Posts tagged with "brain"

Headphones illustration by Alex Bogdan for use by 360 Magazine

Interview with Dr. Kraus

By: Skyler Johnson

Learning how to play an instrument can help with the development of the human brain, according to scientist, inventor and Northwestern University professor Dr. Nina Kraus. She outlines this research in her new book, Of Sound Mind: How Our Brain Constructs a Meaningful World. I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Kraus about the book and her findings. 

  1. Can you go over, briefly, what your newest book covers?

My book is a retrospective of what my lifetime researching sound and the brain has taught me. It covers a wide variety of topics ranging from the brain of a musician, to the link between sound and reading, to the perils of noise, to the wonder that is birdsong, to the aging brain. And much more.

  1. How did you get into that sort of research?

As a child, I was fortunate, from a sound perspective, in two ways. First, I was exposed to music at a young age. My mother was a pianist and my favorite place to play was under her piano, listening to her beautiful music. Second, I grew up in a household where more than one language was spoken, regularly traveling between the US and Italy, learning to navigate two different linguistic worlds. These early experiences with music and language left a deep imprint. They stuck with me as I made my way through college, looking for a way I could channel my interest in sound into a career. After a few starts, I got hooked up with a lab studying how sound acquired relevance in the brain. In other words, how the brain itself is changed by sounds it hears! And the rest is history.

  1. How often should people be playing music? 

The benefits of playing music are many, and certainly the more you play the more it enriches your sound mind. However, my research has told me you do not have to be a professional to tune your brain. I would say you need to play (practice) regularly, though. At least a few times a week.

  1. What types of instruments should people be playing to gain the effects? 

As far as I can tell, based on my research and others’, it does not matter. Any instrument, including voice, is a boon to your brain.

  1. When did you first start playing an instrument yourself?

Age 5. Piano. I also play some guitar and drums.

  1. Did your personal experience with playing music influence your desire to start your research?

In a way, I think it did. I did not start my career studying music. That line of work got rolling some 15 years ago. At that time, my research was examining the role of sound processing on literacy in school-age children. That got me connected with teachers and other educators and I was starting to hear the same thing over and over: “The kids that do best in school tend to be the ones who play an instrument.” And that just seemed right to me on a scientific-gut level. I can feel, on a personal level, that my music playing has been good for my brain. Soon, I made some contacts with educators who ran music programs and wanted to know whether and how playing music affected the brains of their young musicians. And, so this whole new rewarding line of research was born. Who knows? If I wasn’t a musician myself, my research would have taken some other course.

photo of Dr. Stephen Sinatra for use by 360 Magazine

Secrets for Healthier Hearts and Sharper Minds

Secrets for Healthier Hearts and Sharper Minds By Dr. Stephen Sinatra, cardiologist, Healthy Directions

A sharp mind and a healthy heart are both keys to living a long, healthy life. However, did you know that your heart and brain – two seemingly different organs – are highly connected? In fact, they are highly dependent on one another. As a result, your brain and heart act almost as a figurative game of dominos – when one falls, the other falls with it. That’s why I’ve made it my mission as a cardiologist to focus as much on brain health as I do on heart health.

Making the Connection Between the Heart and Brain 

Your brain acts as the control center of your body, giving orders here and there to ensure that your natural bodily functions continue without issue. However, there are times when the signals your brain is sending to the different parts of your body can go awry. This can directly affect the heart because faulty signals can send its rhythm into haywire.

These two organs are further intertwined because of their relationships with the vascular system, which both depend on to bring them oxygen and nutrients while carrying away any waste.

Plus, both organs are highly susceptible to several ailments that can affect their efficacy. The main culprits include oxidative stress, disruptions in blood flow and chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation can be brought on by a lack of exercise, poor diet and exposure to pollutants, among other triggers. The intricate network of your brain and the 100 billion cells (or neurons) that make it up are even more vulnerable than your heart to these stressors.

The good news is that many of the same recommendations I make for keeping your heart healthy also boost the health of your brain and entire body. Here are some of the most important things that you can do to nurture the heart-brain connection:

  • Switch Up Your Diet: I’ve always been a proponent of the Mediterranean diet. Another diet that I recommend for heart and brain health combines elements of the Mediterranean diet with elements from the Asian side of the Pacific Rim, also known as the Pan-Asian Modified Mediterranean (PAMM) diet. This diet puts an emphasis on healthy fats derived from sources like fish, nuts and seeds, avocados, olive oil and DHA-fortified eggs, supporting overall brain health. In addition, the diet includes considerable amounts of vegetables and fruits. While doing this, you should also keep in mind the importance of limiting processed sugars and simple carbohydrates, two major contributors to inflammation.
  • Be Wary of Chronic Stress: Believe it or not, stress can play a major role in the health of your brain and heart. When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone.” Short-term stress is okay because the body can return to normal. However, chronic stress accompanied by high levels of cortisol can affect the regions of the brain associated with memory and emotion, causing your autonomic nervous system to be on constant alert. Making time for exercise, maintaining health sleep cycles, and connecting with people around you can help combat stress. Additionally, you can practice meditation, yoga and breathing exercises to help. 
  • Put the Kibosh on “Invisible” Brain Threats: When people think of invisible pollutants, they typically think of carbon emissions and greenhouse gases. However, there are other invisible pollutants out there that can affect the brain directly. Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are emitted by everything from cell phones to wireless networks. Even home appliances can emit these EMFs that affect the electrical currents within your body, including the crucial ones tasked with regulating your heartbeat and the synapses in your brain. Limiting EMF exposure can be tough, but it’s also extremely important. Some steps include using a corded landline and only using your cellphone on speaker, which limits the exposure of radiation to your brain. You can also hardwire your computer instead of using Wi-Fi. Lastly, you can engage in earthing, which is when you connect to the Earth by walking barefoot or using a grounding pad, protecting you from EMF radiation.
  • Know the Link Between Your Brain and Statins: When looking at your medication list, it is crucial to be aware of cholesterol-lowering statins. These drugs suppress the production of cholesterol and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), resulting in brain fog. Additionally, lowering your cholesterol too much can also affect brain function since it depends on cholesterol to process information.
  • Keep a Close Eye on Your Blood Pressure: High blood pressure can pose a threat in ensuring your brain gets the oxygen it needs. Your brain takes about 20% of the oxygen you breathe, so a healthy blood pressure of around 120/80 mmHg will help maintain that. Include foods like beets, garlic, onions, and apples to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.
  • Step Up Your Supplement Game: If you don’t have a solid supplement routine, now is the time to find a regimen that works for you. I recommend starting with a good multivitamin, CoQ10 (100 mg daily if you are taking a statin), omega-3 and magnesium. All these supplements will help support brain and heart health. For added protection, my new Focal Point Plus supplement uses a unique combination of clinically validated ingredients including Longvida Optimized Curcumin, CogniBoost American Ginseng, and vitamin K2 menaquinone-7 (MK7), which together can help support cognitive health and memory, healthy blood flow and arterial health.

As I mentioned at the start, think of your heart and brain as two dominos sitting next to one another. In optimal positions, they work in tandem—but when one falters, it can take the other one with it, leaving your entire body vulnerable. So, it’s important to keep both organs in tip-top shape so they can support you for a lifetime.

About Dr. Stephen Sinatra

Dr. Stephen Sinatra is one of the most highly respected and sought-after cardiologists whose integrative approach to treating cardiovascular disease has revitalized patients with even the most advanced forms of illness. He has more than 40 years of clinical practice, research, and study, starting his career as an attending physician at Manchester Memorial Hospital in Connecticut. He is known as one of America’s top integrative cardiologists, combining conventional medical treatments for heart disease with complementary nutritional, anti-aging, and psychological therapies. He is an author, speaker and adviser for the research and development of nutritional supplements with Healthy Directions. Sinatra is a best-selling author of more than a dozen books, including, “Heartbreak and Heart Disease,” “The Great Cholesterol Myth,” “Reversing Heart Disease Now “Heart Sense for Women,” “The Sinatra Solution” and “Metabolic Cardiology.”

Stethoscope illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

TMS Therapy

What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation/TMS Therapy?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, otherwise known as TMS therapy, is a non-invasive technique where magnetic fields are used to stimulate the brain.

TMS therapy is used in people suffering from depression. It is an alternative to other forms of treatment like psychotherapy and antidepressant medications. TMS therapy is painless and highly preferred by most patients.

How does TMS Therapy Work?

TMS treatment for depression follows a certain process. The therapy is conducted by a TMS physician/TMS technician.

Before the therapy begins, you should get rid of any magnetic-sensitive objects or items on your body like credit cards and jewelry. For comfort and ear protection, you’ll be asked to put on earplugs. Also, the process is conducted while the patient is sitting.

The therapy involves placing a magnetic coil against the scalp close to the forehead. Before the coil is placed on your head, the therapist must conduct various measurements to determine the right position of placing the magnetic coil. The coil conveys a magnetic pulse stimulating the nerve cells in the part of the brain that manages depression and mood control.

The physician then applies multiple brief pulses to measure the patient’s motor threshold. This ensures that the treatment settings are personalized according to the patient’s motor threshold.

