Your Weekly Dose of #5ThoughtsFriday: A description of what we think is important at BIAMD
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Here are the 5 things we thought were
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Drinking to excess is well recognized to be detrimental to brain health, but drinking in moderation has long been considered a harmless habit. In the past decade or so, the idea that a drink or two a day may actually have health benefits has gained momentum, fueled by studies finding a link between moderate drinking and lower risk of cardiovascular incidents and dementia. Yet evidence for neural correlates that might explain the brain benefits seen in observational studies has been lacking. Moreover, some studies have shown detrimental brain changes in moderate drinkers, leaving scientific consensus on the question elusive. 

“I don’t think there’s any controversy that alcohol can damage your brain; it’s a question of what level of alcohol damages your brain,” said George Koob, the director of the  National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) . “If you’re asking if moderate drinking of one or two drinks a day harms your brain, the answer is that it’s very, very controversial.”

Adding to the controversy is a study published this summer in the British Medical Journal–and widely reported in the lay press–which threw water on the popular idea that a few drinks a week can’t hurt and might help your brain.

So To Merlot or Not to Merlot?

Maryland hospitals rank near the bottom nationwide when it comes to avoiding medical errors, accidents, injuries and infections, according to a new assessment by the Leapfrog Group.

The assessment generally drew a reserved response from area hospital administrators, who say safety is a top priority and they are always working to do better.

“We all want to improve quality,” said David Simon, a spokesman for the Maryland Hospital Association. “You just have to look at how it’s all measured.”

Hospital officials noted there are many such assessments available to patients — all using different criteria — and cautioned that the rankings confuse consumers.

Leapfrog assigned Maryland hospitals letter grades based on a range of patient safety measures.

Only one of the state’s 44 hospitals,  Howard County General Hospital , earned an A, while seven received a B. The majority earned a C, while eight got a D and one — Bon Secours Hospital in West Baltimore — received an F.

Breathing is not just for oxygen; it’s now linked to brain function and behavior.

Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered for the first time that the rhythm of breathing creates electrical activity in the human brain that enhances emotional judgments and memory recall.

These effects on behavior depend critically on whether you inhale or exhale and whether you breathe through the nose or mouth.

In the study, individuals were able to identify a fearful face more quickly if they encountered the face when breathing in compared to breathing out. Individuals also were more likely to remember an object if they encountered it on the inhaled breath than the exhaled one. The effect disappeared if breathing was through the mouth.

“One of the major findings in this study is that there is a dramatic difference in brain activity in the amygdala and hippocampus during inhalation compared with exhalation,” said lead author Christina Zelano, assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “When you breathe in, we discovered you are stimulating neurons in the olfactory cortex, amygdala and hippocampus, all across the limbic system.”

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 2) What We Are Reading That You Might Enjoy...
Dr. Eben Alexander, author of international phenomenon  Proof of Heaven,  shares the next phase of his journey to understand the true nature of consciousness and how to cultivate a state of harmony with the universe and our higher purpose.

In 2008, Dr. Eben Alexander’s brain was severely damaged by a devastating case of bacterial meningitis, and he lapsed into a weeklong coma. It was almost certainly a death sentence, but he miraculously survived and brought back with him an astounding story. During those 7 days in coma, he was plunged into the deepest realms of consciousness and came to understand profound truths about the universe we inhabit. What he learned changed everything he knew about the brain, mind, and consciousness and drove him to ask a question confounding the entire scientific community: How do you explain the origins of consciousness if it is not a byproduct of the brain? His challenge relates to a revolutionary shift now underway within our modern scientific understanding.

Ultimately, direct experience is key to fully understanding how we are all connected through the binding force of unconditional love and its unlimited power to heal.
In  Living in a Mindful Universe,  the  New York Times  bestselling author of  Proof of Heaven  and  The Map of Heaven  shares his insights into the true nature of consciousness.

  (If you decide to buy anything mentioned in #5ThoughtsFriday, don't forget to use  Amazon Smile  and select the Brain Injury Association of Maryland as your donation beneficiary.) 
1) Quote We Are Contemplating...

" We are put on this planet only once, and to limit ourselves to the familiar is a crime against our minds.”

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  Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful weekend.
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