social, health, political imagery through the lens of G J Huba PhD © 2012-2021

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This is the ninth installment of a series of posts in which I record videos of making mind maps from scratch. The other blog posts are reached through these links.

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Part 7

Part 8

PWD = Person with Dementia, a common acronym for those who have the symptoms of dementia, no matter which specific neurodegenerative disease causes them.

This was a very hard mind map for me to develop. At least in my case there are three types of memory loss (one of which a caregiver might not actually think of as memory loss) which I deal with daily.

The first part of the mind map took me 40:20 in real time to do. The video of that stage is given below. As with my other mapping videos, this one uses time-lapse to compress 8 minutes into 1.

I walked away from the computer and did not continue until about 22 hours later. The second part of the mind map took me 30:40 minutes to develop. So, the entire mind map took me 71 minutes to complete. I have had maps that have taken me much longer to develop than this one, although lately I have gotten much faster and this process was slower than most in the last 3 months. I attribute it to trying to map a clear statement of something not identified in the mind map literature.

The final version of the map is shown statically below. I corrected 2 typographic errors I found while converting this to a standard image.

For those who prefer a verbal summary I propose three types of “memory loss” that I experience.

Type I: What most observers consider “memory loss.” Knowledge and mental records disappear completely or are not reliably retrieved as in when I mistakenly call my children by each other’s names or use functional words (grass cutter for lawn mower).

Type 2: Delayed retrieval. This is a recurring problem for me on verbal questions from others. I say that I know the answer but it may not come back to me for 9 seconds or 90 seconds or 90 minutes. Has a huge impact on conversation!

Type 3: Forget how to start. I may know that I am supposed to get up and take a pill or take the garbage out or many other sequential tasks. I know that too, at least on a part time basis. But a very short time after thinking about the task I forget to start. This is not entirely an attention issue, although it is partially so. Primarily it is a problem of performing a sequence of tasks, any of which might be forgotten. Others may easily interpret this problem as one of refusing to take the garbage out or delay or just plain laziness or being engaged in watching a sports events on TV. I experience this as a memory issue in which I forget to start a chain of behaviors or how to perform one part way through the chain. Definitely “gets me in trouble.”

As a note, I can deal with intellectual “chains” (Type 3) pretty well with mind maps. The key feature is that mind maps need not be “written” in a linear form, but rather you can jump from task-to-task or idea-to-idea. Most experienced advanced mind mappers do not think linearly while they are mapping nor do groups using mapping for brainstorming or other group tasks.

3 types of  Memory Loss  experienced  in Dementia

This is the 8th post in a series in which an individual with dementia uses a computer program to create a mind map.

The earlier posts (each with a video) may be accessed from the following links.

Part 1

Part 2

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Part 6

Part 7

I have concluded — as I have traversed the alternate universe of cognitive decline — that humor is the glue that can hold the time-space warp together, at least for a while for you as well as your caregivers and family.

Here is a time lapse video of me developing a mind map on humor as a coping technique. You will probably find this useful whether you have dementia or not, but do note that this is one of the most helpful methods I have found for addressing stresses during the day.

[In this video you will see a time gap of about 30 seconds. I got distracted by an incoming text. After exchanging weather forecasts, sports scores, and terms of endearment, I was able to come back to mind mapping fairly quickly and pick it up where I stopped.]

This is a time lapse video. 8 minutes have been collapsed into 1 minute.

Here is a static version of the final mind map. [I made two tiny changes since the final version of the video. I highlighted the branch of “others” and changed it to “others.” I also changed the color of the “R branch” from bright yellow to light blue.]


This is a video of my creation from scratch a mind map explaining why I have chosen to make my mind maps so “odd” or stylistically unique as I prefer to call them. The map took 38 minutes to create and is compressed so that 8 minutes in the original are 1 minute in the video below.

This is my seventh blog post showing how I mind map. Here are links to the prior videos.

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I am not sure if my mind maps will look more odd to individuals who are very experienced in mind mapping or to those who have little exposure to them. As both my skill in mind mapping and my dementia has progressed, my mind maps have gotten more unique or “odd” as some may characterize them. The colors are getting brighter, the branches more pronounced, the fonts relatively larger and many stylistic elements are ones you probably have never seen before. The images … well … I spend a lot of time looking for very unique ones and sometimes create my own out of either my photographs or public domain pictures and an editor.

I think the maps are more useful because I view them partially as art and my hobby and my style is getting pretty recognizable. I “own” my mind maps psychologically which encourages pride which motivates me to use them more and more. The cycle is a positive one.

These odd mind maps address a key issue in cognitive impairment, dementia, and mental illness: LACK OF MOTIVATION. These odd maps and their creation motivate me in various ways to complete tasks. This fact is extremely important.

The first image shows a static version of the final mind map ….

unique odd

and the second a simulated 3-dimensional version. Note that I personally rarely see any advantage in the 3-d versions and do not typically use them. But you might want to.

3d unique

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Here is another video of the process of developing a mind map. This map presents positive outcomes I have observed in MYSELF (no, not you or you or you … ME only). Of course mind maps may work as well for you as me but I have no ways of knowing that in advance.

This first video shows the first 34:32 minutes of the mind mapping condensed through time lapsing so that 8 minutes is shown as 1 minute.

And then … the dreaded computer freeze (yes Virginia, even MacBooks freeze). I rebooted, turned the computer off, watched TV, went to bed, got up, did other stuff all day, and now am coming back to this map at 5 PM the next day.

I was able to restart myself by spending a couple of minutes scanning the half-completed map and then continuing. I did not try to recreate the ideas of the prior day as I had all of them simultaneously in front of me. Notice that I skip to sections and expand them until the total seems to work.

Here is the additional 26:34 minutes of effort to complete the map. Or, in total about an hour.

And here is the final static mind map.

significant outcomes for me

Good things have happened for me as a consequence of using mind mapping to fight back against dementia.

Dr Anderson emailed this message to all American Psychological Association Members on July 23, 2015. Dr Anderson is the CEO of APA.

Dr Anderson was allowed by the Board of Directors of the APA to delay his departure from APA until late 2015. Had I been a member of the Board, I would have voted to make the departure effective immediately.

Same old, same old. APA needs to move the resignation date to take place immediately. And stop letting Dr Anderson rewrite history.

[As a context, I have been a full APA member since 1977 when I obtained my PhD and an elected Fellow since 1987. Mr Anderson’s involvement is partially documented in the report. He was also part of the horrible public reaction of the Association to the allegations over a period of years.]

apa1 apa2

I started using iMindMap in 2010 and this was one of the first maps I ever drafted on the activities of our company. It was updated with slightly revised content in 2011 to add an additional year of projects. I have also made some tiny formatting changes using the 2015 version of the program.

Had you asked me in 2010, I would have said that this was mind mapping. Contrast this map to the ones that were developed in 2013-2015 and posted in this blog. Wow, was I wrong.

The map shows some of the projects conducted by our company between 1988 through 2011.

The Measurement Group was started by me in 1988 and I was later joined by Dr Lisa Melchior in 1989. I divested my interests after retiring for medical reasons in 2011. Dr Melchior is now the sole owner of the company and brilliantly continues its activities in evaluating health and social programs. Lisa and I collaborated in all of the projects shown on the mind map. She may be reached by  or on the TMG web site at

I was privileged and blessed to work on the projects of The Measurement Group for 23 years and help improve healthcare and social care for vulnerable and poor individuals and families.

The Measurement Group

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What makes it easier to deal with dementia?

I developed the following mind map over 41 minutes from scratch from start to finish. I did not even know what I would title the map when I started.

The video presents 8 minutes of mapping in 1 minute. The 41 minute development period is thus shown in a little more than 5 minutes.

The diagram below shows the final mind map. Click to expand the map.

skills, attitudes,  and tasks  that help you  deal better  with dementia

This is an extract from a news item on the Kurzweil web site two days ago (July 20, 2015).

[Click on the text to expand.]


My contest entry is as follows.

Dear Humble and Enlightened Being Who are Probably Figments of the Imagination of Dr. Hawking:

Should you actually exist, I hope that you will realize that the search is being made by an arrogant Billionaire and several arrogant Academics who put their own egos and needs for fame ahead of the billions of people on our planet who do not have enough food, water, or healthcare.

Should you receive their cell call, I suspect your response might be, “WTF did you waste $100M on a phone call to us when you could have used it to feed starving children on your own planet?”

Alternately, if you would like to save money on the return call, sending back “WTF” as your message would probably suffice and convey the full meaning.

George Huba

PS. This new initiative may be because our planet does provide effective education, ethical training, and mental health services to its inhabitants.

Blockheads-21 Blockheads-15 Blockheads-10 Blockheads-05 Blockheads-02

If I win I will donate the prize to an effective non-profit organization that will lobby billionaires to spend their money wisely to benefit the poor of our planet. If the rich donate more money than is needed to end planetary deprivation, then perhaps we could consider using the remaining funds for long-distance cell-telescope calls to beings who probably are not at home.

This is another recording of my own development of mind maps to illustrate that this can be a way of communicating ideas while having cognitive impairment. I can develop models like this in less than an hour and have them published immediately on my web site.

Other posts in this sequence are

Part 1

Part 2

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Part 6

Verbally I cannot get two sentences in a row out of my mouth so as to explain these ideas to others. Were I to try I would also be distracted by everything going on around me and probably experience great anxiety and coughing fits. You would also find it difficult to interact with me because you would want to end all of my sentences, be unable to look at me because my face goes into a fierce expression most interpret as anger when I am thinking, and be off-put because I often go into repetitive body movements (tapping fingers and feet and rubbing eyebrows) when I get moderately anxious (or worse).

This medium works. I attribute this both to the benefits of the mind mapping for everyone whether cognitively impaired or not and also to the fact that using these techniques I seem to be able to access parts of the brain that for me are less damaged than many of the other skill centers (such as speaking clearly or understanding others verbalizations or recalling the words I want to use to answer questions until 90 seconds later). Using it also makes me anxious, but much less so than trying to express myself in even small social situations.

Very importantly, the mind map lets me continually see my prior train of thought as I work. I don’t have to try to remember what I thought about 30 seconds, or 10 minutes, earlier because it is right in front of my nose on the computer screen. This is a HUGE assist.

The map is compressed so that 8 minutes appear as 1 minute. Just watch the video unfold. Then you can look at the final map more clearly using the static map.

The final mind map is shown in static form below. Click to expand.

Visual Thinking-Communication  Mind Maps Needed in the  Healthcare System

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This mind map took about 22 minutes to develop. The video shows the development. Time is compressed so that 8 minutes are shown as 1 minute. I did not practice the mind map and it was not drafted before I set down at the computer. This is my thinking and mind map development process. I guess I developed this mind map so rapidly this morning because I love to trash the EMR design guys for presenting the database output like we used to do in 1982 when we were still programming FORTRAN and COBOL [for those of you old enough to remember FORTRAN and COBOL].

Here is the final mind map in a static form.

Put Automated  Mind Maps  into EMRs

To answer the question posed in the title …

The data are there. That’s what electronic medical records do.

All I get are these stupid little printed reports or screens in 6 point fonts I have little chance of reading. Even less if you consider my medical diagnosis.

At their simplest level, mind maps can be generated inexpensively from EMR data. Most EMR data are reported in table-like outlines. Some expert system computer interpretation rules would need to be developed but more are already hidden in the EMR as formulae for physicians to use.

In 1985 I developed some of the first commercial, automated, expert systems for the interpretation of psychological tests. Psychological and medical tests are now regularly run through such programs and the information appears in the doctor’s version of the EMR. [My internist once commented that I understood the underlying statistics and methods better than she did so she just handed me the computer screen.]