During the TMS therapy, the patient will experience a sequence of clicking sounds and a tapping sensation under the coil.

Depending on various factors, the TMS treatment can last anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes, and you’re good to resume normal activities afterward. However, you’ll need to come back for the same procedure about five days a week and continue doing so until five to six weeks. However, this period can vary depending on how the patient responds to treatment, among other things.

Why Go for TMS Therapy?

There are many reasons why most patients go for transcranial magnetic stimulation/TMS therapy. First, the treatment is non-invasive. This means nothing will be inserted into your body during the treatment. Also, the treatment is painless. Pain is not something most people love. Anyone will always go for a painless alternative if it’s available.

In addition, TMS therapy has reported a high efficacy rate compared to other depression treatment methods like antidepressants. When it comes to health matters, effectiveness is essential.

Furthermore, TMS therapy is an outpatient treatment that allows patients to get treatment while continuing with their daily activities.

The FDA approved transcranial magnetic stimulation in 2008 for the treatment of depression. This means it is a safe method. And in the future, we could see TMS therapy being used to treat other brain disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Tinnitus, generalized anxiety, and cognitive impairments.

Side Effects and Cons of TMS Therapy

Despite its high efficacy, TMS therapy has some cons and side effects.

Patients experience mild to moderate side effects which disappear after some time. The possible side effects include.

  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Tingling, twitching, or spasm of facial muscles
  • Scalp discomfort

Some patients experience seizure and hearing loss, especially if their ears are not well covered during the therapy. Those with bipolar disorder complain of mania. However, such cases are rare.

One of the downsides of TMS therapy is that the patients keep visiting the treatment center until they get well. This can be tiresome, especially if you do not respond to the treatment in a short period. It can also be expensive if you have to cover a long distance to get the treatment. You’ll need to pay for transport costs daily.

 TMS therapy takes a long time; for instance, a patient may need more than 30 treatments to get better. Also, some insurance policies may decline to cover your TMS therapy costs. You should find out if your insurance policy will cover the costs.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation/TMS therapy is a non-invasive and painless procedure used to treat depression. The procedure is conducted by a TMS technician or physician, and it follows a specific sequence. The treatment is an outpatient service, has high efficacy, and is FDA approved. However, it has some side effects, including headache and scalp discomfort, which go away after multiple sessions. The therapy takes time to work, usually four to six weeks of regular visits.

Neurological illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Houston Methodist × Rice University

Houston Methodist, Rice U. launch neuroprosthetic collaboration


Center for Translational Neural Prosthetics and Interfaces to focus on restoring brain function after disease, injury

Neurosurgery’s history of cutting diseases out of the brain is morphing into a future in which implanting technology intothe brain may help restore function, movement, cognition and memory after patients suffer strokes, spinal cord injuries and other neurological disorders. Rice University and Houston Methodist have forged a partnership to launch the Center for Translational Neural Prosthetics and Interfaces, a collaboration that brings together scientists, clinicians, engineers and surgeons to solve clinical problems with neurorobotics.  

“This will be an accelerator for discovery,” said center co-director Dr. Gavin Britz, chair of the Houston Methodist Department of Neurosurgery. “This center will be a human laboratory where all of us — neurosurgeons, neuroengineers, neurobiologists — can work together to solve biomedical problems in the brain and spinal cord. And it’s a collaboration that can finally offer some hope and options for the millions of people worldwide who suffer from brain diseases and injuries.”

Houston Methodist neurosurgeons, seven engineers from the Rice Neuroengineering Initiative and additional physicians and faculty from both institutions form the center’s core team. The center also plans to hire three additional engineers who will have joint appointments at Houston Methodist and Rice. Key focus areas include spinal cord injury, memory and epilepsy studies, and cortical motor/sensation conditions.

“The Rice Neuroengineering Initiative was formed with this type of partnership in mind,” said center co-director Behnaam Aazhang, Rice’s J.S. Abercrombie Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who also directs the neuroengineering initiative, which launched in 2019 to bring together the brightest minds in neuroscience, engineering and related fields to improve lives by restoring and extending the capabilities of the human brain. “Several core members, myself included, have existing collaborations with our colleagues at Houston Methodist in the area of neural prosthetics. The creation of the Center for Translational Neural Prosthetics and Interfaces is an exciting development toward achieving our common goals.”

The physical space for the center’s operation includes more than 25,000 square feet of Rice Neuroengineering Initiative laboratories and experimental spaces in the university’s BioScience Research Collaborative, as well as an extensive build-out underway at Houston Methodist’s West Pavilion location that’s expected to be completed late this year. The Houston Methodist facility will include operating rooms and a human laboratory where ongoing patient/volunteer diagnosis and assessment, device fabrication and testing, and education and training opportunities are planned.

