Joseph Goldberger was a physician who worked with public health. In 1914--strangely 100 years ago--he was assigned to work on pellagra, a disease which caused weakness and loss of ability to walk, horrific sores, dementia, and ultimately death. Tens of thousands of people died from Pellagra across the southern United States and many more deaths occurred throughout Central and South America.
Through his research, Doctor Goldberger proved that Pellagra was not, as many had assumed, an infectious disease. To prove this fact to his peers and the public at large, he and his colleagues went to unthinkable lengths, going so far as to ingest and inject all forms of secretions and disease cells from patients afflicted with the disease. Even still, others criticized and discounted Doctor Goldberger’s position. Everyone could see that that the condition was spreading. How could it be anything other than an infectious disease?
Doctor Goldberger proposed an alternative theory: Pellagra was a dietary issue. To test this theory, he conducted an experiment. Inmates from a prison were isolated and fed corn, grits, sweet potatoes, and corn bread. After two weeks, the first symptoms were reported. After five months, more than half of the inmates were diagnosed with Pellagra.
Doctor Goldberger and his colleagues also visited an orphanage where many children were dying from the disease. After a period of observation, they had the orphanage change their daily menu to include all food groups in a balanced manner. Even as the sick children started to recover and new cases ceased to appear, no one believed him.
Decades later, pellegra was conclusively determined to be a vitamin deficiency disease connected to a method of processing corn initiated around 1900. The process removed niacin, and as corn was the staple of the Southern diet, pellegra quickly became a wide-spread issue.
There is no doubt in the world that the body itself ultimately heals itself, and no doubt that the brain is the upstream driver for this healing.
There is no doubt in the world that the behavioral health issues faced by so many people are often issues originating in the brain. And yet, those working with people facing these issues seldom even look at the brain rhythms.
A balanced and harmonized brain, where rhythms are proportional and balanced, is optimal for wellbeing and all aspects of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual life. I pray I see the day when the majority of the world can accept and incorporate this notion of wellbeing. In the interim there are those who understand and seek ways and means to balance and harmonize their brain rhythms. Over 70,000 such people from around the world have used Brainwave Optimization® to help themselves do that. It is an honor to work with so many seekers of wellbeing who recognize that the source of wellbeing is the brain.
The original meaning of education was to lead out the expression which is within someone. What a concept.
Historically, we have sought to improve educational outcomes by identifying underachievers, diagnosing their “issues”, and devising treatments that will lead them to a correct way of thinking and learning. Could it be, however, that education enhancement has nothing to do with diagnosing the underachiever? Haven’t a great many people in history been “underachievers” in school? And haven’t many of these “underachievers” found their own way to great success?
Could it be that education enhancement has nothing to do with pharmaceutically stimulating those students diagnosed as Attention Deficit? Haven’t we yet realized that these stimulants differ little from popular street drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine? Does it not seem likely that only with their time-release to distinguish them, such pharmaceutical drugs, when used during teen years, may result in substance abuse in the population using them?
Are we convinced that a curriculum change will actually enhance education? Are we convinced that smaller class rooms will enhance it, that achievement tests will enhance it? Will “Common Core” enhance education in the U.S.? Really?
The fact is that while we don’t know for sure, the data simply doesn’t support it. What we do know is that options are power. We also know that options are distracting.
The process of education 50 years ago had nothing close to the number of possibilities competing for the time and attention of our youth as we now have in 2014. These many options competing for the focus of youth are themselves distracting for education professionals seeking to lead out the expression which is within the students.
It is time we understand that the many options presented to youth in this age require new work for understanding that stability happens through change – through allostasis. Further, this new understanding should lead us to methods that support the brain’s ability to adapt, to change on its own terms, and that such methods are fundamental and needful before any kind of curriculum is considered for an individual student. Brain plasticity and adaptability to support healthy human development are at the core of enhanced education. And now, in our technically advanced world, we can start using technology to support the brain in this process.
I hope you won’t merely believe that this is a possibility, but instead I hope you will challenge my understanding and bring your student for Brainwave Optimization® and then see for yourself. I know and believe the power of our brain is hugely greater than we give it credit for when we support it. Lead out the expression which is within it – and be amazed.
Join Lee Gerdes and Dr. Sung Lee of Brain State Technologies on Wednesday, November 12, at 12:00pm MST for a live Brain Talk webinar on How Brainwave Optimization® can support superior academic performance.
The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) of the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) presents Positive and Negative Valence ideas for research and consideration. This is also a helpful way to consider overall wellbeing.
When one thinks about “valence” in positive and negative senses, it may be helpful to think about the positive and negative sides of overall wellbeing. The positive valence side is made up of positive states of satisfaction, contentment, and relaxation, while the negative valence side is made up of states of suffering, distress, sadness, or anger. To see these exact states of wellbeing and positive or negative valence change in a human being in a short time (1 hour to 3 weeks generally) is amazing, and it’s amazing to see such dramatic shifts happen coincidentally with shifts in brain patterns and rhythms, while life situations remain relatively constant.
I’m convinced that the key to wellbeing as the key to positive valence is in the brain rhythms and not simply situational. I’m convinced that when I realize these brain rhythms are driving my perception of my own wellbeing in the moment, and the situation I find myself in at that moment is only a temporary state, my personal power, confidence, and overall wellbeing are as great as they can be.
As the world studies and better understands what the NIMH is encouraging in their effort to seek RDoC research, I’m also convinced that the world will be a better place; We humans won’t be as apt to react in ways disproportionate to a situation and we will endeavor as individuals and collectively toward a greater sense of wellbeing—a positive valence—driven by a balanced brain.
It is important for us all to respect and honor this brain power.
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