phytochemicals; and are more satiating. Thus, a focus on foods increases the likelihood of consuming more healthy nutrients and fewer calories and decreasing chronic disease risk, whereas the opposite has arguably occurred through decades of nutrient-focused guidelines.
This type of eating is not only more practical and healthier but a logical return to traditional ways of eating with an emphasis on unprocessed, close to nature foods.

Reference: Mozaffarian D, Ludwig DS. Dietary guidelines in the 21st century--a time for food. JAMA. 2010 Aug 11;304(6):681-2.

Tags:  Diet  Nutrition  Physical  September 2010 

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Older Adults Experience "Destination Amnesia" And Over-Confidence with False Beliefs (September 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
The good news is at least you're not alone and now, there is scientific evidence that those moments of "I'm sure I told you that already!" are common. The bad news is these memory lapses are happening and can sometimes be embarrassing. Older adults are more likely to have destination memory failures—forgetting who they've shared or not shared information with, according to a new study led by Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute. The study appears online, ahead of print publication, in the Online First Section of Psychology and Aging.

"What we've found is that older adults tend to experience more destination amnesia than younger adults," said lead investigator and cognitive scientist Dr. Nigel Gopie, who led the study with experts in memory and attention, Drs. Fergus Craik and Lynn Hasher. Destination amnesia involves an individual falsely believing they've told someone something, such as believing they told their daughter about needing a ride to an appointment, when actually they told a neighbor.

Older adults are more prone to destination memory failures because the ability to focus and pay attention declines with age, so older adults use up most of their attention resources on the telling of information and don't properly encode the context (i.e. who they are speaking to) for later recall. Plus, older adults tend to be more confident than their younger counterparts often leading to a sense of surety related to how and to whom information was transferred. A critical finding in the study is that destination memory is more vulnerable to age-related decline than source memory. Source memory is the ability to recall which person told you certain information.

The study follows an earlier one published last year in Psychological Science by Dr. Gopie (Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute) and Dr. Colin M. MacLeod (University of Waterloo).

Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care (2010, August 30). Older adults experience "destination amnesia" and over-confidence with false beliefs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 31, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2010/08/100830152542.htm

Tags:  Adults  Aging  Intellectual  Physical  September 2010 

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Just say YES to Drinking!!! What the ?#%$! (September 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
This wellness writer was a little alarmed at news coming out today (August 31, 2010) that drinkers live longer than non-drinkers. Not that I don't enjoy a drink from time to time, but there is an underlying wellness bent in me that makes me want all wellness-related facts to be a bit cleaner (if you will). The article in question was from TIME magazine, Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers, Study Finds. To further stir the pot, there were links at the bottom of the page* to articles suggesting that
  • Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers, Study Finds
  • Why Non-Drinkers May Be More Depressed
  • Does Alcohol Slow Dementia?
  • Study: Women Who Drink Tend to Be Thinner

The good news, don't throw in the towel on your workout for a trip to the bar just yet….Let's look at the main points from the articles:
  • Many of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems associated with drinking.
  • Moderate drinking, which is defined as one to three drinks per day, is associated with the lowest mortality rates in alcohol studies.
  • Those who abstain from alcohol tend to be from lower socioeconomic classes, since drinking can be expensive. And people of lower socioeconomic status have more life stressors—job and child-care worries that might not only keep them from the bottle but also cause stress-related illnesses over long periods.
  • People who have never drank are more likely to die earlier than heavy drinkers. The researchers believe this is due to alcohol serving as a lubricant for social interactions, and social interactions are vital for maintaining mental and physical health…nondrinkers show greater signs of depression than those who allow themselves to join the party.
  • The strongest evidence yet that moderate drinking is not only fun but good for you.
  • Regarding women who drink being thinner, the bottom line is still the good 'ole wellness principles of moderation and balance!

Phew! Despite the shocking headlines, moderation and balance are still kings and queens!


