Tag Archives: Brain anomalies

Hormone from Hell? About the neurotransmitter dopamine.

A very good – and easily understandable – summary of in what ways we are influenced by the neurotransmitter dopamine.

I only want to add: This competent blogger has yet another blog, called Victoria Neuronotes. You should follow that blog too.

NeuroNotes

| 1K pharm  |  Dopamine is a small molecule. Nothing too complicated really. Two neighboring hydroxy groups on a benzene ring with an amino group just around the corner. But, oh! What a molecule. It is a neurotransmitter produced in various parts of the brain and has five known target receptors. According to the Wikipedia entry for the compound: “Its main function as a hormone is to inhibit the release of prolactin from the anterior lobe of the pituitary.” But, that belies a whole host of issues for which dopamine is responsible. Dopamine, after all, has a role to play in behavior and cognition, in voluntary movement, in motivation, in our level of concentration, working memory, learning, sleep patterns, our moods, sexual gratification, punishment, and, of course, reward.

Reward

We all know it when we receive it. It’s that most pleasurable feeling, that emotion that drives us…

View original post 493 more words

1 Comment

Filed under Addiction, Blogs I follow, Brain, Gods, Hallucinations, Magical & Religious Thinking, Mind, Morality issues, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Priming processes, Psychiatry, Psychology, Reason vs. Faith a.k.a. Sense vs. Sensibility, Religion, Woo, Woo-Personality

About woo-ism, psychiatric symptoms and immune system disturbances

Autoimmune and inflammatory activities in the brain seem to be linked with psychiatric symptoms. Have a look at this article: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/10/25/451169292/could-depression-be-caused-by-an-infection

I even suspect there may be a positive correlation between woo-ism (believing woo experiences must be true/genuine/real phenomena PLUS also displaying a higher disposition towards experiencing such paranormal – and psychic – phenomena).

It’s undeniable that there exists an overlap between mental and physical illness. They have many symptoms in common.

Furthermore, lately researchers have detected a network of vessels that seem to be able to directly connect the brain with the immune system, so it’s not farfetched to assume that neuroinflammatory and/or neurodegenerative diseases are associated with immune system dysfunction.

For details, see: http://www.nature.com/articles/nature14432.epdf?referrer_access_token=M_gEqyTF4woL1TO0pPtt_dRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0PP9svrp_06Oir1YyDWe7ejvVLL2VbrH_EwNtYJfrQFs76c429WdrHUa3kC6-ROdf0a_sf0Wq3y-_lXvDuWqqE81teEmgu9jJgiCo644XrZpoQFLHRhQL_oQbZPSnuILCbsmK4rEXRW91jKrI6Im8RIguooFs6WobJt6z2yuX7A2pJD0k4VDG0jAeie6V4PmjIrmox96-6NYWQfQMxCVLxb&tracking_referrer=www.npr.org .

There are also many indications that stressors of any kind, especially in childhood, can activate our immune system. A hyperactive immune system alarm goes hand in hand with autoimmune diseases. And woo believers are known to have more autoimmune disorder diagnoses than non-woo believers.

Examples of such stressors are physical abuse, sexual abuse, feelings of neglect and grief, nutritional deficiencies, sleep deprivation, and much more. A childhood full of stressors like these might pave the ground for woo beliefs later on.

This finding is, in turn, completely compatible with the positive correlation between woo believers and mental disorders like depression, GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. And those diagnoses are, in turn, suspected to be caused, partly, by an infection that has activated the immune-inflammatory system of their bodies.

So it’s easy to imagine that both stressors (like those I just mentioned) and Infections during childhood – maybe already in the womb – might work in concert with genetics to make that individual (already as a fetus) sensitive to not only psychosocial factors but also to become prone to believe in, and experience, paranormal phenomena.

BTW, Here’s a book I can recommend to all those interested in the woo-personality traits: http://www.davidritchey-author.com/hoa.htm .