“This partnership is a perfect blend of talent,” said Rice’s Marcia O’Malley, a core member of both the new center and university initiative and the Thomas Michael Panos Family Professor in Mechanical Engineering. “We will be able to design studies to test the efficacy of inventions and therapies and rely on patients and volunteers who want to help us test our ideas. The possibilities are limitless.”

Houston Methodist neurobiologist Philip Horner describes the lab as “a merging of wetware with hardware,” where robotics, computers, electronic arrays and other technology — the hardware — is incorporated into the human brain or spinal cord — the wetware. The centerpiece of this working laboratory is a zero-gravity harness connected to a walking track, with cameras and sensors to record feedback, brain activity and other data.

While the Houston Methodist space is being built, collaborations already are underway between the two institutions, which sit across Main Street from one another in the Texas Medical Center. Among them are the following:

  • O’Malley and Houston Methodist’s Dr. Dimitry Sayenko, assistant professor of neurosurgery, will head the first pilot project involving the merging of two technologies to restore hand function following a spinal cord injury or stroke. O’Malley will pair the upper limb exoskeleton she invented with Sayenko’s noninvasive stimulator designed to wake up the spinal cord. Together, they hope these technologies will help patients achieve a more extensive recovery — and at a faster pace.
  • Rice neuroengineer Lan Luan, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Britz, a neurosurgeon, are collaborating on a study to measure the neurovascular response following a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a life-threatening stroke caused by bleeding just outside the brain. Two-thirds of people who suffer these brain bleeds either die or end up with permanent disabilities. Luan invented very small and flexible electrodes that can be implanted in the brain to measure, record and map its activities. Her work with mice could lead to human brain implants that may help patients recover from traumatic brain injuries caused by disease or accidents.
  • Aazhang, Britz and Taiyun Chi, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice, are collaborating on the detection of mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) from multimodal observations and on alleviating mTBI using neuromodulations. This project is of particular interest to the Department of Defense.
Brain Cancer illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Brain Cancer Gene Identified

Scientists have identified an oncogene (a cancer-causing gene) responsible for glioblastoma, the deadliest brain tumor. The discovery offers a promising new treatment target for a cancer that is always fatal.

The researchers say the oncogene is essential to the survival of the cancer cells. Without it, the cancer cells die. Scientists have already developed many targeted therapies for other cancers with a similar “oncogene addiction.”

“Glioblastoma is one of the most deadly cancers. Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment option for the disease. The current standard option, radiation plus temozolomide, which displayed a 2.5-month better survival rate, was hailed as a great success. Clearly, better understanding and new therapeutic targets are urgently needed,” said researcher Hui Li, PhD, of the University of Virginia School of Medicine. “The novel oncogene we discovered promises to be an Achilles’ heel of glioblastoma, with its specific targeting potentially an effective approach for the treatment of the disease.”

Targeting Glioblastoma

Oncogenes are naturally occurring genes that spiral out of control and cause cancer. The oncogene Li and his colleagues identified, AVIL, normally helps cells maintain their size and shape. But the gene can be shifted into overdrive by a variety of factors, the researchers found. This causes cancer cells to form and spread.

Blocking the gene’s activity completely destroyed glioblastoma cells in lab mice but had no effect on healthy cells. This suggests targeting the gene could be an effective treatment option.

“AVIL is overexpressed in 100% of glioblastoma cells and clinical samples, and is expressed at even higher level in so-called glioblastoma stem cells, but hardly expressed in normal cells and tissues,” said Li, of UVA’s Department of Pathology. “Silencing the gene wiped out glioblastoma cells in culture and prevented animal xenografts, while having no effect on normal control cells. Clinically, high AVIL expression correlates with worse patient outcome. These findings and classic transformation assays proved AVIL being a bona fide oncogene.”

Identifying Oncogenes

Identifying an oncogene, as Li and his colleagues have done, is an important step toward developing a treatment. But identifying oncogenes is very difficult. The environment inside cells is so complex that it’s hard to determine cause-and-effect.

Li and his team weren’t even working on glioblastoma when they first caught the scent that led to the discovery. Instead, they were studying a rare childhood cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma. (Childhood cancers typically are easier to understand and involve fewer mutations than adult cancers.)

During their research, the scientists discovered an abnormality in the AVIL gene. That prompted them to examine adult cancers to see if the gene could be contributing there. And it was. The researchers concluded the gene plays a “critical role” in glioblastoma, they report in a new scientific paper outlining their findings.

