wow

Mind

Right Side Up

Studies of perception show the importance of being upright

THE LENS IN YOUR EYE casts an upside-down image on your retina, but you see the world upright. Although people often believe that an upside-down image in the eyeball gets rotated somewhere in the brain to make it look right side up, that idea is a fallacy. No such rotation occurs, because there is no replica of the retinal image in the brain—only a pattern of firing of nerve impulses that encodes the image in such a way that it is perceived correctly; the brain does not rotate the nerve impulses.

Even leaving aside this common pitfall, the matter of seeing things upright is vastly more complex than you might imagine, a fact that was first pointed out clearly in the 1970s by perception researcher Irvin Rock, then at Rutgers University.

Tilted ViewLet us probe those complexities with a few simple experiments. First, tilt your head 90 degrees while looking at the objects cluttering the room you are in now. Obviously, the objects (tables, chairs, people) continue to look upright—they do not suddenly appear to be at an angle.

Now imagine tipping over a table by 90 degrees, so that it lies on its side. You will see that it does indeed look rotated, as it should. We know that correct perception of the upright table is not because of some “memory” of the habitual upright position of things such as a table; the effect works equally well for abstract sculptures in an art gallery. The surrounding context is not the answer either: if a luminous table were placed in a completely dark room and you rotated your head while looking at it, the table would still appear upright.

Instead your brain figures out which way is up by relying on feedback signals sent from the vestibular system in your ear (which signals the degree of head rotation) to visual areas; in other words, the brain takes into account head rotation when it interprets the table’s orientation. The phrase “takes into account” is much more accurate than saying that your brain “rotates” the tilted image of the table. There is no image in the brain to “rotate”—and even if there were, who would be the little person in the brain looking at the rotated image? In the rest of the essay, we will use “reinterpret” or “correct” instead of “rotate.” These terms are not entirely accurate, but they will serve as shorthand.

There are clear limits to vestibular correction. Upside-down print, for instance, is extremely hard to read. Just turn this magazine upside down to find out. Now, holding the magazine right side up again, try bending down and looking at it through your legs—so your head is upside down. The page continues to be difficult to read, even though vestibular information is clearly signaling to you that the page and corresponding text are still upright in the world compared with your head’s orientation. The letters are too perceptually complex and fine-grained to be aided by the vestibular correction, even though the overall orientation of the page is corrected to look upright.

Let us examine these phenomena more closely. Look at the square in a. Rotate it physically 45 degrees, and you see a diamond. But if you rotate your head 45 degrees, the square continues to look like a square—even though it is a diamond on the retina (the tissue at the back of the eye that receives visual inputs); vestibular correction is at work again.

The Big PictureNow consider the two central red diamonds in b and c. The diamond in b looks like a diamond and the one in c looks like a square, even though your head remains upright and there is obviously no vestibular correction. This simple demonstration shows the powerful effects of the overall axis of the “big” figure comprising the small squares (or diamonds). It would be misleading to call this effect “context” because in d—a square surrounded by faces tilted at 45 degrees—the square continues to look like a square (though perhaps less so than when isolated).

You can also test the effects of visual attention. The figure in e is a composite. In this case, the central red shape is ambiguous. If you attend to the vertical column, it resembles a diamond; if you view it as a member of the group forming the oblique line of shapes, it seems to be a square.

Even more compelling is the George W. Bush illusion, a variant of the Margaret Thatcher illusion, which was originally developed by psychologist Peter Thompson of the University of York in England. If you look at the upside-down images of Bush’s face on this page (f), you see nothing odd. But turn the same images right side up, and you see how grotesque he really looks. Why does this effect happen?

The reason is that despite the seamless unity of perception, the analysis of the image by the brain proceeds piecemeal. In this case, the perception of a face depends largely on the relative positions of the features (eyes, nose, mouth). So Bush’s face is perceived as a face (albeit one that is upside down) just as an upside-down chair is readily identified as a chair. In contrast, the expression conveyed by the features depends exclusively on their orientation (downturned corners of the mouth, distortion of eyebrows), independent of the perceived overall orientation of the head—the “context.”

Your brain cannot perform the correction for the features; they do not get reinterpreted correctly as the overall image of a face does. The recognition of certain features (downturned mouth corners, eyebrows, and so on) is evolutionarily primitive; perhaps the computational skill required for reinterpretation simply has not evolved for this capability. For the overall recognition of the face simply as a face, on the other hand, the system might be more “tolerant” of the extra computational time required. This theory would explain why the second upside-down face appears normal rather than grotesque; the features dominate until you invert the face.

This same effect is illustrated very simply in the cartoon faces (g). Upside down, it is hard to see their expressions even though you still see them as faces. (You can logically deduce which is smiling and which is frowning, but that is not the result of perception.) Turn them right side up, and the expressions are clearly recognized as if by magic.

Finally, if you bend over and look between your legs at f, the expressions will become strikingly clear, but the faces themselves continue to look upside down. This effect is because the vestibular correction is applied selectively to the face but does not affect perception of the features (which are now right side up on the retina). It is the shape of the features on the retina that counts—independent of vestibular correction—and the “world-centered” coordinates that such corrections allow your brain to compute.

Depth Cues

Vestibular correction also fails to occur when we perceive shape (and depth) from clues provided by shading. In h, you see what appears to be a 550-foot-tall mound in the desert. The brain centers involved in computing shading make the reasonable assumption that the sun usually shines from above, so hills would be light on top and concave areas would be light on the bottom. If you rotate the page, you will see that this is actually a photograph of Arizona’s Meteor Crater.

