Summary: A new study reports the rhythm of your breathing can influence neural activity that enhances memory recall and emotional judgement.
Source: Northwestern University.
Breathing is not just for oxygen; it’s now linked to brain function and behavior.
Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered for the first time that the rhythm of breathing creates electrical activity in the human brain that enhances emotional judgments and memory recall.
These effects on behavior depend critically on whether you inhale or exhale and whether you breathe through the nose or mouth.
In the study, individuals were able to identify a fearful face more quickly if they encountered the face when breathing in compared to breathing out. Individuals also were more likely to remember an object if they encountered it on the inhaled breath than the exhaled one. The effect disappeared if breathing was through the mouth.
“One of the major findings in this study is that there is a dramatic difference in brain activity in the amygdala and hippocampus during inhalation compared with exhalation,” said lead author Christina Zelano, assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “When you breathe in, we discovered you are stimulating neurons in the olfactory cortex, amygdala and hippocampus, all across the limbic system.”
The study was published Dec. 6 in the Journal of Neuroscience.
The senior author is Jay Gottfried, professor of neurology at Feinberg.
Northwestern scientists first discovered these differences in brain activity while studying seven patients with epilepsy who were scheduled for brain surgery. A week prior to surgery, a surgeon implanted electrodes into the patients’ brains in order to identify the origin of their seizures. This allowed scientists to acquire electro-physiological data directly from their brains. The recorded electrical signals showed brain activity fluctuated with breathing. The activity occurs in brain areas where emotions, memory and smells are processed.
This discovery led scientists to ask whether cognitive functions typically associated with these brain areas — in particular fear processing and memory — could also be affected by breathing.
The amygdala is strongly linked to emotional processing, in particular, fear-related emotions. So scientists asked about 60 subjects to make rapid decisions on emotional expressions in the lab environment while recording their breathing. Presented with pictures of faces showing expressions of either fear or surprise, the subjects had to indicate, as quickly as they could, which emotion each face was expressing.
When faces were encountered during inhalation, subjects recognized them as fearful more quickly than when faces were encountered during exhalation. This was not true for faces expressing surprise. These effects diminished when subjects performed the same task while breathing through their mouths. Thus the effect was specific to fearful stimuli during nasal breathing only.
In an experiment aimed at assessing memory function — tied to the hippocampus — the same subjects were shown pictures of objects on a computer screen and told to remember them. Later, they were asked to recall those objects. Researchers found that recall was better if the images were encountered during inhalation.
The findings imply that rapid breathing may confer an advantage when someone is in a dangerous situation, Zelano said.
“If you are in a panic state, your breathing rhythm becomes faster,” Zelano said. “As a result, you’ll spend proportionally more time inhaling than when in a calm state. Thus, our body’s innate response to fear with faster breathing could have a positive impact on brain function and result in faster response times to dangerous stimuli in the environment.”
Another potential insight of the research is on the basic mechanisms of meditation or focused breathing. “When you inhale, you are in a sense synchronizing brain oscillations across the limbic network,” Zelano noted.
Heart disease is not just the leading cause of death in the USA, but also in the whole world. It’s not just the leading cause of death for men, but also for women. Heart disease is not just one disease. It’s a whole group of diseases which affect the circulatory system and include cardiovascular disease […]
Feb 8, 2019
Heart disease is not just the leading cause of death in the USA, but also in the whole world. It’s not just the leading cause of death for men, but also for women. Heart disease is not just one disease. It’s a whole group of diseases which affect the circulatory system and include cardiovascular disease and conditions like high/low blood pressure. So what really causes it – and what can you do about it?
What does Western Medicine have to say about heart disease? That it can’t be cured, of course, just like they say all major diseases like cancer can’t be cured. What else? Often, it’s just advice like this, which is a half-truth or limited hangout: they’ll tell you that you can eat anything – anything! – you want, just as long as you stop smoking and take statins. Big Pharma and all those who serve it have nothing to gain from you being educated about health and the body.
The heart is your central organ and is closely involved in the workings of your circulatory system. The arteries that take oxygen-rich blood from your heart to your muscles and extremities, and the veins that take oxygen-depleted blood back, are all part of this system, as is your blood itself. So, ailments such as clogged arteries and high blood pressure are all related to heart disease. For instance, when your arteries are clogged, your heart has to work harder to push the blood around your body, which can cause it to strain. High blood pressure is indicative of blood that is too thick or sludgy and does not flow around the arteries/veins easily, again leading to heart strain. In many ways, all roads lead to the heart.
