social, health, political imagery through the lens of George J Huba PhD © 2012-2019

Posts tagged Treatment

I want to illustrate two things with this post.

First, persons with dementia can have extremely enjoyable days even though they get tired, cranky, forget stuff, and sometimes act weird unless family and friends help.

Second, mind maps are a really good way to document a special day. [Note: My version of the mind map has family pictures and names which I have omitted from this version.] Click the image to expand its size.

April 4  A Day of  Living  Especially  Well with  Dementia

Oh, and yes to enjoy the day I had to take a 90 minute nap in the morning after taking my medications which cause a headache of epic proportions every day in order to sleep through the pain.

Oh, and yes to enjoy the evening I had to take a 2 hour nap in the late afternoon as the game was to be broadcast from 9 pm until 11 pm.

The periodic longish naps have a way of leveling out some of the difficult behaviors that are exacerbated by being tired and even more rigid than usual.

Naps help make it possible to have days of living very well and especially well with dementia.

Since the beginning of this blog in 2012, I have consistently — with each new version — concluded (from dozens of comparisons with other programs) that iMindMap is the single best program for developing mind maps. Period.

With version 8.0, iMindMap is no longer the world’s best mind mapping program. Rather, it is the world’s best mind mapping program PLUS additional features that make it the world’s best visual thinking environment (or VITHEN using my coined term). Period.

What makes iMindMap 8.0 so valuable as an overall mind mapping and visual thinking tool is that it encourages you to use iterative, hierarchical, nonlinear, big-picture, creative ways of generating ideas, communicating those ideas, and integrating the ideas with the data of images and statistics. There is no tool I know of that is better for these overall tasks and the building of creative models.

I use iMindMap between 3 and 10 hours per day on the Mac, iPad, and iPhone 6 Plus.

Version 8 exceeds Version 7 in that the program has been significantly speeded up both for computer processing and in general usability of all of its advanced formatting features. The increased speed with which advanced formatting can be done encourages more precise and creative visual thinking.

Did I mention it has a very good (becoming excellent) 3 dimensional display mode and provides a much better presentation tool than the PowerPoint standard? The new Brainstorming Mode (file cards on a corkboard metaphor) allows those who like to see words rather than images to brainstorm in the mode most natural to them. I’ll never use the mode but I project many will embrace it.

The iMindMap program has been the best tool I have had to allow me deal with a neurocognitive neurodegenerative disorder and continue to be productive over the past five years. The program permits me to think at a very high level which I cannot do nearly as well with other techniques or other mind mapping programs.

All seven maps shown here are identical except for their format.

[I intentionally did not use any clipart because I did not want distract from the basic creative thinking and model development-presentation functions of iMindMap that are the real core of the program. With any of the variations of this map, if you spend 10 minutes adding selected included clipart or icons, the map will be even more visual.]

The remainder of my review is — appropriately — presented as a mind map.

Click images to expand.

Three styles provided with the iMindMap program.

1iMindMap 8.02iMindMap 8.03iMindMap 8.0

4 Custom Styles I Use in My Own Work and 4 Variations on the Same 3D Mind Map

gh1Imindmap 8.0gh2Imindmap 8.0gh3Imindmap 8.0gh4Imindmap 8.0

Imindmap 8.0 3D4Imindmap 8.0 3D3Imindmap 8.0 3d2Imindmap 8.0 3D


bolero cover 3 parts FINAL


The majority of the posts on this blog are about using visual thinking methods — of which I think that by far the best is #Buzan-style organic mind mapping — to understand, explain, evaluate, and communicate about healthcare. A lot of my own thinking has focused on using visual thinking techniques to potentially improve the quality of life of those with cognitive impairment and dementia.

Tony Buzan and Chris Griffiths and their colleagues and staff at ThinkBuzan have done a very comprehensive job at getting many of Buzan’s ideas embedded into a general purpose computer program (iMindMap) which provides a general visual thinking environment, of which mind mapping is a special part. There are many computer assisted mind mapping programs, but I have concluded that iMindMap is by far the best for creative visual thinking and communication, in no small part because it fully incorporates Buzan’s theory and theoretical implementation.

