Friday, October 14, 2016

Surgery Thanksgivings and Thoughts

On October 4th I had knee replacement surgery to fix an old injury from high school. Here are a few thanksgivings and thoughts about that:

1. Thanks be to God. He understands all suffering and keeps His promises to be with us in it and ultimately to save us from it.

2. Thanks to my wife, Carol, my faithful helpmate and supporter. Experiences like this give couples a wonderful opportunity to live out their faith and love together. Also thanks to my family who kept me in their prayers.

3. Thanks to our church, for your prayers and for fellow church servants who made this time off worry free.

4. Thanks be to God, who gives us such amazing medical technology. Special thanks to surgeon Dr Don Johnston (GSLC member). He is excellent in his skills, tells it like it is, and encourages you all the way. Also thanks to the physical therapists who know how to keep pushing through the pain... and for Vicodin!

5. I started out as a pastor when I was 26 years old. From the very beginning I have helped people through very painful (far more painful than this) experiences, and, of course, the process of death itself. I have always been keenly aware that I have had very little personal experience with physical pain and suffering. That has been a wonderful gift that God has given me. But that lack of experience doesn't necessarily disqualify someone from helping people through painful experiences. God is really the one who helps us. As a pastor I have always believed that it is the overall ministry of Word and Sacrament that helps people in their times of trouble. When a pastor walks into a hospital room, he brings with him the Pulpit, the Altar, the Baptismal Font, the Confirmation Class, the Bible Classes, etc. - that is, he brings the whole ministry of God to the bedside. Pastors are constantly preparing people for all the hardships of life. If your pastor tells you a hundred times in a hundred sermons, "Cling to Christ," he really doesn't need to say much in the hospital room. His very presence is simply a reminder of this main message. The test of any ministry is not how many people it attracts to the pews. The test of any ministry is how it holds up in the hospital room, how it holds up in the face of suffering and hardship, how it holds up in the face of confusion and temptation. I am so thankful for the ministry that we are privileged to have in our church. It is a very basic ministry - a ministry of repentance, forgiveness, and trust in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It's not flashy. But it is faithful, and you will be so happy to have it when the doctor says, "I'm just going to give you something to relax..." That is for the body, but the ministry of Word and Sacrament is for the soul. Every personal and family devotion, Sunday worship service and Bible class has been getting me ready for this day and will get me through whatever lies ahead. I always believed this was true. It is what I've always told people. Now, in a small way, I can say "I personally know it is true."

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What About the Politics of Wealth? How Should a Christian Respond? (Evening Prayer Sermon for September 21, 2016)

What About the Politics of Wealth?

     I didn’t address this in my Sunday sermon, and normally do not because my sermon, like Jesus’ parable (Luke 16 "The Dishonest Manager) is addressed to “the disciples.” I think these stewardship principles are vitally important for all Christians, and this is always our main focus when we come to the topic of money. However sometimes Christians ask if the I can provide them with any guidance when it comes to their voting. How do we, as Christians, speak to national and global issues of wealth?

     Economics is a complicated science. However there are some basic principles that are not hard to grasp and that are governed by God’s natural laws. The first is “stewardship.” A person who works and produces should have some say in how the fruit of their labor is managed. This is taught in the Seventh Commandment, “You shall not steal.”  The second is “responsibility.” Natural law also compels us to believe that those who have much have a responsibility to help those who have less. If ten men are marooned on an island and one man possesses ten weapons and the others none, natural law says that he should share what he has for the benefit of all. If he does not, and they are attacked, all will die. Stewardship and responsibility are two important keys to a society’s management of wealth.