Tags:  Alcohol  Diet  Nutrition  Physical  September 2010  Social 

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Fun Facts (September 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
These facts will teach you interesting bits of information about the physical make-up of the human brain. Inspired by "back to school" month!
  • Weight. The weight of the adult human brain is about 3 lbs.
  • Cerebrum. The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain and makes up 85% of the brain's weight.
  • Skin. Your skin weighs twice as much as your brain.
  • Gray matter. The brain's gray matter is made up of neurons, which gather and transmit signals.
  • White matter. The white matter is made up of dendrites and axons, which create the network by which neurons send their signals.
  • Gray and white. Your brain is 60% white matter and 40% gray matter.
  • Water. The brain is made up of about 75% water.
  • Neurons. Your brain consists of about 100 billion neurons.
  • Synapses. There are anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 synapses for each neuron.
  • No pain. There are no pain receptors in the brain, so the brain can feel no pain.
  • Largest brain. While an elephant's brain is physically larger than a human brain, the human brain is 2% of total body weight (compared to 0.15% of an elephant's brain), meaning humans have the largest brain to body size.
  • Blood vessels. There are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in the brain.
  • Fat. The human brain is the fattest organ in the body and may consists of at least 60% fat.

The Developing Brain
Starting from within the womb, fetal brain development begins the amazing journey that leads to a well-developed brain at birth that continues to grow for 18 more years.
  • Neurons. Neurons develop at the rate of 250,000 neurons per minute during early pregnancy.
  • Size at birth. At birth, your brain was almost the same size as an adult brain and contained most of the brain cells for your whole life.
  • Newborn's growth. A newborn baby's brain grows about three times its size in the first year.
  • Stopped growing. Your brain stopped growing at age 18.
  • Cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex grows thicker as you learn to use it.
  • Stimulation. A stimulating environment for a child can make the difference between a 25% greater ability to learn or 25% less in an environment with little stimulation.
  • New neurons. Humans continue to make new neurons throughout life in response to mental activity.
  • Read aloud. Reading aloud and talking often to a young child promotes brain development.
  • Emotions. The capacity for such emotions as joy, happiness, fear, and shyness are already developed at birth. The specific type of nurturing a child receives shapes how these emotions are developed.
  • First sense. The first sense to develop while in utero is the sense of touch. The lips and cheeks can experience touch at about 8 weeks and the rest of the body around 12 weeks.
  • Child abuse and the brain. Studies have shown that child abuse can inhibit development of the brain and can permanently affect brain development.

Brain Function
From the invisible workings of the brain to more visible responses such as yawns or intelligence, find out how the brain functions with these facts.
  • Oxygen. Your brain uses 20% of the total oxygen in your body.
  • Blood. As with oxygen, your brain uses 20% of the blood circulating in your body.
  • Unconsciousness. If your brain loses blood for 8 to 10 seconds, you will lose consciousness.
  • Speed. Information can be processed as slowly as 0.5 meters/sec or as fast as 120 meters/sec (about 268 miles/hr).
  • Wattage. While awake, your brain generates between 10 and 23 watts of power-or enough energy to power a light bulb.
  • Yawns. It is thought that a yawn works to send more oxygen to the brain, therefore working to cool it down and wake it up.
  • Neocortex. The neocortex makes up about 76% of the human brain and is responsible for language and consciousness. The human neocortex is much larger than in animals.
  • 10%. The old adage of humans only using 10% of their brain is not true. Every part of the brain has a known function.
  • Brain death. The brain can live for 4 to 6 minutes without oxygen, and then it begins to die. No oxygen for 5 to 10 minutes will result in permanent brain damage.
  • Highest temperature. The next time you get a fever, keep in mind that the highest human body temperature ever recorded was 115.7 degrees-and the man survived.
  • Stress. Excessive stress has shown to "alter brain cells, brain structure and brain function."
  • Love hormones and autism. Oxytocin, one of the hormones responsible for triggering feelings of love in the brain, has shown some benefits to helping control repetitive behaviors in those with autism.
  • Food and intelligence. A study of one million students in New York showed that students who ate lunches that did not include artificial flavors, preservatives, and dyes did 14% better on IQ tests than students who ate lunches with these additives.
  • Seafood. In the March 2003 edition of Discover magazine, a report describes how people in a 7-year study who ate seafood at least one time every week had a 30% lower occurrence of dementia.

