It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Can the Mind regulate the Immune System?

page: 1
16

log in

join
share:

posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 04:24 PM
link   
I just finished reading an article in scientific american that, simply put, amazed me.

In their latest issue, on the front cover, is a brain being zapped by electric bolts, with the title "Bioelectric Medicine".

The article goes on to explain how the Vagus nerve (vagus means 'wanderer' in Latin, referring to the fact that it is the longest nerve tract in the body), through the production of norepinephrine, is able to stimulate processes in the spleen that can down-regulate production of an inflammation producing molecule called 'tumor necrosis factor', which is implicated in diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, alzheimers, inflammatory bowel disease and cancer.

Dysregulation of this molecule is dangerous; and it just so happens that the vagus nerve is the chief' link' between the nervous system and the immune system. Evidence of this was established in rat models by injecting TNF into the spleen and cutting the vagus nerve: when the nerve is cut, fever doesn't develop; in other words, in order for the proper immune response to become established, it needs to send 'chemical messages' to the vagus nerve/brain stem before the TNF can have it's usual effects downstream in the body.

The vagus nerve is truly a wondrous element of human physiology. The upper, unmyelinated, and sensory part of the nerve runs throughout the sub-diaphragmatic organs of the body, from the heart, lungs, to the stomach, gut and glands. The lower portion (ventral) on the other hand, connects directly with the social 'organs' necessary for social communication; from the muscles of the inner ear which enable hearing, to the muscles of the face that convey emotion, to the pharynx which controls speech. But most interestingly of all, the vental vagus - also called the 'nucleus ambiguus' - projects all the way into the orbito-fronal cortex, that is, the part of the brain associated with conscious emotion regulation.

This recent evidence into vagal-immune connection gives those of us interested in the polyvagal stress response system a deep sense of "aha". For example, it has long been argued that autoimmune diseases like Asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, and others, as being intrinsically connected to the stress response system. For instance, my mother was an enormous stressed woman who dealt with unresolved trauma from early life relational abuse. Because of this, I had a rather stressed intra-uterine experience (or so I have been told) and at 1 years of age, developed acute asthma.

This seems to be the situation for most children who develop asthma, and from a biological, homeostatic perspective, this makes a lot of sense. Interpersonal aggression or neglect activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal response, which induces the release of glucocoticoids into the body. Long term activation of this system dysregulates various mood-regulatory systems in the brain, such as the serotonin system AS WELL, you may have guessed it, the norepinephrine system which works primarily in the right-hemisphere, which is the part of the brain mostly responsible for EMOTION regulation.

We carry our emotions with us, unconsciously, throughout our lives; and much of these emotional responses are 'held in place' by the vagal-stress assessment system. This recent evidence into the role the vagus nerve plays in 'regulating' immune response (and how bioelectrical implantation can 'cure' autoimmune ailments) should harken us back to the stress response system which is fundamentally INTERPERSONAL in that it activates higher-order cognitive systems to attend to the environment with reference to how the individual has come to experience the social world; in short, in how it understands 'threat' from 'safety'.

But the question arises: since the vagus nerve runs from behind our eye balls all the way down to our colon, can we, in fact, learn to regulate FROM within, our autoimmune response? The answer is probably "yes". As neurofeedback practitioners have discovered (long before science has had an explanation) people can LEARN to change neuroelectrical rhythms through willful activation. Of course, this isn't quite as easy as it sounds, as many people with anxiety issues have difficulty "focusing" on something without splitting their attention between the desired 'change' and their fear of not changing.

The genius of neurofeedback is getting people to 'dissociate' from what they're doing by focusing on something else; they accomplish this by converting the desired neuroelectric rhythm into a computer program - such as pacman - that has the person 'swallowing' when functioning at the desired neuroelectrical rhythm and 'becoming eaten' when they aren't.

It's necessary to keep in mind that improving concentration - or changing state - is fundamentally CHANGING BIOCHEMICAL processes. An increased EEG response in the right frontal lobe, for example, would correspond to an increased production of norepinephrine.

Right now, some might deem it 'too early' to assume that the mind can control the immune response. But perhaps, we are just catching up to what Easterners have long understood: that the mind and the body are fundamentally connected with one another, so that, if something goes awry 'emotionally', the body will follow right behind it.




posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 04:29 PM
link   
Ive manged to alter entire aspects of my life using tapping and positive thought structuring. Along with visualization

We are simply GODS being trapped in a world of hate and division.



posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 05:02 PM
link   
I can use my mind to wash my hands frequently and avoid people who have colds or other infectious diseases. So I guess the answer is "yes."



posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 05:14 PM
link   
I dunno if this is up the same alley as the content of your Thread , i am gonna drop this here anyway , maybe it will add something to your research.