You can verify this effect by repeating the experiment of looking between your legs while the page is right side up in relation to gravity. Once again, the mound and crater switch places. Even though the world as a whole looks normal and upright (from vestibular correction), the modules in the brain that extract shapes from assumptions about shading cannot use the vestibular correction; they are simply not hooked up to it. This phenomenon makes evolutionary sense because you do not normally walk around the world with your head upside down, so you can afford to avoid the extra computational burden of correcting for head tilt every time you interpret shaded images. The result of evolution is not to fine-tune your perceptual machinery to perfection but only to make it statistically reliable, often enough and rapidly enough, to allow you to produce offspring, even if the adoption of such heuristics or “shortcuts” makes the system occasionally error-prone. Perception is reliable but not infallible; it is a bag of tricks.

Bobbing Heads

One last point: Next time you are lying on the grass, look at people walking around you. They look like they are upright and walking normally, of course. But now look at them while you are upside down. If you can manage yoga, you might want to try your downward dog or another inversion. Or just lie sideways with one ear on the ground. The people will still look upright as expected, but suddenly you will see them bobbing up and down as they walk. This motion instantly becomes clear because after years of viewing people with your head held straight, you have learned to ignore the up-down bobbing of their heads and shoulders. Once again, vestibular feedback cannot correct for the head bobbing, even though it provides enough correction to enable seeing the people as upright. You might be bending over backward to understand all this, but we think it is worth the effort.

 

The brain is a three layered structure matching our psyche of Id, Ego and Superego. Hence there is a central mid brain often described as a

The Reptilian or Primal Brain Those who subscribed to the triune brain model believed that the three major brain structures developed sequentially. First of all, the basal ganglia (found at the center of the human brain) was ‘acquired’, followed by the limbic system (which consists of various component brain structures, such as the amygdala and hippocampus), then the neocortex (which is implicated in conscious thought, language and reasoning)

In MacLean’s triune brain model, the basal ganglia are referred to as the reptilian or primal brain, as this structure is in control of our innate and automatic self-preserving behavior patterns, which ensure our survival and that of our species. The primal brain is also in charge of, what are often referred to as, the four Fs: Feeding, Fighting, Fleeing, and… Reproduction (well, we won’t use that other f-word here!). Notable behavior patterns include defense of self, family, and personal property, physical communication, and socially approved actions, such as handshakes, head nods, and bowing.

Evolution

Paul D. MacLean, as part of his triune brain theory, hypothesized that the limbic system is older than other parts of the forebrain, and that it developed to manage circuitry attributed to the fight or flight first identified by Hans Selye[26] in his report of the General Adaptation Syndrome in 1936. It may be considered a part of survival adaptation in reptiles as well as mammals (including humans). MacLean postulated that the human brain has evolved three components, that evolved successively, with more recent components developing at the top/front. These components are, respectively:

  1. The archipallium or primitive (“reptilian”) brain, comprising the structures of the brain stem – medulla, pons, cerebellum, mesencephalon, the oldest basal nuclei – the globus pallidus and the olfactory bulbs.
  2. The paleopallium or intermediate (“old mammalian”) brain, comprising the structures of the limbic system.
  3. The neopallium, also known as the superior or rational (“new mammalian”) brain, comprises almost the whole of the hemispheres (made up of a more recent type of cortex, called neocortex) and some subcortical neuronal groups. It corresponds to the brain of the superior mammals, thus including the primates and, as a consequence, the human species. Similar development of the neocortex in mammalian species unrelated to humans and primates has also occurred, for example in cetaceans and elephants; thus the designation of “superior mammals” is not an evolutionary one, as it has occurred independently in different species.[dubious ] The evolution of higher degrees of intelligence is an example of convergent evolution, and is also seen in non-mammals such as birds.

According to Maclean, each of the components, although connected with the others, retained “their peculiar types of intelligence, subjectivity, sense of time and space, memory, mobility and other less specific functions”.

 

 

 

take 3

I am here today to do a talk on Memory and the Human brain.

A subject of interest to most of us but still not well understood.
A few quotes

“Memory is the art of time travel.” When we remember things we travel into the past of our mind and bring them forwards into the present.
What is memory?
It is many things, from the  Frank Sinatra “memories are made of this” we learn it is love and good times. From Hiroshima we know it can be death and suffering. Emotions are an important part of the paradigm.  Memory drives our rages and passions, Fills our nights with dreams and our days with nightmares.  We fear to lose it yet some yearn for it to go away.

What is memory?
Scientifically we can describe the components. They consist of input, storage, processing, evaluating and recall. They are the functions of the human brain that enable it to develop consciousness, thought and action. We cannot have one without the other.
A famous quote is “I think, therefore I am“. [Cogito, ergo sum[a] is a Latin philosophical proposition by René Descartes ] but it misses an important codicil, ” I think because I have a memory.”

The brain then is the source and receptacle of memory so we need to start there. A brain was originally part of the blind watchmaker’s  evolutionary design. {The simplest cells survived if a mutation brought about a survival advantage. Being able to detect the environment we live in is an important step forwards.Whether this was an ability to detect sunshine or shade. To feel vibrations from other life forms or to find a partner or food and water at a distance, Sensation was an advantage. As cells became more complex and multi-cellular  function developed so did the senses and specialisation. Nerve cells developed and so did a primitive organising point, the brain.] Each development that makes our memory is reflected in the design of the brain.

Input is by multiple sensory mechanisms, Extroceptive like the 5 senses and temperature, we can also add vibration, position, [proprioception], pain, and visceral sensations [interoception]. This is at least a 3 stage transfer with several neural interfaces before the message reaches  the right area in the cortex of the brain. The neurons in the cortex then also interact with  other cortical neurons that receive the other sensory inputs.The brain is thus awash all over with stimuli and resending of second hand stimuli.

