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Mind, memory and mitochondria


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How mind, traumatic memory and the mitochondrial shutdown affects health.

Published in: Health & Medicine
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Mind, memory and mitochondria

  2. 2. TODAY.. • A definition of mind • Stress, trauma and implicit memory formation • The mitochondrial link to chronic illness • EMDR Demo • Further implications; treating chronic disease & dysfunction (if time) Are you ready to find out the link between mind, memory and mitochondria?
  3. 3. ABOUT ME • Scientist, health researcher. • Suffered chronic illness, exhausted the medical solution. Tried Chinese medicine in desperation. It worked. • Changed my mind. Studied: Nutritional medicine, Clinical massage, Reiki, EFT, and Hypnotherapy. • Now a natural health practitioner, author, wellbeing coach, specialist in chronic pain e.g. anxiety, back pain, auto- immune, CFS, Fibromyalgia, etc.
  4. 4. What is it?... Neuroscientists - sum total of the flow of information along neural pathways in the brain and spinal cord Psychologists - seat of human consciousness and thought housed in the brain - separate from the body? Medicine - only deals with the body so avoids the question Metaphysics - brain = a radio receiver tuning into an external consciousness and mind is simply the result THEORIES OF MIND
  5. 5. Freud’s theories of the psyche: Superego, Ego, Id in conflict, some • Conscious - only about 5% • Sub (pre) conscious • Unconscious A metaphor? MIND
  6. 6. THE TRIUNE BRAIN: ORIGIN OF UNCONSCIOUS THREAT subconscious - we are not aware of them; our survival mechanism – 90% our function
  7. 7. THE UNCONSCIOUS BRAIN The limbic system and brainstem are part of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) which automatically controls our essential functions (including survival) without our conscious involvement Amygdala = smoke alarm Thalamus = ‘cook’, sifts data Hippocampus = context stamp & memory encoding Hypothalamus – stress response
  8. 8. THE HPA AXIS AND THE STRESS RESPONSE STRES S Hormonal and neurological cascade mediated by hormones & neurotransmitter s glutamate, noradrenaline, cortisol and dopamine.
  9. 9. MIND AND BODY: ANS Head and neck: eyes, ears, Tongue and facial muscles Internal organs of circulation, Respiration, digestion, excretion, reproduction Polyvagal theory 3 levels of response to threat Fight, flight and freeze.
  10. 10. THE MIND AND THE BODY Now we have a process which explains the unconscious operations of the mind (brain) with those of the body Mind and body are one. ‘Descartes’ error’ Emotional states are felt in both the mind and the body Recorded by the limbic system for future avoidance as ‘implicit’ memory formed early in life (pre-verbal stage)
  11. 11. MEMORY Short term vs long term 2 types of long term memory: Explicit / Narrative / Declarative/ Implicit / Procedural/ Emotional / Body Time bound – exist in the past Perpetual present Hippocampus ‘tags’ a memory and stores it within cortex Stored in limbic system (amygdala) during trauma Conscious recall with narrative structure (beginning, middle and end). Subject to bias and distortion so that memory changes over time i.e. decays. (what, when) Unconscious recall via unconscious ‘triggers’ (sounds, smells, visual stimuli that remind the brain of the originating event. Persistent; never varies or decays. (how)
  12. 12. IMPLICIT MEMORY - TRAUMATISATION Developmentally, implicit memory is first to develop in human baby – before cortex comes online at 7 A survival mechanism for a human so is extremely robust Does not decay with time Memories are: • Present • Persistent • Pervasive Brain defaults to this type during trauma
  13. 13. MEMORY CONSOLIDATION • A memory is stabilised by chemical encoding of the memory trace – consolidation of neural pathways • In traumatisation the memory becomes permanently encoded in amygdala i.e. when triggered by similar events, you re-experience the emotions as if they were happening today without knowing why.
  14. 14. IMPLICIT MEMORY Stored in the mind & body as an uncompleted emotional response or movement – e-motion (emovare) Can manifest as; • Flashbacks (PTSD) • Anxiety • Phobias • Chronic Pain • IBS and gut problems • Facial ticks, tinnitus, vertigo, • Fatigue (CFS), etc
  15. 15. STRESS, TRAUMA AND UNRESOLVED EMOTION Stress & unresolved emotional trauma are major contributors to your health Interpreted by your subconscious brain as a threat to survival 3 levels of the threat response: (ANS) 1/ seek attachment – Social engagement 2/ then escape (fight or flight) (HPA – sympathetic nerve) and finally, if all else fails 3/ ‘freeze’ response* – reptilian parasympathetic – dissociation, shutdown of body systems)
  16. 16. TRAUMA: DEFINITION • Any unresolved event pathologically /permanently encoded memory causing emotion/symptoms in the present • Can be physical (e.g. accident) or psychological e.g. abuse or poor parental attachment. Usually in childhood/young adulthood, linked by emotions & memory in the subconscious. • The meaning we attribute to the event not the severity of the event itself. So can be simply lack of love/support, feelings of abandonment, etc.
