Friday, April 14, 2017

The Importance of Good Care on Child Development

From New Scientist 23 Sept 2000 page 18, "You Are What You Eat," by Claire Ainsworth: "A mother's diet in the first few days after conception could determine the health of her unborn child for life". An embryo sets its growth rate according to its environment. If a mother is malnourished the growth rate is slower as part of the adaptation for survival. This leads to low birth weight. Babies that are born small are subject to high blood pressure, diabetes and strokes in later life. This is the work of Tom Fleming of the University of Southampton England. This is an extrapolation from rat research. Source: Development (vol 127, page 4195)

Excerpt from "New Scientist" 16 December 2000 by Meredith F. Small, professor of anthropology at Cornell University. Her book, Kids: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Raise Our Children, published in April 2001 by Doubleday.

Human young are dependant on their carers to help them navigate through their crucial early years. So to get the emotional and physical help they need, they must be highly sensitive to the behaviour of their carers-and that makes them particularly vulnerable to family strife. Several studies have shown that it is unpredictability that really stresses kids. British researchers found, for example, that the cortisol levels of some children are lower at school, where life is predictable and stable, and higher at home, where they believe anything can happen.

Normally, their reaction to stress helps kids cope by directing energy to parts of the body that need it most, but if stressful situations are not resolved, the damage can be far-reaching. Megan Gunnar, an expert on stress in children at the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota, points to a growing awareness that stress in childhood is a major mental and physical health risk.

"One reason to worry about stress in childhood is that this is the time when we learn how to manage stress-patterns that we will carry forward into our adult lives," says Gunnar. "And we don't take the hit on some of the health consequences until we are older. Increasingly, we are finding that many of those adult diseases that knock us down when we are 40 or 50- heart disease, high blood pressure and so on-are detectable in childhood, when the patterns are set."

Gunnar and others have shown that when very young children are abused, neglected or bond poorly with their carers, their cortisol levels are high even in mildly stressful situations such as play and they are unable to cope. And several recent studies of women who had been abused as children show that they are biologically vulnerable to depression and anxiety as adults because early experience permanently altered their hormonal responses, making them hypersensitive to stress.

Flinn has uncovered two abnormal patterns of cortisol production in children under continued stress from family trauma. Usually, kids have a constant low background level of cortisol, which peaks when they are under stress. But some highly stressed children have chronically high levels of cortisol. They are also shy and anxious. Another group of children has abnormally low basal cortisol levels interspersed with spikes of unnaturally high levels. They also show what Flinn calls blunted cortisol responses-their levels don't rise as they should during physical activity. Just as worrying, they are less sociable and more aggressive than kids with normal profiles.

Some of these kids have been stressed since they were conceived and they probably missed certain sensitive periods for obtaining normal cortisol profiles, though how exactly the response develops is still unknown. These children also have weakened immune responses, fall ill more frequently, are easily fatigued and don't sleep well. Looking at his record of children who are now adults, Flinn is finding that some of them seem to be permanently affected by stressful events that happened while they were in the womb, in infancy or during early childhood.


  1. Another great article.

    There are a few good minds here and there in universities throughout the world.

    I am learning so much.



    I just read Beachcoast's and Paul's post from :

    Blog: Monday, April 3, 2017

    Prenatal Life and Its Later Effects (First Published October 24, 2008)

    I post it here, in case that blog has been abandoned.

    Paul April 12, 2017 at 3:23 AM

    Hi Beachcoast,

    I tried Rhodolia. It seems to help but it's hard to be objective about that.

    I think I need something to boost dopamine and Ive often wondered if art will ever write a more specific article describing the pattern, if there is a pattern of symptoms relating to specific neurotransmitter/inhibitors. Vasopressin & Oxytocin has been in the news recently due to their having been discovered new synthetic versions. I'm not sure as there seems to be conflicting reports about that.

    Paul G.

    To Beachcoast, Paul, and anyone else that maybe interested,

    In regards to your reference to Rhodalia

    Good quality Beef liver is one of the most potent super foods.

    I feel particularly good when I eat good quality beef liver.

    Some people may find it helpful to look into this subject.

    Read the introduction to the page and recipe.

    It is by a 10 yr vegan.