Storage is a mystery. Repetition of signals leads to a stronger memory so changes are recorded and stored by the neurons in the cortices. This may involve changes in the nerve cell  or the axon itself or a more complex feedback loop with the other sensory neurons that are triggered at the same time. We do not know.

Processing happens. Again we do not know but in parallel with the development of Artificial Intelligence we know what might be happening. Memories are stored all over the cortex, not just at the receptors.Memory is also stored and utilised in the other brain structures under the cortex. Theses include the thalamus and the midbrain structures which involve our emotions and our fright or flight reflex.

Recall is the activation of cortex and limbic structures to bring a stored memory back to consciousness.

Here is the true mystery of memory. We have a central processing room in our heads when we think. It builds up a view of the world from our visual memories as if we are the central player looking out on the world. Thought itself though is verbal, in words with an underlay of emotions and visuals. It is an artificial construct. The best way to understand this is with vision The images transmitted to the brain go mainly to the opposite side and are upside down yet our brain sorts all this out into a right side up picture with 3-D effects in a double processing manoeuver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

take 2 Memory lane

I thought I could address this topic in a novel way to highlight the many facets of memory in a way that we all could remember. Acting on the memory is thought or thinking. “I think therefore I am” needs a codicil, ‘I have memory, therefore I can think”. I want to introduce some heuristics, memory tactics, the history of memory and the uses of memory and what memory can imply using our imagination and thought. And make it fun as well.

The exercises we do will later illustrate some of the various types of memory and how it works.To start with I am going to ask each of you with your pen and paper to write down an object for me and read it out . I will chose 10 to put down on the board.

Next  I will show you a list of 10 random numbers. They are, 17, 23, 5, 18, 20, 25, 21, 9,15,16, 1,

Another arrangement is e,j,o,t,y. This is a significant arrangement.
[KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, legally Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij N.V. (literal translation: Royal Aviation Company, Inc.),

We will discuss these later .

Finally there are 10 objects on this table . You all have 30 seconds to look at them.

 

Memory is basically time travel. The ability to travel both back and forward in time. We go back into our past experiences and recall it in the present moment when needed. Dean Martin [play song] \ says it like this.  Memories are made of this …. take one stolen kiss …

[Traveling back is due to the ability to recall now a past sensory or thought process as it happened usually when needed. Acting on the memory is thought or thinking.] [not actually memory though some instances are conjoined, like in breathing or walking.]

The things one needs for memory are input, storage, processing and recall [retrieval].

Input comes from both sensory input and also thought input. The human senses of exteroception are touch, taste, sight, smell and hearing. We can add vibration, position, [proprioception], pain, heat and visceral sensations [interoception]. Other species have extra senses or heightened senses. It is stored in the brain primarily (The stomach senses food even without central feedback and responds.). Sensations are the data. We react to pain both on a local and cerebral level.

  • The somatosensory system consists of primary, secondary, and tertiary neurons.
  • Sensory receptors housed in the dorsal root ganglia project to secondary neurons of the spinal cord that decussate and project to the thalamus or cerebellum.
  • Tertiary neurons project to the postcentral gyrus of the parietal lobe, forming a sensory homunculus.
  • A sensory homunculus maps sub-regions of the cortical postcentral gyrus to certain parts of the body.
    The secondary neuron acts as a relay and is located in either the spinal cord or the brainstem. This neuron’s ascending axons will cross, or decussate, to the opposite side of the spinal cord or brainstem and travel up the spinal cord to the brain, where most will terminate in either the thalamus or the cerebellum. The primary somatosensory area of the human cortex is located in the postcentral gyrus of the parietal lobe. There are four main types of cutaneous mechanoreceptors: Pacinian corpuscles, Meissner’s corpuscles, Merkel’s discs, and Ruffini endings. proprioreceptor: A sensory receptor that responds to position and movement and that receives internal bodily stimuli. Golgi tendon organs and muscle spindles.

    The thalamus is a midline symmetrical structure within the brain of vertebrates including humans; it is situated between the cerebral cortex and midbrain, and surrounds the third ventricle.Its function includes relaying sensory and motor signals to the cerebral cortex, along with the regulation of consciousness, sleep, and alertness.

The areas that are activated by our senses are the primary storage sites but due to the massive interlinking of our neurons the data is stored all over the brain as well as it links with the other data accompanying it and our processing system. This provides a backup which means it is incredibly hard to destroy data (amnesia) completely.The means of storage is still in dispute.

Processing is the way of arranging data ready for retrieval. Areas of the brain specialise in taking the data in and arranging it in ways that allow steady, useful retrieval. This enables the thought processes to access the data when it is needed or required. These areas are increasingly well known.

The amygdala deals with …. most of these process take place in the midbrain where the neutrons transmit the data for specific uses. Broca’s area is where speech patterns are stored. Usually on the left side of the brain. Damage this and the  ability to speak properly is lost, but not the memory of past conversations.

We can store memory as short or long term memory. It is thought that certain areas do have more more of a role to play in the retrieval process rather than the storage process. Again there is some argument as to whether there really is a difference other than  repetition Our immediate  verbal numerical memory span is quite short 5-9 characters,

Using our memory.
[Thinking fast and slow] authors won a Nobel Prize for their work on heuristics. The short cuts we use in processing informationNow the first test , the 5 letters I gave you in reverse order, write them down.

You will see that it is much easier to remember the shorter sequence. Also that the longer sequence, done first, disappears from the memory due to a process called recent activation which makes an earlier memory harder to retain.

