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Category Archives: Insights and Therapies

Another way to approach obstacles

The Spirit of Prayer

prayeroverlap

 

The Curiosity

It was before starting Medical School. I was working in the area of Cognitive Remediation for a facility in Texas. I trained on administering various Neurocognitive Assessment tools and the use of cognitive remediation equipment. I used a number of available tasks and devices to help clients address various cognition deficits and/ or sequelae from head injuries. That was when I learned about the A620, a novel instrument for EEG biofeedback for analysis and therapy.

A620_RESULT

 

A620 EEG BIOFEEDBACK

In order to move on to my discussion, let us just say that this device made it possible for clients to improve in their mental aptitude and skills by reflecting on their own brain activity, prompted by audio cues generated by the device which was connected to a pc computer. I would hook up the client to the computer program by two leads, a ground wire on the ear and probe wire on a particular area at the top of the head by a conductive gel. This allows the device to monitor a general EEG signal spectrum. The operator then sets up the device to filter for a particular frequency,. The device then provides an audio sound or feeds the computer a “moment-by-moment” reward score for an “attention” game or “reward” graphic. Now clients could play a simple computer game without using their hands. Just by “thinking” correctly, the client could earn points and therefore “learn to optimize focus”. It was rather brilliant. I had clients that were failing in subjects at their school that was able to begin making the high grade as clients improved their attention skills.

 

BOYHKED_RESULT

BWAVECHART_RESULT

 

 

 

After setting up the machine, and mounting the probes to the client’s head, one can bring up a spectrum display as seen above. It is through the initial set-up that one can choose a target frequency (e.g. Beta, concentration) for reward points. When the device is set to filter beta, the brainwaves for concentration, as the client concentrates, the computer beeps and gives reward points; the higher the score, the greater the percentage of time spent concentrating.

What waveforms show up when we pray?

One Friday evening after seeing my last client, I was about to close up the office. Then I began to think about how brain activity changes under different conditions. I began to think about prayer and how it was much different from other routine daily activities. My, curiosity had me in a corner. The more I wondered, the more curious I became. I decided to take this unique opportunity and find out for myself. After hooking myself up to the device and after calibrating the machine for a broad-spectrum view, I determined that I would have 3 goal activity conditions.

Testing Conditions

1) 20 minutes of reading

2) 20 minutes of Math problems

3) 20 minutes of Praying

This was not the correct way to run an experimental design and the validity would be lacking since I was the only control. Nevertheless, if I had just a chance to just “peek in the box” of what happens when we pray, how could I just pass this chance up? Well, after a disruption-free hour, and completing each phase I ran the analysis. The reading phase revealed what I expected. There was some artifact but the strongest activity was around the beta level, mixed with Alpha (typical for ADHD). The Math phase seemed almost the same, but with much more alpha across the spectrum (always a hard subject for me to focus on). But as for the Prayer phase, what I discovered was far more than I expected.  I had thought that prayer was mostly about concentrating, and therefore the beta wave was going to be the highest activity mixed with alpha waves. But No. What I found was two distinct patterns occurring at the same time, with minimal artifact. They were cleaner than the waveforms observed in the other conditions. But equally astonishing was the fact that these separate waves (Theta and Beta), were triple the amplitude of the other conditions! I felt a chill up my spine. What could this mean? I cleaned up the setting and left for home. I had some research to do.

Meditating like a re-chewing

So, beta waves are generated under concentration conditions. Theta waves occur in meditative states or when experiencing one a hypnotic trance. Was I inducing some form of trance when I prayed? I went to the scriptures and found a verse. “On thy law do I meditate (psalms)”. I explored the Hebrew meaning of this word “meditate”. It was a word to related to cattle, ; the groans or low “moo” sounds the cow makes, like chanting to oneself;, and also related to the activity of a cow bringing up consumed foods, re-chewing its cud. That was fascinating! Bringing up something again, recalling, and remembering while concentrating.

 prayer

Prayer is Unique

 

If thy brother has a matter against you…

When I returned to the office, I shared with one therapist about my experiment. He shared something with me that I was unaware. He told me that patients who were in a state of theta often broke into tears and relate the pains and traumas they have experienced years prior. He shared that theta allows for repressed memories to surface into our conscious mind. It was so well founded, that some therapist was trying to get their patients in a state of theta in order to shorten the duration of therapy since it helps break through defenses.