     Many are concerned about the distribution of wealth in our country. A very small percentage of people are in possession of much of the wealth. Many perceive this to be a great evil. But is it necessarily evil? We could evaluate according to the principles of stewardship and responsibility. “Did they steal it?” and, “Are they managing it well for the sake of others?” A careful analysis of these questions would be helpful. There is an interesting website that might give us a clue. lists the richest people in America by state. By a ratio of 35 to 15 the richest people in each state all started as people of average wealth and later found great success through their endeavors. Among that list are familiar businesses such as Ebay, Quicken Loans, Menards, Nike, Facebook, Berkshire Hathawy and Microsoft. And, among the fifteen inheritors of wealth, most were only one generation away from those who started as people of average wealth. This tells me that in our country, for the most part, wealth is still earned in just ways. Is it being managed well for the sake of others? That is probably harder to determine, but there has been a long tradition of philanthropy in our country. Nevertheless that leads us to another question of economic policy.

     Some would propose that their wealth should be taken from them and managed by the government. This has been tried before in the Soviet Union and China, and I think most would recognize that it failed. Some would propose that their wealth should be taken from them and redistributed directly to the average citizens or directed to public works that benefit everyone. This is being done now since the wealthy pay the bulk of all taxes. But should more be distributed in this way? That is the question that our country has been debating for a long time. I’m not sure that I can find anything in Scripture or natural law that would say more or less of this is either good or evil. Most likely these are decisions that have to be tried and evaluated. Try more taxation of the rich and then evaluate the outcome, or try less. 

     This brings me to our Christian involvement in governmental economics. What role do we play? What should be our thoughts about these things? First, Christians should always support the principles of stewardship and responsibility.  This is the overarching guidance that God gives us. We should live them personally, and we should work for them corporately. Flowing from this are two more. Second, we should be careful not to become jealous of those who are extremely wealthy if they gained their wealth justly. Nor should we advocate taking everything from them as Karl Marx did. We should pray that they would use their wealth wisely. Third, we should be careful not to disregard those who are not well off eonomically. We certainly cannot say, “They failed, that’s their problem” as Ayn Rand advocated. God has called us to more than that. Just as the government tries to ensure that wealth is acquired justly, it also has a role to ensure that wealth is managed well for the sake of the whole society. Whatever leaders we elect, whatever laws we support – these should at least be our guiding principles.

     Finally, we have to believe that whether these principles of natural law are followed or not, God is still in control and we always turn to Him to bring justice and peace to this world. While Paul had nothing to say about voting because there was no such thing in his day, he did have something to say about praying. “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2.1-2). Not only should we pray for our leaders that they may work for “a peaceful and quiet life…,” We should pray for our fellow citizens that they would seek the same. And finally we should pray for ourselves that we might make wise choices when it comes to our voting. We should seek leaders who will rule as much as possible according to God’s will so that the Gospel can be preached and that people might believe that Jesus is the one mediator who gave Himself as a ransom for all. Amen.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Responding to Wickedness with Trust, Prayer & Proclamation

I've spoken before of the rising tide of evil in our world. It is something that we observe and that Scripture has promised will happen (2 Timothy 3.1-5). Scripture also tells us that God punishes wickedness and will do so ultimately in the end. In Genesis 19 God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness. This destruction was a great test of faith both for Abraham and for his nephew Lot. Reading about that can be discouraging and disheartening to us as it was to them. Looking around at today's increasing immorality, hatred and violence can also be discouraging. Sadly, we can say with Ethan, "For what futility have You created all the children of men?" (Psalm 89.47). 

The world that lies under the deception of Satan (1 John 5.19) misunderstands the source of this evil and therefore responds incorrectly. Some blame ignorance and say that better education will be the cure. Some blame poverty and say the redistribution of wealth will be the cure. Some think that the good guys just need to shoot all the bad guys in order to overcome evil. Truthful education, fair economics and just temporal punishments can help resist and contain evil in the world. But these things cannot overcome evil. Evil can only be overcome by the one who taught us to pray: "Deliver us from evil." Jesus defeated evil with righteousness when He resisted Satan's temptations (Matthew 4.1-11), and when He gave His life as a ransom for those who would seek God's forgiveness from their own evil (Mark 10.45).

