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Real Brain

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Last Updated: 18 January 2022

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General | Latest Info

That's takeaway of new brain imaging study led by University of Colorado Boulder and Icahn School of Medicine researchers, suggesting that imagination can be powerful tool in helping people with fear and anxiety - related disorders overcome them. This research confirms that imagination is neurological reality that can impact our brains and bodies in ways that matter for our wellbeing, says Tor Wager, director of Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory at CU Boulder and co - senior author of paper, published in journal Neuron. About one in three people in United States have anxiety disorders, including phobias, and 8 percent have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Since 1950s, clinicians have used exposure therapy as first - line treatment, asking patients to face their fears - real or imagine - in safe, controlled setting. Anecdotally, results have been positive. But until now, very little has been known about how such methods impact brain or how imagination neurologically compares to real - life exposure. These novel findings bridge long - standing gap between clinical practice and Cognitive Neuroscience, says lead author Marianne Cumella Reddan, graduate student in Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at CU Boulder. This is first Neuroscience study to show that imagining threat can actually alter way it is represented in brain. For study, 68 healthy participants were trained to associate sound with uncomfortable, but not painful, electric shock. Then, they were divided into three groups and either exposed to same threatening sound, asked to play sound in their head, or asked to imagine pleasant bird and rain sounds - all without experiencing further shocks. Researchers measure activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Sensors on skin measure how body respond. In groups that imagine and hear threatening sounds, brain activity was remarkably similar, with auditory cortex, nucleus accumens and ventromedial prefrontal cortex all lighting up. After repeat exposure without accompanying shock, subjects in both real and imagined threat groups experience what is known as extinction, where fear - inducing stimulus no longer ignite fear response. Statistically, real imagined exposure to threat were not different at whole brain level, and imagination works just as well, says Reddan. Notably, groups that imagine birds and rain sounds show different brain reactions, and fear of response to sound persisted. I think lot of people assume that way to reduce fear or negative emotions is to imagine something good. In fact, what might be more effective is exactly opposite: imagining threat, but without negative consequences, says Wager. Previous research has shown that imagining act can activate and strengthen regions of brain involved in its real - life execution, improving performance. For instance, imagining playing piano can neuronal connections in regions related to fingers. Research also shows possible to update our memories, inserting new details.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

The story behind the story

Mental disorders cost United States significantly more than any other medical condition: close to $200 billion in lost earnings alone. Finding cures for mental illness is important issue at societal level, and also because patients and their families suffer greatly. Yet, despite decades of modern research on mental illness, including relatively recent studies of structure of human genome and genetic associations by thousands of dedicated scientists, present understanding of causes and underlying mechanisms of mental illness remains unsatisfactory. As consequence, successful treatment is often elusive. Recent data suggest that mental illness is caused by combination of heredity and environment, latter involving multiple factors, including malnutrition, prenatal and birth complications, stress, drug abuse, and others, which act in complex interplay with one another and with individual's genes. But it remains exceedingly hard to identify biological and chemical processes for mental illness, in part these disorders are diagnosed through observations of behaviors rather than through more precise tests. Unlike cancer and heart disease, mental illness has objective measures; there are no biological markers in current use that help diagnose mental illness. It is also becoming clear that specific mental disorders not well categorize. There is evidence that various mental illnesses overlap at level of behaviors as well as their neurobiological substrates. For example, there is current scientific consensus that PFC is main site of disruption in people with schizophrenia, although its network of connections with other parts of brain may be abnormal, too. Yet, what these abnormalities are and how exactly brain malfunctions in any give mental remain largely unknown. These difficulties contribute to, and are compounded by, association mental illness with societal stigma. Improve communication among researchers, clinicians, patient communities, and public may mitigate stigma by conveying that mental illness is brain disease, and not fundamentally different from ailments that affect other organs of body, such as heart or kidney disease. Bkl, scientist who specializes in study of mental disorders, was diagnosed in 2015 with metastatic melanoma and underwent immunotherapy treatment. Resulting frontal cortex inflammation present as mental illness: I experience not just and difficulty of living with mental illness, but also how other people react to mentally ill individuals. I have first - hand evidence that mental illness is disease of brain. My outlook on mental illness shifted to being more tolerant, understanding, and to share knowledge about brain and mental disorders. Bkl's unique perspective, as both patient and neuroscientist, lends great weight to her message on importance of addressing mental illnesses such as Brain disease, and what Neuroscience as field can do to reduce stigma of such ailments in society. In conclusion, there is compelling need for researchers to disseminate their findings widely to public in accessible fashion.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

THE METAPHYSICS OF WHAT EXISTS

Words are powerful in science. When dealing with observer - independent categories, words set ground rules for what to look for in world. To extent that scientists understand and use words in similar way, they agree on what to search for. They assume, for moment, that genetic material really segregated into genes and junk, and they then go about searching for deep properties that ground these categories in material world, with hope either that they are right or that their observations will lead them to formulate better, more accurate categories. When dealing observer - dependent categories that populate psychology, words are ontologically powerful. They set ground for what exist. Words can also be dangerous. They present scientists with Faustian bargain. We need words to do work of science, but words lead us to mistake observer - dependent categories for observer - independent categories. By naming both defensive treading and freezing as fear, for example, scientists lulled into thinking these behaviors share deep property, and they will spend years searching for it, even when it may not exist. This is because words do only name category, they also encourage very basic form of essentialism that Paul Bloom argues is already present in how people think about events and objects in their everyday lives. Words function essence placeholders that encourage people to engage in psychological essentialismit. Convinces perceiver that there is some deep reality to category in material world. William James described danger of referring to psychological categories with words when he wrote Whenever we have make wordto denote certain group of phenomena, we are prone to suppose substantive entity existing beyond phenomena, of which word shall be name. In psychology, active and ongoing attempt to knit social and natural worlds together into one seamless universe, Words cause us to take phenomenology inspire categoriesWestern categories no longer search for years for specific brain areas, genes, hormones, some other biological product that they correspond to. Then we end up arguing about whether amygdala is brain's locus of fear, whether dopamine is hormone for reward, or whether serotonin transporter gene is cause of depression.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Sources

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

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