Li and his team believe their approach can be used to discover other oncogenes – hopefully leading to new treatments for a variety of cancers.

“In this day and age, many people thought that all the significant oncogenes have been discovered, Here we uncovered a novel, powerful oncogene and elucidated its signaling pathways, all starting from studying a structure variant in pediatric cancer. In the past, numerous significant discoveries in cancer also stemmed from studying pediatric tumors,” Li said. “We believe this is a strategy that can be applied to find novel players in other adult cancers.”

Glioblastoma Findings Published

The researchers have published their findings in the scientific journal Nature Communications. The research team consisted of Zhongqiu Xie, Pawel Ł. Janczyk, Ying Zhang, Aiqun Liu, Xinrui Shi, Sandeep Singh, Loryn Facemire, Kristopher Kubow, Zi Li, Yuemeng Jia, Dorothy Schafer, James W. Mandell, Roger Abounader and Li.

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute, grant CA240601, and Stand Up To Cancer, grant SU2C-AACR-IRG0409.

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Lacking Self-Discipline?

5 Ways To Develop It And Reach Your Goals

Americans are known to overeat, abuse credit cards, marinate for hours in social media, and break New Year’s resolutions before the end of January. Self-discipline doesn’t seem to be a national strength.

And achieving self-discipline – and the success that can come with it – may never have been harder than it is in this instant-gratification age, says Dr. Rob Carter III.

“Self-discipline is an undervalued trait in a modern society that wants everything now,” says Carter, co-author with his wife, Dr. Kirti Salwe Carter, of The Morning Mind: Use Your Brain to Master Your Day and Supercharge Your Life (www.themorningmind.com). “Self-discipline is the ability to motivate and coordinate our efforts to improve our quality of life, but unfortunately most people are not taught it.

“It is, however, a skill that everyone can learn. Self-discipline is the skill that will allow you to reach any goal you set.”

Carter offers five ways to develop self-discipline:

Be aware of your resistance. Resistance, Carter says, is the biggest obstacle to developing self-discipline, and it often comes in the form of discouraging internal self-talk such as, “I can’t do it” or “Why should I have to change?” “The next time you embark on a new project that causes resistance,” Carter says, “fight it by asserting or writing down your intended goal and the benefits it will bring.”

Plan for every outcome. Plans go awry when people let excuses get in the way. “An example is having a goal of running in the morning for 30 minutes, but you have bailouts such as it’s raining, cold, or you don’t feel like it,” Carter says. “Developing self-discipline is recognizing and planning for these self-created obstacles and actively choosing to work through them. So when you set a goal to achieve, have chart in place listing “Even ifs.” List the potential obstacles to achieving your goal and counter each one with a promise to yourself that you’ll achieve your goal even if these challenges arise.”

Prepare to give something up in order to gain. Carter suggests compiling a list of the pros and cons of sacrificing for a certain goal. “To reach your goal, Carter says, “you will more than likely have to impose certain limitations on yourself in order to gain something. These limitations could be less free time, socializing, money or television. The upside is that seeing the rewards of the sacrifice on the pros list will keep you motivated and disciplined.”

Reward yourself with self-compensation. “Rewards are an incredibly powerful tool for motivating yourself to reach your goals,” Carter says. “Consider them the carrot on the stick. Have a reward in place for when you achieve a goal or part of a goal, and make sure it’s appropriate.”

Break your goal down into manageable steps. “If you break your goal down into bite-sized steps,” Carter says, “you’re much more likely to stay disciplined enough to complete every sub-goal. Each step accomplished gives you an encouraging boost. Consider using SMART goals — specific, measurable, attractive, realistic, timed. This makes the goal more definitive and puts the steps in tangible action.”

“Self-discipline includes structured planning, organization, delayed gratification, and the willingness to step outside your comfort zone,” Carter says. “These things can appear scary, but don’t worry, you’re not alone. And once you take the first step, you have ventured onto a beautiful path that offers many rewards.”

About Dr. Rob Carter III and Dr. Kirti Salwe Carter

Dr. Rob Carter III and Dr. Kirti Salwe Carter are co-authors of The Morning Mind: Use Your Brain to Master Your Day and Supercharge Your Life(www.themorningmind.com). Rob Carter is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, an expert in human performance and physiology, and has academic appointments in emergency medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, in public health and health sciences at Los Angeles Pacific University, and in nutrition at the University of Maryland, University College. He holds a PhD in biomedical sciences and medical physiology and an MPH in chronic disease epidemiology.

Kirti Carter was born in Pune, India, and received her medical education in India, where she practiced as an intensive-care physician before moving to Texas to complete postgraduate training in public health. She is a Fellow of the American Institute of Stress (FAIS), has more than 18 years of experience in meditation and breathing techniques, and has been facilitating wellness seminars for the past decade.

