Cheese and Other Foods that Make Diabetes Worse

On this week’s episode of Food for Life TV, Dr. Barnard explains that fatty foods, such as burgers, fried chicken, cheese, and even vegetable fats—like olive oil and peanut butter—can stop insulin from helping glucose enter muscle cells and cause type 2 diabetes. But building your meal with fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans will keep your diet low in fat and actually clean the fat from your body, allowing insulin to help glucose enter your muscle cells and reverse or prevent diabetes.

Find more information and guides to prevent diabetes on the Cultural Health Solutions website and their blog.

Posted in Featured, HealthComments (12)

Myth: We use only 10% of our Brain

The Evidence:

  • The evolution of the human brain was only possible because it provided survival advantages and they must have been great since it consumes over 20% of the oxygen we breath while it only weighs 1,5% – 3% of our body weight. If we were to use only 10% of our brain than it would be extremely wasteful and such a disadvantage would be something selected against.
  • Brain damage to far less than 90% of our brain would render us either physically dead, brain dead, or severely impaired. This shouldn’t be if we only use 10% of our brain.
  • Strokes and head traumas that affect much less than 90% of the brain leaves people with serious deficits in functioning.
  • Brain scans show that we use most of our brain even while performing simple tasks.
  • Brain areas that are unused due to injuries or disease either degenerate or are taken over by neighboring brain areas.

Bottom Line: If we have more brain mass, it will be used; if it is not used, it will be discarded; and if we don’t have more of it, natural selection might select for it.

Myth Origin: William James, an American psychologist from the 19th and 20th century, said the average person only achieves a fraction (10%) of their intellectual potential. Misinterpretations have transformed potential into actual physical brain usage.

Lilienfeld, S. O., Lynn, S. J., Ruscio, J., and Beyerstein, B. L. (2009). 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Posted in PsychologyComments (30)

TED Talks – Formula for Changing Math Education by Arthur Benjamin

We should teach more statistics & probability and earlier while we should teach less calculus and later.

Arthur Benjamin is a mathematician and in his pithy TED Talk, Formula for Changing Math Education (2009), he calls for this re-emphasis of math education. He argues that we as a society would greatly benefit from a better understanding of statistics and probabilities which would help us make better decisions about risks, rewards, randomness, and understanding and evaluating data in our everyday lives.

Take for example, few of us would use calculus on a daily bases but most of us are faced with making decisions about car insurance plans, student loans, mortgage rates, credit card interest rates, payment plan options, interpreting polls, planning our income investments and expenses, making decisions about bank loans and interest rates, stock market investments, interpreting results from scientific studies, analyzing trends, predicting the future, the importance of customer service at online casinos and gambling, etc. This is just a short list I came up in the three minutes I watched Arthur’s presentation and I think it is fairly obvious that some of these are be very serious decisions that can have long lasting effects on our lives. They can mean the difference between unmanageable dept and a financially healthy lifestyle. And since education is supposed to prepare us for making the best possible decisions about our own lives, I think it only makes sense to include more of such important foundations for sound reasoning such as those that come with understanding statistics and probabilities.

I don’t know about the education you had but mine has not covered statistics or probabilities in any applicable way to the everyday life, nor do I know of any that does (please let me know if you do). The closest it got was in college and that was more geared towards understanding and conducting research, which isn’t necessarily everyday stuff. I think statistics and probabilities are one of the big missing ingredients of both primary and secondary education systems and should be a required educational component. And teaching these shouldn’t be too difficult since the very same reasons that make it so relevant can also make it easy and fun to teach to children.

Read the full story

Posted in ScienceComments (25)

Orangutan & Dog, Friendship of a Different Sort

The inner emotional life of animals bundled into an adorable and unusual friendship between an orangutan and a hound dog. Very uplifting video!

This reminded me of the book Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals by Jonathan Balcombe that I came across last week and added to my reading list.

Posted in EntertainmentComments (10)

The Strengthspotting Scale

The Strengthspotting Scale measures your ability, frequency, and motivation to identify other people’s strengths, helping others with the application of their strengths, and the emotional satisfaction of doing so. There are twenty questions, four for each of the five categories, that have to be rated on a scale from 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 7 (Strongly Agree).

  • ability – to identify strengths in others
  • emotional – satisfaction of identifying strengths in others
  • frequency – of identifying strengths in others
  • motivation – to identify strengths in others
  • application – helping others to utilize their strengths

You can get a hold of The Strengthspotting Scale in The Strengths Book: Be Confident, Be Successful, and Enjoy Better Relationships by Realising the Best of You, where it is included as part of the book to be released on April 28th, 2010. For research purposes The Strengthspotting Scale is freely available (upon request, no link yet) but understandably not for commercial purposes since it is copyrighted.

The only official link for The Strengths Book is on the CAPPEU site (if I find a link to the PDF I’ll post it).


