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Memories Of Child Abuse, Other Traumas Hide In The Brain; Changing Patient State Of Mind May Help Retrieve Them

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This is a reblog from medical daily. You can find the original text here: Medical daily

trauma
Scientists discover a brain process that explains why some fear-related memories may not be accessible to traumatized patients. TraumaAndDissociation, CC by 2.0

While some victims of trauma too easily remember what causes their pain, other victims suffer tremendous anxiety for no apparent reason whenever they’re in some innocuous-seeming place — a room in their grandparents’ house, for example. Some mysterious event clearly happened there, yet no memory exists. In a new study (conducted on mice), scientists discovered a brain process that explains why some fear-related memories may not be available.

“Distinct neurobiological mechanisms can explain why some trauma victims go on to remember and re-experience their trauma, whereas [other victims] develop dissociative amnesia (an inability to consciously access a stored memory),” Dr. Jelena Radulovic, principal investigator and a professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, toldMedical Daily in an email.

Scientists have long understood that there’s more than one pathway through the brain to the storage closet of memory. Now, Radulovic and her colleagues track a unique trail directly related to trauma. In fact, the microRNA-GABA pathway they describe in their new study may also indicate how susceptible each of us is to developing amnesia after a traumatic event.

They discovered this pathway by exploring a special phenomenon of learning.

What Influences Memory?

Learning is a state-dependent process, which means that when we learn something new in a particular situation or state of consciousness, we’re able to remember it best when we place ourselves back in the original circumstance or state of mind. Students, then, who learn information in one room will get higher scores if they are tested in the same room. Not only place, but time of day as well as common drugs also influence memory abilities. If students learn something while drinking coffee, for instance, they will remember it best when they return to their original caffeinated state.

Based on this phenomenon, various researchers have used drugs to try and access hidden memories. But while some pharmaceuticals may return the brain to the state of consciousness that occurred during encoding — the first step in memory storage — they haven’t done well in excavating traumatic memories. A drug targeting different processes in the brain, then, would be necessary for fear-based recall.

So, Radulovic and her colleagues focused on two amino acids in the brain: glutamate and GABA. These work in tandem to control levels of excitation and inhibition in the brain, and, under normal conditions, remain balanced. Hyper-arousal, however, which occurs when we are terrified, causes glutamate to surge.

Glutamate, is known as the excitable amino acid; it’s also the primary chemical that helps store memories across distributed brain networks. GABA, on the other hand, is calming and partly works by blocking glutamate and its excitable actions. Synaptic GABA receptors, in particular, will balance glutamate receptors in the presence of stress. Yet, extra-synaptic GABA receptors also exist. These work independently, responding to levels of a variety of neurochemicals, including sex hormones and micro RNAs.

Between the drugs amobarbital and diazepam, only amobarbital, which binds to all GABA receptors is able to stimulate memory recall — diazepam is ineffective, due to the fact it only binds to synaptic GABA receptors. Knowing this, Radulovic and her colleagues hypothesized the ability to remember stressful experiences might be mediated by the extra-synaptic GABA receptors.

For its experiment, the research team injected the mice with gaboxadol, a drug that stimulates extra-synaptic GABA receptors. Next, they placed the mice in a box and gave them an electric shock. When the mice returned to the same box the next day, they moved about freely and without fear. Clearly, the rodents did not remember the electric shock.

Then, the scientists injected the mice with the drug once again and returned them to the box. This time, the rodents froze in anticipation of another shock.

Rerouting Painful Memories

When extra-synaptic GABA receptors were activated by a drug, the researchers said, the brain used completely different molecular pathways and neuronal circuits to store the memory. The brain rerouted the memory so that it couldn’t be accessed. The researchers say their findings imply that in response to trauma, some people will not activate the glutamate system but instead the extra-synaptic GABA system.

This system is regulated by a small microRNA: miR-33. Some patients with psychiatric illnesses have different levels of miR-33 compared to healthy individuals.

The power of any memory lies, to a large extent, in the amount of processors within the cells creating a pathway through the brain, explained Dr. Vladimir Jovasevic, lead study author and a former postdoc in Radulovic’s lab.

“The role of microRNAs is to fine-tune the amount of the processors, so they can function at optimal level,” said Jovasevic, and “miR-33 sets the optimal amount of processors involved in state-dependent learning.” But when levels of miR-33 change, this “results in an increased predisposition to psychiatric disorders caused by improper processing of state-dependent memories.”

Evidence from the new study, Radulovic and Jovasevic said, may lead to new treatments for patients with psychiatric disorders who cannot recover unless they gain conscious access to the memory of what caused their trauma.

Source: Jovasevic V, Corcoran KA, Leaderbrand K, et al. GABAergic mechanisms regulated by miR-33 encode state-dependent fear. Nature Neuroscience. 2015.

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The sound of synchronicity

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This is a reblog from Higher Density Blog. This post reflects my thoughts exactly.
Trust the universe, and you will get what you need.

Synchronicity – There Are No Coincidences, No Accidents

Higher density blog

Every action you make creates a ripple in the universe. You unconsciously telegraph your thoughts to others. Synchronicity is the law of unity. We are all linked. There is no separation between you and anyone or anything. We are all connected.

There are no coincidences, no accidents. Every coincidence has a message for you.

Everything, past, present and future is linked. All coincidences have meaning. We are all synchronized. Any movement no matter how small is eventually felt by us all. Have you noticed that when you are ready to receive something you normally do? Have you ever had a perfect day, where everything went just right? People and things just appeared at exactly the right moment? That’s synchronicity. If you arrived a few seconds earlier or later things would not have turned out the same. You were in the right place at the right time. It wasn’t luck or chance. You were in perfect harmony with everything.

As the saying goes, “When the student is ready the master appears”. When you are in sync with the “thing” that you want you are much more likely to meet that “thing”. That is why similar people always seem to meet. They are tuned in to the same frequency.

When your vibration matches that which you seek you are destined to collide. When your frequency is the same as what you desire, the universe will always find a way to give you what you want.

If you switch on a radio you won’t hear anything clearly unless you tune in to the right frequency. Only when you tune in can you feel “Oneness”. You are consciously changing the world around you.

 

You can create Synchronicity

 

Synchronicity is seen more frequently by people who believe it to be true. Why? Well, if you say an event was just chance or luck you are sending a weak message or signal to the universe. Your mind does what you want and the universe listens. It will ignore what you don’t believe. It won’t point out something you are not interested in. But the more you pay attention the more you will see.

With synchronicity you don’t work hard to make things happen. You just let things happen. No force on your part is required. Synchronicities flow very fast.

Synchronicity is a mirror and whatever you believe will be reflected back at you. If you agree with the law of synchronicity then you connect more deeply and send out a strong message (ripple), which creates more synchronicity and coincidence in your favor. You are in harmony with what you seek. The secret of synchronicity and most things is to be “Consciously Aware”. If you are consciously aware of something you can immediately see and feel what others cannot.

Synchronicity is a significant coincidence. The higher and sharper your frequency and intention, the faster your synchronicity’s are revealed. Most of the knowledge of your subconscious can never be passed to your conscious mind because it is too vast. So your subconscious reveals just enough for you to understand your world. But you must be open to receive this knowledge. You have to tune in to the universe. You must pay attention to your thoughts and the world around you. Intensity allows everything to synchronize faster.

 

Chance can also work against you

Have you ever heard of Murphy’s Law? Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong and at the worst possible time. Synchronicity can also operate in reverse and meaningful coincidences can be unpleasant. If you say, “I’m going to be late” or “I’m unlucky”, then the law of synchronicity works against you. If you expect bad things to happen then you are synchronizing with negativity. Have you noticed how lots of bad things can happen at the same time? This happens because you are consciously willing and supporting what you don’t want.

 

The Mystery of Chance

We have a very limited understanding of chance (randomness). Science says if something cannot be quantified or calculated then it is not true. This is called “The Experimental Method”. But science cannot explain everything. Your mind sees beyond the five senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. Your mind is free to travel anywhere across time and space.

Have you ever had an unbelievable chance meeting?

Bumped into someone in a very unusual place?

When something like this happens most of us call it luck, chance or coincidence.

Just because you can’t see the connection or reason for something happening that does not mean there is no connection.

There is always a connection, a reason. Coincidence is just an illusion.

Every single thing, past, present and future is linked. You might not see or understand why a chance event happened, but there is always a reason. The reason becomes apparent at some point in time.

 

Carl Jung Synchronicity

It was psychologist Carl Jung who originally used the term “Synchronicity” to describe chance happenings between unconnected people or events. Another term Jung used was the “Collective Unconscious”. We are all connected by our unconscious minds. Consciousness and matter are linked.

We might look different but we are all made of the same stuff.

A mountain, a tree, a person, we are all made of the same ingredients. That’s why we are all connected. Look at the power of an atom. If you split an atom you unleash a huge force.

An experiment by French physicist Alain Aspect in 1982 showed that when two particles (photons) are separated and one of them is given a different charge (positive or negative) the other particle, instantly without any time delay also changes its charge. It didn’t matter if the particles were one mile apart or one million miles apart. This breaks Albert Einstein’s law that nothing travels faster than the speed of light. Einstein himself called this, “spooky action at a distance”.

 

The Universe is talking to you

Pay attention to the invisible forces in your life.

A significant coincidence is when the universe is talking to you. Are you listening? Listening and being ready to receive creates amazing synchronicity. Look carefully for opportunities. Coincidences let you know you are going in the right direction. You are following the right path. Try to find the message in the coincidence. Does it resonate with your intuition?