The author David Ritchey summarizes his findings here: http://www.davidritchey-author.com/hoa-findings.htm . The following six points are listed (especially point #5 is of extra interest here):

1. Various factors including Biology (“nature”), Trauma and Abuse (“nurture”) and Temperament Type Preferences (“personality”) can predispose an individual to be an Anomalously Sensitive Person (ASP).

2. If an individual is anomalously sensitive in one realm (the “Physiological,” for example), s/he is very likely to be anomalously sensitive in the other realms (“Cognitive,” “Emotional,” “Altered States of Consciousness” and “Transpersonal Experiences”) as well.

3. The Anomalously Sensitive Person is likely to: be female, be hypopigmented (blond hair/blue eyes), be Non-Right-Handed (left-handed or ambidextrous), be artists, be born as one of a set of twins/triplets/etc. and have an other-than-conventionally heterosexual sexual orientation.

4. The Anomalously Sensitive Person is likely to: have an Introverted (rather than Extraverted) Orientation, have a preference for an Intuitive (rather than Sensate) mode of Perceiving and have a preference for a Feeling (rather than Thinking) mode of Judging.

5. The Anomalously Sensitive Person is likely to: have unusually sensitive immune systems, be highly reactive/responsive to sensory stimuli, exhibit learning/attention styles that differ from the norm, be very attuned to the emotions of both themselves and others, be especially facile at accessing Altered States of Consciousness and to frequently have Transpersonal (“metaphysical,” “paranormal,” “psychic”) Experiences.

6. The HISS data support the position of those negativists who hold that anomalous sensitivity is indicative of temporo-limbic epilepsy. The HISS data also support the position of those positivists who hold that anomalous sensitivity is indicative of kundalini arousal. The HISS data also support those who have no position and hold that anomalous sensitivity is indicative of anomalous sensitivity.

Leave a comment

Filed under Brain, Cognitive flaws, Delusions, Evolution, Genetics, Gods, Hallucinations, Neuroscience, Personality Tests, Priming processes, Psychiatry, Psychology, Reason vs. Faith a.k.a. Sense vs. Sensibility, Religion, Soul, Woo, Woo-Personality

Meth-induced voices in your head start with pareidolia

Interesting information – and facts – about, for instance, hearing voices, pareidolia, apophenia and EVP.

Also about the link between changed dopamine levels (mostly higher levels) in some parts of your brain and proneness to experiencing and believing in woo bullshit, spiritual beings and so on.

Skeptical Exaddict

I’ve never written about this topic on this blog, although it was a frequent subject on my old blog. Maybe it’s time…

This subject is fascinating to me now, though it wasn’t always that way. In active addiction it was scary. It was something that I lived with for a few years, but what I find most interesting is how it started.

Firstly, you need to know what pareidoloia is. It’s defined as seeing patterns where none exist, and while that explains it technically, it doesn’t really make it clear what the psychological phenomenon actually is. Visual pareidolia is when we think we see shapes like faces in inanimate objects, like Jesus on a piece of toast, or a face on Mars.

But pareidolia is also when we think we hear voices or recognisable sounds through white noise. An example of the less well known auditory pareidolia is when…

View original post 916 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs I follow, Brain, Delusions, Gods, Hallucinations, Neuroscience, Priming processes, Psychiatry, Psychology, Reason vs. Faith a.k.a. Sense vs. Sensibility, Religion

About Woos, Woo-Personality, H.I.S.S., ASPs, HSPs, the Enteric Brain, and our Immune System.

Ever heard of David Ritchey? He wrote a book – entitled “The H.I.S.S. of the A.S.P. Understanding the Anomalously Sensitive Person” – that was was published in 2003.

That’s a whole book about the woo-personality or, rather, about people inclined, and highly willing, to believe in magical and (pseudo)religious mass delusional woo-bullshit.


Click this link, http://www.davidritchey-author.com/hoa-contents.htm , and you can see what topics and subjects are discussed and analyzed in David Ritchey’s intriguing book about woos – or, as he prefers to call them, schizotypals. This link is about the content in the 14 chapters of the book. 

