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Archive for February, 2008

Anti-epileptic drugs may cause suicidal ideation

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From a recent FDA alert:

The FDA has analyzed reports of suicidality (suicidal behavior or ideation) from placebo-controlled clinical studies of eleven drugs used to treat epilepsy as well as psychiatric disorders, and other conditions. These drugs are commonly referred to as antiepileptic drugs (see the list below). In the FDA’s analysis, patients receiving antiepileptic drugs had approximately twice the risk of suicidal behavior or ideation (0.43%) compared to patients receiving placebo (0.22%). The increased risk of suicidal behavior and suicidal ideation was observed as early as one week after starting the antiepileptic drug and continued through 24 weeks. The results were generally consistent among the eleven drugs. Patients who were treated for epilepsy, psychiatric disorders, and other conditions were all at increased risk for suicidality when compared to placebo, and there did not appear to be a specific demographic subgroup of patients to which the increased risk could be attributed. The relative risk for suicidality was higher in the patients with epilepsy compared to patients who were given one of the drugs in the class for psychiatric or other conditions.

All patients who are currently taking or starting on any antiepileptic drug should be closely monitored for notable changes in behavior that could indicate the emergence or worsening of suicidal thoughts or behavior or depression.

(Thanks to Psych Central News for the pointer.)

Written by Michael DeBusk

February 27th, 2008 at 10:14 pm

Posted in Neuro

Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules

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Michal Migurski’s tecznotes blog featured a recent post containing Immaculate Heart College’s Art Department Rules. I thought they were wonderful, a great set of rules for teacher and student alike.

I especially like the last line: “There should be new rules next week.”

Written by Michael DeBusk

February 27th, 2008 at 10:09 pm

The great Dr. Dave Dobson is gone

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I just received a message from Doug O’Brien saying that Dave Dobson died the morning of the 22nd.

I never got to train with Dr. Dobson and I deeply regret that. We’re all fortunate that excellent people like Doug O’Brien and Barb Stepp are able to keep his work going. Few people realize what an impact Dave’s OTCC model had (and still has) on NLP. Rest in peace, Dave.

Read more at Barb Stepp’s site: RIP David R. Dobson, PhD, 22 February 2008

Written by Michael DeBusk

February 24th, 2008 at 2:29 am

Posted in Hypnosis,OTCC

Tagged with ,

Don’t lie to me

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I know this isn’t a marketing blog. I don’t want it to be one. Seth Godin’s blog is more than sufficient for me if I want to read brilliant marketing stuff. But I realize there are people who use NLP in their marketing, and I experienced something today that I think they’ll find interesting.

I got a card in the mail yesterday. From the envelope, it looked like a greeting card or an invitation. As there were a couple of recent events for which a card would have made sense, I was curious. The return address was in Florida, nine hundred miles away from me. I have friends in Florida, so I actually looked forward to what I’d find when I opened it.

It was an ad from the Dodge dealer where I bought my vehicle a few years back. Bummer.

It started with “Unnamed Auto Dealer cordially invites you and your family to our Open House Reception.” Opening the card, I found it continued with, “Unnamed Auto Dealer’s Open House Reception is our way of thanking you for your patronage over the past several years.”

That was interesting, I thought. Have a little party for your former customers, get them to think good thoughts about you, and when they want to buy a new car they’ll want to come back.

But no.

They immediately went into a sales pitch. “This exclusive event offers you, our valued customer, special pricing on over 300 brand new vehicles. In addition…”

Then they got all breathless about a “free gift” and a chance to win a $1000 shopping spree, “just for stopping by!”

No little get-together. They were trying to con me into coming in and looking at their inventory, intending to get me to trade before I want to.

The “exclusive event” ran for three days, from 9 in the morning until 9 at night. I’m supposed to believe that they’re shutting down the dealership for three twelve-hour days and that nobody will be allowed in without the little “invitation”? Or that if I didn’t have the little card they sent me, I couldn’t buy a new car at the same “special price” I could get with the card?

And don’t get me started on the fine print on the back.

So here’s how to persuade me to not cross you off my list of approved businesses:

  • Don’t lie to me. If it’s an ad, don’t call it an “invitation” and make it look like there’s a party going on.
  • Don’t lie to me. If it’s a reception, don’t try to sell me something. If you want to try to sell me something, don’t claim it’s a “reception”. Unnamed Auto Dealer could have created a lot of customer good will with a few hundred dollars’ worth of hors douvres and three or four hours after closing time on Saturday night, but they blew it.
  • Don’t lie to me. If the card is from someone fifteen minutes from my house, the return address shouldn’t be for a place sixteen hours from my house. Could it have cost extra to have the dealership’s address printed on the envelope flap? If so, it would have been worth it.
  • Don’t lie to me. If it’s an exclusive event, it should exclude someone. If everybody can get in, don’t call it “exclusive”.
  • Don’t lie to me. Parties to which we send out written invitations don’t last three days. Parties that last three days don’t shut down at nine in the evening. It’s not a party; it’s you wanting to move some inventory.

Don’t lie to me. Level with me. I’ll respect you for it. And I tend to do business with people I respect.

Written by Michael DeBusk

February 20th, 2008 at 7:59 pm

Anchoring Boot Camp

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I’ve been meaning to train with Tom Vizzini for a long time. (Actually, it’s been since I met him at a “Meta-Master Prac” event several years ago, when a trainer whose opinion I respect told me that he’d attended an event with Tom and thought Tom was pretty good.) Sad to say, I haven’t yet had the opportunity.

