Skipping supplements may be dangerous to your health

A chemistry teacher once introduced the class, saying that everything on earth is a chemical. Water is a chemical. Science can synthesize chemicals. Pharmacies, supermarkets, and online resources offer hundreds of non-prescription health remedies and dietary supplements. Health remedies are usually under some government scrutiny but dietary supplements are not. Conflicts over the integrity of those supplements, that many people rely on, arise regularly. People believe supplements offer alternate routes to health and wellness. Many articles support those beliefs but there are also many that don’t. Diseases and health conditions have always existed and remedies have always been sought. From magic natural potions to scientifically synthesized chemicals, challenges of nature and nurture have been fought for the last 150 years. Are supplements healthier than meds?

Judging from the size of pharmacy stores, we are a pill popping society. There are pills for anything from analgesics to weight loss. While traditional medicines are seen a scientific approach, supplements are being promoted. Is one better than the other?

Last weekend, the New York Times ran an article advising readers to Skip the Supplements in relationship to the amazing amounts of nutritional supplements available. Supplements are used around the world and in the USA as a form of alternative medicine or4 complementary medicine. In the USA, supplements are NOT approved and tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for therapeutic use or for possible side effects. Unless advised by a medical professional or unless you’ve taken (and excelled) a course in pharmacology, you should not use supplements on small children.

Supplements, like vitamins, herbs, and other natural nutritionals, have been used for thousands of years for general health and as cures for illnesses. Possible negative side effects were unknown or not scientifically tested. Vitamin D3 is excellent for structural support and cardiovascular health and supplements of D3 are recommended but how much is good for you? Vitamin B3 (Niacin) may improve good cholesterol levels but overdose can harm your liver over time. Drugs like opium and marijuana were once seen as supplements, and marijuana (to some degree) is now seen to help some medical conditions. Did you know that Aspirin was once considered a supplement? There are benefits and consequences with everything. For the average person, taking supplements as a substitute for medicines may not always be the better choice. That’s why the Nation Institutes of Health see supplements as complementary – able to help support medical approaches.

Historically, many of the diseases humans encounter today were seen in communities thousands of years ago, as evidenced by occurrences in less-civilized areas in Africa and South America. Medicinal leaders of various tribes attempted to find remedies to these conditions but effectiveness was a gamble, an unscientific one. Science has provided faster and more efficient ways at preventing and eliminating dreadful diseases. But are traditional medicines better than supplements? In some ways, yes. In other ways, no.

There is a war among traditional medical therapies and alternative, complementary therapies that has been waging for the past hundred years. Early medicine came from alchemy, the non-medical but serious study of medicinal naturals. Prior to that, complementary therapies were the mainstream. For the previous thousands of years, using Alchemy was one of the major therapeutic paths used to aid and restore wellness. It was a skillful art passed through generations by way of children and apprentices.

Alternative therapies weren’t just derived from leaves, vegetation, and flowers. There are those that came from human contact, such as massage and acupuncture.

Science evolved in the 1800’s trying to prove the unproven. What diseases were once considered Candida, science identified as mold, fungi, and bacteria. In the 1900’s, medical researchers aimed at developing antibiotics to treat diseases resulting from these phenomena. Telescopic observation demonstrated that mold had all sorts of adaptive behaviors to infect other organisms. These were akin to Darwin’s observation of survival of the fittest. Antibiotics are natural substances that are released by bacteria and fungi into the their environment, as a means of inhibiting other organisms. Antibiosis was how mold survived over the ages.

Infectious diseases and antibiotic treatments weren’t new concepts. The ancient Egyptians, the Chinese, and Indians of central America all used molds to treat infected wounds. A 19th-century researcher, Louis Pasteur found that cooking milk helped eliminate some of the disease causing effects coming from natural milk. Pasteur lived in an era where many early medical researchers were exploring diseases like cholera and smallpox, previously identified as forms of candida.

The spread of cholera, due to poor sewage systems, were once attributed as plagues in the dark and medieval times. Churches saw these as holy curses of the unholy. Alchemists were blamed and suffered tortuous death. Yet, cholera still exists in many parts of the world. Pasteur, however, was one of those 19th-century thinkers, that helped identify treatment.