For example, in chapter 4 you can read about biological predispositions toward sensitivities. The reader learns about phenomena like anomalous cerebral laterality, left-handedness, biochemical factors behind the schizotypal personality syndrome and so on. 

David Ritchey is fond of mapping woo-ish temperament types. He often refers to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test, according to which many woos and magical believers are INFJs, i.e.Introverted and/or Intuitive Persons dependent on their Feelings (Emotions) when it comes to making Judgments (Decisions).In chapter 8 David Ritchey analyzes some common cognitive dysfunctions and malfunctions among woos, for instance the big prevalence of language and learning disorders among woos (many of them are dyslexic and/or dyscalculic).

Chapter 9 is about emotions and emotionality. The emotional acuity of the woo-personality can also be called HSP, meaning Highly Sensitive Person(ality). And HSP is strongly positively correlated to ASP (Anomalously Sensitive Personality/Persons).

Among ASPs altered states of consciousness (ASCs) are prevalent (at least relatively speaking). The same goes for dissociative disorders. And, of course, hallucinations and delusions are frequently experienced by an ASP.

 

Now click this link, http://www.davidritchey-author.com/hoa-findings.htm , and you can read a short summary of David Ritchey’s findings about personality traits and characteristics in people having a typical woo-personality. 


Ritchey calls attention to the following six findings:

#1. Various factors including Biology (“nature”), Trauma and Abuse (“nurture”) and Temperament Type Preferences (“personality”) can predispose an individual to be an Anomalously Sensitive Person (ASP).

#2. If an individual is anomalously sensitive in one realm (the “Physiological,” for example), s/he is very likely to be anomalously sensitive in the other realms (“Cognitive,” “Emotional,” “Altered States of Consciousness” and “Transpersonal Experiences”) as well.

#3. The Anomalously Sensitive Person is likely to: be female, be hypopigmented (blond hair/blue eyes), be Non-Right-Handed (left-handed or ambidextrous), be artists, be born as one of a set of twins/triplets/etc. and have an other-than-conventionally heterosexual sexual orientation.

#4. The Anomalously Sensitive Person is likely to: have an Introverted (rather than Extraverted) Orientation, have a preference for an Intuitive (rather than Sensate) mode of Perceiving and have a preference for a Feeling (rather than Thinking) mode of Judging.

#5. The Anomalously Sensitive Person is likely to: have unusually sensitive immune systems, be highly reactive/responsive to sensory stimuli, exhibit learning/attention styles that differ from the norm, be very attuned to the emotions of both themselves and others, be especially facile at accessing Altered States of Consciousness and to frequently have Transpersonal (“metaphysical,” “paranormal,” “psychic”) Experiences.

#6. The HISS data support the position of those negativists who hold that anomalous sensitivity is indicative of temporo-limbic epilepsy. The HISS data also support the position of those positivists who hold that anomalous sensitivity is indicative of kundalini arousal. The HISS data also support those who have no position and hold that anomalous sensitivity is indicative of anomalous sensitivity.

I came to think of David Ritchey’s woo-typology study when I just a little while ago read this article,

http://www.neuroscientificallychallenged.com/blog/microbes-and-the-mind . entitled “Microbes and the mind: Who’s pulling the strings?”. 


Neuroscientifically Challenged is a blog I strongly recommend for those of you who are interested in how both functional and dysfunctional/malfunctional brains work.
The blog article I received today from Neuroscientifically Challenged is about how microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and parasites are able to influence the neurobiology and behavior of their hosts (in this case humans). Researchers have pretty long been aware of a powerful connection between the gut, or gastrointestinal tract, and the brain;
This connection is called the gut-brain axis.
This powerful connection explains why strong emotions can have a great impact on the functioning of the gastrointestinal system – and vice versa.
In mammal bodies there are probably hundreds of millions of neurons OUTSIDE the brain and and the central nervous system (CNS).  This kind of  “external” neuronal structure has been dubbed the enteric nervous system (ENS).

