“All of those suggestions are excellent ideas for promoting good brain functioning. They will all work.
Most of what I write is either anecdotal or research of other people's research. I am by day a psychoanalyst. It is an anecdotal form of research. We do anecdotes better than most. But I do not pretend to be a primary researcher that would pass muster in the world of hard science research.”
“Sorry - I don't understand what aspect of the last paragraph made you feel that I lost authenticity. On the assumption that is was what I said about the effectiveness of psychoanalysis, in my defense of that statement, I have been a psychoanalyst for 40 years - and it is my experience that the task of saying all your thoughts and feelings, on a weekly basis is about as strong of a therapy for keeping the brain active as anything. It is ONLY my experience. I have no research to back it up. But there is research to back up that group therapy (of which I am a strong proponent) extends life. There was a study a few years back that demonstrated that terminal cancer patients receiving group therapy lived statistically longer than terminal cancer patients who did not receive the therapy. The results shocked even the researchers, as they were studying the effect of group therapy on pain - and this was a secondary effect that they found. Again, only my experience, but I find psychoanalysis to be one of the most powerful healing tools around.”
“I agree with you about waking up feeling refreshed being the best indicator of good sleep. In terms of birds and giraffes, all animals are different. But I know that my dog sleeps prone - and her head is lower than her chest. I have been doing yoga now for about 6 years - and though I am 6 years older than I was when I started, I feel better. I do attribute some of this effect to the inversions that I do. I think those yogis that started this 5000 years ago knew something.”
“My research (on the research) indicates it does. Coconuts and coconut oil seem very beneficial from this point of view.”
emprov on Jan 16, 2011 at 12:51:44
“Reading more on omega 3's, they work by making neural cell membranes more fluid thereby increasing action potentials and communication between neurons. There are approx. 1200 studies showing benefits on brain health. Coconut oil seems interesting too. What are the best studies on this?”
“My point is simply that it is a lot of work for our bodies to be pumping up-hill so much of the time - and even when we are supposedly "resting" because of the invention of pillows. We should follow more the wisdom of the 5000 year old tradition of yogic science - and engage, at least some of the time, in inversion.”
GreenEyedGuru on Jan 18, 2011 at 12:54:18
“My point is - IT'S NOT UPHILL. You do not understand how circulation works and the pressures involved. Maybe go talk to an MD about this.”
“There are many people who both age and retire with full and active brain functioning. I did not mean to cast aspersions on all retired folks. As i said in a previous blog: "One of the best examples of a mature brain functioning at a high level was renowned physicist Hans Berthe who, until his death in 2005, was the oldest living scientist who had worked on the atomic bomb. He also gave us the best explanation of how the sun works. His publishers apparently felt confident in his brain, as well as his health; they signed him onto a five-year book contract when he was ninety. He fulfilled the contract, dying at the young age of 98."”
Susan Shaffer on Jan 21, 2011 at 16:34:41
“best contract i ever read about was a lawyer wrote with an elderly woman. he would give her $x per week with her entire property going to him when she died. she was the french woman who lived to 122 or so and well outlived the lawyer.”
“This may sound bizarre, but I once knew a Swami who had been in a monastery in the Far-East. he explained that different monasteries had different forms of discipline that each Swami agreed to follow upon their entrance to the monastery. His particular monastery practiced sleeping standing up. There were hammock-kind of nets that they would rest their heads and chests on - while standing up - and they learned to sleep that way. He was an interesting man - when he came to the US, he started to sleep lying down - but he only slept 2 hours a night (he said) - but he was meditating 4 hours every day - one could find him at the Henry Hudson River doing his silent, unmoving meditation.”
Susan Shaffer on Jan 21, 2011 at 16:28:41
i guess the way to test him would be to check his brain wave activity.
maybe his idea of sleep was when he dreams ie rem sleep and the other stuff when he clears his mind is non rem sleep”
“Temple Grandin - a high functioning autistic woman (whom Oliver Sacks wrote about) -- is pretty much a genius in terms of understanding the animal brain. She says that the pre-frontal cortex damage to her brain makes it closer to the animal brain than to the human brain. She apparently needs to eat meat - or she gets sick - but she understood that the way we were slaughtering cows for food was putting them into a panic, and that there was a more humane way of doing it. she devised a system wherein they go in circles before they are slaughtered, as the circular movement seems to automatically relax them.