Then it came to my mind something I had read in the bible.

“Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go your way. First, be reconciled to your brother, then come and offer your gift..”(Matt 5:23,24)

Instrumentally, prayer is not only recalling the “experience of God”, but it likely permits bitterness, hurts and pains to surface into our conscious mind. If such burdens are then addressed, it would surely bring more peace. It is almost as if prayer invites a sort of a mobile psychotherapist waiting to give counsel.  There is a verse for that as well.

Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, But the man of understanding will draw it out (Prov 20:5)”

 

Designed to Pray

Now I still had one more matter, which required attention.  Granted, two perfect wave signatures from theta and beta is incredible, but why would these waveforms occur at three times the amplitude? Aligned with the scientific approach, one has to admit the possibility that I was “practiced at prayer”. Yes, I learned to pray at an early age and grew up in a conservative, Christian home. But if I may speculate, I believe that this was not the full explanation. I believe the reason why prayer spiked in this magnitude of power is that “we are designed to pray”. Just like comparing a paper towel tube to a brass trumpet for producing music. Both items can produce sounds, but only the trumpet is designed for the music I intended to produce with the clean, pleasing song I desired. If we are designed to pray, then we are tuned for it; we were made for it. After all, Jesus himself, the second Adam and model of our humanity considered prayer as a vital part of living. So, it is an activity for us not to neglect. “In this manner therefore pray..(Matt 6:9)”. The article below prompted me to recall and write my thoughts on this matter of prayer. Prayer is a personal activity, and I believe there are particular neurological pathways involved. As we are spiritual beings housed in imperfect physiology, I believe the soft and hard wiring can overlap in some pathological conditions. But as a vehicle or channel of Gods revelation, we have a choice to either align with our God in discovering more about him or stand on the sidelines and avoid the experience of knowing God. However, as the fish cannot describe the watery environment separately from where it resides, one cannot describe the activity of God without some grasp that the first does exist and is involved in the discovery of Him.  Enjoy!

Greg

 

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The Spirit of Prayer was originally published on

The Spirit of Prayer was originally published on

The Spirit of Prayer was originally published on

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“To Thine Ownself be true..”

exposedtruth

Polonius:

This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!

Laertes:

Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.

Hamlet Act
1, scene 3, 78–82

 
In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius’s shared this counsel with his son Laertes, who was departing on a journey. It is wise counsel to us all.  As I follow the growing research in medical sciences, it becomes more apparent that dishonesty with others,  has a greater impact on our own health.  In neuroscience, it has been documented that even the very organization and process of the changing brain is intimately connected to the truths and falsehood we personally embrace.  
 
Lies stem from fears. It orbits a deeply rooted insecurity created from the dialogue we share with ourselves.  The false statements such as “I am worthless” or ” I am not important” are planted by primary support authorities when we were children, and they reside close to the center  or seat of the pathology.  Over time, we coat this falsehood in added layers , with what we believe to be “our evidence” , from how we are treated, how others react to us or how we expect others to regard us. This leads us to a desperate course of  snatching any available opportunities to “feel a moment of gratification” at the expense of honest and just means.  We find ways to meet our immediate needs like a homeless child, stealing candy from a candy store when we could not afford the costs.  Under intense judgement, we grow up and learn whatever we have to in order to avoid the punishments attached to our wrong actions.  Over the course of years, we will either look inward and unravel the lies that bind us, or we will continue our journey to become skillful in obtaining what is not ours, by whatever means necessary.  We do this while we find that particular means to avoid judgement and criticism of those “righteous people” who dare to ‘ look down on me’.  We steal, and rationalize.  We injure, and redirect blame.  But avoiding truth and living in the denial of our core negative self regard, always catches up with us.  We are funny that way.  Sometimes we think it is better to go on living with our lies, despite the snowball of growing consequences, than to to just own our lies and confront them as needed. Just because we have injuries from our past, does not make our distorted “view of self”  true.  We just make it true.  We live to fulfil it in full without considering its impact.
 
