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Presentation Slides & Transcript
THE NATURE AND NURTURE OF A GENIUS WHO IS A GENIUS ? WHAT ARE THE QUALITIES OF A GENIUS ? 1. A person with e xtraordinary intellectual ability and originality, talent and creative power 2. Exceptionally high intelligent quotient (IQ) > 140 3. Top 0.1%, i.e. 3 standard deviation or greater, among peers NATURE OR NURTURE? CAN A GENIUS BE CREATED? Have we settled with the age - old debate of nature or nurture of a genius? Do we agree with Simone de Beauvoir who once said "One is not born a genius, one becomes a genius"? A lthough there is a strong link between genes and IQ, intelligence should not be assumed as genetically predestined. The development is intimately linked to interactions with its environment . And thanks to the advancement of neuroscienc e and neuroimaging that help us to understand that it is a combination of both nature and nurture that contributed to human intelligence. Babies are born with certain genes and brain structure (nature) which interact with the environment (nurture) both of which affect the way the brain develops . These two often work together, each influencing the other at different times. Children might inherit certain genes that incline them to interact with their environment in a very 'stimulating' ways . This stimulation could then influence brain development . What is less likely is the idea that we are born with a certain set of genes which 'fix' at birth our intelligence and the trajectory of our brain development . Consider that fact that, unless the child does not learn to speak at all, the children of English parents speak English, the children of Malay parents speak Malay and the children of Chinese parents speak Chinese and so on and so forth. Surely the ability to speak certain language is not inherite d but is dependent on language that the c hild hears on a daily basis which is his or her environment. This is certainly good news to all parents or it to happen by nature.
FACTS ABOUT HUMAN BRAIN Average human brain: - Adult human ~ 1,300 - 1,400 g - Newborn ~ 350 - 400 g (~ 1/4 of adult size) - Percentage of brain to total body weight ~ 2% - Average of neurons in the brain ~ 100 billion - Rate of neuron growth (early pregnancy) = 250,000 neurons/minute Based on the % of brain to total body weight, human brain is one of the largest organs compared to all the About 2/3 of the composition of brain made up of fat but not just any kind of fat. The membranes of the neurons , the specialized brain cells tha t communicate with each other are composed of a thin double - layer of fatty acid molecules . Fatty acids are the breakdown of dietary fats which will then be incorporated into brain cell membra nes. Myelin, the protective sheath that covers communicating neurons, is composed of 30% protein and 70% fat. One of the most common fatty acids in myelin is oleic acid, which is also the most abundant fatty acid in huma n milk and in our diet. Composition of Brain and Muscle Skeletal Muscle (%) Whole Brain (%) Water 75 77 to 78 Lipids 5 10 to 12 Protein 18 to 20 8 Carbohydrate 1 1 Soluble organic substances 3 to 5 2 Inorganic salts 1 1 (Reference: McIlwain, H. and Bachelard, H.S., Biochemistry and the Central Nervous System , Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 1985)
THE BIOLOGICAL BASIS OF A GENIUS The human brain changes tremendously over the course of childhood, creating new neurons in some regions of the brain and trillions of new connections between neurons . Do you know that early childhood experiences especially the first 3 years of life are critical to the emotional and intellectual development of a child? During these early years, 75% of brain growth is completed. Did you seize this opportunity to nu rture your most precious one? Since early childhood is the crucial period for brain development, therefore do no t miss this golden opportunity . The third weeks of post conception period marks the beginning of embryogenic period when the baby's brain, spinal cord, heart and other organs begin to form. By sixth week, growth is rapid. Just four weeks after conception, the neural tube along your bab y's back is closing and your baby's heart is pumping blood. S even weeks into your pregnancy, your baby's head, brain and face are rapidly developing. By the 10th week of pregnancy, your baby's head has become more round. The neck begins to develop, and y our baby's eyelids begin to close to pr otect his or her developing eyes. This first trimester period is very crucial for brain development and any insult will cause long term effect to the developing brain.
THE NORMAL ANATOMY AND NEUROANAT OMY OF HUMAN BRAIN The human brain forms the main part of the central nervous system and is a highly complex organ . The brain has 2 cerebral hemispheres, right and left which were connected by a very large nerve bundle called corpus callosum. The brain also consists of 4 main lobes and 1 cerebellum. The lobes are named after the bones of the skull that overlie them. The cerebral cortex is divided into 3 functional areas namely sensory area, motor area and association area. NEURONS A neuron is an electrically excitable cell that processes and transmits information by electrical and chemical signaling via synapses with other cells. Neurons connect to each other to form networks which are the core component of nervous system. A typical neuron possesses a cell body, dendrites and an axon. Dendrites are filaments that arise from the cell body, often extending for hundreds of microns and branching multiple times, giving ri se to a complex "dendritic tree". An axon is a special cellular filament that arises from the cell body and end with multiple axon terminals. These neurons are support and protected by glial cells which also maintain homeostasis and form myelin. There is roughly one glial cell for every neuron. The four main functiona of glial cells are to surround neurons and hold them in place, to supply nutrients and oxygen to neurons, to insulate one neuron from another and to destroy pathogens and remove dead neuron s. They also modulate neurotansmitter for effective electrical and chemical signaling and transmission.
THE FUNCTIONAL AREAS OF THE BRAIN LEFT VS RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTION Knowing activities which can stimulate both side of their brain equally. LEFT HEMISPHERE RIGHT HEMISPERE Logical Conceptual Analytical Holistic, creative Quantitative/number skills Intuitive Rational/reasoning power Imaginative/fantasy Verbal written language Non - verbal Scientific skills Art/music awareness Right hand control/dominant Left hand control/dominant Insight/perception 3 - D picture/forms (visuospatial skills) Prefrontal area elaboration of thought and memory Motor - sensory cortex gross & skilled movement Parieto - occipital visual cortex visuospatial area understanding and comprehension of written and spoken language hearing and speech area Cerebellum balance/rhythm Hippocampus long term memory and spatial navigati on
THE NEUROBIOLOGY OF GIFTEDNESS It is evident that when a child's mental development is displayed far beyond the usual time, the only reasonable explanation is that the brain and nervous system are much more highly developed than is normal for the age. The gifted brain is implicated in having more numerous, more complex, and more active neural connections. Several areas of the cortex are more differentiated in the gifted teenager's brain, especially the frontal areas. The hippocampus of the gifted, a major area involved in memory, was found to be not as compartmentalized as those of lower achieving students. DISSECTING THE GENIUS A post mortem had been done on the brain of one of the geniuses that ever live on earth, none other than Albert Einstein. In his left parietal cortex, it was The investigator proposed functional statu in selected regions of ue in the expression of his unusual conceptual powers. It was also - intellect controls from the brain bank at McMaster University . Not surprisingly, the association of the inf erior parietal lobule with visuo spatial cognition, mathematical thought, and movement imagery readily lent itself to the structure. The wider imp lication was that this post - parieta l cortex may be related to visuo The examination of Albert Einstein's brain yielded findings of a larger - than - normal, un - folded parietal lobe, an area of the brain that is usually folded and that is associated with visuo - spatial and mathematical abilities. Although many tests have been undertaken with various results, one may fathom that many factors may be influenced in the brain of a genius, and that no one area of the brain may be responsible for giftedness.
STAGES OF BRAIN DEVELOPMENT. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and McGill University in Montreal had conducted a study of brain scans on 309 healthy childr en between the ages of 6 and 19 to identify the differences in the pattern of the brain development in influencing intelligence. The scans showed that children with the highest IQs began with a relatively thin cortex, the folded outer layer of the brain that is involved in com plex thinking, which rapidly grew thicker before reaching a peak and then rapidly becoming thinner. Children of average intelligence had a thicker cortex around age 6, but by around 13 it was thinner than in children of superior intelligence. The advent of technology that allows noninvasive imaging of the brain has shown that many complex mental skills associated with intelligence involve the part of the cortex near the front of the brain . I n early childhood, the smartest children had a thinne r c ortex, t his is the opposite of what you'd expect. By late childhood, the p attern had changed completely. The cortex has long been known to get thinner in late adolescence, presumably because the brain prunes cells, neurons and connections that are not being used. The gifted child cortex continued to thicken until around age 11 or 12, much later than in children of average intelligence, whose cortex thickening peaked by age 8 . S tudies of brains have taught us that people with higher IQs do not have larger brain s and thanks to brain imaging technology, we can now see that the difference may be in the way or pattern the brain develops and not in sheer b rain size or special structure. In human brain development, the neural connection for different functions develop sequentially with the sensory pathway (vision, hearing and language) developed even during the conception period followed by emotional, social attachment and mathematical/logical skills and later higher cognitive functions. And majority of these skills h ad reached their full potential by the first 3 years of age. Therefore, childhood stimulation and nurturing should start as early as possible even during the conception period.
TH E IMPORTANCE OF NURTURING THE USE IT OR LOSE IT PRINCIPLE Bab ies who receive lots of love, attention and stimulation learn better. The reason for this is because brain development relies on the way the brain is used. Everything your baby experiences or doesn't experience either strengthens or weakens connections within the br many neurons or brain cells. The types of activities your baby has with objects and people stimulate these neurons. This allows the neurons to make important connections in the brain. Everyday activities determine how these connections are formed . However, parents should not be too alarmed that the neurons that were not stimulated will be lost forever as studies showed that brain cells are capable of learning new things at different stages of life. WHAT TO DO AND WHAT NOT TO DO? WHAT IS STILL LEFT W ITHIN OUR CONTROL TH AT ALLOWS US TO MAKE A DIFFERENT FOR H AND DEVELOPMENT? GIVE YOUR BABY A GOOD START. Eat healthy balance diet throughout your pregnancy. If you are experiencing severe nausea and doctor. Attend antenatal classes with your spouse at least once during antenatal period to know what to expect and what to prepare for the arrival of your newborn baby. Have a balance between getting an a dequate rest and e xercise regularly . Regular exercise and breathing technique will ensure easier delivery. Pay a r egular antenatal baby is growing healthily Take time to c ommunicate with your unborn child through talking, reading or singing to him/her especially before bed time and encourage your partner to do so. Try to avoid strenuous exercise, overwork or handling stressful assignment as stress will have a detrime ntal effect on your health and the growth of your baby. NO smoking or alcohol throughout pregnancy as well as after delivery. - According to research findings released in 2004, smokers and former smokers did not perform as well on tests as nonsmokers. Four hundred sixty - five subjects had taken a test that measured cognitive ability in 1947 at age 11. They took the test again between 2000 and 2004. Based on the results, smoking appeared to cause a one percent drop in cognitive function. A possible explanatio n for this correlation is that smoking - related lung d amage caused less oxygen to reach people's brains. D URING D ELIVERY: Ensure safe delivery in the hospital set up with good delivery and neonatal support facilities.
POST NATAL WHERE NATURE MEETS The first few years of life are the most crucial and intensive period for brain development. T herefore, t he right nutrition and stimulation can help your baby to learn better and grow stronger which are essential for his or her physical cognitive , social and emotional growth. BREAST FEEDING AN EXCELLENT BRAIN FOOD According to the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), breast feeding is not only important for health, but also enhances brain development. Breast milk contains vital nutrients that are essential for brain development: Fats : optimum level of e ssential polyunsaturated fatty acids, namely DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and AA (arachidonic acid) play an important role in brain development such as synaptogenesis, cell membrane function and myelination . Cholesterol : important in facilitating myelinatio n of the central nervous system Taurine : important essential amino acids in the development of brain tissue as well as the synthesis and release of the brain neurotransmitters. World Health Organization (WHO) strongly recommends exclusively breastfeeding for full 6 months and continued thereafter for 2 years or beyond with the addition of appropriate complementary food. In view of the maximum brain growth especially during the early years of life, the above recommendation should be strongly followed and encouraged to all mothers. MORE BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING Breast feeding contains antibodies and live friendly bacteria that help increases your system and thus protecting them from infective diseases . Breast milk contains hi gh level of antioxidants in the form of vitamin E and beta - carotene which is essential to boost his immune systems. Breastfeeding promotes maternal - child bonding and positive interaction which provide language stimulati on, positive social behavior and en suring a confident child . Breastfeeding enables better visua l development for learning and reading abilities.