There is no reason EMR data should not be converted to visual form both providers and patients can understand more intuitively and quickly and with less interpretation error. They are inexpensive to produce and will save a lot of money over what is being done now. AND, they facilitate effective patient-centered care with providers and patients acting as partners.

Shit, no way. The US Healthcare system is still arguing if it is going ever going to implement the same diagnostic codes as the rest of the world. Ways of presenting EMR information that patients can understand? Yeah sure. After all, when IT standards, program developers, accountants, and managed care cost-cutters design the EMRs, they don’t give a damn if anyone can understand the numbers and codes in the computer so long as they allow the managed care companies to make more money.

Do we need to draw them a map? Obviously they can’t (or more accurately, won’t) do it for themselves and us.

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In the previous blog post, I showed myself creating a mind map over a 39 minute period. It was a pretty smooth experience. I have dementia and my blog uses mind maps to explain my experiences. I also use mind maps to guide my day-to-day life.

As context, I have a PhD in Psychology from a highly prestigious US university, 35 years experience as a researcher and CEO of a “high-tech” management and program evaluation consulting firm I founded in 1988, and a diagnosis of neurodegenerative disease (NOT Alzheimer’s disease) made when I was 59 years old. Using extant research, it is reasonable to say that I had the condition at least as early as the age of 55 and probably earlier, especially since I began treatment with a psychiatrist (a common occurrence for those with neurodegenerative disease since the symptoms first appear psychological before later appearing neurological) at that time. I am now 64 years old. I have been considered to have been partially disabled (by my insurance company) since late mid 2009 and fully disabled by the same insurer and the US Social Security Agency when I had to retire at the age of 60 in 2011. Both the insurer and the SSA consulted with independent neurologists to confirm the diagnoses and advice of my own physicians.

Since 2010 I have used Buzan style organic mind mapping to help me communicate and plan, organize, make decisions, remember, and maintain some skills I once had. The method works FOR ME and I am quite grateful to Tony Buzan for his pioneering work that allowed me to embark on my research and trial-and-error search for some tools that would help me.

Here is a second mind mapping session I recorded about 16 hours after the first one (around 9 AM today) BEFORE taking any medication for the day. The mind map is one which is probably easier to develop under normal circumstances than the first.

As you will see in the video I had a lot of stop and start periods when I lost my place as I got caught up in thought about what I wanted to create, but I was able to continue productively as I used my prior work to regroup.

Nonetheless, I think I did a pretty job that just had a lower productivity rate (since it was an easier map to create) to complete.

The map yesterday was created in the late afternoon after I had taken several doses (morning and afternoon) of medications for attention, mood stabilization, tremor control, and cognitive functioning. The medications do not produce large effects in my cognition, but in this case they did focus my attention to some degree but have not been shown to be effective for the type of neurodegenerative disease I have and are being used off-label by my doctors (as is typically done by most doctors with a hope and prayer they will control symptoms to at least a small degree). This morning, I worked on the mind map before taking any medication for the day.

The fact that I take certain medications prescribed by a very skilled and experienced group of doctors and myself use mind mapping in conjunction with the medication does not constitute medical advice for you in any way. See your doctor if you have my problems or appear to be developing them. You are not me, you may not have the same disorder (if any), and dozen of other factors need to be considered for each individual when medications are prescribed and cognitive behavior techniques are used. Like my medications, mind mapping has not be proven to work in formal clinical trials and the fact that I have concluded that it helps greatly FOR ME, does not mean it will work for you or anyone else.

Neither the medications nor mind mapping will cure my dementia or probably slow it down. That is OK. I use both because I perceive the medications and the cognitive mapping improve my quality of life to some degree. And with dementia, even a few extra good hours or days is an incredible gift.

The video from yesterday covers a 39 minute work period. The video from today covers a 36 minute period. In both cases, I conceived of the idea and then started immediate work on it. I neither carefully planned the map before starting recording and this is the first attempt. No practice was done before turning on the recording program.