Well, I was not planning to dissect this pathology of our mindset, but there it is.  
 
Recently, I have read articles about uncovering lies. 
 
One way in which we are not even conscious, is how it affects our handwriting.  See the following. 

Lying affects the way we write

..This study shows that the system can identify when participants have written the truth and when they have lied: For example, the pressure exerted on the page when the participants were writing false symptoms was greater than when they were writing about their true medical condition.The regularity of the strokes when writing a lie,reflected in the height and width of the letters, was significantly
different from the regularity of the strokes when writing the truth.Differences in duration, space and pressure were also found in false writing.
The researchers were also able to divide the types of handwriting into more distinct profiles (very small or large handwriting, etc.) and to find other more substantial differences associated with each writing profile.
According to the researchers, when a person writes something false, cognitive load is created in the brain
and this load creates competing demands for resources in the brain, such that operations that we usually perform automatically, like writing, are affected.
They added that the current study found that false
medical information in “laboratory conditions” creates cognitive load that enables the computer system to identify changes in handwriting,
and it can be assumed that in a natural situation, together with the need to lie to the doctor, the cognitive load would be even greater.

Here is an interesting article on clues about lying.

How To Tell If Someone Is Lying: The Tell-Tale Signs

  • TV shows and folk wisdom have suggested commonly held beliefs for spotting lairs, but the truth is they’re not always accurate
  • A liar will tend to give too much information and they often struggle to
    repeat their original performance if asked to recount the events in
    opposite order.
  • liars tend to avoid “I” statements and use third-person pronouns like “he” and “she” instead.
  • people who are speaking honestly will maintain eye contact for about 60 percent of a conversation. When one lies, they work at keeping eye contact
  • so as to appear honest.
  • A lliar will often engage in more eye contact without much blinking.
  • Liars will subconsciously point their feet towards the exit of the room.
  • A smile often surfaces from the liar when they think they’ve successfully deceived you.
  • Often they nod their head while denying or shake their head while agreeing.

This note was created from Liner.
By braindocPage with highlights – http://getliner.com/uGmJ7
Original page – http://www.medicaldaily.com/pulse/how-tell-if-someone-lying-tell-tale-signs-327998
Let us agree make it a regular habit to review our “self talk” the next time we find our words are not ringing quite true.  
Our integrity and health depend on it.
 
Greg
 
liars

“To Thine Ownself be true..” was originally published on

“To Thine Ownself be true..” was originally published on

“To Thine Ownself be true..” was originally published on

 

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Women: A Man’s Finer “Points”

Women: A Man’s finer Points

I have recently read an article that underscores predisposing components for behavioural tendencies which starts in utero. What this article states is how testosterone in the development of the foetus plays a very significant role in adults.  In females, there does not seem to be a great deal of influence.  However, numerous studies seem to consistently show that the behavioural tendencies of men are correlated with the level of testosterone.


The article also states that the influence of testosterone in utero also contributes to the finger length as well.

 

This is not the first time I have seen articles about finger length and testosterone levels in utero. But what was interesting was how this article  used a ratio of the 2nd and 4rth digits for classification.
 
In other words, if the index finger and ring finger is close in length, then the level of testosterone was appropriately supplied in utero.
 
Having appropriate levels also seem to contribute to a more agreeable constitution as well ( as represented in the study). 

  

 

image 

 For example, a male having a narrow ratio with the Index to ring finger seems to indicate he would be less argumentative with his female counterpart as well as with women in general.  In fact, he would more likely to be a good listener and interact well with children.   Sounds like a “handy” thing to know, doesn’t it? So, Have I stirred your interest?  Enjoy the article below.



A video related to this topic can be found here:


PUBLIC RELEASE: 18-FEB-2015 

Can you judge a man by his fingers?
Study finds link between relative lengths of index and ring fingers in men and behavior towards women

MCGILL UNIVERSITY

SHARE PRINT E-MAIL
This news release is available in French.

