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Re: Agendae -- really long reply! » Dr. Rod

Posted by DaisyM on November 22, 2003, at 18:54:41

In reply to Agendae » DaisyM, posted by Dr. Rod on November 22, 2003, at 10:35:51

How did you do? Not bad -- your arguments are well thought out and articulated. However,when you talk about memory remapping and memory source, you lost me a little.

Here is some of what I know:
Children 0-3 experience the world in a more complete way than adults, using all of their senses to learn. The brain takes in the external world through its system of sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. Lost memories may be retrieved initially by stimulation of any of these senses and a particular memory may or may not have all the initial components. Is this what you mean by "the remaining vision has a big hole in it... "? Still this doesn't explain why OCD folks look for relief with repetition. It isn't a faulty memory issue -- it is an emotional balance/sense of safety issue. (I'm not OCD, BTW)

I have complete memories (in color)devoid of "past time" emotions. I can get anxious, fearful, etc. about them in the here and now, but I can't "feel" what I felt then...I do feel in dreams.

Recent brain research tells us that there are sensitive developmental “windows of opportunity” especially as they relate to neural plasticity, the reciprocal phenomena whereby ,activities are incorporated into the structures of the developing brain, in both positive and negative ways, and ultimately influence development and behavior. The brain maintains some of this plasticity throughout a person’s lifetime – giving us the ability to adapt and change in response to the demands of the environment. Not all of our adaptations are beneficial (depression)or are conscious choices.

Different parts of the brain, which mediate different functions, store information (memory) that is specific to the function of that part of the brain. This allows for different types of “memory” for example, cognitive (names), motor (walking) or affect (emotions). The brain stores information in a use-dependent fashion. The more a neuro-biological system is used, the more a state (and functions associated with that state) will be built in – for example, use of a specific language, walking gait or staying in a state of fear. Because these brain systems develop in a sequential fashion, from brainstem to cortex, optimal development of the more complex systems (e.g. the cortex) requires healthy development of less complex systems (e.g. the brainstem and midbrain). Therefore, if the state-regulating parts of the brain (brainstem and midbrain) develop in a less than optimal fashion (perhaps following excessive traumatic experiences or neglect) this will impact development of all other regions of the brain. For example, if the synapeses that develop in the brain are created in response to chronic stress, or other types of abuse or neglect, especially in children who perhaps were born with a tendency to be irritable, impulsive and/or insensitive to emotions in others (underlying temperment) the result can be violent and overly aggressive child behavior. How? Research tells us that early exposure to violence and other forms of unpredictable stress can cause the brain to operate on a fast track. Such overactivity of the connections between axons and dendrites, combined with child vulnerability, can increase the risk of later problems with self-control.

I've read that there are experimental forms of therapy that have children and adults work with visualization to try and replace early "bad" memories with a replacement story - trying to stimulate brain waves and lay down an "imaginary story" as a "real" memory in the lower brain. It will be interesting to see how effective long term this works.

We know that adult depression can interfere in infant brain activity. Infants who do not receive responses to cries or smiles are deprived of the cognitive and emotional stimulation that encourages positive brain development. The longer a child has been exposed to one type of experience or environment, the less likely he or she will be able to reverse the synaptic learning that has taken place. Likewise in the area of social and emotional development parental interaction can establish secure lifelong foundations, or not. Since babies are not yet capable of conscious, long-term memory, they rely on simpler forms of memory, such as recognizing familiar faces, learning that they will get attention if they cry, or forming emotional associations with particular places or people. These kinds of memories, habitual behavior patterns that are stored at lower levels of the brain, differ from “real” conscious memories as they rarely register after a single experience. The repetitive requirement of this type of memory ability explains why babies respond so well to consistent, responsive caregiving. Or why attachment disorders result in such devastating loss of trust in adults and are so hard to repair. Infant experiences are not the only way lost of trust can get set up, of course.

So, telling me that "your mother wouldn't let you" (get depressed) is valid...and I wouldn't argue with that. However, remaining incredibly busy can not always offset the stress of continually coping, especially if you have a large number of negative things to cope with at one time.

Unfinished business is a good call: I think the unfinished business is that I was so busy being competent I didn't ever "deal with" the emotional aspects of events -- I just went on to the next event, and the next, and the next...

I still maintain though that curiosity can be simultaneously engaged in with Panic. I'll debate "shoulds" at another time!




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