Source: RODNAE/Pexels Our standard schools operate on the assumption that all children of a given age should learn the same lessons, in the same ways, at the same time. That assumption is blatantly false, and it leads to endless agony. Schools in recent decades have pushed, ever harder, to squeeze all students, regardless of the shapes of their interests and personalities, through the same square holes. It doesn’t work. One result is a growing tendency to label children who can’t be squeezed through as disordered. Instead of admitting that the school system is disordered, an abnormal environment for children’s learning, unable to accommodate normal human variation, the school bureaucracy chooses to label the children as disordered, that is, as having some kind of biologically based abnormality, such as ADHD or a specific learning disorder (e.g., dyslexia , dysgraphia , or dyscalculia ). The psychiatric community obliges by providing official diagnostic criteria and … [Read more...] about Forced Schooling, Anxiety, and ‘Learning Disorders’
Medically accurate illustration of the cerebellum (Latin for "little brain") in orange. Cerebellar means "related to the cerebellum." Source: SciePro/Shutterstock Earlier this year, researchers in Finland published a study ( Kekkonen et al., 2021 ) showing that heavy ("binge") drinking from adolescence to young adulthood was associated with an altered cerebellum . Now, another recently published study about alcohol and the brain puts the cerebellum front and center. The latest study ( Jin, Cao, Yang, et al., 2021) into how the brain metabolizes alcohol suggests that astrocytic ALDH2 enzymes in the cerebellum may play a previously unrecognized role in drunkenness (i.e., ethanol intoxication). These peer-reviewed findings were published on March 22 in the open-access journal Nature Metabolism . "We found ALDH2 was expressed in cells known as astrocytes in the cerebellum, a brain region that controls balance and motor coordination," co-author Qi Cao of the … [Read more...] about How Does Alcohol Make Someone Drunk?
In late July, right in the middle of the pandemic, the Cigna Resilience Index was used to conduct one of the largest assessments of resilience ever done in the U.S. The survey reached 5,000 parents, 5,000 of their children, 1,500 young adults, and 5,000 workers. Sadly, just over 60% of those surveyed reported few of the personal qualities and social supports we know make people resilient during a crisis. The results suggest that Americans of all ages are at risk of mental and physical health problems, though that risk changes by age and employment status. For example, while 45% of children report high resilience, just 22% of 18- to 23-year-olds appear to have the strengths required to cope during these difficult times. That number is even worse for Black teens, with just 16% reporting high resilience scores. Among workers, only one-third of those employed during the pandemic described themselves as resilient, while only 1 in 6 employees who were laid off said they had the … [Read more...] about 60% of Americans Lack the Resilience to Cope With COVID-19
The process might be slow or fast, causing chronic or acute pain, but people can die of a broken heart. Here are two short stories of broken hearts, along with insights that might help you support someone you know who is suffering from the loss of a significant relationship. First of all, I want to share important physiological background on a broken heart from Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, author of a book that bears her name and her wisdom about hearts. Next, I want to answer a natural question from you: Why this blog post now? The answer is within story #1. Dr. Steinbaum says, “The most dramatic example of the link between stress and the body is a condition called Takotsubo’s cardiomyopathy, or broken heart syndrome. Broken heart syndrome is really the ultimate experession of stress in the body.” Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum’s Heart Book goes on to explain that it can be fatal, and that women older than 55 have an increased risk. Both women in the following stories fell into the … [Read more...] about Even Strong Hearts Can Break
I became a psychology professor because I’ve been interested in communication ever since I was born. I was born with Moebius syndrome , a disability characterized by facial paralysis and the inability to move my eyes from side to side. At an early age, I understood that the way I communicated was unusual, that people were confused by my lack of facial expression. I became fascinated with communication: facial expression, body language , and words. I became more expressive in other channels, something I now call alternative expression. Little Kathleen with a bunny birthday cake Source: Kathleen Bogart My interest in communication led me to study psychology as a college student. I set out to do my very first college term paper on Moebius syndrome. I showed up at the library expecting to find pages and pages of answers, but I discovered that there were only a handful of psych papers published on it. This was bad news for two reasons: First, psychologists weren’t … [Read more...] about The Psychology of Ableism and Communication