Like scientists and management consultants and educators and healthcare providers and patients and patient caregivers and students and many others, illustrators struggle with how to best use visual representations to support better thinking and communications.

Which brings up this beautifully conceived and executed little book that I have found to be mind expanding and liberating in how to develop and use a series of illustration techniques and “tricks” to look at things differently when trying to make creative breakthroughs.

Whitney Sherman is the author of the book “Playing with Sketches” which provides 50 exercises which collectively will change the way you think about creating images to understand and communicate ideas.While Ms. Sherman wrote the book for designers and artists, the techniques will be just as useful for visual thinkers in science, education, medicine, industry, and other fields. The beauty of Ms Sherman’s exercises is that in showing you fairly simple ways to make hugely informative and well designed images, the tools will themselves suggest many applications to visual thinkers of all types.

And, I have found that Ms. Sherman’s techniques can be used by the severely artistically challenged (of which I am one); the techniques are ones for Visual THINKERS, not necessarily artists and designers.

I have mentioned this book before in much less detail, but in the months I have used the methods, I have found that they WORK very well to facilitate creative visual thinking. For me they have promoted a breakthrough in how I see the visual thinking canvas.

Get the book, try some of the techniques (pick a random one here and there to start), discover that great artistic talent or aptitude is not required, and see how the techniques fit the information you study in search for better healthcare or disease prevention or decision making or facilitating creative group processes.

In partnership with Tony Buzan’s techniques for organic #mindmapping and Mike Rohde’s framework for #sketchnoting, the techniques codified by Whitney Sherman provide very powerful visual thinking tools.

Ms. Sherman’s website is She tweets at @Whitney_Sherman. The book is available from major online book sellers.




I will be posting some examples of using the sketching techniques of Ms. Sherman to developing assistance and communication techniques for those with cognitive impairment or early-mid stages of dementia.





I frequently tweet about neurological diseases, sending out links to US government and major foundation web sites. These tweets are among the most retweeted and favorited of those I distribute.

As you may have inferred as you look at the fact sheets distributed, there are commonalities among many of these diseases above and beyond the fact that these are all diseases of the nervous system.

Very few of these diseases have treatments. Most of these diseases are rare and often not detected by primary care physicians or even related specialists like psychiatrists. Medications are frequently used off-label for controlling symptoms like depression, anger, tremor, and many others but these treatments are rarely effective for a long time, if at all, for most patients. Because these are rare diseases and neurological research itself is quite expensive, a small portion of the US medical research budget is spent looking for cures or effective symptom control.

The following mind map shows some of the commonalities among the neurological diseases. Click on the image to expand it.

neurological diseases features common to many conditions

The next mind map is identical to that above. The formatting has been changed so that you (and I) can judge if an alternate format is more useful for certain audiences.

neurological diseases features common to many conditions2

Aaahh … “hard science double-blind” research designs.

How do you apply such a design to determine if visual thinking-art therapy-visual cognitive remapping strategies help those who live with cognitive impairment? Do you put a paper bag over the head of the patient and over the head of the healthcare provider-art therapist-social worker? Or blind them.

I don’t think so. Even scientists who bow to the Science God (often noting the relationship to Thor) are not that dum or stoopid. Scientists willing to accept “softer” data and designs like clinical observations, case studies, interviews, and knowledgeable peer judgments are willing to accept the relationship found for some people showing mind mapping is an effective (and cost-effective) way of making some situations less stressful and more productive and life quality enhancing for those living with cognitive impairment.

However, try searching the scientific literature with Google or PubMed for studies of mind mapping and cognitive impairment-dementia. Not a lot of “hard science” results to be found. I see this not as a failure of the efficacy of the method of mind mapping but rather the fact that the brick walls of hard science are not broken down by the sound of trumpets or the roar of a lion. There is a missing link and probably many studies that indirectly demonstrate that mind mapping works well with cognitively impaired patients but are not labeled as such.

