Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Value of Not Overthinking a Decision

Fishing in the stream of consciousness, researchers now can detect our intentions and predict our choices before we are aware of them ourselves. The brain, they have found, appears to make up its mind 10 seconds before we become conscious of a decision -- an eternity at the speed of thought...

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Marijuana Could Treat Cancer, Glaucoma, and More

"Targeting the CB2 receptor could be a therapeutic strategy to prevent or treat diseases like Crohn's disease [inflammation of the intestinal tract], liver cirrhosis, osteoarthritis, and atherosclerosis," said lead study author Jürg Gertsch.

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Stephen Hawking's Explosive New Theory on the Universe

Prof Stephen Hawking has come up with a new idea to explain why the Big Bang of creation led to the vast cosmos that we can see today. Astronomers can deduce that the early universe expanded at a mind-boggling rate because regions separated by vast distances have similar background temperatures.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

7 Simple Rules For How to Take A Nap

We’ve talked about the whys of taking naps on the blog before — they improve mood, creativity, memory function, heart health, and so much else — but never, to my knowledge, have we discussed how to take a nap.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

14 Research-Proven Ways To Boost Brain Power

14 Research-Proven Ways To Boost Brain Power

Until just a few years ago, doctors believed that the brain stopped making new neural connections - meaning that the memory began to get irreversibly worse - when the body stopped developing, usually in the early 20s. And doctors knew that, like any other part of the body, neurons weaken as people age. Loss of brain function due to neural breakdown was assumed to be a normal, unavoidable part of aging. It turns out they were wrong.

In the past few years, it has become clear that you can, in fact, make new neurons starting in your 20s and continuing well into old age. You can literally rewire the brain with new parts as the older parts wear out. How?

There are lots of things you can do right now to preserve, protect and enhance your gray matter.

1Physical exercise

A healthy body really does mean a healthy mind. In the last decade it became clear that regular exercise beneficially affects brain function. Exercise boosts brain power by stimulating formation of new brain cells (neurons), the process known as neurogenesis2. Also, exercise strengthens connections between those cells. Researchers have found the areas of the brain that are stimulated through exercise are associated with memory and learning1.

Physical exercise may even help prevent Alzheimer's disease. Several studies7-9 have confirmed that regular physical activity reduces the risk of cognitive decline and dementia in old age.

2Lifelong learning - your brain is a learning machine

For most of us, after we graduate from high school or college, our pursuit of new knowledge bottoms out over time. We may be masters at what we do, but we aren't learning new things. There is clear evidence10-11 that education and learning produce favourable changes in the brain. Researchers believe that intellectual activity play a neuroprotective role against dementia. Some studies suggest that having a low level of formal education and poor linguistic skills is a risk factor for cognitive decline in later life.

But if you continue to learn and challenge yourself, your brain continues to grow, literally. Recent research12 have demonstrated that learning over time enhances memory and the survival of new brain cells. An active brain produces new connections between nerve cells that allow cells to communicate with one another. This helps your brain store and retrieve information more easily, no matter what your age.

How can you challenge yourself? Scientists agree that anything that is new and expands your knowledge will be effective:

  • Learning to play a musical instrument
  • Switching careers or starting a new one
  • Starting a new hobby, such as crafts, painting, biking or bird-watching
  • Learning a foreign language. According to the latest study speaking more than one language may slow the aging process in the mind.
  • Staying informed about what's going on in the world
  • Learning to cook new dish

If you let your brain be idle, it's not going to be in the best health.

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Does Meditation Alter Your Brain Structure?

Ancient traditional therapies do not always stand up to close scientific scrutiny. However, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), which is about 80% meditation, has been approved by the National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE) for use with people who have experienced three or more episodes of depression.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Foresight- Helen Keller

Helen Keller lived in a world of "white darkness." Born in Alabama in 1880, she was a year and a half old when a case of scarlet fever or meningitis left her deaf and blind. She made signs and gestures, but her inability to truly communicate often left her a frustrated and angry child. Once she locked her mother in the pantry for three hours, and another time threw her baby sister out of a cradle.

