08. November 2019 · Comments Off on Can Mind Body Therapies heal the Opiod crisis? · Categories: Article

A first-of-its-kind review and meta-analysis of specialized literature suggests that mind-body therapies, such as meditation, hypnosis and cognitive behavioral therapy, can help ease physical pain and prevent the development of opioid use disorder.

Opioids are a class of drugs that doctors sometimes prescribe for the treatment of acute chronic pain.

While effective, opioids can also be highly addictive. This has led to what many specialists refer to as the “opioid crisis,” as many people end up misusing or overusing opioid prescription drugs.

In previous years, opioid use disorder — in which people compulsively overuse opioids — has led to approximately 118,000 annual deathsTrusted Source worldwide and about 47,600 deaths in the United States alone.

Increasingly, specialists are turning toward soothing, nonpharmacological methods of pain management to try to address the opioid crisis. These include mind-body therapies (MBTs), such as meditation, hypnosis, relaxation techniques, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

“To help combat the opioid crisis, guidelines encourage practitioners to consider nonopioid pain management options, including [MBTs],” write Prof. Eric Garland — from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City — and colleagues in their new systematic review and meta-analysis, which features in JAMA Internal MedicineTrusted Source.

You can read the rest of the article here

07. November 2019 · Comments Off on Is this brain cell in your mind’s eye? · Categories: Article

Summary: this research provides a possible explanation for the reason why we don’t notice rapid movement (eg subliminal messages spliced into a video). Researchers say that it could be due to a processing delay of messages, where ‘L5p neurons’ connect the neurons in the cortex, and neurons in the thalamus – a thumb-sized relay center in the middle of the brain that controls information inflow from the senses (except smell).

— by Matthew Prior, Frontiers science writer

No-one knows what connects awareness – the state of consciousness – with its contents, i.e. thoughts and experiences. Now researchers propose an elegant solution: a literal, structural connection. Only brain activity involving ‘L5p neurons’ enters conscious awareness, says new theory

‘Content circuits’ within the cortex are plugged into ‘switchboard circuits’ that allocate awareness, says the theory, via cortical cells called L5p neurons. Writing in Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, the group offers evidence – and caveats. Their challenge to experimentalists: if consciousness requires L5p neurons, all brain activity without them must be unconscious.

State vs. contents of conscious

Most neuroscientists chasing the neural mechanisms of consciousness focus on its contents, measuring changes in the brain when it thinks about a particular thing – a smell, a memory, an emotion. Quite separately, others study how the brain behaves during different conscious states, like alert wakefulness, dreaming, deep sleep or anesthesia.

Most agree the two are indivisible: you can’t think or feel or experience anything without being aware, nor be aware of nothing. But because of the divided approach, “nobody knows how and why the contents and state of consciousness are so tightly coupled,” says Dr. Jaan Aru, neuroscientist at Humboldt University, Berlin, and lead author of the new theory.

Separate circuits

The divide created between state and contents of consciousness is anatomical.

Our conscious state is thought to depend on the activity of so-called ‘thalamo-cortical’ circuits. These are connections between neurons in the cortex, and neurons in the thalamus – a thumb-sized relay center in the middle of the brain that controls information inflow from the senses (except smell). Thalamo-cortical circuits are thought to be the target of general anesthesia, and damage to these neurons due to tumors or stroke often results in coma.

In contrast, functional brain imaging studies locate the contents of consciousness mostly within the cortex, in ‘cortico-cortical’ circuits.

The missing link?

Aru and colleagues believe that L5p neurons are uniquely placed to bridge the divide.

“Thalamo-cortical and cortico-cortical circuits intersect via L5p neurons,” explains Aru. “Studies tracing these cells under the microscope suggest they participate in both circuits, by exchanging connections with both thalamus and cortex.”

Functional brain studies suggest these cells may indeed couple the state and contents of consciousness. Cellular-level brain imaging in mice shows that L5p neurons respond to a sensory stimulus (air puff to the leg); that this response increases when the animal is awake; and that it is strongest by far when the animal reacts to the stimulus (moves its leg).

“We can’t tell what the mouse is thinking,” concedes Aru. “But if we assume that it reacts only when it is conscious of the stimulus, then this study demonstrates the interaction between the state [wakefulness] and contents [sensory experience] of consciousness in L5p neurons.”

The assumption is consistent with a similar mouse study. This one went further, showing that directly activating the stimulus-responsive L5p neurons (e.g. with drugs) makes the animal react to a weaker sensory stimulus – and sometimes without any stimulus.

“It’s as if the mouse experiences an illusory stimulus; as if L5p stimulation creates consciousness,” Aru adds.

Testing the theory

The theory is a first iteration that needs refinement, stresses Aru.

“Our goal here is to convince others that future work on the mechanisms of consciousness should specifically target L5p neurons.”

Nevertheless, this general arrangement could account for some well-known quirks of consciousness.

For example, the processing delay of this long relay – from cortico-cortical circuit to thalamo-cortical and back again via L5p neurons – could explain why rapid changes of stimuli often escape conscious perception. (Think subliminal messages spliced into video.)