    Besides being a concentrated source of many very high quality vitamins and other potent nutrients it contains taurine.

    This is what wikipedia says on taurine:


    Taurine crosses the blood–brain barrier[21][22][23] and has been implicated in a wide array of physiological phenomena including inhibitory neurotransmission,[24] long-term potentiation in the striatum/hippocampus,[25] membrane stabilization,[26] feedback inhibition of neutrophil/macrophage respiratory burst, adipose tissue regulation and possible prevention of obesity,[27][28] calcium homeostasis,[29] recovery from osmotic shock,[30] protection against glutamate excitotoxicity[31] and prevention of epileptic seizures.[32]

    Because I don't have easy access to grass fed beef liver, I personally use any good healthy looking beef liver I find in the store.

    If I had easy access to fresh good quality grass fed beef liver I would certainly use it.


    1. David... Paul and all!

      Do not forget that your thoughts are the best medicine in the form of psychotropic drugs if it works at all and then it's not so good to just spend them time to which medication is the best. Listening to music... to choose it in the sense of what you can imagine is probably much better than any steak ever will live up to. If not... listen again and again because memories of feelings is strongly connected through music. There is an acceptance within us that is not so bad to make use of the... acceptance to be who we are... a child with naive behavior ever since we were little... but don't try to be... it is to be and smart with it! Naivety... we are small if we just give it the time necessary to detect.

      If we believe that medication will help us for a change... a change that is impossible to be an issue of own consideration in a state of mind in need.. then we are in the wrong place in our brain... in this case it is for others to decide.

      I know that we ourselves may have to do other things when we overflows but it is always beyond our ability to understand the consequences of... if we do. I know that these memories can be filled to the brim... but the child's naive opportunities. For God's sake run to the Janovs Center. Fight for your right for help and let no ignorance stop you until you are there!

      Your Frank

    2. "Good quality Beef liver is one of the most potent super foods.
      I feel particularly good when I eat good quality beef liver.".
      This group is about preventing and curing pain & suffering, and you are advocating the murder of cows just because someone, VERY POSSIBLY in the pay of the meat industry, says eating their liver will help with psychoemotional distress.
      Have you not read Arts comments about Animals having the same feeling base as humans? Or Hans Rausch (Slaughter of the Innocent), Juliet Gellatley (The Silent Ark)or Jeffrey Masson & Susan McCarthy (When Elephants Weep)?
      If you think it´s OK to violently kill a non human animal, do you also think it´s OK to kill a human animal?
      You talk about Beef liver as if it is just a thing, a commodity, without mentionning that it once belonged to a sentient creature. A creature which shows great affection for its calves, which will go missing for days when, (as in the dairy industry), its calf is stolen from her after birth. or colapse with grief. or go bellowing around a field for days afterwards.
      An animal as playful, affectionate and loyal as a dog.
      An animal known to go frantic as it approaches the stun gun preceeding its violent death.
      And you calmly, dispassionately, promote the consumption of that poor innocent animals liver to treat psychoemotional suffering.
      Your regular posts implicitly condoning the murder, abuse and enslavement of animals are arrogant and the product of severe early traumata which have severed your connection to natural human empathy. I speak out as a much more empathic person whose witnessing of any form of animal suffering causes me immense emotional pain, and I strongly protest against the advocacy of anything which causes pain or suffering to ANY sentient creature. It is puré human arrogance, made possible by the trauma based absence of compassion, which posits that of all the thousands of species of animals on this planet, humans alone have the automatic right to live and to live decently. I suggest that if you were to primal sufficiently, the full horror behind your ostensibly bland words - also motivated, as I see it, by a need to appear "informed" and/or "helpful" - would be laid bare. Humans oppress other species everywhere SOLELY because of their own pain. Gary

    3. David, thanks for the information about beef liver. I think it's worth trying. It's also a good thing to make use of all the parts of a slaughtered animal, not just the juicy pieces!

