brain Archives - Unhinged

Coming of Age -Mental Health

by Doug 0 Comments
Coming of Age -Mental Health

Unhinged Facebook Page Post 
Published by Doug Warren · Yesterday at 7:19pm

Our discoveries and advances in understanding the brain – we are making real strides right now.

We need to treat & refer to serious Mental Illnesses, including Schizophrenia, Bipolar & Depression, not as behavioral or mental disorders, but as brain disorders; Neuropsychiatric disorders.

*Don’t miss Show #41 on March 7th as Ed Caggiani and I will be discussing at length about the magic of Music and its effects on the brain, but we will also elaborate some more on brain functioning as it relates to mental illnesses. I believe this is crucial in order to focus on issues like diagnosis, early detection and treatment, above perception and stigma. Stigma will die at the hands of Science & Progress!

~Doug Warren
Unhinged Podcast-Talking Mental

Share this post:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Unhinged Episode #037: Food For Thought

by Ed 0 Comments
Unhinged Episode #037: Food For Thought

We continue the discussion about “Having” vs. “Being”, but this time we welcome special guest Mitchell Drew (rocket scientist, idealist, avid concert-goer) and ask his thoughts on the subject. Are we losing out on experiences in real life when we interact with our mobile devices? Or are those virtual social interactions just as valid? Are we sacrificing a full real-life experience for the ability to record the experience on video to preserve the memory?

With three guitarists on, there’s no way we’re not going to mention music. We already know how powerful music can be for mental health, but when music makes us cry, the medicine can be painful and quite healing. Also, find out who has a Spotify playlist specifically designed to make them cry. 🙂

We also talk about how healthier foods can mean a healthier brain. Science tells us that certain types of foods can help promote brain health. A few tweaks to your diet can start you down the path to wellness if you know what foods to avoid (aspartame), and which to seek out (omega-3’s). Self-awareness is key… you have to acknowledge yourself to be able to improve yourself.

Show resources:
Share this post:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Unhinged Episode #014: Texting Truths and Brain Facts

by Ed 1 Comment
Unhinged Episode #014: Texting Truths and Brain Facts

Another month’s end, another situational downward turn. In our 14th episode, we discuss how living under the poverty line puts any mental illness recovery in danger. Doug’s situation is no exception as he struggles to survive for eight days with a zero balance. We re-enact a texting conversation we had in preparation for the show that outlines just how negative, sarcastic, and angry one can get when control over normal, mundane things is lost.

On the lighter side, we present another round of interesting facts about the brain.

Show resources:
Share this post:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Yawning and the Brain

by Doug 0 Comments

yawning-manJaguar_yawn_1yawning-smiley

 

Yawning is a stereotyped behavior with very ancient origins, for it is found in fish, reptiles, and birds, as well as in humans. Described in ancient times by Hippocrates (who thought it served to evacuate fever), yawning did not become a subject of serious interest until the advances achieved in neuroscience in the 1980’s.

Generally speaking, yawning consists of three phases: first, a long intake of air, then a climax, and finally a rapid exhalation, which may or may not be accompanied by stretching. After yawning, you generally experience a sense of well being and relaxation and feel much more present in and aware of your body than you did before you yawned.

Contrary to what was believed for centuries, yawning does not serve to improve oxygenation in the brain. This myth was first laid to rest when it was discovered that the human fetus can yawn as early as the age of 12 weeks, even though it is surrounded by amniotic fluid in its mother’s belly and so is scarcely likely to get any more oxygen to its brain from this effort.

Second, if yawning really helped to raise the oxygen concentration in the blood, then inhaling pure oxygen would cause yawns to become less frequent, while raising the concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood would make them more frequent. But several studies have shown that neither of these things occurs. Also, yawning is no more common in people with acute or chronic respiratory problems than it is in the general population.

The role of yawning has yet to be fully determined. But because we yawn more often when we first awaken, when we are bored, and when we are trying not to fall asleep, its primary function would appear to be to help make us more alert. Yawning also seems to play a role in non-verbal communication, especially among primates.

Which leads us to something truly singular about yawning: its contagiousness. That is, when we see someone yawn, it makes us yawn. Sometimes simply thinking about a yawn can be enough to trigger one! Obviously, the term “contagiousness” should not be taken literally here, because no germs are being transmitted. More precisely, yawning is a form of involuntary imitation. Some scientists believe that this characteristic of yawning may have developed as a mechanism for promoting social cohesion, for example, by enabling all the people present in a group to have the same level of alertness at the same time.

In the rest of the animal kingdom, yawning is observed among predator and prey species alike. Among predators, its purpose might be to encourage the group to take a restorative nap so that all of its members can be well rested for an attack on their prey later on. Among prey, by encouraging all members of the group to fall asleep at the same time, yawning might reduce the risk that any one individual might be sleeping alone and hence highly vulnerable to attack by a predator.

There is no nerve centre strictly associated with the yawn reflex, but certain brain structures, such as the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the brainstem are essential for its expression. Some scientists have even hypothesized that the strong contractions of the jaw muscles during yawning may stimulate the reticular formation and thereby encourage wakefulness.

Lastly, one interesting linguistic note: the French verb bâiller (to yawn) has a circumflex accent on the “a” and not on the “i” because in Old French, when people pronounced this word, they stretched out the “a” to imitate the sound of someone yawning.

*Courtesy of McGill University -“The Brain, Start to Finish”                                                                                 copyleft

Share this post:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Unhinged Episode #009: Music and the Brain

by Ed 0 Comments
Unhinged Episode #009: Music and the Brain

In our 9th episode, We talk about how music is what brought us together many years ago and how it became an important part of our friendship. We also disclose what the “blue room” from our previous intro is and how that’s related.

There was another rocky start the morning of this show, and Doug tells us what’s got him down.

Doug explains all about neurotransmitters and their importance in the brain, and how music can help with their production. And finally, we discuss an article from Time about how learning to play an instrument and participating in musical learning leads to better academic performance all around.

Show resources:

Share this post:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Renowned neurosurgeon, and my DBS doc, Andres Lozano on TED (Jan 2013)

by Doug 0 Comments

Parkinson’s, depression and the switch that might turn them off

Deep brain stimulation is becoming very precise. This technique allows surgeons to place electrodes in almost any area of the brain, and turn them up or down — like a radio dial or thermostat — to correct dysfunction. Andres Lozano offers a dramatic look at emerging techniques, in which a woman with Parkinson’s instantly stops shaking and brain areas eroded by Alzheimer’s are brought back to life. (Filmed at TEDxCaltech.)

Share this post:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail