Selasa, 08 September 2009

Forgetting helps brain to work effectively and efficiently

Related to previous article, in this article we’re still discussing another benefit of forgetting.

People do forget sometimes for various reasons. Although there’re numerous disadvantages out of this, still people need to forget. Forgetting is the natural mechanism of human brain to work efficiently and effectively. In addition, forgetting also protects people from all traumas and phobias that happened in the past. But if you forget a lot, when the forgetting happens more than the remembering, then you might need professional’s help. Visiting your therapist or other professionals might help. Nowadays they’re so many professions that help people to overcome forgetting, namely therapist, psychologist, mind-coach and many more.

If you need more scientific facts that back up the fact that forgetting has benefits to people, below is one scientific conclusion derived from the latest study of memory on mice.

When you forget, one of the reasons is you cannot recall the information stored in the memory. Human memory generally can be divided into three categories; namely sensory register, working memory and long-term memory. The duration of storage varies from one to another, the first is the shortest and the last is the longest (where in some cases more permanent). Working memory, a form of short-term memory that both passively stores and actively manipulates information, benefits from an inhibition of long-term memory.

Researchers investigating mice used x-rays or genetic techniques to stop the formation of new neurons in the hippocampus, which is important for long-term memory. These mice performed maze-related working memory tasks better than normal mice did, suggesting “that by impairing one from of memory, long-term memory, it is actually possible to improve another form,” says Gael Malleret, a neuroscientist at Colombia University and co-author of the study.

This study backs up the facts that forgetting brings benefit, by making the brain to work more effectively and efficiently. So, if you accidentally call “Primus” as “Sarudin,” take heart – your brain probably just chose to dump his name in favor of a more crucial fact, such as where you left your cell phone.

Sabtu, 29 Agustus 2009

Psychological Consequences Of Plastic Surgery

Maybe some of you, Indonesian, still remember the accident, which happened to a woman severely burned by her husband out of jealousy. The accident took place a couple of years ago in Jakarta. The news suddenly becomes major headlines in all media, printed and electronic. The public opinion is all stirred to sympathy towards the woman and curse for the husband. Because the woman, who used to be a very beautiful, after the accident became unrecognizable. The husband did his action based on his suspicion that his wife might have an affair with other man. So to prevent that from progressing even further, the husband took the precaution step by burning his wife, alive. Luckily the woman managed to escape and sought help although she had burn wound.

Although her wound could be well treated, still her face won’t be the same again. There would be major changes in her face and skin. This phenomenon intriguing some psychologist when they began to question whether the patient was mentally stable enough to handle the stressful, high-risk procedure. People around her might not be able to recognize her again.

Experts have begun to discuss how any analyst could fully know if an individual were “ready” for such a novel procedure. Some psychological readiness criteria exist for patients who seek elective plastic surgery, but there is little literature about the mental
attributes that make someone a good candidate for reconstructive surgery, much less a highly visible transplant.

Critic of the operation say that in addition to needing the mettle to follow post surgical procedures and stick with anti-tissue-rejection medication and side effects, the woman will have to withstand intense public scrutiny, and they wonder if she is up to it. But Elaine Walker, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Emory University, notes the patient’s perspective, “the stresses may not trump the stress of living with the original disfigurement.”

Walker points out that the patient essentially had to choose between three psychologically challenging options: live with a terrible disfigurement that would very likely instill in her significant social anxiety, attempt a protracted series of reconstructive surgeries that doctors said might not succeed, or undergo the risky face transplant. “None of the alternatives would be free of psychological stress,” observes.

In the end, life is full of options. For each option, there would be consequences regardless the stress that would come along. And the patient, like every human being must choose one with consequences he/she can handle best.

Watching Comedy as a Remedy

I’m a comedy buff. Shows like video zonkers, Tom and Jerry and whacked out sports are some of my favorites. I watched them in my leisure time after work. It makes me relax and loose all tension caused by all day long activities.

Watching comedy is a good habit. There are many advantages of watching great comedy. Not only relaxing, watching movies that make you go laugh out loud also related to intelligence improvement, specifically at the problem solving skills. Unlike watching suspenseful movies or reading a speech in front of others which will inhibit your problem solving capability, comedy will make you relax hence ready to access personal resource. This conclusion is based on two latest scientific studies in the field of neuroscience conducted by Ohio State University neurologist David Q. Beversdorf in November 2005.

In the first study, student volunteers watched 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan, a graphic depiction of the World War II invasion of Normandy. After the movie clip, they had to complete a word-association task. The volunteers also saw 20 minutes of the animated comedy Shrek. The cartoon watchers’ test scores were 39 percent higher. For Beverdorf, this concludes that the induced stress to the violent movie impaired mental flexibility.