    4. Overreaction covers virtually all spheres of human activity. Tragically, it is those most innocent and unable to defend themselves, animals, who are by far the biggest victims in terms of numbers and the gravity of abuse, of human overreaction.
      Something Art wrote in one of his early books also appears relevant here, regarding the fact that transcendental meditators in Primal tHerapy were found to have billions of neurotransmitters racing around frantically behind an apparently calm and beatific surface
      I was involved in "meditation" and other "spiritual practices for years before discovering primal therapy, and constantly felt a huge inner desolation.
      My animal rights work in Portugal has brought me into contact with "vegans" and "vegetarians" yet their motives for going vegan or vegetarian have nothing to do with compassion for animals and everything with self interest
      Animals continue, for them to be lesser forms of life. Their practice of unnatural "meditation" indicates to me the existence of inner pain, and the means by which they repress this pain. They also keep this pain repressed by blocking exposure to external triggers, so dont expect compassion from them for getting upset over sentient creatures
      One way or another, the pain has to make one dysfunctional, but I would always choose expression, or discharge, over repression, such as meditation. Gary

    5. For Frank and Gary particularly:
      look for "Music for Elephants" a TV documentary running 46mins on YouTube. It is a very well made simple, honest, documentary about a refuge for abused elephants in Thailand. Published by Paul Barton, it is largely a description of his musical experiments playing classical music on a concert piano for elephants to see if it might calm them and help them to communicate. The laws have changed in Thailand and the elephants have a better chance now. Be prepared for some very sad events however.

      Frank, your encouragement to me when I was leaving Australia for Costa Rica was a huge help. Thanks again. I have been here just 3 months and loving it although it is still an emotional roller coaster. Wherever we settle, we still have pains to resolve but for me this is just what the doctor ordered. I was the doctor in this case and for the second time in my long adult life I have made a good decision.


  2. It was an incredibly long way back to where I was separated from myself for what I could not manage to feel when I was so afraid that I become paralyzed by the threat of My dad and I just wanted to be near him. DADDY... DADDY... PLEASE HELP ME... PLEASE... PLEASE... PLEASE... DAAAAD... an echo that has been there through all of my life.


  3. An anxiety attack is bound to its source without any awareness of why... and so we suffer anxiety throughout our lives if we do not get the help needed!

    I did not know I was homesick to a hell on earth... my home! I was homesick from something I could not possibly cope with when I was left in school. I have since then not discovered how bad I was/am treated but I have suffered. It did hurt but the pain became my life... that's what I am... and I've become alike. We are and can be there without any understanding at all of it. To break away it means to get back home to the hell on earth and to a loneliness out of understanding... something we have done everything to escape ever since then. If we want to know we must understand the process of primal therapy and undergo it.

    Do you know what makes me insane? To not be the one I am... to not recognize the child I am! I was more real as five years old than I have ever been since then. Now I understand who I am...who I have been... but do not need to be... it more then I am to become an grown up


  4. It's all about lovelessness!

    How can one imagine to impart knowledge about how we should behave when we act because we do not have knowledge of it... feel it. We are what we are... so the question is what we can do about it. It is what is on our agenda... about our own problems. To behave differently than we are... it's a problem we can not possibly have any idea about more than getting a little more confused of what we otherwise live up to. All we can understand what others tell of... or force us to is only bound to our own inability as long as it determines what is what.

    The issue of the above could raise the question about ourselves... but then we begin to suffer and that is ours difficulty. But if we would still be able to understand as much that suffering has a cause to change us if we try... then perhaps we could move on ... but we will continue to suffer as long as we do not know why.

    If we have a life that is predictable as arguments for our belief that children are better off in school than at home... so it may be true for what we understands about it... but we all have to "KNOW" it is more dependent on a loveless home than to have a routine for well-being. Love is and will always be the solution to man's emotional handicap "of being"


  5. This morning when I woke up ... so I was reminded as five years old of an incident when my father came into my bedroom and threatened to beat me when I was paralyzed by fear of being alone in the dark. He threatened to beat me if I was not quiet. I hid under the covers to not see him... when I have no more air under the blanket I crawled out ... but to my great dismay... he stood there still. From there... I do not know what happened. But now back to this morning! I got an outburst of anger I had never before experienced... I could kill him over and over again... there was no end to my anger toward him... and there's more coming!


  6. Hi All,

    I just found this:

    I hope the link works.

    Paul G.

    1. Good read, Paul. (Had to make sure to note there is two dashes after 'Heal' to get the right site. You copied it correctly.)

