ALPHABETICAL BRAIN™ VOCABULARY
HUMANIST GALAXY OF
SECULAR BRAIN SCIENCE STARS
January 6, 2020


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Book #1
HACKING OF THE AMERICAN MIND:
The Science Behind the Corporate
Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains


by Robert H. Lustig.
Avery, 2017 (344 pages)


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INTRODUCTION (pages 1-14)

QUOTE = “Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.” by John Butler Yeats to his son William Butler Yeats, 1909 (page 1)

Note = use 2 intro paragraphs: pleasure vs. happiness illustrated by children 40 years ago and now. (1-2)

“Pleasure and happiness are similar, as they both feel good.” But they are not the same:

"Since the recording of time, philosophers have tried to wrestle these two positive emotions to the ground. These two uniquely human phenomenon have together and separately occupied outsized parcels of our consciousness, our literature, and our national and international discourse. While our philosophers and social commentators have spent the last three thousand years defining and redefining these two terms for us, something quite unusual and likely even sinister has befallen these related yet decidedly different positive emotions.” (2)

"These past 40 years have witnessed the twin epidemics of the negative extremes of both of these emotions; addiction (from too much pleasure) and depression (from not enough happiness). Yet in these same forty years our knowledge of brain science has advanced to the point where these two emotions can now be dissected and parsed at a biochemical level... What if all of Western society has been hacked, to profit a few at the expense of the many? And what if you did not even know you had been hacked?” (2-3)

note = Derivation of the word “hack” and its use regarding the human body and brain. “There are many ways to tinker with the human brain. Certainly drugs can do the tampering. How about cleverly disguised messages, disinformation, propaganda, and the newest method of tampering, fake news? Can these methods act like phishing? And what if one of these messages gains hold? Can these alter your brain? Or how about something as innocuous as food? All of the above." (3-4)

“In this book I am going to develop separate and parallel scientific, cultural, historical, economic, and social arguments that our minds have been hacked. I will also demonstrate that this hack — the systematic confusion and conflation of the concepts and definitions of pleasure and happiness — has been inserted into the limbic system (the emotional part) of our brains, thereby precipitating a slow-motion crash of a substantial percentage (between 25 and 50 percent) of individuals and exacting a severe detrimental impact on our whole society.” (4)

“I will also demonstrate that this hack was not accidental but in fact has been a plot — that is, the hack was not just to create mischief; rather, it was specifically designed and engineered with a profit motive. And, similar to the Russian hack of the 2016 presidential election, this plot has been and continues to be executed by private interests with governmental support.” (4)

note = use next paragraph to explain author’s goal to: “Show how the business community and government have taken advantage of neuroscience to hack our decision-making capacity and alter our level of individual and collective well-being. But fear not: even though this plot is pervasive in all walks of life, there are ways to insulate yourself and fend off this hack. Because when we understand the neuroscience of pleasure and happiness, each one’s relationship to the other, and how they are manipulated by our current food, technology and media environments, we can more accurately denote the causes — and in turn the treatments — for our own personal well-being, and for our twin societal scourges [addiction and depression].” (4-5)

note = use 2nd paragraph that describes author as a pediatric endocrinologist who sees the damage that misuse of our brain’s pleasure circuit can do to children. (5)

“I am a practicing pediatric endocrinologist (hormone problems in children) and obesity research scientist at UCSDF, an academic medical center.” (5)

note = this book is about how to defend oneself against corporate misinformation and greed - see bottom and top of page (4-5)

note = 6 = sentence describing subject of book compared to FAT CHANCE bk (6th sentence down on 6 and both 6-7)

note = use list of 7 differences between reward and contentment. (9-11)

PART 1 — A FEW FRIES SHORT OF A HAPPY MEAL (15-41)

1) THE GARDEN OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS (17-25)

2) LOOKING FOR LOVE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES (26-41)

note = use diagram of Reward Pathway (29), Contentment Pathway, (30)

note = Stress-Fear-Memory Pathway (31)

PART 2 — REWARD — THE AGONY OF ECSTASY (43-93)

3) DESIRE AND DOPAMINE, PLEASURE AND OPIOIDS (45-59)

4) KILLING JIMINY — STRESS, FEAR, AND CORTISOL (60-68)

5) THE DESCENT INTO HADES (69-83)