When Helen was seven, her parents hired Anne Sullivan to be Helen's tutor. Helen learned the manual alphabet and some words, and for a month Helen signed words without knowing what they meant. One day Anne held Helen's hand under a water pump while signing "water." Helen suddenly realized that the motions of her fingers had meanings. "That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free!" she later said. "There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that could in time be swept away."

During the next decade, Helen worked on sweeping away those barriers. She learned to read Braille, to read lips, and to write in normal script. Eventually she learned how to speak. She attended schools for the deaf and blind, and, later, mainstream schools. It took Helen longer than her classmates to study, but she excelled. She wrote her memoirs, The Story of My Life, at age 21, the first of almost a dozen books during her lifetime. She graduated from Radcliffe College, the women's counterpart to Harvard University, in 1904: the first deaf and blind person to graduate from a college.

Helen also learned to paddle a canoe, ride a horse and a tandem bicycle, and play chess and checkers. She traveled the country as a lecturer, and until 1922 she even performed in vaudeville shows.

By the age of 24, Helen Keller was already more accomplished and famous than any other deaf and blind person in modern history. But she also had a keen sense of the needs and suffering of others. Having "swept away" her own barriers as much as she could, she began to focus on doing the same for others.

Helen Keller believed in equal rights and economic opportunities for all people. She became involved with the Women's Suffrage movement, the Socialist movement, and labor unions. In 1917 she founded an organization that would later become Helen Keller International to prevent and treat blindness in impoverished nations. This organization still operates in 23 countries. Helen Keller joined the American Foundation for the Blind in 1924 and advocated for policy and technology to allow the blind to live fuller lives. During her lifetime she traveled to 35 countries on five continents. Her visits inspired blind citizens, but also prompted legal and social changes that improved conditions for them.

Helen Keller died in Easton, Connecticut in 1968, a few weeks short of her 88th birthday. In her life she had reached far beyond her own darkness to shape a more compassionate future for the world. As Senator Lister Hill of Alabama said in her eulogy, "Her spirit will endure as long as man can read and stories can be told of the woman who showed the world there are no boundaries to courage and faith."

What is Consciousness

The Problem of Consciousness

Conventional explanations portray consciousness as an emergent property of classical computer-like activities in the brain's neural networks. The prevailing views among scientists in this camp are that 1) patterns of neural network activities correlate with mental states, 2) synchronous network oscillations in thalamus and cerebral cortex temporally bind information, and 3) consciousness emerges as a novel property of computational complexity among neurons.

However, these approaches appear to fall short in fully explaining certain enigmatic features of consciousness, such as:

  • The nature of subjective experience, or 'qualia'- our 'inner life' (Chalmers' "hard problem");
  • Binding of spatially distributed brain activities into unitary objects in vision, and a coherent sense of self, or 'oneness';
  • Transition from pre-conscious processes to consciousness itself;
  • Non-computability, or the notion that consciousness involves a factor which is neither random, nor algorithmic, and that consciousness cannot be simulated (Penrose, 1989, 1994, 1997);
  • Free will; and,
  • Subjective time flow.
Brain imaging technologies demonstrate anatomical location of activities which appear to correlate with consciousness, but which may not be directly responsible for consciousness.

 PET scan image of brain showing visual and auditory recognition (from S Petersen, Neuroimaging Laboratory, Washington University, St. Louis. Also see J.A. Hobson "Consciousness," Scientific American Library, 1999, p. 65).

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Neurocardiology: The Brain in the Heart

Neurocardiology: The Brain in the Heart

While the Laceys were doing their research in psychophysiology, a small group of cardiovascular researchers joined with a similar group of neurophysiologists to explore areas of mutual interest. This represented the beginning of the new discipline of neurocardiology, which has since provided critically important insights into the nervous system within the heart and how the brain and heart communicate with each other via the nervous system.

