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SUBJ: Conscious mind #2 from consciousness investigator Roc

Here’s some holiday cheer in my Consciousness Newsletter for December:
Good news! From The Economist book review “Progress: Ten Reasons to look forward to the Future”.  Only 5% realize poverty in the US has fallen 50% in the past 20 years. Only 5% in Britain think the world is improving. Trump and Brexit voters believe the world is getting much worse over the past 50 years.  But 150 years ago Swedes were poorer than sub-Saharan Africans are today.  In 1820, 94% of the world lived on less than $2/day.  Now it is less than 10%  68% have modern sanitation, up from 24% in 1980.  Average IQ scores have risen from 100 to 118 since WWII.  In 1987 only 48% in the US approved of interracial dating; now 95% of 18 to 29 year olds do.  The homicide rate in hunter-gather societies is 500 times what it is in Europe today. Wars are smaller and less frequent than they were 20 years ago. The average European is 10 times more likely to die from falling down stairs than from a terrorist.

Science 28 Oct pg 430
Physical exercise or exploration of a novel environment greatly influences the production, maturation, and connectivity of adult-born neurons.

Sci Am Mind Jan 2017
We have 86 billion neurons connected by 100 trillion synapses.

Pursuing happiness by looking inward or acquiring wealth has not helped most Americans.  Fostering intimate bonds and close community ties makes people happier.

Exercise is the best cure for depression; Most effective, least expensive, and safest! High intensity exercise 45 to 60 minutes 3 to 5 times a week lessened depression 47%, while low intensity lessened it 30% after 3 months.  If you can talk on the phone, you should work out harder.  Habitual exercise rewires the brain and immune system to cope with physical and mental stress.  But it is hard for patients to think of exercise as a form of treatment.

Going to bed soon after drilling foreign vocabulary helps consolidate what you have learned.  Nightmares are associated with suicide, and can be reduced by imagery rehearsal therapy.  Women prefer the scent of men who eat diets rich in carotenoids and garlic!  The best way to treat PTSD is Ecstasy (MDMA).  The root of 20-30% of addictions is undiagnosed ADHD. Addreral and Ritalin are addictive, and newer long-acting versions are safe and effective.

Moral character is key in predicting job performance and leadership potential. That includes honesty-humility, conscientiousness, and guilt proneness.  For most people, these increase dramatically from age 20 to 60.

An encouraging text message from the boss or gift coupons boosted productivity more than a cash bonus - personal connection is more important than money.

FOR KIDS:
MAKE KIDS HAPPY: The more parents deliberate on how best to raise children, the less happy and healthy their kids become.  Unstructured play is much better for their cognitive and social development and imagination. Cultivate a rich and loving environment where children are free to become what they wish.

MAKE THEM SMART: Spatial ability in children plays a major part in creativity and technical innovation.  Accelerating fast learners by skipping grades is beneficial, with kids 60% more likely to advance to PhDs and patents. IQ 120 is considered gifted.  Practice is important, but our society encourages this in athletics rather than intellectual skills.

MAKE THEM HEALTHY: Growing up in poverty can leave a mark on the brain. By age 3 those kids have a thinner cortex.  14.5 million kids in US live below the poverty line.  77% of well-off kids complete college by 24, vs. 9% of those in poverty. That degree doubles average hourly pay.

Happy holidays. Remember fostering intimate bonds and close community ties makes people happier, not the stuff they have.

- Roc, Nutrition Investigator
*To be added or removed from the nutrition research Email List . *To review the disclaimer*To ask Roc a question. http://chemistry.beloit.edu/Ordman/
Is there anything more exciting in life than seeking answers? Isaac Asimov

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