Discovery Finds Link Between the Brain and the Immune System

source : http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/DrJoeDispenzasBlog/~3/oxGmlvHEZjQ/

In a stunning discovery made by the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine, researchers have overturned decades of textbook teaching by determining that there is a direct correlation between the brain and the immune system. For years scientists have been trying to correlate the relationship between the two, yet they lacked the evidence to show how our thoughts and feelings (or neurochemistry) could affect our overall health. This groundbreaking finding could have significant implications on our understanding of how the brain and immune system interact, as well as enable scientists to target the immune system for the benefit of the brain.

What this correlation hopes to uncover is the understanding of how inflammation begins to create—and is responsible for—certain diseases. For instance, with diseases such as Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and autism, when the immune system is suppressed and inflammation goes up, either diseases are activated in the body or the symptoms of the existing diseases are exacerbated. Why? Because when we’re living by the hormones of stress for extended periods of time, inflammation diminishes and compromises the function our immune system.

“It’s crazy, but maybe we are just multicellular battlefields for two ancient forces: pathogens and the immune system. Part of our personality may actually be dictated by the immune system,” said Jonathan Kipnis, chair of UVA’s Department of Neuroscience.
This exciting new breakthrough in science could explain why we’re seeing so many amazing healings in our workshops. In meditation, as our students move into elevated states of being by embracing feelings of love, joy, gratitude, their future, etc., these feelings drive new modes of thinking. This in turn creates new brain chemistry, brings our brains into coherence, and engenders new synaptic connections—which then influences our bodies in very immediate and direct ways.

As people begin to overcome emotional states that keep them connected to past experiences—as they break out of redundant habits and automatic programs, as well as change certain self-destructive attitudes and beliefs—aspects of their immune system up-regulate genes. This means that their thoughts and feelings are signaling cells within the body’s internal defense system to turn on healthy genes to make better proteins—otherwise known as healthy anti-bodies—as well as a host of other beneficial chemicals to balance and regulate the body. This process in turn reduces inflammation, suppresses tumors, mobilizes enzymes, and so on.

So the next time you sit down to create a better life, a healthier body, or a new experience, just remember that your brain and body have never been separate and the bridge between them is your immune system. You see, your body has always been spying on your brain. So why not use your nervous system—the greatest pharmacist ever—to activate your body’s internal army to create order for you every day? You don’t even need a prescription.

Photos by LuciaJoy

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New Map Of The Brain Identifies 97 Previously Unknown Areas

source : http://www.awaken.com/2016/07/new-map-of-the-brain-identifies-97-previously-unknown-areas/

by Bahar GholipourIf you ask a neuroscientist to show you a map of the brain, chances are they’ll pick one that’s more than a century old…

Awaken

In 1909, a German anatomist named Korbinian Brodmann published an intricate map of the brain’s surface. He painstakingly stained brain cells of many kinds to find the anatomical features that set them apart and the rules that governed their layered organization. We now know that neurons that sense a touch on the skin are found in Brodmann area 1; those allowing you to read this article sit in area 17.

Now, scientists have built an updated map of the brain that further refines those areas. Published Wednesday in the journal Nature, the map reveals 97 previously unknown areas of the brain’s surface (the cortex), in addition to 83 areas that were described before.

 

 

Unlike Brodmann’s and other brain maps built using just one property (how the cells looked under a microscope, for example), the new atlas is made by combining several types of data that capture multiple properties of these brain areas: their anatomy, their function and the connections between them.

The data was gathered using multiple non-invasive brain imaging measures from 210 people in the NIH Human Connectome Project, and the accuracy of the resulting map was confirmed on another group of 210 people.

The study authors hope that “researchers who have previously used Brodmann’s map to identify brain areas will use this new map from the Human Connectome Project instead,” said Matthew Glasser of Washington University in St. Louis, the study’s lead author.

According to Glasser and his colleagues at six other research centers, combining anatomical data with functional data from fMRI brain scans has allowed for more precise delineation between brain areas.

For example, an area that may look indistinguishable from its neighbor under the microscope or on MRI scans may light up on fMRI scans that measure brain activation during a specific mental task and thus stand out as a distinct region.

