Monday, March 26, 2012

Improved Wiring Of The Brain - Trainable Neuroplasticity - The Braintenance Blog

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I noticed the article which follows in a recent brief from Big Think, a wonderful informative and insightful resource for articles about the Human Potential Movement and about Global Futurism. Please take a moment to read the article, a portion of which I have extracted below, and then hit the "BACK" button on your browser to come back for some Braintenance commentary and an extrapolation of what this means for the potential development of the Human Species.

Learning to See in 3-D: A Neurobiologist Rewires Her Own Brain

What's the Big Idea?

If the scientific consensus had been right, Sue Barry would still be seeing in 2-D. Barry was born with strabismus, a condition in which the eyes couldn't look in the same place at the same time. By the age of two, she’d undergone three surgeries, but the operations succeeded only in making her eyes appear not to be crossed -- they kept on functioning separately. The whole world looked to Barry like a kid's drawing.

As a child, when she saw herself in the mirror, if there was a speck of dirt or a smudge on the surface of the glass, she would try to remove it from her clothes. “I didn’t have a sense of space expanding beyond the mirror,” she explains. Why anyone would call a book Through the Looking Glass was a mystery to her.

She knew that a tree had branches, but she couldn't see the layers of space between the branches. “It was only after I gained 3-D vision that I realized that tree canopies look round and that the outer branches enclose and capture whole vibes of space through which the inner branches permeate,” she explains.

But it wasn’t until college that she realized that her physical sense of herself in the world was dramatically different from other people's. All her life, Barry had used monocular cues to sense depth, shading, and shadow to determine that some things were behind things or some things were rounder than other things. She thought she was seeing normally.

During a lecture on physiology, a professor described the impression of depth and dimension that arises from stereovision. “I remember leaving the classroom and thinking, what is he talking about?”

At the same time, she learned that there was a critical period in early childhood during which stereovision must be developed. According to the traditional understanding of neural functioning, Barry had missed the window during which infants build new neural connections and pick up the skills – turning the eyes in to fixate on an object, or out to see an object in the distance – that allow them to see in three dimensions.

As a professor neurobiology at Mount Holyoke College, Barry herself taught students the conventional wisdom that the human brain is malleable “during a ‘critical period’ in infancy but loses the capacity to rewire in adulthood” -- using her own story to illustrate the point. Then, when she was 48 years old, she saw a developmental optometrist, and began training her eyes to see differently. She spent months practicing visual therapy exercises.

What's the Significance?

Here are several awe-inspiring conclusions to emerge (or to be reinforced) from the auspicious article above:

1) The adaptability/plasticity of the brain does not cease at a particular age or phase during the course of a lifetime -- we can voluntarily, with proper direction, re-instruct our brains to improve and expand their functioning;

2) The article serves to reinforce some of the notions (many through NLP, hypnotherapy, EMDR, RET and the like) of the powerful utilization of the eyes to access very specific parts of the brain and its many functionings;

3) Environmental or voluntary processes can actually change the biochemistry and electromagnetic functioning of the brain -- this gives us the ability to change the way we sense, perceive and think about things. It shows wonderful promise for those persons with sensory impediments, learning disabilities, and ambitions to enhance cognitive and perhaps intuitive acuity;

4) It means that we can consciously and purposefully intercede in the processes of our subconscious minds and effect repairs or restructuring of unhealthy thinking and undesirable habits; and most importantly, that

5) We are not sentenced to the skill sets which our minds offer us -- that we are, in so many words, the masters of our own minds, and that we can develop them if we desire to, and if we are given the proper instruction and tools.

Perhaps genius can be a learned upgrade instead of a selective and often capricious birthright!

Douglas E. Castle for The Braintenance Blog 

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Monday, March 19, 2012

OXYMORONS (Nowthen) - Brain Expanders

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Oxymorons are self-conflicting or self-cancelling combinations of words. They are often humorous, brief, thought-provoking (associatively) and memorable. They also help stimulate our mind's ability to freely associate and visualize with greater speed and clarity. They stimulate imagination and creativity. What's more, they're great fun at parties.

We've all heard these: JUMBO SHRIMP, AUTHENTIC REPLICA, MILITARY INTELLIGENCE, HELPFUL CIVIL SERVANT and THE WAR ON TERRORISM (more obscure, but a bit more through-provoking in terms of semantics and shades of meaning).