Such neurons can be found around the heart but mostly, of course, in the walls of the gastrointestinal tract from the esophagus to anus (so who knows, maybe there is, after all, at least some veracity of the saw “He must be thinking with his ass”?).

Anyhow, the connections between the brain and the enteric nervous system are extensive, and the two can communicate through neuronal, endocrine, and immune system signaling.

And that’s why I came to think of David Ricthey and his book. Ricthey found that the Anomalously Sensitive Person (ASP) is likely to: have unusually sensitive immune systems, They often suffer from directly autoimmune diseases and so-called autoimmune-related disorders.

Therefore it shouldn’t come as any surprise that for woos (i.e. HSPs, ASPs) diagnoses like Fibromyalgia and. Chronic Fatigue are relatively common.

Neither of those two diseases (diagnoses) are genuine autoimmune disorders, strictly speaking, but they have both a marked and pronounced connection to many (other) autoimmune diseases that are categorized as genuine and are therefore associated with a dysfunctional/malfunctional immune system

Other directly or indirectly autoimmune-related diseases/disorders that seem to be more common than statistically expected among woo people are different types of personality disorders (for instance Borderline Personality Disorder, Schizotypal Personality Disorder, Latent schizophrenic Personality Disorder etc.), mood affecting disorders (such as depression, GAD, OCD OCHD, Tourette’s Syndrome and so on) and Attention Deficit Disorders (like ADD or ADHD).

Woos also often seem to be diagnosed with more specific disorders/diseases like Urticaria, Vitiligo, Psoriasis, Porphyria, IBS, Celiac disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, Narcolepsy, Sleep Paralysis, Lyme disease,Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, Endometriosis, and Alopecia areata.

Please note that most of these correlations are just anecdotal so far. This research area is still to be referred to as a “terra incognita”.

If you want more information about this kind of correlations, have a look at; http://www.davidritchey-author.com/HISS%20Questionnaire%20(VIIA).pdf . By clicking that link, you can see an abbreviated version of David Ritchey’s so-called  H.I.S.S. Questionnaire (with almost 100 questions to be answered by the respondent).

H.I.S.S. stands for Holistic Inventory of Stimulus Sensitivities.

A not so emotionally laden example of hypersensitivity is hyperacusis or hyperacusia.

That diagnosis means an abnormal acuteness of hearing due to increased irritability of the neural mechanism of your auditive sense. The disorder is characterized by a more or less strong intolerance for ordinary sound levels. For instance, you can get temporary “crazy” just because your neighbor decided to start his lawn mower at 8 a.m. or even earlier, on a Sunday morning.

1 Comment

Filed under Blogs I follow, Brain, Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Woo-Personality

The Paranormal and Psychology: Personality traits correlated to SPEs ( Subjective Paranormal Experiences)

Very good overview of personality traits (and personality theories) applicable and relevant to people prone to magical & religious woo-bullshit thinking.

Marmalade

A hallucination may occur in a person in a state of good mental and physical health, even in the apparent absence of a transient trigger factor such as fatigue, intoxication or sensory deprivation.

It is not widely recognised that hallucinatory experiences are not merely the prerogative of the insane, or normal people in abnormal states, but that they occur spontaneously in a significant proportion of the normal population, when in good health and not undergoing particular stress or other abnormal circumstance.

The evidence for this statement has been accumulating for more than a century. Studies of hallucinatory experience in the sane go back to 1886 and the early work of the Society for Psychical Research[1][2], which suggested approximately 10% of the population had experienced at least one hallucinatory episode in the course of their life. More recent…

View original post 5,198 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs I follow, Brain, Delusions, Hallucinations, Mind, Neuroscience, Religion, Soul, Woo

Alien Hand Syndrome

neuravinci

Imagine cruising down the highway, wind in your hair, sunshine on your face. You have the radio on, your favorite songs are playing, and your hands seem fine. That is, until they start taking over the steering wheel and trying to crash you.

Or you are sitting in your chair and your hand is repeatedly slapping you.

This is what is can be like to have alien hand syndrome.

