From Lee Gerdes
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 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.
We need heroes and heroines, people to look up to--those significantly demonstrating the best life has to offer, who can show us the way through life. I’ve found a new personal hero, and the book about him is entitled Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. She is the author of another book I love entitled Seabiscuit, a story of a race horse whose heart to compete and live life to its fullest was a symbol to millions of people during the depression.
Unbroken is the story of a World War II veteran--Louis Zamperini--who was lost at sea for 47 days and then captured and tortured by the enemy for two years. It is an amazing story of survival, ingenuity, resilience, and forgiveness. I’m humbled to learn of this kind of person, this kind of life force. Though he is no longer with us (he passed to the next life on July 2, 2014 at the age of 97), this is a life that matters and will always matter. This is a life we can seek to emulate in positive ways.
I believe it doesn’t require such dramatic circumstances of incredible hardship for us to help our brain to reset itself and seek to do the right thing for the long term. At least I believe that's the case if the brain is properly balanced. Sometimes, I believe, extreme trauma can have an extremely positive imprint on our lives. Extreme trauma is often that which causes us to seek that which is truly important and leave all of the rest of the stuff of life to fend for itself. I don’t think I could have done that without balancing my brain. And, I don’t think I would have sought to balance my brain unless/until I was forced to seek assistance. And then, as it happened, it was an inside-to-outside experience. Having a brain that would move into a state of deep relaxation and reset itself–wow, I had no concept how truly incredible that opportunity was and will continue to be for me.
Louis Zamperini is a hero beyond imagination. And, given the capacity for each of us to function with a balanced brain, to prioritize what is important, we become, I believe, small heroes and heroines whose life matters greatly, much beyond our own time. I salute a balanced brain to lead us all to a life that matters.
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