Now we can see the best response to wickedness: First, we trust in God who alone can overcome wickedness - first in our own hearts and then in the world. Second, we pray for God to deliver us and this world from evil just as Jesus taught us. We pray fervently for the wicked as Abraham prayed fervently for Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18.22-33). It is important to pray for all those who are blinded by the Evil One that they might be brought to repentance and faith in Christ. Thirdly, God has put us here to proclaim the truth of evil and the truth of forgiveness and salvation in Jesus. What happens after that is in God's hands. He will see all things to their proper end. 

Sermon from July 24, 2016 "From Gomorrah to Golgotha"

Hymn:  "Rise to Arms! With Prayer Employ You"

Rise! To arms! With prayer employ you,
O Christians, lest the foe destroy you;
For Satan has designed your fall.
Wield God’s Word, the weapon glorious;
Against all foes be thus victorious.
God will set you above them all.
Fear not the hordes of hell,
Here is Emmanuel.
Hail the Savior!
The strong foes yield
To Christ, our shield,
And we, the victors, hold the field.

Cast afar this world’s vain pleasure
And boldly strive for heav’nly treasure.
Be steadfast in the Savior’s might.
Trust the Lord, who stands beside you,
For Jesus from all harm will hide you.
By faith you conquer in the fight.
Take courage, weary soul!
Look forward to the goal!
Joy awaits you.
The race well run,
Your long war won,
Your crown shines splendid as the sun.

Wisely fight, for time is fleeting;
The hours of grace are fast retreating;
Short, short is this our earthly way.
When the Lord the dead will waken
And sinners all by fear are shaken,
The saints with joy will greet that day.
Praise God, our triumph’s sure.
We need not long endure
Scorn and trial.
Our Savior King
His own will bring

To that great glory which we sing.

Text: Wilhelm E. Arends, 1677–1721; tr. John M. Sloan, b. 1835, alt. WACHET AUF
Tune: Philipp Nicolai, 1556–1608 P M
Text and tune: Public domain

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Loving Nature - St. Boniface

     The creation of God is very important to us. In the Catechism we remember:  “God has made me and all creatures. He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears and all my members, my reason and all my senses and still preserves them. He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life...

     In a number of places, as in Psalm 148, the Bible says that the creation itself praises the Creator. The creation is the handiwork of God and shows us His wisdom and power (Psalm 19).  Jesus showed a great appreciation for nature. Many of His teachings were given in the lecture halls of grass, sea, hills, and sky. He prayed in the fields and in the gardens.

     But people have always been tempted to fall in love with the creation and to look upon it as god. Paul warned about this problem in the first chapter of his letter to the Romans when he said there are those who “exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Romans 1.25). Moses warned to “take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage” (Deuteronomy 4.19). 

     On June 5th the church remembered St. Boniface, who was the first missionary to the Germanic people. They worshiped nature gods such as Woden (from which we still get the name “Wednesday”) and Donar (the German version of Thor). These gods were worshiped with sacred trees and sacrifices of both animals and humans. One of the most significant acts of Boniface was to chop down the sacred Oak of Donar. When the god did not strike him down, the people were amazed and converted to Christianity.  Since then many barbarians who worshiped nature gods were converted to Christianity.*

     However, today many people are reverting.  First they turn away from the belief that God is the Creator of the universe to the idea that the universe created itself. Then they conclude that the universe, the creation itself, is god.  (This was the view of the philosopher Spinoza.) The tragedy of this is that the universe, as beautiful as it may be in many respects, gives us no moral guidance or forgiveness of sins for that matter. Nature may be beautiful one minute, but it can be “red in tooth and claw” the next (In Memoriam, Alfred Lord Tennyson). Richard Dawkins uses this phrase in his book The Selfish Gene as he explains that selfishness is simply the reality of life. Selfishness is the only law that that the nature god teaches just as St. Paul warned.

