Take care of what’s between your ears

intersectionsA genius is a talented person who has an exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability.  It’s those who transcend boundaries such as those of the time and space continuum and provide solutions that extend into the future who we recognize as geniuses. However, if we pause to consider the definition we may recognize that there’s genius in all of us as humans are problem solvers and problem solving is genius. 

Einstein and Inspiration

The title and URL of this blog were inspired by a quote attributed to a genius, a German-born theoretical physicist called Albert Einstein.

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ― Albert Einstein

Click to read 35 Inspiring Quotes from Albert Einstein and click the image caption at the bottom of the infographic below to expand it.

Albert Einstein’s Brain

The TV Show Dark Matters ran a show some years ago now called “Stealing Einstein’s Brain,” which suggested that the brain was stolen after Einstein’s death.   That’s not entirely true. — The Strange And Tragic Story of Albert Einstein’s Brain

In June 1999 Sandra Witelson attracted global attention when she published “The exceptional brain of Albert Einstein” in the British medical journal Lancet. Einstein’s brain which was removed and preserved upon his death in 1955 at age 76, was found to be similar to the other brains except for the inferior parietal region. Due to extensive development of this region on both sides of the brain, Einstein’s brain was 15 per cent wider than the other brains studied. According to Witelson, visuospatial cognition, mathematical thought, and imagery of movement are strongly dependent on this region.

Witelson’s Brain Bank

Did you know that a collection of over 100 brains is kept at Witelson’s brain bank at  McMaster University in Canada?  While the other two dozen or so brain banks in the world are composed mostly of brains from people who died of various mental diseases like Huntington’s or Parkinson’s disease, Witelson’s is unique in that most of her brains are from normal people who agreed to donate their brains before they died of diseases such as cancer.

Sandra Witelson on how male and female brains differ

Witelson’s brain bank was initiated as part of a study to find why language capacity is located in the left hemisphere of the majority of people.  Following a decade long study Witelson’s published findings demonstrated the packing density of neurons is 12 percent greater in the female brain than in the male brain in the region where the language capacity is located: the temporal lobe. A similar difference was found in the frontal lobes.

Sandra Witelson has spent much of her career studying the relationship between brain structure and function, and the differences in these between men and women. She sat down with The Wall Street Journal’s Rebecca Blumenstein to discuss how brain differences can affect the skills, behavior, thinking and aspirations of men and women, and how that might relate to their careers. — It’s Partly in Your Head

Despite rumors to the contrary, men and women are from the same planet but there are differences between the brains of men and women. –How Male and Female Brains Differ  Despite these differences, men and women perform equally at most tasks. So even though men may have bigger brains and women have more cells in some critical areas, neither can point to these facts as a measure of greater intelligence. In fact it’s important to remember that intelligence is the same between the sexes and the complementarity the differences have engendered has contributed to the success of our species.

TBI and PTSD Art Therapy Workshop

Rather than publishing new content, I’ve been slowly cleaning up this site, editing older posts and deleting some that achieved no popularity, while coping with two months of cluster migraines. I’m a moderately gifted person recovering from traumatic brain jury (TBI) and post traumatic shock disorder (PTSD)  symptoms and rest assured that I’m not feeling sorry for myself.  Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms come and go and I’m grateful that my symptoms are not much worse.

Symptoms of concussion may linger for months or years after injuries have healed. In post-concussion syndrome, a person may continue to experience headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and changes in mood, sleep, and memory. Repeated concussions may lead to permanent neurological damage.

People should also be aware of second impact syndrome. Second impact syndrome describes the situation in which an individual sustains a second concussion before the symptoms from the first have resolved. A second brain injury, or cumulative concussions, can be more dangerous than the first one.

At a private by invitation only creativity workshop I had the pleasure of enjoying the company of others recovering from a TBI and PTSD as well as those who all work with people who have suffered a TBI.

When one of the participants produced a series of very beautiful oil pastel depictions of the brain from several angles I found myself captivated by the structure of this marvelous organ we call the brain.  Though I had a vague understanding of the major parts of the brain I wasn’t clear on where the major parts were located, what they are responsible for and what may happen when these locations are injured.

There have always been women geniuses but it’s male geniuses that we read and hear more about, and without doubt history and culture account for that reality. After we laughed out loud at the typical stereotypes such as Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus when another recovering TBI  participant asked some questions, we entered a deep discussion of the differences in female and male brains.

The information imparted through informal conversation during our art therapy workshop was extensive and broadened my understanding of my  TBI recovery and my acceptance of the symptoms that remain.

Although each individual is unique, the sequels resulting from a brain injury often have similarities. Some of the sequels can include difficulty with memory loss, impaired reasoning skills, and tendency toward “one track thinking.” — What is Brain Injury?

Brainstreams.ca online resource hub presents: The Human Brain

Vancouver Film School Digital Design students teamed up with the Brainstreams.ca team in the Spring to put together this one-minute video outlining the key facts and risks associated with brain injury in Canada.

According to a small new study reported in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 20 minutes of could help your brain function better. Researchers found that both speed-wise and accuracy-wise, after just 20 minutes of Hatha yoga exercise that dates back to the 15th century, people did better on brain functioning tests when compared with aerobic exercise.

Saying Farewell

The camaraderie at the workshop led to bonding. I left with a number of new friends, a stack of artwork and much more. I have a deep appreciation of how fortunate I am. Although there are many visual problems that arise from traumatic brain injury – field loss, intractable double vision, and visual/balance disorders are more devastating and impairing than the rest. In comparison my difficulties are minor.

During our informal chatting at the workshop, while drawing, painting, making collages, paper crafting – laughing, singing and hugging – I stopped to take notes from time to time as one of my symptoms is memory loss.

Since April I’ve also been visiting various brain focused sites online to deepen my knowledge of how the healthy brain operates and how the injured brain recovers. Today I’m migraine free (day 4) and summarizing just a little of what I learned because writing leads to memory preservation. The realization that everyone needs to be aware what’s between their ears and how to take care of it has motivated me to publish “Take care of what’s between your ears”.

Related post found in this blog:
Is the Brain on your Mind?
Falling, falling, falling
Battered and Bruised