Create a Better Brain Through Neuroplasticity – Chapter One – Misunderstandings Misdefinitions

Create a Better Brain Through Neuroplasticity – Chapter One – Misunderstandings Misdefinitions October 26, 2019

Screen cap from YouTube of Terry Crews brain escaping from an Old Spice commercial. My brain is trying to leave reading this silly book. Avoid this book unless you are eager to lose brain cells.

Today we start a new series, looking at Debi Pearl of No Greater Joy’s newest book “Create a Better Brain Through Neuroplasticity”

We have already covered five bits Debi Pearl has published through her magazine No Greater Joy. It’s a horror show of misinformation, misunderstandings, misdefinitions, and the book merely continues on with this ‘Mis’ theme.

Even before the foreword Debi Pearl starts yammering on about her husband Michael. She says this:

“It bears my name as the author, but it is loaded with his wisdom, creative play on words, and divine Biblical knowledge.”

Oh Debi! Even from the first words of this book she has to downplay what has happened to Mike that created the interest in the subject. Michael’s stroke. Or perhaps to make it seem like Michael is still an active vital part of the ministry when it’s much more likely he’s struggling to recover from his stroke.

Then Debi moves on to that same set of scriptures from Titus 2 that acolyte Lori Alexander loves to pound on to justify her ministry. “….the aged woman likewise, that they be …. teachers of good things…”

Debi starts the the chapter with the same simple, yet not entirely true words about changing a few habits just to change your brain. She’s trying, and failing, to explain what neuroplasticity is. She fails to note it’s an emerging field without much hard and fast knowledge yet. According to Debi it’s already been mapped out years ago.

And then we get to the stroke. Here is Debi’s stroke definition:

“Stroke – A sudden disabling attack or loss of consciousness caused by the interruption in the flow of blood to the brain, especially through thrombosis”

This must be what happened to Michael. Sadly it’s not a good definition of a stroke either. My definition comes from the Stroke Foundation’s website and links.

A stroke is a medical condition in which poor blood flow to the brain results in cell death. There are two main types of stroke: ischemic, due to lack of blood flow, and hemorrhagic, due to bleeding. Both result in parts of the brain not functioning properly.

I had a stroke in September of 2018 and also relentlessly researched it afterward. I had a tiny hemorrhagic stoke where the only symptom was a small white spot in the vision of one eye. I felt perfectly fine during the entire thing, right up until they put me on blood pressure meds. The meds to prevent a second one were the only awful parts. I faithfully take my meds and my blood pressure now.

If Mike lost consciousness it was pretty bad. Brain damage bad. Recovery bad. Lots of physical therapy bad. Having stem cells injected into his brain will not do a darn thing bad. Not writing any more articles or books bad.

Debi seems completely unaware that many people have TIA (transient ischemic attack) or as they are also known as mini-strokes without even realizing it. Sometimes you have a pile of them before the bad one hits. Debi does not delve into the warning signs of strokes, or any of the prevention tips, or how to go about preventing a second one. She jumps to an apocryphal story of Pedro, Paul and George Bach-y-Rita and the stroke.

First Debi even gets the dates on this story quite wrong, before fudging many of the details of how George worked with his father Pedro to recover from the stroke, using what sounds like ‘Tough Love’ techniques that took Pedro from drooling vegetable status to mountain climbing in less than six years. The neighbors all thought that the methods used by psychiatrist George were cruel.

Six years later when Pedro died of a heart attack the two doctor sons attended the autopsy to see what the stroke damage to daddy’s brain was. According to Debi, there was only 3% of alive undamaged brain stem in Pedro’s brain at that autopsy.

I’m seeing some version of these stories online, but not the percentage numbers of what portions were damaged. Every does seem to agree that Paul Bach-y-Rita is the father of neuroplasticity after his father’s stroke interests him into investigating why some folks recover function and some people do not.

Debi ends the chapter by citing experiments of seeing with your tongue and other brain daring-do that is at best experimental.  Blind men mountain climbing by this miraculous device and other tales straight off of YouTube. Yes, she cited YouTube as a credible source.

Moving on to rewiring the brain. Debi misses all the fascinating research that has been done on animals that have the ability to rewire their brains in minutes post-stroke. She speaks about positive thinking versus negative thinking rewiring your brain, making the claim that negative thoughts  merely create deeper grooves in the brain and you stay stuck if you entertain them. She has absolutely zero studies or scientific evidence of this.

She ends the chapter with ordering you to become informed and educated while citing a few older books she got her info from and a literal pile of the first links that pull up on Google if you run a search on Pedro.  She also says that fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

What a confused mish-mash of poorly researched ideas this book is!

Next Saturday will be chapter 2 and it’s a doozy, all about manipulating your childrens brains to be obedient and smart. She starts with a story about baby # 13 from the Rodrigues family, Janessa. Janessa’s parents are David and Jill Rodrigues, prone to have kids that look sickly unfed all the time, with all 13 children and parents living a large part of the year in an RV as they go around the country singing. *rolls eyes* just the sorts of people you want to be taking parenting advice from. Jill is SEVERELY excited to be in the book.

We’ve written about the Rodrigues clan here a few times. They are Quiverfull to the extreme, live by what looks like a grifting scheme involving ministering from church to church. CPS has visited the family a number of times now and Jill seems addicted to social media.

Ugh. I cannot even! Debi is breaking my sarcasm meter, and I might just end up with my eyes stuck in a permanent rolling position if this keeps up.

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Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

I Fired God by Jocelyn Zichtermann

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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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