My morning dosages of medications usually leave me with a very bad headache which stops in a couple of hours. Since I had not taken medication before or during this video session, I did not have a headache.

Note that both videos use time lapse settings so that 8 minutes are portrayed as 1 minute.

Final mind map. Click image to expand.


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This is the most important blog post I have made to date.

I have espoused mind mapping as a way for those with early- and mid-stage dementia to continue to think and communicate using visual associations and judgments for several years now.

I can imagine that many have the reaction, “it can’t be done.” The video shows that it can.

The following is a time-lapse 39 minute video of a mind map being drawn “from scratch” with no prior thinking about the topic or rehearsal. The only thing decided before the map was started was its title (gotta start somewhere). Every 8 seconds of elapsed time is portrayed as 1 second, so the 39 minute elapsed time of the mind map development was compressed to 5 minutes.

The mind map artist was an individual with dementia (ME) who has been doing a lot of mind mapping since 2011 to deal with a diagnosis of neurodegenerative disease. He has contended for several years that mind mapping may be a very good tool for someone (not everyone) with dementia to communicate well and think better. It may be a good way to improve quality of life through communication, increased confidence, better planning and decision making, and somewhat enhanced memory.

This is the mind map I drew in 40 minutes. You will see that at times there are “pauses” in the mind map development. These were periods in which I had forgotten what I was doing and had to stop and retrace my steps (which is exceedingly easy with a mind map but time consuming) or I forgot where tools were on the menus. As I am losing vocabulary, pauses were also caused by being unable to immediately recall an appropriate word.

At any rate, here it is. See what you think.

The completed mind map, in static form, is shown below. Please watch the video first.

Imagine what I could have done had I started mind mapping 50 years ago in junior high school. My advice is to learn mind mapping before you have any cognitive problems. Then, you will have a file folder full of mind maps documenting your life. I wish that I did.

Click the map to expand it.

How I Create a Mind Map

Outline Map. Definition: Junk thinking. Derivation (Hubaisms): from the Huba term for a boring, sterile outline input to a mind mapping program in order to add pretty formatting. Antonym: Buzan Organic Mind Map.

I believe Tony Buzan’s greatest contribution to the theory and practice of visual thinking to be the development of a rich “organic” mind map that could express context so as to much more accurately provide context for bits of knowledge and express relationships through color, positioning, style, fonts, and images. Looking at a well-done organic mind map promotes understanding how simple facts, experiences, and reactions combine into a synergistic whole.

It is the ability to present complex information in context within simple diagrams which established the mind map as a primary tool for improving visual thinking.

Look at this organic mind map (click to expand)!

Contextual vs Sterile  True Organic vs Outline  Buzan vs Pretty Formatting Mind Maps

If you are looking for the correct way to mind map your life during normal development and aging or cognitive impairment, mental illness, and dementia this is it.

Let’s be real. Dementia has no cure YET.

So we fight fight to control the Big D with drugs not demonstrated to even control symptoms in the far-stretching hope that they may actually help control depression or eliminate obsessive-compulsive tendencies which are part of brain disease or even (keeping our fingers crossed) maybe maybe maybe help with memory or attention issues.

Those pills are probably costing someone (you, your insurer, a public assistance program) $50 or more per day. I swallow more than 20 every day. I have no idea if they work as I have no baseline against which to compare.

So here I turn to some methods which have been shown to help people learn better, remember better, think smarter, and help guide you through the routines of life creatively.

Here is a tool kit of items that may help you remember doctor appointments, plan days out, save the energy of your family by doing more things independently, and help make you days more productive and enjoyable.

Not guaranteed to work. But if it does, your quality of life could be a lot better because you remember better or make better judgments or can maintain your own grocery list or you can follow “recipes” for getting through the day. This tool the mind map will potentially help you think better and use parts of your brain that may not be damaged; I believe it has for me. That big tube, the Echo (named “Alexa”) will put appointments on your calendar or groceries on your list or play you music from your childhood to make you feel calm and think better (just say, “Alexa play Elvis Presley” or “Alexa play Fleetwood Mac”) just by verbally giving instructions in a natural way in your own way of speaking.