A similar phenomenon is the unfinished task, a  job left undone demands constant re attention but when completed the task that seemed fresh in one’s mind has now gone.

Memory improves with repetition. A rule of thumb is that 5% of a given lecture will be retained long term with rapid fall off of the other 95%. Repeating the lecture will fix a further 5% in place and it will stay for longer.This is one of the principles for improving in examination tasks.

What are the hints for improving one’s memory?

Focus and attention are the main keys. These two techniques are a prerequisite.In order to encode information into memory, we must first pay attention, a process known as attentional capture.

Motivation. Desire or need is a great motivating factor. It is much easier to stick at a task

Immersion. This is the best way to learn any subject, particularly languages but also art, science painting and music.

Now for some tricks to help when all else fails.

Reminders. Notes are usually best but recording can be done in many ways with film or sound on one’s mobile phone. Tying a bit of string around a finger.

Association is a recognised technique What we do is tie a link between a long term memory and our new short term memory. The link is composed of a visual or verbal surprise between the task at hand  and a known recallable object, then wrapping it in a visual or verbal picture.
A well used method is the family home or the workplace where one can walk around the rooms and leave the associations inside.

Method of Loci

One example of taking advantage of deeper semantic processing to improve retention is using the method of loci. This is when you associate non-visual material with something that can be visualized. Creating additional links between one memory and another, more familiar memory works as a cue for the new information being learned.

Mnemosyne (/n??m?z?ni, n??m?s?ni/; Greek: ?????????, pronounced [mn??mosý?n??]) is the goddess of memory in Greek mythology. “Mnemosyne” is derived from the same source as the word mnemonic, that being the Greek word mn?m?, which means “remembrance, memory”.[1][2]

Memory

I thought I could address this topic in a novel way to highlight the many facets of memory in a way that we all could remember.

I want to introduce heuristics, memory tactics, the uses of memory and what memory can imply using our imagination and thought.

To start with I am going to ask each of you with your pen and paper to write down an object for me and read it out . I will chose 10 to put down on the board.

Next  I will show you a list of random numbers[ that some of you may recognise]. They are, 17, 23, 5, 18, 20, 25, 9, 15,  21, 16, 1,

Another arrangement is e,j,o,t,y. This is a significant arrangement.

We will discuss these later .

Finally there are 10 objects on this table . You all have 30 seconds to look at them.

The tests we have just done illustrate some of the various types of memory and how it works.

Memory is basically time travel. The ability to travel both back and forward in time. Traveling back is due to the ability to recall now a past sensory or thought process as it happened usually when needed. Acting on the memory is not actually memory though some instances are conjoined, like in breathing or walking.

The  things one needs for memory are input, storage, processing and recall [retrieval].

Input comes from both sensory input and also thought input. The human senses are touch taste sight smell and hearing. We can add vibration, pain, heat and visceral sensations. Other species have extra senses or heightened senses.

Sensation is stored in the brain primarily (The stomach senses food even without central feedback and responds.). Sensation is data. We react to pain both on a local and cerebral level. The areas that are activated by our senses are the primary storage sites but due to the massive interlinking of our neurons the data is stored all over the brain as well as it links with the other data accompanying it and our processing system. This provides a backup which means it is incredibly hard to destroy data (amnesia) completely.The means of storage is still in dispute.

Processing is the way of arranging data ready for retrieval. Areas of the brain specialise in taking the data in and arranging it in ways that allow steady, useful retrieval. This enables the thought processes to access the data when it is needed or required. These areas are increasingly well known.

The amygdala deals with …. most of these process take place in the midbrain where the neutrons transmit the data for specific uses. Broca’s area is where speech patterns are stored. Usually on the left side of the brain. Damage this and the  ability to speak properly is lost, but not the memory of past conversations.

We can store memory as short or long term memory. It is thought that certain areas do have more more of a role to play in the retrieval process rather than the storage process. Again there is some argument as to whether there really is a difference other than  repetition Our immediate  verbal numerical memory span is quite short 5-9 characters,

Using our memory.
[Thinking fast and slow] authors won a Nobel Prize for their work on heuristics. The short cuts we use in processing informationNow the first test , the 5 letters I gave you in reverse order, write them down.

You will see that it is much easier to remember the shorter sequence. Also that the longer sequence, done first, disappears from the memory due to a process called recent activation which makes an earlier memory harder to retain.

A similar phenomenon is the unfinished task, a  job left undone demands constant re attention but when completed the task that seemed fresh in one’s mind has now gone.

Memory improves with repetition. A rule of thumb is that 5% of a given lecture will be retained long term with rapid fall off of the other 95%. Repeating the lecture will fix a further 5% in place and it will stay for longer.This is one of the principles for improving in examination tasks.

What are the hints for improving one’s memory?

Focus and attention are the main keys. These two techniques are a prerequisite.In order to encode information into memory, we must first pay attention, a process known as attentional capture.

Motivation. Desire or need is a great motivating factor. It is much easier to stick at a task

Immersion. This is the best way to learn any subject, particularly languages but also art, science painting and music.

Now for some tricks to help when all else fails.

Reminders. Notes are usually best but recording can be done in many ways with film or sound on one’s mobile phone. Tying a bit of string around a finger.

Association is a recognised technique What we do is tie a link between a long term memory and our new short term memory. The link is composed of a visual or verbal surprise between the task at hand  and a known recallable object, then wrapping it in a visual or verbal picture.
A well used method is the family home or the workplace where one can walk around the rooms and leave the associations inside.

Method of Loci

One example of taking advantage of deeper semantic processing to improve retention is using the method of loci. This is when you associate non-visual material with something that can be visualized. Creating additional links between one memory and another, more familiar memory works as a cue for the new information being learned.