Neurotriggers

In the early to mid-1970’s, a million dollars was a great deal of money, and thinking about becoming a millionaire was thinking very big indeed. A million dollars was a fortune to be amassed. Today it is a yearly income, or, at best, a couple years’ income needed by anybody attempting to amass a real fortune.

In a documentary on Ted Turner, he was bemoaning the loss of much of his wealth thanks to AOL/Time Warner, and worrying about being “down to a billion” while still in his 70’s — he said he hopes to have enough left to retire on someday. You can, he pointed out, get by on a billion if you’re careful and don’t buy too many planes or yachts. He was speaking tongue-in-cheek, but not totally. Just as 80 is the new 60 and we hope 100 will soon be the new 80, a billion is the new 25-million.

The first arsenal of skills and strategies one should master are those of survival. How to be broke but live well. How to pay one credit card with another. How to look the part and act as if. Some of these skills have lasting value, but most become an impediment, standing in the way of developing the different set of skills one needs next. I think overall, one of the hardest things we do in life is shed the thoughts, attitudes, skills, habits, associations that worked for us when doing “A” but hold us back and get in the way of doing “B”. We shed skin easily and automatically. We do not shed thoughts and behaviours so easily.

The second arsenal one should master are those for making money. Lots of it. In chunks and surges. These days, to be a millionaire is not all that complicated. If you happen to be young, 20 or 30, you can very, very easily reach and surpass that benchmark purely with an intelligent retirement plan (or other tax protected savings plan) by saving and contributing the maximum amount allowed every year. Or by buying a few good homes and owning them for the long haul. That will get you a million dollars someday.

To take it one step further, earning a million dollars per year – even though that certainly puts you at the 1% pinnacle of society – is also actually not all that difficult. A great many businesses or combinations of businesses provide such opportunity. It is, for example, nothing more than 1,000 transactions of $2,000.00 each with 50% net. Or 100 at $20,000.00 each. Or 1,000 customers giving you $100.00 a month. Or 2,000, giving you $50.00. I just read a report of a Gourmet Bacon Of The Month Club providing its owner with such income. Bacon.

Making lesser but still significant income, $100,000.00, $200,000.00 a year, even easier. A good handyman with nothing but a cellphone could have a ‘concierge practice’, with, say, 25 clients each paying him $300.00 a month…$7,500.00 a month, $100,000.00 a year. Just not that tough. More mental barriers than anything.

But if you start to think in terms of creating and keeping a small fortune in the 10-million to 50-million-dollar neighbourhoods, rather than just a million or two, the arsenal of required once again changes substantially. The knowledge needed, different. The mind-set needed, different. Here, in this space, an odd combination of daring, speed, grabbing of opportunities must be counter-balanced with a concern for preservation of capital, a diligent management of the money, not just making it.

I spent time the other day with one of my long-time clients who personally earns about 5-million a year and is worth about 4 million. He is busily involved in dozens of high-pressure projects. He said, “I often fall into shit. Sometimes I come up with gold. Other times I come up with shit. My success rate does not distinguish me. Being willing to dive into shit, that distinguishes me.” Different mindset.

We’ve talked about speed. To become a millionaire, you can do things slowly, methodically, logically, sequentially, neatly and cautiously. To be a multi, multi-millionaire, you cannot.

To stay a millionaire once there, you need to conserve. To buy carefully, spend reluctantly, invest wisely. Never paying more than is necessary. To stay a multi, multi-millionaire you need to be more aggressive. You often cannot afford to get the very best buy, as your time and lost opportunity is far more valuable than the deal available across town.

There is a hierarchy of sorts for independent business. It is: shopkeeper; business owner, entrepreneur; entrepreneur-investor; investor-entrepreneur. One of the painful aspects of moving through these stages is doing less of something you’ve mastered (and can do easily), in favour of doing other things you’re clumsy and uncertain at; the constant setting aside of old tools with which you’re expert in and picking up new tools you are profoundly inexpert with; of climbing Maslow’s step again and again and again.

Questions: What skills do you have that are useful not just at present but for where you want to go? What present skills are holding you back? What skills do you lack currently, but will be needed for the spot just ahead on your chosen road? Do you even have a Personal Skills List each ranked 1-10, and a list of New Skills In Development?

For additional information visit http://neurotriggers.com/

Examining Concussions In Youth Sports

A recent article by Time Magazine cited that children who have been diagnosed with depression are more likely to suffer a concussion while playing youth sports. This correlation flips a common belief that athletes of all ages are more likely to experience symptoms of depression during and after suffering the effects of a concussion.

