Brain's journal

This Chemical Imbalance In My Brain Is Driving Me Crazy

Submitted by Brain on Sun, 07/12/2009 - 11:08am.

There's something about my brain's chemical imbalance that really gets under my skin. At least once a day, the constant, overwhelming sensations of dread and hopelessness aggravate me to the point where I will empty a quart of chunky monkey ice cream in one sitting. Seriously, I could be all sunshine and roses, and the smallest fluctuation in brain chemistry will just completely sour my mood.

It seems like no matter how much TV I watch to distract myself, I can't get this chemical imbalance out of my head. It's always there, in the region of the brain that controls emotion and behavior, gnawing away at my cognitive reasoning and motor skills. The whole thing has been grating on my cerebral cortex's nerves for years now.

In my early 20s, these elevated levels of dynorphin were only a minor annoyance. But their prolonged deregulation of my system's energy production and decision-making aptitude has, over time, really started to lower my World of Warcraft score. Maybe I'm just overreacting to my body's increased hypersensitivity, but frequently, when my synapses are firing erratically rather than in tandem, I feel like I'm about to spiral out of control.

This insufferable chemical imbalance is, if nothing else, incredibly tiring; so entirely and devastatingly fatiguing that, even after sleeping for 17 hours straight, I still wake up exhausted. What is it about these low levels of dopamine and norepinephrine that has got me so loopy?

Art Prepares Student For Math

Submitted by Brain on Fri, 06/19/2009 - 5:18pm.

Math is a good training in the conceptual thinking required for Rudolf Steiner's path. Science has found that art is a good preparation for math.

Ghent, NY (PRWEB) June 19, 2009 -- Recently, Johns Hopkins University sponsored a one-day Roundtable on Arts and the Brain, based on a report released by the Dana Foundation that demonstrates how the arts light up parts of the brain.

One particularly moving presentation described the effects of music on the ability of the brains of children to receive and comprehend math concepts, offered by Dr. Elizabeth Spelke, from Harvard University. Dr. Spelke stated that she has demonstrable evidence that in babies and young children the making of music (not the listening, but the singing, composing, playing an instrument) illuminates parts of the brain, as visible in fMRI imaging, that helps the comprehension of math to accelerate.

She emphasized that the use of the playing of instruments should not be a substitute for the teaching of math, but rather, that understanding math concepts is easier for children who play a musical instrument.

The report supports Waldorf educators emphasis on art as long as it is followed with a strong math program. It also validates Rudolf Steiner's statements, made in the early part of the twentieth century, that modern science would catch up with his view of education and confirm the remarkable benefits it provides.

Philosophy of Freedom Awakens Consciousness, say scientists (almost)

Submitted by Brain on Wed, 06/17/2009 - 11:40pm.

“Now what kind of reader approach did The Philosophy of Freedom count on? It had to assume a special way of reading. It expected the reader, as they read, to undergo the sort of inner experience that, in an external sense, is really like waking up out of sleep in the morning.” -Rudolf Steiner

June 17, 2009
Yale University

It takes high lev­els of brain en­er­gy to main­tain con­scious­ness. That sug­gests a new way to un­der­stand the prop­er­ties of this still mys­te­ri­ous state of be­ing, a group of Yale Un­ivers­ity re­search­ers is re­port­ing.

Brain im­ag­ing “has been look­ing at the tip of the ice­berg,” Shul­man said. “We looked at the rest of the ice­berg.” What is the oth­er 99 per­cent of en­er­gy con­sump­tion do­ing? Shul­man and col­leagues have pro­posed that it’s needed to main­tain con­scious­ness. 

Heavily an­es­the­tized peo­ple are known to show ap­prox­i­mately 50 per­cent re­duc­tions in brain en­er­gy con­sump­tion, Shul­man said.

What we pro­pose is that a con­scious per­son re­quires a high lev­el of brain en­er­gy,” Shul­man said. The find­ing has pro­found im­plica­t­ions for our un­der­standing of the con­nec­tion be­tween the brain and con­scious­ness, he added. “You can think of con­scious­ness not as a prop­er­ty of the brain, but of the per­son.” 

Shul­man sug­gests that these more en­er­get­ic prop­er­ties of the brain sup­port hu­man be­hav­ior and should be con­sid­ered when in­ter­pret­ing the much weaker sig­nals typ­ic­ally recorded dur­ing brain im­ag­ing stud­ies.

Can We Think Off The Neural Pathways?

Submitted by Brain on Sun, 05/24/2009 - 3:52pm.

I often find myself caught in neural ruts of thought. Only by hijacking my mind away from its regular old routes will I force it out of a rut. If I'm forced to imagine something I’ve never seen, or do something I’ve never done, the possibilities for creative thinking shoot way up because I'm no longer relying on experience.

The result: new neural pathways. New insights come from any situation in which the brain is thrown a curve and has a hard time predicting what will happen next. Perhaps that is why Steiner says, “The most important thing about this book (POF) is the fact that in its pages completely independent thinking appears for the first time.”

But if we are not thinking along an existing neural pathway of the brain, where are we thinking?