Tuesday, July 21, 2015

To sleep, perchance to... ward off Alzheimer's? Brain Washing?

Earlier this year, I was reading about a new study on "brain washing" purpose of sleep...

While the brain sleeps, it clears out harmful toxins, a process that may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's, researchers say.  During sleep, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain increases dramatically, washing away harmful waste proteins that build up between brain cells during waking hours, a study of mice found.

"It's like a dishwasher," says Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Rochester and an author of the study in Science.
The results appear to offer the best explanation yet of why animals and people need sleep. If this proves to be true in humans as well, it could help explain a mysterious association between sleep disorders and brain diseases, including Alzheimer's.  Nedergaard and a team of scientists discovered the cleaning process while studying the brains of sleeping mice.

The scientists noticed that during sleep, the system that circulates cerebrospinal fluid through the brain and nervous system was "pumping fluid into the brain and removing fluid from the brain in a very rapid pace," Nedergaard says.

The team discovered that this increased flow was possible in part because when mice went to sleep, their brain cells actually shrank, making it easier for fluid to circulate. When an animal woke up, the brain cells enlarged again and the flow between cells slowed to a trickle.

 "It's almost like opening and closing a faucet," Nedergaard says. "It's that dramatic."

Nedergaard's team, which is funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, had previously shown that this fluid was carrying away waste products that build up in the spaces between brain cells.

The process is important because what's getting washed away during sleep are waste proteins that are toxic to brain cells, Nedergaard says. This could explain why we don't think clearly after a sleepless night and why a prolonged lack of sleep can actually kill an animal or a person, she says.

So why doesn't the brain do this sort of housekeeping all the time? Nedergaard thinks it's because cleaning takes a lot of energy. "It's probably not possible for the brain to both clean itself and at the same time [be] aware of the surroundings and talk and move and so on," she says.

The brain-cleaning process had been observed in rats and baboons, but not yet in humans until Nedergaard's study. And then earlier this year, I was reading that new plumbing was discovered in the brain...

Scientists have discovered a previously unknown link between the brain and the immune system that could help explain links between poor physical health and brain disorders including Alzheimer’s and depression.
The discovery of vessels, nestled just beneath the skull, overturns decades of textbook teaching and could pave the way for new approaches to treating brain diseases. The scientists behind the discovery described their surprise at having uncovered a major anatomical structure that until now had been entirely overlooked.

“These vessels were just not supposed to be there based on what we know,” said Jonathan Kipnis, who led the work at the University of Virginia. “I thought the body was mapped and that these discoveries ended somewhere around the middle of the last century. But apparently they have not.”
The finding could provide a firm biological basis for growing evidence that mental health and the state of the immune system are closely intertwined. Even so, it could offer a new way of understanding human brain diseases including Alzheimer's. That's because one of the waste products removed from the brain during sleep is beta amyloid, the substance that forms sticky plaques associated with the disease.

That's probably not a coincidence, Nedergaard says. "Isn't it interesting that Alzheimer's and all other diseases associated with dementia, they are linked to sleep disorders," she says.

Researchers who study Alzheimer's say Nedergaard's research could help explain a number of recent findings related to sleep. One of these involves how sleep affects levels of beta amyloid, says Randall Bateman, a professor of neurology Washington University in St. Louis who wasn't involved in the study.
"Beta amyloid concentrations continue to increase while a person is awake," Bateman says. "And then after people go to sleep that concentration of beta amyloid decreases. This report provides a beautiful mechanism by which this may be happening."

The report also offers a tantalizing hint of a new approach to Alzheimer's prevention, Bateman says. "It does raise the possibility that one might be able to actually control sleep in a way to improve the clearance of beta amyloid and help prevent amyloidosis that we think can lead to Alzheimer's disease."

... Dr. Maiken Nedergaard work pops up again this week...

 New research suggests poor sleep may increase people's risk of Alzheimer's disease, by spurring a brain-clogging gunk that in turn further interrupts shut-eye. Disrupted sleep may be one of the missing pieces in explaining how a hallmark of Alzheimer's, a sticky protein called beta-amyloid, starts its damage long before people have trouble with memory, researchers reported this week at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference.
"It's very clear that sleep disruption is an underappreciated factor," said Dr. Matthew Walker of the University of California, Berkeley, who presented data linking amyloid levels with people's sleep and memory performance. "It's a new player on the scene that increases risk of Alzheimer's disease."  Sleep problems are treatable - and a key next question is whether improving sleep can make a difference in protecting seniors' brains. "Sleep is a modifiable factor. It's a new treatment target," Walker said.

Enough sleep is important for good health generally - seven to eight hours a night are recommended for adults. When it comes to the brain, scientists have long known that people who don't get enough have trouble learning and focusing. And anyone who's cared for someone with dementia knows the nightly wandering and other sleep disturbances that patients often suffer, long thought to be a consequence of the dying brain cells.