Psychology of the Brain
From tickling to tasting to decision-making, find out how the brain affects what you experience.
  • Tickles. You can't tickle yourself because your brain distinguishes between unexpected external touch and your own touch.
  • Imaginary playmates. A study from Australia showed that children between the ages of 3 and 9 with imaginary playmates tended to be first-born children.
  • Reading faces. Without any words, you may be able to determine if someone is in a good mood, is feeling sad, or is angry just by reading the face. A small area in the brain called the amygdala is responsible for your ability to read someone else's face for clues to how they are feeling.
  • Ringing in the ears. For years, medical professionals believed that tinnitus was due to a function within the mechanics of the ear, but newer evidence shows that it is actually a function of the brain.
  • Pain and gender. Scientists have discovered that men and women's brains react differently to pain, which explains why they may perceive or discuss pain differently.
  • Supertasters. There is a class of people known as supertasters who not only have more taste buds on the tongue, but whose brain is more sensitive to the tastes of foods and drinks. In fact, they can detect some flavors that others cannot.
  • Cold. Some people are much more sensitive to cold and actually feel pain associated with cold. Research has shown that the reason is due to certain channels that send cold information to the brain.
  • Decision-making. Women tend to take longer to make a decision, but are more likely to stick with the decision, compared to men, who are more likely to change their mind after making a decision.
  • Exercise. Some studies indicate that while some people are naturally more active, others are naturally more inactive, which may explain why getting out and exercising is more difficult for some.
  • Boredom. Boredom is brought on by a lack of change of stimulation, is largely a function of perception, and is connected to the innate curiosity found in humans.
  • Physical illness. The connection between body and mind is a strong one. One estimate is that between 50-70% of visits to the doctor for physical ailments are attributed to psychological factors.
  • Sadness and shopping. Researchers have discovered that those experiencing the blues are more willing to spend more money in an attempt to alleviate their sadness.

Learn how scent, jet lag, and estrogen affect memory, plus plenty of other information, with these facts.
  • Jet lag. Frequent jet lag can impair your memory, probably due to the stress hormones released.
  • New connections. Every time you recall a memory or have a new thought, you are creating a new connection in your brain.
  • Create associations. Memory is formed by associations, so if you want help remembering things, create associations for yourself.
  • Scent and memory. Memories triggered by scent have a stronger emotional connection, therefore appear more intense than other memory triggers.
  • Anomia. Anomia is the technical word for tip-of-the-tongue syndrome when you can almost remember a word, but it just won't quite come to you.
  • Sleep. While you are asleep at night may be the best time for your brain to consolidate all your memories from the day.
  • No sleep. It goes to follow . . . Lack of sleep may actually hurt your ability to create new memories.
  • World Champion. A world champion memorizer, Ben Pridmore memorized 96 historical events in 5 minutes and memorized a single, shuffled deck of cards in 26.28 seconds.
  • Estrogen and memory. Estrogen (found in both men and women) has been shown to promote better memory functions.
  • Insulin. Insulin works to regulate blood-sugar in the body, but recently, scientists have discovered that its presence in the brain also helps promote memory.

Dreams and Sleep
The amazing world of dreams and what happens during sleep is a mystery rooted in the brain. Learn interesting facts about dreams and sleep in this list.
  • Everyone dreams. Just because you don't remember your dreams doesn't mean you don't dream. Everyone dreams!
  • Nightly average. Most people dream about 1-2 hours a night and have an average of 4-7 dreams each night.
  • Brain waves. Studies show that brain waves are more active while dreaming than when you are awake.
  • Lost dreams. Five minutes after a dream, half of the dream is forgotten. Ten minutes after a dream, over 90% is forgotten. Write down your dreams immediately if you want to remember them.
  • Blind people dream. Dreams are more than just visual images, and blind people do dream. Whether or not they dream in pictures depends on if they were born blind or lost their vision later.
  • Color or B&W. Some people (about 12%) dream only in black and white while others dream in color.
  • Virtually paralyzed. While you sleep, your body produces a hormone that may prevent you from acting out your dreams, leaving you virtually paralyzed.
  • Snoring. If you are snoring, you are not dreaming.
  • During a dream. If you are awakened during a dream, you are much more likely to remember the dream than if you slept until a full night's sleep.
  • Symbolism. As those who invest in dream dictionaries can attest, dreams almost never represent what they actually are. The unconscious mind strives to make connections with concepts you will understand, so dreams are largely symbolic representations.
  • Adenosine. Caffeine works to block naturally occurring adenosine in the body, creating alertness. Scientists have recently discovered this connection and learned that doing the opposite—boosting adenosine—can actually help promote more natural sleep patterns and help eliminate insomnia.
  • Dream showings. Japanese researchers have successfully developed a technology that can put thoughts on a screen and may soon be able to screen people's dreams.