Last week I read what I judge to be a highly credible and careful study by two neurologists and an art therapist that was published in April 2014. I think they found the missing link and data supporting it, although they did not call the intervention technique mind mapping for those with cognitive impairment. Instead they called the intervention-life skill to be ART THERAPY for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

There is a LOT of literature showing that Art Therapy increases social interactions, understanding, motivation, enjoyment of life, associations, and perhaps memory among those living with dementia, and even for those in the latter stages of the disease.

What is Art Therapy? Applying color, form, creative ideas, social interactions (with a teacher and other participants) and positive psychological states to try to understand the world better and communicate the perceptions of the artist.

What is ORGANIC (Buzan-style) mind mapping? Applying color, forms, creative ideas, interactions, and positive psychological states PLUS radiant, hierarchical, and nonlinear organization to try to understand the world better and communicate the perceptions of the artist.

Is this conceptualization of mind mapping with and by the cognitively impaired as an enhanced formulation of ART THERAPY (conducted by a professional, family or friends, caregivers, the patient her- or himself) to help individuals use visual thinking strategies to navigate their world a break through one? I think it is the scientific missing link and we can bootstrap from the findings that Art Therapy is a good intervention for dementia to ORGANIC mind mapping may be a good intervention for dementia and perhaps will achieve a greater effect than less focused “art.”

Here is a link to the paper. Click on it to retrieve the article.


As a technical note, the authors’ use of meta-analysis to combine the results from a number of independent studies selected for their methodological soundness is an accepted one which has become popular in the past three decades.

I want to see much more research on this topic. BUT, I think that we are currently moving in the correct direction in a “leap frog” way with great speed.

Keep both eyes open and click on the image below to expand it.

When you are done, part 2 can be accessed in a new window by clicking here.

Missing Link  Reducing the Effects  of Dementia with  Mind Mapping  (Huba's Theory)


For many — myself included — it is hard to keep track of the detail of a life. There are contacts and notes and the darn records and all kinds of other data collection, data recording, and conceptual data analysis as in making decisions. Mind maps and other devices can help motivate and aid all people in collecting and recording the details of their lives.

Now think how difficult it may be to keep track of the details in the life of a person whose ability to remember or analyze or plan or make associations is impaired and who feels less motivated than ever to keep track of day-to-day events and thus CONTINUE TO LIVE INDEPENDENTLY FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. Bright, artistic, interesting mind maps can help a person see all the pieces, organize a little better, and perhaps remember things when one can no longer expect to remember appointments, birthdays, and how to make a fancy sandwich or what to buy every week at the grocery store.

Here’s some things mind maps can make easier for the cognitively impaired, those in early stages of dementia, those unmotivated to be organized or to plan, and everybody else.

Click on the image to expand,

mind maps  may help  cognitively  impaired ...

The golden rule of using mind maps in healthcare settings is to provide information to a patient, the patient’s family, or another service provider. It’s all about customizing any “standardized” templates used to fit the patient’s needs, beliefs, behaviors, priorities, and background. Click mind map to expand.

FINAL Mind Mapping for a Patient  from the  Patient's Perspective  It's All About Me,  Stoopid


stop making publicizing your disease your end goal. You and the other 350 or 3,000 or 25,000 or 199,999 people with the disease will hardly be heard above the shouts of those advocating for funds for cancer, coronary disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDs and other diseases affecting many medically and/or politically.

And in the current system of new drug development, Big Pharma is going to be more interested in developing treatments for gastroenterological disease (heartburn), STDs (avoidable), erectile dysfunction, safer birth control, cancer, heart disease, and obesity.

Get smart.

Your 5,000 sufferers should collaborate with the 350 individuals with another disease and the 199,999 with another and all of the rest of them to be a large and huge advocacy group for encouraging change. Your illness group may not be the first to get attention if changes are made, but somebody will be and as treatments are developed for one rare disease they might also be applicable to other related rare diseases.

This is clearly a situation in whch cooperating with those with other rare diseases will ultimately yield better results for all than screaming ME FIRST on the Internet in social media.