 

And yes, this is the disorder Dr. Strangelove in Stanley Kubrick’s movie had. In fact, alien hand syndrome is sometimes called the Dr. Strangelove syndrome.

 

One sufferer, 55-year-old Karen Byrne, developed alien hand syndrome after having her corpus callosum severed in an effort to control her epilepsy. The corpus callosum is the bundle of nerve fibers running down the center of the brain, connecting the two hemispheres so that they can communicate. Severing the corpus callosum is a last-effort…

View original post 328 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Brain, Consciousness, Delusions, Mind, Neuroscience, Split-brain, Woo

Mirrored-Self Misidentification: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who I See is not Me at all

neuravinci

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who I see is not me at all.
When you look into a mirror, who do you see? Yourself?

Not if you have Mirrored-self misidentification, a delusional belief that your reflection in a mirror belongs to a stranger’s. The stranger just happens to look like you.
The disorder might be because of mirror agnosia, an inability to properly interact with a mirror. There might also be a deficit in facial reading and identification involved.

What is really interesting is that this delusion can be induced in a laboratory via hypnosis. One study took participants and hypnotized them, urging them that when they looked into a mirror, they would either see a stranger’s reflection or not be able to recognize the person. Half of the participants received the suggestion when hypnotized, and the other half received it when fully awake. Needless to say, those hypnotized with…

View original post 341 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs I follow, Brain, Hallucinations, Mind, Neuroscience, Woo

Capgras Delusion: Impostors are Everywhere. Or are they?

neuravinci

Impostors, impostors everywhere. Or are they?

David was involved in a bad car accident. He sustained head injuries when he landed head-first on the ground. Seemingly, though, he was fine, retaining the capacity to talk and walk. But there was a problem. Whenever David saw his mother, he would say that she looks like my mother, but really, she is not my mother. She is another woman who is, for some reason, pretending to be my mother. She is an impostor.

In Capgras delusion, the sufferer will look at another person, and claim that that other person is an exact double—an impostor. Never mind the fact that this “impostor” has mannerisms, characteristics, the same voice, as the “original” person. To a Capgras delusion sufferer, these facts do not matter.

David also thought his father was an impostor. Sometimes, he would tell his father, “You know, I think you’d like to…

View original post 599 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs I follow, Brain, Delusions, Mind, Neuroscience, Woo

Somatophrenia

neuravinci

Look at the right side of your body. It’s yours, right? Or maybe it’s your neighbor’s…

 

Somatoparaphrenia is caused by damage to the right parietal lobe. The similarity of this disorder to BIID, coupled with the childhood onset of these disorders, suggest both may be congenital disorders, that is, present from birth. The disorder is a delusional belief concerning the contralateral lesional side of the body, meaning that the side of the body opposite the side of brain damage is affected.

 

This disorder should not be confused with asomatognosia, which is unawareness, rather than delusional disbelief, of a limb, usually the left arm.

 

Patients with somatoparaphrenia deny ownership of either a limb on one side of their body, or an entire side of their body. A sufferer might be adamant that their right arm and leg are not theirs, not part of their body.in many cases, the…

View original post 616 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs I follow, Brain, Delusions, Mind, Neuroscience, Woo

Split-Brain Patients

neuravinci

The corpus callosum is the bundle of never fibers that connect the two hemispheres of the brain. It’s the largest single structure in the brain, with some two hundred million fibers. As a last resort for epilepsy, this bundle can be cut in a procedure known as a callostomy. When this happens, a split-brain patient can occur.

What is interesting is that these split-brain patients do not appear outwardly abnormal. There is not any indication that they have a severed corpus callosum if you saw them walking down the aisle at your local supermarket. They do not make weird facial expressions or odd gestures, they do not walk or speak ‘funny.’ They seem just like you or me.

But the evidence for their disorder abounds in the lab.

When the corpus callosum is severed, the two hemispheres of the brain, the left hemisphere (LH) and the right hemisphere (RH), cannot…

View original post 843 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs I follow, Brain, Delusions, Neuroscience, Split-brain, Woo