The new research suggests that sleep problems actually interact with some of the disease processes involved in Alzheimer's, and that those toxic proteins in turn affect the deep sleep that's so important for memory formation."It may be a vicious cycle," said Dr. Miroslaw Mackiewicz of the National Institute on Aging, who wasn't part of the new work

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Good Advice on Living and Learning with a Middle School Kid: 15 things your middle school kid wishes you knew by Rachel Vale author of "Unfriended"

Good advice READ THE LINK ABOVE to read all the good ones that you can't read here.

2. I still want to have fun with you, and feel like home is safe and happy. Smile at me.
4. Sometimes I'm going to be moody and annoyed and frustrated. You need to just let that happen (though you shouldn't let me be rude to you; that's weird and embarrassing). It might just be a mood or something might be going on that I'm not ready to talk about yet. If you hang around doing stuff near me and don't interrupt or try to solve it as soon as I start, I might feel comfortable talking with you about things.
6. It feels really good when you ask me to teach you about what I'm learning or what I'm good at. You don't have to be awesome at computer programming to let me teach you some cool stuff, for instance. I have to be a beginner constantly. Show me it's OK to stay relaxed and present when you are struggling to learn something.
8. If you don't like my friends, it feels like you don't trust my judgment or like I am stupid about choosing friends. Or both. Ask me what I like about them, or what we have fun doing together, or just to tell you about a new friend. Stay open-minded. Still, if you think my friends are being bad to me, I need you on my side that much more.
10. I will fight you every step of the way if you make me do stuff I don't want to do (get some exercise, do my homework, write a thank-you note, practice piano, apologize to my sister, take a shower, wear deodorant... so many things), but you should probably make me do them anyway. I know I will feel better if I sweat and shower each day, and develop my study skills, and show up tomorrow prepared, and, and, and. I know! But please don't overwhelm me. I might not be able to do what I should right away. I might need reminders, later, which will annoy me completely. Remind me anyway.
12. I need to have private jokes with my friends and not explain them to you. It's how we bond. You don't need to be involved in every aspect of my life to still be loved and needed by me.
14. Especially if I've been feeling stressed, maybe you could just hang out with me. Go to the park or get an ice cream or have a catch, whatever; it feels good to just do something together without discussing or solving or teaching anything.
And bonus extra important thing you should know: The fact that my opinions on this and anything else might change tomorrow does not mean I don't feel them fiercely today. 
Keep up. I love you. Remind me you still love me, too.
Check out the rest of Rachel Vale's "15 Things Your Middle School Kid Wishes You Knew"

 Rachel Vale's book "Unfriended"
by Rachel Vail · Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated · Hardback · 288 pages · ISBN 0670013072
In middle school, nothing is more important than friendship. When Truly is invited to sit at the Popular Table with the group she has dreamed of joining, she can hardly believe her luck. Everyone seems so nice, so kind to one another. But all is not as it seems with her new friends, and soon she's caught in a maelstrom of lies, misunderstandings, accusations and counter-accusations, all happening very publicly in the relentless, hyperconnected social media world from which there is no escape. Six eighth-graders, four girls and two boys, struggle to understand and process their fractured glimples into one another's lives as they find new ways to disconnect, but also to connect, in Rachel Vail's richest and most searching book.

Good advice

Saturday, September 13, 2014

"How to Spot a Narcissist " by Starre Vartan, appeared on the pages of Mother Nature Network Blog.