6) THE PURIFICATION OF ADDICTION (84-93)

note = use example of how the alcohol industry provides “substances purified and manufactured to suit the whims of societal addiction and bludgeon our dopamine receptors into submission. Marijuana is bred to be stronger than ever before, the coca leaf continues to provide both line cocaine and its cheaper cousin, crack, and opium poppies are still grown to make heroin... Those who distill, bottle, and sell these substances know what the are doing and how to capitalize on our dopamine pathways." (86-87)

note = some medicines that have been developed recently to treat diseases and disorders “are also used off-label, masquerading as ‘cognitive enhancement'.” (87)

note = use bottom paragraph about sugar as addictive and the cause of many illnesses in children as well as adults (92)

PART 3 — CONTENTMENT — THE BLUEBIRD OF HAPPINESS (95-147)

7) CONTENTMENT AND SEROTONIN (97-108)

note = “Question: Over the course of history, what prescription medication has evidenced the greatest societal impact?... Answer: fluoxetine (Prozac). (97)

[1] Plumbing the depths (98-100)

note = “In 1952 a serendipitous finding launched the field of modern psychopharmacology... scientists learned that serotonin was responsible, in part, for the feelings of happiness and contentment. And, when out of whack, could cause severe irritability and depression.” (98)

note = "Depression comes in two varieties — retarded depression (slow thinking and behavior: I can't get out of bed); and agitated depression (flight of ideas and inability to concentrate: I can't get into bed)" (99)

note = "When Prozac, the first in the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), hit the market in 1986, prescriptions for antidepressants shot up a record 400% over the next 15 years. The genius of Prozac was that it did not matter which form of depression you had." (99)

note = "SSRIs are antidepressants that, by increasing the amount of serotonin in the synapse, can restore normal levels of mood in either type of depression." (99)

[2] Happy Feet (100-103)

note = "To diagnose clinical depression, doctors use a questionnaire known as the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), which scores different subjective symptoms of depression. This validated instrument is equivalent to your brain's serotonin meter." (101)

note = discussion of why unraveling the role of serotonin in human happiness is such a tough affair, including the diagram depicting the synthesis and metabolism of serotonin. (103)

[3] The sublime science of Serotonin (103-106)

(1) Synthesis (104-105)

note = description of synthesis, action, and clearance of serotonin in brain. (104-106)

(2) Action (105)

(3) Clearance (106)

[4] Always look on the bright side of life (106-108)

note = use last paragraph to show that "too much of a good thing can become a bad thing" such as with serotonin. (107-108)

8) PICKING THE LOCK TO NIRVANA (109-121)

[1] Drinking the electric Kool-Aid (110-113)

[2] The Feds raid the party (113-115)

[3] A New Death with Dignity? Should terminal cancer patients be given a drug like hydromorphone (Dilaudid) during hospice care? Doping to relieve pain. (115-117)

[5] Special on receptors — buy one, get one free (117-119)

[6] The psychedelic hangover (119-120)

note = Studies of LSD use in normal non-depressed volunteers show that "the drug induces profound perceptual changes: the way these subjects see the world around them." (119)

note = "Steve Jobs swore by LSD — until he started Apple. Then it became a distraction. What would it do to you?... you might end up down a rabbit hole that you cannot climb out of. You are taking your brain in your hands. You ready for that?" (119)

[7] Better Living through Biochemistry? (120-121)

note = "These studies provide yet another line of reasoning to support the assertion that I am trying to drive home — that our emotions are just the inward expression of biochemical processes in the brain. In the case of hallucinogens, signaling of the serotonin-la receptor drives contentment, whereas signaling of the serotonin-2a receptor drives the mystical experience." (121)

note ="We are our biochemistry, whether we like it or not. And our biochemistry can be manipulated. Sometimes naturally and sometimes artificially. Sometimes by ourselves but sometimes by others Sometimes for good and sometimes for ill." (121)

9) WHAT YOU EAT IN PRIVATE YOU WEAR IN PUBLIC (122-136)

10) SELF-INFLICTED MISERY --- THE DOPAMINE-CORTISOL-SEROTONIN CONNECTION (137-147

PART 4 --- SLAVES TO THE MACHINE: HOW DID WE GET HACKED? (149-

11) LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS? (151-164)

12) GROSS NATIONAL UNHAPPINESS (165-174)

13) EXTREME MAKEOVER WASHINGTON EDITION (175-185)

14) ARE YOU "LOVIN IT"? OR "LIKING IT"? (186-203)

15) THE DEATH SPIRAL (204-218)

PART 5 --- OUT OF OUR MINDS: IN SEARCH OF THE FOUR "Cs" (219-281)

