Building a 3D Model of the Brain – In the Brain of A Health Professional Student

New Technology for Educators of Medical and other Health Professionals

by Bradley Tanner, MD

Health professional trainees start their training with a limited understanding of neurobiology and over time must develop a mental map of the brain’s uniquely complex structures and its network of neural pathways. They must learn the underlying neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neuropathophysiology of the brain to establish a core framework upon which they build the science of medical assessment and treatment of brain-related disorders.

Students need to develop an internalized, spatially relevant 3D map of brain structures and their connections. Poor 3D comprehension can lead to errors, misunderstanding, or doubt that a scientific basis of a brain-based disorder (e.g., addiction) exists.

The brain is a unique creation and far more challenging to understand than the heart, kidney, skin, and other organs. Unfortunately, its complex interconnecting structures and interactions have no close similarity to common, everyday experiences or models (e.g., pumps, filters, tubes, rubber bands). Cutting open a brain (in reality or radiologically) reveals globs of gray and white and does not disclose its complexity or vast potential.

Currently, students use 2D diagrams, dissections, radiological scans, textual descriptions, 3D visualizations [represented on a 2D screen], glossaries, and slides to visualize brain neuroanatomy. Three-dimensional (3D) neuroanatomic renders delivered on a 2D screen can be partially successful in providing spatial relationship abilities compared to standard 2D objects, but these tools still do not reach the full potential of technology to enhance spatial skills and develop 3D maps. Learners need a powerful tool to visualize the brain and time-efficiently build an internal model of the brain.

The solution is the latest generation of Virtual Reality headsets. Virtual reality training engages the learner in environments not feasible in the real world, such as immersion inside body systems used in surgery training.

Oculus Rift™ VR (owned by Facebook) has renewed enthusiasm for consumer VR technology. Oculus takes advantage of Moore’s law (enhanced computer power and decreasing component size) alongside improvements in high-resolution small screens utilized in the latest generation of iOS and Android smartphones. The 3D stereoscopic VR world of today’s headsets responds promptly to head movements, fills the entire field of vision, and smoothly generates images that create a convincing alternate reality where the user can look up, down, and behind them. These headsets allow a near perfect representation of reality regarding short visual lag and a full field of view. The realism that is possible with the device evokes “real world” responses (excitement, fear, a sense of awe and wonder) that one does not see when folks watch a video or 3D images displayed on a 2D screen.

Headset VR technology has already been used to explore pain control, surgical repair of a hernia, and similarly complicated objects for engineering training. It is time to apply the potential of immersive headset-based VR technology to the task of understanding brain anatomy and neural connections.


Bradley Tanner, MD is the founder and President of Clinical Tools Inc., a physician certified in psychiatry and obesity medicine, a frequent presenter on the topic of health professional education and training, and a reviewer of NIH grant applications. His typical topics include VR technology, serious games, obesity, addictions and SBIR entrepreneurship. Webmasters and other article publishers are at this moment given reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Bradley Tanner, MD. For additional content see blog.medstudentlearning.com

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Why the Mindset of an Entrepreneur Is Important

By Tosh R. Comer

Various emotions and thoughts cross your mind when engaging in the idea of owning your own business. Many entrepreneurs get a sense of excitement while also feeling overwhelmed. You relish in the idea that you can be your own boss, which writes and cashes your own checks. However, shortly after all the initial excitement has passed, you begin to wonder, will my product or service work, will it sell, or will I be able to take care of myself? With so many questions that you establish a great response for, doubts and uncertainty often formulate an antithesis in the shadows of your mind. Preparing and reframing your mindset about yourself and your business will determine how you operate and make your business successful.

I once heard Bishop T. D. Jakes say in his sermon entitled “A Changed Mind,” you can never change your reality without first changing your mind. This statement has stuck with me ever since. It sounds so simple, but when you think about it, it is powerful.  How often have you had preconceived notions about someone or something until you interacted with it or them, and all a sudden, your perception is no longer the same from before your encounter? For instance, getting on a roller-coaster is frightening (especially the Fury 325 at Carowinds) but once you get on and scream to the top of your lungs when it stops most people want to ride it again. It wasn’t that the ride got less scary it’s just your mindset changed. What you believe will determine how you respond. If you’re constantly thinking, I cannot do this or I know “it” will fail, it is more likely that you will not be successful. It’s not because you did not have a good idea, or you weren’t capable, but you could not see past your doubt to see the success that could have been.

When starting a business, you must understand that there will be natural deterrents that may arise, whether it be a lack of capital, office or storage space, or even market potential if you are trying to create a demand. Nevertheless, how you view these obstacles makes all the difference. Having limited capital may require you to utilize every possible resource you may have. Do not be afraid or too prideful to ask for help. Not having enough office or storage space will make you strengthen your organizational skills. Creating a demand for your product or service will cause you to be more creative than you ever been. It’s all how you perceive a challenge to be. Even with the unknowns do not allow fear to cripple you, instead let it be a motivator. We have an innate ability to fight or flight in any given situation. Choose to fight! Refuse to give up because of your past mistakes. In fact, reframe those mistakes as learning opportunities and never doubt your ability to break bad habits.

I would also like to stress the importance of having confidence in yourself. Think of it this way, if you had to buy a product or service from Eeyore or Tigger (characters from Christopher Robbin’s Winnie the Pooh) who would you patronize? Eeyore, the humdrum individual who was not sure of himself and finds every opportunity to tell you how miserable his life is or Tigger the jovial, outgoing, charismatic who loves to laugh and have fun even when working? I would go for a Tigger every time. How you view yourself is how others will view you. Be your own motivator and surround yourself with cheerleaders. Having a good support system is very integral in the pursuit of turning your dream into a reality.

Finally, as the adage goes, birds of a feather flock together. Surround yourself with successful entrepreneurs. Glean from their past business mistakes and triumphs. Read entrepreneurial magazines and books, network by joining professional groups or clubs, and engage and talk with potential customers about the product or service you are trying to offer. Most importantly, be unyielding in your pursuit of changing your mindset when it comes to yourself and your business. What you believe is how you will succeed. Believe the best, speak life into your business, and shut down the voice of your insecurities. After all of that take the leap of faith and fly.

Tosh R. Comer is a proud graduate of North Carolina Central University, presently working at Fayetteville State University, and actively building EPICS Small Business Consulting. She is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Tosh R. Comer. You can reach her via email at epicssbc@gmail.com or her website www.epicssbc.com.

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The Power of Failure

The Power of Failure 

Failure is necessary for success; yet, it’s something we all fear.  Failure means we’ve messed up, failure means we are wrong, failure means we weren’t successful, and in most cases, failure leads to an end.  However, that is where as a society we are wrong.  Failure does not mean the end; it is simply a new path and a new way.  

Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper, Edison failed 1,000 times, Van Gogh sold one painting in his lifetime, the Wright Brothers crashed many times; yet, today they are deemed some of the most successful and creative people.

When students ask, “Is this good enough” the question breaks my heart.  They are asking this question because they want to be done with a task.  They are not asking the question because they see the assignment as a valuable learning experience or a place to figure out what they do not know.  They do not see it as an opportunity to correct their mistakes and a way to learn more.  They ask if it is good enough because they do not have a growth mindset.  Their focus is not on growing their brain.  Students with a growth mindset are motivated to learn, are persistent, resilient, and focused because they believe that their ability will develop with effort.  They know that their neurons can make more connections.  

Dr. Carol Dwek’s research has led to the discovery that students with a fixed mindset want to look smart in front of their peers whereas students with a growth mindset want to learn.  These students with a growth mindset are more likely to accept challenges, persevere, and learn from their mistakes (The Impact of a Growth Mindset).  Disney, Edison, Van Gogh, and the Wright Brothers had a growth mindset and they used their mistakes to drive their next attempts.  These innovators understood the power of “yet.”  

Edison had not created the lightbulb yet, the Wright Brothers hadn’t become airborne yet, and Disney had not found success yet.  Just like, I have not run a marathon yet.  Adding this one simple word to your phrase helps to change your mindset from a fixed mindset of a goal you cannot reach to a growth mindset of a goal that just hasn’t occurred at this time.  

Dr. Dwek also encourages teachers not to reward the success of an activity but to reward the effort put into the activity (How Praise and Feedback Impact Student Outcomes).  Teachers can tell students, “I see you using your strategies, keep it up,” “You can learn to do it, I know it’s tough but let’s break it down so we can figure it out,” or “I’m proud of you for not giving up.” This language empowers students and supports the process they are going through.  It reminds them they are doing more than simply looking for a right or wrong answer.  By harnessing the power of yet and carefully providing feedback, teachers can help students and adults be less afraid to fail and more likely to see the opportunities that failure provides for growth.  

So, the next time you hear someone tell you that you failed at a task show them your excitement to grow and teach them the power in “yet.”

Erin Roberts is a Middle School Academically and Intellectually Gifted Specialist.  She is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Education Program focusing on Gifted and Talented learners at Western Carolina University.  Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact.  Copyright 2017 by Erin Roberts.  

 

“Decades of Scientific Research That Started a Growth Mindset Revolution.” The Growth Mindset – What Is Growth Mindset – Mindset Works. Mindset Works, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2017. <https://www.mindsetworks.com/Science/Default>.

“How Praise and Feedback Impact Student Outcomes.” Teacher Practices. Mindset Works, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2017. <https://www.mindsetworks.com/Science/Teacher-Practices>.

“The Impact of a Growth Mindset.” Science Impact. Mindset Works, n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2017. <https://www.mindsetworks.com/Science/Impact>.

 

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Plants As A Metaphor For Change

David Bowie wrote a song about it. Barnes and Noble has numerous books about it. And, Netflix has at least 30 movies that promise you will do it after watching them.  What is the subject that a musician, a book seller, and a streaming service all have in common? Change.  I’ve heard it said it takes 21 days to change a habit – maybe, maybe not. Change, in and of itself, is reality and there are many ways to cope with change.

How do we see change in our own lives?  Sometimes change can be so small that it feels as though nothing is happening. Think – losing weight or quitting smoking.  It can feel like you take five steps forward and 10 steps backward.  Other times, change can be brutal and fast. Think –  an unexpected death, illness or visitor from one’s past.  Perhaps one of these situations has resonated with you and has created change in your life. Many of us know how to measure change in life: pounds lost according to the scale, the number of smoke free days, how many days of exercise, etc. etc.

But what about the change that is happening around us all the time? How can we see it and how can we use it?  In January 2011, I started aggressive chemotherapy and was in denial of what the drugs would do to me.  I knew I’d lose my hair and although I read about all the other side effects, I thought, “nope, I’m in good shape, this is not going to happen to me.”  I was wrong.  About one month after starting treatment I received a nine-inch potted plant from a friend in Minnesota. He was in his 80s and taking care of his wife who had Parkinson’s disease.  The planter contained four different species of plants, and it was green and perfect for my small apartment.  I placed the plant on a table by the window and watered it every Sunday.  As I continued treatment, the plant thrived and eventually flowered.  I, on the other hand, was not thriving. Of course, all the hair fell out, then the neuropathy started, followed by ringing in the ears, loss of taste and extreme fatigue.

The plant became my metaphor for change.  The sicker I became, the more it thrived. I found it uplifting to see beauty in such a small container.  As years passed, I noticed the plant was struggling. I tried different locations in the apartment, more water, less water, more sun, less sun, yet nothing seemed to work.  It was still alive, but with little growth. It went a few years without even flowering.  Simultaneously, I was changing too. My hair grew back and, like the plant, I struggled to stay above the dirt.  When I moved to a new apartment, I repotted the plant thinking it needed more room for the roots.  It stayed alive but still did not flower and did not sustain much growth.

Four years after receiving the plant, I moved to a house and put it in the front window.  It had finally found its happy place.  Today, six years after receiving the plant, it sits in a 12-inch pot, still in the front window.  It is 24 inches tall and extends out into a 55-inch circle. The plant flowers at least once a month. The man who sent it to me lost his wife and about a year ago, I lost him. The last time I saw him, I shared the story of the five-year-old plant, but I think he barely remembered he had sent it.   The plant that had served as my constant reminder that change is right in front of us, always. The plant did well, then struggled, then did okay, then struggled and now, is flourishing. The plant had served as my constant reminder that change is right in front of us, always, and that as humans, some days (weeks, months, and even years) we may flourish, and others we may struggle. Sometimes I just stand by the plant and look out the window.  As it stands tall, I stand tall.  I am amazed by its beauty and its persistence despite the odds against it.  This fall, I looked out the window and saw a tree in the front yard covered in the most spectacular orange leaves I had ever seen and I almost cried. It was right out of a Vermont postcard and I live in North Carolina.  Now it is February and there are no leaves, just empty branches.  Like the plant, the tree changes too.  I remind myself that it will soon have new leaves. The tree, like my plant, is yet another illustration of how change is right in front of us, if we only take the time to notice it.

The plant has become my metaphor for change.  What will your metaphor be?  What around you can inspire you to make, cope with, accept and embrace change?

