Friday, May 21, 2010

“Eureka! - I have found it!”

How does one affect changes? Not around you, but within.

Are they slow to come? Are they sudden like a heart attack? How does the change happen? An old Zen Buddhist adage says in order to affect change, you simply, "Do". If you want to change, just do it. Don't think. There may be some scientific fact to that method.

A study by Dr. Jeremy K. Seamans from the Brain Research Centre at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute showed that "although it took many trials for the animals to figure out the new rule, the recorded ensembles did not change gradually but instead exhibited a rather abrupt transition to a new pattern that corresponded directly to the shift in behavior, as if the network had experienced an "a-ha" moment." (ScienceDaily - May 14, 2010)

So, even if you have worked hard to institute a change, it still snaps, in a moment, when it finally takes. Or if you are entrenched in a behavior, when it changes, it will still be sudden, that is no mistake.

"We have studied the brain and the dopamine D2 receptors, and have shown that the dopamine system of healthy, highly creative people is similar to that found in people with schizophrenia," says associate professor Fredrik Ullén from Karolinska Institutet's Department of Women's and Children's Health, co-author of the study that appears in the journal PLoS ONE. "Thinking outside the box might be facilitated by having a somewhat less intact box," says Dr Ullén about his new

So those with a high degree of creativity, get more information. It comes faster than in normal people, with less barriers blocking the information flow. And if you are a little unstable, it might not hurt the creative aspects of processing. Still there would need to be some kind of boundaries involved to congeal the information, otherwise, you become unbalanced, and not in a good way.

"Fewer D2 receptors in the thalamus probably means a lower degree of signal filtering, and thus a higher flow of information from the thalamus," says Dr Ullén. This means that those artistic, creative types and those with an unbalance in the structures of their thalamus, are able to see a wider range and with greater speed that those with normal processing capabilities, especially in the area of problem solving.

Psychiatrist Szabolcs Kéri of Semmelweis University in Hungary focused his research on neuregulin 1. This gene typically enables functions a variety of brain processes, both developing and strengthening neurons interactivity. Dr. Kéri points out that “molecular factors that are loosely associated with severe mental disorders but are present in many healthy people may have an advantage enabling us to think more creatively.”

Seeing a pattern yet?

Results by Vanderbilt psychologists Brad Folley and Sohee Park recently published by the journal Schizophrenia Research, showed that typically normal creatives use both sides of their brain, not mostly the right side, which is popularly thought and derided by the scientific community. But in the brain scans of schizotypes, "showed a hugely increased activation of the right hemisphere compared to the schizophrenics and the normal controls."

So popular culture is wrong. But still, correct in that, extreme creativity, possibly out of control creativity, is indeed involved in the over use of the right side of the brain.

Where does all this leave us?

Well, let's talk about ADD.

An article on Alterations in Brain's Reward System Related to ADHD (ScienceDaily - Feb. 3, 2010), says: "Differences in the structure of the ventral striatum -- particularly on the right-hand side -- could be seen between those with ADHD and those without the disorder. Children with ADHD exhibited reduced volumes in this region. These differences were associated with symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsiveness."

Interesting. So now what? Not what you would expect? Although ADHD kids also have increased neural functions and cognitive leaps, their motivational parts of the brain are smaller, requiring increased stimulation to maintain focus. Their reward system simply works differently that is considered normal. Which is why discipline is so important as they have to learn to consciously maintain their focus rather than have it come naturally to them.

So now, just see if you can sit still for a little while and think about all this....

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