Semantic Processing

Semantic processing is when we apply meaning to words and compare or relate it to words with similar meanings. This deeper level of processing involves elaborative rehearsal, which is a more meaningful way to analyze information. This makes it more likely that the information will be stored in long-term memory, as it is associated with previously learned concepts.

Phonetic Processing

Phonetic processing is how we hear the word—the sounds it makes when the letters are read together. We compare the sound of the word to other words we have heard in order to retain some level of meaning in our memory. Phonetic processing is deeper than structural processing; that is, we are more likely to remember verbal information if we process it phonetically.

Structural Processing

Structural processing examines the structure of a word—for example, the font of the typed word or the letters within in it. It is how we assess the appearance of the words to make sense of them and provide some type of simple meaning.

image

Letters: Processing how a word looks is known as structural processing.

Structural processing is the shallowest level of processing

To return to the example of trying to remember the name of a restaurant: if the name of the restaurant has no semantic meaning to you (for instance, if it’s a word in another language, like “Vermicelli”), you might still be able to remember the name if you have processed it phonetically and can think, “It started with a V sound and it rhymed with belly.”

Finally I would like to talk about where our memory takes place. Basically we recreate the world we live in inside our heads. We uses our senses to build up a room with our central awareness located behind our eyes. This room is our 3D representation of the world, populated by our memories and our current sensory inputs. We know, due to our memory, what other things may be happening outside of our room away from our senses.
Though we change locations this one room is always with us, just the wallpaper changes.

Jim Carry, The Matrix, etc , The concept of living in a computer world.

The universe we live in is a marvel but we can only know it from the input of our senses. We do not know what we do not know. .

Limits of memory and the human mind.

It is theoretically possible to have a much more able mind but we are limited, sensibly, by the world we live in. Some people say we only use 10% of our brains. This is not quite right. We can only use them to the extent that the wiring allows. No one deliberately chooses to under use an asset.
Some people have virtual photographic memories, Others names, places or people.

What is memory
What is happiness? Happiness is a life of good memories and an ability to let the bad memories fade. Memories are made of this  Frank Sinatra.

Memories come on board as the brain wiring expands to network properly and language develops. The ability to develop a language is innate, in the genes programmed. We have an inbuilt memory both to be able to communicate to each other  and to develop our memories. It is rare to really remember much before the age of 3. Somewhere between then and 5 comes the development  of an awareness of our awareness. To know that we are alive. Memory storage continues through out our life with overlays of hormonal directed behaviour.
We keep losing brain cells from the moment we are born if not before. 200,000 a day! Luckily there are about 86 billion neurons so even at 70 we have lost less than 10%. Lifestyle affects the rate of loss so head injuries, alcohol on some people, Atheroma, diabetes and smoking. None the less this effect called senile dementia  is usually very late in onset and most of us die before getting there.

More to the point are the presenile dementia’s like Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease.  There is a genetic predisposition and an unknown environmental factor or factors. Basically they can be slowed a little with medication but not stopped in progression and the best advice is to preserve what  we can, a little late now for some.

Lastly we all know what old age is like. It really seems to be partly a state of mind and partly

mid 18th century (as an adjective): via medieval Latin from Greek mn?monikos, from mn?m?n ‘mindful’.
Middle English: from Old French memorie, from Latin memoria, from memor ‘mindful, remembering’

Memory is the faculty of the brain by which data or information is encoded, stored, and retrieved when needed. It is the retention of information over time for the purpose of influencing future action.[1] If past events could not be remembered, it would be impossible for language, relationships, or personal identity to develop.[2] Memory loss is usually described as forgetfulness or amnesia.[3][4][5][6][7][8]

Memory is often understood as an informational processing system with explicit and implicit functioning that is made up of a sensory processor, short-term (or working) memory, and long-term memory.[9] This can be related to the neuron. The sensory processor allows information from the outside world to be sensed in the form of chemical and physical stimuli and attended to various levels of focus and intent. Working memory serves as an encoding and retrieval processor. Information in the form of stimuli is encoded in accordance with explicit or implicit functions by the working memory processor. The working memory also retrieves information from previously stored material. Finally, the function of long-term memory is to store data through various categorical models or systems.[9]

Declarative, or explicit, memory is the conscious storage and recollection of data.[10] Under declarative memory resides semantic and episodic memory. Semantic memory refers to memory that is encoded with specific meaning,[2] while episodic memory refers to information that is encoded along a spatial and temporal plane.[11][12][13] Declarative memory is usually the primary process thought of when referencing memory.[2] Non-declarative, or implicit, memory is the unconscious storage and recollection of information.[14] An example of a non-declarative process would be the unconscious learning or retrieval of information by way of procedural memory, or a priming phenomenon.[2][14][15] Priming is the process of subliminally arousing specific responses from memory and shows that not all memory is consciously activated,[15] whereas procedural memory is the slow and gradual learning of skills that often occurs without conscious attention to learning.[2][14]

Memory is not a perfect processor, and is affected by many factors. The ways by which information is encoded, stored, and retrieved can all be corrupted. The amount of attention given new stimuli can diminish the amount of information that becomes encoded for storage.[2] Also, the storage process can become corrupted by physical damage to areas of the brain that are associated with memory storage, such as the hippocampus.[16][17] Finally, the retrieval of information from long-term memory can be disrupted because of decay within long-term memory.[2] Normal functioning, decay over time, and brain damage all affect the accuracy and capacity of the memory.[18][19]

The Nine Greek Muses

  1. Calliope, the Muse of epic poetry
  2. Clio, the Muse of history
  3. Erato, the Muse of lyric poetry
  4. Euterpe, the Muse of music
  5. Melpomene, the Muse of tragedy
  6. Polyhymnia, the Muse of sacred poetry
  7. Terpsichore, the Muse of dance and chorus
  8. Thalia, the Muse of comedy and idyllic poetry
  9. Urania, the Muse of astronomy

The Muses were nine beautiful young women who were the goddesses and embodiments of science, literature, and the arts. In ancient culture, they were the source of orally related knowledge of poetic lyrics and myths, and were considered to be the personification of knowledge and of the arts, especially dance, literature and music.