     It is important that we worship the Creator rather than the creation. This is because the creation is flawed, broken, and fallen. To worship the creation is to worship death and destruction, meaninglessness and emptiness. But the God who created all things to be very good is also the God who can renew the goodness of creation. He sent His Son into this world to remove sin and all its effects.  This is why the Apostle Paul also said in Romans chapter eight that “… the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (8.21).  So, just as we are forgiven of our sins by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, so, in God’s greater plan of salvation, the creation will also be delivered from its present corruption.

     So, the best thing anyone can do for this creation is to confess our sins to the Creator and believe in the Savior.  With sin thus removed and restrained we can acknowledge the Creator and serve Him in His creation. Amen. 

*However he did not fare as well with the Frisian Tribe. After baptizing a great number of them he and fifty-two of his companions were killed. The ancient Ragyndrudis Codex was found at the spot and contains incisions that could have been made with a sword or axe.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Book Review: Brain on Fire by Suzannah Catalan

Brain on Fire by Suzannah Cahalan

This book provides an amazing window into the agonies of mental illness. While the book focuses on a certain type of mental illness, you’ll also learn about others. After reading this book you’ll have a greater appreciation for all who struggle with mental illness.

My Notes (I apologize for the randomness of these notes. These are just a few things that I found interesting.)

S’s problems began with two red bumps on her arm that she thought must have been bed-bug bites. From there the paranoia began to grow and grow until she began to have zombie like features.

Different Types of Seizures:  Zombie like moves, staring episodes, foggy consciousness, repetitive mouth or body movements. Long-term effects can be cognitive defects and death.

S. was drooling and smacking her lips. It seemed like she was sleeping with her eyes open.

Dr. Najar was the first doctor to really understand what was happening with S. He grew up in Damascus, Syria.

Dr. Najar gave her the clock test. He told her to draw a circle and then add the numbers for each hour. S. drew the circle, but when she wrote the numbers they were all on one side of the circle. Dr. Najar took this test to show that the problem was only in one side of her brain.

Anti-NMDA-REceptor Encephalitis
NMDA Receptors are vital for learning and behavior. They are mostly in the hippocampus and the frontal lobes. They either excite a neuron to fire or supress it. Antibodies were attaching to the surface of the neurons preventing them from sending chemical signals. Decrease NMDA Receptors by 40% and you get psychosis. By 70% you have catatonia. Catatonia is the height of the disease. If untreated, it can progress to breathing failure, coma and sometimes death. For 70% the disease begins like flu - headaches, nausea, etc. After two-weeks psychiatric issues begin - insomnia, anxiety, fear, grandiose delusions, hyper religiosity, and paranoia. 75% have seizures. Language and memory deficits arise. Autonomic issues develope such as too low or too high of a heart rate. 50% it is started by an ovarian tumor called a terratoma. In the other 50% the cause is never discovered. The terratoma was discovered by a German doctor in the 1800s. Terraton=monster in Greek. These tumors have hair, teeth, bone, even eyes, limbs and brain tissue. They are found in the reproductive organs and head.

Treatment: Steriods, Plasmapheresis (to remove the antibodies), IV IG.
Drugs: Prednezone (sp?) and Adivan (to treat catatonia), Geodone (psychosis), Trileptitol (seizures), Labetilol (high blood pressure), Nexium (acid reflux), Colase (constipation)

S went to college in St. Louis (I think Wash U.)

Deborah was a roomate diagnosed with colon cancer. She was very heavy. The nurses liked her. When she found out she had cancer, the nurses prayed with her. Over and over again Deborah said, “God is good. God is good.” When they all left, S said to Deborah, “God is good.” At one of the most intense times when it seemed possible that S would never be cured, her father went to a church to pray. These are the only two references in the book to seeking God’s help. However, at least they did cry out to God when all seemed to be lost.

