2021-02-22

Noise in the brain may improve our mental health

By yqqlm yqqlm

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In the United States and other countries and regions, we can see that depression, anxiety, and drug abuse levels have reached record levels The height of the record, so Dean James’s view is not surprising. In the face of these threats, at least antidepressants can reduce some of the damage, right? The answer may not be so sure. There are still great differences among researchers regarding the therapeutic effects of antidepressants. In 2018, “New Scientist” (New Scientist) published an article titled “Nobody Can Agree About Antidepressants” (Nobody Can Agree About Antidepressants).

Noise in the brain may improve our mental health

So, what should we do? Recently, neuroscientists Robin Carhart-Harris and David Nutt of Imperial College London have proposed a theory about brain function, which specifically mentions serotonin, which may indicate an effective treatment for mental disorders direction. The use of antidepressants unintentionally makes many people lack compassion for others, and also lose the ability to laugh, cry, dream and enjoy life, which are what people need most during the new crown epidemic.

The good news is that research by the Imperial College Research Center has shown that hallucinogens (such as psilocybin, which is found in psilocybin, commonly known as “psychedelic mushroom”) The use of the has achieved impressive results in reducing treatment-resistant depression. In a 2017 study, all 19 patients with refractory depression had their depressive symptoms alleviated after one week of medication; after 5 weeks, 47% of patients had their symptoms alleviated. It is also exciting that Carhartt-Harris and his co-authors used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology in the experiment, proving that the mechanism of action of these drugs is directly related to the amplification of spontaneous cognitive fluctuations.

Spontaneous brain fluctuations occur in all resting brain activities. For example, when we are distracted, sleeping, or under anesthesia, the neurons in the brain continue to fire. And over time, or experience trauma, our spontaneous brain fluctuations will turn into a negative resting state pattern, like water flowing to a low place. Antidepressants, such as serotonin absorption inhibitors, can solve this problem by cutting off the water flow. Most drugs work by reducing the functional connection of the “default mode network”. The default mode network is active when we are distracted, daydreaming, self-reflection, worry and contemplation. Unfortunately, this mechanism causes approximately 70% of antidepressant users to report that they have significant “emotional numbness” side effects. Prescription antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, and even a variety of sleeping pills, can interfere with REM sleep and dreaming. This is ironic because there is ample research evidence that dreams during rapid eye movement sleep play a vital role in regulating negative emotions and depression.

For example, research by sleep researchers Antonio Zadra, Bob Stickgold, and Erin Wormsley showed that dreaming increases spontaneous brain fluctuations and increases The speed of the subject through the maze. If the subjects dreamed of the maze, or dreamed of the music played when they walked the maze, they would finish the maze on the next day 9 times faster than those who did not dream of these dreams.

Since the 1930s, neuroscientists have known about spontaneous brain fluctuations, but have not known what caused them. Researchers simply attribute this phenomenon to “random background noise” and continue to focus on analyzing conscious brain activity that is easier to test-only 2% to 3%. But now, they realize that spontaneous cognitive fluctuations play a more important role, and their patterns are not random. In the book “Consciousness and the Brain”, French neurologist Stanislas d’Ana wrote: “Neurons can not only tolerate noise, but also amplify noise.” How neurons work It is to amplify cognitive fluctuations and even use the noise of these fluctuations to help generate new solutions to complex problems. Cognitive fluctuations may bring us closer to a paradigm shift, that is, “noise is the new signal.”

Brain frequency represents the speed at which a specific group of neurons fires together. The frequency pattern of cognitive fluctuations will “cross-couple” and become higher frequencies, that is, from beta waves (12 to 30 Hz) to gamma waves (30 to 180 Hz). When slower waves—for example, from ultra-slow waves (0.0001 to 0.1 Hz) to theta waves (5 to 8 Hz)—continuously embed faster waves and spread to various areas of the brain like an avalanche, we Will gradually realize that they are “conscious”. In other words, our thinking is the result of noise segmentation patterns, and these noises are like eddy currents in turbulence.

For example, if someone flashes an image on the screen in front of us, the time is only 40 milliseconds. Due to the frequency and propagation speed of conscious thought, we will not consciously see this image. However, if the image lasts for 60 milliseconds, we will see it consciously. This is because the nested frequencies have time to diffuse, making the brain aware of the image. According to research by the neuroscientist and philosopher Georg Nohoff of the University of Ottawa in Canada, these cross-coupled frequencies will eventually produce a conscious metastable state.

The study of these cognitive fluctuations is leading researchers to conduct mental health treatment in a whole new way. Instead of trying to reduce the spontaneous brain fluctuations caused by antidepressants, they try to increase these fluctuations. This is counterintuitive, because spontaneous fluctuations and wandering can also cause depressive contemplation and anxiety. However, flux theory believes that these negative thinking habits will be disturbed by a large number of spontaneous fluctuations in the brain, and this interference will relax everything and make us change our old habits.

If Nohoff and Karhart-Harris are right, then amplifying noise may change our thinking. This is a good thing, in fact, it may bring some incredible breakthroughs in the field of mental health science. At New York University’s Langone Center for Excellence in Addiction Research, Roland Griffiths and Stephen Ross gave 80 severe cancer patients in Baltimore and New York City cylosibin. More than three-quarters of the patients said they The depression and anxiety caused by fear of death have been significantly alleviated. Even after 6 months of treatment, this improvement effect still exists and is related to the amplification of spontaneous fluctuations. Ross said: “In psychiatric treatment, a single dose of drugs can produce such a huge and lasting effect is unprecedented.”

Spontaneous brain fluctuations are a tool that should not be underestimated. The number of Americans who have died of new crown pneumonia has exceeded the number of deaths in World War II, and this number may double before the end of the epidemic. Millions of people are mourning the loss of their loved ones. Under the prolonged epidemic, many people are also dealing with mental health issues related to the continued impact of the disease. We need safe and reliable mental health solutions, including adequate REM sleep and dreams that are not suppressed by alcohol, ibuprofen, and marijuana. On the other hand, legalizing Xelosibin in treatment (which is being done in several cities in the United States) may help improve efficacy. Even observing natural fractal phenomena, such as trees and other plant forms, can help flux therapy to exert its effect. Studying how spontaneous brain fluctuations work will be the key to discovering more treatments. (Ren Tian)