Maybe you should take a good look at your partner’s fingers before putting a ring on one. Men with short index fingers and long ring fingers are on average nicer towards women, and this unexpected phenomenon stems from the hormones these men have been exposed to in their mother’s womb, according to a new study by researchers at McGill University. The findings might help explain why these men tend to have more children. The study, showing a link between a biological event in fetal life and adult behaviour, was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

Men’s index fingers are generally shorter than their ring fingers. The difference is less pronounced in women. Previous research has found that digit ratio – defined as the second digit length divided by the fourth digit length – is an indication of the amount of male hormones, chiefly testosterone, someone has been exposed to as a fetus: the smaller the ratio, the more male hormones. The McGill study suggests that this has an impact on how adult men behave, especially with women.

“It is fascinating to see that moderate variations of hormones before birth can actually influence adult behaviour in a selective way,” says Simon Young, a McGill Emeritus Professor in Psychiatry and coauthor of the study.

Smiles and compliments

Several studies have been conducted previously to try to assess the impact of digit ratio on adult behaviour. This one is the first to highlight how finger lengths affect behaviour differently depending on the sex of the person you are interacting with. “When with women, men with smaller ratios were more likely to listen attentively, smile and laugh, compromise or compliment the other person,” says Debbie Moskowitz, lead author and Professor of Psychology at McGill. They acted that way in sexual relationships, but also with female friends or colleagues. These men were also less quarrelsome with women than with men, whereas the men with larger ratios were equally quarrelsome with both. For women though, digit ratio variation did not seem to predict how they behaved, the researchers report.

Digit ratio and children

For 20 days, 155 participants in the study filled out forms for every social interaction that lasted 5 minutes or more, and checked off a list of behaviours they engaged in. Based on prior work, the scientists classified the behaviours as agreeable or quarrelsome. Men with small digit ratios reported approximately a third more agreeable behaviours and approximately a third fewer quarrelsome behaviours than men with large digit ratios.

A previous study had found that men with smaller digit ratios have more children. “Our research suggests they have more harmonious relationships with women; these behaviors support the formation and maintenance of relationships with women,” Moskowitz says. “This might explain why they have more children on average.”

The researchers were surprised to find no statistically relevant link between dominant behaviours and digit ratios. They suggest future research could study specific situations where male dominance varies – such as competitive situations with other men – to see whether a correlation can be established.

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This study was funded by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council – Canada.

“Fetal exposure to androgens, as indicated by digit ratios (2D:4D), increases men’s agreeableness with women” D.S. Moskowitz, Rachel Sutton, David C. Zuroff, Simon N. Young, Personality and Individual Differences, March 2015 (available online 27 November 2014) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886914006400

Women: A Man’s Finer “Points” was originally published on

 

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Bonds of Friendship : Life Lessons from Chemistry

chemistry



Bonds of Friendship : Life Lessons from Chemistry

I have always enjoyed the sciences, especially the study of chemistry. Chemistry helps one to understand the interactions of matter down to the smallest particle. When I enrolled in my first class, I had much trouble grasping some of the basic concepts as a visual minded individual, especially the whole discussion of “mole”. For all of you who do not know this term, it deals with the mass of elements, given 1 x 10 ^23 units. It is like when you wish to compare apples and oranges, except in dealing with atoms you need to convert to another scale than pounds or kilogram. If you could go to the “ATOMIC STORE” and wish to buy a bag of zinc, it would not come in the same size bag as helium. So, given a standard weight of reference, one is looking for how many apples weigh as much as ten oranges. It is an over simplification but allow me to get to my topic.

Ok, so as I was saying, I am very visual in my thinking. Most of the students in my class would schedule to see the professor after class with their questions written on a sheet of paper. But for me to grasp concepts I often took a marble model of the molecule in question and ask the teacher to reassemble the solutions to a problem for me. It helped me to ‘really understand’ the workings of a reaction.

Given this tendency to visualize chemistry problems has been an asset to me in applying metaphors to other disciples. If there is one thing I have seen over my years of study, it is that the “truth in a discipline”, seems congruent to the “truth held” in other disciplines. Visual models help me to grasp truths more effectively, especially in social sciences. Now to the point of this blog, I wish to introduce a very interesting chemistry concept that can be very helpful to those who ever suffered losses in their life.