16) CONNECT --- RELIGION, SOCIAL SUPPORT, CONVERSATION (221-235)

17) CONTRIBUTE --- SELF-WORTH, ALTRUISM, VOLUNTEERISM, PHILANTHROPY (236-249)

18) COPE --- SLEEP, MINDFULNESS, EXERCISE (250-266)

19) COOK --- FOR YOURSELF, YOUR FRIENDS, YOUR FAMILY (267-281)

EPILOGUE (282-286)

Why do people eat for happiness and how did they get that way? What made them need a surrogate friend (comfort food), one that doesn't talk back? And second, there are a whole lot of thin people who also eat when they are not hungry, and they manifest the same diseases as do the obese, such as type-2 diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease, hypertension, cancer, and dementia: all the diseases of metabolic syndrome." (283-284)

"I hope this book conveys that there is nothing inherently wrong with pleasure --- but not to the exclusion of happiness. Pleasure and happiness are not mutually exclusive, although in this book I have separated them as much as possible so as not to confuse the reader...There are moments in life when you can experience both simultaneously." (284-285)

"The keys to benefits from pleasure and happiness are to understand the differences between the two, because even though pleasure and happiness are not mutually exclusive, they can still be opposites. There is plenty of room for pleasure in life, and lots of things can bring you pleasure.

But no thing can bring you happiness. Experiences can make you happy. People can make you happy. You can make you happy ... Each of them necessitates that you peel back the curtain of your own brain." (286)

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS = (287-292

GLOSSARY (293-297)

Addiction = A strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or engage in a specific behavior (such as gambling) due to an overwhelming biochemical drive and which cannot be controlled by behavioral restraint. (293)

Amygdala = Part of the stress-fear-memory pathway. This walnut-sized area of the brain generates the feelings of fear and stress, which tells the hypothalamus to tell the adrenal glands to make extra cortisol. (293)

Autonomic nervous system = That part of the nervous system that controls unconscious functions of the body. It consists of two parts: the sympathetic system controls heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature; while the parasympathetic system (the vagus nerve: controls eating, digestion, and absorption, slows the heart rate, and lowers blood pressure. The two together control energy balance.

Cortisol = the stress hormone released from the adrenal glands, which acutely mobilizes sugar for use but which chronically lays down visceral fat and also reduces serotonin-la receptor number.

Depression = A mental condition characterized by feelings of severe despondency and dejection, inadequacy, and guilt, often accompanied by lack str of energy and disturbance of appetite and sleep. (294)

Dopamine = Part of the reward pathway. A neurotransmitter that, when released, can acutely cause feelings of reward but, when released, chronically reduces the number of its receptors, leading to tolerance. (294)

Epigenetics = Modifications in DNA without changes in the DNA genetic sequence, usually occurring prior to birth. (294)

Hippocampus = Part of the stress-fear-memory pathway. The part of the brain where memories are housed and that exerts influences on the amygdala and prefrontal cortex. (295)

Hypothalamus = Part of the stress-fear-memory pathway. The area at the base of the brain that controls various hormone systems of the body, particularly cortisol. (295)

Leptin = A hormone released from fat cells that travels in the bloodstream to the hypothalamus to report on peripheral energy stores. (295)

Metabolic syndrome = A cluster of chronic metabolic diseases characterized by energy overload of cells. (295)

Mitochondria = Subcellular organelles specialized to burn either fat or carbohydrate for energy (295)

Neurotransmitter = A chemical in the brain made in one nerve cell, which, when released, causes other nerve cells to fire. (295)

Nucleus accumbens (NA) = The area of the brain that receives the dopamine signal and interprets the feeling as reward. (295)

Obesity = Excess body fat deposition. (295)

Prefrontal cortex (PFC) = Part of the stress-fear-memory pathway. The part of the brain, located in the front (above the eyes) that inhibits impulsive and socially unacceptable and potentially dangerous behaviors and actions. (296)

Vagus nerve = Part of the autonomic nervous system that promotes food digestion, absorption, and energy storage, and slows heart rate. (297)

Ventral tegmental area (VTA) = Part of the reward pathway. The area of the brain that sends the dopamine signal of signifying reward to the nucleus accumbens. (297)

NOTES = (299-332)

INDEX = (333-344)

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Click or Tap Link for Book #2:

Book #2:
FAT CHANCE:
Beating the Odds Against Sugar,
Processed Food, Obesite and Disease


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Robert Lustig

HUMANIST GALAXY OF
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