Tom’s recent newsletter announced his 2008 Atlanta Anchoring Boot Camp, and the way he describes it really got me curious:

We asked 3 one sentence questions that got the results that would have taken him HOURS if he would have ever gotten them at all. In less than 60 seconds we had established trust, desire, and compelling curiosity, AND had complete control of where and how deeply he felt them. We had him fascinated with a blank piece of paper in seconds.

I gotta wonder what those three questions are. :)

Written by Michael DeBusk

February 16th, 2008 at 10:17 pm

How Unix geeks get things done

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Productivity goddess Gina Trapani from Lifehacker has been studying the Unix Philosophy and applying it to personal productivity. I think it’s an unusual idea, especially considering that, as the old saying goes, “philosophy is to real life as masturbation is to sex.” If you’re familiar with Linux or Unix you know what I mean.

Let’s think of these points as applying to the practice of NLP, though, and see where it takes us:

  • Write simple parts connected by clean interfaces. (Rule of Modularity)
  • Clarity is better than cleverness. (Rule of Clarity)
  • Fold knowledge into data so program logic can be stupid and robust. (Rule of Representation)
  • When you must fail, fail noisily and as soon as possible. (Rule of Repair)
  • Programmer time is expensive; conserve it in preference to machine time. (Rule of Economy)
  • Prototype before polishing. Get it working before you optimize it. (Rule of Optimization)
  • Design for the future, because it will be here sooner than you think. (Rule of Extensibility)

What do you think?

Go read the full article: Applying Unix Philosophy to Personal Productivity

Written by Michael DeBusk

February 16th, 2008 at 10:17 pm

Let your brain do it

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I’ll never forget the first time my hands played the guitar without me.

I had put strings on my dad’s guitar a couple of days before and was tuning it again. It’s one of those guitars that a musician is lucky to find: a truly cheap-ass machine-built job that sounds and plays like one that costs ten or twenty times as much. So I tuned it and was noodling around on it and I sort of zoned out on some Delta-style twelve-bar blues, and all of a sudden I heard music I’d never heard before. I actually looked around to see who else was there. I was alone. And when I tried to duplicate what I’d just done, I couldn’t.

When I was first learning, I never had the problem so many guitarists have with synchronizing my hands. Somehow, I happened upon it, and I don’t know how. So when a friend of mine said he was fed up with the choppy sound of his playing and asked me how I got my hands to work together, I couldn’t tell him. But I started searching.

I found in some magazine an article written by a guitar instructor, and he talked about his own teacher’s method of helping his students coordinate their right and left hands. He said it can’t be done.

That kind of surprised me because I was doing it. But then he explained why he said it couldn’t be done. He said that the signals from the left hand travel to the brain and are processed there, then the brain sends signals to the right hand, and the right hand sends back signals which are then processed and sent to the left hand, and so on. Even though the distance is short and the processing is extremely rapid, there’s still enough of a delay to cause mis-coordination. There is absolutely, positively no way to coordinate one hand with the other.

I was beginning to think that I couldn’t play after all, when the author started writing about the following idea:

“The desire for the note.”

We don’t play music with out hands; we play with our brains. Feel the desire for the note and the brain will process it perfectly.

It made such an impact on me that I’ve tried to apply it to the rest of my life, too. And when I explained it to my friend, his playing got better. Still not as good as mine was, but better. ;)

(I finally figured out the blues riff that my brain gave me, but it took a long time. It involved combining open strings with up-the-neck closed strings; flatpickers call it “floating” but I was playing fingerstyle. I’d never learned to do it and had no idea people played that way.)

Written by Michael DeBusk

February 13th, 2008 at 11:33 am

Depressed For a Good Reason

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So often I find people who claim they “have depression”. I ask them a few questions and find they don’t “have depression”; they are perfectly normal and well-adjusted and they are having some bad stuff happening to them.

When did it become a bad thing to feel sad when, say, Mom dies, or “rightsizing” strikes, or the bank forecloses? What dipstick came up with the idea that we should be happy all the time and that we’re somehow broken if we respond appropriately to difficult times?

I find the whole thing depressing. Maybe I should take a pill. Wait, what?

Over at Violent Acres I found an interesting article on depression. The author’s grandmother is the star of this article, and I’d have loved to have met her:

I learned that I wasn’t sad because there was something wrong with my brain. I learned that I was sad because my life sucked.

Go read the rest of the article at Most People Are Depressed For a Very Good Reason.

Anyway… it might be my Buddhist leanings, but I see pain as a part of life. It’s our unconscious’ way of letting us know there’s something injured. The reason a person with leprosy finds their body parts rotting away and falling off is that leprosy destroys their ability to feel pain, so they injure themselves and never notice it.

I remember a good friend a few years ago telling me that she stopped taking antidepressants because she’d “rather feel bad than feel nothing at all”. I worked with her a bit but haven’t seen her since, so I don’t know how she’s doing. Smart lady, though.

I’m not so quick to take a person’s pain away. It might be just what they need to keep.

Update: Powells Books hosts a New Replublic review of The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sorrow Into Depressive Disorder by Allan V. Horwitz. (Thanks to Adrian Reynolds’ recent post on NLP Connections.)

Written by Michael DeBusk

February 6th, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Thought for Today

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“The people I distrust most are those who want to improve our lives but have only one course of action.” — Frank Herbert (Author of Dune and its sequels)

Written by Michael DeBusk

February 3rd, 2008 at 1:33 pm

Posted in Left Field