We are told that Julius Caesar and many other historic leaders suffered from epilepsy. In the 1920’s, researchers found that a ketogenic diet helped reduce epileptic symptoms, as well some other conditions.

Polio or poliomyelitis (which comes from the Greek words for grey and marrow) has stricken many through the centuries. Polio reached epidemic proportions in the early 1900s in countries with relatively high standards of living, at a time when other diseases such as diphtheria, typhoid, and tuberculosis were declining. Indeed, many scientists think that advances in hygiene paradoxically led to an increased incidence of polio. There are theories that chemical toxins used on plants may have triggered the epidemic. President Franklin D Roosevelt was a major figure with this mobility-challenging disease. Scientists postulated that Polio is caused by one of three types of poliovirus (which are members of the Enterovirus genus). These viruses spread through contact between people, by nasal and oral secretions, and by contact with contaminated feces. Poliovirus enters the body through the mouth, multiplying along the way to the digestive tract, where it further multiplies. While there is no authentic medical treatment, Jonas Salk is credited with bringing a Polio vaccine that virtually eliminated onset of this disease. The idea of that vaccine is reported to have come from a virus found in a moldy orange fruit.

But even medicine has its flaws. Some FDA approved medicines have been removed because of previously unknown harmful effects. There are discussions that antibiotics are being over prescribed for colds and misused by physicians and patients. Antibiotics are used to combat bacterial infections but some common diseases may be the result of viral infections. Overuse of antibiotics reduces effectiveness as bacteria eventually adapt to the drug.

Some believe that supplements go beyond pills and supplements. Ancient ideas targeted paths of energy and created a science beyond any science we might know. But is it scientific or complementary?

The goals in pursuing healthy approaches aren’t chemical alone. Massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic are seen as popular therapeutic complementary approaches. In some ways, these non-chemical disciplines may offer healing therapy when there are no traditional therapy. Moderate exercise, Yoga, Pilates or just walking briskly may complement health and wellness. A crucial element is diet and getting proper nutrition. The George Mateljan Foundation or WH-Foods is a comprehensive and beneficial resource. Most times, people don’t have the time or the money or the taste to pursue a healthy nutritional diet. Supplements are not substitutes for food. They are designed to complement what you’re not getting.

Based on your diet, skipping supplements may actually be dangerous to your health over the course of years. The fee becomes the inconveniences and high costs of medical care, in many situations.

The average diet does not provide all the vitamins and minerals that the human body needs. Vitamin supplements are actively advertised and find their way to store shelves. Years ago, it was found that sailors, who had limited or no access to natural fruits, developed scurvy
, a disease known to cause anemia, debility, exhaustion, edema (swelling) in some parts of the body, and sometimes ulceration of the gums and loss of teeth.

There are many relationships between nutrition and health. How do consumers know the difference from synthesized nutritional supplements and those that are naturally derived? How can people be assured that the amount on the label is what their body is getting?

There are multiple vitamin supplements that seem to offer large amounts of practically everything. How are you sure that these many substances interact well with the others? How are you sure about proper absorption?

We are a naturally pill popping society. Recently, there were warnings that Bufferin has a toxic chemical in their pills. Scientists, when creating marketable pills, add inert (inactive) ingredients that allow the creation of the pill with long-term shelf storage. In the case of those popular over-the-counter drugs, the inert mix was toxic. In inexpensive vitamin supplements, those inert pill ingredients can actually mar the performance of those nutritional supplements and (possibly) your health.

Tinctures are a way to get around those inert ingredients found in pills. These are in liquid form and are dropped beneath your tongue. Why beneath? Some of these may not suit your tastes.

When taking herbs or spices, these supplements may not be as effective in pure forms as they are in their natural form. Phytophenolic combinations in natural foods may lose some properties in the conversion process.

If you are really leaning toward using supplements as a guide to health and wellness, seek out a competent nutrition practitioner or Nutritionist. Seek out one who is a Registered Dietician (RD) and fulfills the requirements of the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). There are undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered by many universities.

In New York City, medical facilities feature nutritionists as a way of providing integrative, holistic approaches to balance traditional medicine and supplements. Lenox Hill Primary Care, Beth Israel Center for Health and Healing are two very good places that help you find medical and nutritional health. The use of Integrative Medicine is spreading across the country, combining both traditional and alternative-complementary health care. Choose and check health insurance policies that offer this.