So this Guy called Wim Hof , also known as the Iceman ( not the hitman ) is known to be able to hold out extreme cold temperatures.



Wim describes his ability to withstand extreme cold temperatures as being able to "turn his own thermostat up" by using his mind.

en.wikipedia.org...

And he actually does not only talk about it , he actually goes round the world to cold places to show what he(we) are capable off.



Here you got a nice 50 minute video you can watch if you believe this might add something.



posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 05:50 PM
link   
a reply to: Blue Shift

My first response: remind me to never shake hands with you.

My second response: clever answer.



posted on Apr, 16 2015 @ 03:27 AM
link   

originally posted by: Astrocyte
Right now, some might deem it 'too early' to assume that the mind can control the immune response. But perhaps, we are just catching up to what Easterners have long understood: that the mind and the body are fundamentally connected with one another, so that, if something goes awry 'emotionally', the body will follow right behind it.
I wouldn't say that...western mainstream medicine has been saying things like this for a long time:

www.webmd.com...

If you're often stressed, and you don't have good ways to manage it, you are more likely to have heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pain, or irregular heartbeats.
On the other hand some doctors are stressed themselves and may not recommend things like "meditation" to relieve stress, rather it seems like they are more likely to give you some of the free samples of that new big pharma stress reduction medicine in the hope that if they get enough patients taking it, they'll get a free vacation in the form of some "seminar" in Hawaii paid for by the Pharma company.

I don't really think anybody denies some level of mind-body health connection as illustrated by the above example about stress, but the question is the extent of the connection and exactly what do you do about it? If you've already got cancer it's probably too late for meditation to cure it, but that doesn't mean meditation might not help manage stress and reduce your risk of heart disease.

Isn't this topic a better fit in the medical forum?



posted on Apr, 16 2015 @ 03:36 AM
link   
I think you can # up your immune system by being stressed out, causing the secretion of cortisol.

Can you magically become immune to specific things by thinking about them, no. Or in two words, hell no.



posted on Apr, 16 2015 @ 05:52 AM
link   

originally posted by: Astrocyte
This recent evidence into vagal-immune connection gives those of us interested in the polyvagal stress response system a deep sense of "aha". For example, it has long been argued that autoimmune diseases like Asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, and others, as being intrinsically connected to the stress response system. For instance, my mother was an enormous stressed woman who dealt with unresolved trauma from early life relational abuse. Because of this, I had a rather stressed intra-uterine experience (or so I have been told) and at 1 years of age, developed acute asthma.


Can I ask, were you breastfed? I can understand such a delayed stress response if you were, but if it was relational to intra-uterine stress, shouldn't it have manifested earlier? The one year timing, breastfeeding for close to a year, your mother, because of the oxytocin would be less stressed, and would be tranferring, via the breastmilk, those same benefits to you. Additionally, the breast milk would carry your mother's immune system to you, which again could explain the delayed effect of the asthma.

Does your mother have any obessessive compulsive tendencies? Stress and depression, guilt...a whole range of emotional imbalances, can manifest themselves in hyper-houseproud tendencies which further undermine the immune system. Cossetted for a year in a hermetically sealed home, with not a scrap of bacteria in breathing range, any exposure after that, even to clean dust, could cause an acute asthmatic reaction, but one that will disappate over time and increased exposure...assuming it's not a fatal or critical crisis that starts things off.

I'm guessing that eczema falls under this too. In severe cases, where it is present at birth, often asthma develops as a secondary condition, potentially because of having to keep baby in a sterile and relatively moistened condition. Once the infant's condition is stabilised, off it is sent home, and it is then that asthma may develop. Eczema, as an autoimmune response is interesting developmentally. It is always there in the background, and emerges at each stage of hormonal rush. It is basically the skin reacting to the body's own sweat and the seemingly toxic levels of testosterone etc. Once those hormones reach some equillibrium, or the epidermis has acclimatisted to the new levels (assuming otherwise good health and hygiene) the eczema retreats.