The article is just the latest in a string of new discoveries regarding brain injuries in American sports. Researchers from across the nation are looking at different angles in order to keep American athletes safer in the future. Consider that Philly.com reported that between 1.1 million and 1.9 million children and teens are treated for concussions caused by organized sports.

These numbers don’t tell the whole story as one of the links between depression and concussions is the fact that students who have suffered from depression are more in tune with their bodies. They are more likely to document the injury and speak up about an issue.

Not reporting a concussion can come from a fear of missing a game, school or after work job. It can also come from simply not understanding what is happening to a person’s body.  Concussion awareness is just as important as the equipment being used in the prevention and proper medical care after a concussion.

The Concussion Legacy Foundation has determined that at least 1 in 5 sports-related concussions are the result of a head impact with the playing field surface. The turf is the common culprit in all sports.

It’s why GreenPlay is helping athletes at all levels become safer through synthetic turfgrass technology. Turfgrass is the term used to describe engineered natural turf on playing fields. Pristine turfgrass is proven to be the benchmark for safety and performance. Compared to synthetic turf, turfgrass has shown to produce exceptional results under impact tests to access head injuries.

Owner of GreenPlay, Domenic Carapella, explains the impact pristine Turfgrass is making for athletes across the country saying, “Turfgrass helps lessen the harsh blows to the head and body that often happen during sports activities at all levels. When it comes to what we can control, the playing surface should be just as important as the equipment being worn.”

According to Greenplay Organics:

  • It’s important to discuss the issue of concussions in American youth sports in order to help drive change for the children of our country.
  • Pristine Turfgrass is the benchmark for the safest, high-performance playing surface.
  • Turfgrass is firm to run on, provides ideal traction and is resilient under bodily and head impacts.

VALEO

2018 Paris Motor Show: Valeo reveals its innovations at the epicenter of the three revolutions shaping the automotive industry

At this year’s Paris Motor Show, Valeo is unveiling its latest technological innovations. These innovations are at the epicenter of the revolutions that are disrupting mobility as we know it: the autonomous vehicle, vehicle electrification and digital mobility.

In particular, Valeo is staging the open-road world début of its Valeo Drive4U® demo car, the first autonomous vehicle to be demonstrated on the streets of Paris itself. The car is equipped exclusively with ultrasonic sensors, cameras, laser scanners and radars already series produced by Valeo, and artificial intelligence, giving it a full-fledged digital brain. The technology is able to manage all the information collected by the sensors and learn from the complex scenarios it encounters in the city.

Valeo Drive4U® can already handle a wide variety of driving situations in urban environments, including undivided roads, intersections, traffic lights, tunnels and even streets with no markings. The car also knows how to deal with cyclists and pedestrians.

At the 2018 Paris Motor Show, Valeo is also presenting its 48V solutions to make electric vehicles much more affordable, as well as the first all-electric urban prototype powered by a 48V Valeo motor. The prototype gives a glimpse of what tomorrow’s affordable urban vehicles could be like, designed to be just the right size for their intended use. It can reach speeds of 100 km/h, has a range of 150 km and does not emit any CO2. Valeo is also unveiling the world’s first 48V plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Lastly, since usage patterns are changing, with digital tools giving access to new ways of getting around, Valeo is developing technologies that promote the rise of intelligent mobility. One example of this is the real-time map of air quality in Paris, a project in partnership with ARIA Technologies. A fleet of some twenty vehicles equipped with Valeo sensors will travel around Paris to measure levels of six pollutants in real time. For Valeo, understanding pollution levels in urban areas is a vitally important step toward creating new, cleaner mobility solutions. By having precise information on air quality in a specific location, it will be possible, for example, to generate customized routes to avoid peaks in pollution, or activate pollution control systems inside cars.

With these innovations, Valeo has once again demonstrated its capacity to imagine, design and develop technologies that are conducive to the development of electric, autonomous, connected cars that are widely affordable yet adaptable to individual needs

CBD: An Alternative to Prescription Drugs?

In the modern world, our first approach to treating an illness is to find the most suitable pharmaceutical drug, which we typically get either over-the-counter or on prescription. However, while these medicines are normally effective, they can unlock a whole new box of issues, including dependency and side effects.

Becoming reliant on medication can be mentally unsettling, and nasty side effects like nausea and dizziness typically require further treatment, leaving patients on a cocktail of pharmaceutical-grade drugs before they know it.

In the case of opioid painkillers, dependency may even be life-threatening, with the risk of overdose frighteningly high. In 2016, abuse of prescription opioid painkillers and recreational opiates accounted for more than 40,000 US lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This cycle of illness, drugs, side effects and more drugs is wearing thin with many, and combined with the new wave of medical cannabis science, a clear divide has formed between those who favor prescription drugs, and those who’d rather take natural, plant-based medicines.