On stage the curtain is pulled back. Let us give a warm welcome to a “lipid molecule (people often just call him ‘fat’).”

MyristicAcid

You will notice many repeating patterns in a lipid molecule. It has what is called a “carbon backbone” like many organic molecules in our world. But what I wish to point out is that you will notice a large set of Hydrogen molecules (white) hugging the carbons (black) in the chain.

saturated-fat

These chains stay together by charges, known as bonds. The positive charges of hydrogen share fields with available negatively charged carbons. When two or more different chains sit close together, side by side, they will try to repel each other. Maybe now, you can probably then understand why oils are slippery. The positive bonded charges of the hydrogen atom of one lipid molecule tries to move away from the hydrogen atom of another lipid molecule close to it. You probably heard somewhere that “opposites attract and same repel”.

So, maybe it then makes sense. Lipids (or fats) in compact spaces tend to push each other away…meaning less friction..meaning it can be quite slippery. Knowing this, you can probably think of other substances that you found slippery. So do you think slippery substances have similar properties? Yes, in fact they do; whether it is a drop of oil for a hinge or a banana peel that makes an actor slip for a good laugh.

There is great lesson we can grasp through their “structural behavior” when a small piece is removed (e.g. a hydrogen atom is removed). The loss of hydrogen from paired carbon makes that empty carbon more negatively charged. This often results in two carbons sharing a neighboring hydrogen, like two boys dating the same girl.

fat_f2

Now instead of a single bond, the affected carbons create a double bond. Structurally, this makes the molecule more reactive to the environment. After all, the girl that is dating two boys at the same time, can more easily leave them both. In order for the whole molecule to become more stable, their will usually rotate slightly down the whole chain of carbons, permitting as much equal sharing to balance out the ionic shift.

fat-molecule

Now in contrast, enter Salt. He is often called sodium chloride, like the table salt your use to season your food.

image

 

Notice, there are just two parts, a sodium atom and a chloride atom. What is very different here is there are not any other competitions happening for the bond they uniquely have. Usually a medium has to be available for them to let go of each other. This is what happens as it dissolves in water. The water (H2O) ,as a medium becomes aligned in ways that react with chloride and sodium, coming between them to disassociate.

Lectur2  NaCl1

 

 

 

 

Now outside of a medium change, it would be very difficult to break the bond of salt. However, if sodium and chloride get separated without a stable medium, something very significant takes place. Both sodium and chloride become very unstable and search desperately to be united with anything, if not each other. These are radicals.

Now an unpaired Chloride would seek other Chloride atoms for stability. This ultimately results in Chloride gas; a poisonous and toxic gas.

chloridegas

The Sodium, on the other hand becomes flammable and has the capacity to burn a hole through carpet!

FB0PAX3HSVH3WXU.RECTANGLE1

 

Ok, what profound truth can we extract from this?  We are all just like molecules, with bonds like relationships. Some people have only a few relationships like salt; those with whom they share memories, experiences and events. Living life without significant companions to reciprocate, may leave us more vulnerable to stress and ‘radical’ perspective after loss. It is much more likely to become reactive and may contribute to an emotional imbalance when an only friend or partner is unexpectedly lost.

bestfriend

A unique Reality that two isolated partners share exclusively can be dramatically altered after a loss of a partner and in such circumstances a survived partner may not be able to function in their daily activities.

In fact, the survived ones identity may be essentially lost, until a limited strategy (despite its logical merit) can be employed in order to go on.

folie e deux

Some people have a large number of people they share experiences . Such people tend to always have bonds with others and share on deeper levels, or on many levels with others. They are often a part of either a large family, a club, a church or community, or may have been raised with a community mindset. Such people are best equipped to share the loss they experience with others with whom they are intimately familiar. They can access the sympathy from others, and later when a similar loss is experienced by a close friend, the bond can be further reinforced by empathy instead of sympathy.

handstogether

As joys and sorrows come their way, it is the company of established, mutually regarded companions that permit strength to face life’s unexpected challenges optimally.