Listen to your “Higher Self”. Quiet your mind and listen.

When you have multiple coincidences this means you are resonating perfectly with the Universe.

The only reason this does not happen all the time is because most of us don’t know why these amazing circumstances come about or just refuse to believe in synchronicity. The more deeply you connect, the more synchronicities you will encounter. The more you learn about synchronicity the easier it will be to see synchronicities.

 

Enter a world of Synchronicities

To have limitless synchronicities in your life you must first

let go of past beliefs.

Then you will “Enter a different world”, where everything seems to just fall into place.

Try not to plan too far ahead.

Then you will be more open to what you receive.

This often turns out to be better than what you expected.

Focus on synchronicity for just one day and see what happens. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Your life will never be the same. Synchronicity begins from inside you. Your thoughts create synchronicity.

Synchronicity is also a sign of a Spiritual Awakening

The reason you are reading this page is due to synchronicity. What bought you here? What has changed inside you?

Enjoy your spiritual journey!

http://www.thetreeofawakening.com/synchronicity/

Read more: http://www.ashtarcommandcrew.net/profiles/blogs/synchronicity-there-are-no-coincidences-no-accidents#ixzz2sXIizpb3
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This new method makes you smarter!

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Be brainy! Read this post and get smarter.

For the first time, it is empirically proven that cognition can be improved with brain training – according to Prof. Dr. Lindenberger, Director of the Max-Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.

Only one year ago, Lindenberger was part of an academic group who published “Ageing in Berlin”, featuring a memorandum clearly stating brain training to not improve trainers everyday abilities. Now, however, Lindenberger and colleagues have published a study encouraging the use of brain training to improve cognition.

The Study

The COGITO study is the largest and probably most convincing study in the field of brain training. 101 young adults aged 20-31 years and 103 persons aged 65-80 years trained for 1 hour every 2-3 days, for a total of 100 sessions. A single training session was comprised of 12 exercises: 6 for comprehension and speed (similar to “Flash Glance”); 3 for working memory (“Dual 1-Back”); and 3 for information recall (similar to “Memo Pair”). The brain training exercises were adjusted at the beginning of the study to suit the participant’s performance, as indicated by the pre-tests.

brain training

 

The study was designed to test how effective brain training is at improving general cognitive abilities, and to see if age influences these improvements. In addition, the researchers wanted to evaluate if progress in brain training is transferrable to every day life.

The Results

Significant improvements in cognition were observed – especially for working memory. We need working memory to plan, understand complex topics, solve problems, and learn new things. All participants, regardless of age or sex, showed improvements in working memory capacity following the training. The researchers suspect that training positively altered and strengthened the neuronal connections between the two frontal lobes of the brain, hence participant’s progress in brain training could be observed in other areas of life


Professor Dr. med. Falkenstein:

„Many people are capable of improving specific cognitive functions with targeted cognitive training. NeuroNation consists of simple but motivating exercises.“

World memory champion Dr. Karsten:

„I know of no other program which is so intense and effective. Only when you reach your limit, you can really improve!“

Training Opportunities

You can benefit from the latest advancements in science by using NeuroNation brain training. We know that you perform better if you track the progress you’re making. For this reason, we have built in features to help you clearly monitor your results – comparing today’s results to yesterdays and tomorrows.

Our recommendation

Our new ‘MemoWork’ course specifically focuses on training your working memory, designed with the help of scientists from the Free University in Berlin. This intensive course includes personalized exercises tailored to your abilities, and requires 4- to 8-weeks of training to guide you to better cognition. The efficacy of the program has been extensively tested, and comes with a money-back guarantee – because we’re that confident you’ll like it! The course’s exercises have received much publicity for their effectiveness. We promise you’ll notice a difference!

 

More: Websites that will make you smarter

No-drama discipline

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35 Ultimate Psychology Facts

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I found these psychologi facts on stumbleupon. Enjoy!

These are psychology facts which are taken from the most experienced and top level psychologists.

1.When it comes to placebo, studies have found that a capsule works better than a tablet, and a syringe works better than a capsule (in terms of how successful the placebo effect is).

2. A placebo effect can work even when the individual is aware that the substance they are taking is a placebo.

3. Humans can live longer without food than they can without sleep.

4. Even small noises can make your pupils dilate.

5. By age 60, you will have lost half of your taste buds.

6. If saliva cannot dissolve something, you cannot taste it.

7. Your brain and your stomach are in constant contact with each other which is why some emotions affect our stomachs physically, especially distress.

8. Since the existence of the internet, fewer people claim to be religious.

10. Chewing gum helps your memory to receive a higher test score. 

11. The color purple or more specifically ‘lavender’ creates a soothing effect. It is also a great color to have for your bed spreads.

12. In one of Freud’s psychosexual stages, the phallic stage, children become interested in their own genitalia, their parents, and their friends. Accompanied with this stage is the term ‘penis envy’, this is defined as the female child’s realization/resentment that they do not have a penis.

13. Your Short Term Memory is an actual store in your brain, although it has a much more limited capacity than expected- it lasts approximately 20 seconds and can process five to nine things at one time.

14. red makes anyone more sexually attractive, but i learned that wearing blue makes men especially more attractive to women.

15. Most human display hindsight bias, the tendency to claim that they have predicted an outcome before the event occurred.

16. Almost 70,000 thoughts a day hit the average human mind.

17. On average it takes 66 days to form a habit.

18. If someone makes eye contact with you for 60% of a conversation they’re bored, 80% and they’re attracted to you and 100% of the time then they are threatening you.  

19. Excessive stress can alter brain cells, structure and function.

20. Descriptive words used on questions eye witnesses are asked after seeing an event can effect how they remember the event later on. In other words influence what people remember. 

21. The sense of falling involved in a dream actually comes from the brain falling asleep too fast and assuming it is dying. The sensation is essentially the brain giving itself an AED.

22. If you fake a smile, even when you’re in a bad mood, that smile will help you feel better and therefore make you happy.

23. Men are attracted to women with clear skin, bright big eyes, rosy lips, and lustrous hair because they are indicators of health and an optimal partner for reproduction.

24. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is not just being a germiphobe. The disorder is obsessive unwanted thoughts and associations of unconnected events.

25. When you yawn and someone else yawns right after it means they were watching you and\or are attracted to you.

 26. It is a myth that humans can only use 10% of their brain at any given point. We can actually utilize somewhere around 35% at once.

27. When focusing hard on a task, the human brain will completely block out other things going on, even if it’s right in front of them. It’s called selective attention.

28. Brains in some individuals produce more chemicals compared to others; this is why some people are considered more emotional than others.

29. Intelligence is partially based on genetics.

30. Though the placebo effect may trick people into thinking they are becoming healthier, it can also harm them in the sense that once they begin taking medications for things that don’t need it, they develop a resistance to that medication so that when they need it, it no longer works.

31. According Furnham & Chamoro-Premuzic (2004), certain personality traits can be significant predictors of a person’s academic average. In fact, conscientious introverts who are not very open minded tend to have an higher average in stats than others.

32. Our reflex reactions aren’t controlled by the brain but by the spinal cord. Nerves that run up and down the spine control what the body does when in need of an instantaneous, lightning fast action like pulling away from something too hot.

33. Smells of family members are similar. This is why the average person does not find family members to be attractive; it’s nature’s way of decreasing genetic mutations.

34. Besides being sexually appealing, red is also an aggressive color that causes people to appear more intimidating.

35. There is no sense of pain within the brain itself. This fact allows neurosurgeons to probe areas of the brain while the patient is awake. Feedback from the patient during these probes is useful for identifying important regions, such as those for speech, that are spared if possible.

Multitasking by brain wave

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New findings in rats show how we can take in new information while tapping prior knowledge

By Andrea Anderson on January 27, 2016

©iStock.com

Although our bodies stay stubbornly stuck in real time, our minds can flit between the past and future and jump large stretches of time in just a moment. Such feats rely on the brain’s ability to continuously store information as it happens while also retrieving dramatically condensed versions of past events. Until now, scientists weren’t sure how the brain simultaneously handles these competing tasks.psychedelic_brain

Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin found evidence that in the brain’s spatial system this balancing act is accomplished via dueling electrical frequencies. Results from their study in rats suggest the hippocampus, an area crucial for memory formation, rapidly switches between the two frequencies to concurrently process the current surroundings and serve up orientation clues encoded in prior experiences. “The hippocampus has to have a way for keeping what’s actually happening and being encoded into new memory storage from interfering with recall or retrieval of previously stored memories,” explains U.T. Austin neuroscientist Laura Colgin, the study’s senior author. Her findings may have implications for the treatment of schizophrenia, and they also offer clues to another mental mystery—how the brain manages to replay a daylong memory in mere seconds.

Dueling brain waves
In the new study, published last week in the journal Neuron, Colgin’s team recorded electrical activity in a type of hippocampal cells called “place cells.” Place-cell activation corresponds to specific locations in space. As a rat navigates a maze, researchers can tell by which place cells are firing where the rat is in the maze—or what part of the maze the rat is thinking of.

Like all of the brain’s neurons, place cells produce electrical signals that oscillate in waves. In particular, past research suggests that when place cells encode and compress spatial memories they produce theta waves, which operate on a relatively slow, long-wave frequency. But these theta oscillations do not work alone. They also contain shorter and more frequent gamma rhythms nested within them like folded accordion bellows.