  17. 17. WHY IS TRAUMA IMPORTANT? • Traumatic memory becomes a self-perpetuating cycle of internally generated subconscious stress which makes further trauma more likely - kindling • Unresolved emotional memory triggers physiological effects in body e.g pain in Fibromyalgia, fatigue, etc • All sorts of medically unexplained symptoms (MUS) may be due to this unconsolidated memory trace * Trauma heightens sensitivity to physical pain neurologically (Howard 2000)
  19. 19. THE MINDBODY CONNECTION - MITOCHONDRIA The ‘powerhouse of the cell’ Does it remind you of anything?
  20. 20. EVOLUTIONAR Y ORIGINS 2 million years ago a unicellular organism (an Archaea) engulfed a bacterium to create the first multi-celled organism – eukaryote in order to use rising O2 levels Eventually the bacterium became a mitochondrion but it kept: • Its own DNA (separate from DNA in the nucleus – handed down from the maternal line) • A different form of metabolism (aerobic respiration using oxygen)
  21. 21. AEROBIC RESPIRATION • Aerobic – uses oxygen and produces ATP – the energy molecule • ≈30 ATP per molecule of O2 within the mitochondria
  22. 22. MITOCHONDRIA UNDER STRESS • Conditions of low oxygen (obesity), toxicity or stress (conscious or unconscious) activates the Cell Danger Response (CDR) • Body switches to anaerobic energy production in cell cytosol • Much less efficient: only 2 ATP per O2 molecule (15 x less!) • Mitochondrial dysfunction (mitochondriopathy) is at heart of most chronic disease e.g. auto-immune, AZ, CFS and cancer. • Reversing the message of threat is the main priority in healing
  23. 23. TREATMENT: REACTIVATION AND RE- CONSOLIDATION • Reactivation of these traumatic implicit memories via recall of emotion makes these pathways alterable • Neurons that ‘fire together wire together’ • Via disruption of the pathways during recall (touch or visual stimulation) the memory and its emotion can be dissociated – extinction and reconsolidated into explicit memories In order to heal: we need to make the unconscious conscious
  24. 24. THE 3 PILLARS OF TREATMENT • Psychotherapy: talking therapy which aims to understand origin of problem and in ‘re-framing’ it to resolve it. Largely unsuccessful. • Psychopharmacology: symptom suppression with pharmaceuticals. Limited success. • Psychosensory: use of sensory stimulation to re- configure the brain’s response to stressful memory. Moderate to Extraordinary success! • Uses notion of neuro-plasticity, mind and body
  25. 25. PSYCHOSENSORY APPROACHES • EMDR – Eye movement desensitisation and Reprocessing- Bilateral stimulation • EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique – tapping with self-affirmation • Havening – eye movements and self soothing • Hypnotherapy – e.g. Lightning process – hypnotherapeutic intervention
  26. 26. EMDR: EYE MOVEMENT DESENSITISATION AND REPROCESSING USES: • Panic Attacks • Anxiety • Anger • Chronic Pain • Relationship issues • Limiting beliefs Is context free i.e. you don’t have to talk about it!
  27. 27. EMDR - DEMO Any volunteers?
  28. 28. HOW DOES EMDR WORK? Several theories: • Bilateral stimulation – right and left hemispheres resolves and integrates memories in midbrain (limbic system). Like in REM sleep – memory is ‘pruned’ & digested. Via dopamine • Change memories from implicit to explicit • Maladaptive links into adaptive network (facilitates insights), becomes less volatile But basically brings the cortex (frontal lobe) online and allows processing of the thought/emotion.
  29. 29. CHRONIC FATIGUE, PAIN AND AUTO- IMMUNE SYNDROMES These are 21st century epidemics caused by: • Toxicity of the food supply and environment (pesticides, antibiotics hormones) • Nutritional deficiency • Chronic stress • Emotional isolation and lack of support • Personality type – driven, people-pleasing, etc. Ignoring your own needs in pursuit of ‘success’
  30. 30. TREATING CHRONIC ILLNESS • Understanding this is a mindbody problem • Reducing the stressors: understanding your history and personality type to release your past • Refocussing on recovery not the symptoms • Changing the terrain of the body to gear it towards healing; reducing toxicity via nutrition, emotional healing, detoxification
  31. 31. MORE INFORMATIO N • Patricia Worby – The Scar that Won’t Heal £7.99
  32. 32. Thank you for listening Thanks to all my clients, who are my best teachers.. Clinics • Peartree Clinic, Bitterne (home) • Romney Centre, The Avenue, Portswood Patricia Worby PhD (pending) MSc. ACMT, HPD, GHR @patriciaworby Patricia Worby Alchemy Therapies
  33. 33. OTHER BOOKS • James Alexander- The Hidden Psychology of Pain • Peter Levine - In an Unspoken Voice, &'Waking the Tiger' • Gabor Mate- When the Body Says No • Robert Sapolsky - Why Zebras don't get Ulcers • Robert Scaer - The Trauma Spectrum • Ronald Ruden - When the Past is Always Present • Dr John Sarno - The Mindbody Prescription • Bessel Van der Kolk The Body keeps the Score
  34. 34. THE ELECTRON TRANSPORT CHAIN • Within the mitochondrial membrane a series of protein complexes transfers electrons, protons and photons (light) to produce energy • The adenine molecule of ATP harvests light, (+ other molecules in the diet like DHA and chlorophyll) to drive energy production