From a historical perspective, medicinal cannabis use makes perfect sense, with the herb being used for millennia across the world, but particularly in Africa and Asia.

Technological advancements have greatly developed our knowledge of cannabis, and scientists now know which compounds are responsible for various effects. For example, the psychoactive “high” mostly comes from a therapeutic cannabinoid called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, numerous other cannabinoids have medicinal properties, sans the hallucinogenic effects.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most studied and seemingly most useful non-intoxicating cannabinoid, and the market for CBD products has exploded in the 2010s, thanks in part to the relaxation of laws surrounding non-psychoactive hemp.

CBD over opioids
Opioid-based painkillers like Tramadol are now regularly prescribed for chronic pain, with stronger synthetic drugs such as fentanyl available on prescription for the most extreme discomfort. These drugs are designed to interact with opioid receptors in the opioid system. The pain relief from these drugs is substantial, however sustained use leads to increased tolerance, stronger doses and addiction.

However, CBD may be helpful for chronic patients, and also those who have ended up dependent on opioids, as the cannabinoid seems to exhibit anti-addiction properties by interfering with pleasure-reward mechanisms.

By elevating concentrations of anandamide in the body, CBD is promoting a neurotransmitter that works to ease both physical and mental pain. How CBD tackles addiction is less clear, but some evidence indicates that CBD is active in the opioid system.

Not all pain is the same – for example, some chronic pain is persistent and always at a similar intensity, whereas the worst effects of inflammatory and neuropathic pain tend to come from flare-ups.

For internal neuropathic pain, CBD vape oil and e-liquid treatment is ideal, because the relief comes very quickly. Meanwhile, lingering pain is economically and perhaps more efficiently managed by orally-consumed CBD products (e.g. capsules, edibles, coffee).

Experimenting with gels, creams and balms infused with cannabis or CBD is a novel method of coping with localized pain. These ensure that the cannabinoid receptors in the affected area are directly activated.

If you’re unsure where to start searching for the right CBD product and form for your pain or you simply can’t decide with the long list of options, you can click here to learn more.

CBD: the new anti-inflammatory drug?
Immune system response is still not well that understood, and this has made it difficult to control. Researchers have struggled to find ways of influencing inflammation, but studies into the endocannabinoid system have found that immune system response is accessible via cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). Endocannabinoids look to signal a stoppage in inflammation, after a wound has fully healed or an infection is neutralized.

This discovery may be crucial, as the current leading class of anti-inflammatories (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs) are known to cause concerning side effects, including stomach ulcers.

The best CBD product for inflammation depends, unsurprisingly on the type of inflammation. Internal conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which could be exacerbated by endocannabinoid deficiency, respond well to both CBD vape juice and CBD edibles, or even tincture oils.

For osteoarthritis, a form of inflammation which affects the joints, CBD creams and other topicals are likely to produce better results.

CBD’s promise as an antidepressant
Cannabinoid research is providing genuine hope for antidepressant researchers, after decades of stagnation in medication development. The current situation with depression medicine is far from ideal, with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) slow to show benefits – for up to 40 percent of patients, these drugs may not even work at all. And then there are the side effects to contend with, which range from drowsiness to impotence. Depersonalization and derealization have also been anecdotally reported with SSRIs.

However, a glut of promising studies on CBD and the brain have found that the ECS could be important in correcting off-balance brain chemistry. The CB1 receptor modulates many variables, mood being one, and the bond between anandamide and this receptor is important for good mental wellbeing. Factors outside of the ECS also affect mood, but the potency of anandamide as an antidepressant makes the link with the CB1 receptor an essential one.

Some of the most exciting research on cannabinoids has been on their neuroprotective and neurogenesis properties. Studies on the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex and cannabinoid treatments, which are associated with depression, have demonstrated that CBD is able to repair these regions of the brain, by restoring neuronal circuitry and helping to form new brain cells.

A 2018 study on rats carried out in Brazil showed that CBD was effective from the first treatment and for up to seven days after the last dose at blocking synaptic proteins which damage neuronal circuitry in the prefrontal cortex. Meanwhile, CBD-initiated neurogenesis in the hippocampus helps to regrow the brains of adult rats with depression. These results have not yet been replicated in humans, but rats are used for such studies because their brains are similar to humans. General memories and our autobiographical memory are stored in the hippocampus.

The only CBD products that aren’t suitable for managing depression are topicals, as the cannabinoids remain in the skin, and do not reach the brain.