The brain can create new neurons - process called neurogenesis. Our brains are like a computer that can create new hardware. This is also called neuroplasticity.

As S was improving she planned her day noting every little thing she did such as “walk to town” or “read the papers.” This was important because it showed that the frontal lobe was starting to repair itself.

The hippocampus tags a memory with context. The amygdala provides the emotion (fear, excitement, pain). When a thought is stamped by the amygdala with high emotional value, it’s more likely to be preserved. This is called encoding and consolidation. When any part of this is compromised, the memory may not be formed. (This is an important thing for teachers to consider. If we simply dole out information, it may not be remembered. We need to try to give the information in ways that might create stronger memories. I try to tag my teaching with life-stories that I hope make an emotional impact.)

Dr. Loftus studied memory problems. Scientists discovered that when memories are recalled they are sometimes remade and can be distorted. A memory can be distorted by one person, and that distortion can be shared and spread to others.

In the last part of the book she wondered about how people in the past were treated who had this disease. The disease has been diagnosed in children. She noted that the symptoms of the disease were similar to the the symptoms that were displayed by the character in the book The Exorcist.

S. thinks that Dr. Najar might be on the verge of breaking the barrier between immunology, neurology and psychiatry.

S. contacted one of her first doctors (a neurologist) who thought that her problems were due to alcohol abuse. When she told him about the disease, he indicated that he had never heard of it. Yet it had been widely circulated in every major medical journal and in the New York Times (This shows one of the great problems in the medical field - doctors who learn a lot in medical school but who stop learning later in their practice. This is also a big problem among clergy and probably only most any profession.) She notes that he saw 35 people a day. He had to do this to maintain the bottom line. She said it is a bad system. (However neurologists have very high salaries. They should be higher due to the higher skill level and training required. But could part of the problem also be their desire to make more and more money at the expense of lower quality medical care?)

Book Review: Spark, by John J. Ratey

This book explains the brain chemistry behind something most people have always known: exercise makes us feel better. But Ratey goes on to show how exercise can help us learn and fight against mental problems such as depression and anxiety. One of the most important premises of the book is that there is a relationship between movement and brain development and brain health. 

Here are some notes that I took:

Chapter One

In Naperville, Illinois. a high school began focusing on fitness more than sports. Students wore heart rate monitors when they exercised. There was a noticable improvement in learning.

Study from Virginia Tech showed that more time for study did not increase grades. Chap 1

The brain can be built up. It has a “plasticity.” Exercise fosters this quality. 

Thoughts and behavior are controlled by the interactions of the neurons. The brain is not “hard-wired.” Rather it is constantly being rewired.

Synapse – junction between brain cells. An electrical signal shoots down the axon (outgoing branch). A chemical neuro transmitter carries the signal across the gap. The dentrite receives the chemical signal and turns the signal back into electricity. If the electrical charge is high enough, it will fire a signal along its axon to another neuron. Eighty percent of signals are carried out by two neuro transmitters. Glutamate stirs up activity. Gama Amino Buteric Acid (GABA) clamps down on activity. When neurons fire together often, they become bound together. 

The following neuro-transmitters control brain activity.

Seratonin – The policeman of the brain, influences mood and aggressiveness. Seretonin drugs (Prozac) help control runaway brain activity such as depression or obsessive compulsiveness.

Norepinephrine – Controls attention, perception, motivation, arousal,

Dopamine – Learns rewards, satisfaction, attention, and movement. Ridelin affects dopamine

Most drugs work with one or more of these neuro-transmitters.

Exercise elevates serotonin and dopamine. Exercise balances neuro-transmitters. Keeping your brain in balance can change your life.

Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor BDNF – a neuro-trophin, actually builds the brain infrastructure. It nourishes neurons like fertilizer.
When we hear a new word, a group of neurons fire and “bind” together. The more that same group fires and interacts, the more bound the group becomes. This is what causes us to remember the word.