NUTRIENTS FOR BRAIN DEVELOPMENT FUNCTIONS Omega - 3, omega - 6 Arachidonic acid (AA) DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) building blocks of the brain cells Iron facilitating nerve communication and production of neurotransmitter Choline improve memory, keep brain cells functioning and assists in nerve transmission Lutein ability to filter blue light and protect the eyes Taurine effic ient and rapid nerve communication Zinc protecting brain cells (anti - oxidant properties) Tryptophan Ensuring good night rest in order for the brain to build and consolidate neural connections The nutritional benefits of breast - feeding are associated with at least a 3.2 IQ point difference in cognitive development after adjustment for key factors, such as the mother's age and intelligence, birth order, race, birth weight, gestational age, and socioeconomic status. This is in addition to a 2.1 point increase associated with maternal bonding. The enhanced cognitive development was seen as early as six months and was sustained through 15 years of age. And, the longer a baby was breast - fed, the gr eater the increase in cognitive developmental benefit. "This study confirms that nutrients in breast milk and maternal bonding have beneficial effects on IQ," said James W. Anderson, M.D., professor of medicine and clinical nutrition at UK College of Med icine. "Infants deprived of breast milk are likely to have lower IQ, lower educational achievement, and poorer social adjustment than breast - fed infants." 11 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, October 1999 Norwegian researchers tested 345 children at the ages of 13 months and five years. The children who had been breast - fed for less than three months were more likely to score below average on mental skills at 13 months, comp ared to the children breast - fed for six months or longer. And at age five, this longer breast - fed group averaged eight points higher in IQ. 12 Archives of Disease in Childhood 2001;8 5:183 - 188
FOOD SOURCE S FOR BRAIN NUTRIENTS Essential fatty acids (omega - and omega - 6) breast milk, tuna, salmon, cod liver oil etc.. Good dietary sources of Omega - 3 fatty acids are high - fat, cold water fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, and To boost your supply of Omega - 6 fatty acids, look for foods and supplements that include evening primrose, borage, and black currant seed oils. Of course meat, eggs, and dairy are also good in moderation. B - vitamins, folic acid, zinc and magnesium green vegetables, beans, pasta, grapefruits, yogurt, fish and seafood FOOD SOURCES FOR HEA LTHY IMMUNE SYSTEM Antioxidants eg: b eta - carotene, vitamin C, Vitamin E and zinc strawberries, apricots, red cabbage, spinach, sunflower seeds and walnuts Monosaturated oleic acid is the main component of olive oil as well as the oils from almonds, pecans, macadamias, peanuts, and avocados. Essential Fatty Acids Essential Building Materials To build brain cells you need fatty acids. Two kinds of fatty acids are considered "essential," which means you must get these essential fatty acids (EFAs) from the food you eat. Your body cannot manufacture them. The first e ssential fatty acid you need is Alpha - linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is the foundation of the "omega - 3" family of fatty acids. Food sources of omega - 3 ALA include flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, sea vegetables, and green leafy vegetables. The second essential fatty acid you need is Linoleic acid (LA). LA is the foundation of the "omega - 6" family of fatty acids. Food sources of omega - 6 LA include expeller cold - pressed sunflower, safflower, corn, and sesame oils. From ALA and LA, your brain can make (docosahexaen oic acid) DHA and (arachidonic acid) AA the longer chained fatty acids that are incorporated in its cell membranes. These more complex fatty acids are also available, preformed, directly from food. Brain Blockers - Trans Fats Trans fatty acids found in foods like french fries, margarine, potato chips and anything else with partially hydrogenated oil disrupt communication in your brain. Trans fatty acids are rarely found in nature and are mostly man mad By modifying
natural fats, we have altered the basic buil ding blocks of the human brain Trans Fatty Acids Disrupt Brain Communication Studies show that the trans fatty acids we eat do get incorporated into brain cell membranes, including the myelin sheath that insulates neurons. They replace the natural DHA in the membrane, which affects the electrical activity of the neuron. Trans fatty acid molecules disrupt communication, setting the stage for cellular degeneration and diminished mental performance. 15 Trans Fats Change Brain Cells Brain cells need a certain degree of flexibility to function properly. This is accomplished by a maintaining a balance of different types of fatty acids in the cell membrane. The particular physical size and shape of individual fatty acid molecules is wha t gives the brain cell membrane its structural flexibility and fluid - like properties Changing the Shape of Fatty Acids Normal fatty acids have a natural curve to their molecular shape. When they fit together in vast numbers, enough space still remains so that the membrane has the proper structure it needs to function at its best. However, if these same fat molecules are c hanged by manufactured food processes, or if they are heated for long periods as in deep frying they mutate into a form rarely found in nature. Now their molecules are straighter, narrower, and no longer have their original curved shape. This means t hat these altered fats will pack more tightly together into the cell membrane, making it more saturated and rigid less flexible and less able to function properly. These altered fats are called "trans fatty acids," and are finally being recognized for th e damage they cause. For half a century, however, hardly any attention was paid to them. All nutrients are essential for growth and brain development and there is no single nutrient that should be particularly emphasized as providing you r child with What is our ultimate goal and expectation for our children? Do we want them to grow up as a genius and forget about everybody around them? Do we want them to be successful in the expense of humanity and tolerance? Or do we want the m to grow up healthily, full of wisdom, fear of God with good morale and have a loving heart towards their fellow peers and people around them? Certainly we desire to raise up a generation of children, who are holistic in terms of intelligence, character, personality, wisdom and respectable to human race and peace. By: Dr B.A.Khoo (Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist, Sunway Medical Centre).