After extensive research, one of the early pioneers in neurocardiology, Dr. J. Andrew Armour, introduced the concept of a functional "heart brain" in 1991. His work revealed that the heart has a complex intrinsic nervous system that is sufficiently sophisticated to qualify as a "little brain" in its own right. The heart's brain is an intricate network of several types of neurons, neurotransmitters, proteins and support cells like those found in the brain proper. Its elaborate circuitry enables it to act independently of the cranial brain – to learn, remember, and even feel and sense. The recent book Neurocardiology, edited by Dr. Armour and Dr. Jeffrey Ardell, provides a comprehensive overview of the function of the heart's intrinsic nervous system and the role of central and peripheral autonomic neurons in the regulation of cardiac function. The nervous system pathways between the heart and brain are shown in Figure 2.

The heart's nervous system contains around 40,000 neurons, called sensory neurites, which detect circulating hormones and neurochemicals and sense heart rate and pressure information. Hormonal, chemical, rate and pressure information is translated into neurological impulses by the heart's nervous system and sent from the heart to the brain through several afferent (flowing to the brain) pathways. It is also through these nerve pathways that pain signals and other feeling sensations are sent to the brain. These afferent nerve pathways enter the brain in an area called the medulla, located in the brain stem. The signals have a regulatory role over many of the autonomic nervous system signals that flow out of the brain to the heart, blood vessels and other glands and organs. However, they also cascade up into the higher centers of the brain, where they may influence perception, decision making and other cognitive processes.

Dr. Armour describes the brain and nervous system as a distributed parallel processing system consisting of separate but interacting groups of neuronal processing centers distributed throughout the body. The heart has its own intrinsic nervous system that operates and processes information independently of the brain or nervous system. This is what allows a heart transplant to work: Normally, the heart communicates with the brain via nerve fibers running through the vagus nerve and the spinal column. In a heart transplant, these nerve connections do not reconnect for an extended period of time, if at all; however, the transplanted heart is able to function in its new host through the capacity of its intact, intrinsic nervous system.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Study: Naps - Coffee, Good Night's Sleep to Combat Tiredness

You probably know how it goes. You've just had lunch and you're back at your desk. 3pm rolls around and home time is still some way off. Then the yawns start and all you can think about is curling up under your desk for a sleep.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

How much sleep do you *really* need?

In 2002, he compared death rates among more than 1 million American adults who, as part of a study on cancer prevention, reported their average nightly amount of sleep. To many his results were surprising, but they've since been corroborated by similar studies in Europe and East Asia.

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How to Make Profound and Lasting Change

Is there an area of your life you’ve tried changing, made some progress but somehow ended up in the same spot you started in? ThinkSimpleNow offers a simple psychological approach and a great exercise for making life changes stick.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Science Behind Why You Can't Recall Your Neighbor's Name

It's estimated that, on average, people have a tip-of-the-tongue moment at least once a week. Researchers have located the specific brain areas that are activated during such moments, and even captured images of the mind when we are struggling to find these forgotten words.

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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Alliance for a New Humanity

The world is coming together to make tremendous changes and help mankind overcome severe obstacles facing them .One of the  powerful Alliances is ANH . UN and ANH have joined hands to train 100 million young people in new leaderships skills within the next few years.

Alliance for a New Humanity

Our mission is to connect people, who, through personal and social transformation, aim to build a just, peaceful, and sustainable world, reflecting the unity of all humanity.


We are people from all regions of the world and all walks of life who are joined by a common vision; to strengthen and sustain an actively compassionate humanity. Our movement is open to anyone who believes that creating a better world is possible – a world where all beings are valued equally, where the Earth is revered and protected and where the awesome potential of humanity can unite to bring about true peace and harmony.