Fun and Interesting Facts
From juggling to a Brain Bank to cannibalism, read about these fun and interesting brain facts.
  • Airplanes and headaches. A study showed a correlation between flying and headaches and states that around 6% of people who fly get headaches brought on by the flight itself.
  • Juggling. Juggling has shown to change the brain in as little as seven days. The study indicates that learning new things helps the brain to change very quickly.
  • Disney and sleep. A study published in the journal Sleep Medicine describes how Disney creators used real sleep disorders in many of their animated pets.
  • Blinking. Each time we blink, our brain kicks in and keeps things illuminated so the whole world doesn't go dark each time we blink (about 20,000 times a day).
  • Laughing. Laughing at a joke is no simple task as it requires activity in five different areas of the brain.
  • Yawns are contagious. Ever notice that you yawned after someone around you did? Scientists believe this may be a response to an ancient social behavior for communication that humans still have.
  • Brain Bank. Harvard maintains a Brain Bank where over 7,000 human brains are stored for research purposes.
  • Outer space. The lack of gravity in outer space affects the brain in several ways. Scientists are studying how and why, but you may want to hold off on your next trip to the moon.
  • Music. Music lessons have shown to considerably boost brain organization and ability in both children and adults.
  • Thoughts. The average number of thoughts that humans are believed to experience each day is 70,000.
  • Ambidexterity. Those who are left-handed or ambidextrous have a corpus collosum (the part of the brain that bridges the two halves) that is about 11% larger than those who are right-handed.
  • Stressful job. According to a study by Bristol-Myers Squibb, accountants have the highest incidence of on-the-job headaches, followed by librarians, then bus and truck drivers.
  • Aristotle. Aristotle mistakenly thought that the functions of the brain actually took place in the heart.
  • Cannibalism. Some research shows that humans carry genes that help protect the brain from prion diseases, or diseases contracted through eating human flesh, leading medical experts to believe that ancient humans may have eaten other humans.
  • Shakespeare. The word "brain" appears 66 times in the plays of William Shakespeare.

Famous Brains
People have always been fascinated with the brains of famous people. Find out what experts know about these famous brains.
  • Albert Einstein. Einstein's brain was similar in size to other humans except in the region that is responsible for math and spatial perception. In that region, his brain was 35% wider than average.
  • London taxi drivers. Famous for knowing all the London streets by heart, these drivers have a larger than normal hippocampus, especially the drivers who have been on the job longest. The study suggests that as people memorize more and more information, this part of their brain continues to grow.
  • VI Lenin. After his death, Lenin's brain was studied and found to have an abnormally large and numerous neurons in a particular region that may explain his "strikingly acute and penetrating mental processes" for which he was famous.
  • Oldest brain. A brain thought to be 2000 years old was unearthed just recently at the University of York in northern England.
  • Babe Ruth. The Babe was tested by two Columbia psychology students and was determined to be working at 90% efficiency compared to the 60% efficiency measured for most people.
  • Daniel Tammet. Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant who, since the age of three when he suffered an epileptic seizure, has been able to perform astounding mathematical computations, knows seven languages, and is developing a language of his own.
  • Keith Jarrett. This jazz musician was discovered at age 3 to have perfect pitch, which scientists can pinpoint in the right frontal lobe.

Moments in History
The study of the brain has an interesting history. Check out this abbreviated time line to learn interesting facts about the history of brain research and development.
  • 2000 B.C.. Archeologists found evidence that primitive brain surgery was performed by drilling a hole in the skull.
  • 1811. Scottish surgeon Charles Bell described how each of the senses had a corresponding spot in the brain.
  • 1899. Aspirin was marketed as a pain reliever, but was not available without a prescription until 1915.
  • 1921. Hermann Rorschach invented the now-famous ink blot test for use with his patients.
  • 1959. The first rhesus monkey was sent into space to study human behavior.