Standards and purity effect medicines and supplements. FDA or some other organization shouldn’t be your guide. Your life and sense of living is your primary path. While all things may not make you happy now and after, pursuing health and wellness is your responsibility. Fortunately, you live in a society that offers many choices. Whether you want to trust traditional medicine or supplements is your decision. Integrating both may be wiser but there are no guarantees. No one thing may treat what ails you. The methods may seem unorthodox but healthy aging is a good thing as life expectancies extend.

LG G-Pad leads pack of Android KitKat Tablets

Google developers are still tweaking Android 4.4 KitKat, the new OS aimed for Android tablets, as a sweet confection against the Apple iPad Air. With Consumer Electronics Show (CES) coming in January, will we find Android KitKat on low priced tablets? It appears so. LG G-Pad aims to be the first to announce competition to the Google Nexus tablet line. While the LG entry may be the first KitKat competitor, can the LG G-Pad 8.3 muster enough consumer strength to convert more people to its Android product line?

The LG G-Pad 8.3 from LG Electronics (LG) will be the first device ever to be designated a Google Play Edition tablet using new Android KitKat 4.4. Google’s first Android Open Source Project (AOSP) tablet will feature the latest Android operating system, Android 4.4, KitKat. The LG G Pad 8.3 reference device will be available for purchase in the United States on Google Play.

With the perfect combination of KitKat’s full-screen immersive mode and LG’s stunning 1920 x 1200 WUXGA Full HD IPS display, the LG G-Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition offers an optimal viewing experience. Apps can utilize every pixel on the G-Pad 8.3 screen to create full-bleed user-interfaces reaching edge to edge. With the ability to hide the system UI such as the status bar and navigation bar, this feature is ideal for rich visual content such as photos, videos, maps, books and games.

LG G-Pad with 8.3-inch screen plans to snuggle between Google Nexus 7 and 10, trying to reach those seeking a middle-ground.

The problem is that LG sales in the USA have been weak, behind Samsung. The LG G2 smartphone has been doing better this year at trying to cut into Galaxy S4 sales but it’s a small slice of the action. The prospects of the LG G-Pad may be the same if more tablet manufacturers get KitKat licensing for their models. Google released Android 4.4 KitKat earlier this year on the Nexus 5 smartphone. Reviews have been mixed and Google is preparing upgrades.

LG G-Pad 8.3 has already made its rounds at other consumer electronic shows in Europe and Asia, so there is no secret cloth covering what the new LG G-Pad will be like in the United States. The enthusiasm at CES 2014 may be the only measure to see if LG can find decent positioning against the very popular Google Nexus line of tablets. In the social tablet classes, does peer pressure ultimately decide which tablet brand wins out?

We really have to see if Google Play is going to offer liberal distribution to other tablet makers on the KitKat platform. That was the original clincher that separated the haves from the have-nots. For now, the LG G-Pad 8.3 is a have. We have to speculate Google’s next move and that move may be as soon as CES 2014. I’d venture to guess that Google want its Google Play site to prosper and send the company higher into the 4-digit stock value range in 2014.

Will more tablets start offering Google Android KitKat in 2014? The race for Christmas 2014 is already at the starting line. LG G-Pad may find a narrowing path of freedom as other brands get ready for KitKat Google Play. Whether KitKat will excite more taste-buds than last year’s Jelly Bean is still up for grabs. Happy 2014!

SAD Dark days of Christmas

Woody Allen once wrote, “I took a test in Existentialism. I left all the answers blank and got 100.” When it comes to understanding our lives today, we resolve that all events leading to the present are reasonably true. For western civilization, the nights of winter are cold and long. We find the existence of many holidays during this period. On the darkest of days, Christmas is meant to shed light. Whether legend or fact, it can be a therapeutic treatment for sadness. Existentially, the dark days of Christmas can shed light even though it may not be as true as you think.