      This was written several years ago and seems to go along with the Janov premise of childhood trauma or neglect causing physical changes in the brain. He does, however have a different view of dealing with the symptoms: medication and behavioral therapy or cognitive. That wouldn't get at the root or normalize hormones that reliving could do. But informative article, nonetheless. Thank you.

    2. Hi Sheri and all,

      well exactly. I listen to BBC R4 and hear all sorts of programs on the human condition and every one so far has put : -"Mind Over Matter"- as a matter of course, only a few programs ever admit and support the need for feelings. Just that expression: 'mind over matter' alone says it all. It is the common zeitgeist.

      I no longer ruminate much about that travesty in particular, but having to bear the act outs that follow on from it is still hard work.
      What I have discovered is that when people put aside feelings they also block out aspects of reality in the environment. It is so true what Art says, that Consciousness = awareness + feelings. They, or should I say 'we' develop and cultivate blind spots which correspond, it's like a macarbre tragicomic dance in the shadows. In work situations where there are imbalances of power as with where I work occasionally, then this can and does lead to abuse. What was born out of need to protect becomes a weapon to attack. It becomes a belief system which justifies and concretises the situation. You can see a progression from 'repression to suppression and ending in oppression'.

      so as not to rant on & on about this depressing chronic and widespread repetition in human affairs, I have concluded this is that notorious : "wrong turn in evolution".

      Sometimes my top and front head feels like a 'growth' I wish wasn't there. . . I mean, I love using it but on the other hand it sure gets in the way of feelings. It is a 'crown' I sometimes can't use properly and most of all when I need to change hats.

      Paul G.

  7. Dear Frank,
    I'm there for you in thought and feeling.
    What do you need to ask your farther for or tell him about being scared and not wanting to be alone ?
    It's a crime to beat a child....demand that he take it all back because it doesn't belong with you, and ask him for everything you deserve and don't settle for less until you feel you've felt everything you needed to feel about that incident when you had to hide under the covers.
    Bit by bit .


  8. This entire article describes themes in my own early development. My mother told me that my asthma and eczema started aged 3 weeks, and I was bedridden for weeks, even months, of every year until i was around 15 years old. Both conditions are characterized by low cortisol levels.
    Now aged 55, my asthma and eczema are long gone. They disappeared completely after I adopted a raw vegan diet on my 41st birthday. Between adolescence and then, my eczema was present but minimal, and my asthma much better than childhood, but affected badly by the onset of winter and exposure to dust.
    What really struck home in this article was the following "to get the emotional and physical help they need, they must be highly sensitive to the behaviour of their carers-and that makes them particularly vulnerable to family strife. Several studies have shown that it is unpredictability that really stresses kids" because I have always been acutely sensitive to the behaviour and emotional state of anyone around me. Uncomfortably so. Living as a baby and toddler with two emotionally unstable and unpredictable parents could at least partly explain this.
    I also, as the article suggests, have a hugely disproportionate reaction to small/moderate stressors, am unsociable, and overaggressive.
    As a child. I used to fall ill constantly
    I have always slept badly
    What is of interest is that my severe early asthma and eczema, along with regular colds, disappeared completely after going raw vegan aged 41, but the emotional patterns remain. Gary

  9. Concerning 5 year olds who need special care in the form of therapy or counseling. I know a man, Dr S., who lives in LA who was my group supervisor when I was interning in LA for an MFCC license back in the 80s, while driving a taxi for a living. Dr S. identified his therapeutic orientation as cognitive-behavioral, the acceptable tag then and now, but he was much more than that. He was sensitive and intuitive and cared about others.

    One day, in group supervision, I was talking about a patient I was seeing, who was contemplating murdering his father. This was at a time when I along with countless others had walked out in disgust from the Primal Institute. My feelings of being betrayed and unappreciated etc were causing me to loose focus in my presentation of this difficult case. Dr S. subtly drew other people in to comment and discuss, relieving me of the burden I was under. A few days later he invited me to lunch. We had lunch two or three times. I told him what had taken place at the Primal Institute. (Art, This was about eight years after you left there.) Two things Dr S. told me stuck with me and helped me to this day. One was "I don't know why people get well". The other was that his wife was a patient of Dr Janov's (long before Primal therapy) and when he left the center where she was seeing him as a patient (at age 5 I learned recently) he gave her a farewell gift, a music box, which she still has. Dr S. and his wife have children and grand children. They and I have been deeply touched by this gift.