The theory could also help explain why we usually have little conscious insight into some brain processes, like planning movement or even syntax.

One feature of this phenomenon is ‘backward masking’: when two images are presented briefly in rapid succession (50–100 ms), only the second image is consciously perceived. In this case, posits Aru, “by the time the stimulus completes the L5p-thalamus-L5p relay, the second image has taken over early cortical representation and steals the limelight lit by the first image.”

“All brain activity that does not (sufficiently) involve L5p neurons remains unconscious,” predicts Aru.

Therein lies the key to testing this exciting theory.

Posted on October 1, 2019 in Featured News, Neuroscience


Original article: Coupling the State and Contents of Consciousness

12. October 2019 · Comments Off on Anxiety and Amygdala · Categories: Article

Anxiety treatments typically target the human cerebral cortex – the pathway of sensations, thoughts, logic, imagination, intuition, conscious memory, and planning – that most people refer to as “thinking.” Thoughts originating in the cortex may be the cause of anxiety, or they may have the effect of increasing or decreasing anxiety.

But even when the cortex is the source of anxious thinking, it’s the amygdala – a small mass of cells that causes the physical sensations of anxiety to occur: such as pounding heart, perspiration, muscle tension, and so on.

The amygdala attaches anxiety to experiences and creates anxiety-producing memories...

It’s made up of thousands of circuits of cells dedicated to different purposes. These circuits influence love, bonding, sexual behavior, anger, aggression, and fear. It is involved in many of our emotions and motivations, particularly those that are related to survival. It can be likened to a huge filing cabinet that stores every stress-related memory – so that it can warn you if something similar happens again.

The best way to heal anxiety is to calm both parts of the brain – using a variety of techniques designed to calm your thoughts, neutralise your memories and direct your brain towards new pathways to change.

It’s all possible…through the process of Neuroplasticity, the amazing ability of the brain to change and grow – based on what it hears, sees, feels and experiences every day.

Find out more here

11. October 2019 · Comments Off on The magic of Cognitive Shifts · Categories: Article

When we experience a significant change in perception about an issue, or a fundamental change in our beliefs, this constitutes a Cognitive Shift.

This mindset change provides instant relief and can be produced by using cognitive shift therapies to rewire the brain.

The process of changing mindset is rooted in stimulation of the Amygdala, the part of the brain that stores stressful thoughts and memories over time.

By thinking of a problem at the same time as we calm the stress centre, we are able to collapse old memories associated with stress and trauma.

When these old neural pathways dissolve, our minds are able to entertain new ideas and thoughts that were previously blocked by stressful thoughts and emotions.

For example, extreme anger towards someone can be dissolved, to be replaced with undertanding. Memories can be neutralised so that we can find peace in the way we approach previously stressful situations in life.

We live in exciting times!

To find out more, contact me here

03. October 2019 · Comments Off on The rules of the mind · Categories: Article

It’s a little known fact  that your mind isn’t designed to make you happy…..it’s designed to help you survive.  So if it thinks that the best way to keep you safe is by keeping you in the past, then it will do everything to stop you from moving forward….until  you tell it otherwise.

Here are the 4 rules of the mind, as follows:

Your mind does what it thinks you want it to do.

So tell your mind what you want, not what you don’t want.

It is designed to move you away from pain, and towards pleasure

So link massive pleasure to what you want to achieve, and massive pain to what you don’t want in your life. 

It responds to the pictures in your head, and the words that you say

So ‘fake it’ until you make it. Tell yourself you are fantastic, clever, confident, happy, successful and well even if you don’t feel that way. ….Keep visualising what you want, just like elite athletes do, not what you don’t want. Replace your negative thoughts instantly with positive thoughts. It may take a little while, but eventually your mind will accept it.

It likes to stay in what is familiar, and avoids the unfamiliar, because it thinks you are safe there

So make the familiar unfamiliar, and make the unfamiliar familiar…….Start doing things you don’t normally do that help you move forward…even if you don’t want to…and soon they will become a familiar habit – and your mind will keep you there.

So if you find your mind straying back to the past, it’s just trying to do its job. You need to keep reminding itof what you really want until it gets the message!

12. September 2019 · Comments Off on What we believe, we become · Categories: Article

Neuroscience is now proving that mind and body are deeply connected,  and we are only just starting to realize to what extent.

This is transforming the way we approach the treatment of our health and well-being, as we move towards Mind Body therapies that treat the whole person, rather than just a symptom.

The reason why we just don’t heal, despite all our efforts,  is because we haven’t changed deeply rooted beliefs in our subconscious mind. 

Our subconscious stores 90% of our beliefs, habits and emotions, so just making changes at a conscious level usually doesn’t work.

So when the underlying reasons are addressed, we can transform, because  the brain has an amazing ability to adapt and change.

This is known as Neuroplasticity, the process in which neurons, the nerve cells that compose the brain and nervous system, transform in response to what happens to us in life.

Mind Body cognitive therapies are ideal to assist the brain to grow in the direction you want, and leave the past behind….:)

To book a session, contact me here