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  • Epigenetics: The Impact of Environment on Development Epigenetics: The Impact of Environment on Development

    Epigenetics: The Impact of Environment on Development

Epigenetics: The Impact of Environment on Development

In new article published online in ADDitude Magazine, Dr. Joel Nigg reviews some recent findings on the impact of environment on the development of ADHD traits. Long thought to be strictly a genetically inherited brain dysfunction, increasing amounts of research (along with increasing amounts of attention paid to previous research) are demonstrating a clear link between ADHD development and the environment. This field of research, focusing on the link between genes and environment, is known as epigenetics. In this case, the prefix epi- refers to something beyond, over, or upon something else. In other words, epigenetics studies the factors beyond simple genetics (if there is such a thing as simple genetics) that influence the development of certain traits. In his article, Dr. Nigg states, “Epigenetics paints a much more complicated view of ADHD, but also a much more optimistic one; genes do not solely determine an individual’s fate.” For those who struggle with ADHD, the round pegs trying to fit into square holes, one of the bleakest aspects of daily life is the belief that things will always be this way and cannot be improved. Epigenetic research is telling us more and more that this belief is false. Nigg reports, […]

By |August 18th, 2017|Blog, Education, snippets|Comments Off on Epigenetics: The Impact of Environment on Development
  • I Don’t Know Why: The Story of My Childhood I Don’t Know Why: The Story of My Childhood

    I Don’t Know Why: The Story of My Childhood

I Don’t Know Why: The Story of My Childhood

This is another excerpt from my book, “Teddy Hit Me”. Enjoy my pain… “When I was four years old, living in Castlegar, BC, my mom’s friend was over for a visit. With her she brought her son, another active four-year-old boy that I sometimes played with at church. We lived in a fairly rustic setting. OK, that’s an understatement; our backyard was a steep, tree-covered hill covered with dense bush. In other words, the perfect place for four-year-old boys to play completely unsupervised. The memory is a brief one but I remember standing above my playmate, slightly up the hill from where he was squatting and poking through the leaves and other foliage on the ground. Somehow, I ended up with a large rock in my hands. Yes, hands. It was big enough that it took two hands for me to lift it. I don’t remember if he looked at me at all, but there is a whisper of memory of him gazing up at me, where I stood holding the rock aloft, with a puzzled look on his face, as if questioning whether I was actually going to do what I appeared to be set to do. The answer […]

By |May 15th, 2017|Blog, snippets, Uncategorized|Comments Off on I Don’t Know Why: The Story of My Childhood
  • That Time I Pantsed Myself… That Time I Pantsed Myself…

    That Time I Pantsed Myself…

That Time I Pantsed Myself…

The following story is a brief excerpt from my book “Teddy Hit Me: Scattered Stories of an ADHD Life” (Currently in progress). I hope you enjoy my pain… You know how sometimes you might be watching TV while eating chips with dip and absent-mindedly dip the remote into the dip and try to change the channel with your chip? No? I’m sure some of you know what I’m talking about. My son just about brushed his teeth with Polysporin the other night because his mind was wandering somewhere else and reverted to its simple rule: squishy stuff in tubes go on the toothbrush. Anyway, when I was in grade 2, which seems to have been a fairly disastrous year, this tendency came back to bite me in a major way. There was this little girl, Gina, who sat in front of me, who, in retrospect, was seriously troubled. I remember being horrified one time as she turned around and said, “Hey Teddy, look at this.” and proudly displayed the thumbtack she had stabbed into her wrist. Anyway, one day after school, Gina was being scolded by the teacher, Mrs. Anderson, that picture of warmth who had spanked me loudly in […]

By |May 1st, 2017|Blog, snippets, Uncategorized|Comments Off on That Time I Pantsed Myself…
  • Book Excerpt: Impact of Fear on Recollection of Experience Book Excerpt: Impact of Fear on Recollection of Experience