The Muses were believed to live on Mount Olympus, where they entertained the Olympian gods with their artistry, but later tradition placed them on Mount Helicon or Mount Parnassus.

The Birth of the Nine Muses

The muses were the nine daughters of Zeus, the king of the gods, and the Titaness Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory.

Mnemonics

Mnemonic devices, sometimes simply called mnemonics, are one way to help encode simple material into memory. A mnemonic is any organization technique that can be used to help remember something. One example is a peg-word system, in which the person “pegs” or associates the items to be remembered with other easy-to-remember items. An example of this is “King Phillip Came Over For Good Soup,” a peg-word sentence for remembering the order of taxonomic categories in biology that uses the same initial letters as the words to be remembered: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species. Another type of mnemonic is an acronym, in which a person shortens a list of words to their initial letters to reduce their memory load.

Changes

Changes in my lifetime We used to do a 5 man rotation on weekends and nights. We did deliveries and assisted at operations .Some did anaesthetics or their own surgical lists. TB was dying out but there were still old sufferers attending a TB clinic at the hospital. We attended nursing homes and we all had our own patients that we were responsible for. We did fractures, sutures and migraines. and worked up to 80 hours a week. Antibiotics, scopes USS CT MRI and coronary stenting.
Now the biggest problems are an aging population and the worried well. Last week I did my bowel screen and Kidney function. Today I am having my BP and diabetes check. Next week a breast screen [sorry computer error] and a genetic testing. Meanwhile I will enjoy having a soy latte, some Pilates at the gym and a debreif from my psychologist on why I do not understand my children.

the change in medical practice over the last 40 years,

Key points

Thanks to Gavin Pogue  for inviting me to speak today at SCR, ALSO TO President Danny Hogan and Roy Hill for inviting me along to Rotary

My theme today  is the change in medical practice over the last 40 years, particularly for GP’s  and their patients in the country towns like Shepparton.

A bit of background
In 1981 Shepparton was a thriving metropolis of  24,000 people and Carlton had just sneaked a grand final. Seymour won the local grand final.  Malcolm Fraser was the PM  and Rupert Hamer was Victorian Premier. Locally we had Bruce Lloyd as our federal MP, Bill hunter as mayor and Peter Ross Edwards as the local MP. Suede flares were just out of fashion except for Shepparton weddings.

I arrived on Dec 15 1981, new baby, into a new practice and new life. General Practice then was an apprenticeship, building up patient numbers, learning from the older GP.’s as one became a family doctor. Reports were written on 5×8 cards with the barest of illegible comments. Failure to give an antibiotic to a sick child led to reproval from the others when they had to do a call out later that night when the child became more unsettled.

GP’s then were jack of all trades expected to do moderate surgery, deliveries and anaesthetics. Melbourne was over 2 1/2 hours away by road and the new Base Hospital had only just opened. Up until then GP’s had run the local hospital which had been based in Mooroopna,Ron Gwynn was the medical director.  Shepparton offered 4 small group practices which was better than the solo practice in small towns  usually working from a converted house. We were expected to do long hours on call, deliveries during the night, home visits and emergencies needing plaster or suture that dominated the life style. Wives were receptionists, backstops and substitute doctors when the doctor was out. No mobiles then , no computers,  billing systems based on trust with payments being made up to 3 months late, Patients had their own doctor and had to be sent back to them after being seen for an emergency. We had to buy into the practice with a large goodwill component and some bricks and mortar.

Roll on the years!
Every year would bring new advances in medical treatments, surgical procedures, obstetrics and psychiatry.
Plus the introduction of computers from 1980 onwards in many different ways. Epidemiology and recording and communication.
Mobile phones and faxes were introduced then the curse of e mail.
Equal opportunity and government scholarships opened the way to greater female participation in the medical workforce. Changing societal values led to shorter working hours and greater emphasis on personal values and freedoms for the general population which then moved into the medical field.

Some of the good

Medicare initially. 1975
One flew over the Cuckoos nest effective treatments 1975
Ulcer surgery replaced by Pills. 1981 Barry Marshall and Robin Warren 1985
Christian Barnard and open heart surgery. 1967 leading to CABG’S
Test tube babies and IVF. 1978
Caesarean sections.
Cryotherapy and diathermy
Good preventative medicine
Stop smoking campaigns.Skin campaigns, PAP testing.

and the bad
HIV IN 1979
Greater accountability led to the growth of specialization and the decline of active general practice. Freezing of rebates led to poorer services being offered and the growth of government supported after hour services and casualty attendance for emergencies. Economics dictated large clinics and a loss of the family doctor role which will be gone in the next 5 years.

The ugly
increased litigation.
Increased recording and regulatory demands without commonsense.
The privacy act.
Medicare

The funny.
Acupuncture.  BB story.
A patient was having an acupuncture session with her GP who was newly trained. He had put 15 needles in when called away to a phone call. As he was locking up at 6.00 he heard a plaintive cry from the acupuncture room Can I go home now. Well yes as soon as the needles were out and no a long visit was not charged.
Going halfway to Dookie to give a painkiller injection to a man with severe back pain immobilized on the kitchen floor. then finding he had a Benalla doctor who had refused to come out.