    1. I need to explain one thing that may be unclear to some people. The revelation of Dr. S., "I don't know why people get well", put him completely outside of the cognitive behaviorist camp especially in relation to me because it implied he wouldn't be telling me what I MUST DO if I wanted to get well. This is the biggest flaw in what the average cognitive behaviorist does in my opinion if I can give them a tast of their own medicine.

      Dr S. was aware of what people need in order to recover from "mental illness". The main part being a person ( or persons) with whom they could talk about their day-to-day life without fear of criticism or being pushed to be something they are not - someone they could be real with.


Review of "Beyond Belief"

This thought-provoking and important book shows how people are drawn toward dangerous beliefs.
“Belief can manifest itself in world-changing ways—and did, in some of history’s ugliest moments, from the rise of Adolf Hitler to the Jonestown mass suicide in 1979. Arthur Janov, a renowned psychologist who penned The Primal Scream, fearlessly tackles the subject of why and how strong believers willingly embrace even the most deranged leaders.
Beyond Belief begins with a lucid explanation of belief systems that, writes Janov, “are maps, something to help us navigate through life more effectively.” While belief systems are not presented as inherently bad, the author concentrates not just on why people adopt belief systems, but why “alienated individuals” in particular seek out “belief systems on the fringes.” The result is a book that is both illuminating and sobering. It explores, for example, how a strongly-held belief can lead radical Islamist jihadists to murder others in suicide acts. Janov writes, “I believe if people had more love in this life, they would not be so anxious to end it in favor of some imaginary existence.”
One of the most compelling aspects of Beyond Belief is the author’s liberal use of case studies, most of which are related in the first person by individuals whose lives were dramatically affected by their involvement in cults. These stories offer an exceptional perspective on the manner in which belief systems can take hold and shape one’s experiences. Joan’s tale, for instance, both engaging and disturbing, describes what it was like to join the Hare Krishnas. Even though she left the sect, observing that participants “are stunted in spiritual awareness,” Joan considers returning someday because “there’s a certain protection there.”
Janov’s great insight into cultish leaders is particularly interesting; he believes such people have had childhoods in which they were “rejected and unloved,” because “only unloved people want to become the wise man or woman (although it is usually male) imparting words of wisdom to others.” This is just one reason why Beyond Belief is such a thought-provoking, important book.”
Barry Silverstein, Freelance Writer

Quotes for "Life Before Birth"

“Life Before Birth is a thrilling journey of discovery, a real joy to read. Janov writes like no one else on the human mind—engaging, brilliant, passionate, and honest.
He is the best writer today on what makes us human—he shows us how the mind works, how it goes wrong, and how to put it right . . . He presents a brand-new approach to dealing with depression, emotional pain, anxiety, and addiction.”
Paul Thompson, PhD, Professor of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine

Art Janov, one of the pioneers of fetal and early infant experiences and future mental health issues, offers a robust vision of how the earliest traumas of life can percolate through the brains, minds and lives of individuals. He focuses on both the shifting tides of brain emotional systems and the life-long consequences that can result, as well as the novel interventions, and clinical understanding, that need to be implemented in order to bring about the brain-mind changes that can restore affective equanimity. The transitions from feelings of persistent affective turmoil to psychological wholeness, requires both an understanding of the brain changes and a therapist that can work with the affective mind at primary-process levels. Life Before Birth, is a manifesto that provides a robust argument for increasing attention to the neuro-mental lives of fetuses and infants, and the widespread ramifications on mental health if we do not. Without an accurate developmental history of troubled minds, coordinated with a recognition of the primal emotional powers of the lowest ancestral regions of the human brain, therapists will be lost in their attempt to restore psychological balance.
Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D.
Bailey Endowed Chair of Animal Well Being Science
Washington State University

