Thursday, March 15, 2007

This is crucial knowledge - Know That Video Games affect Your Child's Brain !

By Al Sears, MD
Did you play video games when you were a child? They weren't around until I was in college. But nowadays, kids all over the country are spending a lot of time in front of the TV or computer, playing those games.
That's a big change. And with the arrival of ever-better technologies, video games are increasingly vivid, realistic - and addicting.
I've wondered for years whether playing these games influences brain development. I think it might make a kid's brain work faster, able to process more visual information. And my nine-year-old son seems to be able to multitask in ways I can't. But I've also wondered if there's a dark side to brain development, induced by the shocking brutality in some of the videos. Now, for the first time, I've found new evidence that violent video games do alter brain functioning.
Researchers at Indiana University in Indianapolis used Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to map out which parts of the brain are stimulated when kids play different types of video games. One group of adolescents played a violent game called "Medal of Honor," while another group played an equally exciting but non-violent game called "Need for Speed." After 30 minutes, doctors collected the MRI data.
The teens playing the non-violent game showed activity in the frontal area of the brain. This is the area associated with concentration, inhibition, and self-control. The teens playing the violent video game showed no activity in the frontal area of the brain. Instead, the game activated their amygdala. This is the "reptilian" brain that's associated with emotional arousal - especially anger.
This study is sobering for a number of reasons. The reptilian, or limbic, brain is the least cerebral and most animal-like part of the brain. It's where your most basic instincts reside. Instincts to do with things like feeding, survival, and procreation.
This works well in times of crisis. If you're starving, your reptilian brain will drive you to find food. If someone is chasing you and you're in danger, this part of your brain will put you into "fight or flight" mode. In other words, to protect yourself, you'll either become violent or you'll run for your life.
But this area of your brain has no capacity for logic, reason, or objective decision-making. It has no way to express tolerance, understanding, or love. Now consider that millions of teenagers are over-stimulating this portion of their brain for hours every day.
Cause for concern? I think so. Because other research has shown that both repetitive actions and repetitive thoughts hardwire your brain, reinforce whatever actions or thoughts you're practicing, and make it more likely you'll repeat them in the future.
What do I mean by "hardwire"? There are connections between your brain cells that are called dendrites. Repeated activities stimulate dendrites and create neural pathways between different parts of your brain. The more you practice a certain activity, the stronger that neural pathway becomes. These structural changes are the physical mechanisms of learning.
And your brain, like the rest of your body, follows the "use it or lose it" rule. Neural pathways that are not being used eventually get "pruned."
The Indiana University study, coupled with what we know about conditioning and learning, is not proof that playing video games leads to violence. But it does give us reasonable cause to suspect that children who spend a lot of time firing up their reptilian brains may be more prone to violence - and may be less likely to have self-control.
An extreme example of this occurred when authorities discovered a teenage girl who had been locked up in her bedroom for her entire life. Her parents never spoke to her, never touched her - never even acknowledged her. They kept her alive by sliding trays of food under her door.
When police arrested the parents and rescued the girl, she was 12 years old. She was unable to communicate with words, as she had never spoken or been spoken to. Psychologists tried to teach her to speak, but she couldn't learn to do it. After running brain scans, they discovered the area of her brain that rules speech had atrophied. Due to lack of use, the neural pathways had collapsed - in this case, irreversibly.
I'm not suggesting that all kids who play violent video games will go nuts and lose their ability to be rational. But the nature of the human brain is clear: Practiced behavior becomes dominant. Functions that are ignored get cut off - sometimes forever.
I've never bought my son a video game. Yet they are so popular among his friends, he is still exposed to them. I suspect your children or grandkids are too. And I think there is reason to keep the violent ones away from them as much as you possibly can.
I have one other practical piece of advice for you if your child or grandchild is having a hard time controlling his or her aggression. You might consider a nutritional supplement.
Studies show that omega-3s have the power to reduce aggression and violence. For instance, British researchers gave violent prisoners a fish oil supplement along with their regular daily meals. In a matter of days, the prison guards started to notice a change among those prisoners. The results showed that the group taking the supplement had a 37 percent decrease in violent offenses and a 26 percent decrease in overall offenses.
Your brain is 60 percent fats, and omega-3 fats are essential for your brain to function properly. Children today suffer from a dramatic omega-3 deficiency. And violent video games just might be making a nutritional deficiency worse.
I give my son a daily teaspoon of cod liver oil as a natural source of omega-3 fats. These days, you can find it without the bad taste of the cod liver oil my grandmother used.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The 6 Keys to Wealth Building

By Scott Hove

There are keys to wealth and success that those who have attained them understand. If you wish to build wealth and achieve success then it’s crucial to implement the keys discussed below.

Here, then, are six things that the successful understand and implement. As you read them, please understand that you can practice them too!

1. They believe in themselves!

Successful people believe nothing can stop them from reaching their goals – financial and otherwise. They do what is necessary to reach those goals. That means they even do things they dislike or take on tasks that seem impossible.

You can sense their self-belief and can almost see it when they enter a room. Successful people exhibit a high level of self-confidence that is contagious. Most are optimistic and maintain a positive outlook even when life is tough. Their confidence is not easily shaken by external factors. They see opportunities in problems!

