Magical Medical Tour: MIND. YOUR OWN BUSINESS
During a recent trip visiting my family, I had the opportunity to observe an interesting juxtaposition between the mind of my 92-year old father(a former educator), who is losing many of his mental capacities, and my nine-year old nephew (diagnosed with autism and delayed development), who is succeeding in his efforts to gain mental capacities. Throughout my life I have appreciated the vast diversity of minds. During my medical school training, I chose a psychiatric elective in a locked ward where I would be in a room with 20 people debilitated by various psychoses. Many were a danger to themselves and others. None were capable of interacting safely in society. They were all hearing voices of various deities and devils giving them information and instructions. Some spoke “in tongues” that were not comprehensible to me, although they all seemed to be in full communication with each other. I realized that I was in the minority, the only one not hearing the voices or understanding the language. Most of these people had either a deficiency or excess of specific chemical neurotransmitters that created their “state of mind”. Just a few drops of one of these chemicals determinded the fine line between normal and abnormal.
What fragile beings we are. Certainly, the mind spectrum I have observed includes my associations with colleagues, friends, gurus, monks, mystics and the myriad of patients with minds that have been altered by toxins, strokes and traumatic brain injuries.
There is now enough medical knowledge to treat or transplant almost every organ in the body. The brain and its nervous system are the final frontier. Studies are being done every day establishing insight in to the workings, capacity and adaptability of this fascinating collection of cells. New research is supplying data regarding the effects of diet, toxins, exercise, stress and sleep. More recent studies reveal the positive effects of a daily practice of mindful meditation in areas related to awareness, memory, learning and more. Use of imaging studies like an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and other types of scans are showing actual structural changes in specific parts of the brain that correlate with awareness, memory, etc. We can actually improve our brains and, consequently, our quality of life.
In life, we make sacrifices of time, money and health for our business or profession. Years are spent in education and training. Money is borrowed and spent with risk of loss or debt. We give up sleep, meals and health for our business. With hard work and perseverance, we usually succeed. However, many of these sacrifices eventually have ill effects on our bodies and minds.
Yet many of us will not put out the same effort to invest in our mind.
Protect your brain by wearing appropriate head gear during certain physical activities.
Allow for healing when injured even slightly.
Become proactive: promote your mind and mental health.
Avoid toxins when possible.
Deal with stress and get quality sleep.
Develop a daily practice of mindful meditation.
Your mind is your main business. Invest in it and the dividends will pay off with interest.
Stay tuned for the next blog covering other aspects of my Magical Medical Tour:
- Quid quid latine dictum sit altum viditur
- Mind. Your Own Business
- Radio GaGa
[tags]magical medical tour, Glenn Wollman MD, medical school training, mental health, magnetic resonance imaging, MRI[/tags]
Bravo. Excellent blog. I would just like to make the comment that there is a difference between “mind” and “brain”. for example, there is a difference between protecting the brain with a helmet and protecting the mind.
Thank you gr8fulwmn for your excellent comment.
Clearly the brain and the mind are different and certainly both need to be protected.I know the mind will not exist without a brain .
I appreciated this post. I think that your fundamental point that we are much more willing to invest in external issues (education, career, even the needs of others) than we are in our own needs (physical, mental, emotional health) is crucial. Thanks for the invitation to consider this!
Excellent blog. Could you expand/explain more about toxins.
Hi, Glenn: Thanks for your, always informative and mind-expanding blog. Whenever I can manage, I have enjoyed your thoughts. Will continue to stay tuned occasionally.
All BEST, Chungliang
Wow. I love this article. It’s odd…I normally am able to find the time to exercise, but I actually feel guilty when taking time out of my day to “merely” meditate because the benefits are not as physically tangible (or at least I thought). Your blog pointed out the complete lack of logic in that. I will think of your blog now when giving myself permission to take care of my mind in addition to my body. Thank you.
Thank you Tracey.
I know you have commented on prior blogs and each time your insight points out the logic in what I am saying. you always take it to the next level.
Loved your blog this quarter! You are 100% correct with your list of how to keep our brains healthy and long lasting! I know from having Type I Diabetes for 32 years how important exercise and sleep are for our immune systems! Thank you again for keeping our minds active and our bodies alive! Namaskār.
i found this blog to be particularly succcessful. I would like to add a comment that as a toxicologist, we differentiate between toxins (a toxic chemical of natural, biological origin, e.g., venoms, bacterial poisons, fungal poisons, etc.) and toxicants (synthetic organic or inorganic chemicals, metals, etc.). This certainly puts a conscious spin on the notion that “natural” is good and “synthetic” is bad.
Thoroughly enjoyed reading your thought-provoking and insightful article and the feedbacks.
Re the brain/mind debate, I’d like to draw attention to the work done by Dr. W. Grey Walters, a distinguished British neurophysiologist, whose experimental work in the 1960’s showed that mind, whatever it may be, cannot be a product of the brain, and that it is the mind that controls the brain and not the other way around. This conclusion was later confirmed in 2000 when scientific research in Scotland showed that in rare cases where flatline patients were revived, many reported memories. This indicated that the mind had somehow survived the ‘temporary’ demise of the brain.
Thank you for your comments and thoughts re: brain/mind debate.
Obviously, it is a fascinating and provocative topic.
I am in agreement that mind may have control over activities of the brain, I am not sure that I could conclude that the mind can exist without the brain. Also the reference to the Scotland study* to me does not fortify the conclusion. The heart being flat line for a brief period of time will still allow for brain function. Even if an EEG(electroencephalogram) was attached to the brain, it might only show superficial changes. Secondly, memory appears to be a function of brain wiring, neurotransmitters and part of the dna/rna complex .It would be interesting to devise a study that would allow a separation of mind and brain.
*I will admit that I did not read the Scotland study but I have had experience with my own patients in the Emergency Department that were “flat line” , revived and had memories vs. hallucinations.
Thank you again for the stimulating thoughts.
Living the successful life of a long time insulin dependent diabetic gives you insights most of us don’t share.
Thank you for promoting your experiential wisdom.
G. Wollman .
Greetings Terry Goldman.
Thank you for your comment and request.
Please read the comment by Dr.Gary Winston,PhD and international toxicologist.
In my blog I was referring to things in our environment, in foods, and other substances that we are exposed to , ingest, or put on or in our bodies that will harm or disrupt normal , healthy cellular function.
Important for each of us to learn more about toxins and how we can protect ourselves from their harmful effects.
Greetings Ann Becker-Schutte,
Thank you for your thoughts and comments. I like the fact that you are bringing the blog up as an invitation for all of us to consider.
Thank you for your response. My inspirations come from many sources. You are one of them.
finally got a chance to read your blog, it was both interesting and educational. tola and i recently went to support a friend’s son who had neuroblastoma. i just went to their website, mystic force foundation, and the 7 year old boy has passed and we will attend the memorial this sat… then on sunday, tola and i will ride a charity event called “ride for kids”. it’s the childrens pediatric brain tumor foundation… we are doing our part to support others that have been through, what we went through.
we love you, m and v
wow. Terrific comments all around!!