Why Do We Yawn?

People yawn when they are getting tired typically, but why?

The restorative process of sleep lowers the brain entropy by lowering the biological processes and increasing airflow. As the day pushes on, you literally build pressure. For the same reason you get shorter over the course of the day.  You create more disorder in your brain as the day wears on. The yawn is essentially a deep breath that maximizes the airflow and decreases the brains temperature and pressure.

This is why breathing pure oxygen doesn’t eliminate yawning. It doesn’t address the problem.

People also yawn when they are bored. Can we explain this?

If we go back to William Bates’ book on eyesight, boredom actually creates mental strain. And we know that mental strain changes your vision. And we know that vision changes are just a symptom of brain entropy. And your yawn is just a way to counteract all that.

If that’s true, why are yawns contagious? Or are they?

It’s safe to say that they are contagious. But the jury is still out as to why. I was first going to say that it’s a reflex after seeing someone else yawn, but blind people do it too-when they hear someone yawn.

So just like when you see someone drinking, you consciously or subconsciously do a self check to see if you’re thirsty. When you see [or hear] someone yawn, you do a self check regarding the entropy or temperature of your brain. If it’s too hot or chaotic, you yawn.

People with Autism are less likely to yawn contagiously. 

Because that’s what makes them Autistic in the first place. They operate with higher levels of brain entropy. It’s the same reason they they die so much sooner. They are so far from their equilibrium point, that they experience time in a completely different manner. Well not completely,  just shorter. It’s also why they are so much more likely to drown. 

So no, they are probably not going to yawn contagiously. Because they have built an identity around the pressure that the yawn equalizes.

Sources: 

  1. https://kids.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/frym.2017.00052
  2. https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/yawn.html
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/why-do-we-yawn#see-a-doctor
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3120687
  5. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201403/why-is-yawning-so-contagious
  6. https://www.factretriever.com/autism-facts

 

Concussions Resolve Themselves

Because they are mini-strokes. 

So how in the world are we going to try to relate these two events? It’s simple, if you accept some of my other proofs. But if you don’t, I would just stop reading right here. Here are the prerequisites to understanding this correlation:

What are the symptoms of a mini-stroke?

  • Weakness or numbness in your arms and/or legs, usually on one side of the body
  • Dysphasia (difficulty speaking)
  • Dizziness
  • Vision changes
  • Tingling (paresthesias)
  • Abnormal taste and/or smells
  • Confusion
  • Loss of balance
  • Altered consciousness and/or passing out

What are the symptoms of a concussion?

  • Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
  • Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
  • Dizziness or “seeing stars”
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Delayed response to questions
  • Appearing dazed
  • Fatigue

What are the causes of a mini-stroke?

  • Blood pressure readings higher than 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg)
  • Cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Cardiovascular disease, including heart failure, heart defects, heart infection or abnormal heart rhythm
  • Personal or family history of stroke, heart attack or transient ischemic attack.

Other factors associated with a higher risk of stroke include:

  • Age —People age 55 or older have a higher risk of stroke than do younger people.
  • Race — African-Americans have a higher risk of stroke than do people of other races.
  • Sex — Men have a higher risk of stroke than women. Women are usually older when they have strokes, and they’re more likely to die of strokes than are men.
  • Hormones — use of birth control pills or hormone therapies that include estrogen, as well as increased estrogen levels from pregnancy and childbirth.

We’ve studied almost all of these different causes and can tie them all back to the brain. [The hormones and sleep apnea posts are coming soon.]

Concussion Causes: Impacts to the head

The only symptom that really needs explanation is nausea, and that is a factor of strokes that just seems to not be included in most lists. But then I found this:

A stroke that takes place in the cerebellum can cause coordination and balance problems, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. 

So if you can wrap your head around the prerequisites, I can neatly tie these together. A stroke literally happens when the pressure of your brain gets to high. What happens to the pressure inside a closed sphere if you impact it with something at high speed? Pressure goes up dramatically. The greater the force of the impact, the higher the pressure gets.

So what’s the major take away here? Mini-strokes resolve themselves and do not require any further medical attention. They do not cause any long-term damage. Meaning that concussive blows should resolve themselves within twenty-four hours, and if there are no symptoms, the brain is fine. 

Sources:

  1. https://www.utdallas.edu/research/FAS/
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stroke/symptoms-causes/syc-20350113
  3. https://www.utdallas.edu/research/FAS/
  4. https://www.webmd.com/stroke/news/20100415/can-you-recognize-symptoms-of-minor-stroke

Forgetting Amnesia

According to Wikipedia, there are two types anterograde and retrograde amnesia, and many different sub types. Basically you either can’t make new memories, or you can’t remember a particular event or series of events.

Based on our theoretical brain model, every human is capable of making new memories at any time, so what is stopping some people?

For starters, what are the main causes of memory loss?

  1. Sleep Apnea
  2. Stroke
  3. Medications
  4. Nutritional Deficiency
  5. Stress, Anxiety, Depression

Less Common Causes

  1. Head Trauma
  2. Infection
  3. Tumors
  4. Substance abuse

Can we neatly tie all of these together? Yes. Each of these is either a cause or a symptom of brain entropy. Mental strain.  If that sounds ridiculous to you, you have a lot of reading to do. I haven’t even written my posts about strokes and sleep apnea, but I’ll link them back when I finish them. 

So if you are out of your ground state, your memory is worse. Not only your recall of past events but also your process of making new memories.

Think about it, in retrograde amnesia, the subject was in a very stressful situation for a period of time, but now their brain works fine. In anterograde amnesia, the same mental stress is currently acting on the subject preventing them from accumulating new memories. So the only question is: is the stress gone yet? 

To those suffering memory loss, what did you have for breakfast yesterday? What did you do in the past five minutes? Hone in on the gaps in your memory and see if you can identify the stresses that are causing them at any given point. 

  1. https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/5-surprising-causes-memory-loss/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amnesia

 

Design Your Own Placebo

That pill that does nothing…does something. It’s clearly proof of mind over matter. The million dollar question is why. 

We know that the mind controls the body. So if the introduction of this pill into your system solves your problem, what does that say about the nature of your problem?

I’d say that it was that these problems were our own doing from the start. There was some logical loop frying our system that changed the output of our brain. By putting this pill into the system, and convincing us that it’s going to help us, our brains sidestep the loop due to no help of the pill. We just needed a reason to doubt the logic in the first place.

Placebos seem to be most effective on pain, nausea, chronic fatigue, and depression. What does that say about the nature of those diseases? We need a pill to tell us that these diseases are all in our heads. 

Sham surgeries are also apparently a thing. Doctors will cut you open, do nothing, and stitch you back up. The craziest part of all, they seem to work as well as traditional procedures in some areas. You read that right. Even fake surgeries seem to work. How can that possibly be?

Something to try at home: If the placebo effect is all in your mind anyways, can you convince yourself that you just took a pill to help your ailment? It sounds ridiculous, but if the nature of the problem is all in your mind, design your own Trojan Horse to retake your throne. 

Sources:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sham_surgery
  2. https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34572482
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placebo
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mental-health/the-power-of-the-placebo-effect
  5. http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2016/just-sugar-pill-placebo-effect-real/
  6. https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/7/7/15792188/placebo-effect-explained
  7. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/placebo-effect-depression-treatment

Rethinking IQs

Your IQ doesn’t matter. Not in the way you’re thinking, at least. They are important to help determine the state of the mind, at least, but they shouldn’t determine who your friends are or what you think of yourself. 

IQs change over time. No one is going to argue with this statement. The question is why, and is it reversible?

What should your IQ mean to you?

It should show you how well your brain in optimized for your life, at the current moment. There are much easier ways to test this without wasting thirty minutes on a computer, but do what you need to do.

Your IQ is about as important as your blood pressure. If it’s low, you’re doing something wrong. But it’s only a snapshot of your state of mind at this moment.

You have the capability of being a genius. You probably don’t use your mind right. You can change that though. You decide how your mind operates.

So how can you optimize your brain?

  1. Learn how to see without glasses.
  2. Remove your filters.
  3. Question your fears.
  4. Debug your logic daily.

How do you know if it’s working?

Apart from eyesight, memory is the easiest way to test. Think about what you ate for breakfast yesterday. When I first started this, I’d really struggle. Now I can tell you exactly what I ate, who was there, what they were wearing, and what was on TV. It’s all about the details.

Test your memory a couple times per day. Try to hone in on what changed in between the tests. Why did I remember so much more clearly right before bed than I did at after lunch? We’re you stressed about something? Could it have been something you ate? Was your blood sugar high or low? Did you just get done working out?

Find your sweet spot and repeat the loop until you’re satisfied with the results. You deserve a brain that’s fully optimized for your life. Just be sure to send me a thank you note with some of your new free time. 

 

 

Lie Detectors and Graphology: Incomplete Sciences

What are lie detector tests? I know that they have a history of being wrong or at very least inaccurate, but do they tell us anything useful?

There are a bunch of different kinds of tests, but I don’t think they are going to find the golden solution. Namely for this reason: lying adds stress to the brain, but you can’t zero in on that stress unless you know all the other stresses effecting the subjects mind at that time. Without an absolute zero, there’s almost no point in the test at all.

We can measure stress, and identify the point in the test when the subject was stressed. We can look at the question that prompted the stress. But we don’t know why that question caused the stress. For instance “Did you murder this person?” can be a stressful question even if you didn’t murder the person. If you over-analyze like me, you may freak out because you know that your answer to this question may determine your guilt or innocence. You stress over not stressing, even if you did nothing wrong. Their equipment says you’re freaking out, and it’s right, but it cannot tell them why.

Graphology is a similar science. If you’re not familiar, it’s the study of handwriting as it relates to someone’s personality. Here’s how it ties in to my theories about the human concept of time:

The more stressed your mind and body, the slower your perception of time. The more time in each pen stroke. The smoother the writing, the better the concept of time. Here’s a glimpse of what I’m talking about.

1200px-Writing_by_a_Parkinson's_disease_patient

They say that shaky handwriting such as this could be an indicator of Alzheimer’s, but they just don’t know why. Imagine having ten separate thoughts in the time that it takes to write the letter “C”. That is absolutely terrifying.

So what should our takeaway from graphology be? A change in handwriting could and probably does signify a change in the state of mind of the subject.

If you’re curious, take note [horrific pun] on your own handwriting and as it changes throughout the day and day-to-day. Think about your current mood and stresses, and see if that has any effects on your writing. Spoiler alert: it does. 

 

 

Huntington’s is not genetic

Even doctors admit that it’s hard to distinguish between Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. Here’s an article saying that treatment for one of these diseases may work for the other two. 

Some researchers and physicians consider the differentiation between cortical and sub-cortical dementia important for patient diagnosis, but others remain skeptical that a significant difference exists. The major criticism of the studies that show variation between cortical and sub-cortical dementias is that there is pathological overlap between the sample groups that are used to model the two categories. These studies often assume that Alzheimer’s patients mostly have cortical dementia and HD or Parkinson’s patients preferentially exhibit subcortical dementia. Necropsies have shown, however, that the brains of both Alzheimer’s and HD patients exhibit a certain degree of both categories of dementia.

If in fact both cortical and subcortical dementia occur in Alzheimer’s, HD, and Parkinson’s patients, then these studies may be problematic. As a result, physicians are still trying to learn more about the differences between the pathologies of the diseases in hopes of finding a more reliable way of differentiating dementias. The ability to differentiate dementias may lead researchers and physicians to better diagnose and treat neurodegenerative diseases. [Source]

We’re going to go through the symptoms, but if you’ve been reading, you know how this goes.

