TGIF-Some Weekend Reading



I love reading about the brain and all of the discoveries that have been made since I first began studying to be a nurse at NYU in 1970. At that time, we knew relatively little about the brain compared to the present. With the advent of MRI and the PET scan, we now know much more about the brain’s plasticity, how the brain works and changes as we develop and age.

Read about how “curiosity” affects how we learn…


“Curiosity may put the brain in a state that allows it to learn and retain any kind of information, like a vortex that sucks in what you are motivated to learn, and also everything around it“. This means that once the brain is stimulated via curiosity, it is much more effective at learning and memory functions.



Vaccines are important, as is herd immunity, which has become a news item very recently since the outbreaks of pertussis in some areas of the country.

I believe it is important to understand all the facts about vaccination and community living before you choose to leave your child unprotected and susceptible to a deadly disease which has been under control for so many years.

We now have Ebola on our shores…I am wondering how many people would opt for a vaccination against Ebola if it were available?

And that’s where I feel like it’s legitimate for us to examine what they’re doing around vaccination. Because it is a question of citizenship. That can get forgotten as we get more and more isolationist in the way we approach parenting and families. There’s so much emphasis on making it a perfect world within the home, on making it non-toxic and sealed off from the world and safe in every way. It becomes this bubble we bring up the child within. And the more we bubble ourselves, we let ourselves pretend that we can create an alternate little world in the home. It lets us forget the ways in which we are essentially dependent on the community at large and what we owe the community at large.



Is parenthood a type of religion? Are you afraid to criticize your own child even if it is “constructive” criticism? How does your own marriage fare compared to your relationship with your children?

All interesting thoughts to consider as we raise our children and grandchildren. How is our culture determining the future of our kids and our marriages. Remember, Amy Chua and her book about being a Tiger Mom? The reaction was fierce…it was a cultural difference.

Have a look at our own culture!

Another sign of the parenthood religion is that it has become totally unacceptable in our culture to say anything bad about our children, let alone admit that we don’t like them all of the time. We are allowed to say bad things about our spouses, our parents, our aunts and uncles, but try saying, “My kid doesn’t have a lot of friends because she’s not a super likable person,” and see how fast you get dropped from the PTA.

This week TGIF is posted late…but I sure hope you read it!

Related posts:

Vaccine controversy…history repeats itself…

DESPITE overwhelming evidence to the contrary, roughly one in five Americans believes that vaccines cause autism — a disturbing fact that will probably hold true even after the publication this month, in a British medical journal, of a report thoroughly debunking the 1998 paper that began the vaccine-autism scare.

That’s because the public’s underlying fear of vaccines goes much deeper than a single paper. Until officials realize that, and learn how to counter such deep-seated concerns, the paranoia — and the public-health risk it poses — will remain.

via A Century of Vaccine Scares –

Vaccines have always carried with them an underlying fear…what if you get the disease from the vaccine is a question I hear very often when the flu shot is offered every fall. ” Oh, the only time I got the flu is right after a flu shot…so I don’t want to get it again.”

For those of us in medicine and who work in hospitals the flu shot has become mandatory in recent years otherwise you cannot work. Only those with an allergy to eggs  or who have had a reaction to the flu shot in the past are exempt from getting the vaccine. With so many adults fearful of a flu shot, why is it that we are surprised when parents do not want their children vaccinated?

I am not quite sure.

As for my own history with vaccines…I can remember when the polio vaccine trials came out  in the 1950’s. It was being offered in public schools in New York. Many parents allowed their children to receive the vaccine at school.

My mother however, did not go along with mass inoculation trials at school. I personally remember the chatter among family in our living room. Most of it centered around whether or not the vaccine was safe. “What if you could actually get polio from the vaccine?” Polio could be deadly or severely crippling. My mother wanted to wait and see for herself.

“The report”, wrote the New York Times, “was a medical classic.” Dr. Francis reported that the vaccinations had been 80 to 90 percent effective on the basis of results in eleven states. Overall, the vaccine was administered to over 440,000 children in forty-four states, three Canadian provinces and in Helsinki, Finland,[3] and the final report required the evaluation of 144,000,000 separate items of information. After the announcement, when asked whether the effectiveness of the vaccine could be improved, Salk said, “Theoretically, the new 1955 vaccines and vaccination procedures may lead to 100 percent protection from paralysis of all those vaccinated.”[18]

via Jonas Salk – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

When it seemed that all was safe…I received the polio vaccine at my pediatrician’s office.

So with a history of fear surrounding vaccines there is no wonder that parents are nervous when it comes to the relationship of autism and vaccines. This fear will not easily be put to rest…but parents must be judicious and not expose their children to other deadly diseases if there is not a valid connection between vaccines and autism.

With the new findings concerning the study of MMR vaccine and autism it seems that this fear should be put to rest…however it may be very difficult for that to happen since the public has been duped once by medical researchers in this case and now they may be fearful for another reason, unethical behavior on the part of researchers.

So who are parents supposed to believe?

It is my feeling that because there has been a long time with out an outbreak of some of these very serious and deadly illnesses parents have become somewhat cavalier about the actual need for all children to receive immunizations. Healthcare professionals need to do their homework and talk to parents about childhood immunizations before we do succumb to another epidemic of one of these horrible diseases.

More on Vaccines and Autism from “March of Dimes”

More information on this very important topic…if you have been plagued by questions of whether or not to vaccinate your children being informed may help you make this very important decision regarding the health of your child.

Vaccines and autism

As you undoubtedly have seen in the news lately, the controversy around vaccines, particularly the MMR vaccine, and a possible link toautism is yet again a hot topic.  We reported last February that The Lancet, the journal that originally printed Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 original study that implicated vaccines as a cause of autism, had issued a complete retraction after finding several elements of the research were flawed. This week, the British Medical Journal and investigator Brian Deer uncovered “clear evidence of falsification” of Wakefield’s data, which studied only 12 children.

Dr. Wakefield’s research has been questioned for years, and the ethics violations that have come to light are further sad indications that vaccines do not cause autism. As reported previously, the courts and several large-scale studies since have found no evidence of any link.

There are many children suffering from autism and other health disorders. More research must be done to find the cause and cure of this and other health conditions affecting children. One might say that sadly, well over a decade of time, energy, funding and other resources has been spent embroiled in the vaccine controversy. Others, however, feel that Dr. Wakefield’s publication created intense focus on one possible cause of the complex problem of autism, a condition that greatly needs scientific research.  Hopefully, future efforts will be more productive.

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