A Good Read – The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog

Kid with book

Dr. Bruce Perry, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Fellow of the Child Trauma Academy and Maia Szalavitz, an award-winning health and science journalist are the authors of this pivotal work about trauma and the developing brain. The book is collection of stories of some of many the children and families Dr. Perry has worked with during the span of his career as a child psychiatrist and neuroscientist. Why we love this book: 1. Each chapter is a distinct case history and is written in an engaging narrative format. 2. The stories explore many crucial concepts related to neurodevelopment including the stress response system (freeze, fight, or flight), associations and attachment. 3. With each case study, Dr. Perry breaks down complex concepts into small, understandable pieces making this book a great learning and teaching tool. Why You Should Read This Book: Statistics clearly illustrate if you work with children you will likely encounter more than a few that have been exposed to trauma, violence, chaos and neglect. The Boy That Was Raised as a Dog illustrates how the different types of trauma effect emotions, behavior and a child’s ability to learn, and create and maintain relationships. Throughout the text Dr. Perry offers clear … Continue reading

Two Faces?

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We have found that the use of illusions are often helpful to illustrate various complex ideas about how the brain functions. Look at the picture.  What happens? This is a picture of half of a human face.  Your brain quickly reacts to this incomplete pattern by turning the face sideways – which, to it, makes more sense.  To continue looking at the half face photo would mean the brain is not allowed to do its work of completing the pattern.  Sometimes the brain is so anxious to make sense of the world around it, it will add or subtract information in order to satisfy this desire to predict thereby – better ensuring its continued existence.  Because our brain’s primary directive is to keep us alive, many of its functions underscore this drive.  In order to stay alive, it is helpful to be able to anticipate what is going to happen next.  Our brains are constantly and continuously trying to predict what will happen, next words, next actions, in an attempt to be prepared in a response.  A extension of this is the need to complete patterns.       

The Brain and Sleep

  • When the brain is asleep the brain is not resting. (Medina)
  • Sleep is one of the most important ways we integrate memory and emotion.  Dreams occur when the sophisticated area of our brain is uninhibited enough to allow the lower areas of the brain to run wild with imagination and feelings. (Siegel)
  • Dreams are a mixture of memories in search of resolution.  They are leftover elements of the day’s events, sensory information taken in while we’re asleep, and simple random images generated by our brain during the rapid-eye-movement (REM) stages of sleep.  (Siegel)
  • Before memories can be fully integrated they must go through a process called “consolidation,” which seems to depend on the REM phase of sleep. (Siegel)
  • For people who have experienced trauma, REM sleep is often interrupted. This may be partly responsible for their memories remaining unprocessed. (Siegel)
  • These unprocessed memories may cause sensations such as flashbacks, nightmares and a sense that the trauma is ongoing rather than in the past. (Siegel)

Taken from Brain Rules by John Medina & Mindsight by Daniel Siegel

Eric Whitacre – Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 2.0, 'Sleep'

Really? Only 10% of your brain?

It is unfortunate that people still claim that we only use 10% of our brain.  However, it is likely that the claim will persist as the 2014 movie LUCY has Morgan Freeman reinforcing the claim.  While it may be true that some people only reach a small fraction of their potential, it only confuses the understanding of the brain to claim we only use 10%.  This entertaining video (4min) does a nice job of challenging the claim.

Do I Only Use 10% of My Brain?

The Divided Brain 2.0

Misinformation regarding the brain is in no short supply.  The most common misinformation is likely regarding the hemispheres of the brain.  This stems from the popularity of the topic in the 70’s and 80’s driven by the first split brain operations.  In this RSA animation, Iain McGilchrist revisits the divided brain with newer insight debunking the most commonly heard myths.  However, what he brings to the table is a new understanding that may prove more interesting than what is most frequently presented.

RSA Animate – The Divided Brain

Beware Neuro-bunk

As new brain research is published, the media and many marketers are quick to “run with the data” and often far exceed the true meaning of the research.  In this 2012 TED talk, neuroscientist Molly Crockett explains the limits of interpreting neuroscientific data, and why we should all be aware of them.

Molly Crockett: Beware neuro-bunk

 

 

Six Core Strengths for Healthy Child Development

Six Core Strengths for Healthy Child Development: An Overview

This brief overview provides an introduction to the Six Core Strengths program developed by Dr. Bruce Perry and The Child Trauma Academy.