“The situation is analogous to astronomy where ground-based telescopes produced relatively blurry images of the sky before the advent of adaptive optics and space telescopes,” Glasser said in a press release.

MATTHEW F. GLASSER, DAVID C. VAN ESSEN
An example of a map of brain activation used in building the brain atlas. The image shows brain areas that activate (red, yellow) and deactivate (blue, green) as people listened to stories while in the fMRI scanner. 

Researchers hope that a more precise division of the brain can prevent potential confusion in neuroscience studies that may be looking at overly broad areas ― and lead to new discoveries.

The map is a “long-awaited advance,” said B. T. Thomas Yeo and Simon Eickhoff, two neuroscientists not involved in the study, in an accompanying article in Nature. They added that it creates a reference atlas that allows neuroscientists studying various aspects of the brain to work within a common framework.

Source: The Huffington Post

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Drugs Don’t Cause Addiction: This Will Change Your View Of Drugs & Addiction Forever

source : http://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/06/17/drugs-dont-cause-addiction-this-will-change-your-view-of-drugs-addiction-forever/

What causes drug addiction? Easy! Addictive substances. You take heroin and you’ll become an addict for sure, right? This is the narrative that our society teaches us. It is the reason why we treat addicts like criminals, blaming them for the choice they have made when they could have just as easily chosen a normal, conventional life, like everyone else.

But what if it’s not that easy or simple?

The Rat Park Experiment

In 1970, Canadian psychologist Bruce K. Alexander and his colleagues at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia conducted a study that directly challenged the common notion that drugs are themselves the cause of addiction.

They put lab rats in small separate cages, each with two water dispensers; one of them filled with pure water and the other with water mixed with heroin or cocaine. The rats would end up compulsively pressing the drug dispensing lever again and again, even to the point of choosing it over food. Soon enough, they would starve themselves to death. Sounds like the typical drug addict behavior, right?

But the study doesn’t end there. Alexandre and his team built what one could call a “Rat Paradise.” Instead of isolating rats in small separate cages, they let them interact with each other in an environment 200 times more spacious than a standard laboratory cage — with plenty of food, toys, wheels, and space to mate. Their behavior and choices changed dramatically.

The rats in the rat park resisted the drugged water and chose pure water instead. Even already-addicted rats weaned themselves off their addiction after they were transferred from cages to the rat park.

This begs the question: were rats really hopeless addicts, or simply unhappy? Were they reacting to the drug itself, or to their confined, isolated, and depressing environment?

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

– Jiddu Krishnamurti

Modern Society: The Antithesis To Human Happiness

The same question should be asked about human beings. Perhaps it is not the drug itself that some find addictive, but the fact that it is a temporary escape to this sick and depressing society we have built for ourselves. Authorities continue to glorify the War on Drugs with strict laws, fear-based education, and severe punishment for drug use… while completely disregarding how our society’s very structure is designed for unhappiness.

Think about it: the standard human life consists of spending the best years of our lives bored out of our minds in school only to prepare us for a job we will most likely hate, and then retire at 60 when we’re too old and tired to do the things we would have actually wanted to do.

“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for – in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.”

– Ellen Goodman

I don’t know about you, but this to me sounds a lot like a little cage in which there is no time or space to enjoy ourselves, act on our deepest calling, and feel a sense of community among fellow human beings — which I believe is key to human happiness and fulfillment. This is not to say that choosing the drug over reality is the right choice, but it is, in essence, just as reasonable as the poor rats’ decision to go for “feel good” chemicals rather than stay sober inside of a prison. Both the drug-addicted rat and human are hurting… and pain needs compassion and understanding, not punishment.

It is interesting to note that Bruce Alexander’s discovery was ignored and suppressed for many years. Perhaps because taking a good look at our own human environment  — instead of policing our reactions to it  — may spark the revolution that those in power fear. The difference between our human society and a rat cage is that we have a choice.

We can continue living by the rules even though they make us miserable. We can continue escaping our feelings with substances to better cope with the way things are. Or… we can turn to each other and realize that we are the ones powering this entire society. How about we stop that and instead power up the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible?

“If you feel like you don’t fit in, in this world, it is because you are here to help create a new one.”

– Jocelyn Daher

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