The gamma oscillations contribute to memory compression, explains Brandeis University neuroscientist John Lisman, an expert on the theta–gamma code who was not involved in the current study. As each wave of electrical activity pops up at the gamma frequency, it conveys new information nuggets to the interacting theta wave. One overarching theta wave sees several gamma–encoded memory cues, which effectively form a compressed highlights reel relative to the longer theta wave.

In a study published in Nature in 2009 Colgin and her colleagues described an additional level of complexity in these theta–gamma interactions in the rat hippocampus, demonstrating that the gamma waves oscillate at different frequencies depending on the task at hand. When the hippocampus communicated with a brain area that relays as-it-happens sensory information from the outside world, for example, the team saw theta signals supported by so-called “fast” gamma rhythms oscillating at 60 to 100 hertz frequencies. A second, previously unappreciated set of “slow” gamma rhythms—electrical waves in the 25 to 55 hertz range—seemed to be interacting with theta waves when the hippocampus swapped messages with another part of the brain that replays memories and plans movements through space and time, Colgin explains.

Those results hinted that fast gamma rhythms might be transmitting immediate information about the environment whereas slow gamma rhythms may shuttle information related to memory retrieval.

Clues from place cells
In their current analysis, Colgin and her colleagues found new, more robust evidence that fast gamma rhythms are indeed responsible for coding new information based on an animal’s current experiences. After recording electrical signals from hippocampal place cells in seven rats as they negotiated a short linear track over three 10-minute sessions each day, the team looked at how theta and gamma waves coincided with each rat’s actual position on the track.

When the place-cell activity matched a rat’s current location on the track, the researchers found that theta sequences interacted with the shorter wave, fast gamma signals already suspected of dealing with in-the-moment spatial information. But slow gamma waves replaced fast ones when place-cell activity represented locations ahead of the rat’s current position—perhaps reflecting the animal’s memory of the upcoming route and anticipation of the track ahead. “The idea is that the animal is actually retrieving the representation of that location before they get there,” Colgin explains.

The new results are powerful evidence that the different frequency brain waves keep incoming information and memory retrieval separate—which has implications for human conditions. If the slow gamma frequency really does keep real or imagined remembrances from interfering with new information coding and vice versa, it is conceivable that the two brain frequencies may get mixed up in conditions such as schizophrenia, Colgin says. Indeed, researchers have detected diminished slow gamma synchrony between the hippocampus and other brain regions in an animal model of the disease, boosting that theory. Future therapies could try to help increase gamma synchrony and keep thoughts separate from new sensory information—although how such a feat could be accomplished remains unknown.

How memories are compressed
In the new study the researchers also made a second discovery, which may be a clue about how the brain compresses memories. Using place-cell patterns unraveled from the theta sequences, the researchers saw a jump in the amount of track being represented per millisecond when rats were using slow gamma rhythm, even though the such rhythm produces fewer new waves of electricity in any given stretch of time than the higher frequency fast gamma rhythm.

Based on how quickly the rats seemed to anticipate upcoming sections of track, the researchers speculate that a single slow gamma wave must contain more than one piece of information, implying another level of compression within an already compressed theta–gamma code. This additional degree of compression could explain how we are able to replay memories of minutes’ or hours’ worth of activity in mere seconds.

Lisman is unconvinced of the additional-compression interpretation, although he praised Colgin and her team for uncovering functional roles for the slow gamma frequency in the hippocampus. To accomplish the ultrafast coding necessary for each gamma wave to contain more than one piece of information, he explains, neurons would have to differentiate between bits of information appearing just a few milliseconds apart—faster than current biophysical estimates say is possible.

Loren Frank, a neuroscience researcher with the University of California, San Francisco, who studies spatial coding in the hippocampus but was not involved in the study, was less skeptical of the authors’ interpretation, saying it “makes a great deal of sense.”

“It says the things associated with memory may be going on very, very quickly,” he says, noting that the electrical signals making up each slow gamma signal could represent multiple levels of cellular organization capable of seriously speedy coding. “I was surprised to see the results,” Frank concedes, “but I don’t think there’s any reason to think the brain can’t do things like that.”

Multitasking by Brain Wave – Scientific American

The sound of pulsing rhytm. The secret of EMDR?

Mass suggestion: A way to save the world? 

The Myth of Mental Illness: Thomas Szasz on Freedom and Psychotherapy

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 INTERVIEW WITH THOMAS SZASZ ON PSYHOTHERAPY.NET

Thomas Szasz on Freedom and Psychotherapy

by Randall C. Wyatt
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The foremost psychiatric critic of our times, Thomas Szasz, engages in an in-depth dialogue of his life’s work including freedom and liberty, the myth of mental illness, drug laws, the fragile state of psychotherapy, and his passion for humanistic values and social justice.
Randall C. Wyatt: I am going to ask you a wide variety of questions, given the diversity of your interests, and I want to make sure to also focus on your work as a psychotherapist. A little background first. You’ve been well-known for the phrase, “the myth of mental illness.” In less than 1000 words, what does it mean?
Thomas Szasz: The phrase “the myth of mental illness” means that mental illness qua illness does not exist. The scientific concept of illness refers to a bodily lesion, that is, to a material — structural or functional — abnormality of the body, as a machine. This is the classic, Virchowian, pathological definition of disease and it is still the definition of disease used by pathologists and physicians as scientific healers.