Synaptic Plasticity – BDNF sprinkled on neurons in a petri dish automatically sprouted new dendrons. BDNF also helps with the over all function of the neuron. It also works against natural cell death. It is a crucial biological link between thought, emotions and movement.

Sea Squirt – simple spinal cord and brain. After it is born it swims around until it finally attaches to something. When it does this, it eats its brain. It lives the rest of its life much more like a plant. Rodolpho Lenas says: “That which we call thinking is the evolutionary internalization of movement.”

Hippocampus – serves as a way station that bundles up a series of neuron connections related to something we have learned. When we learn a new word the prefrontal cortex lights up as well as the hippocampus.

Article in Nature – exercise increases BDNF. 

Carl Cottman: exercise sparks the molecule BDNF that affects learning. Chap 2

BDNF molecules increased in mice that exercise. Chap 2

BDNF helps neurons to sprout new branches which helped with learning. Chap 2

A Harvard study showed that less sensory stimulation reduced the brain. A cat with one eye sewn shut also showed a reduction in part of its brain. Chap 2

We were told that brain cells do not grow back. But this is not true. Advanced imaging tools showed this in cancer patients. Chap 2

Exercise does three things: 1. Improves alertness, attention and motivation , 2. Encourages nerve cells to bind to one another, essential for learning new information, 3. It stimulates production of new nerve cells from stem cells in the hippocampus.

Blood flow goes away from the brain during intense exercise. It flows back after exercise, and that is a good time for learning.

Exercise produces healthier, bushier and more connected neurons throughout the brain. Chap 2

Running rats were compared to rats who were required to do acrobatic maneuvers (running on a rail, etc.). The acrobatic rats had a 35% increase of BDNF in the cerebellum. 
The more complex the movements, the more complex the synaptic connections.

When our brain creates complex synaptic connections, they can be coopted for learning. A student who learns piano will find it easier to learn mathematics because the prefrontal cortex uses the synaptic connections created during the effort to learn piano to learn mathematics. Chap 2

This applies to yoga, ballet and things like that. Chap 2 

Stress is a threat to the body’s equilibrium. Getting out of a chair is stressful. Every thing we do when we move, learn, etc. is a form of stress. The emotions that we feel when we have stress due to a job loss, for example, are the result of many neurons firing. The difference is a matter of degree. Chap 2

Exercise controls the emotional feelings of stress. Neurons get broken down and built up just like muscles. Stressing them makes them more resilient. Stress and recovery. Chap 2

In limited doses, stress causes brain cells to over compensate. Neuro scientists call this Stress Innoculation. Challenges allow us to strive and grow and learn. Stress is a necessity. Chap 2

The amygdala assigns intensity to incoming information. Any strong emotional state can stimulate the amygdala. The emigdyla connects to many parts of the brain. The emigdyla triggers hormones such as adrenelin. The amygdala can also tell the brain to remember certain sensory experiences. Because of this we can actually set off the stress response simply by imagining a stressful situation. We can think ourselves into a frenzy. But mind affects the body. But the body can also affect the mind. Chap 2

Stress Response: Epinephrine causes the body to focus and increases blood pressure. Endorphins are released to blunt pain. Less important biological functions stop. The digestive system shuts down. The mouth stops producing syliva. The bladder muscles relax (causing you to pee your pants?) Your muscles and your brain get stiff. All this causes us to freeze. Chap 2

Norepinephrine and dopamine also causes us to focus. This is why these drugs are used to help students who can’t focus. Epinephrine causes the production of glucose which is the fuel for the brain. Cortisal also causes the production of glucose. It also triggers the process by which used energy is replaced by stimulating the production of fat. This is why marathon runners sometimes have a little belly fat despite all their training. Chap 2
Procrastination leads to stress. Stress unleashes the stress response which includes norepinephrine and dopamine to cause us to focus. After this they can sit down and do the work. 

