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Transcript: Paul Nussbaum on Meditation, Neuropsychology and Thanksgiving

Below you can find the full tran­script of our engag­ing Q&A ses­sion yes­ter­day on holis­tic brain health with clin­i­cal neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist Dr. Paul Nuss­baum, author of Save Your Brain. You can learn more about the full Brain Fit­ness Q&A Series Here.

Per­haps one of the best exchanges was: Read the rest of this entry »

Stress and the Brain: To Fight, Flee or Freeze –That is the Question

(Editor’s note: below you have the final part of the 6-part Stress and the Brain series. If you are join­ing the series now, you can read the pre­vi­ous parts via the links below.)

Stayin’ Alive

Under­stand­ing the Human Brain and How It Responds to Stress

TO FIGHT, FLEE, OR FREEZE — THAT IS THE QUESTION

With a bet­ter under­stand­ing of the neu­ro­bi­ol­ogy of stress, the LD — ADHD — stress con­nec­tion becomes clear.  Stu­dents with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties or ADHD, con­fronted with the stress cre­ated by expo­sure to tasks that are in real­ity or in their per­cep­tion too dif­fi­cult (and thus threat­en­ing), exhibit the pro­tec­tive behav­ior of any organ­ism under extreme stress:  They fight, they flee, or they freeze. When these kids don’t under­stand why they can’t do what other kids can do (mas­ter the stres­sor), and they can’t see any way to get out of a sit­u­a­tion that won’t go away, they begin to shut down. Read the rest of this entry »

The Neurobiology of Stress: The Human Brain Likes to Be in Balance

(Editor’s note: below you have part 5 of the 6-part The Neu­ro­bi­ol­ogy of Stress series. If you are join­ing the series now, you can read the pre­vi­ous part Here.)

Stayin’ Alive

Under­stand­ing the Human Brain and How It Responds to Stress

The Human Brain Likes to Be in Balance

For­tu­nately, the brain has some built — in safety sys­tems. Too much cor­ti­sol in the blood sig­nals the brain and adrenal glands to decrease cor­ti­sol pro­duc­tion. And under nor­mal con­di­tions, when the stress is over­come or brought under con­trol (by fight­ing, flee­ing, or turn­ing into an immo­bile statue, or by mas­ter­ing the threat), the hypo­thal­a­mus starts send­ing out the orders to stand down. Stop pro­duc­ing cor­ti­sol!  Event over!  Under con­tin­u­ous stress, how­ever, this feed­back sys­tem breaks down. The hypo­thal­a­mus keeps read­ing the stress as a threat, furtively send­ing mes­sages to the pitu­itary gland, which screams out to the adrenal glands to keep pump­ing out cor­ti­sol, which at this point begins to be neu­ro­toxic — poi­son to the brain. Read the rest of this entry »

The Neurobiology of Stress: The Stress Response Explained

(Editor’s note: below you have part 4 of the 6-part The Neu­ro­bi­ol­ogy of Stress series. If you are join­ing the series now, you can read the pre­vi­ous part Here.)

Stayin’  Alive

Under­stand­ing the Human Brain and How It Responds to Stress

THE STRESS RESPONSE EXPLAINED

Stress was put on the map, so to speak, by a Hun­gar­ian — born Cana­dian endocri­nol­o­gist named Hans Hugo Bruno Selye (ZEL — yeh) in 1950, when he pre­sented his research on rats at the annual con­ven­tion of the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion. To explain the impact of stress, Selye pro­posed some­thing he called the Gen­eral Adap­ta­tion Syn­drome (GAS), which he said had three com­po­nents. Accord­ing to Selye, when an organ­ism expe­ri­ences some novel or threat­en­ing stim­u­lus it responds with an alarm reac­tion. This is fol­lowed by what Selye referred to as the recov­ery or resis­tance stage, a period of time dur­ing which the brain repairs itself and stores the energy it will need to deal with the next stress­ful event.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Neurobiology of Stress: The Little Brain Down Under

(Editor’s note: below you have part 3 of the 6-part The Neu­ro­bi­ol­ogy of Stress series. If you are join­ing the series now, you can read the pre­vi­ous part Here.)

Stayin’ Alive

Under­stand­ing the Human Brain and How It Responds to Stress

The Lit­tle Brain Down Under

The tour con­tin­ues … Sit­ting under the occip­i­tal and tem­po­ral lobes of the brain is the cere­bel­lum. It’s about the size of a child’s fist. Because it looks like a sep­a­rate brain­like struc­ture attached to the under­side of the cor­tex, the cere­bel­lum is some­times referred to as the “ lit­tle brain. ” It’s con­nected to the brain stem, which in turn con­nects the brain to the spinal cord. The cere­bel­lum used to be rel­e­gated to the very sim­ple role of help­ing us main­tain bal­ance when we walk or run, but mod­ern neu­ro­science has found that the cere­bel­lum plays a much larger and more impor­tant role than that. Read the rest of this entry »

The Neurobiology of Stress: Gray Matters

(Editor’s note:  below you have part 2 of the 6-part The Neu­ro­bi­ol­ogy of Stress series. If you are join­ing the series now, you can read the pre­vi­ous part Here.)

Stayin’ Alive

Under­stand­ing the Human Brain and How It Responds to Stress

Gray Mat­ters

The term gray mat­ter usu­ally evokes an image of the cor­tex, because that ’ s the part most vis­i­ble in pic­tures of the brain.  In fact, gray mat­ter makes up not only the cere­bral cor­tex but also the cen­tral por­tion of the spinal cord and areas called the cere­bel­lar cor­tex and the hip­pocam­pal cor­tex.  This dense tis­sue is packed full of neu­ronal cells, their den­drites (branch­ing, root — like end­ings), axon ter­mi­nals (the other end), and those sticky glial cells I men­tioned ear­lier. The cor­tex is the area of the brain where the actual pro­cess­ing of infor­ma­tion takes place.  Because of its rel­a­tive size and com­plex­ity, it ’ s easy to under­stand why it plays a key role in mem­ory, atten­tion, per­cep­tual aware­ness, thought, lan­guage, and consciousness.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Neurobiology of Stress: the Human Brain and How It Responds to Stress

(Editor’s note: We are pleased to bring to Sharp­Brains read­ers a new 6-part series on the Neu­ro­bi­ol­ogy of Stress, excerpted from the recent book Nowhere to Hide: Why Kids with ADHD and LD Hate School and What We Can Do About It, by Sharp­Brains con­trib­u­tor Dr. Jerome Schultz.)

Stayin ’ Alive

Under­stand­ing the Human Brain and How It Responds to Stress

Worry is like a rock­ing chair. It gives you some­thing to do, but it gets you nowhere.
— Erma Bombeck

The brain is the con­trol cen­ter for all of our thoughts, actions, atti­tudes, and emo­tions. It ’ s the pilot­house on the river­boat of our lives. It’s Mis­sion Con­trol for all of our fl ights into space or time. It ’ s the air traffic con­troller that helps us nav­i­gate and reroute our paths based on incom­ing and out­go­ing infor­ma­tion and how we’re feel­ing about it at the time. It’s the John Williams of our per­sonal sym­phony. It ’ s the Mother Ship to our Starfleet; it’s . . . (Uh, sorry, I got car­ried away there, but I think you get my point!) Read the rest of this entry »

Learn about the 2014 SharpBrains Summit in 2 minutes

Watch Larry King’s interview

» Click HERE in the USA, or HERE else­where (opens 28-min program)

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