Christmas is among the most joyous holidays of Western Civilization. Is it because Jesus was believed to be born at the end of December? Is it the celebration of the Christ’s birthday among the many Christians? Or is it deeper and darker as hidden in the ways people explained the unexplainable? In recent decades, doctors have been observing pockets of sadness and melancholia, occurring during the winter months. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), as they called it, appears to be seasonal patterns of depressive episodes that varied in severity over the seasons of longer nights. Amidst the joyous celebrations, some are experiencing the season as the dark days of Christmas.

SAD was at first believed to be related to abnormal melatonin production. It was believed that greater exposure to sunlight allowed the body to produce a chemical called melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the Pineal Gland in the brain and it is suspected to be strongly associated with sleep patterns. People with broken sleep patterns experience various disconcerting symptoms that impair functioning. Could this produce depressing? If so, why do only a small percentage of the population experience it?

Studies of brain serotonin function support the hypothesis of disturbed activity. A disturbance in the transport mechanism of another hormone, serotonin, has been examined over many studies. Transport of Serotonin, a key neurotransmitter, patients with SAD than in those that have no reports of affect disturbances. Atypical depressive symptoms commonly precede impaired functioning, and somatic symptoms are frequently the presenting complaint of those that seek medical help. Those symptoms are associated with depression.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-5, a Somatic Sensory Disorder exists that can be distressing and depressing to certain individuals. The diagnosis is for those who have experienced these somatic symptoms for at least 6 months. As winter wanes into Spring, and days grow longer, SAD complaints drop.

Of course, many of these studies are post-1980, about the time certain hormones were classified as neurotransmitters. Were those living 3,000 years ago also experiencing SAD during the winter months? Are they associated with the prevailing darkness of winter and the cluster of holidays that occur around that time? Is Christmas the result of the sad, dark days of Christmas?

While monotheistic groups have already been forming, the earliest groups were most likely pantheistic in explaining the unexplainable. Agricultural in nature, pantheists were very observant of the world around them. They took a monist approach that the world and god are one. Based on where they were located, they would witness the changing patterns of earth and sky from year to year. With no calendar or clock to guide them, the pantheists were able to primitively understand the lengthening of days and nights. It is likely that, over the next thousands of years, human groups had an awareness of solstices and equinoxes that distinguish the seasons.

These early groups were to be the polytheist groups or pagans that later monotheist groups were to fight against. These were likely led by goddesses as females were seen to perpetuate the group. An ancient image of a woman was found and preserved for about 25,000 years. It may be one piece of ancient evidence that the female was revered as a goddess back then.

Light and darkness may have played significant roles in these cultures. The Northern Hemisphere Winter Solstice, between December 20 and 23, is the time of year when the night is longest and the day shortest. It is very likely that these early groups, living in the wilderness amidst animals and creatures, may have developed traditions and rituals to pray for the return of days of light. These may have, over the years, brought about new and different traditions based on the winter solstice.

There has always been a fascination with the Winter Solstice. In Europe, several pagan holidays are still celebrated from pre-Christian roots. The Germans and Norsemen had Yule and the Druids (early Celtics) had Winter’s Night. The Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice (also known as Yule) is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world. The Celts thought that the sun stood still for twelve days in the middle of winter and during this time a log was lit to conquer the darkness, banish evil spirits and bring luck for the coming year. Historians view this as the origins of the Yule log and the 12 Days of Christmas, the dark days of Christmas. These pagan holidays had nothing to do with Jesus. They were praying traditions to the Sun god.

Let’s jump to the centuries that predated the time of Jesus. Way before the Romans, the dominant empire of Asia and North Africa was Babylonia (currently Iran and Iraq). The Babylonian Empire was the most powerful state in the ancient world after the fall of the Assyrian empire (612 BCE). Its capital Babylon was beautifully adorned by king Nebuchadnezzar, who erected several famous buildings. References to this King were indicated the Old Testament’s Book of Daniel. He laid siege to Jerusalem twice. In 586 BC, the city fell, the Temple was destroyed, and a large part of Judah’s population was exiled to Babylonia. Babylonian influence was to dominate that region and the people of the empire.

The Babylonians (or Persians) believed in a religion called Mithra, an integral part of Zoroastrianism of more ancient times.