Now you may see a parallel here between the loss of ionic bonds in chemistry to loss which may occurs socially; as a lost relationship. How one deals with a lost family member or partner in life have much to do with how well that loss can be shared with others. Culturing quality relationships, sharing favorable experiences with others, making good memories with others of similar core values, all strengthen bonds of your relationships. When anyone shares a bond with another then life’s challenges take on a different impact.

MyristicAcid

One writer once put it , ” friendship halves our sorrow and doubles our joy”. It brings more meaningfulness and stability to endure the unexpected hardships in our lives. Take the time to invest in your friendships. It is an investment you can not effectively live without.

Greg

Bonds of Friendship : Life Lessons from Chemistry was originally published on

 

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What “LIES” Beneath…

liedef


The most important fundamental principle in Psychiatry is discovering the content of our “self-talk”. 

cbt

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), introduced by Dr. Aaron Beck, has been established as a very useful therapy for those suffering from a wide range of emotional problems.  The effective application of this therapy has been a powerful tool not only for troubled individuals but for anyone who desires some sort of compass to navigate through the rocky terrain of everyday life.

beck

The principles are based on uncovering the lies we have learned throughout our lives and how they introduce obstacles when we hold them as truths.  The most valuable aspect of CBT is that it does not require a lifelong therapist. In fact, the pace of healing is centered on those who earnestly acquire the skills to keep their mental dialogue in check.  When we learn how to extract truth in our interpretations of life events, we are able to break free from the anxiety and fear that threaten our freedom to live life fully as intended,

Here, I will share the six basic lies that rob our freedoms.  If you learn how to identify these lies, then you will be in a position to begin replacing your self-dialogue with truths and begin a journey to freedom.

6lies

halfplateshd1

halfplateshd2

Now, Go Reclaim your freedom!

 

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The Wrongs of Write

hwrit

I have always enjoyed the study of Handwriting Analysis (a.k.a Psychographology). I read my first book on this topic when I was in 7th grade. Over the years I have collected many samples and built an ever expanding reference resource of handwring analysis I have acquired, I have been able to distill my own composite way of interpreting the styles of penmanship I come across when an occasion arises.

If there is anything to be revealed in handwriting, I have learned that a a few sentences are of minimal benefit.  In fact, if one wishes to have a more accurate reading, two pages of script is required.  There is really not anything magical about this skill.  Personality is like a pattern of traits that has settled into a  mental routine of habit.  It is much like taking a walk through the woods, where your grass worn path is different from other explorers in the same woods.  Once a person settles into their own familiar journey, it becomes a less conscious process.  Since the brain drives the nerves and innervates muscles for grip, pressure and coordination, it becomes apparent that the “way we write” is a reflection of neuromuscular mechanics that unconsciously leave some consistent measure of the mental habits which otherwise would not be readily apparent.

After many years of much study in Psychographology, I have concluded that my own style of analysis is quite reliable and accurate.  It is not as simple as sharing “how” I approach the analysis or exactly “what” I look for to disclose traits.  In fact, I firmly believe that true validity rests in the consistency and congruency of the script.

For example, just because you see a dotted “i” appearing as a circle, does not mean the writer is artistic, as some books may claim.  Accuracy has more to do with recurrence or formations than single instances of letters.  Actually, no one person writes the same everyday.  Pressure, slant and size frequently changes, which provide more information about the dynamic state of an individual, This is where the window of the writers energy, engagement and buoyancy of behaviour is evidenced.  Letter formation however, is more consistently regular and therefore more likely to provide clues to the more stable component of traits. This where clues of habits and tendency of routine are revealed. 

There are many psychograpologists writing books about “how to interpret handwriting” and many critics who are quick to claim this field as a “Pseudoscience”, lacking any true validity.  But as I shared earlier, if validity is the goal, it is only possible  through the analyst’s years of experience and careful evaluation for reinforcing “parts” that reliable clues can be evidence with any probable confidence.

In the article that follows, researchers are now finding new applications for evaluating health claims through handwriting samples by computer assisted determination of validity.  Maybe it is time for some critics to reconsider their posture on this valuable tool for character assessment.