The brain is an organ — like the bones, liver, kidney, and so on — and of course can be diseased. That’s the domain of neurology. Since a mind is not a bodily organ, it cannot be diseased, except in a metaphorical sense — in the sense in which we also say that a joke is sick or the economy is sick. Those are metaphorical ways of saying that some behavior or condition is bad, disapproved, causing unhappiness, etc.

In other words, talking about “sick minds” is analogous to talking about “sick jokes” or “sick economies.”

In other words, talking about “sick minds” is analogous to talking about “sick jokes” or “sick economies.” In the case of mental illness, we are dealing with a metaphorical way of expressing the view that the speaker thinks there is something wrong about the behavior of the person to whom he attributes the “illness.”

In short, just as there were no witches, only women disapproved and called “witches,” so there are no mental diseases, only behaviors of which psychiatrists disapprove and call them “mental illnesses.” Let’s say a person has a fear of going out into the open. Psychiatrists call that “agoraphobia” and claim it is an illness. Or if a person has odd ideas or perceptions, psychiatrists say he has “delusions” or “hallucinations.” Or he uses illegal drugs or commits mass murder. These are all instances of behaviors, not diseases. Nearly everything I say about psychiatry follows from that.

RW: Let’s say that modern science, with all the advances in genetics and biochemistry, finds out that there are some behavioral correlates of biological deficits or imbalances, or genetic defects. Let’s say people who have hallucinations or are delusional have some biological deficits. What does that make of your ideas?
TS: Such a development would validate my views, not invalidate them, as my critics think. Obviously, I don’t deny the existence of brain diseases; on the contrary, my point is that if mental illnesses are brain diseases, we ought to call them brain diseases and treat them as brain diseases — and not call them mental illnesses and treat them as such. In the 19th century, madhouses were full of people who were “crazy”; more than half of them, as it turned out, had brain diseases — mainly neurosyphilis, or brain injuries, intoxications, or infections. Once that was understood, neurosyphilis ceased to be a mental illness and became a brain disease. The same thing happened with epilepsy.
RW: It’s interesting, because a lot of students of mine, and colleagues, who have read your work or heard of your ideas, think that when condition previously thought to be mental is to be a brain disease, as noted, your ideas become moot.
TS: That’s because they are not familiar with the history of psychiatry, don’t really understand what a metaphor is, and don’t want to see how and why psychiatric diagnoses are attached to people. Ted Kaczynski, the so-called Unabomber, was diagnosed as schizophrenic by government psychiatrists. If people want to believe that a “genetic defect” causes a person to commit such a series of brilliantly conceived crimes — but that when a person composes a great symphony, that’s due to his talent and free will — so be it.

Objective, medical diagnostic tests measure chemical and physical changes in tissues; they do not evaluate or judge ideas or behaviors. Before there were sophisticated diagnostic tests, physicians had a hard time distinguishing between real epilepsy — that is to say, neurological seizures — and what we call “hysterical seizures,” which is simply faking epilepsy, pretending to have a seizure. When epilepsy became understood as due to an increased excitability of some area of the brain, then it ceased to be psychopathology or mental illness, and became neuropathology or brain disease. It then becomes a part of neurology. Epilepsy still exists. Neurosyphilis, though very rare, still exists, and is not treated by psychiatrists; it is treated by specialists in infectious diseases, because it’s an infection of the brain.

The discovery that all mental diseases are brain diseases would mean the disappearance of psychiatry into neurology. But that would mean that a condition would be a “mental disease” only if it could be demonstrated, by objective tests, that a person has got it, or has not got it. You can prove — objectively, not by making a “clinical diagnosis” — that X has neurosyphilis or does not have it; but you cannot prove, objectively, that X has or does not have schizophrenia or “clinical depression” or post traumatic stress disorder. Like most nouns and verbs, the word “disease” will always be used both literally and metaphorically. As long as psychiatrists are unwilling to fix the literal meaning of mental illness to an objective standard, there will remain no way of distinguishing between literal and metaphorical “mental diseases.”

RW: Psychiatrists, of course, don’t want to be pushed out of the picture. They want to hold on to schizophrenia as long as they can, and now depression and gambling, and drug abuse, and so on, are proposed as biological or genetically determined. Everything is thought to have a genetic marker, perhaps even normality. What do you make of this?
TS: I hardly know what to say about this silliness. Unless a person understands the history of psychiatry and something about semantics, it’s very difficult to deal with this. Diagnoses are NOT diseases. Period.

