Thursday, March 26, 2009

Depression Seminar Final Session

Frontal Lobe - Medical Conditions

"The eyes are the window to the soul" and the frontal lobe, too! This picture was so striking to me that I had to include it and find a way to make it work in this set of notes. This boy makes me think of the two boys in 'The Kite Runner'. So thanks for the indulgence.

Medical Conditions
Many diseases of the body affect the mind. This is true of Hepatitis C,head injury, stroke, lupus, congestive heart failure, postpartum syndrome, pms, inadequately-treated thyroid, low or high adrenal gland output. So when looking for the 4 hits of depression, always make sure that you do not have a chronic, untreated physical problem before ruling out the Medical Condition hit. Although having a medical condition would certainly increase the chances of depression, 85% of people with major depression do not have any of the above causes.

Frontal Lobe
Research done in the 90's and 2000's show that the main characteristics of depression are found in the frontal lobe of the brain. A depressed person shows a definite decrease in frontal lobe blood flow and activity. An easy way to show frontal lobe activity is through a PET Scan, which shows frontal lobe activity. As with different areas of the brain,the Frontal Lobe has specific functions. The seat of spirituality, morality and the will are found in this area. Compared to animals, humans have a comparatively large area for the frontal lobe. For instance, cats frontal lobe area is only 3.5% of the total brain. Dogs are 7%, chimpanzees have a 17% frontal lobe area, while humans have anywhere from 33 - 38% of the brain reserved for the frontal lobe.

When the frontal lobe is compromised by injury or impairment, the effects are myriad. Some of these are that moral principle is lower, there is a lack of foresight in decision-making, societal impairment is evident, abstract reasoning is impaired and there is a loss of empathy for other living things.

The Frontal Lobe is fed by carbohydrates. Fruits, nuts, grains and vegetables are sources that are good for the frontal lobe. Sugar has a hypoglycemic effect on the brain and large amounts of sugar has been shown to impair frontal lobe activity in grade school children. After taking in large amounts of sugar, it takes approximately 4 hours for the frontal lobe and brain to return back to normal, and a common practice is to eat more sugar before that has occurred because of the dip in blood sugar that happens. Therefore, many school-age children have an absence of critical abstract thinking.

It is known that the effects of hypnosis cancel out frontal lobe activity, making people highly suggestible. It is shown that hypnosis is achieved by having the subject stare at a bright flickering light. The constant changes of the light puts the person in a trancelike state. Something that is very hypnotic is entertainment television. It is very quick and scenes change in an instant, changing hundreds of times per minute. There are over 3,000 studies about TV and the mind. Studies show that 17 areas of the frontal lobe decline in the face of watching entertainment TV. Even news programs are doing the quick scene changes that make people glued to the TV.

Other things that adversely affect the Frontal Lobe - extremely hard rock, rap, hip-hop, alcohol, drugs, low carb diets, unmarried sexual activity, actual hypnosis, going against one's conscience, not praying or meditating or reading spiritual materials.

There are many examples in the scriptures where people have gone through depression, showing that good people have sadness. Elijah was depressed, Job was certainly not happy at one point, King David went through terrible depression, the whole book of Daniel talks about depression, and there are many examples of good people who were not spared of sorrow. Some of these people recovered when they changed something in their lives or stesses that were previously there went away. Whatever the case, we can learn from the scriptures.

Afterthought: I was so glad that I was able to attend this seminar. It made me place even more value on many of the teachings I've heard for all of my life. Many of them I took and did haphazardly in different periods of my life, when it was convenient or when I thought about it. I can see that these things (reading the scriptures, praying, meditating, eating good foods, avoiding harmful substances, not watching so much TV, going to bed early, getting up early, working hard, physical exercise, doing good to others, having positive thoughts, listening to good music and laughing!) are not only good teachings, they are essential to maintaining a joyful life. This was an excellent seminar with many truths that I will definitely implement with more intent in my life. It is ama
zing how much great truth is out there and the science now backs up what was taught to us forever...

1 comment:

Ruth et al said...

Helen, I love the picture of the boy, too. I'm going to read the Kite Runner. I've read A Thousand Splendid Suns. It was amazing.