The diagram that follows these words is a mind map. Even if you have never read one before, or even seen one before, it should  be easy and intuitive.

Use this toolbox at your own risk (you could get paper cuts from the file cards or get so engrossed in making pretty mind maps that you forget to go eat dinner). A side effect may be that you walk around saying “Alexa, what time is it?” or “Alexa make a note to call the doctor tomorrow at 1 pm” and a helpful bystander or law enforcement officer may then come talk to you to see if you are delusional or inebriated.

Some day the health care system will wake up and figure out that it is cost-effective to provide you with all of the items in the tool kit as reimbursable expenses.

Until then, it will cost you about $1.50 per day to use the toolkit if you already have a PC or Mac, or about $4.50 a day if you need to purchase a new one.

Most drinks at Starbuck’s cost around $4.50. A pack of cigarettes costs much more. A fee for missing a doctor appointment could be between $15 and $50. Neglecting to take an umbrella with you to the doctors on a sunny morning may be a costly mistake if Alexa knew it would be raining cats and dogs 90 minutes after you left and you then end up with a respiratory infection and have to go to an emergency room (for which someone will pay $2500).

These tools work very well for me. It may be worth it for you or your caregiver or your doctor to investigate whether these could work well for you.

Remember to keep a box of band-aids around (preferably with a superhero on them to denote your new status) to deal with those paper cuts from the file cards.

Click image to expand.

Tools to Fight  Dementia  for About  $1.50 Per Day

I have no financial relationship with Amazon.

I purchased (or asked for an invitation to be allowed to purchase an Echo from Amazon) last December and finally got invited a few months ago.

The Echo is a small circular set of speakers and electronics that is 10 inches high and has a diameter of 4 inches. It connects to the Internet wirelessly.

It is pretty idiot-proof to install. Takes 10 minutes or less and all you do is to run a simple program that asks you a few basic questions and the name-password of the network you want to use. It then automatically connects you to the Internet and automatically installs any updates in the firmware since the unit was manufactured. After that you just leave it on all of the time.

You wake up the Echo by saying “Alexa” and then giving a command or asking a question. You need not ask the question/command using a rigid format but rather in normal conversational phrasing. Among the commands/questions you can give are “what is the weather?” or “note this to do” or “set alarm for 30 minutes (good for naps) or 7 AM” or “play music by the Rolling Stones” or “who is Charles Manson?” or “who won the men’s football (or soccer) championship?” or “what is the population of …?” or “what is the news?” Invaluable for the blind or motion disabled who cannot get up to go to the computer and Google it. Invaluable for those with failing memory who wonder who the President was the year they were born. Invaluable for those who want to make a grocery list “Alexa add … to my grocery list” as they remember something they need. Invaluable for those who want to note appointments, activities, and other information. Invaluable for me as I work on a computer because I normally forget what I sat down to do before I can move my fingers to the keyboard and I seem to forget all of the things I need at the grocery store except for soft drinks and ice cream (always remember those).

Medicare or the NHS should be buying one of these for every disabled person because they are exceptionally cost-effective. They cost $179. They should pay for themselves in 1-3 months as doctor appointments are not missed, unnecessary emergency room visits are avoided because you remember your primary care appointment, caregivers are less burdened, medications are taken as prescribed cutting unnecessary calls to doctors, feelings of isolation helplessness may be lessened, and there can be a “conversation” (albeit with the Internet, not a person) going on at any time. And the Internet can help fill in missing memories as a personal memory base is created over time.

Disabled yourself? Have a family member who has early stage dementia? Blind? Have a child in school? Feel like listening to the Rolling Stones or Beethoven Symphonies on an excellent speaker?

Try one of these devices as they may help many. Also extremely useful for the average person going through an average day (“Alexa play the Allman Brothers” or “Alexa who was Harry Truman?”).

Amazon Echo  Alexa