2. They learn from people who have achieved more than they have!

Successful people know that in order to grow they need to learn from those who have already realized greater success. They know that when you stop growing you stop living!

They ask questions, study and learn from others. One man that I interviewed said to me, “No one has asked me questions like this before!” I wasn’t surprised to hear him say that as I have heard it before.

Who can you ask about their success? What might you learn?

3. They recognize the tremendous value of time!

Successful people understand time is their most important asset. They know it is a very scarce resource. They don’t spend much time watching television soap operas, for example. One of the best investments we made recently was to spend $9.99 a month to get the digital video recording service our local cable provider offers. While we already watch limited programming, now we record the few shows we normally watch so we can zip through the commercials! (Sorry, advertisers!)

Wealthy people know the power of the use of leverage to achieve maximum gains with minimum efforts. When you can leverage time, you can achieve tremendous results!

4. They understand the importance of investing in themselves!

Successful people understand that many expenses are investments. They know that by spending money to acquire an asset or skill (learning) they will realize a future return. In many cases that return will be a large multiple of their original expenditure. (A good accountant will help them to see this, too!)

Many successful people spend good amounts of money on educational and motivational resources – CD’s, seminars, books, membership websites and more. They know that it is an investment that can never diminish in value because it is an investment in themselves.

5. They implement strategic monetary decisions!

Wealthy people place a significant portion of their wealth in some type of investment that gives them a better return than a savings account.

These investments might be real estate, gas and oil, stocks, bonds, or their business. Recently we learned about an investment opportunity that over the last year (February 2006 – January 2007) returned over 70% compounded. We learned about it because we are actively looking for things that have the possibility of doing much better than the local bank.

Successful people also know that not putting all your eggs in one basket is critical. There are far too many stories of people losing everything because everything was riding on one horse that couldn’t make it to the finish line.

6. They understand the power of being generous!

Many wealthy people are also great givers. They have come to see the importance of giving to something beyond themselves. They know that as they give to their community, college, church and other organizations they are helping others and that, too, is a great investment!

To be sure there are tax benefits involved, in some cases tremendous tax benefits (i.e., charitable remainder unitrusts), but for most successful people it is a benefit of giving and not the primary motivating factor.


Wealth and success are not measured simply by money in the bank and are rarely attained quickly. Practice the disciplines above and you too will develop a wealthier life in many ways!

Scott Hove is a wealth-building expert, speaker, author and entrepreneur. To learn more about him and how to have him speak to your business or organization visit:

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Just another interesting Short Story

Here's an interesting short story a friend of mind posted me today.. It seems quite true for most of us treating our parents for granted, isn't it so ?.

An 80-year old man was sitting on the sofa in his house along with his 45-year old highly educated son, when suddenly a crow perched on their window.

The father asked his son: "What is that?" and The son replied: "It is a crow".

After a few minutes, the father asked his son the 2nd time, "What is that?"

The son said: father, I have just told you "It is a crow".

After a little while, the aged father again asked his son the 3rd time, "What is that?"

At this time, some ex-pression of irritation was felt in the s on's tone when he said to his father with a rebuff: "It's a crow, a crow".

A little after, the father again asked his son the 4th time: "What is that?"

This time the son shouted at his father: "Why do you keep asking me the same question again and again although I have already told you so many times 'IT IS A CROW'. Were you not able to understand that?"

A little later the father went to his room and came back with an old tattered diary, which he had maintained since his son was born.

On opening a page, he asked his son to read that page. When the son read it, the following words were written in the diary : "Today my little son, aged three, was sitting with me on the sofa, when a crow suddenly perched on the window. My son asked me 23 times what it was, and I replied to him all 23 times that it was a Crow. I hugged him lovingly each time he asked me the same question again and again for 23 times. I did not at all feel irritated, I rather felt affection for my innocent child".

While the little child asked him 23 times "What is that?", the father had felt no irritation in replying to the same question all 23 times, and today when the father asked his son the same question just 4 times, the son felt irritated and annoyed.

So the moral of the story.. If our parents attain old age, do not be repulsed by them or look at them as a burden, but speak to them in gracious words, be cool, obedient, humble and kind to them. Be considerate to our parents.

From today say this aloud: "I want to see my parents happy forever. They have cared for me ever since I was a little child.

They have always showered their selfless love on me".

They crossed all mountains and valleys without seeing the storm and heat to make me a person presentable to the society today.

Say this now: "I will serve my old parents in the BEST way I can and I will say all good and kind words to my dear parents, no matter how they behave".

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Encouragement Energizes

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

A study was done by psychologist Dr. Henry H. Goddard, on energy levels in children. He used an instrument he called the 'ergograph.' How he ever got some children to stand still long enough to connect them to the machine is a mystery. But he did, and his findings are fascinating.

He found that when tired children are given a word of praise or encouragement, the ergograph shows an immediate upward surge of new energy. When the children are criticized and discouraged, the ergograph shows their physical energy take a sudden nosedive."

The same principle applies to teenagers and adults of any age. When we are genuinely thanked, praised, and encouraged, we definitely feel much better and energized. And when we are criticized or just feel bad, our energy level certainly falls and we are de-energized.

We all need to be encouraged daily ... so let's decide that we will first of all be encouragers ourselves especially to those we love the most, to our friends, and also to strangers as opportunities arise.