Cece Abby Krelitz is a Certified Hospitality Educator with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute.  She is currently employed as a chef instructor, at Johnson & Wales University, in the Baking and Pastry Department. Cece is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a degree in Hotel Administration. She also is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, with a degree in Occupational Studies in Culinary Arts. Cece is currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission if this article is used in its entirety, attribution is given and the author’s information and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Cece Abby Krelitz.  https://ckbakesblog.com

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The Power of Resonance in Entrepreneurship

The concept of Emotional Intelligence (EI) has garnered a lot of attention in recent years, especially in relation to developing and maintaining successful businesses. Over time, the definition of emotional intelligence has changed, but the core values have remained consistent. According to the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT), emotional intelligence encompasses four key strengths (Humphrey, 2013):

  • Perceiving emotions accurately
  • Using emotion to facilitate thought
  • Understanding emotion
  • Managing emotion (Humphrey, 2013).

Since entrepreneurship involves a significant amount of risk, negation, and collaboration, harnessing EI competencies allows innovators to navigate this process more effectively and improve the likelihood for success. Entrepreneurs who can harness these intelligences to transform their innovations and motivate their constituents can more easily create the resonance needed to give their idea momentum.

When a leader can perceive and understand the emotions of others accurately and objectively, they create a strong groundwork for identifying with their constituents, and what motivates their values and beliefs. Through awareness of emotions, and a genuine understanding of their source, entrepreneurs can harness the power of emotional intelligence to breed familiarity, trust and support amongst individuals in their organization. A detached leader will eventually lose the support of his or her constituents, as they may gradually start to believe that their organization values profit over people, and lacks a personal understanding of the values and beliefs which drive these emotions.

Receiving honest feedback, while potentially difficult to ingest, provides a strong basis for change in an organization. Emotionally intelligent entrepreneurs use this feedback to facilitate new ways of thinking about their idea, thereby improving the collective creativity and problem-solving within their organization. When a leader can successfully transform feedback into action, he or she instills a feeling of mutual support, genuine concern and desire for action in others. This opens the pathway for continuous feedback from employees and partners, improving the overall success and momentum of an innovation or business endeavor. It also further strengthens an innovator’s ability to handle challenging negotiations or close gaps in performance within their organization, as they have a clearer idea of the source of these problems. Along these lines, transformative leadership improves an organization’s ability to foster personal and professional development, leading to greater job-satisfaction amongst employees. Similarly, the transformation of emotion into productive thought and planning instills confidence amongst investors and stakeholders, improving the innovation’s viability and likelihood for future success.

Most importantly, successful leaders should seek to manage their own emotions effectively. Entrepreneurs face many challenges through the process of innovation, and a leader who is easily derailed at the sight of a roadblock or challenge will struggle to maintain the progress of the endeavor. Leaders set an example through their behavior, and have a great amount of influence over the “tone” within their organization. Uncontrolled emotional responses amongst leadership can lead to increased workplace stress, decreased job satisfaction and productivity, and unexpected business failure. It can also discourage honest feedback or creative problem-solving amongst constituents, which hampers success, since entrepreneurs rely heavily on constituents to influence change, and develop and manifest ideas. Emotional control and a maintaining a constructive emotional response becomes critical for entrepreneurs. Ultimately, it allows innovators to more effectively interface with executors –  the individuals responsible for launching and developing the strategies which make a venture successful.

The process of innovating can be daunting, and endlessly challenging without the use of emotional intelligence competencies. Leaders can employ these competencies to develop better business strategies, align values within their organization, and inspire collaboration with stakeholders and constituents alike. As discussed, emotional intelligence paves the path to resonance, a growing concept in entrepreneurial and organizational success. It takes a dynamic individual to come up with a new idea, but an emotionally intelligent leader to transform that idea into a successful innovation.

Source:

Humphry, Ronald H. (2013). The benefits of emotional intelligence and empathy to entrepreneurship. Special Issue – A New Business Model: The    Emotional Dimension of Organizations, 3(3): 287-294. doi: 10.1515/erj-2013-0057.

Zakarevicius, P. & Zuperka, A. (2010). Expression of emotional intelligence in development of students’ entrepreneurship. Economics & Management, p. 865-873.

Jeanette Neuner is an entrepreneur, artist and thinker and is currently enrolled in the Masters of Business Administration program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Jeanette Neuner.  

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