I am not sure...it's an interesting idea, but the difficulty, is what is environment, what is relational to environment, and what is self-generating? By reconfiguring yourself to overcome the predictible wouldn't that dull the system over all?



posted on Apr, 16 2015 @ 06:35 AM
link   
Yes.
Pubmed
Genomic profiling of neutrophil transcripts in Asian Qigong practitioners: a pilot study in gene regulation by mind-body interaction




CONCLUSION: Qigong practice may regulate immunity, metabolic rate, and cell death, possibly at the transcriptional level. Our pilot study provides the first evidence that Qigong practice may exert transcriptional regulation at a genomic level


Link to pdf full text

It is very medical/wordy, and admittedly a pilot study, but the study was done some time ago at Baylor Medical by a team of immunologists. It would be good if more studies like this were done.
edit on 16-4-2015 by Halfswede because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 16 2015 @ 07:08 AM
link   
a reply to: Halfswede

The Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine is not a trusted source:


Quackwatch includes the journal among its list of "nonrecommended periodicals", characterizing it as "fundamentally flawed".[2]

In 2005 the BBC used a report published by the journal as the basis of a story claiming that the pseudoscientific practice of homeopathy was effective for some patients.[3] The article contradicted the findings of a study that had recently appeared in The Lancet, reporting that homeopathy was ineffective.[3] Pharmacologist David Colquhoun has criticized the methodology of the article in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, saying its questionnaire-based approach was "not really research at all" and that the published conclusion drawn from it was "quite ludicrous". In his view, "papers like this do not add to human knowledge, they detract from it".[4]


en.wikipedia.org...
edit on 16-4-2015 by GetHyped because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 16 2015 @ 08:05 AM
link   
Oh yes, the mind can definitely regulate the immune system.

My late grandma could induce high fever and other medical conditions when her bidding was not done. In some cases, we had to call an ambulance because of the condition she went into. Quite a nasty way to get others to do your bidding imo. Note: otherwise she was healthy as a mule, hardly even catched a cold.



posted on Apr, 16 2015 @ 10:54 AM
link   
I can't explain how personally, but it definitely seems to be the case yeah.



posted on Apr, 16 2015 @ 11:58 AM
link   
a reply to: Bedlam


hell no.

Expanding on this a little: a lot of what the brain does, it does unconsciously. Particularly all those regulatory functions which — think about it — would really suffer if they were under conscious control. I imagine natural selection would rapidly weed out any mutation that conferred anything of that kind on the carrier. Nope, there are times when you just don't want to give consciousness access to the controls.

Maybe there are hacks. Maybe Tibetan lamas or Zen masters have found them, or some of them. But you can't really tell.



posted on Apr, 16 2015 @ 09:21 PM
link   

originally posted by: GetHyped
a reply to: Halfswede

The Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine is not a trusted source:


Quackwatch includes the journal among its list of "nonrecommended periodicals", characterizing it as "fundamentally flawed".[2]

In 2005 the BBC used a report published by the journal as the basis of a story claiming that the pseudoscientific practice of homeopathy was effective for some patients.[3] The article contradicted the findings of a study that had recently appeared in The Lancet, reporting that homeopathy was ineffective.[3] Pharmacologist David Colquhoun has criticized the methodology of the article in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, saying its questionnaire-based approach was "not really research at all" and that the published conclusion drawn from it was "quite ludicrous". In his view, "papers like this do not add to human knowledge, they detract from it".[4]


en.wikipedia.org...


This was done by a well-respected team from Baylor's immunology dept. and has nothing to do with the journal article you are referencing. Read the study, methodologies etc. and judge. They do acknowledge that it was a "pilot" study.



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 01:09 AM
link   
a reply to: Anaana




Can I ask, were you breastfed?


I think for the 1st year I was fed, which is still below what the world health organization recommends (2 years)




I can understand such a delayed stress response if you were, but if it was relational to intra-uterine stress, shouldn't it have manifested earlier


I don't see why that would be the case. There is a whole year of development - a whole year of genetic-epigenetic regulation occurring within the context of neurohormonal responses to interpersonal events - events that are programmed, to some degree, to elicit protective responses within the self system.

In the case of asthma, this is a situation of over-stressing the emotional system to the point that the bodily systems are being sapped of their metabolic resources; dysregulation of vagal-gland interaction appears to be partly, or possibly mostly, induced by a nervous system being overwhelmed by relational circumstances. In the language of biology, this is a major problem. The body, via the brainstem, manages metabolic processes early on by following normal developmental processes; but these normal growth processes only work properly when they are occurring in the context of a socially supportive attachment between mother and child (or any primary caregiver and child). Absent this situation, as in neglect, the body 'dissociates' higher cognitive processes from basic bodily processes; if the environment - and the effort made by the self-stimulating child aren't supportive - the brain will 'turn it off' - turn off the part of the organism that seeks enlivenment and connection with another human being.

