Sunday, January 29, 2017

Our Many Brains

It has long been known that our heart has a cluster of neurons that can influence the way we feel and think. Proof of this can be found in cases of heart transplants, whereby an inexplicable change occurs in the recipient’s personality.

After waking up with his new heart, Greg Swanson of Tulsa, Oklahoma, turned from being a fun-loving, hard drinking, skirt chasing Casanova into a shy, introverted bookworm, who suddenly needed prescription glasses and was afraid of everything except his 17-year old hamster, Jesibel. Medical staff found that the donor of the heart had been a reclusive, hamster-loving, semi-autistic genius who had blown himself up while working on an invention.

How do we explain this sudden transformation? Research has shown that the heart contains a cluster of neurons that not only functions autonomously to regulate its own rhythm, but that it also tells the brain what kind of person it wants to inhabit. Evicted against its will, a donor heart will tell its new landlord in no uncertain terms who is the boss.
A ‘Second Brain’ has also been found in our gut. (See: Think Twice: How the Gut's "Second Brain" Influences Mood and Well-Being).

When we use the phrase ‘I feel it in my gut’, our stomach neurons are actually having an intense conversation with our brain. More often than not, the gut neurons bully the brain into capitulating, especially when the booty is a large, mouth-watering chocolate cake.

Similarly, when you are scheduled for a public speech, the ‘butterflies’ in your stomach, (more aptly called the ‘heebie-jeebies’), tell your brain not go out there and make a fool of yourself, but this voice of reason from our gut is no match for our overblown sense of self-importance.

A recent article in a professional journal showed that not only do the heart and the stomach have special neurons that can dictate our ‘primary’ brain what to do, but a cluster of neurons in both our feet is now suspected of being a third driving force in both our behavior and personalities. (Since this research is still ongoing, it would be premature to post a link here).

The article eloquently describes a case involving a foot transplant on an overweight teenager who suddenly started tiptoeing around the room. Not even his parents’ repeated attempts at luring him back to the couch with a large box of Oreo cookies could stop him. Further investigation showed that the donor was a young ballet dancer who had walzed across the street, without paying attention to an oncoming truck, severing her feet with a perfectly clean cut, leaving the rest of her anorexic body lifeless on the asphalt.

Another case involved an elderly woman, who as soon as she was able to stand post-surgery, began kicking anything that came within striking distance of her newly acquired feet, including the nursing staff. The donor was a career soccer player who had suffered a major heart attack.

Until recently, the consensus was that, having more than one brain could only benefit our species, but since the body is no longer able to decide which brain’s instructions to follow, a slew of unpredictable behavior is made possible.

If you suddenly find yourself in your pajamas, in the middle of the candy isle, wondering how you got there, it is because the brainwaves in your feet caused an interference pattern with the brainwaves in your brain-brain and made you walk back to the store. This is not dissimilar to the interference pattern in the famous ‘double slit experiment’ in the case of neutrons.

Experts recommend that you immediately sit down in a lotus position, take a deep breath and let your heart-brain take over the negotiations. Soon your heart will send out LOVE waves, to tell your feet to calmly walk you back home.

This technique is highly recommended by the Institute of HeartMath. According to this highly respected organization, the heart has a magnetic field a thousand times stronger than the brain, which results in a knock-on effect of helping everyone around you calm down. You may see a drove of pajama-clad people slowly walk back to their warm beds.

Another option is to walk to the liquor isle, buy a large bottle of whisky and tell all your many brains to take a hike until they have figured out who is the boss. leave comment here