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The Brain That Changes Itself

“The brain is a far more open system than we ever imagined, and nature has gone very far to help us perceive and take in the world around us. It has given us a brain that survives in a changing world by changing itself.”
Norman Doidge, The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science.

The book The Brain that Changes Itself has not only affected the influentials of neuroscience but also has created the turning point for the laypeople to be informed about the complexity of our cognitive organ: the brain.

Until the late 19th centuries, people had believed that neuron cells were not capable of presenting any resilient activities; thus, people thought that once the brain cell has been damaged, the cell is permanently gone. The researchers struggled to understand even the basic 10% of the infrastructures/faculties of the brain, and even in that small percentage had errors.

However, as the emergence of the 21 century, scholars of the field has developed neuroscience technology to “observe” the pattern of brain activities. Well, renown Canadian psychiatrist Norman Doidge was also one of the vanguards of such. His book-The Brain That Changes Itself- is still renown as a prominent opus that amazes the readers within its context dealing with the basics of the functions, to a clear explanation of the answer to the title.

Contrary to the original belief that after childhood the brain begins a gradual process of decline, he shows us that our brains have the remarkable power to grow, change, learn, recover, and has latent effects to the human nature.

The huge leap in the study of neuroscience explained in the book occurs as Doidge explains the “brain’s plasticity”. Long before, scientists believed that each part of the brain takes charge of given function. In the 1860s, with Paul Broca’s discovery that damage to a specific part of the brain—the left frontal lobe which was associated with speech impairment— bolstered the “locational theory”. With further evidence created by other eminent scientists, such as Carl Wernicke, Gustav Fritsch, and J. L. Hitzig, brain locational theory seemed to be the only answer to the unsolvable conundrum that troubled the clique of neuroscience for ages. However, a new theory is given as a novel key to unlock the latch of the mystery.

Plasticity theory, further elaborated in the book, states that now scholars embrace the recognition that the brain is plastic and can actually change itself with exercise and understanding. Although a newbie theory compared to the former one with the paucity of empirical evidence, the theory now pervades the area, flipping every corner of the sects of neuroscience.

 

Read more: Localization (Brain Function) – Functions, Theories, Damage, and Mental – JRank Articles http://psychology.jrank.org/pages/384/Localization-Brain-Function.html#ixzz55qp82pYg

http://www.apadivisions.org/division-39/publications/reviews/brain.aspx

 

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Why do people undergo cosmetic surgery?

Why do people undergo cosmetic surgery? It’s a simple question that’s unlikely to yield a simple answer.

Cosmetic surgery’s original intention was to treat the patients who have injured their physical appearances such as physiognomy. However, including Korea, lots of countries’ denizens are undergoing cosmetic surgery in order to achieve “beauty”.


A common comment from those who have gone under the knife or needle is “I do it for myself.” But what does that really mean? Maybe that the patient decided on surgery because of the benefits it confers on the self, not for any effects it might have on others, such as romantic partners or rivals. “I do it for myself” also emphasizes the free will of the patient: he or she doesn’t feel pressured into surgery by outside forces, such as peer pressure, the media, or advertisements.

However, new research published recently has questioned the motives of those who opt for cosmetic procedures and suggests that they may be more complex than many would care to admit.

 

One of the clearest benefits of cosmetic surgery is that it improves appearance. If it didn’t, nobody would spend the money or go through the pain associated with those procedures.

Most of us would rather be more attractive than our peers because attractiveness confers all kinds of benefits, including the ability to compete for higher-value partners.

Psychology Disorders

Mental health workers view psychological disorders as persistently harmful thoughts, feelings, and actions. People are fascinated by the exceptional, the unusual, and the abnormal. This fascination may be caused by two reasons: first, during various moments we feel, think, and act like an abnormal individual. Second, psychological disorders may bring unexplained physical symptoms, irrational fears, and suicidal thoughts. Humanity tried to fix this problem with different approaches for every era. Ancient Treatments of psychological disorders include trephination, exorcism, being caged like animals, being beaten, burned, castrated, mutilated, or transfused with animal’s blood. The first scientific research was done by Philippe Pinel (1745-1826) from France, who insisted that madness was not due to demonic possession, but an ailment of the mind. When physicians discovered that syphilis led to mental disorders, they started using medical models to review the physical causes of these disorders.

 

  1. “Insanity” labels raise moral and ethical questions about how society should treat people who have disorders and have committed crimes.

  2. “Dissociative Disorder” is when conscious awareness becomes separated (dissociated) from previous memories, thoughts, and feelings.