As for me, my mother would probably qualify as 'borderline personality disorder'; major state switching precipitated by the relational events of her day; her diet; and random ruminations. She would be what attachment theorists call 'inconsistent'; loving and doting at one moment; while at a time when she's stressed, she projects all her anxieties on the child, misattributing a sign of fear as 'being difficult'; misreading, essentially, because when were stressed we get angry and 'project' our inner conflicts on others as relational abuse.




I am not sure...it's an interesting idea, but the difficulty, is what is environment, what is relational to environment, and what is self-generating? By reconfiguring yourself to overcome the predictible wouldn't that dull the system over all?


The most plausible etiology is this:

The 'circle' begins at gestation. The very first moments that egg and sperm combine to make the zygote, random genetic events unfold (in line with normal development). But as the embryo grows, the intrauterine environment is exposed to a particular chemical environment - the placenta. Over the 9 months the fetus grows, the mothers daily stresses and responses to the facts of her social life induce neurohormonal shifts; big 'shocks' or stressed moments educe the release of glucocorticoids, a certain amount of which developmental processes appear to 'let in' into the uterus (possibly as a means to 'predict the environment'); the chemicals indicate the state in the environment, causing the developing fetus' nervous system to form an appropriate stress threshold to the expected world he/she will enter.

When the fetus is born, the feedback loop may create a situation in which the primary caregiver easily induces stress responses in the child; obviously, this seems like a $hitty act of technology; but, in a world where threats exist, it's perhaps best to be 'vigilant' than relaxed, no? But this is strange from an evolutionary perspective, because the modern world represents only a speck in the historical time period of our body's evolution. Stressed environments do not usually mean mother-child relationship. Or at the very least, the mother child relationship is a salve, usually, between the harshness of the natural world and the hunter-gather community.

In the cyclical psychodynamic framework, mother forces into the child certain adaptations, which then become a part of the baby's procedural and affective-cognitive 'way of being', in this relationship, and in a slightly different or very different way in another relationship. The meanings which form in each relationship is dynamically related to what came before; a certain logic, based on evolutionary principles of adaptation, compels responses so that the child, depending on the people he meets, develops along certain logical avenues.

I do not think my asthma was anything other than the early-life stress. The fact that the vagus is involved both in stress-regulation and immune function, it is a no-brainer to assume the connection. This is, basically, how science works: if the connection is established experimentally, in both domains (vagus in the stress system; vagus in the immune system) than it is perfectly plausible, nay, should be taken as scientific fact, that early life stress, depending on any apparent genetic vulnerabilities (yes, there is still an independent, though subject to interpersonal regulatory influence, genetic randomness) will increase the odds of developing an autoimmune response; asthma being a very common one (probably because the lungs are so vital to development).



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 04:14 AM
link   
a reply to: Halfswede

It was still published in a journal that is treated with suspicion due to the pseudo-science they publish. So now we have a pilot study published in a questionable journal... that's not really selling the case. If the work is so tight, why publish in a crappy journal?

Just read the conclusion of the study. Lot's of "mays" and then this gem:


New approaches are needed to study how genes are regulated by elements associated with human uniqueness, such as consciousness, cognition, and spirituality.


This is not the sort of stuff you find on actual scientific papers.
edit on 17-4-2015 by GetHyped because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 04:33 AM
link   
True or not, the best you can do is to keep your mind and body balance so your immune system will work as it should be to protect you. Mind, think what is best for your body (immune system). We have doctors around to have your body checked just to make sure.



posted on Apr, 18 2015 @ 08:33 PM
link   
Interesting... I instinctively tapped my vagus nerve as a kid when feeling bad (heh, not directly, just over it!).

And about the general mind-body connection; the placebo effect is real... how else would it work if our brain couldn't (consciously) effect the body?

I dunno... I suspect we're quite clueless about many aspects of the mind-body system.

Is it flawless and would I forgo treatment and think real hard, instead? Nope... but if one were very good as visualization (or really lucky) one might even will themselves healthy in many cases... .and it couldn't hurt to try if used as an augmentation to known treatments... it depends on the malady, anyway.


edit on 4/18/2015 by Baddogma because: (no reason given)

edit on 4/18/2015 by Baddogma because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 18 2015 @ 08:45 PM
link   
Why in the world does everyone think asthma is an emotional disease?

Asthma is not an autoimmune disease either. I have pretty severe asthma and it hasn't correlated with stress.

While I agree long-term stress lowers your immune response and it's probably not good for developing children, it has nothing to due with asthma.



new topics

top topics



 
16

log in

join