Psychiatrists have had some very famous diseases for which they have never apologized, the two most obvious ones being masturbation and homosexuality.

Psychiatrists have had some very famous diseases for which they have never apologized, the two most obvious ones being masturbation and homosexuality. People with these so-called “diseases” were tortured by psychiatrists — for hundreds of years. Children were tortured by antimasturbation treatments. Homosexuals were incarcerated and tortured by psychiatrists. Now all that is conveniently forgotten, while psychiatrists — prostitutes of the dominant ethic — invent new diseases, like the ones you mentioned. The war on drugs is the current psychiatric-judicial pogrom. And so is the war on children called “hyperactive,” poisoned in schools with the illegal street drug called “speed,” which, when called “Ritalin,” is a miracle cure for them.

Let me mention another, closely related characteristic of psychiatry, as distinct from the rest of medicine. Only in psychiatry are there “patients” who don’t want to be patients. This is crucial because my critique of psychiatry is two-pronged. One of my criticisms is conceptual: that is, that mental illness is not a real illness. The other one is political: that is, that mental illness is a piece of justificatory rhetoric, legitimizing civil commitment and the insanity defense.

Dermatologists, ophthalmologists, gynecologists, don’t have any patients who don’t want to be their patients. But the psychiatrists’ patients are paradigmatically involuntarily.

Dermatologists, ophthalmologists, gynecologists, don’t have any patients who don’t want to be their patients. But the psychiatrists’ patients are paradigmatically involuntarily.

Originally, all mental patients were involuntary, state hospital patients. That concept, that phenomenon, still forms the nucleus of psychiatry. And that is what is basically wrong with psychiatry. In my view, involuntary hospitalization and the insanity defense ought to be abolished, exactly as slavery was abolished, or the disfranchisement of women was abolished, or the persecution of homosexuals was abolished. Only then could we begin to examine so-called “mental illnesses” as forms of behavior, like other behaviors.

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Integrating a dissociative world

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One of my heroes is Steve Jobs. After hearing his autobiography, I was convinced that this is one of the few who have changed the world for the better. Steve Jobs started small, but as most people know, it did not take long before his pursuit of perfection became a reality. Throughout his life he was convinced that the Internet would be able to influence the world.

The Web is not going to change the world, certainly not in the next 10 years. It’s going to augment the world. And once you’re in this Web-augmented space, you’re going to see that democratization takes place.

Steve Jobs, on a interview with business insider 

As a psychologist, I have worked a lot with the integration of traumatic memories. The method I have used most, is EMDR. Five years of practice has taught me how important it is to create unity. This often takes a long time and it is necessary to only take one step at a time to succeed. Steve Jobs knew this. He had to start with designing his MacBook before he could work with programming it. Step by step he walked forward, and the longer he came, the faster it went.  Steve Jobs was a good judge of character, which helped when we walked towards the future. By finding people that transported him from one point to another, he got to his goal faster.

The brain consists of nerve cells that are organized in networks. This network is so complex that we are still far away from recreating it. The brain is plastic and can reorganize itself, and if you transfer this to society you can see the same thing: By letting everybody work together to find a solution, we can adapt to challenging circumstances. The internet also makes it easier to transfer knowledge and help our brains to adapt by providing the information it needs.

Sometimes it feels like I can see lines that criss-crossing over the earth. We have telephone cables, internet lines, radio waves and planes. All have one thing in common: They are connecting people.There have been many articles lately that we stand on the edge of a melt-down. The  financial crisis and the Syrian war are examples of problems affecting us all in one way or another. But might this not be positive too? When everybody is affected, we can no longer close our eyes and pretend it does`t exist.

Trauma can shatter people into a thousand pieces. But for every traumatic event, there is a person who wants to help. Somebody who wants to pick up a bit to put it back in its place.

When I say I want to help as many as I can, people tell me to slow down. I agree. I know my enthusiasm must be contained, that I cannot do everything. But their worries will never stop me, because I do believe that we all can change the world. Countless times I`ve heard that I must take care of my own needs first, and I have listened. But when somebody tries to tell me that I should`t try to change the world, I protest. If you told the same thing to Steve Job, he would keep on walking. He would not just find allies, but also enemies. But he would not let it stop him, because he needed to be true to himself.

I know I need to watch my feet when I pick up broken pieces of glass, and let others help me when I fall apart. But in spite of the dangers, I will never let go of the person holding my hand.

When we all pick up our pieces and glue them back together, we will realize one thing: We are all the same. We can recognize ourselves in others, and learn from them. There are no bad, good or crazy people. There are just different points of views. We are not one person, we are one world. We don`t need borders, we need to stand together.

We need to integrate the world.

