Which square is darker?

October 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Research, Spinewave Bulletin 

Which square is darker, A or B?

It turns out that they are exactly the same hue, but the brain interprets them differently because of the suggestion of shadow and the contrast between neighbouring squares.

On rare occasions, the brain gets it wrong, resulting in an inaccurate perception — an illusion. But recent research suggests these illusions mean the brain is doing a good job of making sense of confusing situations.

The visual system is quite good at interpreting shadows and contrast. In general, the brain interprets objects in shadow as brighter than they appear, and items placed next to darker ones are seen as lighter by contrast. By exploiting these two properties of visual perception, one brain researcher designed a clever optical illusion in which two squares on a checkerboard appear to be completely different hues, but are in fact the exact same shade.

Does this mean the brain failed? If the brain’s job is to be a light meter, then the answer may be yes. However, the brain’s real job is not to measure light, but to interpret visual signals to make sense of the world, and from this point of view the “illusion” is a sign of success.

Brain Briefings: Sensory Illusions. Society for Neuroscience. October 2011.

What to do when anxiety hits

October 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Spinewave Bulletin 

Finding useful strategies to deal with anxiety are hard to come by. I have a few which I hope to be putting in a practical document sometime soon, but in the meantime I came across this audio piece called “Unsurvivable Moments” by Ishita Gupta of fear.less magazine. She discusses what being in that “moment of intensity” feels like when all feels lost. When the feeling of dread sits on your chest like a block of concrete. And what tiny action steps you can take to get through.

Click to listen… Ishita – Unsurvivable Moments

Hemisphericity

I have been experiencing a raft of unusual symptoms including sensations in my face, nausea, irritable bowel, tinnitus, a large numbers of floaters in my eyes and more recently, constant pins and needles in my feet and sometimes my hands. My husband is a chiropractor, so it has been frustrating that the techniques he uses weren’t making headway with my condition.

The traditional concept of hemisphericity (now false) refers to the idea that people may rely on a preferred mode of cognitive processing, which is linked to activity in the left or right cerebral hemisphere.

Modern concepts in functional neurology, which describe hemisphericity as differing firing rates between the left and right sides of the brain. With various kinds of stress placed upon the body and brain – some as simple gravity – there will be a lower performing cerebral cortex and a higher performing cerebral cortex. According to Roger Sperry, the 1981 Nobel prize winner for brain research, a large proportion of the brain’s output is directed simply towards maintaining your body posture in its gravitational field, which is why posture is so important to maintain a healthy brain.

The left brain tends to be the “accelerator” of the body, whereas the right brain tends to be the “brake” system. If the brakes cannot be applied, we have a runaway nervous system with everything that would imply: allergies, overactive immune activity, hypersensitivity reactions and emotional instabilities. A left brain hemisphericity would mean a decreased accelerator, so we would think of conditions whereby the body or brain would not be stimulated enough, e.g. depression.

The cortex is also responsible for inhibiting our “primal brain”, the brainstem. The brainstem regulates the fight/flight response through the thoracic spine. So if a stressed individual is beginning to exhibit signs of hemisphericity, their fight/flight response will be elevated and will present as ulcers, reflux or irritable bowel syndrome. The cortex controls motor output to muscles too, so hemisphericity can create pain syndromes on one side of the body over time like carpal tunnel syndrome, Golfer’s elbow or sciatica.

Correction of hemisphericity is achieved by the two hemispheres of the brain reaching temporal coherence, i.e. firing at a similar rate and in harmony with each other. The role of upper cervical specific in hemisphericity is critical when choosing where and why to adjust on any given day; as well as incorporating similar non-invasive neurological stimulation such as specific limb adjusting, light, balance, magnets and supplementation.

Recent award-winning research has shown that the process of a chiropractic adjustment is like rebooting a computer. EEG signals prove that there are definite changes to the way the brain processes information after chiropractic care.

Correction doesn’t happen overnight though. Brain plasticity is a long process (how long did it take to reach that point in the first place?). Sally and I spent countless hours together working on many things. How do you know whether you might have hemisphericity? Read through the check list below ■ Read more

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