I love my friends neither with my heart nor with my mind.
Just in case…
Heart might stop.
Mind can forget.
I love them with my soul.
Soul never stops or forgets.

~ Rumi



The Brain Literally Starts Eating Itself When It Doesn’t Get Enough Sleep

Holy crap.

26 MAY 2017

The reason we sleep goes far beyond simply replenishing our energy levels every 12 hours – our brains actually change states when we sleep to clear away the toxic byproducts of neural activity left behind during the day.

Weirdly enough, the same process starts to occur in brains that are chronically sleep-deprived too – except it’s kicked into hyperdrive. Researchers have found that persistently poor sleep causes the brain to clear a significant amount of neurons and synaptic connections, and recovering sleep might not be able to reverse the damage.

A team led by neuroscientist Michele Bellesi from the Marche Polytechnic University in Italy has examined the mammalian brain’s response to poor sleeping habits, and found a bizarre similarity between the well-rested and sleepless mice.

Like the cells elsewhere in your body, the neurons in your brain are being constantly refreshed by two different types of glial cell – support cells that are often called the glue of the nervous system.

The microglial cells are responsible for clearing out old and worn out cells via a process called phagocytosis – meaning “to devour” in Greek.

The astrocytes’ job is to prune unnecessary synapses (connections) in the brain to refresh and reshape its wiring.

We’ve known that this process occurs when we sleep to clear away the neurological wear and tear of the day, but now it appears that the same thing happens when we start to lose sleep.

But rather than being a good thing, the brain goes overboard with the clearing, and starts to harm itself instead.

Think of it like the garbage being cleared out while you’re asleep, versus someone coming into your house after several sleepless nights and indiscriminately tossing out your television, fridge, and family dog.

“We show for the first time that portions of synapses are literally eaten by astrocytes because of sleep loss,” Bellesi told Andy Coghlan at New Scientist.

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Study Finds Grey Matter Density Increases During Adolescence

Philadelphia, PA (Scicasts) — For years, the common narrative in human developmental neuroimaging has been that grey matter in the brain – the tissue found in regions of the brain responsible for muscle control, sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control — declines in adolescence, a finding derived mainly from studies of grey matter volume and cortical thickness (the thickness of the outer layers of brain that contain grey matter).

Since it has been well-established that larger brain volume is associated with better cognitive performance, it was puzzling that cognitive performance shows a dramatic improvement from childhood to young adulthood at the same time that brain volume and cortical thickness decline.

A new study published by Penn Medicine researchers this month and featured on the cover of the Journal of Neuroscience may help resolve this puzzle, revealing that while volume indeed decreases from childhood to young adulthood, grey matter density actually increases. Their findings also show that while females have lower brain volume, proportionate to their smaller size, they have higher grey matter density than males, which could explain why their cognitive performance is comparable despite having lower brain volume. Thus, while adolescents lose brain volume, and females have lower brain volume than males, this is compensated for by increased density of grey matter.

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Are YOU depressed? Take up Tai Chi: Just 12 weeks of classes in the ancient Chinese martial art could help combat symptoms of the blues

  • Researchers say the meditative therapy can work independently of treatment
  • The findings suggest the practice could scupper the need for antidepressants
  • Tai Chi combines deep breathing techniques and slow and gentle movements

Taking part in Tai Chi could help to combat depression, new research claims.

Going to classes in the ancient Chinese martial art for 12 weeks significantly reduced symptoms of the blues.

It can work independently of treatment, suggesting it can scupper the need for an antidepressant prescription, the small study shows.

The findings hold promise amid soaring rates of depression worldwide, with drugs and therapy often proving ineffective.

The meditative practice, which has been used for more than 1,000 years, combines deep breathing and slow and gentle movements.

Going to classes in the ancient Chinese martial art of Tai Chi for 12 weeks significantly reduced symptoms of the blues in depressed adults, a study found

Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital enrolled 50 Chinese-American participants for the study.

All of the volunteers had mild to moderate depression and were not receiving any other forms of treatment at the time.

They were placed at random in three groups. The first took part in Tai Chi, a second received educational therapy and the third was a control group.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Dramatically Reduces Inflammation

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Dramatically Reduces Inflammation

Inflammatory responses play a central role in the development and persistence of many diseases and can lead to debilitating chronic pain. In many cases, inflammation is your body’s response to stress. Therefore, reducing “fight-or-flight” responses in the nervous system and lowering biological markers for stress can also reduce inflammation.

Typically, doctors prescribe medications to combat inflammation. However, there’s growing evidence that another way to combat inflammation is by engaging the vagus nerve and improving “vagal tone.” This can be achieved through daily habits such as yoga and meditation—or in more extreme cases of inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA)—by using an implanted device for vagus nerve stimulation (VNS).

The vagus nerve is known as the “wandering nerve” because it has multiple branches that diverge from two thick stems rooted in the cerebellum and brainstem that wander to the lowest viscera of your abdomen touching your heart and most major organs along the way. Vagus means “wandering” in Latin. The words vagabond, vague, and vagrant are all derived from the same Latin root.

In 1921, a German physiologist named Otto Loewi discovered that stimulating the vagus nerve caused a reduction in heart rate by triggering the release of a substance he coined Vagusstoff (German for “Vagus Substance”). The “vagus substance” was later identified as acetylcholine and became the first neurotransmitter ever identified by scientists.

Vagusstoff (acetylcholine) is like a tranquilizer that you can self-administer simply by taking a few deep breaths with long exhales. Consciously tapping into the power of your vagus nerve can create a state of inner-calm while taming your inflammation reflex.

The vagus nerve is the prime component of the parasympathetic nervous system which regulates the “rest-and-digest” or “tend-and-befriend” responses. On the flip side, to maintain homeostasis, the sympathetic nervous system drives the “fight-or-flight” response.

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Por muy extendidas y familiares que puedan ser, muchas presentaciones de la religión son versiones abreviadas y distorsionadas de algo cuyo original no es conocido por los actuales practicantes. Por lo general se pueden discernir los delineamientos, y posteriormente daremos algunos ejemplos de estos.

Una regresión al pensamiento primitivo y el deseo de orden, nunca muy alejado de la mente humana y a menudo (no siempre) útil, son los principales culpables.

Cuando el pensamiento primitivo es aliado de la lógica igualmente primitiva, obtenemos una distorsión familiar: la creencia de que si los objetos materiales son obstáculos, entonces ‘destruir o suprimir lo material’ nos debería conducir a la iluminación. Sin embargo esto, lejos de ser útil, es esencialmente pensamiento mágico.

Omar Khayyam ha señalado esta falacia cuando (haciéndose eco de los necios), escribe: ‘Si el vino es el enemigo de la religión, devoraré al enemigo de la religión’. Comprensiblemente, esta frase ha sido malinterpretada debido a la mentalidad estrecha de los literalistas. ¡Han imaginado que el propio Khayyam está ridiculizando la religión! El poeta es un humorista: a menudo, quizás siempre, los literalistas carecen de esta capacidad.

La automortificación, lejos de producir una liberación de las cosas materiales, muy probablemente produzca una mente trastornada, delusiones, o un gusto masoquista por más sufrimiento; experimentado, por supuesto, como placer.

Pensamiento y acción Sufi

El libro, en castellano, gratis: