Subscribe to It Has Nothing to Do with Age by Email Follow Tusk95664 on Twitter It Has Nothing to Do with Age: June 2015
It Has Nothing To Do With Age provides self-help principles. The inspirational stories give concrete illustrations of overcoming many of life's challenges. Difficulties pertaining to depression, grief, divorce, and death are presented and worked through by the participants. Physical impairments, injuries, overcoming issues with weight, alcohol, and nicotine are also dealt with and resolved by the athletes.

This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.

I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Successful Management Styles

In these particular studies, they listed a number of rude behaviors by bosses that fell within their definition of uncivility. A few of these characteristics included: 1. Neglects employing or saying please or thank you. 2. Talks down to people. 3. Swears. 4. Puts down others. After reading the article, I instantly thought of Bo Schembechler and his treatment of his University of Michigan football players. More to follow later.

 But first, let me tell you the good news. Even though there have been no significantly new medical discoveries; no radical new technologies; and apparently no payment incentives, there has been a 38% decrease in the death rate within the last 10 years. Simply put, researchers looked at those hospitals [per Medicare statistics] that had outstanding times-the time it took to open up patient arteries. What they found were that these hospitals such as the Mayo Clinic, New York Presbyterian Hospital, etc. statistically could in 50 minutes from the time the paramedic who ran an EEG to the time a cardiologist threaded a balloon into the blocked artery that then allowed the flow of blood --a success. By streamlining the hospital and doctor procedures, they got that heart pumping efficiently, thus reducing death and stroke. Some hospitals, previously took over 150 minutes to accomplish the same. With a more streamlined procedure stroke has now fallen to 5 as a major killer.

Back to Bo. On the practice football field from 1969 and for the next 20 years, Bo Schembechler was an authoritarian dictator. Gen. George Patton, Woody Hayes would fit that category as well. Bo had no trouble in ordering his players around. The only time that came close to this was dealing with quarterback Jim Betts. On a previous practice, Bo kicked Betts in the ass and verbally abused him because Betts fumbled the snap from center. Embarrassed, hurt and angry Betts did something about it. The next day before practice, Jim Betts met with Bo Schembechler privately. Jim was clear and precise, and in no uncertain terms directed his coach not to treat him that way again. Then in the afternoon practice, Jim again fumbled the snap from center. This time, coach Schembechler came up to Betts and asked him civilly to run the play again.

Bo Schembechler had no problem berating, putting the player down for making an apparent mistake and even yelling and swearing at the player. One example happened when Bo was having his team work on punting drills since a punt was blocked in the previous game. Cocky Bo told his squad that he would give $10 to any player that blocked a punt during the drills [Bo was not going to pay anyone $10-he was confident]. Then of course, a punt got blocked and coach ran down the playing field after Jim Brandstatter believing that this offensive tackle missed his block and was responsible for the blocked punt. He caught up to this huge offensive tackle, and started yelling, screaming, swearing and hitting Jim. Line position coach Jerry Hanlon ran up to Bo telling him it wasn’t Jim-he made his block. Bo’s response was not “I’m sorry or mistaken” but “he needed it anyway.”

In a series of research studies [it’s not clear what the population was, but certainly it was not a random sample], various researchers found that when giving negative or uncivil feedback, their population performed worse on anagram word puzzles, and were less creative during brainstorming sessions. In fact, even if the group witnessed negative interactions, their cognitive ability was lessened. Just think if any of these subjects had been on the practice field with Coach Bo Schembechler
Was Bo successful? The University of Michigan from 1969 through 1971, was victorious in 24 of 25 regular-season games. Obviously, Bo was uncivil in his treatment of players on the practice field and it did not interfere with their large motor activity. I don’t know if it interfered with their solving puzzles, but they all  graduated.  In fact, Jim Brandstatter is moving his Inside Michigan Football radio program to  WXYZ on Mondays. Jim Harbaugh will be on the show with Jim Brandstatter. Coach Harbaugh played for Bo and has a similar character structure. Jim Harbaugh has a reputation that suggests that he might not be a good manager in the business world. But I’ll wager, that he’ll get results on the football field. Will Jim ask his players or quarterback “Please run that play again”; “Would you mind catching that ball”; “Thank you for tackling that player” and “Do you think you could run a little faster?” Jim Harbaugh’s father was a head football coach, and Jim learned as early as 10 years of age about how Bo talked to his players. The cliché “an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” fits here.

It’s more probable than not that these professors did not use a “random” sample for their research. The keyword is random, which means that everyone in the universe had an opportunity to be selected for the research. As a result, a random just doesn’t happen. And because of that, we question their ability to generalize with their results. Were there perhaps other variables not dealt with, that might influence the findings? In any event, it’s clear that Bo’s players, including Jim Harbaugh, are mentally tough, could and did take it from their coach. That’s not to say that first they grumbled, incorporated the abuse and finally, during the process wound up loving coach.  Could the individuals in these studies take it from Bo Schembechler, probably not? What do you believe?
Let’s be clear, Coach Jim Harbaugh’s going to bring mental and physical toughness to his Michigan Wolverines. Those players that can’t take it will not be starters. I’ll bet on that.

 Let me add that Fritz Seyferth, Reggie McKenzie, Frank Gusich, Jim Brandstatter, Tom Curtis, Thom Darden, Mike Keller and Jim Betts all prospered in their other life. If you don’t believe me, see for yourself and join us in Ann Arbor on September 17, 2015 at Sesi Motors from 6- 8 PM for a Bo’s Warriors book signing.

Go Blue!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Our Criminal Justice System

Some of the human problems that exist in our criminal justice system are as follows: 1. The setting where the “crime” took place, as well as where the trial is held. For instance, if the so-called crime took place in San Francisco, compared to some rural area in Northern California there would be likely differences. To generalize, urban San Francisco is a multiethnic community, which may have a more liberal or forgiving setting than a more conservative, mostly Caucasian and rural community. So where a person is tried can most definitely affect trial outcome.

 2. Eyewitness testimony is noticeably and consistently flawed since memory is a mystery-it’s an important facet of cognition that encompasses everything as well as the capacity for remembering. There are different types of memory, such as declarative memory, episodic memory, procedural memory and implicit memory. We don’t know if the problem in memory is that we forget, or that we have trouble retrieving the memory. Aside from witnesses that lie, witness memory is highly unreliable because most crimes happen unexpectedly and are over in a flash, making them events that by definition are not remembered well. For instance, the indoor or outdoor lighting may be less than optimal and other events may serve as distractions. Not only that, witnesses may have been thinking about internal issues, or were not paying much attention. They may even be concerned about their own safety or that of other bystanders. Concerns, fears like these often greatly impair later memory. In the laboratory, significant research has demonstrated that is easy to fool participants trying to recall the details of an event by simply introducing misinformation. For instance, stop signs, have been remembered as yield signs, white cars have been remembered as blue ones and Mickey Mouse remembered as Minnie Mouse.  Highly suggestible individuals have the poorest memory recall events. In the traditional police lineup, witness confidence isn’t always a signal of memory accuracy. Witnesses’ who are absolutely certain may be no more correct with their recollections, compared to those who were fairly sure. Unfortunately, the degree of witness certainty often influences whether jurors believe their testimony. Further, most people are not very good observers of other people’s faces, especially if their exposure to the other person was very brief. Few people have perfectly matched eyes and one is usually larger than the other. Noses and ears come in all shapes and are also highly variable and irregular. Also, other commonly worn factors can distort the image of a face like eyeglasses, hats and caps. The combination of a wide brimmed hat and a high coat collar is almost as effective as wearing a mask. Facial hair, including beards, mustaches and sideburns comes in all sizes and shapes. Also, the reflection of light off the skin shows through many if not most beards, except for the thickest black beard or hair.

 3.  DNA findings are subjective. DNA matches are significantly more likely when the forensic expert was aware that the sample comes from someone the police believe is guilty or fits the theory of the police. Blind testing would be a simple way to get more accurate DNA findings.

 4. Confessions that appear voluntary are not always as such. Even the placement of the camera-either behind the accused or interviewer affects the definition of a so-called voluntary confession. In other words, when watching the recording with the camera behind a detective, people are much more likely to find that the confession was voluntary than watching the confession from the perspective of the suspect.

 5. The bias of the judge and his or her relationship with the plaintiff attorney was also important. If the judge disliked the attorney or for that matter, had a bias against the crime, then the suspect would be in big trouble and can likely predict an outcome of guilty.

 6. Law enforcement bias has been in the news. Questions like was the policeman, a racist exist today? Other factors to consider would be the character of the policeman or arresting officer. Some officers of the law dislike and are prejudiced and have ill feelings against the poor, the weak, and individuals from low socioeconomic conditions. They perceive these individuals as being inferior, lazy, irresponsible, and requiring being controlled and dominated.  When the officer comes from a position of strength like the institution of law enforcement with its guns, clubs and backup he or she is more likely to use force to get the individual to submit, comply and become passive. However, when the behavior is to the contrary, the officer often consciously or unconsciously reacts aggressively. When feeling threatened, look out for that law enforcement’s over-the-top aggressive behavior.

These are just a few of the issues confronting our criminal court justice system. Hopefully, stay clear and make good choices, so that one doesn’t become a victim of our system. Our system is not perfect, but it’s the one we have so far. Hopefully, a more scientific approach can help modify and improve what we have.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tom Brady's Balls Are in Question

Apparently, Tom Brady and staff had  4 hours [lasted over 11 hours] to present their appeal case to the current high commissioner of NFL football. This happening has been called “deflategate” by the press. Did Brady have a hand in the so-called deflating of footballs in the AFC championship game? According to NFL rules, a fine of $25,000 is punishment for tampering with footballs. That $25,000 fine is not what the NFL punished Tom Brady and his Patriot team. The NFL Commissioner acted as judge and jury, and handed out a non-commensurate fine of suspensions, millions of dollars, and loss of draft picks.

There was an enlightening article in the June 14, 2015 edition of The New York Times written by authors associated with the American Enterprise Institute. This impartial group made its mark when it evaluated “Bountygate” in 2012. According to the NFL, the New Orleans Saints were guilty of offering bounties that resulted in injury to opposing football players on other teams. To make a long story short, the data collected by the NFL indicated just the opposite. In fact, in 2009, the New Orleans Saints ranked either at number 30 or number 31 on the list of injuring other players- in other words, they were at the bottom of the 32 team league. That evidence was presented to the High Commissioner and the New Orleans Saints suspensions were quickly vacated the following month.

The impartial American Enterprise Institute evaluated the non-impartial Ted Wells report [he was paid $3 million for his deflategate investigation]. The summary per the American Enterprise Institute: 1. The referees used two different air pressure gauges. This is significant because these gauges did not measure PSI equally. 2. Each team provided its own footballs. 3. A football exposed to the cold weather conditions have a lower PSI compared to a football in a warm heated room -it has a higher PSI. 4. All 11 “cold weather” Patriot footballs were measured.  Only 4 “room heated “Indianapolis Colt footballs were measured. 5. Referees did not remember which air pressure gauge were used to measure any of the footballs. 6. The Patriot balls were measured in the cold temperature- deflated [PSI] by about the expected statistical significance. 7. On the other hand, when the Colts balls were measured the PSI measurement - were statistically higher than expected. In other words, statistically significant, the changes in air pressure of the two teams balls was not because the pressure of the Patriot balls were too low, but because the Colts balls were too high. 8.It’s more than likely that the Patriots began the game with their footballs that had too little air. 9. Unfortunately, the Wells report did not address points 1 through 8.

So Brady was expected to prove his innocence. I naïvely thought that the burden of proof was on the accuser. How silly was my thinking. Because the High Commissioner did not recluse himself, how impartial and transparent is Roger?  After all, he paid Ted Wells $3 million and Wells was expected to defend his “more probable than not” conclusion that the Patriots footballs were deliberately doctored, thus breaking an NFL rule.

This current information suggests that a sloppy and inaccurate evaluation regarding the footballs was made by Wells. Not only that, the cold-warm conditions, the PSI measuring devices, the referees measuring all 11 footballs from one team, and only 4  from the other, and the referees, not knowing there were PSI gauge differences and they didn’t care to remember which gauges  were used on which football was not considered. Is this a bad dream?

