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Oct 07

The Mind-Body Connection Is Stronger Than You Thought: How Your Brain and Body Functions Influence Each Other

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The connection between the body and mind is obvious. You might be amazed by the how strong this connection is and how our thoughts affect our health, even depression and the links to stress.

Studies show that stress or depression can change us physically, even organ function! Peter L. Strick, PhD, Thomas Detre Chair of the Department of Neurobiology and scientific director of the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute, said,

“Our results turned out to be much more complex and interesting than we imagined before we began this study.”

It’s simpler to understand than you think.

The adrenal medulla, glands that are located above each kidney, are responsible for stress regulation and response. Neural pathways were found which connect this region to the cerebral cortex. This discovery means that the mind can not only influence organ function, but it can be influenced by organ function as well. And that’s not all, there are more than a few of these neural pathways. In fact, scientists were baffled by the number of connections between brain and body functions.

To find these results, Strick and his colleagues conducted experiments using the tracing method and the rabies virus. The results revealed long chains of neural connections, many of which originate from the area of the cerebral cortex which governs motor function, along with cognition – both these areas have frequent connections.

It may not seem like such an important discovery, but it matters more than you think.

Consider being insulted by someone. What would you do? Most people are capable of dishing out a successful comeback or simply ignoring the insult. Without connections in the cognitive areas, the “fight or flight” response may be your only option. With neural connections between the cerebral cortex and the adrenal medulla, you have stable options, without having to run away or start a fight. You are better equipped to respond to situations in everyday life.

[More…]

 

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