In Babylon, Mithra was identified with Shamash, the sun god, and is also referred as Baal, the Mesopotamian and Canaanite/Phoenician solar deity. Mithra was the predominant religion with historic reference all the way to China. Yalda was a Mithraic holiday celebrated around the Winter Solstice. Yalda is a Syriac word meaning birth. Mithra-worshippers used the term ‘yalda’ specifically with reference to the birth of Mithra. As the longest night of the year, the Eve of Yalda (Shab-e Yalda) is also a turning point, after which the days grow longer. In ancient times it represented the triumph of the Sun God over the powers of darkness. Through the Roman era, Mithra was one of the most prominent religions of the area and is believed to have played a role in early Christian beliefs.

The key point in understanding the issues of the Babylonian, Greek, and Roman empires is that Judaism was somewhat of a minority amidst the pagan religions. While the Jews created Chanukah as the feast of light after Judas Maccabee defeated Antioch at around the Winter Solstice, some Romans caught on to the Greek Winter Solstice Brumalia as their own tradition, an homage to Bacchus – the god of wine. The area was still filled with the legends and conglomerations of pagan beliefs that spanned years and miles.

Among the most prominent Winter Solstice celebrations of the Roman Empire was Saturnalia. The Saturnalia was a major holiday for the ancient Romans, with drinking, gift-giving, bonfires, candles, role reversals for slaves and masters. It lasted a variable number of days from 3-7 or more, depending on how successful the emperor was at legislating.

During this period, Roman courts were closed, and Roman law dictated that no one could be punished for damaging property or injuring people during the weeklong celebration. The festival began when Roman authorities chose “an enemy of the Roman people” to represent the “Lord of Misrule.” Each Roman community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures throughout the week. At the festival’s conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman. Sacrificing was still in vogue during that era.

The early Christians didn’t care much about the birth of Jesus. The Jesus story was about death and hope for resurrection. Yet. in the ensuing 4 centuries after the birth of Christianity as a movement in Asia and Europe, the masses of people still celebrated the pagan Winter Solstice festivals. In the 4th century CE, Christianity imported the Saturnalia festival hoping to take the pagan masses in with it. Christian leaders succeeded in converting to Christianity large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate the Saturnalia as Christians.

In an effort to dissolve Saturnalia, the Christian leaders declared that Jesus was born on the 25th of December, one of the concluding days of Saturnalia. The church in Rome only formally celebrated December 25th in 336 during the reign of the emperor Constantine, who made Christianity the effective religion of the empire. Theologians guess that choosing this date had the political motive of weakening the established pagan celebrations. The date was not widely accepted in the Eastern empire. They favored January 6, the Epiphany. Christmas did not become a major Christian festival until the 9th century. Few Christians will readily accept that the roots of Christmas are actually the dark days of Christmas, even before Christmas existed.

The books of the New Testament were canonized after the church adopted December 25 as Jesus Christ’s birthday. There are some incongruities based on the scriptures, particularly Luke. A careful analysis of Scripture, however, clearly indicates that December 25 couldn’t be the date for Christ’s birth. Here are some reasons why Jesus was not born on December 25

According to Luke, we read that shepherds were in the fields watching their flocks at the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:7-8) but shepherds were not in the fields during December. Since December is cold and rainy in Judea, it is likely the shepherds would have sought shelter for their flocks.

Jesus’ parents came to Bethlehem to register in a Roman census (Luke 2:1-4). Such censuses were not taken in winter, when temperatures often dropped below freezing and roads were in poor condition. Taking a census under such conditions would have been self-defeating.

If Jesus Christ wasn’t born on December 25, does the Bible indicate when He was born? The biblical accounts point to the fall of the year as the most likely time of Jesus’ birth. Since Elizabeth (John the Baptist’s mother) was in her sixth month of pregnancy when Jesus was conceived (Luke 1:24-36), Christian historians can determine the approximate time of year Jesus was born by calculating John was born. It is believed that Zacharias, Elizabeth’s husband, was a Levite priest at the Holy Temple and was part of the division of Abijah. Abijah was one of twenty-four divisions of the Levitical priests.