The existing laws and administrative rules probably do not go far enough in encouraging drug companies to develop pharmaceuticals for rare and orphan diseases. Advocate for better incentives and decreased bureaucracy for developing new pharmaceuticals to treat a few thousand. Maybe even the staid Nobel Prize committee will even make an award to somebody who makes a huge research contribution that advances the development of treatments for a rare disease and top research universities will create endowed professorships for high talented physicians and others who study a rare disease.

Click image to expand.


This post does not contain medical advice. None of the methods described are known to be therapeutic. What is described are possible note-taking or information-sharing models for patient-client-self management.

For the past few months, I have been focusing on the use of mind maps to assist people with dementia, cognitive impairment, or cognitive decline deal with various issues that arise as they work hard to maintain independence.

You can access those posts simply by using the search box at the bottom of each post with keywords like “dementia” or “cognitive.” Several dozen blog posts will pop up with most very recent.

But the reality is that as dementia or other cognitive problems progress, many patients will require increasing amounts of supervision and care. Mind maps may prove to be useful in assisting a caregiver to help in a more effective, and cost–effective, manner.

  1. Just as those with cognitive decline may be able to remember, plan, express themselves, and document their lives in maps, caregivers may be able to use these techniques themselves to provide better care and client management. Mind maps may potentially help the caregiver recall the preferences of the client, as well as the client’s life history, important events, significant people, and life style
  2. Caregivers may find that visual information recorded in mind maps provides a good way for the caregiver and the client to start discussions.
  3. Caregivers may find that clients can express themselves better with pictures, drawings, doodles than in words.
  4. Caregivers may find that their own notes from each day are more useful if captured in the format of mind maps.
  5. Caregivers may find that mind maps may be used for brainstorming by themselves, with healthcare providers, with family members, and with the client ways to organize daily events, select food and clothing, remember medications, and organize social events.
  6. Caregivers may find it useful to record their own feelings in mind maps as a way of dealing with the emotional and physical stress of caregiving.
  7. The daily calendar — including doctor visits and other appointments and visitors — may be easier to prepare as a mind map and much more useful to the client.

There are dozens of other ways mind maps might be useful in caregiving. I am going to write many posts on this topic in the next months. For now, here are a few examples with many more to come.

Click on each of the images to expand it.

Preparing a Mind Map (with the help of the client or family members) of the Client’s Preferences.

Preferences  Hypothetical  Individual


Preparing a Mind Map (with the help of the client or family members) of the Client’s Religious Beliefs.

Religious Beliefs


Preparing a Mind Map (with the help of the client or family members) of Things the Client Especially Enjoys.



Preparing Mind Maps from the Warning Brochure that Comes with Each Prescription Refill.

possible  side effects winter




Preparing a Mind Map of Each Day for Your Use and That of the Client.

Today  Tuesday  November 12


Technical notes. The sample mind maps here were all prepared in the computer program iMindMap, which I strongly prefer both for the way it facilitates mapping and the way it typically produces maps that can be very useful. There are alternate programs that can be used, although perhaps not with the same level of good results possible with iMindMap. Because the maps will be used by caregivers and clients, they will tend to be most effective if colorful, “bold,” graphically interesting, and with large typefaces all of which are easily done in iMindMap. Acceptable alternatives to iMindMap would be iThoughts, Inspiration on the iPad (but not on the PC or Mac), MindNode, and XMIND, although each of the alternatives will be more difficult to use to produce maps for clients with cognitive decline than is iMindMap. There are free mind map programs available or free demo versions. This is a case, however, where paid versions are far more cost-effective than the free versions or most free programs. There is a second type of mind mapping program more suitable for business purposes (the major one is MindJet MindManager and also MindDomo and MindMeister) than those caregiving applications discussed here.

THAT (clip from information sheet attached to prescription refill)

horizontal warning

OR THIS (pictures could be added, fonts could be changed, colors could be changed, style could be changed)? [I am NOT advocating any specific design without pilot testing although I tend to like some of the designs near the top and near the bottom better, especially since I believe they will communicate more effectively to all ages but note that this has not been proven. And, note that a professional designer could undoubtedly do a better job on the artistic elements and a neurocognitive specialist would be quite valuable as a reviewer to maximize impact.]