The dramatic
Real home doctoring
Out to pick up B boy after knocked of bike on cnr Balaclava and Wyndham St, beat the ambulance.
Attending a psychiatric emergency when police called to ask if I would talk to patient who had barricaded himself in his house with a gun. On arriving in the street the two policemen put bulletproof vests on and we edged along the house to the front door. The sergeant and I asked if we could come in  and talked him into putting down the gun.

The sad
For a GP. Some things never change ,having to give bad news on diagnosis.
For patients the loss of the family doctor. I saw a lot of second and third generation patients over that 35 years and built up rapport both ways. Some of you probably still have your family doctor who is nearly always there but this is becoming a rarity in Shepparton.

Life lessons
The patient is always right .
people who call late at night are genuinely sick.
You can never tell over the phone how bad an injury is.
Get a doctor who gives you time [hint they are always late and it hurts waiting but you will get the attention you need].

I retired after 35 years in general practice and had a medical career for 50 years. I would still be involved today if the regulations had not become so onerous and unwieldy. Something that affects most careers these days.

Lastly I would like to remind Rotarians that health is a field that can offer opportunities for us to help the community in.

Thank you all for listening

lovely lemon tree.

When I was just a lad of ten, my father said to me, “Come here and take a lesson from the lovely lemon tree.” “Don’t put your faith in love, my boy”, my father said to me, “I fear you’ll find that love is like the lovely lemon tree.”

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat. Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

One day beneath the lemon tree, my love and I did lie A girl so sweet that when she smiled the stars rose in the sky. We passed that summer lost in love beneath the lemon tree The music of her laughter hid my father’s words from me.

One day she left without a word. She took away the sun. And in the dark she left behind, I knew what she had done. She’d left me for another, it’s a common tale but true. A sadder man but wiser now I sing these words to you.

“Vieni qui e prendi una lezione dal delizioso albero di limone.” “Non mettere la tua fede nell’amore, ragazzo mio”, mi disse mio padre, “temo che scoprirai che l’amore è come il delizioso albero di limone”.

Il limone è molto carino e il fiore del limone è dolce, ma il frutto del povero limone è impossibile da mangiare. Il limone è molto carino e il fiore del limone è dolce, ma il frutto del povero limone è impossibile da mangiare.

Un giorno, sotto l’albero di limone, il mio amore e io abbiamo mentito. Una ragazza così dolce che quando sorrideva le stelle si alzavano nel cielo. Passammo quell’estate perduti nell’amore sotto l’albero di limone. La musica delle sue risate nascondeva le parole di mio padre.

Un giorno se ne andò senza dire una parola. Ha portato via il sole. E nel buio che si era lasciata alle spalle, sapevo cosa aveva fatto. Mi ha lasciato per un altro, è una storia comune ma vera. Un uomo più triste ma più saggio ora canto queste parole per te.

the boat has a problem.

luciferro bearer of the light or knowledge implies as does GOE that knowledge and insight is bad and belongs only to god.If we are characters in a play written by a god and even if he uses a tabula erasa the story cannot be untold. Do the characters, if sentient have a pre knowledge that they would go through these fates willingly and volunteer for it [The fair way] hoping to gain real death, loss of knowledge, Or are they just a story line whose pain and emotion an disintegration, while conscious of it was merely visitated on them by the author. in full knowledge of the effect that it had? Worse if a story, It can be read from both ways.

The boat that floats. a biased view of life, and people.

The premise is simple.

A boat is floating in the sea. So, on the durface, waterproof and coping with its surroundings, engine going and able to cope with problems as they arise.

But now we are told that the boat has a problem. A hole below the water line big enough to sink her in 6 hours and no way to repair it. Engines not working and no pump on board.
We are unable to help though we can communicate with the boat.
6 hours pass and the boat is still floating at the same level. Two days pass, a yera passes and still the boat floats.
What is going on?

This analogy has many real life situations. In personal relationships, politics, health , sports and life in general.     Analogies +++

So what is really going on?
The simple answer is that

+

 

 

 

5 Balls/points

Conundrums  Observer or observerless

1 ball no space no time no weight no dimension no colour, no taste no vibration

2 balls seperate so introduces notion of space or distance in a straight line between them

3 balls Triangle relative distance, angles 180 degrees.

Memory Input
Information through sensation
We can only memorise what we observe or imagine but we can only imagine after we have observations to work on, otherwise our memory is a tabula rasa. Observation is through our senses. We can input auditory visual tactile taste and smell, the 5 senses. We also have proprioception a sense of orientation. These allow us to perceive the world about us through the medium of our senses. We also have a perception of time based on the changes in these perceptions.
The world can be observed through other senses that we do not have but are able to piggyback onto by re evaluating them in terms of the senses that we do perceive.

Hence microscopes telescopes Infra red [predator] U Violet radio waves etc as we have learnt from our science talks. Magnetic fields and electrical signals are used by birds and fish and bats used high pitched sounds that we cannot hear. CT scans and MRI and USS are other mediums we use.

Our input is only as good as our receptors [senses] allow. Visual problems, hearing problems reduce our capacity  to assess and store information. .

The observations are assessed and recorded in specific areas of the brain, visual cortex, auditory cortex. but also go to all areas of the brain for further consideration, organisation, action and storage. The scope for this central processing room is a little beyond the remit of this talk though it is vital for our talk today on memory.