So, do people just get clogged arteries and high blood pressure for no reason? No, of course not. There is a cause, just as there is a cure. However, Western Medicine is too focused on pushing pills and stopping symptoms rather than educating patients and addressing the underlying cause. For decades, health officials and medical professionals have told us that heart disease is caused by saturated fat and cholesterol. This sprung from the skewed research of Dr. Ancel Keys as I detailed in the article Plastic Oils vs. Saturated Fats: Busting the Propaganda. Keys demonized these essential nutrients, despite the fact that your brain is mostly composed of saturated fat and that cholesterol is a crucial structural component of your cells. Cholesterol helps with respiratory and gastrointestinal problems, creates vitamin D and is part of the healing mechanism of your body. The misinformation about saturated fat and cholesterol was seized upon by the American Heart Association (AHA) (funded by Procter & Gamble, makers of the hydrogenated oil Crisco, and of which Keys was a board member). They went on TV to falsely claim that a diet with large amounts of butter, lard, eggs and beef would lead to coronary heart disease.
Sadly, the “saturated fat and cholesterol are bad for you” myth continues today, with some esteemed doctors commenting that the testing and treating of cholesterol is the biggest medical fraud around! It underpins the propaganda that Big Pharma uses to push one its favorite drugs of choice: statins. In 2017, the CDC found that about 28% of American men and women over age 40 take a statin. Statins are very dangerous: they block cholesterol production but an international study found that 39% of men and 34% of women who have had heart disease have high triglycerides or fat levels, so what’s the point? Exercise makes the heart grow stronger, but statins block the adaptation of the heart to get stronger and the body to produce more mitochondria/energy. Be Brain Fit explains that statins decrease the production of CoQ10, a nutrient that protects both the heart and the brain. Memory loss is a documented side effect of statin drugs; they are also implicated in dementia and Alzheimer’s. The FDA requires that warning labels state that statins can cause memory loss as well as mental confusion, liver problems and type 2 diabetes. Statins can lead to diabetes at an alarming rate; research has found that nearly half of women who take them eventually develop diabetes, and to come full circle, diabetes is a disease which greatly increases your risk of dementia.
The causes of heart disease are not to be found by obsessing over saturated fat and cholesterol, but rather looking at oxidation, inflammation, deficiency/depletion (lack of essential nutrients) and – the biggest one – stress. This includes both physical and mental stress. These causes often reinforce each other. While we need to feel stress occasionally to be motivated to change something, chronic or long-term stress taxes our heart. Stress takes us out of our parasympathetic nervous system (relaxed state) and puts us into our sympathetic nervous system (fight-or-flight state). It burns up the crucial nutrients we need for growth and our immune system. Stress produces the cortisol and adrenaline hormones; cortisol lowers our immunity and adrenaline increases our blood pressure.
Some people are so chronically stressed that they skip high quality foods and start eating large amounts of junk food, consuming more processed sugar, smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol (oxidation). These kind of lifestyle choices further tax our heart by depriving the body of essential nutrients (deficiency) and in the particular case of cigarettes activate the sympathetic nervous system again. Processed food is especially problematic, because it is almost always way high in sodium and missing any fresh fruit or vegetables which are high in potassium. Science has shown that a potassium-sodium imbalance caused by missing potassium is the cause of high blood pressure, the main cause of stroke and contributes to heart disease.
Too much stress and poor lifestyle choices unfailingly lead to chronic inflammation. Acute or short-term inflammation is the body’s healthy response to a wound, but chronic inflammation is a big problem. It’s the basis for many illnesses including a lot of autoimmune diseases and diabetes, obesity, depression, cancer and, naturally, heart disease. It is especially noteworthy to realize that the foods that promote the most inflammation are hydrogenated, trans or “plastic” oils, refined grains and processed sugar – some of which are promoted by the AHA! We live in an upside-down world where white is black and black is white, so it’s very important to think for yourself and not just blindly follow a package label (“Healthy Heart”) or an institution with a nice-sounding name.
So, now that you understand that real causes of heart disease, what are the natural solutions? To begin with, reduce oxidation and aging by introducing more antioxidants into your diet, including C60, berries, nuts, potatoes, cacao and the Indian and Italian spices. Tackle inflammation by making your diet more anti-inflammatory. Here are tips on how to defeat chronic inflammation.
Counter deficiency by eating nutrient-rich food. Some people take mineral supplements due to their belief that the soil is depleted and that their food doesn’t contain the levels of nutrients it used to (even if it is organic). Try supplementing with nascent iodine, magnesium oil and colloidal copper. One of the best natural heart medicines is HB Extract (a wildcrafted and organic formula of 11 natural herbs) which has helped people get off their petrochemical Big Pharma meds for good.
Ditch your statins. This 2012 study found that just 20 minutes of daily meditation was 5 to 11 times more beneficial than statins in reducing heart disease! Take up other stress-reducing exercises, such as yoga, tai chi, listening to music, hanging out with friends and family, spending more time in nature and spending less time on a screen.
