Continuing on with our review of Debi Pearl’s new book “Create a Better Brain Through Neuroplasticity” We are finally past the Jill Rodrigues portion of the book. Now it’s on to Debi talking about baby brains. This is one long chapter filled with half truths.
Debi starts by mentioning Pedro’s brain damage again. Talking how because of that we can train our babies to ‘excel like never before’ She talks of imparting self control, which is funny considering everything Debi and Michael have said about training self control in a child involves beating someone with a plumbing line.
Babbling about stars and ten trillion connections in the brain followed by this:
“Science has proven that your child’s emotional strength and mental well-being are not inherited but are a product of what we introduce into their world.”
Not so fast there, Debi. There is ample proof of inherited mental conditions, like types of bipolar and the tendency towards depression, which are well established by science.
I’ve also seen studies and evidence speaking to the issues of inherited trauma going down many generations. Now this is a new and emerging field of scientific inquiry that puts Debi’s words to lie.
“Every person in their life, every babysitter, every playmate, everything they see, hear, and feel is contributing to their eventual emotional and mental framework.”
And just like that we’re back at the standard Pearl brand isolate your children from everyone else and everything else. We’ve seen how not so well that has worked out with the substandard lives of the Pearl offspring.
Debi follows this by talking about how learning starts in the womb, why you should read aloud and sing to your bump. She goes further to state this is how babies learn to bond with mother, by her voice.
All true but Debi never mentions the dark flip side of this that science has come up with. Trauma, angry voices, and abuse of the mother while pregnant have been proven to result in babies without growth in some areas of their brain.
Then Debi explains brain terms in her own simple and not so correct way. Neurons, synapse, neurotransmitters she gets sort of right but then we go here… right into the sloppy seven of cheap nasty explanations of neurotransmitters.
Dopamine is often called the happy chemical.
Actually the role of Dopamine is far more complex that mere chemical happiness. Not only does it provide pleasant feelings it also plays a role in movement, learning, and emotional responses. It may be a player in addiction and is linked to a number of illnesses.
Serotonin makes you feel important.
This is utter codswallop. What Serotonin does is regulate our moods, working in conjunction with Dopamine. It is responsible for communication in the nervous system cells, and for the proper functions of sleeping, eating, maintaining bone health and digestion. Too much Serotonin can cause anxiety and depression.
Cortisol is known as the stress hormone.
That’s too simplistic and broad of a definition. Cortisol is a steroid hormone manufactured in the adrenal gland. What it does is this:
Because most bodily cells have cortisol receptors, it affects many different functions in the body. Cortisol can help control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, help reduce inflammation, and assist with memory formulation. It has a controlling effect on salt and water balance and helps control blood pressure. In women, cortisol also supports the developing fetus during pregnancy. All of these functions make cortisol a crucial hormone to protect overall health and well-being.
There are ailments caused by too low and too high levels of cortisol. There’s been a lot of misinformation about the role of cortisol in weight loss circles because those pushing weight loss products have seized upon cortisol as the be all, end all of stress. While it is does play a role in stress, it’s not quite what the weight loss products people would have you believe. This is why Debi’s assumption is mostly meaningless.
Noradrenalin is the fight and flight chemical and works with adrenaline.
It’s not just ‘fight or flight’ it also is responsible for your body’s response to exercise, your ability to concentrate and your moods. It mobilizes your body for action.
Endorphin is the love hormone.
Again, simplistic and not quite the whole story. Endorphins can occur when you do things like exercise or eat pleasurable foods too. It’s not all love, love, love. Chocolate can release it in some people. Some people have release of endorphins when injured, or when narcotics bind to receptions for endorphins. It is one of the most complex and not entirely understood endocrine functions out there.
Oxytocin is known as the bonding hormone.
Oxytocin is related to motherhood in that it drives uterine contractions and assists in lactation. It’s sometimes known as the love or cuddle hormone because it is released when we do things like hug, or even just play with the dog.
What Debi misses is that it can also have a dark side:
Oxytocin can also intensify memories of bonding gone bad, such as in cases where men have poor relationships with their mothers. It can also make people less accepting of people they see as outsiders. In other words, whether oxytocin makes you feel cuddly or suspicious of others depends on the environment.
Debi is just all sunshine, roses and wrong ideas. Everything, literally EVERYTHING is much more complex than she states here.
Melatonin is the hormone that helps you sleep.
For once Debi is right. Melatonin is a hormone that tells your body when to sleep. She does not mention that it can be screwed with by light exposure and a number of things, or that you can literally buy bottles of the stuff to help sleep when you are having insomnia.
“Our feelings decide which neurotransmitter will be released.”
Again, this is not how it works, this is not how any of this works!! Your body releases or does not release neurotransmitters because of signals in your body, not merely because of emotions. It’s just that simple, you exercise hard and your body responds by releasing dopamine, noradrenalin, endorphin and cortisol. No emotions required! This is just another way to shame people for having feelings and emotions!
I just can’t! I have to break off this review now before I erupt into a volcano of very naughty words and hand signals. It is important that we first look at Debi’s definitions of neurotransmitters because the rest of the chapter hinges on her nonsense ideas on what they do.
Next week. How being sweet to baby creates more neuro pathways and bigger better brains in babies. Too bad they just crush all of that by beating those same babies.
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