When I am on the beach, and the same slopes down gently to the water, everyone always faces the water - thus their head is the highest point of their body. I always reverse this - so my head is closest to the water, and the lowest part of my body. It's actually quite relaxing (though I may look a little like odd-woman out).”
“Yes- the yogis understood the value of inversion many thousands of years ago. I do yoga every day - haven't mastered the headstand - and I may not have the courage to do it at my age (64) - but I do the slant board (a cheat and cheap way of accomplishing the same thing) most days.”
Sydney Light on Jan 16, 2011 at 20:23:02
“Inversion machines that support the body or shoulders as you invert, can also be good choices. Keep it going, it's not about being flexible or age, its about staying in touch with your living cells.”
“I myself have not taken even an aspirin for over 40 years. I am fanatically committed to holistic health - and would never recommend to anyone that they have unnecessary scans of any type. Not only are these scans neurotoxic, so is the MSG that is added to Chinese restaurant food. I eschew that as well. But I didn't know about gadolinium in brain tumors. Thanks for the very valuable information.”
jobmarketsucks on Feb 6, 2011 at 12:47:28
“Hi Dr. Goldberg. I can't find anything on Brainercise....? Please help.”
Mike Karachalios on Jan 17, 2011 at 23:49:30
“wow, I would like you to put up references on your claims. i've never read anything in medical literature with MRI scans being neurotoxic or gadolinium. these studies are crucial in diagnosing and confirming various diagnoses. as a doctorate, you cannot make claims and tell the general public to avoid medical treatment. you are not even a physician.”
Sharon Hanson on Jan 17, 2011 at 16:04:47
“Thank you for your response. Here are a few links if you would like to learn more about gadolinium based contasting agents.
Jan 8, 2011 at 14:09:16
“ummm - wish I had been there. you shame me Mitchell - being so in the forefront of eco-global thinking - and what I do (psychoanalysis) is so one-to-one. but there is this amazing article in this week's New Yorker about the efforts (partially successful- considering the politics of China - I would say, thus far HUGELY successful) to bring psychoanalysis to China. so - I guess the point is that even on the really micro-scale - one psyche at a time - the world can be changed. certainly cultural and political movements have occurred because of large-scale changes, but so too have they occurred because of one man, one individual man.
so - as you can see, you have stimulated a wide range of thoughts and feelings in me - both relevant and not -- to your post. keep writing. I am your fan forever more. keep writing and I will keep reading.”
hp blogger Mitchell J. Rabin on Jan 9, 2011 at 23:51:09
“Ah Jane, I wish you had been there too. But no shame, please! We both work on the local and macro-levels in much of what we do.
I agree with one-psyche-at-a-time, especially because it just appears to be 'one'. The more we learn about neuro-science and quantum physics, the more we understand the notion of entanglement, a word I don't care for though it signifies a lot. Scientists such as Dean Radin and Joe Dispenza have much to say on the idea of "one Mind", or Russell's "Global Brain", or the work of the Heartmath Institute, showing what appears in some ways as "One Brain, One Heart". I'm taking poetic license here, yes, but there remains some truth to this.
When I decided to go into psychology, it was in large part a political decision: I wanted to work with captains of government and industry, major decision-makers, to help them think clearly, not just in their mental function but their heart functions, so to create a society based on humane and eco-friendly values instead of the search-and-destroy mission that currently passes as civilized society. Alas, but not much longer. So perhaps you and I can team up and reach this particular stratum and make the difference we so want to both micro- and macro-cosmically?!
“yes - you are perfectly correct. The point of digit span is precisely that the pieces of information are meaningless. The task is to order and remember and utilize meaningless bits of information - which is a "lower'order" skill, as opposed to a "higher'order" skill. It is the foundation on which you erect the house on top. My next blog goes into more detail about this difference.”