Tags:  Brain  Fun Facts  Intellectual  September 2010 

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Quotes (September 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
Inspired by the traditional month of returning to school!
Education is not the piling on of learning, information, data, facts, skills, or abilities—that's training or instruction—but is rather making visible what is hidden as a seed.
—Thomas More

I must learn to love the fool in me the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries.
—Theodore Isaac Rubin

God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons we could not learn in any other way. The way we learn those lessons is not to deny the feelings but to find the meanings underlying them.
—Stanley Lindquist

The ideal condition would be, I admit, that men should be right by instinct; but since we are all likely to go astray, the reasonable thing is to learn from those who can teach.

Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can—there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.
—Sarah Caldwell

The excitement of learning separates youth from old age. As long as you're learning, you're not old.
—Rosalyn S. Yalow

That's what learning is, after all; not whether we lose the game, but how we lose and how we`ve changed because of it and what we take away from it that we never had before, to apply to other games. Losing, in a curious way, is winning.
—Richard Bach

Teaching is useless unless you can learn from your students.
—Martin Dansky

Learning is always rebellion... Every bit of new truth discovered is revolutionary to what was believed before.
—Margaret Lee Runbeck

The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn.
—Marcus Tullius Cicero

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
—Mahatma Gandhi

It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.
—Leo F. Buscaglia

If you're not making mistakes, you're not taking risks, and that means you're not going anywhere. The key is to make mistakes faster than the competition, so you have more changes to learn and win.
—John W. Holt, Jr.

If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.
—Ignacio Estrada

Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study. Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.
—Henry L. Doherty

Learn to limit yourself; to content yourself with some definite work; dare to be what you are and learn to resign with a good grace all that you are not; and to believe in your own individuality.
—Henri Frederic Amiel

Learning is the discovery that something is possible.
—Fritz Perls

It's not what we eat but what we digest that makes us strong; not what we gain but what we save that makes us rich; not what we read but what we remember that makes us learned; and not what we profess but what we practice that gives us integrity.
—Francis Bacon, Sr.

Tags:  Education  Inspiration  Intellectual  Quotes  September 2010 

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Hit the Books, Reduce Dimentia Risk (August 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Sunday, August 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
A team of researchers from the UK and Finland has discovered why people who stay in education longer have a lower risk of developing dementia—a question that has puzzled scientists for the past decade.

Examining the brains of 872 people who had been part of three large ageing studies, and who before their deaths had completed questionnaires about their education, the researchers found that more education makes people better able to cope with changes in the brain associated with dementia. The results, people with different levels of education have similar brain pathology but that those with more education are better able to compensate for the effects of dementia.

Over the past decade, studies on dementia have consistently showed that the more time you spend in education, the lower your risk of dementia. For each additional year of education there is an 11 percent decrease in risk of developing dementia, this study reports.

The researchers used data from the EClipSE collaboration, which combines the three European population-based longitudinal studies of ageing (the Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Study, the Cambridge City Over-75s Cohort Study and Vantaa 85+, a Finnish study). Compared with previous research, this study was able to answer the question because of its large size and statistical power.

The results have important implications for public health at a time when populations in many countries are ageing.

The results are published in the journal Brain. The study was funded by the BUPA Foundation, the European Union and the Medical Research Council.

University of Cambridge (2010, July 26). Why more education lowers dementia risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2010/07/100725203914.htm

Tags:  August 2010  Education  Intellectual 

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When Music is Bad: Background Music Can Impair Performance, Study (August 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Sunday, August 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
For decades research has shown that listening to music alleviates anxiety and depression, enhances mood, and can increase cognitive functioning, such as spatial awareness. However, until now, research has not addressed how we listen to music. For instance, what is we listen to music while trying to perform another task? The researchers required participants to perform serial recall (recall a list of 8 consonants in presentation order) in the presence of five sound environments: quiet, liked music (e.g., Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Stranglers, and Arcade Fire), disliked music (the track "Thrashers" by Death Angel), changing-state (a sequence of random digits such as "4, 7, 1, 6") and steady-state ("3, 3, 3"). Recall ability was approximately the same, and poorest, for the music and changing-state conditions. The most accurate recall occurred when participants performed the task in the quieter, steady-state environments. Thus listening to music, regardless of whether people liked or disliked it, impaired their concurrent performance.

Although music can have a very positive effect on our general mental health, music can, in the circumstances described, also have negative effects on cognitive performance.

Wiley - Blackwell (2010, July 28). Background music can impair performance, cites new study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2010/07/100727112521.htm

Tags:  August 2010  Distraction  Education  Intellectual 

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