    Book Excerpt: Impact of Fear on Recollection of Experience

Book Excerpt: Impact of Fear on Recollection of Experience

The following is a very brief excerpt from my book, “This is Not That” due to be completed in 2048, based on the current pace. Let me know what you think. “In a rather complicated study, Professor D.B. Fenker and his colleagues (2005) had subjects view a series of emotionally neutral words on a computer screen. Randomly, some words were preceded by pictures of fearful faces or other disturbing images. The exposure to these images, however, was so quick that the individual was not aware that they had even seen the image, referred to popularly as subliminal images. Participants were later shown lists of words and asked to say whether they recalled seeing a word (had a conscious memory of learning it) or knew they had seen the word (they knew they had seen it before but couldn’t remember where or when). The researchers found that when words were preceded by a frightening or unpleasant image, they were more accurately recognized, though not consciously recalled. The implications of this study, and others like it, are momentous. If the brain is so sensitive to negative stimulation as to react in such a powerful way to such an insignificant trigger, imagine its […]

By |July 9th, 2015|Blog, Education, snippets|Comments Off on Book Excerpt: Impact of Fear on Recollection of Experience
  • Perspective: The Gatekeeper Perspective: The Gatekeeper

    Perspective: The Gatekeeper

Perspective: The Gatekeeper

Often we are hard on ourselves when we don’t need to be, particularly when it comes to how much things that have happened to us continue to affect us. We like to think that we can just let things go, move on, and get over it but that’s just not how things actually work. Our past experiences continue to affect our current perception of events unless we actively try to overcome this natural tendency. Similarly, it is very difficult for a tall building to stand straight when the foundation is crooked. The only way to straighten the building is to work on the foundation, not the 30th floor. Often, when discussing current struggles with my clients, they will remark that they feel a lot of anxiety or depressed feelings “for absolutely no reason”. This is rarely the case. It is more accurate to say that they are feeling anxiety for no known reason, or no current reason. There’s always a reason. One way that is helpful for people to unlock the true impact of the past on their present is to get them to see it from outside of themselves. No, this does not involve high doses of hallucinogenic mushrooms, […]

  • Fighting Back Against Negativity Fighting Back Against Negativity

    Fighting Back Against Negativity

Fighting Back Against Negativity

Our brains are wired to look for the negative. Why is this? Stated simply, it’s about survival. Think about it: if you lived in the jungle and on your way home at the end of the day, if you didn’t stop to notice the pretty flowers, would it endanger you? No. But, if you didn’t notice the poisonous snake or the scary tiger or the cave-to-cave salesman, then you might actually be in danger. Thus, it is advantageous to our survival to keep an eye out for negative, unsafe, dangerous things. However, we don’t live in the jungle anymore and the threats to our survival aren’t quite as literal anymore. We haven’t yet gotten rid of this natural instinct however; it has just transferred to other threats, social threats. We look for signs of rejection, exclusion, not belonging, not measuring up, etc. We do so because belonging to the group equals safety. Or at least it used to; that’s another fossil from our pre-industrialized past. With the development of cities and technology, a man can actually be an island and survive. I’m not saying he will be the happiest man, but he will be alive. So, how do we overcome […]

  • Things I Was Wrong About, Vol. 3: I Don’t Need Any Help Things I Was Wrong About, Vol. 3: I Don’t Need Any Help

    Things I Was Wrong About, Vol. 3: I Don’t Need Any Help

Things I Was Wrong About, Vol. 3: I Don’t Need Any Help

Independence runs fiercely deep in my family. The ability to shrug off pain and keep going is a virtue valued by many, including those whom I love. I remember one time (of several such instances) when my dad and I were working together clearing some brush, using a wood-chipper. Let me assure you, this story doesn’t end as badly as you might think it does, as the wood-chipper plays a secondary role. Anyway, as my dad was feeding a tree branch into the chipper, the teeth grabbed it and sucked it in quicker than he was anticipating. Some of the auxiliary branches of the main branch were rapidly pulled forward, slicing across his face. He grunted and put his hand over his eye. I looked to see blood seeping between the fingers of his gloved hand. I had no idea what the severity of his injury was and I stopped to ask if he was ok. He responded by vigorously rubbing the blood out of his eye, revealing a gash across his eyelid. The gash quickly filled with blood again, which he wiped again. Then, instead of cleaning the wound and getting some medical attention, he just picked up the […]