Narcissistic people are usually focused more on themselves than the people around them. (Photo: Peter Bernik/Shutterstock)  Great Photo Peter Bernik!
How to Spot a Narcissist
by Starre Vartan
Starre Vartan has been an environmental journalist for over a decade, and has written for New York magazine, Metropolis, Inhabitat.com, Audubon magazine (where she was a columnist), Whole Living, Elle.com, Plenty, and E/The Environmental Magazine. She started her career by focusing on natural beauty, eco fashion and sustainable living on her blog, eco-chick.com, on which her book, The Eco Chick Guide to Life: How to Be Fabulously Green (St. Martin's Press, 2009), is based. Starre was chosen as one of Glamour magazine's 'Top Green Women' for their 70th anniversary issue, and has been thrice-quoted by the New York Times for her ecological expertise. She currently contributes to The Huffington Post in the Green and Style sections and LuxuryTravel.About.com where she writes about sustainable travel destinations. Starre regularly consults for Fortune 500 companies and is working on a home linens collection (based on her nature photography) that will launch Summer, 2014. Starre has a BS in Geology from Syracuse University and an MFA in writing from Columbia University. When not on the road visiting her family in Australia or checking out swimming holes the world over, she gardens, hikes, reads novels, mountain bikes and snowboards.     
Calling someone a narcissist is one of those casual insults/compliments (depending on who you're talking to, right?) that is lobbed around frequently. But like many other mental health issues that get joked about, this one is based on a very real condition — one that hasn't changed its definition much over the past 20 years, and has, during that time, been consistently defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the psychologist's big book of diagnoses. 
People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as defined by the DSM-V (the most recent edition), need to display the following traits (abbreviated a bit; if you want to see the full definition, click here): 
  • An exaggerated sense of their own self-importance
  • Puts quite a bit of energy and thought into fantasies of success, power or ideal love and romance. 
  • Believes that they are special and unique (and should only associate with others who are similarly gifted)
  • Wants to be constantly admired
  • Acts in an extremely entitled way
  • Takes advantage of other people
  • Unwilling to empathize with other people
  • Is very envious of others or thinks they are envious of him/her
  • Displays rude or abusive attitudes and behaviors toward other people
Does this sound like anyone you know? While a classic narcissist will display all nine of these behaviors, having just five of them qualifies someone — though only a trained therapist can diagnose someone with the disorder. But seeing that narcissists aren't likely to recognize their own problem, many of them go unofficially diagnosed and untreated. 
It's estimated that about 6 percent of the population has this personality disorder, and its more prevalent in men than women. The traits of this disorder get stronger as people age, and are usually in full bloom in a person's 40s and 50s. Kids and teens can't really be diagnosed with this kind of issue since they are growing and changing so fast. 
Like most personality problems, there are upsides to narcissism: These people are usually highly motivated and driven to achieve high levels of power. It's more common for CEOs and politicians to be narcissists, for example. And the most ego-driven, rude and and non-empathetic CEOs — the most narcissistic — make the most money, a recent study found. So it can (literally) pay to be a narcissist. They may not have any reason to change — or any desire to either.
And their public perception may be good: "...you've got this person who is quite charming, charismatic, self-confident, visionary, action-oriented, able to make hard decisions (which means the person doesn't have a lot of empathy)," Charles A. O’Reilly III, a management professor at Stanford business school said in a statement attached to the CEO narcissism study.
Meanwhile, the people who are in the same family as a narcissist can be severely affected, especially their children. Working with one isn't a pleasant experience either. Narcissists have impulse-control issues, and frequently verbally abuse those around them, mock people they see as inferior and/or treat them with disdain — actions that never made anyone feel good (or even OK) about themselves, ever.
It's probably a combination of biological predisposition and environment (how someone grows up) that makes a narcissist, psychologists now believe. And the treatment? Plenty of sessions with a psychiatrist trained in dealing with this disorder.
Related on MNN: 
The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.

Read more: http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/responsible-living/blogs/how-to-spot-a-narcissist#ixzz3DCryH3rM

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Octopus Paul would have been proud of today's win by Germany 7 vs Brazil 1

A monument of the World Cup 2010 Soccer prediction   Octopus Paul  at the Sea Life aquarium in the western German city of Oberhausen. World Cup oracle Octopus Paul died in October 2010. Paul, the German octopus famous for correctly predicting each of Germany's 2010 World Cup matches,  died at the relative young  age 2-1/2 years. This year he will be missed by his fans for World Cup 2014.  October.
UPDATE:  Germany 7   Brazil  1 (scored in final two minutes of play)
Octopus Paul would have been proud of his team today.

Germany is my team for this match with Brazil... under dogs.
Brazil is the favorite and has home field advantage.
Germany has lost both its goalie and Octopus Paul.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day. Happy Birthday. Happy Mother's Day. George W. Bush and President Obama.

... on the topic of ending Our Wars and returning our troops home to their families and friends and for providing meaningful support once they return home for medical care, education, job searches, for the job they have done for all of us in wars that lasted a generation and never seemed to affect us in any way.

 It is like we simply forgot that our military was waging a war ... and we accepted no responsibility for their lives, their deaths, and their pain and suffering and that of their families and friends who were very much aware hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, decade by decade... birthday by birthday... holiday by holiday.

Let's not forget them today. Let's end Our Wars and return our troops home for Happy Fathers Day, Happy Mother's Day and Happy Birthdays for them and their families.


Happy Fathers Day
Happy Birthday
Happy Mothers Day
President George W. Bush and President Obama.

This year I became a Grandfather when my son Jordan and his wife Rose had their first child Addison, making me a grandfather again.

I am very proud of the fact that Addison is a 10th Generation Texan on both sides of families.  

I love my wife Deb, our children, our grandchildren, and the state and country in which myself and they have been born. 

Let's focus on the next generation in Texas and the United States of America. 




Working together we can do we can make America a great place for the next generation of US citizens.

Not working together. 

Just kicking the can. 

Is not going to get us anywhere. 

War is not the answer to our problems.

Cooperate. Compromise.  Use Common Sense.



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Heartbleed Virus: "Next, change your passwords for major accounts — email, banking and social media logins — and do it now."

Change your passwords for major accounts — email, banking and social media logins — on sites that were affected by Heartbleed virus but patched the problem. However, if the site or service hasn't patched the flaw yet, there's no point to changing your password. Instead, ask the company when it expects to push out a fix to deal with Heartbleed... do it now.