“I am, indeed, a psychoanalyst. It is what I do day in and day out - and have been doing for 40 years. I haven't counted how many articles I have published, but I do know off-hand how many books i have written: 6 published and one looking for a publisher. I do not pretend to be an expert of cognitive functioning - although truth be told, my Ph.D. was in cognitive psychology. But that was many moons ago - and it is a different field now than it was then. I referred to Bob Doman as the expert in the article because after 30 years of working with 30,000 different individuals (mostly children), improving their cognitive skills by doing detailed analyses of their brain functioning in all its various manifestations, and then giving them exercises to perform at home with their parents, and witnessing the transformations, I think HE DOES qualify as an expert. and, of course, "Contemporary Approaches to Voodoo" is not a subtitle of the journal Modern Psychoanalysis, which has been for 30 years, and remains today one of the leading journals in the field of psychoanalysis.”
“Bob Doman doesn't make any money selling anything to school districts. He works with individuals who come to him because their kids are having trouble in school and in life, and actually his fees are very nominal. Please go to his foundation's website and read the very many testimonials from kids he has worked with -- NACD.org”
“Yes - that is true - that highly gifted individuals can perform badly on digit span. I just had dinner last night with a friend whose son is brilliant - in some ways, a genius; he was a child prodigy in the use of his visual sense. My friend became a learning specialist specifically because in spite of her son's impressive intellectual abilities in some areas, her son was challenged in so many ways, and the schools didn't know what to do with him. We spoke specifically about auditory digit span - and she said that her son was terrible at it - had virtually no retention for multiple items in auditory short-term memory. Our conversation then progressed to how difficult he had been as a child, and that all the schools had labeled him as emotionally disturbed. She now understands, as Bob Doman explains, that when someone is speaking to him, his ability to process the information imparted in the conversation is severely limited. It is not stupidity and it is not lack of cooperation. It is a brain limitation. Her kid is 17 now, and his intellectual abilities have begun to catch up with his age, but because his limitation remains about processing auditory information, relationships remain difficult for him, and school is a challenge. Bob Doman has shown that increasing both auditory and visual digit span balances the brain - and doesn't take away from the ability to still excel in specific ways. It just gives greater”
“I plead guilty. But, in a sense, this is precisely the point. I have always been rather fanatical about grammar and spelling. Five years ago, I wouldn't have made that mistake. I started noticing my cognitive decline about two years ago, and it was scary to me. I thought long and hard about it - specifically about the point that I go to great lengths to keep my body in shape, and do nothing to keep my mind in shape. I downloaded a bunch of software applications - some were too hard, some were too easy. None of them keep my sustained interest. I was puzzled about the discrepancy between the care I was giving to my body, and the care I was giving to my mind. Keeping my body in shape is really inconvenient: I go to a yoga class every day: I have to get there; I work hard and sometimes painfully in the class; I sweat like a pig (hot yoga); I pay for the effort. I realized that it was precisely all that inconvenience that got me to be doing it - and that I needed something similar for the brain. I looked around for brain classes that would parallel yoga classes, and found none. That's when I decided to develop the classes. It has been one gigantic effort for my own brain.I hope that others who notice similar lessening of their brain power will benefit.”
“I'm sorry that all the people who read this blog didn't get the instructions of how to actually DO digit span. I wrote two blogs as companion pieces and submitted them simultaneously with the same titles (Part 1 and Part2) and requested that they be posted together. That didn't happen, so reading Part 2 alone was a bit confusing.
You are correct that the book is is not available for purchase. I haven't finished writing it yet.Yes, the classes will be offered in NYC shortly - but I will be posting home exercises on the Brainercize blog that everyone can do wherever you are.
I'm glad that there is an interest in the subject, as I see it as important to many peoples' lives.”
“I have watched the Rachel Maddow interview with m Moore on Huff Post – and he says “I was raised a certain way – I was raised to be a good Christian – if I can say that” – and her response was “it’s a YMCA – that’s what the C stands for” – that is really really irritating – the 92nd St Y is an YMHA – H for Hebrew – not C for Christian. I can’t believe that she doesn’t know that. The leading institutional icon for freedom of speech in the US of A – where everyone worth their salt in whatever field they are in -- comes to speak – is not Christian – but Jewish. Shame on her for not doing her homework on that.”