High Commissioner Roger states that he’s all about defending the integrity of the NFL. I don’t believe that for one minute. He’s more concerned about defending his integrity and keeping his multimillion dollar job. Well, he can do that by changing his stripes regarding the over-the-top punishments. If he doesn’t, I would fire him and ask Wells to return the 3 million. Otherwise, there seems to be an apparent collusion between Roger G and Ted W. And, they’re just covering their own asses. Thank goodness there was an impartial group that evaluated this $3 million boondoggle.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Jim Harbaugh, Recruiting Challenge- Character

Back in the late 60s, when coach Bump Elliott was recruiting, there were no star rankings. There were only local and state rankings and an All-American ranking. Once again, player football ability was the most important and only variable measured. Of course it was subjective back then, and these rankings did not have a sophisticated computer logarithm component built in to it. Then, it was up to the coach and his recruiting staff to evaluate potential high school prospects.

Of the eight players interviewed, in Bo’s Warriors, one central character theme dissects each regardless of player position, racial origin, socioeconomic status, or rural versus urban playing environment . Underneath the extraordinary athletic ability [These athletes excelled in many numerous sports], there was an element of insecurity, and doubt about their ability to play on the big stage. These terrific athletes did not have inflated narcissistic egos nor did they believe they were the King of the castle. Did Bump sense this in his recruiting process and thereby recruited only athletes that had an underlying insecurity? I do not know if my sample of eight is representative of his entire career. However, I do know about these wonderful eight U of M super stars.

I will give two examples of some of the things these players told to me during their interviews with me. I’ll begin with Tom Curtis. Tom was a superstar quarterback from Aurora, Ohio, a small rural community near Cleveland, Ohio. Tom didn’t understand and was irritated that Coach Bo Schembechler, then the head coach at Miami of Ohio, didn’t recruit him out of high school. Tom and his father made sure that Bo got his newspaper clippings. The fact that Tom was somewhat unknown [Based on level of competition] contributed to his insecurity. In fact, Brian Healy, the quarterback from Sandusky, Ohio was the Ohio player of the year and he enrolled at Michigan, also. That didn’t help, Tom’s sense of competence, but only doubted his ability to play quarterback at that prestigious level. Also, In Tom’s sophomore season, his position coach asked him to start at a different cornerback position. It was different from the side he was practicing – he was uncomfortable, afraid and insecure, and made sure he didn’t dare admit that to his coach. Even the town crier spread it around the community that Tom, would not even make the traveling squad at the University of Michigan. Tom never challenged or confronted the man.

Mike Keller was a superstar athlete from Grand Rapids, Michigan. According to Mike, his level of football competition ranked about third in the state behind the Detroit public schools and Lansing area schools. Keller in Grand Rapids was the big fish in a little pond. However, at Michigan, he was the little fish in a big pond. He didn’t place football as a first priority, in his thinking, and wondered why Coach Elliott offered him a football scholarship. In fact, Notre Dame’s Ara Parseghian did not offer him a scholarship but told him he probably would receive one at a later date. Mike Keller saw himself as a student first and was hoping to get his degree, which would set the stage for things to come in his future by becoming an attorney. He said that he was hoping to at least make the traveling squad. Mike played even though he was not a full physical strength because he knew there was somebody behind him ready to take his place and he was afraid of that happening. He did not miss any playing time.

With doubt and insecurity comes anxiety. Anxiety is not pleasant and something to get rid of or reduce if possible. When the anxiety level gets too high or too much, that can result in psychological paralysis. In sports, it is referred to when a player “chokes” during an important play or event during a significant part of the game. When it comes to taking a school exam, and the student does miserably, it’s called test anxiety. On the other hand, another option is to increase the activity level of something physical. It could be by playing the game of solitaire quickly and over and over. It’s not uncommon today to see individuals with some electronic device in their hands, compulsively being a captive. When it comes to sports, physical activity can reduce anxiety, perfectly. This means compulsive weightlifting, running, and bike riding, being on a rowing machine, etc. works well.

For Mike Keller and Tom Curtis, It was playing all sports at all hours in the night and in the day. There was unlikely a day when either was not practicing, playing or improving their skill. Both played basketball and loved to shoot and compete [Both played in the evening-Mike even played in the dark]. So for these two individuals, they reduced their anxiety through the physical activity of sport. They would come home tired because they extended themselves when they played. They played to win [Competition served a good purpose for them because it reduced their anxiety].

Another way to deal with insecurity and anxiety was their submission to the authoritarian dictator like football coach Bo Schembechler. Bo was a tyrant on the field and disrespected the players verbally and physically. He frequently put them down verbally through the use of his colorful street-gutter language. And, initially they disliked, and some even hated the man. They were angry and resentful. In order to deal with their anger, resentment, they had to unconsciously repress those feelings. And by repressing those feelings, they submitted to Bo and became part of the team. That was their way of dealing with their anger and resentment. They had to become the team, the team, the team. It was Bo’s team, and make no mistake about it. And once that happened [It was the fifth game of the season with Minnesota when it happened-team came together],  played as a unit on offense and defense and began to function as a single dynamism with Bo Schembechler as their leader. The anger and resentment toward Bo got displaced and they took it out on each other during practice and especially game time. In fact, in their next 25 regular-season games, they won 24 of them.

Tom Curtis holds the Michigan record for most interceptions; was All-American; and has two Super Bowl rings. Mike Keller holds the Michigan record for outstanding gameplay for three seasons; played in the college All-Star game against the Dallas Cowboys [The team that drafted him] and has  been connected to  football ever since. These men conquered their anxiety, and are simply good guys. Hopefully, Jim Harbaugh can recruit players that have a similar personality structure as both Curtis and Keller. Don’t forget Jim, that’s a mighty important variable [Fear of failure] to consider. Then, you probably won’t have to worry about suspensions, dismissals or other breaking of the rules.

Join Mike, Thom and others from that 1969 team a tSesi Motors from 6 to 8 PM in Ann Arbor on September 17, for a Bo's Warriors book signing.

Go Blue!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Aerobic Exercise and Memory

As we age, changes in memory occur. Acquisition, storage and retrieval of information takes place in the memory process. Although many individuals focus on past memory, our memory really includes not only the past, but the present, and especially the future. So one definition of memory is related to a past experience that has an effect on current or future behavior. Our memory is about our brain storing selected events so we can better figure out how to handle what is going to happen, rather than just remembering what did happen in the past- the  brain’s concern is essentially  the past and  about coping with the future. In other words, remembering is a set of mental processes that allow us to 1. Remember and share past events 2. Function efficiently and intelligently in the present and 3. Predict and prepare for the future. In essence, memory affects nearly everything we think, plan, or do. Or, another way of putting it-we are our memories.

They’re different stages of memory, such as sensory memory; working memory and long-term memory.  Sensory memory is often information that’s not attended to. While in both working and long-term memory, forgetting takes place. It is believed that forgetting is caused by decay and interference. But it is not clear if we actually forget anything or just more difficult to access certain items from memory due to interference. In essence, having forgotten something may simply be being unable to retrieve it.

As we age, memory decline or the ability to encode information efficiently takes place. Other significant issues or causes of a declining memory include: 1. Visual impairment. 2. Medical condition such as cardiac, thyroid, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and respiratory infections. 3. Fatigue and sleep disturbance. 4. Physical and mental inactivity and 5.  Medications like sedatives, tranquilizers, antihistamines, sleep medications and some antidepressants.

A recent study at the Massachusetts General Hospital found that heavier people have smaller brains; and most of the atrophy found were in areas involved in cognitive functions such as memory, attention, planning and decision-making. In fact, obese subjects had brains that were 8% smaller than average, and looked 16 years older. Overweight subject’s brains were 6% smaller and looked eight years older. Midsection obesity, promotes insulin resistance and diabetes that robs the neurons of glucose, leading to cell injury and death.  The hormone leptin is also reduced, which is associated with a four times higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Obesity is also associated with vascular damage to the brain from high blood pressure, and elevated LDL cholesterol, which impedes oxygen and nutrients to neurons.

Now for the good news. Strenuous exercise has been shown to protect areas related to memory loss. Despite being overweight, a group of 120 sedentary adults in their 60s found that one year of moderate exercise [walking on a track for 40 minutes at three times a week] was associated with a 2% growth in their hippocampus. The hippocampus encodes factual declarative long-term memories and typically declines about 1% a year after age 45 -this was equivalent to reversing two years of age-related brain atrophy.  Another study found that 638 older results who participated in regular physical activity showed less brain atrophy, than those who exercised minimally.

So for those who can still remember, it’s time to begin and stay with some form of aerobic exercise. Remembering to do it is the first step and actually doing it is the second step. For a start, or a new beginning participate in steps one and two. Simply getting up from your chair and going to the kitchen is not aerobic exercise nor is driving and parking very close to a particular store for shopping. Hopefully your brain is still large enough to figure out what needs to be accomplished in order to protect your brain and your memory.

This information, hopefully remembered, was found in INR seminars.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Receiving an A in College

   According to Professor Mark Bauerlein [The New York Times, May 10, 2015], in 1960, only 15% of college student grades were in the A range. That number has currently increased to about 43%, making the A, a most common grade today. This significant statistic got me thinking. Does that mean if I went to college today, would I have had more A’s? Or, does it mean that today’s professors simply hand out more A’s? Are we smarter today or are the professors too lenient?

Looking at other variables regarding individuals we have more statistics. For instance, on the negative side: 1. Emotionally, we have more suicide completions; more drug use; more alcohol abuse; more sleep deprivation; more depression and more prescription medication treating emotional problems. This data suggests that likely more emotional or mental health issues exist today than in 1960. 2. The physical health issues in this country are more pronounced today than in 1960. We have more obesity; heart conditions; diabetes, etc. than 1960. There is greater emphasis today on technological games, sporting events and other diversionary opportunities to deal with anxiety, insignificance and powerlessness. 3. It takes more years for today’s students to complete college; today’s students have incurred more tremendous college debt; and more of today’s college students are still living at home than in 1960. 4. Compared with other countries, today’s students are further and further behind on standardized math and science scores.

On the other hand, the athletes of today are certainly stronger, faster and more talented than in 1960. Certainly, in professional sports, superstars like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, and Charles Woodson in football, come to mind; Stephan Curry, Lebron James, Anthony Davis and James Harden  in  basketball; and Madison Bumgardner , Clayton Kershaw, Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera in baseball would certainly have no difficulty playing their sport In 1960. On the non- professional level, Tom Johnson a three-time winner In the Western States 100 mile one day endurance run broke the course record in 1991.  Johnson’s winning record time in 1991 was under 16 hours. If he ran in 2014, that winning time would have placed him 8th
It seems to me that we have progressed physically, especially in sports, but not emotionally since 1960. Of course, today’s college students, according to The American Freshman Survey said in 1967 that 86% of them wanted to develop a more meaningful philosophy of life. However, that 86% has plummeted to 45% and has been replaced by making money. Has the idea of making money, increased the motivation for receiving an A in college? Has the idea that developing a meaningful philosophy of life is no longer as important and that has resulted in receiving more A’s in college?

Perhaps if we had compared CT’s, MRI’ s, PET’s, SPECT’s, EEG’s QEEGs, ERP’s and MEG’s  to evaluate the structure and functioning of the left and right side of our  brain in the 1960s and some 50 years later, we might have more clues as to the cerebral dominance of brain functioning. If we only had the computer sophistication back then we might be able to settle this question. However, it’s my guess that college grading has changed over the last 50 years. After all, many of today’s helicopter parents tell their kids how wonderful and special they are. Just because a parent tells the kids that they love them and overindulge them does not necessarily result in greater cerebral dominance. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How Large Is Your Brain?

The human brain, which weighs about 2% of our body weight, is the most complex biological structure in nature.

It is very important to take care of this precious structure, especially during the aging process. My mother passed away at the age of 93 and was still singing and playing the piano while Tony’s mother at the age of 96, was playing word puzzles, working in her garden and helping out at old folks facilities until she passed away. I’m not sure exactly what my mother did to keep her cognitive processes at a high-level, other than continuing to play the piano, sing songs, work crossword puzzles, play bridge and beat me at Scrabble. I am unable to play the piano, sing songs, work crossword puzzles and dislike Scrabble. So this means I have to develop other strategies, in order to keep my brain healthy.


or me, my nutritional intake includes a morning smoothie. I make enough to have it throughout the day. I use a professional blender with fruits and vegetables. I either peel my fruit like an orange, and/or wash my other fruits and vegetables using non-scented ivory soap. I want to remove those surface pesticides. I’ll also have a salad for dinner. One reason for the smoothie is to make sure I receive many fruits and vegetables.

Further, as the brain begins to atrophy or loose tissue, beginning in the third decade of life, this loss of brain tissue leads to a decline in cognitive functioning. And, research is beginning to reveal more and more how improvement in cardiovascular health also benefits cognitive functioning. Cardiovascular fitness is associated with the sparing of brain tissue, maintaining and enhancing central nervous system health and cognitive functioning-especially aerobic fitness training. As a result, I incorporate cardiovascular aerobic fitness as another strategy.

My aerobic fitness training is relatively simple. I trail run either alone or with Tony and others or use an elliptical machine. For the past 15 years or so, I have totaled roughly 50 miles per week. Currently, that’s a six-day week of running. If I miss that 50 mile mark, I miss it and so be it. On weeks that I’m entering a competition, or have an overuse injury, I reduce my daily and/or weekly miles. This past week I got up to 100% of VO 2 [145 pulse rate] on a tapering run. Tony and I are soon headed to the Bay Area for a 30 K trail run.

As my mother aged, she consumed less and less calories and became more and more slender. At the moment I’m not becoming slender. She incorporated more brain fitness exercises and I’m incorporating more cardiovascular brain exercise for my brain. Time will tell whether or not there were any differences between my strategy and hers. Hopefully, when I reach the age 93, I will know the answer.I do know that epigenetic changes [inherited genes, mutational genes and the environment] affect our brain from in utero and remain active throughout our lifespan. Body weight is associated with the major causes of death [heart disease, cancer, COPD, stroke, accidents, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, kidney disease, pneumonia, flu, and suicide], and about 40% of premature mortality is due to behavioral causes. What we eat is likely what we become. Some nutritional facts include: 1. As we age our metabolism began to slow down and we require less caloric intake. About 20 years ago, the average American consumed about 1850 calories per day, while today the number of calories has increased by 148. 365 days later, an individual would be 15 pounds heavier. 2. Items that make terrific brain food include-antioxidant rich foods [broccoli, cauliflower, onions, garlic, tomatoes, melons, potatoes, oranges blueberries, strawberries and red grapes; omega-3 fatty acids-found in tuna, salmon, and sardines or fish oil; and B vitamins found in beans, peas, enriched breads, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, bananas and melons.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Thom Darden, U of M football and the Cleveland Browns

The setting is Ann Arbor, Michigan, November 22, 1969. The media called this the beginning of the 10 Year War. Ohio State coached by the legend, Woody Hayes was bringing his number one ranked Buckeyes with a 23 game winning streak to play the Michigan Wolverines. The media hyped the Buckeyes to the extent and said that they were worthy to play the mighty Minnesota Vikings [that year with Coach Grant they scored the most offensive points and gave up the fewest points] in the NFL. OSU were favored to steamroll the Wolverines by 17 ½ points on that Saturday. Coach Hayes called this his best team ever.  The year before his Buckeyes slaughtered, Michigan 50-14. To make matters worse, and rub salt in the face of the Wolverines, Hayes, late in the game, on the 7th touchdown had his team run for a two-point conversion. Hayes said because he couldn’t go for three points when asked” why” by the media.

That Saturday’s matchup pitted Coach Hayes against his protégé and first year Michigan head coach Glenn Edward “Bo” Schembechler.  Schembechler, years earlier. was a position coach for Woody Hayes when OSU was the number one ranked team in the country. The team captain on that football team, whose position coach was Schembechler, was Gary Moeller. On this Saturday, the former Buckeye captain Moeller was now a position coach for Bo Schembechler.

On that historic Saturday, the 17 ½ point underdog, University of Michigan whipped that mighty team from Columbus, Ohio, and the transformation of Michigan football once again reached prominence. In fact, during the 10 year war between the two coaches and teams, the winner was the Big Ten conference champion and was eligible to play in Pasadena, California on January 1, In the Rose Bowl. Eight players and coach Moeller from that game are profiled. Did these 9 create the new legend, was it simply Bo’s imprint or was it a symbiotic relationship between the coach and players that created the dominance?

During that historic season, the Wolverines were 3-2 after five games. In the sixth game, they were losing at halftime. They came together and won the next 24 out of 25 regular-season games. In that 1969 season, they began the blowout of the Big Ten teams before their final game of the season. They demolished Iowa, the week before 51 – 0. They were ready to take on Ohio State, right then and there, as they were all singing returning from Iowa City. That next week it snowed in Ann Arbor, and the coaches shoveled the field so players could practice. That week of practice was like no other as the intensity was fierce and brutal. The players were high, motivated and eager. Prior to taking the field on that November, Bo smashed the chalkboard with ferocity and  as the players left to go to the tunnel to reach the playing field, the seniors started throwing around and smashing furniture- Thom was scared. Going through the tunnel, players were mesmerized and floating on air with their goal ahead of them. Team captain senior, Jim Mandich turned and faced his teammates with tears, spittle and spouting unintelligible words with both fists shaking high in the air before he led his band of brothers onto the field.

The Wolverines kicked off to the Buckeyes. Woody Hayes’s team went down the field and eventually scored a touchdown. However, they missed the extra point, making the score. OSU 6 and the Wolverines 0. Then Ohio State kickoff to the Michigan. And, Michigan went down the field and scored a touchdown and converted the extra point. Michigan 7 and Ohio State 6. Again, Michigan kicked off to OSU. Once again, OSU went down the field and scored. This time, Ohio State went for a two-point conversion, but were stopped. The score is now OSU 12, and Michigan 7. The Buckeyes kicked off and the Wolverines marched down the field, scored a touchdown and kicked the extra point. Michigan has the lead, 14 to OSU 12. The Buckeyes never scored again on Michigan scored 10 more points in the half, making the final score Michigan 24 and Ohio State 12.

To gain a sense of the character of those Michigan Wolverines, the following is a brief glimpse into the profile of one of those players-Thom Darden. Thom Darden lived in the projects in Sandusky, Ohio. An only child, he was the Apple of his parent’s eyes and experienced tough love. He was reared by parents who did not cut corners and expected him to go to church, sing in the choir and develop his pitching control by practicing throwing the hardball to his athletic father. Thom, the southpaw gained fame as early as age 7, when he demonstrated the ability to effectively and superbly pitch with either hand. Thom was scheduled to pitch in a playoff game when a bee stung his pitching hand. To make a long story short, Thom pitched with his right hand and that brought media attention.

Being intelligent, he was admitted into the college prep curriculum in the Sandusky schools. One problem immediately arose was that he was a significant minority in school. His athletic friends and buddies were separated from him in school. He early on, experienced racism as he knew he had to keep his adolescent emotions in check, and that it was a no-no as far as asking to dance with a white girl, and a potential lynching as far as asking a girl for a date. It didn’t matter that he was an athletic star in multiple sports-this was the 60s.

This cerebral jock during the off-season, studied the game with his high school coaches. And during his senior season, at the request of his coach changed positions because the middle linebacker was injured. Thom was a team player, and even received honors playing a very different football position. In fact, he was recruited by Bo Schembechler who was then the head coach at Miami of Ohio. At that meeting, Schembechler had him working out and Thom wanted no part of him. Thom expected a steak dinner and instead was told to put on his workout clothes and put through drills. Thom thought he was crazy. Coach Hayes also recruited Thom. At the Darden household, Coach Hayes used abusive language, and the elder Mr. Darden, a religious soul did not want that man to coach his boy. The Darden family was impressed by Wolverine coach Bump Elliott and Thom left for Ann Arbor in 1968. During Thom’s initial meeting with Bo, in 1969, Bo told him to shut the door and “you thought you got rid of me didn’t you.”

It’s safe to say that Thom was insecure about his football ability, and that he disliked Bo Schembechler. If his father knew what Bo was like on the football field, he would have made sure that Thom transfer to another school. Thom became Bo’s first Wolfman an integral part of the defense-in some ways, like a defensive quarterback, In that he was responsible for defending the pass and stopping the run.

This talented athlete wore his hair in an Afro and became part of the “mellow men” [7 black athletes] coined by Sports Illustrated that lived together. They had integrated parties, shut down the engineering building during protests and Thom was free to openly date anyone he chose. Further, on the field, he excelled and became an All-American and made a spectacular interception that resulted in Coach Hayes receiving two 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalties, Michigan winning the game and ESPN calling it one of the greatest interceptions of all time and that it defined college football.

Graduating from Michigan, Thom became the first round draft pick of his Cleveland Browns. He became all pro, became their single season and career interception leader. He was also ranked in the top 50 of the all-time Cleveland Browns. He was a superstar with a superstar reputation as the doors opened for him and the women chased him. He had an ugly media blown, divorce and eventually retired. While with the Browns, he assisted coach Schembechler by implementing a Pittsburgh Steelers defensive scheme. The Michigan position coach, at the time, which he taught was Jack Harbaugh [Jim Harbaugh’s father].

His relationship with Bo Schembechler changed as Bo talked to him about potential coaching positions in the NFL, about recruiting, and about the loss of Bo’s son. From being the student, Thom became Bo’s teacher and equal.

Thom experienced an identity disturbance after leaving professional football. He had to go from being a highly valued celebrity to a regular person on the street. The adjustment was not easy, and Thom was involved in the media industry, the college- Pro agent industry. He is now in business for himself-he assists companies and corporations finding capital to purchase or reinvest in their own companies.

He is married to Melissa, reared a Catholic, and assists his biracial daughter in adjusting to the white culture. Like his father, he too is involved in the church.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Eating Healthy

Some of the positive decisions we can make regarding our health are as follows: 1. Foods that contain tryptophan, which is the amino acid [protein] imperative for serotonin production. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter found in our brain that’s associated with mood, food intake regulation, limbic system functions, pain and sleep. The foods include-seaweed, soy nuts, cottage cheese, chicken livers, Turkey, chicken, tofu, milk, crab, lobster, sesame and sunflower seeds, cashew and almonds, Swiss and cheddar cheese, oat bran and  Chia seeds. 2. 100% organic soy milk. 3. Fermented foods that can carry more B vitamins. Vitamin K and enzymes. These can enhance healthfulness, improve flavor, are self-perpetuating and help with digestibility. The foods are-yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, sour cream, Kombucha, coffee, wine, beer, cheese, pickles, sauerkraut, and vinegar. 4. Probiotics-re-colonize  the small and  large intestine to crowd out disease causing bacteria, restore acid balance to intestinal flora, improve digestive health, and may help with stress, anxiety and depression. The foods -yogurt, kefir, dark chocolate, blue-green algae, miso soup, pickles, soft cheese, sauerkraut, and Kombucha Tea. 5. Olive oils-McEvoy Ranch, Trader Joe’s, BR Cohn, Lucini, Kirkland signature, 365 Everyday Value are considered either very good or  excellent. 6. Carotenoids inhibit the spread of leukemia cells and lowers the death rate in cancer. Foods include squash, melons and cucumber. 7. Anthocyanin’s reduces oxidative stress, protect the GI system, blocks bad estrogen activity and reduces stress-induced apoptosis. Purchase red and blue fruit. 8. Polyphenols decreases inflammation, protects arteries from oxidative damage, antioxidant and enhance apoptosis. Found in tea, coffee and cocoa. 9. Polyphenols increase apoptosis and related to less cancer and less progressive cancer later in life. Drink green tea. 10. Flavonoids reduces cancer cell proliferation, causes cell cycle arrest and enhances apoptosis. Found in Quercetin. 11. Ellagic acid decreases inflammation, protects arteries from oxidative damages and is an antioxidant. Don’t forget your raspberries. 12. Indoles protects against breast cancer, decreases risk of lung, colon cancer, enhances immune function and may protect from environmental toxins. Found in cruciferous vegetables. 13. Garlic slows down the bad genes and Sulurophane speeds up the good genes. Eat your broccoli. 14. Protective spices include-Curcumin, ginger, fine, rosemary, basil, oregano, cayenne. 15. Protective herbs include milk thistle, echinacea, green tea, lemon balm, licorice, fennel and St. John’s Wort. 16. Anti-inflammatory foods include-wild fish and fish oil, flaxseeds, onion and garlic, bright colored fruits and vegetables,curcumin, ginger, fine, rosemary, basil, oregano, cayenne. 17. Antioxidant foods are blueberries, kale, strawberries, spinach, Brussels sprouts, plums, broccoli, red grapes, beets, and oranges.

Yes, there are things we can do to protect ourselves from the chemical, food, and government complex. For those that can, homegrown farming might be one way to consider. For the rest of us, we just have to be smart and eat our fruits and vegetables. The best diet out there is a Mediterranean Diet. Becoming a vegan is not a bad idea either. In any event, the choice is yours. Time for me to leave and ride my wife’s new equine. She calls him Patches. He is a young Mustang.

This is what I did for breakfast and lunch. I had the following in part, in my smoothie: yogurt, blue-green algae, carrots, cucumber, broccoli, ginger, orange, beets, strawberries, dates-100% organic soy milk, coffee, eggs and olive oil. I feel healthier already.

Friday, June 5, 2015

We Are What We Eat

The main theme was about the epidemic of inflammation. For instance, too much inflammation is associated with our immune system, arthritis, diabetes, MS, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, ulcers, obesity, aging,  COPD , etc. etc. etc. while too little inflammation is associated with infection, HIV, ulcers, flu, colds, pneumonia, herpes, cancer, West Nile virus, etc. etc. etc. And of course, about 80% of our immune cells are in our gut. The actual title of this course was “What Is in Our Food.”

The following got my attention: 1. In the 1900s, about 95% of women breast-fed. Today, babies are breast fed for three months [33%]; for six months [13%] and for 12 months [2%]. And babies not breast-fed but are being fed foods made with GMO, preservatives, dyes, colors, etc. these chemically made foods leads to infection and gut diseases later in life. 2. Breastmilk supports the development of neurons in the gut and in the gut wall. That supports the colonization of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium-90% of good bacteria. 3. 1 in 88 children were diagnosed with autism in 2012 and 1 out of 66 in 2014. 4 According to the CDC, 1 child in 6 has a learning disability; 1 in 9 suffer with asthma; and 1 in 400 become diabetic. 5. The ideology of inflammation is related to toxins-water we drink, air we breathe, products we put in our body, household products we touch, and don’t forget sleep deprivation and obesity. 6 .Chronic inflammation predisposes us to: heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, stroke, hypertension, arthritis, endocrine disease, respiratory disease, dementia, mood disorders, macular degeneration, cancer, etc. etc. 7 .About 43% of the US population will develop cancer in their lifetime and 28% will die-this percentage has risen in the last 10 years.. 8. Don’t forget that  cell phones are  an environmental toxin-100,000 chemical are used in manufacturing and 17,000 registered pesticides are used in personal care products, plastics, BPA, colors, dyes, preservatives, etc. 9. 50 years ago Newburgh and Kingston were two of the original fluoridation test cities. And the children who had 50 years of fluoridation have slightly a higher number of cavities than the non-fluoridation children. 10. In the olden days, milk and milk substitutes had live bacteria and other microorganisms commonly eaten in food and used to preserve food, and our human G.I. tract involved to adapt. Now, because of refrigeration, sterilization, pasteurization and other processing the food sterilization has reduced consumption of beneficial organisms previously consumed. And countries like the UK and Canada will not import our milk. There is significantly less osteoporosis in Europe than in our country. 11. Bottled water is not good for you because of the ingredients as well as the plastic and other chemicals contained 12. When purchasing yogurt, make sure the label says live and active cultures. Yoplait is not yogurt, but pudding. 13. About 80% of our food is genetically engineered [GMO]. 14. If the label says 100% organic that means no GMO. If it says just organic, that may mean some GMO and even contain synthetic ingredients-there a bill that is been introduced in the U.S. House sponsored by the food industry that blocks states from labeling GMO on the food products. Thank you big food and chemical industry for that. 14. The FDA finally admitted the chicken meat contains cancer-causing arsenic. Arsenic in animal feed makes animals growth quicker and have their meat looked pinker and fresher. Because of all the food processing, artificial food dyes, and other enrichment chemicals, we cannot export our bread to Canada and the European Union-some of the preservatives are produced from petroleum. 15. Farm raised salmon are fed GMO grains, antibiotics and other chemicals unsafe for humans-notice the large amount of fat. Australia and New Zealand will not import our salmon. 16. Food storage that has PVC [3]-plastic wraps; PS [6] Styrofoam; PC made of BSA [7] microwavable plastic is not safe. These chemicals are associated with prostate and breast tumor proliferation and changes in brain chemistry in the hippocampus, which is our memory center and related to dementia. 17. 29.9 million pounds of antibiotics are sold to the meat and poultry production industry. This is first fed to our animals and then we eat it. 18. Food manufacturers strive to reach the “Bless Point.” This is when the perfect amount of sugar is added to process food to maximize their appeal. The idea was coined in the 1970s because sugar is a human weakness and irresistible and has these innate cravings. This bless point is a powerful phenomenon and dictates what we drink and eat usually more than we realize. Remember, nutrition is not foremost on our mind when we choose food. 19. MSG is natural flavor and it affects the hunger center in the hypothalamus. A label may read Gulamic acid, amino acid, natural flavoring, natural spices, hydro-veg protein or yeast casinate. It is all MSG. 20. L Cysteine is an amino acid commonly used to prolong shelf life in products such as commercial bread. Most of this comes from human hair. Cut your hair and sell it by the pound. 21. Arsenic is found in rice cereals that contains iron and metals and used as a filter to clear liquids-check out that cloudy Merlot and other cheap wines. 22. Smithfield Farms was sold to Shanghai of China 2013. Although the animals are raised in the US, they are processed in China. 23. Star-Kist tuna was sold to Dongwon Industries of Korea in 2008. Their plant is located in American Samoa. 2014. The FDA found serious violations. 24. Because there’s no mandatory labeling in the United States, we have to beware of hand washing solutions-Triclosan is found in over 140 different products and is restricted in Canada and Japan. This chemical is also used in our mattresses and found in our water supply.  25. Using your cell phone for texting is safer than talking because of the altering of brain waves and is possibly carcinogenic to humans [WHO].  26. Don’t stand directly in front or within 3 feet of a running microwave and do not use plastic in your microwave. Microwaves breakdown vitamin B12’s into inactive substances and releases potential toxic compounds from food packaging.  27. There are toxins in our cosmetics-Endodisruptors [17,000 registered pesticides]-they disrupt hormone and endocrine systems. 28. Estrogen and estrogen like compounds are pollutants and interfere with normal cell signaling, sperm activity, breast cancer risk and contribute to the thyroid issues that are endemic in the US. High-dose exposure is toxic and low doses over a lifetime. It is established as a link to a disease.

In conclusion, the previous 28 points were just some of the hazards with which we are confronted. It is overwhelming to say the least. There are strategies, various links, and other written materials that can be found to counter what’s going on in our United States. Supposedly, we have homeland security and The Patriot Act to make a safe from Isis and other terrorist groups. We can turn on the TV and radio and learn about all the clowns running for president or some other office. What a diversion from the real issues.
The terrorists seem to be us as we are making ourselves unhealthy and killing ourselves in the process. The food industry, chemical industry, healthcare industry and others are all benefiting. It’s no wonder that we feel small, powerless, and significant in dealing with the world around us. Yes, we’ve learned to divert, deny, repress, rationalize and sublimate our reality. We can pretend and continue to go on or we can take control, eat as much organic and I think I’ll go running today careful what products we use on our bodies. Of course, that takes research, diligence and implementation. I think I’ll go running today.

This course was presented by Merrily Kuhn. She has two PhD’s,  an ND and an RN.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Lifting Yourself from the Couch

By now, most of us realize that significant medical and psychological changes take place throughout our life and especially during the mid-life years. Genetics and nutrition are important variables in understanding those various changes. Another significant variable to consider is fitness or exercise. Of course there are many definitions of exercise.

As a result of the aging process, we can experience injury simply by getting out of bed or the tying of one’s shoe. We also know that strength, stamina, endurance and flexibility do not improve with age, so it’s important that we set the stage properly. We don’t want to make matters worse with some sort of sprain, strain, torn ligament, fall, fracture or head injury [71-year-old John Kerry recently broke a bone while cycling in Europe-supposedly he’s a fitness buff]. This is especially true, if you have been spending many hours hunched over a screen or some other device and/or sitting being a spectator. The following are suggestions from last week’s INR seminar: 1. Start out slowly, whatever the activity-checking with your physician about possible limitations or other medical conditions i.e. knee, bursitis issues- initially, get the okay to begin because we don’t want to make things worse. 2. Don’t forget that working through the pain [No pain, no gain] is old school and that tired muscles are easily injured. Yes, that may mean icing or taking an anti-inflammatory afterwards. Remember, the anti-inflammatory is taken after exercise and not before since we do not want to mask any pain or injury. 3. Build tolerance and endurance, very slowly. The physical activity doesn’t have to be all at once, and can be several times during the day   [Rome was not built in a day and you don’t have to get it all back at one time is the message here]. 15 minutes twice a day is just as good as 30 minutes. 4. Pay attention to temperature extremes. That may mean going out in the early morning or evening, while maintaining hydration in the summer months and wearing appropriate clothing during the winter months. It may also mean skipping the exercise altogether during those extreme conditions. Do not forget about the rain. There have been occasions that I have used my elliptical instead of running on the trail during triple digit or stormy conditions. Whenever I leave my house to begin a run, I always have, and I mean always take my water containers with me. I am in the habit of not leaving home without a water bottle. 5. Purchase good quality properly fitted supportive shoes. Currently, I am using Brooks and I replace them frequently. Go to your local running store and get that walking or running shoe for you. There are so many brands and styles for you to choose. When I first started almost 20 years ago, I purchased this one brand that I liked and got dependent on. I thought I would wear this particular style indefinitely. I quickly learned, that the shoe manufacturers make these shoe changes, and so when I go to the shoe store, I do not always know beforehand what generation of shoe that I’m purchasing. If it feels good, that might be the one for you. 6. Find well-maintained walking, jogging or running surfaces if you can. Since our flexibility and balance change, the more level the surface the better. Since I run on the trail, I carry two handheld water bottles to help brace my fall when I trip. I do trip and fall. My friend Tony carries a hydration pack on his shoulders since he doesn’t like to hold things in his hand. Because of all the loss of skin on his hands, he recently purchased gloves from a bike store to protect his palms. On Sunday’s run, because of the increase in temperature, he had to take his gloves off because of the heat. He says his skin will grow back. 7. Consistency is important, and hopefully it can become more of a compulsivity. Beginning is generally difficult. It may be getting off the couch, putting on that special shoe and leaving your residence.

Think of the Nike ad-“Just Do It!” when it comes to fitness, it’s about our thinking process decisions. Every decision has a consequence. It’s easy to distort reality with denial, rationalizations, intellectualization’s etc. Make your health span one of your goals. I can’t think of anything more important than mental and physical health, especially in living out one’s life. People that love themselves take care of themselves. If you can’t love yourself, you are unable to love anyone else either. Thinking otherwise is a cognitive distorted myth.

This is the true story. About 18 years ago, I wanted to begin participating in an event called Ride and Tie. This is a competition that consisted of trail riding and trail running in mountainous terrain. At that time, I was an equestrian, but not a trail runner and had not been running for quite some time. So I started running in 1997, at age 57 and quickly learned that I could run on relatively flat terrain, but not up and down hills. Initially, I walked up the hills and eventually learned that I could run them.

I gradually increased my running distances to a marathon distance, and even entered a 50 K trail run prior to running an official marathon. To make a long story short, I entered a real marathon and then a couple of 50 milers before running the Western States 100 mile one day event at age 62 in 2002. To read more about the progression and the experience, go to “It Has Nothing To Do with Age.” If I can do it…...