Memory storage by the brain is still controversial. There is no one site in the brain that it is stored in. Medical studies have shown that multiple variable sites all over the brain are active and activated when using ones senses. The main theory is that the neurons in the brain set up multiple  interconnecting pathways and  some have the plasticity to store the inputs and retain this as information that can then be used. More recent studies suggest that memory information is actually stored in the cells themselves and is able to be recovered.
Conceptually we liken our brains to computers. This is actually truer than you think but it is not yet proven or understood. [Why explain later re nature of inputs* binary].

Memory is classified partly by storage and partly by the input system.
Visual memory
Auditory, etc.
But also by the use we make of it through our CPU. to organise both our thinking and our emotions. Different areas of the brain help control our different types of thinking and our emotions.
Hence we have a speech [Broca’s] area usually on the left side of the brain where we organise our languages.
Here we have emotional memory, map memory, photographic memory,
Many of these areas have been shown by MRI techniques whereas in  the older days brain mapping was done by observation on the changes in thinking people had with brain injuries like stokes.

Why do we have memory, what is it used for and what advantages and problems does it cause?

Evolutionary wise memory was something that developed accidentally in self replicating proteins that helped them survive better. Life itself is memory in that the RNA is a memory code that makes more RNA , a self explaining loop. Humans like to look for reasons for behavior but here none are needed, By definition ongoing replication must have built in mechanisms to do so [cue Aliens again], Evolution dictates that if a better way of doing so comes along it will be incorporated, not that it needs to be.
Hence if a sense developed that was protective it would be incorporated. Sensing food, seeing danger and reacting appropriately were not necessary, just useful improvements., The protobrain was the cell and its cell wall. The memories of pain, heat, thirst and actions to alleviate them improved over time and were coded for by the RNA and developed in the cell.

Some of memories are stored in a special memory organ, the brain. Needed by a gigantic billion cell organism.But every cell in our body had both cellular memory and RNA memory and DNA memory and can react without central nervous involvement. Our immune system has an Immune memory which develops and improves throughout our life without any need to be involved with our brain.Our bodies develop under the remembered response of hormonal and time influences to dramatic changes from birth to adult hood then senescence. Our organs react to food input in the appropriate manner and as humans we have a diurnal lifestyle imposed on us by remembered  evolution.

There is a lovely Frank Sinatra song, “Memories are made of this”

(The sweet, sweet memories you’ve given me
You can’t beat the memories you’ve given me)
Take one fresh and tender kiss,
Add one stolen night of bliss,
One girl; one boy; some grief; some joy:
Memories are made of this.
Don’t forget a small moonbeam.
Fold it lightly with a dream.
Your lips and mine,Two sips of wine:
Memories are made of this.
Then add the wedding bells;
One house where lovers dwell;
Three little kids for the flavor.
Stir carefully through the days See how the flavor stays.
These are the dreams you will savor.
With His blessings from above,
Serve it generously with love.
One man, one wife, One love, through life:
So what is a memory, what is memory.
Memory is the ability to store and recall the past events of our life.
To remember words and language rules in a way to think clearly and communicate
To find our way around our world and identify those persons and things we come in contact with. It is the gift that enables our CPU to think clearly and also to plan and think ahead or fall into a muse and remember.
But it also a psychological aide, for good or ill to help us through our lives.
It allows us to develop and express our emotions and helps form the base of our conscious, consciousness and the person we will be through life.
When we are young we have no time for memory we are too busy developing it, When we are old we spend too much time using it and the one thing we fear is losing it.
Memory loss is built in to mist of us like aging. We need all the brain cells we can have even though we do not appear to use them at anywhere near their fill potential . We lose 200,000 a day from birth but this 6 billion over 90 years is only a small part of the 42 billion available.
Nevertheless losing a big chunk of the brain by repeated damage as in boxing or concussion injuries with LOC or strokes is not a good thing. Some people have a sensitivity to alcohol damage to the brain instead of the liver [Wernicke’s encephalitis]. For most of us this is not a problem. B12 deficiency can cause problems. Meningitis, encephalitis and syphilis are infections capable of causing brain damage. The most problematic is Alzheimer’s disease or presenile dementia which is the early onset of dementia. The cause is still unknown though there is a genetic tendency to early disease in some people. MRI has helped diagnosis but it is usually best diagnosed post mortem..
Senile dementia is related to vascular damage from atheroma  over many years and usually occurs at a later age. Other rarer conditions exist. Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, etc
Prevention.
I will be controversial here and merely say that I have never been made aware of an effective strategy for countering Alzheimer’s disease.
It behoves all of us to reduce our risk by living life in moderation and avoiding Bungee jumping.
Early diagnosis can make a big difference to the sufferer and their partner.
The best clue is a sudden change in simple tasks by an otherwise reliable person.
Putting plastic dishes in the oven [more than once], Forgetting appointments regularly, losing things or repeated “thefts”.  Putting dints in the car and for doctors in the audience people repeatedly asking for lost scripts and what the medicine is for. It is very hard to diagnose but quite obvious when the diagnosis is made.
Should we attempt to improve our memory?
Yes. Old dogs can learn new tricks. One of the secrets of staying younger physically and mentally is to try new challenges and new activities. We still have a capacity, so many brain cells left, that we can easily improve our brains and enjoy life more.
Crosswords, Sudoku, Board and card games, Trips, Trivia and U3A.

Memory tricks.
The secret to improving your memory is to want to improve your memory.
The tip to improve your memory is to write things down, not necessarily a diary, even a scrap of paper will help

The Zeigarnik Effect

When you start working on something but do not finish it, thoughts of the unfinished work continue to pop into your mind even when you’ve moved on to other things. This can be useful as a counter to procrastination.