Is this the end of ‘fake exemptions? ‘ it is possible to detect when we provide false information regarding our health conditions through handwriting

December 3, 2014
University of Haifa
A new study aims to develop a computerized system that can be used to detect medical fraud. Medical fraud has become a common phenomenon in recent years, researchers say. There are many cases of doctors encountering patients who want sick leave or compensation from the various health insurance providers, and who lie about their medical condition. The financial cost to health insurance providers in the United States due to false reporting is estimated at fifty billion dollars a year, not including the cost of wasted work days of doctors and the cost of the various tests performed.

It is possible to detect when we provide false information regarding our health conditions through our handwriting, according to a new study conducted at the University of Haifa. The study used a computerized system, which was developed by Prof. Sara Rosenblum from the University of Haifa and that was patented recently, to analyze the handwriting process. “Our findings can provide the health care system and insurance companies with a fairly simple tool with which to discover medical fraud, without the need for intrusive devices such as the polygraph that tries to detect physiological changes,” said Dr. Gil Luria, one of the study’s conductors.

Medical fraud has become a common phenomenon in Israel and abroad in recent years. There are many cases of doctors encountering patients who want sick leave or compensation from the various health insurance providers, and who lie about their medical condition. The financial cost to health insurance providers in the United States due to false reporting is estimated at fifty billion dollars a year, not including the cost of wasted work days of doctors and the cost of the various tests performed.

In a previous study conducted several years ago, Dr. Gil Lurie and Prof. Sara Rosenblum performed a pilot study of the computerized writing kit in which they found that deceptive and truthful writing in general can be detected. In their present study, performed together with Dr. Allon Kahana, the sample was increased significantly to include 98 participants. More importantly, however, this time the researchers chose to focus on testing the reliability of specific information — medical data — due to the difficulty that the health care system has in checking when patients are lying to them.

The participants were asked to write two paragraphs on the condition of their health, the first describing their real situation and the second describing fabricated medical symptoms. The participants wrote the two paragraphs on a computerize writing kit developed by Prof. Rosenblum that obtains data regarding the pressure being exerted on the page, the rate and speed of writing, the duration and number of times the pen remains raised in comparison with the duration and number of times it is touching the paper, the size of the letters, and more.

This study shows that the system can identify when participants have written the truth and when they have lied: For example, the pressure exerted on the page when the participants were writing false symptoms was greater than when they were writing about their true medical condition. The regularity of the strokes when writing a lie, reflected in the height and width of the letters, was significantly different from the regularity of the strokes when writing the truth. Differences in duration, space and pressure were also found in false writing. The researchers were also able to divide the types of handwriting into more distinct profiles (very small or large handwriting, etc.) and to find other more substantial differences associated with each writing profile.

According to the researchers, when a person writes something false, cognitive load is created in the brain and this load creates competing demands for resources in the brain, such that operations that we usually perform automatically, like writing, are affected. They added that the current study found that false medical information in “laboratory conditions” creates cognitive load that enables the computer system to identify changes in handwriting, and it can be assumed that in a natural situation, together with the need to lie to the doctor, the cognitive load would be even greater.

Even a doctor who is very knowledgeable will find it difficult to detect health fraud when a patient presents false symptoms from their field of expertise, so doctors are themselves trying to develop tools to solve the problem, however with very limited success. The writing kit provides a non-intrusive and simple testing device. Despite technological progress handwriting is still the most common means used for daily communication, and we see clearly that every person has their own writing style. With a handwriting diagnostic kit we can analyze whether the person is writing the truth or lies, “the researchers concluded.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Haifa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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Slideshow Presentation: Revealing your Child’s behavior in Context

Presentation Given to Parents in Atibia, Brazil.

Here I discussed importance of knowing your child in context. I also discussed a brief method of Psychiatry in assessing cognitive emotional function.  Further, I touched on aspects of attention problems and the role of anxiety in obstructing focus and its contribution to disease. I ended with a brief overview of neuroscience and the important role of keeping anxiety in check.  I believe this presentation can be useful to many, as it is to my daily self maintenance.

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Revealing Your Childs Behavior in Context

 

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