Linley, A., Willars, J., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2010). The strengthspotting scale. In The strengths book: Be confident, be successful, and enjoy better relationships by realising the best of you. Coventry, UK: CAPP Press.

Posted in PsychologyComments (6)

TED Talks – Sam Harris on How Science can Answer Moral Questions

Sam Harris talks about the relationship between science, human values and how the seperation between the two is an illusion. There are truths to be known about how human communities flourish and how  morality relates to these truths. Moral values are also a certain kind of fact that talk about the well-being of conscious creatures. In other words Sam Harris is saying that science is not only descriptive (by helping us get what we value) but can also be prescriptive (by telling us what we should value).

httpv:// Read the full story

Posted in Philosophy, ScienceComments (52)

TEDMED – Your health depends on where you live – by Bill Davenhall

Our health depends in part on environmental impacts. As Bill Davenhall shared at TEDMED, there are trends of specific health risks associated with specific locations. We need to know more about where we live and what impact it may have on our health.

Read the full story

Posted in HealthComments (6)

TEDMED – Anthony Atala on Growing New Organs

Mind-blowing advances in bio-engineering and medicine presented by Anthony Atala at TEDMED. Repairing, reconstructing, and growing functioning organs with your own cell. The future of solving organ damage and organ donor shortages is arriving.

Read the full story

Posted in Featured, ScienceComments (43)

TEDMED – where medicine & healthcare intersect

TEDMED focuses on the intersection of medicine and healthcare. It was created by Marc Hodosh (President) in partnership with TED founder Richard Saul Wurman. “TEDMED celebrates conversations that demonstrate the intersection and connections between all things medical and healthcare related: from personal health to public health, devices to design and Hollywood to the hospital.”

I’m very excited about a TED conference solely dedicated to health, medicine, and similar topics.

TEDMED on the web:

Posted in Health, ScienceComments (9)

Stuff White People Like by Christian Lander

Stuff White People Like by Christian Lander is a caricature of how one dimensional white people really are can be. The book is a bundled collection of 150 “stuff” white people like. It is filled with humor, sarcasm, irony, and the “occasional” truthful sore points (for White people at least). Read the full story

Posted in EntertainmentComments (64)

10 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude & Become Happier

Gratitude is one of the most powerful ways to improve your well-being and among other things, increasing your happiness. Within positive psychology inquiries, gratitude interventions have proven to be among the most effective, as world expert on gratitude Robert A. Emmons and other researchers have found. Among the wide ranging benefits, researchers have found that “gratitude is positively related to such critical outcomes as life satisfaction, vitality, happiness, self-esteem, optimism, hope, empathy, and the willingness to provide emotional and tangible support for other people, whereas being ungrateful is related to anxiety, depression, envy, materialism and loneliness.” (p. 186)

“A person with the disposition to feel grateful has established a worldview that says, in effect, that all of life is a gift, gratuitously given. Although we cannot in any direct way be grateful, we can cultivate gratefulness by structuring our lives, our minds, and our words in such a way as to facilitate awareness of gratitude-inducing experiences and labeling them as such.” (p. 187) In other words “gratitude is a way of life.” (p. 186)

(Gratitude is one of the 24 Character Strengths included in the VIA Survey of Character Strengths which is a scientifically validated measurement designed to identify what your top signature strengths are.)

The top 10 evidence-based prescriptions for becoming more grateful: Read the full story

Posted in Featured, PsychologyComments (48)

Robert A. Emmons

Robert A. Emmons, PhD
Professor of Psychology
Department of Psychology (Social-Personality)
University of California, Davis

e-mail: raemmons[at]

RESEARCH INTERESTS: gratitude, positive psychology,

Read the full story

Posted in PsychologyComments (11)

Dean Ornish Discussing the Science of Health

Lifestyle changes, according to Dr. Dean Ornish, can turn on your good genes and help you live longer and better lives. All this without the high costs of new drugs and treatments that will usually cost you a fortune or expose you to countless side effects –
learn more at (Ornish’s segment starts at 4:19)

Read the full story

Posted in HealthComments (6)

Tal Ben-Shahar – Quotes

The average is indicative of a trend, not of a necessity or of a universal truth. Often, it is those outside the norm, the exceptional ones, who point to the truth of what is possible.” (Ben-Shahar, 2007, p. 138)

Ben-Shahar, T. (2007). Happier: Learn the secrets of daily joy and lasting fulfillment. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Posted in PsychologyComments (19)

Charlie Rose Brain Series

Charlie Rose Logo In a series of round table discussions, a panel of brain science experts are exploring the most profound questions and challenges pertaining to understanding the brain, mind, consciousness/awareness. Each month, since October 2009, Charlie Rose will continue the discussion with a new round of experts. Read the full story

Posted in PsychologyComments (10)

Related Sites