With the following list, read each one aloud in your mind, and when you've finished, visualize the conflicting physical images. Then:

1) See how many of them you can easily remember;

2) See how many you can remember in the sequence in which they are presented. Incidentally, this is my collection of the best of the worst of these creatures:

Stretch those neurons....let them reach out and touch one another! Here we go:


Try the above (and we're only in the "A" category!) and work this exercise. You will
find it invigorating. I could have provided you with a far longer list, but my friend Eric always tells me that "less is more." To me, this is a blinding flash of the obvious [ahem].

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Arranging, Ordering And Categorizing Games: NeuroPlasticity and NeuroGrowth

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Any mental exercises which require that you arrange things (in the same positions as they were in before, i.e., memorizing and conforming to a map, floor plan or layout), order things (based upon a rule, i.e., smallest to largest) or categorize things (i.e., based upon rules, parameters or attributes) have the wonderful ability [whether you are a file clerk, a S.W.A.T. team member, or a Braintenance philosopher (i.e., unemployed, lazy or on an academic fellowship) can and will:

1) improve your memory;

2) improve your spacial perception and navigation ability;

3) improve your associative intelligence;

4) improve your neuroplasticity (the flexibility of brain cells to 'substitute in' for each other or to make adaptations to their functionality); and may...

5) possibly contribute to new neuronal growth (i.e., brand new brain cells) and an newly-establish neural channels.

Following is a wonderful game, courtesy of Brain Metrix, which provides an opportunity to do some arranging, enjoy yourself, and foster some mind growth. That is what The Braintenance Blog is all about. When you've finished, please hit the "BACK" button on your browser, come back to this page, and read so interesting facts, observations and conclusions. We'll wait for you.

Arrange Game

This game can be a very nice brain exercise, which focuses on prompting your ability to arrange numbers in the right order in a very short time, this game depends on the level you choose. Start with 4 squares x 4, and see how it goes, then you can make it wider as you improve in this brain exercise. Have fun and good luck!

About the Arrange Game:

The human brain is able to continually adapt and rewire itself, even at an old age, it can grow new neurons. Severe mental decline is usually caused by diseasess, whereas most age-related losses in memory or motor skills simply result from inactivity and a lack of mental exercise and stimulation. In other words, use it or lose it. And this is your chance to use it, in this arrange game. 

Click on the hyperlink below to get started:


Welcome back. We have some fresh-baked chocolate cookies left -- saved 'em for you.

On the subject of neuroplasticity and stimulating new neuron growth, I stumbled upon a very interesting bit of news that might constitute a neurological and psychiatric breakthrough:

"( -- A new paper scheduled for publication in the January issue of Nature Photonics describes the use of spinning microparticles to direct the growth of nerve fiber, a discovery that could allow for directed growth of neuronal networks on a chip and improve methods for treating spinal or brain injuries."

You can access the published article, which is a bit technical, by clicking on 

Thank you for sharing a few mind-minutes with me.

Douglas E. Castle On Your Mind

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Shadow Leaders - Alternative Governments

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Shadow Leaders (puppeteers) and Alternative Governments (secret controllers) are notions which have now gone beyond the realm of futuristic sci-fi books and movies, 'crackpot' websites, and other forms of either imagination-fueled or paranoia-fueled media and become increasingly prevalent in the headlines and subject matter of articles and posts in highly-respected media and blogs.

Such authors as Dan Brown, Vince Flynn, Robert Ludlum, David Icke, and such mainstream television shows as The Unit, StrikeBack, Burn Notice are pressing the notion of secret societies, black-ops government units, private armies, cabals, conspiracies, privileged families pulling strings, and very small, secretive, amoral groups exerting incredible force (without allegiance to any country or cause) over the population and resources of the entire planet.

The Warren Commission, Area 51, Roswell, Fort Knox, Ruby Ridge, BP's ecological accident, Stealth Weapons, The World Trade Center Tragedy, the financial meltdown of the World Banking System, leaked correspondence from some very large and influential companies -- all of these magnetically, hypnotically pull our minds into at least contemplating the frightening and almost incomprehensible possibility of massive cover-ups, stratospheric power plays, para-governmental contractors in pivotal positions, and an elaborately-woven quilt of lies compounded upon lies.

You cannot help but think about the possibilities. Unthinkable Possibilities....yet we think about them.

Let's examine them together in A New Twitter Group. There is a great deal of fiction and fantasy out there, but what about the part that might actually be true? The best lies are concealed in half-truths, and dangerous truths are strategically debunked by tossing them in with the ravings of 'lunatics,' 'paranoids,' and 'extremists.' Join us.

Details follow, and all inquisitive minds are welcome - once there, you can draw your own conclusions. We don't pass judgment on our members -- we pass information and intelligence on to them for them to evaluate.

Again, join us.

Douglas E Castle

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