Are you inspired by this vision? We call upon all people who are tired of passively waiting for things to change – to join us and Be The Change!


We live in a time of great insecurity where humanity is faced with many grave threats. From climate change to political instability, from species extinction to poverty and warfare, it seems humanity is in great crisis. But crisis means not only danger, but also opportunity. Humanity is at a crossroads; our future depends on how we deal with four trends, each enmeshed and interconnected with the others: do we choose war or nonviolence, poverty or equity, environmental degradation or sustainability, discrimination or human rights? The choice is ours.

These problems are all interrelated, but so are the solutions!


We envision a future illuminated by the truth of unity, a future where any boundary can be taken down because it only has to first come down in our hearts. This vision is a cause for celebration because many millions of people are following it already; soon this alliance of people working for a new humanity will guide a great evolutionary leap for all and provide the basis for sustainable solutions to humanity's greatest threats.


Our pledge to you is that we will help to support all those initiatives worldwide that are really making a difference. Through our website, our newsletter and our Human Forums, we will provide the space for real change to happen, for people to come together to make a difference, and to share their passion about creating a better world.

Visit their site at : and register

You may also visit my site to read principles of enriched thinking and watch a brief video:

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Ultimate Guide to Motivation - How to Achieve Any Goal

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” - Henry Ford

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Inspiration !!

Norman Rockwell was one of the most prolific and well-known of American artists. During his 47-year career as a painter and illustrator, he depicted people and situations from everyday life. By his death in 1978, his work was familiar to millions of people, and remains iconic today.

Some of Rockwell's most recognized works include his cover art for the Saturday Evening Post, the Four Freedoms series (Freedom from Want, Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Worship and Freedom from Fear), A Problem We All Live With, showing school integration during the 1960s, and Triple Self-Portrait, which is featured on The Foundation for a Better Life's "Inspiration" billboard.

Rockwell was born in 1894 and died in 1978. The Great Depression, World War II, The Civil Rights movement, the Space Age - Rockwell lived, and painted, through most of the turbulent 20th century. Even during the most frightening and uncertain moments of that century, Rockwell's work never turned grim or despairing, retaining a fascination with the human drama he saw unfolding around him.

Rockwell's work conveyed a belief in the goodness of humanity. One example is Triple Self-Portrait, where we see the artist (in his 60s at the time of painting) from the back, reflected in a mirror, and in the larger-than-life portrait on the easel. In the mirror we see a man with an aging face, a grizzled moustache, and thick glasses - but he is painting himself as a young, handsome man, ready to take on the world. The viewer gets the sense that this depiction isn't a false one, but that the artist is looking in the mirror and seeing his own best self.

In the same way, Rockwell saw the best in those around him. The Four Freedoms, painted during World War II, made it evident that Rockwell also strove to showcase what he saw as the best of American values and ideals. In the midst of a grim conflict, these illustrations were a reminder of what kind of world Americans were working for through their sacrifice and hardship. Deeply concerned with civil rights, equality, and the war on poverty, Rockwell incorporated these themes into his later work. Even his paintings that deal with troubling subjects show a resistance to despair and pessimism.

Critics have dubbed Rockwell's work as sentimental, overly sweet, and idealized. This may be because his work seemed to say that the ordinary people he was painting were extraordinary at the core. If what Rockwell painted was idealized, he also believed that we, individually and collectively, have the potential to reach that ideal.

"I showed the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed," Rockwell said. He later received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for "vivid and affectionate portraits of our country." Norman Rockwell saw the best in us - and so he has given us occasion to see the good in ourselves and each other, and that even an honest look in the mirror can be cause for hope.

50 Habits of "Naturally Thin" People

Eat like a kid. You don't have to give up that quick lunch if you order smaller portions: Instead of a Quarter Pounder with Cheese and large fries, opt for the cheeseburger Happy Meal. You can even play with the toy. Saves 390 calories.

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