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Inside The Mind of Jaxon Cota: An 11 Year Old Genius

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11 year-old Jaxon Cota looks like a normal boy, but he has something hiding within. That is, he is probably smarter than you, and most of us.

Cota was admitted to MENSA two years ago at the age of 9 after scoring 148 on an IQ test. That score was good enough to put him in the top 2nd percentile of all people on the planet.

Jaxon has a special affinity for numbers. He was able to read numbers up to 15 digits by the age of two, into the quadrillions. Now, he does high school level math to challenge himself when he’s bored.

He also is adept at math competitions. He was nearly perfect at MathCON, a national math competition for students in grades 5-12, where he placed 7th out of about 45,000 students.

image“Numbers have always just kinda stuck out to me,” the boy told NBC in a recent interview. “There are just so many things about numbers that are fascinating and so many things to learn.”

“There’s a rhythm to numbers,” said Jaxon’s father, Matthew Cota. “And just something about that is, in a weird way, very simple for him.”

imageOn the surface, he is a boy who loves to play baseball. Below the surface is the science. ”There is just naturally a lot of thinking that’s involved with it,” he said. “There’s statistics and where you have to be on each play.”

The boy is talented enough to skip grades, but both he and his parents choose to stick with his age-assigned grade levels. Regarding skipping grades, he says: ”It’s not something that I’d want to do, because I wouldn’t be able to do the things I love like play baseball or hang out with my friends.”

He is now in sixth grade, where he receives advanced instruction to keep him challenged. His parents believe that it is important that he grows up with his peers.

“Kids that are profoundly gifted are pigeonholed to be one way,” said Lori Cota, Jaxon’s mom. “He’s four years old and he can read, he can do all these things, but he can’t tie his shoes. There are things in every grade level that you need to learn.”

Check out the in-depth coverage of Jaxon Cota in the video below!

Your Heart and Stomach May Be Smarter Than You Think

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Here on We Are Cosmic Poetry, I like to throw out ideas and theories from various perspectives. I feel like the wiser you get, the more you realize how much you really don’t know. I also like throwing out articles like this one because it just blows my mind how I wasn’t taught this in school. In today’s world with the education system being set up the way that it is, we really need to educate ourselves, peers, and family members. Lucky for all of us all the information we need is now in the palms of our hands 24/7. My advice for the night is: Question everything because honestly what do we REALLY know? “A wise man can juggle a thought without believing it to be true”– well, the quote goes something like that but you get the idea.

We tend to think of our internal organs as specialists, highly refined machines that work 24/7 at specific tasks. The one exception is the brain: the ultimate supercomputer that can make a multitude of decisions and manage our behavior with incredible speed and efficiency.

Now research shows that the brain doesn’t have a monopoly on intelligence. The heart and stomach, for example, are fully equipped to do some thinking of their own. And sometimes they’re giving the brain orders instead of taking them.

The Heart: Not Just Brawn But Brains, Too
Lub-dub. Lub-dub. About 100,000 times a day the heart repeats this monotonous task of survival. But what many think is a mindless pump turns out to have a mind of its own. According to the Institute of HeartMath—a nonprofit research and education organization dedicated to helping people live healthier, happier lives—there are networks of nerve cells (neurons) around the heart that function in much the same way as parts of the brain.

Back in the 1960s, research conducted by John and Beatrice Lacey—pioneers in the field of psychophysiology—showed that the heart has its own reasoning that is not determined by directives from the brain. Subsequent investigations revealed an actual pathway and mechanism allowing the heart to send messages that inhibit or facilitate electrical activity in the brain. The new field of neurocardiology evolving from this research led to the development of the concept of the “heart brain” in 1991.

The “heart brain” is equipped with some 40,000 neurons. These neurons can deliver pain signals and other sensations to the autonomic parts of the brain (which are largely unconscious), as well as messages to brain centers involved in conscious thought and emotion. Contact with the “executive” part of the brain can influence perception, decision making, and emotional responses. Studies have shown, for example, that a person is better at recognizing a scary face when observing it as the heart contracts, or pumps blood out to the body, than when observing it as the heart relaxes and takes blood in. Clearly, this type of response can play an important part in survival.

The Institute of HeartMath is exploring possible ways to harness the intelligence of the heart to deal more effectively with stress and to shift the emotional balance toward more positive behaviors. The beat goes on…

When the Stomach Talks, the Brain Listens
The stomach does a lot more than dump acid on your latest meal. It also fires off signals to the brain via its own extensive network of neurons. According to Michael Gershon, chairman of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at New York–Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, there are 100 million neurons in this “second brain.” This arsenal far outnumbers the neuron supply in the spinal cord or the rest of the nervous system outside of the brain.

Although not involved in conscious thought or decision making, the stomach brain enables the gut to make its own decisions regarding the behavior of the digestive system. And the stomach has plenty to tell the brain as well. Research shows that about 90% of the fibers in the vagus nerve—the main nerve for the gut—carry information from the gut to the brain.

It turns out that “butterflies” and that “sinking feeling” in the stomach have a neurological basis. Neurons lining the stomach are filled with neurotransmitters, chemicals that help nerve cells communicate with one another. One key neurotransmitter is serotonin, which plays a major role in mood regulation. While serotonin is also found in the brain, 95% of the body’s supply is in the stomach. This abundance explains why drugs like Prozac, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), help elevate mood by increasing serotonin levels but may also cause stomach disturbances.

Growing interest in the stomach brain has spawned a field of study known as neurogastroenterology, which will likely reveal even more exciting findings about the stomach’s IQ in the future.

Find Out More

Adam Hadhazy, “How the Gut’s ‘Second Brain’ Influences Mood and Well-Being,” Scientific American.