  3. “Dissociative Identity Disorder” (DID) is a disorder in which a person exhibits two or more distinct and alternating personalities, formerly called multiple personality disorder.

10% of Brain??

‘So how much percentage of brain did Einstein took advantage of?’

 

This is a question we ask ourselves after being mesmerized by the catchy internet phrase; people use only 10% of their brain.

However, this is an error made by two Harvard psychologists William James and Boris Sidis while they were studying a very high IQ child named Willian Sidis(adulthood IQ between 250-300). They claimed that people only attained a fraction of their mental potential. This statement has been misinterpreted my times resulting in the myth.

In fact, it has been proved that humans use all parts of their brains for different tasks throughout their life.

The human brain is very perplexing. Along with some mundane acts-just some millions-, brain carries out manifestos and comes up with neat solutions to equations. It also analyzes human emotions, experiences as well as the repository of memory and self-awareness.

So basically, this mistake made by some psychologists is so wrong that it is even laughable. What is correct, however, is that at certain moments in anyone’s life, such as when we are simply at rest and thinking, we may be using only 10 percent of our brains.

Although it is ironic, people can use 100% of their brain when they don’t even understand half of this soft tissue.

 

Food waste? Food FUEL!

What is Bio-Fuel? 

Bio-fuels are liquid fuels that are derived from materials such as wastes of plants or animals.

Why is Bio-Fuel Essential?

Due to the drastic increase of population, food consumption increased, gradually forming bounty of food wastes.

Food waste is being produced excessively and is increasing rapidly due to the immense population growth. Despite all the efforts to reduce the rate of production, it is visually proven that this acceleration is inexorable. As researchers realized this fact, they studied ways to focus on the potential possible solutions that can be advantageous than to dissipate inessential effort.

This alteration of perspective engendered a huge technological advancement. Researchers formulated a method to convert organic waste into useful energy source. Briefly explaining the procedure, the discarded organic waste are reduced in size and fermented. In this process, the solid precipitation are grinded into nutritious fertilizer, and the gas produced are utilized to turn the gas motor, affecting the generator to produce electricity.

Categorizing the benefits of food wastes to Bio- Fuels

  1. Can reduce carbon emission: Environmental Benefit.

    carbon emission에 대한 이미지 검색결과

Fossil fuel, one of the commonly used fuels is the cause of massive production of carbon dioxide, engendering green house effect, increasing the temperature more than  0.6 Celsius since the year 2000.(When 1 C increases, half of the population of forests of alpine region disappears,  and the largest coral reef region, Great Barrier Reef will never regain its original shape caused by bleaching. )

Bio-Fuels can reduce carbon emission by 85% compared to mineral diesel including fossil fuels

With the help of bio-fuels, huge amount of Co2 can be reduced, preventing the potential environmental difficulties.

2. Can increase energy production: Economic Benefit

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The world lacks energy. According to US Energy Information Administration(EIA), total energy consumption per year came up to 493 quadrillion (493,000,000,000,000,000).

The world craves for energy. Oil, coal, gas, nuclear energy are the most used energy source in human history: but the global denizen begs for more. Realizing the urgency of the matter, researchers are trying to find an alternative energy source that can be efficient and environmentally harmless. The alternative energy sources brought up till now, has number of flaws that cannot be ignored.

Bio-fuels, on the other hand, are made up of “pure” rubbish. The only requirements are the facilities and professionals of the area.

The whole concept of food wastes being reproduced as crucial energy resource is revolutionary: trash to energy.

 

 

3. Can lower space requirements for landfills: Social Benefit

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The most popular way to discard food wastes are to pludge them in landfills. This causes environmental, spatial, and social problems. Perilous leachate, land consumption in hectares, and NIMBY(Not In My Back Yard) phenomenon often lacerates relationship between neighbors. Landfills emits unbearable odors and contaminates the land surrounding that area, giving huge disadvantages to the residents inhabiting the region.

However, in the process of creating bio-fuels, the stenches are collected and purified, leaving no scent of reek behind. Also, the wastes are collected in a artificially created room to prevent the leachate from leaking.

 The benefits of recycling food waste are clear, increased energy production, lower carbon emissions, lower space requirements for landfills, and lot more.

People should not view food wastes as squalid rubbish,

But as Necessary Source of Energy.