  • I Want a Ladder for my Birthday (A Short Story) I Want a Ladder for my Birthday (A Short Story)

    I Want a Ladder for my Birthday (A Short Story)

I Want a Ladder for my Birthday (A Short Story)

Tim was four years old. His mom was a lot older than that. So was his dad. His brother Jeff was older too. Tim’s birthday was coming up soon. He knew exactly what he wanted. “I want a ladder for my birthday,” Tim told his mom. She didn’t hear because she was busy with “an important phone call”. Tim wondered why the phone call was so important. “I want a ladder for my birthday,” Tim told his dad. He didn’t hear because he was heading out the door to meet with “clients”. Tim wondered who “clients” was. “’Clients’ must be important too,” thought Tim. “I want a ladder for my birthday,” Tim told his brother Jeff. Jeff didn’t hear him because he was too busy ignoring everyone who wasn’t on TV. “I wish I was on TV,” thought Tim. At dinner, Tim told his parents, “I want a ladder for my birthday.” “That’s nice,” said his mom, who was reading a magazine about important people. “Hmmm,” said his dad, who was looking at something important on his computer. Jeff said nothing because Tim wasn’t on TV. Tim drew a picture of a ladder and colored it. He got some tape […]

  • Define This: Clarifying in Order to Communicate Define This: Clarifying in Order to Communicate

    Define This: Clarifying in Order to Communicate

Define This: Clarifying in Order to Communicate

You might read headlines in the newspaper such as “watching TV leads to depression” or “poor sleep habits linked to suicide risk” or “Justin Bieber is a train-wreck in progress”. All of these headlines are designed to grab your attention, summarize hours of research into a bite-sized piece of information (at least the first two), and lead you to a particular conclusion. While the truth of these statements is debatable, one thing they all have in common is their use of operational definitions. Operational definitions may not be the ones you find in the dictionary but they are adopted for the purpose of investigating a question, to ensure that everyone is on the same page. For example, if a researcher is interested in determining which kind of pasta is the most delicious, they must first define the terms pasta and delicious. Does pasta refer only to noodle-based dishes from Italy or does it include noodles from other regions such as Southeast Asia, India, or Japan? Should we include pasta dishes with sauce or without sauce? Should there be a limit to the ratio of sauce to pasta? How do we measure delicious? Can we objectify something as subjective as taste […]

  • Things I Was Wrong About, Vol 2. : I Have to Get Everything Done Things I Was Wrong About, Vol 2. : I Have to Get Everything Done

    Things I Was Wrong About, Vol 2. : I Have to Get Everything Done

Things I Was Wrong About, Vol 2. : I Have to Get Everything Done

As a person with ADHD, my mind doesn’t really have an ‘off’ switch. My working memory definitely has an off switch but my thinker is permanently stuck at full throttle. When I take medication for my ADHD symptoms, this is lessened, but even then, ideas are my constant companion. You know what else? Lots of those ideas are really good. I have ideas for things I want to write about, learn about, read about, sing about, and go and do. There are videos to be recorded, books to be written, charts and graphs to be populated with data to be analyzed. There are opportunities for networking, classes to be developed, marketed and taught, and scripts to be polished. I could go on (and on and on and on…) but you get my point. Of course the best time for this outpouring of initiative and creativity is when I finally lay down in my bed at night but it is not reserved solely for that time. When I was in university, my textbooks and research articles were full of notes in the margins pertaining not to the material I was reading but to ideas triggered by what I was reading. This […]

By |May 11th, 2015|Blog, Insight, snippets|Comments Off on Things I Was Wrong About, Vol 2. : I Have to Get Everything Done