So first, here are the symptoms:

Cognitive: amnesia, delusion, lack of concentration, memory loss, mental confusion, slowness in activity, or difficulty thinking and understanding

Muscular: abnormality walking, increased muscle activity, involuntary movements, problems with coordination, loss of muscle, or muscle spasms

Behavioral: compulsive behavior, fidgeting, irritability, or lack of restraint

Psychological: delirium, depression, hallucination, or paranoia

Mood: anxiety, apathy, or mood swings

Also common: tremor, weight loss, or impaired voice

Those look familiar. Are there any symptoms that aren’t covered between Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and schizophrenia? 

“For most diseases, symptoms will vary from person to person. People with the same disease may not have all the symptoms listed.” Wait…what? I thought the symptoms were the only things separating this from the other diseases?

And is it really genetic? It’s complicated, but the consensus is yes. Even though 10% of cases are “due to a new mutation.” But what about that field of epigenetics that basically says that your genes can change over time? Here’s the unabridged version.

HD is typically inherited from a person’s parents, although up to 10% of cases are due to a new mutation. The disease is caused by an autosomal dominant mutation in either of an individual’s two copies of a gene called Huntingtin. This means a child of an affected person typically has a 50% chance of inheriting the disease. The Huntingtin gene provides the genetic information for a protein that is also called “huntingtin”. Expansion of CAG (cytosine-adenine-guanine) triplet repeats in the gene coding for the Huntingtin protein results in an abnormal protein, which gradually damages cells in the brain, through mechanisms that are not fully understood. Diagnosis is by genetic testing, which can be carried out at any time, regardless of whether or not symptoms are present. This fact raises several ethical debates: the age at which an individual is considered mature enough to choose testing; whether parents have the right to have their children tested; and managing confidentiality and disclosure of test results.

This segment is made up of a series of three DNA building blocks (cytosine, adenine, and guanine) that appear multiple times in a row. Normally, the CAG segment is repeated 10 to 35 times within the gene. In people with Huntington disease, the CAG segment is repeated 36 to more than 120 times. People with 36 to 39 CAG repeats may or may not develop the signs and symptoms of Huntington disease, while people with 40 or more repeats almost always develop the disorder.

So if you have 27-39 repeats of this code you may or may not get the disease. But if you have 40 or more repeats, you almost always get the disorder. Wait…almost always? So you’re saying even the hard science isn’t foolproof.

The number of CAG repeats in an HD gene can be unstable when the gene is passed on to the next generation. That means the number of CAG repeats can increase or decrease when the gene is passed from parent to child. Wait, it varies from generation to generation? In the sole aspect that we’re using to call it genetic?

Older fathers are more likely to pass along the extended copy of this gene. We’ve talked about aging parents several times before. We know that the age of mothers closely correlates to Down Syndrome, while the age of fathers closely correlates to Dwarfism.

I have a question for you. How often do we test people with dementia for this CAG repeat? I’m guessing there is not much reason to test for Huntington’s when there is no family history. 

So in summary, here’s why I don’t think Huntington’s disease is genetic:

  • 10% of cases are “random” mutations
  • Even the hard science is not absolute
  • It gets more probable with aging dad’s
  • Epigenetics. Our genes change over time.

So if it is not genetic, then it is practically indistinguishable from Alzheimers and Parkinson’s.

Did science get it wrong? Maybe so. I think that a bunch of guys spent their lives studying batches of symptoms, it was the least we could do to name these batches of symptoms after them. All the other fields of science do it. Here’s the problem, the more classifications did not lead to more knowledge in this case. Because the symptoms are indistinguishable.

Sources:

  1. https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/6677/huntington-disease
  2. https://en.hdbuzz.net/027
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3140172/
  4. https://www.alz.org/dementia/huntingtons-disease-symptoms.asp
  5. http://hdsa.org/what-is-hd/
  6. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/huntingtons-disease/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20356122