Dr. Janov’s essential insight—that our earliest experiences strongly influence later well being—is no longer in doubt. Thanks to advances in neuroscience, immunology, and epigenetics, we can now see some of the mechanisms of action at the heart of these developmental processes. His long-held belief that the brain, human development, and psychological well being need to studied in the context of evolution—from the brainstem up—now lies at the heart of the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy.
Grounded in these two principles, Dr. Janov continues to explore the lifelong impact of prenatal, birth, and early experiences on our brains and minds. Simultaneously “old school” and revolutionary, he synthesizes traditional psychodynamic theories with cutting-edge science while consistently highlighting the limitations of a strict, “top-down” talking cure. Whether or not you agree with his philosophical assumptions, therapeutic practices, or theoretical conclusions, I promise you an interesting and thought-provoking journey.
Lou Cozolino, PsyD, Professor of Psychology, Pepperdine University

In Life Before Birth Dr. Arthur Janov illuminates the sources of much that happens during life after birth. Lucidly, the pioneer of primal therapy provides the scientific rationale for treatments that take us through our original, non-verbal memories—to essential depths of experience that the superficial cognitive-behavioral modalities currently in fashion cannot possibly touch, let alone transform.
Gabor Maté MD, author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction

An expansive analysis! This book attempts to explain the impact of critical developmental windows in the past, implores us to improve the lives of pregnant women in the present, and has implications for understanding our children, ourselves, and our collective future. I’m not sure whether primal therapy works or not, but it certainly deserves systematic testing in well-designed, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled clinical trials.
K.J.S. Anand, MBBS, D. Phil, FAACP, FCCM, FRCPCH, Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Senior Scholar, Center for Excellence in Faith and Health, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare System

A baby's brain grows more while in the womb than at any time in a child's life. Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script That Rules Our Lives is a valuable guide to creating healthier babies and offers insight into healing our early primal wounds. Dr. Janov integrates the most recent scientific research about prenatal development with the psychobiological reality that these early experiences do cast a long shadow over our entire lifespan. With a wealth of experience and a history of successful psychotherapeutic treatment, Dr. Janov is well positioned to speak with clarity and precision on a topic that remains critically important.
Paula Thomson, PsyD, Associate Professor, California State University, Northridge & Professor Emeritus, York University

"I am enthralled.
Dr. Janov has crafted a compelling and prophetic opus that could rightly dictate
PhD thesis topics for decades to come. Devoid of any "New Age" pseudoscience,
this work never strays from scientific orthodoxy and yet is perfectly accessible and
downright fascinating to any lay person interested in the mysteries of the human psyche."
Dr. Bernard Park, MD, MPH

His new book “Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” shows that primal therapy, the lower-brain therapeutic method popularized in the 1970’s international bestseller “Primal Scream” and his early work with John Lennon, may help alleviate depression and anxiety disorders, normalize blood pressure and serotonin levels, and improve the functioning of the immune system.
One of the book’s most intriguing theories is that fetal imprinting, an evolutionary strategy to prepare children to cope with life, establishes a permanent set-point in a child's physiology. Baby's born to mothers highly anxious during pregnancy, whether from war, natural disasters, failed marriages, or other stressful life conditions, may thus be prone to mental illness and brain dysfunction later in life. Early traumatic events such as low oxygen at birth, painkillers and antidepressants administered to the mother during pregnancy, poor maternal nutrition, and a lack of parental affection in the first years of life may compound the effect.
In making the case for a brand-new, unified field theory of psychotherapy, Dr. Janov weaves together the evolutionary theories of Jean Baptiste Larmarck, the fetal development studies of Vivette Glover and K.J.S. Anand, and fascinating new research by the psychiatrist Elissa Epel suggesting that telomeres—a region of repetitive DNA critical in predicting life expectancy—may be significantly altered during pregnancy.
After explaining how hormonal and neurologic processes in the womb provide a blueprint for later mental illness and disease, Dr. Janov charts a revolutionary new course for psychotherapy. He provides a sharp critique of cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, and other popular “talk therapy” models for treating addiction and mental illness, which he argues do not reach the limbic system and brainstem, where the effects of early trauma are registered in the nervous system.
“Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” is scheduled to be published by NTI Upstream in October 2011, and has tremendous implications for the future of modern psychology, pediatrics, pregnancy, and women’s health.