The second investigation compared volunteers who had the give speeches in front of a panel of cold-looking “judges” with others who simply had to sit in a room and read. Some of the subjects were given the beta-blocker drug propranolol, which might provide an antidote. Propranolol is used to treat high blood pressure and migraines and which counteracts the stress hormone norepinephrine. Mental and physical tests administered after the activities indicated that the people taking propranolol experienced less stress and displayed greater cognitive flexibility than the other study volunteers.

This finding might open a new alternative as a treatment for people who suffer from serious anxiety disorders. For those feeling pressed, why not trying this easy and fun solution.

Stress could lead to memory problems and disease

Everybody wants to have good memory, since it enables one to remember important facts and information. This writing is the continuation of my previous writings related to the ways of boosting one’s memory.

I’ve helped so many individual from all walks of life, students to professionals, to boost their memory. Based on my experience as a mind coach, to have good memory, not only individual must know the principles and tools of memory boosting, but one should also protects himself from chronic exposure to emotional stressor. This fact surely easy to understand since everybody must have situations when they forget the information they should remember in the moment of stress. Situation like school/university test, job interview and others alike might cause stress to individuals. Maybe you have a situation like one of my client, a university student. Often times the night before test he learned really hard. But by the time he was in the class room, having the test paper on his hand, the answers like vanished from his mind. The “miracle” happened when the test’s over, as he went out the class, all of sudden the answers came on his mind one by one. But at that time, it’s already too late since the answer sheet already submitted.

This phenomenon is what I called as “the non-technical factors” that cause student getting poor grade. It’s called non-technical because it’s not related to one’s ability on certain subject. I would say the situation where student gets poor grade 80% is caused by non-technical factors while 20% caused by technical counterpart (related to one ability on certain subject). But ironically, most students put 80% of their resources handling the technical factors while the rest 20% they use to solve the non-technical factors. This answers why the best students of the class would remain the same on every semester, as well as the worst students, regardless on how hard they’ve studied.

It’s very much important for students to be able to control his mind in responding to the stressful situation. The recent study on neuroscience also emphasis on the importance of stress management to have good memory.

Simply being prone to worry and tension can cause memory problems in old age, another recent study shows. Robert Wilson and his colleagues at Rust University Medical Center in Chicago evaluated the distress susceptibility of more than 1,000 elderly people by rating their agreement such as “I am often tense and jittery.” Over a period of up to 12 years, volunteers who were anxiety-prone had a 40 percent higher risk of developing mild cognitive impairment than more easygoing individual did. Mild cognitive impairment is thought to be a precursor for Alzheimer’s.

Brain autopsies on participants who have died did not turn up evidence of neurofibrillary tangles or any of the other knows features indicative of Alzheimer’s, Wilson says. But the thinks it is possible that chronic distress gradually compromises memory systems, ultimately rendering a person more vulnerable to the physical changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s.

Improving Concentration

No one would argue that concentration is a must in each activity one’s undergoing, in work and daily life. Although all of us have already known about this immutable fact, in the contrary, there are still numerous individuals out there who cannot concentrate very well, regardless of their sex, age and other parameters. This phenomenon can be understood since there’s no curriculum in the formal education that is specifically designed to discuss about concentration. In other words, since early age, most pupils have no ideas of what concentration is all about. The inability to concentrate would make one can not give optimal performance in his/her activity, which led to mediocre results.

There are many methods that we can do to improve our ability to concentrate. Because concentration is very much related to the state of mind, therefore you can only develop your concentration by training your mind. One of the ways is through meditation. There are many sources from where you can learn to master meditation, e.g. books, websites etc. The most prominent aspect in mastering it is consistency and perseverance. You might not master meditation in short time, but don’t be discouraged. If you keep train yourself, soon enough meditation would be second nature to you. It surely takes discipline, like mastering any other skills.

There are many factors that contribute to one’s inability to concentrate. One of which has something to do with pain, more specifically headache. Maybe you are one of many who have this problem and you’ve tried so hard and for so long to come out with a real solution. In that case this recent study might help you to overcome your problem.

Everyone knows that it is impossible to concentrate with a splitting headache, but now neuroscientists can explain why. Researchers at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany have identified a region of the brain that processes both working memory and pain, and it seems to give preference to painful stimuli. Using functional

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), the researchers found that applying pain to volunteers hand increased activity in brain areas involved in pain processing, while decreasing activity in areas that working on the assigned visual test.

Ulrike Bingel, who led the study, says the work might have implications for pain management. When doctors decide whether to use strong painkillers such as opiates, they weigh the cognitive side effects of treatment, Bingel says, do not always consider that the pain itself can interfere with mental function.