Neuroplasticity – The Book That Ate Debi Pearl’s Brain Part 2

Neuroplasticity – The Book That Ate Debi Pearl’s Brain Part 2 August 29, 2019
Debi does brain research! Actually sadly enough no. This is a screen cap from the parody of Frankenstein movies “Young Frankenstein”

Today we are diving right into chapter 1 of Debi Pearls new book “Create a Better Brain Through Neuroplasticity” She has a handful pf partial chapters up on the Pearl website No Greater Joy, and they are by turns funny, infuriating, and filled with nonsense, Please do not take your brain advice from a woman who’s only education was high school many years ago. I guess since Michael is MIA post stroke she thinks this is her best shot at keeping the money rolling in.

Neuroplasticity has taught us that the brain can remap itself and, in doing so, can bring healing.

That’s true, but here’s what Debi is not telling you. Scientists themselves cannot agree on many things involving the brain and neuroplasticity. It’s a newer discipline, with the same discussions that happen whenever something newer appears on the scientific horizon. It takes time to establish criteria and guidelines.

The most exciting thing I’ve seen involving neuroplasticity is that there are those paraplegics that are starting to walk due to the ability of the spinal cord to generate new nerve pathways.

What if I told you that if you changed a few simple habits in your life you could actually increase your IQ or that of your child? Sounds good, doesn’t it?

That’s not neuroplasticity, that’s changing habits, Debi. This is Debi’s carrot, the way she’ll get all those impoverished homeschooling mommas to buy this book, promise a higher IQ. Which is possible only to a small extent. Here seems to be the general scientific consensus online on what helps form a child’s IQ.

You probably already that know genetics along with good nutrition, protection from toxins, and plenty of playtime and exercise all work together to nurture a child’s intelligence.

They do not mention another big factor, one that the Pearls are pretty expert in, childhood trauma. It is well established that childhood trauma limits children’s brains, maybe even significantly affecting IQ as well.

Can you help? Yes, but it’s not rocket science or neuroplasticity either. These are the simple steps you can use to support a growing IQ from early on.

Are you ready?

Here are 5 things you can do to improve your child’s intelligence.
  1. Read to improve verbal and linguistic intelligence. …

  2. Play with blocks to improve spatial intelligence. …

  3. Do math and physical exercise to improve fluid intelligence. …

  4. Believe in them. …

  5. Praise their efforts to develop a growth-mindset.

Just that simple!

Interestingly enough many of the websites on increasing a child’s IQ levels seem to be out of Asia, where there is a culture of helping and expecting academic excellence.

And what if I could show you what you could do to make you and your child naturally happier and more confident, get rid of your brain fog or sluggishness, and be more motivated to get things done? It is not as hard as you may think, in fact, brain scans show us that it is really just a matter of knowing how to direct our actions and thoughts to make it happen.

No, no, no, NO! This is not how you deal with ‘brain fog’ or ‘sluggishness’! Changing your thoughts is also not neuroplasticity, and one of the most unhelpful pieces of advice for anyone struggling with mental illness, physical illness and depression. It’s not a choice to ‘think happy thoughts’ and it automatically fixes everything. Positive attitudes can help, but not like Debi is claiming.

I struggle sometimes with the brain fog thing and dragging my carcass around on bad days of my chronic illness. What works for me is to either get into the swimming pool and swimming laps, or a long walk on the beach. Exercise. Sometimes caffeine helps. What works for you might be something very different and that’s okay too.

Dr. Norman Doidge, a Canadian-born psychiatrist and best-selling author, said, “Thought changes structure…I saw people rewire their brains with their thoughts, to cure previously incurable obsessions and trauma.” Neuroscientists say with certainty that the brain is capable of re-engineering, and we are the engineers. By means of brain scans, scientists can see it happen.

The brain is not limited to changes that make us smarter or more emotionally balanced; it responds to training that helps us recover from all sorts of injury, diseases, and emotional ills. Now that is almost a miracle.

And we finally see who it is that Debi is possibly taking their work and twisting into her own skewed version for this book. Dr. Norman Doidge, a headshrinker, prominent physician that has written several books on similar subjects.

His ideas on thinking changing your brain go all the way back to some of the early philosophers. You know where all of this is leading? Right? To blaming depression, mental illnesses and physical illnesses upon the sufferer. We’re not there yet, but this is such a standard set piece of fundamentalist and evangelical thinking.

Following this line of thinking puts the onus of Ken Alexander’s recent bout of tick borne illness firmly on him for not thinking the right thoughts. Instead of where it genuinely belongs, which is on the poor hapless tick and complicated by not getting the right antibiotics soon enough.

Debi follows all of this with an extremely word salad-y paragraph touching on MRIs, rewiring the brain and the things we do making us who we are. There is some truth to the things we do, like music and art, influencing who we are. But that is not the entire picture of how people end up who they are.

The rewiring the brain claims she makes are not entirely true. Science is just now starting to study and start figuring out the mechanisms of how that happens. It’s a very inexact science right now that holds great promise.

But this just made me laugh out loud.

With the use of an fMRI (a machine used for measuring and mapping brain activity),

The typo is Debi’s. Does she really not understand that an MRI is much more than a brain mapping machine? MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Yes, you can do brain scans, but a pile of other things too.  It uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to peer into areas of the body more easily. It’s used for many different conditions.

Edited to add: I stand corrected. Apparently an fMRI is exclusive to the brain. Debi’s not as dumb as she looks.

Here it serves as a symbol and warning of all that is Debi and her medical knowledge. Her oversimplification of the MRI is just like all of her other assumptions in this book – child like and under-educated. As ‘abby-normal’ as the brain Eyegor is holding above.


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About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 33 years. You can read more about the author here.

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