It was during this time of temple service that Zacharias learned that he and his wife, Elizabeth, would have a child (Luke 1:8-13). After he completed his service and traveled home, Elizabeth conceived (Luke 1:23-24). Assuming John’s conception took place near the end of June, adding nine months brings us to the end of March as the most likely time for John’s birth. Adding another six months (the difference in ages between John and Jesus (Luke 1:35-36) brings us to the end of September as the likely time of Jesus’ birth. There are no specific records. There are only speculations based on scriptures.

As far as dates were concerned, the adoption of a universal calendar hadn’t been made until the 16th century. The west has been using the Gregorian Calendar as a measure of dates. If dates were indicated in those writings, did they follow the Jewish calendar or some other calendar?

There are lots of holes in the Jesus biography, much like contemporary biographies are fragmented. Many of the New Testament scriptures were likely written decades and centuries later. Scrolls were compiled and some were not included into the New Testament. The New Testament was released as an abridged edition and it was heresy to debate it.

Of course, in the USA, Christmas is linked to Thanksgiving. In between, there is Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. The Christmas trees and Yule logs are from pre-Christian pagan pasts. The legendary Santa Claus may stem from Saint Nicholas, whose Feat Day was originally celebrated on the 6th of December. Somehow the stories and legends have been bridged to Christmas.

No one knows the validity of the Jesus myth. We do have ideas based on the legends told as indicated by the church. A scholarly approach will conflict with a faith approach and the debate continues. There is no logic to Jesus; only that Jesus was and is.

Whether the Irving Berlin song “White Christmas” is a stark contrast to the early dark days of Christmas, people come together and celebrate the winter solstice in a way that is filled with affection, charity, love, and good will. The dark days of Christmas may be depressing. Whether it is associated in the reality or distorted myth surrounding Jesus, for brief days and moments, it brings a feeling of Camelot to many.

From the dark days of Christmas, may all your Christmases be white for many ever afters. Spring is springing already.

Decision making consumer behavior is survival

There are many occasions when people think to themselves. “I need to lose weight”, “I need a new home”, “I’d like more friends”, “I need to update my phone”, and all sorts of needs. In one’s mind, enacting to fulfill a need is part of decision making. Once you’ve decided, the next question is do I act or don’t act. When it comes to buying something, you can mine many resources to find what you want. Stores and manufacturers join in the game to prod that decision into a purchase. It’s how you and the economy survive.

How many times have you been puzzled about decisions? Is making a decision simple or difficult? Can you be sure that your chosen decision is the right one? Are you the only one in the decision making process or are there other people or things involved? Many people live in a state of indecision while others make decisions every second. Is one better than the other? Reaching a decisive decision is two-thirds of the resolve.

Deciding and acting on a decision are two totally different things. Actions have benefits and consequences while decisions are thoughts. Living requires acting on decisions and many things around us) passively or actively) gear us to act on a decision. Is it a form of consumer behavior? Can you be enticed into acting on a decision?

How people choose and decide to do anything is tied with basic survival – fight or flight. Decision making is a complex process that combines sensory limits of choosing
, internal thoughts and motivations, peer pressure, and reactions to advertising. Most decision making is routed in your brain but businesses (more than science) are actively trying to learn how people make decisions and find out how the decide and act. Tracking the decisions of choosing and buying help business increase sales and profit opportunities.

The use of social media sites have been helpful in trying to determine how people make decisions. Have they? Decision making is a statistical treasure trove of possibilities.

Apple has decided to buy Topsy as part of a decision making process aimed at analyzing social media stemming from social media. Analysis of what people communicate is a benchmark for behavior, particularly consumer behavior. Apple’s investment in Topsy Labs is a small one. Apple hopes that it will help focus on new products for greater income and position in the marketplace. When it comes to predicting how people make decisions, sorting subjectivity from objectivity are often very confusing, and can’t always be predicted from the constraints of a board room.

Deciding on what clothes you wear, what foods you eat, what attracts or repels is being studied and linked to a small part of your brain, the lateral habenula (LHb). It plays a significant roles in your subjective decision making processes. Its role in the process wasn’t found in this study for Ph.D. candidacy.

In the study, scientists trained lab rats to choose between a consistent small reward (one food pellet) or a potentially larger reward (four food pellets) that appeared sporadically. Like humans, the rats tended to choose larger rewards when costs — in this case, the amount of time they had to wait before receiving food-were low and preferred smaller rewards when such risks were higher. The LHb has been previously linked to decision making by way of triggering avoidance behaviors that may lead to forms of depression.