 

Reference: 

https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/global-temperature/

http://pub.chosun.com/client/news/viw.asp?cate=C01&mcate=M1003&nNewsNumb=20150918235&nidx=18236

http://sustainabletechnologyforum.com/how-much-energy-does-the-world-use_21568.html

3 Things YOU Don’t Know about YOURSELF

 

brain에 대한 이미지 검색결과

“People live without knowing”, a famous quote mentioned by an ancient philosopher, may seem to be a little absurd. However, through the years of development of psychology, researchers realized that this quote is far from false, but is correct. People exclaim that the study of psychology started ever since ancient Greek’s philosophers thought about humans. Chronologically speaking, psychology was studied by scholars for over thousands of years. However, ironically, people understood less than 17% of themselves: the brain.

Yes, we know what it’s made of (77% water, for a start) and how much it weighs (about 3 pounds). We also know that it has somewhere in excess of 80 billion neurons, each one connected chemically and electrically with 10,000 others, creating the world’s most complex network, with more interconnections than there are stars and planets in the Milky Way. But we don’t know how the brain works. Astoundingly, what we don’t understand the most is actually what we are always doing; we just don’t know.

 

  1. What is consciousness?

Without question, conscious awareness is the most astounding — and most perplexing — aspect of the human brain. Consciousness allows us to experience and reacts to our environment in an apparently self-directed way.

We have our own private thoughts, feelings, opinions, and preferences, and these traits allow us to figure out the world and operate within it.

 

 

But we are still quite a ways off from understanding how the brain produces phenomenal experience. Neuroscientists cannot explain how incoming sensations get routed around such that they can be translated into subjective impressions like taste, color, or pain. Or how we can form a mental image in our minds on demand. Scientists think it has something to do with the way the sensory parts of the brain are linked to midbrain structures. Consciousness may also arise from, in the words of Marvin Minsky calls the “Society of Mind.” As Minsky notes, “Consciousness is a word that you use to not discuss the 40 or 50 different processes that are going on at various times…” In extent, there are lots of theories that attempt to understand humans’ consciousness. Some scientists have even proposed quantum effects. But ultimately, people haven’t really got a clue.

 

  1. How do we store and access memories?

Like a computer’s hard drive, memories are physically recorded in our brains. But we have no idea how our brains do this, nor do we know how this information gets oriented in the brain.

Also, there isn’t just one kind of memory. We have both short-term and long-term memory. There’s also declarative memories (names and facts), and nondeclarative (muscle memory). And within our long-term memories, we have”flashbulb memories” memories where we’re able to remember the precise details of what we were doing during momentary events. To perplex things further, different parts of our brain perform different memory tasks.

Neuroscientists think that memory storage depends on the connection between synapses and the strength of associations; memories aren’t so much encoded as discrete bits of information, but rather as relations between two or more things. In other terms, memories of an event may be stored in a matrix of interconnected neurons in our brains. However, these are also just theories, so theories.

 

 

  1. How much of our personality is determined by our brain?

An old “nature versus nurture” debate, this topic is a conundrum that’s difficult to quantify. Some scientists, like Steven Pinker, argue that we’re all born with genetic predispositions that influence our psychologies. A mind has no innate traits, and that most of our individual preferences, if not all, are socially constructed. It’s difficult to tell where the effects of genes start and where they end, particularly as they’re either reinforced or suppressed by social experiences. Epigenetics, in which gene expression is either paused or activated according to environmental circumstances, complicate the issue even further. But in a way, the nature versus nurture debate is moot; the brain is a constant work in progress, a sponge that’s perpetually feeding off the environment.

 

Why do we SLEEP?

We feel the urge to sleep when waves of tiredness fall upon us that has been accumulated along the day. After a good rest, we can feel the burden of physical and mental fatigue removed from our  body.

Through this, we can emit a question, “Do people sleep to relieve stress?”.

Although this is the significant answer to the question, there are other reasons why sleeping is crucial to our body.

1 Necessary Energy source; Sleep

One way to think about the function of sleep is to compare it to another of our life-sustaining activities: eating. Hunger is a protective mechanism that has evolved to ensure that we consume the nutrients our bodies require to grow, repair tissues, and function properly.

2 Sleep is crucial for LEARNING

Studying mice, scientists at Johns Hopkins have fortified evidence that a key purpose of sleep is to recalibrate the brain cells responsible for learning and memory so the animals can “solidify” lessons learned and use them when they awaken. Without at least 4~6 hours of sleep, more than 40% of the content one studied are not solid in the recollective systems in one’s brain. For young infants 11~13 hours of sleep is required for this ability to function correctly.

But still, the answer to the question cannot be satisfied with the pre-suggestions, for the question is asking for the fundamental reason why animals started the action, “sleeping”.There are several theories to clarify the reason to this action that existed to all living organisms from birth .

Inactivity Theory