 

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Brain scans have clearly demonstrated pre-post changes after EMDR therapy, including increases in hippocampal volume, which have implications for memory storage. The bottom line of EMDR outcome research is that clinical change can be both profound and efficient.

Protected: The sound of souls singing in tune

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Why do relationship breakups hurt so much?

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Love is like a drug, and withdrawal from addiction is disruptive and damaging. In this extract from his new book, Idiot Brain, neuroscientist Dean Burnett explains the chemical processes behind the heartbreakHave you ever found yourself in the foetal position on the sofa for days on end, curtains drawn, phone unanswered, moving only to haphazardly wipe the snot and tears from your face? All that has happened is you’ve been made aware that you won’t be seeing a person you had a lot of interaction with much any more. That’s it. So why does it leave you reeling for weeks, months, even for the rest of your life, in some cases?
Humans seem primed to seek out and form monogamous romantic relationships, and this is reflected in a number of weird things the brain does when we end up falling for someone. Attraction is governed by many factors. Many species develop secondary sex characteristics, which are features that occur during sexual maturity but that aren’t directly involved in the reproductive process; for instance, a moose’s antlers or a peacock’s tail. They are impressive and show how fit and healthy the individual creature is, but they don’t do much beyond that.

Humans are no different. As adults, we develop many features that are apparently largely for physically attracting others: the deep voice, enlarged frames and facial hair of men, or the protruding breasts and pronounced curves of women. None of these things are “essential”, but in the distant past, some of our ancestors decided that is what they wanted in a partner, and evolution took over from there. But then we end up with something of a chicken-and-egg scenario with regards to the brain, in that the human brain inherently finds certain features attractive because it has evolved to do so. Which came first, the attraction or the primitive brain’s recognition of it? Hard to say.

 

http://dailyreadlist.com/article/why-do-relationship-breakups-hurt-so-much-97
 
It is important, however, to differentiate between a desire for sex, AKA lust, and the deeper, more personal attraction and bonding we associate with romance and love, things more often sought and found with long-term relationships. People can (and frequently do) enjoy purely physical sexual interactions with others that they have no real “fondness” for apart from an appreciation for their appearance, and even that is not essential. Sex is a tricky thing to pin down with the brain, as it underlies much of our adult thinking and behaviour.

But this isn’t really about lust; we’re talking more about love, in the romantic sense, for one specific individual. There is a lot of evidence to suggest the brain processes love differently. Studies by Bartels and Zeki suggest that when individuals who describe themselves as in love are shown images of their romantic partners, there is raised activity (not seen in lust or more platonic relationships) in a network of brain regions including the medial insula, anterior cingulate cortex, caudate nucleus and putamen.

There is also lower activity in the posterior cingulate gyrus and in the amygdala. The posterior cingulate gyrus is often associated with painful emotion perception, so it makes sense that your loved one’s presence would shut this down a bit. The amygdala processes emotions and memory, but often for negative things such as fear and anger, so again, it makes sense that it’s not so active now. People in committed relationships can often seem more relaxed and less bothered about day-to-day annoyances, regularly coming across as “smug” to the independent observer.
One type of chemical often associated with attraction are pheromones, specific substances given off in sweat that other individuals detect and that alter their behaviour. While human pheromones are regularly referred to (you can seemingly buy sprays laced with them if you’re looking to increase your sexual appeal), there is currently no definitive evidence that humans have specific pheromones that influence attraction and arousal. The brain may often be an idiot, but it is not so easily manipulated.
However, being in love seems to elevate dopamine activity in the reward pathway, meaning we experience pleasure in our partner’s presence, almost like a drug. And oxytocin is often referred to as the “love hormone” or similar, which is a ridiculous oversimplification of a complex substance, but it does seem to be elevated in people in relationships, and it has been linked to feelings of trust and connection in humans.
The flexibility of the brain means that, in response to all this deep and intense stuff, it adapts to expect it. And then it ends. Consider everything the brain invests in sustaining a relationship, all the changes it undergoes, all the value it places on being in one. If you remove all this in one fell swoop, the brain is going to be seriously negatively affected. All the positive sensations it has grown to expect suddenly cease, which is incredibly distressing for an organ that doesn’t deal with uncertainty and ambiguity well at all. Studies have shown that a relationship breakup activates the same brain regions that process physical pain.
Addiction and withdrawal can be very disruptive and damaging to the brain, and a not dissimilar process is happening here. This isn’t to say the brain doesn’t have the ability to deal with a breakup. It can put everything back together eventually, even if it’s a slow process. Some experiments showed that specifically focusing on the positive outcomes of a breakup can cause more rapid recovery and growth. And, just sometimes, science and cliches match up, and things really do get better with time.

This is an edited extract from The Idiot Brain by Dean Burnett (Guardian Faber, £12.99). To order a copy for £7.99, go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99.

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