Click on any image to expand through several levels of zooming.






possible  side effects simple

possible  side effects SIMPLEPIC

possible  side effects winter

possible  side effects

possible  side effectsBEST

possible  side effectsBOXES

possible  side effectsSIMPLEPC

possible  side effectsBEST

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For the past three days I have seen the headlines on news stories and blog posts that state that Obama lied about Obamacare (According to GOP).

I don’t think that he lied (deliberately telling an untruth) but I do believe he repeatedly stated untruths deriving from the fact that neither Obama, the Dems, the GOP, Boehner, the Dem advisors, the GOP advisors, Sebelius, nor the Tea Party idiots really understood what they were debating on and off Fox News.

The screw up is that THEY RUSHED to pass the bill, to try to stop the law in the courts, to put up an untested web site, and to get in front of the cameras first. Nobody took 23 minutes to realize that the entire program was being set up for failure.

Realistically it should take 5-10 years to implement Obamacare in a way that is responsive to patients and healthcare providers, a responsible use of taxpayer money, responsible to all Americans who would like to have their lives be as free of disease and to live as long as possible.

I doubt that there is any experienced healthcare expert in the US who would have thought that the Congress, the States, and POTUS could spend several years in federal courts fighting, thousands of hours on cable tv news debating, no time thinking before opening their mouths, and then at the end implement a well-thought out, effective, responsible healthcare plan for 350 million people.

So really everybody is lying and nobody is lying because nobody understands the plan and its implementation well enough to be able to intelligently comment on it.

Maybe all parties, even the Tea idiots, should agree to take two weeks off, and then start expending energy on implementing a plan that will best benefit ALL Americans. Is this too much to expect from our employees?


PS. Get rid of Sebelius. As of this minute she still does not know what her department is supposed to do in its role as the administrator-manager of all US federal healthcare programs. There are at least 10,000 healthcare professionals in the US who can do a better job at DHHS than Sebelius has done.

Click image to expand.

Obamacare Halloween Commentary

This is a #MindMap (or more properly an #OutlineMap) of a year 2020 Vision Statement/Plan for one of the largest Los Angeles County comprehensive socialcare agencies for women and their children. The Vision Statement/Plan was developed with management over a six-month period.

Click on the map to enlarge it.

Vision for 2020

I corrected a huge mistake in my thinking about mind maps during 2010.

I had started using the program Mindjet MindManager for mind maps at the time version 2 of the program was released. Over almost 20 years I used occasionally used MindManager, alternating periods of a few days of intensive use with months of ignoring mind mapping.

I hardly considered organic mind mapping in the early days because: a) I cannot draw clearly or even print clearly even though Tony #Buzan says everyone can; b) I am a “tech guy or nerd” and damn it, why would I hand draw something if a computer program was available to turn my brilliant thoughts and words into pictures.

Secondarily, how could I possible use wavy lines with labels in all kinds of orientations and colors best-reserved for a child’s coloring book or a circus? I worked with groups of federal/state health policy makers, physicians, psychologists, social workers, nurses, counselors, grant funders, politicians, and public advocacy groups. Colors that looked like they came from a crayon box and drawings that looked like they were drawn by a second grader would be seen as childish, silly, not useful, and (most importantly) disrespectful by a group of senior professionals in the health/social care areas.


I bought every upgrade of MindManager over 20 years. Those upgrades were pretty expensive for a small consulting firm charging public sector fees less than half of those of private-sector companies.

I had strong misgivings about the MindManager mind maps I presented in meetings about HIV/AIDS services, research designs, elder abuse, optimally training geriatric nursing leaders, statistical analyses, and the many related topics I worked on during my career. Nonetheless I kept presenting the maps and using them in written reports.

I came to the conclusion that the method of mind mapping was primarily a way of presenting outlines in a somewhat novel way that introduced a lot of “white space” into diagrams typically plagued with too many words on a boring and ignored PowerPoint slide. Business executives liked the MindManager approach since it was in their comfort zone (outline in a picture).

I was becoming a Bleeping Idiot for continuing to use MindManager style Outline Mapping.


I read about the iMindMap program in a variety of tweets from individuals I followed on Twitter and started trying the program and then reading much of the collected writings of Buzan; I watched some of the YouTube videos derived from his telecasts.

I thought organic mind mapping was kind of cool. It interested me at first because it would lead to presentations that were far more interesting than the ones with PowerPoint I suffered through 100 times a year (and gave myself to large audiences at least 50 times a year).

A couple of months later I decided that I would give an entire presentation (and the final report) using iMindMap 5 maps to a group at the US Health Resources and Services Administration, the major US government agency for financing public healthcare clinics and programs (and especially those targeted to HIV/AIDS services).

The project was to develop a framework for teaching program managers of US-funded, locally-administered African projects on increasing the number of nurses trained in and providing clinical services for treating HIV/AIDS. The topic was about program evaluation theory and implementation. Program evaluation can be a very technical area dominated by methodologists who speak “numbers” not concepts, acronyms, and is often perceived as excruciating by its participants.

The meeting was with two senior federal grant administrators and USA-funded program managers and service providers, half from the Columbia University (USA) and half from Africa who were part of a six African-nation collaborative team.

I developed a dozen pretty large mind maps on evaluation goals and results, ways to conduct the evaluation and why, how to improve services using the results, respecting clients, and other issues including ethics and reporting results to the funders. The general topics were ones I had discussed with hundreds of groups in the prior 20 years.

All of the mind maps were developed in iMindMap using circus colors, curves, cartoony clip art provided in the program, font coding, and a nonlinear organization. I wanted to animate the presentation by jumping around the map “automatically.” This was before mind mapping programs in general (and iMindMap specifically) included presentation animations. At the suggestion an expert on visual thinking, Roy Grubb (a Twitter buddy from Hong Kong — @roygrubb), I used the program Prezi to animate the jumps around the map into to what could be a presenter-guided talk or a self-running kiosk video.

To say that the presentation was well received by the audience of program managers, senior policy makers, and medical professionals from the USA and various African nations) would be a gross understatement. The presentation was praised, a couple of physicians said this was the first time they really understood what evaluation was, and perhaps more concretely, the participants insisted on having the one-hour presentation evolve into a two-hour greatly interactive and animated group problem solving session that pissed off the US State Department because the participants arrived to their meeting at State an hour late. The evaluation for the next five years of an extremely large funding program in Africa on HIV/AIDS treatment capacity was altered. A subsequent program evaluation project for the African project was funded to our company.

I was just presenting the same-old/same-old conclusions I had evolved over two decades. But the information after I reformatted it into a #Buzan style mind map using the iMindMap program forced me to re-think the overall system of evaluation I believed in so as to prepare a liberating and valuable experience for the audience. The new mind maps were nonlinear THEORETICAL MODELS accessible to individuals with training neither in program evaluation nor mind mapping.

By contrast, the old way i would have presented the same information in MindManager or as bullets in PowerPoint was as nothing more than a formatted outline (or what I now call an Outline Map) and my thinking and that of the participants would not have gone in such creative directions.

I was pleased to find out that one of the meeting participants had been trained in a workshop by Mr. Buzan and that she felt that the presentation mind maps were the most Buzan-like she had seen since the training.

The hundreds of mind maps I have made for this blog have reinforced the conclusion I reached from that HRSA meeting on HIV/AIDS that computer-assisted, Buzan-style organic mind maps and visual thinking methods are far superior to the “traditional” linear methods that are forced by some computer programs that do not encourage Buzan-style thinking and mapping.

Bright colors, contrasting fonts, curvy lines, cartoon graphics, one word per branch, nonlinear organization …

I joined the Circus.

Big Data Train Wreck DSM5 Tournament huba's laws of  mind mapping

Another reprint from my 2008-2010 blog. We’ll just change the title a little to that given for this post.


… and, having planted that many wild flower seeds in 2009, there is no reason to plant any more; I just let the flowers reseed themselves naturally in the normal process of renewal and expansion.


My meadow.