Depression isn’t simple either. People depress over many things. Some are related to appearance, some are social, some are about jobs. Deciding to change is an idea. Acting on change requires more.

Decision making is often at the root of behavior and stems from what you think to what you do. Businesses of all kinds invest in data mining as ways to predict consumer behavior as tied to wider economic concerns. What attracts someone to buy? What makes one product more successful than another similar product?

Over the past few years data mining accuracy means money to business clients and the data mining companies themselves. Many retailers have been using Foresee for extrapolating and analyzing data about website design and online friendliness. Foresee often has a pop-up on client sites that asks whether you want to participate in their survey. I usually decline.

Surveys are only accurate on the basis of those that answer surveys. This can be measured by response rates and the efficacy is how well a researcher might distribute a survey. The Survey Monkey is a popular survey development website but a survey respondent may just enjoy surveys. Surveys don’t necessarily predict behavior while cruising down an aisle at Walmart. Trying to map consumer behavior is more complex and ties into the brain and stress.

People have different stress levels and these have a cumulative relationship in decision making. This may be more basic. A glance or sampling of products responds to the rules of short-term memory. Short term memory is active memory and, from the results of cognitive testing, may be limited to focusing on 3 to 5 things simultaneously. Any thing above that is stressing and lengthens the decision making process.

If you are stopped in a store aisle and asked to sample some products. Sampling 3 products are likely to deliver better results than among 10 products. The limits of short-term memory and your available time to interrupt your shopping combine to make your decision. Three is more workable than five or more.

Other factors determining consumer behavior are likes and dislikes. Brand significance and experience also plays a role as your long-term memory favors the experience. If what you use is satisfying, why choose something else? For example, my wife likes iPhone and I prefer Android. Nothing would alter our decisive preference. But what about other things?

Television networks compete heavily throughout the year to find the show that everyone will want to watch. Viewers determine advertising and syndication dollars. Now streaming systems are offering popular series. Of hundreds or thousands of shows released each year, which will be successful? It’s a guess.

Gender also plays many roles. Are women more likely to buy pink than men? Brain activity radiology evidence suggest that exposure to certain stimuli evoke different area brain responses in women than men. Certain elements are more important to men than women. In modern society, even gender difference is questioned. Also, each individual constructs reality with slight difference based on limbic memories along with emotions.

When it comes to Autism approaches, there are neurobiological differences in genders.

Social media may influence consumer4 behavior by simply peer pressure as more people in your group share similar interests and need to conform for acceptance. That’s why Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other media sites collect data on their members.

Then there are economic factors like income and opportunities.

Whether Apple’s acquisition of Topsy Labs will help Apple’s grip on expanding its influence of the marketplace is difficult to evaluate. For example, my view was the less expensive Apple iPhone 5c would outsell the 5s, but it was the other way around. Apple must have thought so too. Supplies of the iPhone 5s dwindled after the first weekend of sales.

Consumer behavior, when it comes to predicting decision making, involves memory, biology, perception, and personal uniquenesses. Stores and businesses need to cater and excite consumers. It’s very hard for companies to guess the next success or failure. Analytics are just some of the tools a business uses to make deals. Some play with perception. Some businesses lie.

Social media has become so massive that, like physical reality, there are thousands of partitions even among (and within) groups. The value of scanning groups for predictive patterns (or coaxing patterns) is as impressively weak or strong as statistical tables might display. Other predictive channels are fine. One thing that may be missing from the formulae may be the things that rest in our minds and each connected brain. There is so much more to learn.

The importance and quantity of data to mine may seem impressive. Yet with billions or trillions of dollars supporting new fashions, electronics, cars, movies, shows, and more, predicting consumer behavior is still something like winning at the roulette table. Using sciences, art, statistics, social media, and many other variables can help coax decision making in a world where there are plenty of choices.

Choosing and deciding isn’t always simple. It requires deep thought and the stimuli to entice decision making are becoming more sophisticated. In the United States, health care insurance requires many variables to think about. Finally you choose one and act on it. Do you still really know whether your decision was the best one? Deciding and acting are two very different things or are they similar?