Showing posts from 2014

Looking inside the black box

Cognitive psychology has revolutionised the research domain of the science of human behaviour

since the mid 1950’s.Cognitive psychology deliberately looks at mental processes such as memory, perception, attention, decision making and so on, in direct contrast to its predecessor Behaviourism, a revolution in itself symbolised most strongly by B.F Skinner, and outlined by Lu & Dosher (2007)  here.In an effort to study human behaviour with scientific methods, Skinner’s work focussed exclusively and dogmatically on observable behaviour, relegating the domain of exploring the ‘black box’ of mental processes as unscientific.Skinner and other behaviourists stood firm on a theory and range of methods termed operant or instrumental conditioning which showed that an animal, commonly a pigeon or rat could be trained to do certain tasks using the right positive or negative stimuli ie food rewards or electric shock deterrents.Here, pigeons are conditioned play an impressive game of ping pong,…

Myelin Repair – fixing the top layer of our neural roading system

One of nature’s most common and observable structures is a layered system, from large mountainous strata deposits to layers that form skin to myelination that protects and insulates all human neural connectors (McGrath, 2013). The schematic below stylises the layers of lipid based membranes around a nerve, one of literally millions in our brain.Myelin acts as insulating material around the axon that enables the energy (message) of the action potential (energy pulses) to travel down the axon quickly and efficiently through the brain nerve system, and protecting the nerve from energy loss.The deterioration of this insulating buffer causes many different issues in the human body one of which is multiple sclerosis (MS).The sufferer of MS experiences delayed message transmittal to various parts of their body.For example, deterioration in the part of the brain that controls speech and language will impede the person’s oral communication.As the brain controls messages to the whole body, any …

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

Any partner of a die-hard sports fan may benefit from research into the positive aspects of sports fandom so they can better understand the madness, paraphernalia and emotional rollercoaster that possesses the otherwise balanced men in their home.

Soccer is THE game in our family. The kids play, the men play, the women play, everyone watches and everyone attends local Phoenix games as part of the ‘Yellow Fever’ supporters fan base.While I am mostly indifferent to this craze in my immediate and extended family, it comes as quite a surprise to consider the therapeutic aspects and positive benefits to my husband’s social wellbeing of being part of an active fan crew.According to Wann (2006), simply identifying with a specific team can give a boost to his emotional wellbeing as long as they are winning or doing well.Hubby wears the gear, and feels physically and emotionally buoyant after a win, and the payoff of a positive mood can last for days. Losses for big or important games can indee…

Better Than Therapy

My father died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma at 49.Although the initial prognosis was positive, treatments of the day, 15 years ago, were unsuccessful.Unfortunately, tumours in his bowel grew while he was being treated, and it got to the point where there were no more options.Cancer treatment has often been a balance between killing the tumour without quite killing the person.So it’s with a very real human understanding that I, and many of us approach the ideas about cancer and treatment therapies, and the possibilities of targeting defective tissue and protecting healthy tissue.

Understanding the biological basis of cancerous ‘events’ as Dave Ackerley, gene therapy researcher at Victoria University refers to them, the more we can target defective cells that grow into tumours.These cells don’t behave as healthy cells do; they over-replicate, they grow, they create tumours that prevent the body from functioning as it is supposed to such as tumours that restrict the bowel. But the more we kno…