The truth about the brain

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the truth about the brain

Blaming the Brain: The Truth About Drugs and Mental Health by Elliot S. Valenstein

Over the last thirty years, there has been a radical shift in thinking about the causes of mental illness. The psychiatric establishment and the health care industry have shifted 180 degrees from blaming mother to blaming the brain as the source of mental disorders. Whereas experience and environment were long viewed as the root causes of most emotional problems, now it is common to believe that mental disturbances -- from depression and anxiety to schizophrenia -- are determined by brain chemistry. And many people have come to accept the broader notion that their very personalities are determined by brain chemistry as well. In his award-winning, meticulously researched, and elegantly written history of psychosurgery, Great and Desperate Cures, Elliot Valenstein exposed the great injury to thousands of lives that resulted when the medical establishment embraced an unproven approach to mental illness. Now, in Blaming the Brain he exposes the many weaknesses inherent in the scientific arguments supporting the widely accepted theory that biochemical imbalances are the main cause of mental illness. Valenstein reveals how, beginning in the 1950s, the accidental discovery of a few mood-altering drugs stimulated an enormous interest in psychopharmacology, resulting in staggering growth and profits for the pharmaceutical industry. He lays bare the commercial motives of drug companies and their huge stake in expanding their markets. Prozac, Thorazine, and Zoloft are just a few of the psychoactive drugs that have dramatically changed practice in the mental health profession. Physicians today prescribe them in huge numbers even though, as several major studies reveal, their effectiveness and safety have been greatly exaggerated.

Part history, part science, part exposé, and part solution, Blaming the Brain sounds a clarion call throughout our culture of quick-fix pharmacology and our increasing reliance on drugs as a cure-all for mental illness. This brilliant, provocative book will force patients, practitioners, and prescribers alike to rethink the causes of mental illness and the methods by which we treat it.
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Brain development from newborn to adult is surrounded by many assumptions, myths, and false models.
Elliot S. Valenstein

The Truth About Your Brain

They are myths—falsehoods that are widely believed. Some myths are based on a modicum of truth, while others arise from misinterpretations or from a need for a great sound bite. However they come to be, they disguise themselves as truths and are commonly passed along without question. But over the past few decades, scientists have learned more than enough to discredit a few popular brain myths. Brain Fact: You use your entire brain.

This is the high school version of activity #1: The truth about your brain. There are 3 parts to this LearnStorm growth mindset activity. Understand how your brain changes and grows when you challenge yourself to learn new things.
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What do these statements all have in common?

The human brain is amazing — made of billion neurons that control everything from your movement to your personality. The truth is… Neurologists agree that the brain is always active, rapidly firing millions of neurons in the brain, even when you are sleeping. The truth is… Intelligence is determined by the number of connections between brain cells, called synapses, not by the size of the brain itself. Fun Fact: An explosion of synapse formation occurs at about week 12 of a pregnancy, during early brain development. However, binge drinking or frequent, sustained drinking can damage the ends of neurons, called dendrites. This damage can affect the ability for neurons to convey messages to each other.

Because the human brain is usually covered with a skull and scalp and hair and sometimes even a hat, we don't know much about it. We know it looks like a cauliflower, but aside from that, it's mostly conjecture. For this reason, there have been many misconceptions about the brain. Popular Science has, just yesterday, exploded these myths. What follows are the myths, as well as the not-as-fun truth.

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