Neuroscience & Our Core

Anatomical basis for how movement decreases stress

Dad, a highly regarded health care philosopher, often reminded us kids that all our body’s cells are organized or ‘steered’ by Innate Intelligence… both from the brain and back again, by way of the nerves, utilizing what he coined as, the ‘Safety Pin Cycle’.  Researchers have studied this bidirectional communication for many, many years without fully comprehending its complexity.  We are today learning from this Atlantic magazine (again) article that scientists, by way of rather gruesome experiments, have uncovered more ways that this neuronal communication takes place.

“Once they managed to chart the connections, though, the researchers were astounded at what they saw. The motor areas in the brain connect to the adrenal glands. In the primary motor cortex of the brain, there’s a map of the human body—areas that correspond to the face, arm, and leg area, as well as a region that controls the axial body muscles (known to many people now as “the core”).

The Pitt team didn’t think the primary motor cortex would control the adrenal medulla at all. But there are a whole lot of neurons there that do. And when you look at where those neurons are located, most are in the axial muscle part of that cortex.

“Something about axial control has an impact on stress responses,” Strick reasons. “There’s all this evidence that core strengthening has an impact on stress. And when you see somebody that’s depressed or stressed out, you notice changes in their posture. When you stand up straight, it has an effect on how you project yourself and how you feel. Well, lo and behold, core muscles have an impact on stress. And I suspect that if you activate core muscles inappropriately with poor posture, that’s going to have an impact on stress.”

“These neural pathways might explain our intuitive sense for why there are many different strategies for coping with stress,” said Bruno. “I like the examples they give in the paper—that maybe this is why yoga and pilates are so successful. But there are lots of other things where people talk about mental imagery and all sorts of other ways that people deal with stress. I think having so many neural pathways having direct lines to the stress control system, that’s really interesting.”

Source: Why One Neuroscientist Started Blasting His Core


It seems like Atlantic magazine covers ideas in a people-centered way, lending personal credence to stories where ethics qOptical_illusion_greysquaresuestions may otherwise cloud one’s reading.     Kind of like allowing us to imagine our world as bias-free… in other words: illusion!

“…a professor of neuroscience says it will one day be possible to live on in a computer after death.  “The principle of a neural network is that it gains complexity by combining many simple elements. One neuron takes in signals from many other neurons. Each incoming signal passes over a synapse that either excites the receiving neuron or inhibits it. The neuron’s job is to sum up the many thousands of yes and no votes that it receives every instant and compute a simple decision. If the yes votes prevail, it triggers its own signal to send on to yet other neurons. If the no votes prevail, it remains silent. That elemental computation, as trivial as it sounds, can result in organized intelligence when compounded over enough neurons connected in enough complexity.“”  Read whole article: Why You Should Believe in the Digital Afterlife

Aging Alone – Prepared

Here is an insightful article by a young journalist about our growing elder population lacking support systems.



“…growing older without kids or a partner doesn’t mean you’re doomed – just as aging with kids and a partner doesn’t mean all’s clear. “We’re all at risk for becoming isolated and becoming elder orphans,” Carney says. You could outlive your spouse or even your children, find yourself living far from your family or wind up in the caretaker role yourself” Source: How to Prepare to Age Alone – US News

Don’t like Oregon weather?  Wait 15 minutes!  Don’t like fad health trends? Wait…

Wow, is it my imagination or are we seeing massive swings in how research is interpreted by clinicians? The oft-told admonition to lower one’s salt intake is now coming into question.

Salt Varieties

Salt Varieties

“The researchers showed that regardless of whether people have high blood pressure, low-sodium intake is associated with more heart attacks, strokes, and deaths compared to average intake.“While our data highlights the importance of reducing high salt intake in people with hypertension, it does not support reducing salt intake to low levels.”… the harm associated with high sodium consumption appears to be confined to only those with hypertension… this suggests that the majority of individuals in Canada and most countries are consuming the right amount of salt… targeted salt reduction in those who are most susceptible because of hypertension and high salt consumption may be preferable to a population-wide approach.”  Source: Low-salt diets may not be beneficial for all, – ScienceDaily

Community Gardens – help or hurt? NOT!

Is it April 1st?  Here’s an article about something close to many of our hearts.  A subject combining the joy of gardening with community engagement.  The article’s focus is on a study by “learned researchers” who came up with rather lame downsides of community gardens:  they exclude some people, chemicals may not be used efficiently, gardeners could be harmed by the soil and air, gardeners drive cars and finally, we need more government & money thrown at the issue!

“Working in the garden offers physical and mental health benefits from exercise to stress reduction. Yet, there are also negatives.” Source: How community gardens help (and even hurt)

Redefining Well-being

What… the medical world can’t explain all life transitions and prescribe a dose for everything?

Voyage to Eternity

Voyage to Eternity

“The new comprehensive model of health identifies constellations of health completely hidden by the medical model and reclassifies about half of the people seen as healthy as having significant vulnerabilities that affect the chances that they may die or become incapacitated within five years,” said UChicago biopsychologist Martha McClintock, lead author of “An Empirical Redefinition of Comprehensive Health and Well-being in the Older Adults of the U.S.,” in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: Redefining health and well-being in America’s aging population | EurekAlert! Science News