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

Posts tagged typical aging

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)


Every year around this time, I go out and buy a new external hard drive, copy all of my computer files onto it, set the file to “read only,” and then archive it. The drive contains my memos, years of email, 14 drafts of manuscripts from 15 years ago, data from projects long completed, jokes I receive by email, contact information for hundreds of business acquaintances I will never hear from again in my retirement. It also contains copies of all my photos (many duplicates and out-takes) in a very disorganized state.

I invest in religiously saving this information even though a high percentage is junk that should be eliminated from the digital attic. I think there is some value in preserving this stuff, if only to reduce my anxiety that something got lost.

My personal insights, feelings, events big and small, interactions with people, history, memories of Mom and Dad, and all of the stuff that makes life worthwhile and important. HHhhmmm. Doesn’t need to be organized because I will remember all of that really important stuff.

IDIOT. If there is anything that should be backed up it is ME, not a bunch of outdated and stoopid memos.

Some ideas about archiving ME. Think about archiving YOU. I suspect this will be a very valuable exercise for both of us even if the “Big D” (dementia) is never an issue. Why not fight back against the possible Big D?

Click on image to expand.


In the past I have blogged about my suggestion that Public Health students learn to use methods like mind maps and other visualizations to make health brochures and posters more informative and compelling to the public. Here I am going to show some examples.

The information in this post derives from very credible web sites. [As a note, much of the information about Alzheimer’s disease and “normal” or typical aging appears to be accurately derived from the public domain information put online by various departments of the US government.]

For each image, click to expand.

The American Medical Association has this very informative page on its web site.


I believe that the following mind map is better for explaining the information.

Typical Aging or Dementia

[I acknowledge the fact that various mind map “artists” can make this map more visually appealing and I see this as a first draft.]


The Alzheimer’s Association has posted this professionally valid information on its web site designed in a way as to be compelling through its high density of high quality warnings.


The “problem” with this brochure is that it is “too dense” for me (and probably anyone else without a professional background in medicine) to be able to understand and remember the information. How about including this graphic as a third page (ideally as the ENTIRE page 2) in the brochure. I would bet that the outcomes from the  extra understandability and memory retention for this critical information would prove to far offset any additional printing costs.

10  Warning  Signs of  Alzheimer's  Disease

[I acknowledge the fact that various mind map “artists” can make this map more visually appealing and I see this as a first draft.]

Here are links to some earlier posts about events, people, reactions, and other information you might wish to document as you age so that you (or a caregiver or younger family member) will have the information later. Each of these posts illustrates combining text and images. These examples are ones that can be done by you before you have any cognitive problems as a self history as well as with a caregiver after problems occur. Any whether you ever need to use to help you if there is a cognitive decline, these are great ways of passing down information from generation. I wish I knew much of this information about my parents and other family members. Click on links to see examples.

Beliefs and Values


Traditional Timeline

Symbolic Timeline



Data Visualizations

Career in Perspective

Social Media


Some Things to Document as You Age