Chapter Three

Paleolithic Rhythm: As hunter/gatherers we had periods of intense stress.
Our output of energy per unit of body mass is less than 38% of our Stone Age anscestors. (How would he know this?) Even if we eat the number of calories the government recommends and exercise 30 minutes a day, we would expend half the energy for which our genes are encoded (We are designed to burn more energy.). Paleolithic man walked 5-10 miles on an average day. There is a mismatch between our lifestyle and our genes. Chap 3

We watch too much news. This heaps on the stress. But we think we can handle it. Then we try to relieve it with food or alcohol. Chap 3

Stressful events trigger stress responses that include the production of glucose. This is why we are often hungry when stressed. Chap 3

Isolating rats increased stress hormones. It is stressful to be shunned or isolated. Adding physical activity causes us to become more socially active. It boosts our social lives. Chap 3

Mice and rats that were fed less lived up to 40% longer than others. 

Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor - BDNF - is a big focus of brain scientists. Exercise increases this growth factor and others. Chap 3

Antioxidants often have toxins. They induce a little stress. Broccoli does this. Broccoli does not have enough antioxidants to have a positive effect. The toxins cause mild stress which challenges the cells by producing unwanted waste. Chap 3

2004. Joshua B Folks. Univ of Southern Mississippi. Students with anxiety were put into two groups. One group did mild exercise. The other did more demanding exercise. Rigorous showed more benefit. The theory is that we become more comfortable with a higher heart rate and respiration rate and do not consider it noxious. Chap 3

Anxiety is fear. Fear is the memory of danger. The amygdala tags sense experiences associated with danger and burns them into memory. But the prefrontal cortex tells the amygdala to back off. If this doesn't happen, we can become overwhelmed by too many “fears.” Chap 3

Classical musicians sometimes take beta blockers to keep them from sweating and becoming too tense. chap 3

Chapter Four

For many years doctors thought that exercise made anxiety worse. However many studies showed the opposite. Andreus Brooks showed that people with anxiety improved with exercise that was gradually increased. They did as well as another group that took clomipramine. The author recommends both. This is particularly important with children. Kids with anxiety are more likely to develop depression later in life. He also recommended exercising with another person. This affects serotonin. Rigorous exercise for at least 15 minutes per day. Exercise may not be able to replace medication. The more you engage with the world, the more you can cope with the anxiety. Talk therapy is also important. Chap 4

Depression is identified by a psychological test and then trial and error with drugs. What is the biological cause of depression? Monoamine neuro transmitters: norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin. Monoamine Hypothesis: Depression is caused by a deficit in these three neuro transmitters. 

Wiki: norepinephrine
The general function of norepinephrine is to mobilize the brain and body for action. Norepinephrine release is lowest during sleep, rises during wakefulness, and reaches much higher levels during situations of stress or danger, in the so-called fight-or-flight response. In the brain, norepinephrine increases arousal and alertness, promotes vigilance, enhances formation and retrieval of memory, and focuses attention; it also increases restlessness and anxiety. In the rest of the body, norepinephrine increases heart rate and blood pressure, triggers the release of glucose from energy stores, increases blood flow to skeletal muscle, reduces blood flow to the gastrointestinal system, and promotes voiding of the bladder and large intestine.

The author was doing research on the medicinal approach. He saw an article from Norway about treating depression with exercise. In the 1970s there was running craze. Running increased endorphins. These are stress hormones that helps ignore pain. However endorphins produced by exercise cannot pass into the brain. But there some endorphins that are produced in the brain. Chap 4

Mind, brain and body all work together. Chap 4

Study of 8,000 beginning in 1965 showed that those who exercise had less depression. Dutch and Finnish studies showed similar results. There is an inverse relationship between exercise and depression. Chap 4

Prozac was one of the first drugs known to affect Seratonin. Chap 4

Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). It prevented recycling of Seratonin. It squelched negativity and boosted self esteem. It doesn't work for everyone. Side affects: Lack of sex desire. Muzzling sexual desire can affect our overall passion for life. It can be difficult to withdraw from them. Chap 4

Exercise elevates levels of Norepinephrine. It wakes up the brain. It boosts Dopamine which improves mood and feelings of wellness. It jumps stars the attention system. Seratonin is affected by exercise and affects mood, self-control and self-esteem. It affects the hipocampus and learning. Chap 4

SMILE - Standard, Medical, Intervention, and Long-term Exercise Study 1999 James Bloomenthal - Exercise pitted against Certyline (Zoloft) Three Groups: 1. Used Zoloft 2. Exercised 3. Did Both. 

The exercise group did walking or jogging at 75% of their maximum heart rate for 30 minutes with 10 minute warmup and 10 minute cooldown three times a week. Results: All three groups showed a drop in depression. Conclusion: Exercise is as effective as medication. 

One third of depressed people achieve full remission with anti-depressants. One third feel better but have problems with fatigue. They have the shadows of depression. Chap 4

Norepinephrine, Dopamine, and Seratonin are neurotrasmitters. They can only do so much if the actual structure (good connections) of the neurons is decreased. Depression has shown to decrease neuron developement and adaptation in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Depression affects learning at the cellular level. 

2005, Genome Biology, Alexandar Nikolesku see depression as a survival instinct. In an environment void of hope, the body conserves resources. Keep still and stay out of harm’s way. 

Chapter Five

The best kind of behavioral therapy is just to do something, go outside, go for a walk, do something. Exercise reprograms the prefrontal cortex. 

Even people who have a negative attitude toward exercise report a positive feeling immediately after exercise. 

It is good to exercise that in a setting that promotes social interaction. 

Medruca Trivetti and Andrea Dunn - Five Groups - Calories burned per body weight per week - At the end of three months the group that did high intensity exercise (1400 calories/week in 3-5 sessions or 8cal/lb) cut their depression in half. The low exercise group that burned 560 calories/week or 3 cal/lb showed results that were only a little better than those who did no exercise. 

Public health recommendation for exercise level is 30 minutes per day at moderate intensity. 

Multiply your body weight by 8 to figure out how many calories you need to burn a week (3-6 workouts) to be in the high intensity category.

Victims of depression often have sleep disturbance… Sleep inertia… Either trouble getting going or stopping. The key is to get moving and to do it everyday. 

Omega 3 Supplements are proven to help depression. 

Loosen up brainlock and go take a walk.

Move the body and the brain will have to follow. Trick the brain into coming out of hibernation.

Chapter Six - Hyperactivity

ADHD - First defined in the Third Edition of the DSM of 1980.
Hyperactivity is found more often in boys.
These kids need to be moving. They tend to do well in sports.
In adults it can show up in road rage. They often struggle with impatience. Inattention or distractability is the constant in ADHD.

Movement and attention share overlapping pathways.

2006 Arthur Kramer University of Illinois, MRI scans showed that walking 3 days a week for six months increased the volume of the prefrontal cortex in older adults. Also improvement in working memory.

Exercise increases levels of norepinephrine and dopamine. 

The best approach is to exercise in the morning, and then to take the medication an hour later. Exercise can lower the amount of medication needed. 

Arrange your day to keep things focused. Try to keep moving the ball forward rather than allowing it to ricochet off the walls. 

Many ADHD people are using coaches to help them with this.

Chapter Seven - Addiction

Sex increases dopamine levels 50-100%. Cocaine sends dopamine skyrocketing 300-800% beyond normal levels. It’s not just about pleasure. Dopamine is the key factor in the reward system. Dopamine is involved in wanting but not in liking. One of the functions of the prefrontal cortex is to decide between risk and reward. Cocaine is known to diminish the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal corex is not fully developed until in the twenties. Drug use before than can leave a person with an under developed prefrontal cortex.