In conclusion, don’t look at saturated fat and cholesterol like Western Medicine tells you. Look at oxidation, inflammation, deficiency and stress. Remember that everything has a cause and effect. You don’t just magically get heart disease for no reason. You have a lot of control over it. Decide carefully what you put into your body. Make wise lifestyle choices. Don’t buy into AHA propaganda that all saturated fat and cholesterol are the bad guys. Likewise, don’t buy into similar Big Pharma propaganda that statins will relieve you of heart disease, since they actually rob you of your vitality.
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Makia Freeman is the editor of alternative media / independent news site The Freedom Articles and senior researcher at ToolsForFreedom.com, writing on many aspects of truth and freedom, from exposing aspects of the worldwide conspiracy to suggesting solutions for how humanity can create a new system of peace and abundance. Makia is on Steemit and FB.
Aug 17, 2018
Differences in lifestyle patterns rather than mortality or health outcomes appear to have immense research potential in gauging life expectancy. How do patterns in thought, actions, supplements, and diet interact, synergize, or interfere with one another? Here’s a look at 10 powerful things that influence our aging processes.
By examining how chronological age lines up with biological age across the population, researchers are starting to pin down how these two measures should sync up — and what it means for how long we have left when they don’t.
1. Love: Theories about love’s purpose range from the biologically practical to the biologically complicated. In one study, men who are married or in close relationships have 7% lower mortality than singles. The number is 4% for women. These numbers correspond to less than a year of life expectancy. A different study finds loneliness increases mortality by 50%, corresponding to almost 5 years of life. Choosing a life partner may be one of the most important decisions we can make. Love also increases joy and happiness which can make our hearts healthier, our immune systems stronger, and our lives longer through enhancements of our cellular structure. With more love between couples often comes more sex which too promotes heart health, and balances hormone levels.
2. Empowerment: Staying employed is worth up to 14 years, and it’s often more about being needed than making money. Trumping general intelligence, previous academic achievement and personality, hope “uniquely predicts objective academic achievement,” showed a three-year longitudinal study out of the University of Manchester. A study in elementary schools in Hawaii has found that a focused program to build social, emotional and character skills resulted in significantly improved overall quality of education, as evaluated by teachers, parents and students. Specific methods of internal shifting can lead to incredible self empowerment which changes the way we experience every event in our lives.
3. Natural Anti-inflammatories: Daily supplements of curcumin combined with diet and exercise strategies have been found to be associated with more than a 60% reduction in triglyceride levels. It inhibits inflammatory reactions, has anti-diabetic effects, reduces cholesterol among other powerful health effects. Curcumin exerts anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects. Omega-3s are another powerful anti-inflammatory. They convert into hormone-like substances that decrease inflammation and pain. According to Dr. Alfred D. Steinberg, an arthritis expert at the National Institute of Health, fish oil is an anti-inflammatory agent which acts directly on the immune system by suppressing 40 to 55 percent of the release of cytokines, compounds known to destroy joints. Many other studies also demonstrate that eating moderate amounts of fish or taking fish oil reduces pain and inflammation.
4. High Fiber and Fermented Foods: Our bowel movements are key predictors to our well-being and fiber is truly a proxy for healthy gut flora. Health care of the future may include personalized diagnosis of an individual’s “microbiome” to determine what prebiotics or probiotics are needed to provide balance.Your gut bacteria can reveal whether you suffer from many different diseases such as diabetes and many others. Increased intakes of fermented foods are associated with significantly reduced risks of skin conditions, digestive problems and even autoimmune disease. The potential health benefits of fermented foods like doenjang, chungkookjang, kimchi, kombucha, miso, tempeh, pickles, fermented seafood, makgeolli, and beer may be linked directly to the ingestion of live microorganisms which all have tremendous benefits on the overall functioning of the human body as we age.
5. Meditation: Almost every disease in the body is initiated or aggravated by high cortisol levels which are elevated in people who lack the ability to calm their thoughts and minds. Regular meditation effectively supports mental, emotional and physical health in numerous tangible ways. In building upon this strong body of evidence, researchers are continuing to deepen our understanding of the profound and inspirational benefits of regular meditation practice in everyday life. The data itself is encouraging. Some studies link meditation to enhanced telomerase activity. Most of scientific studies on meditation have shown it benefits our cardiovascular and mental health and wellness. More than 350 peer-reviewed research studies on the Transcendental Meditation technique have been published in over 160 scientific journals.
6. Intermittent fasting: Intermittent fasting allows the body to use fat as it’s primary source of energy instead of sugar and there are many benefits. Extends lifespan and lowers mortality. According to MIT biologists, age-related loss of stem cell function can be reversed by a 24-hour fast. Some studies show that after periods of fasting, insulin becomes more effective in telling cells to take up glucose from blood. Intermittent fasting improves the immune system because it reduces free radical damage, regulates inflammatory conditions in the body and starves off cancer cell formation.
7. Interval Training: One of the most efficient paths towards cardiovascular fitness is interval training. There is now enough documentation to suggest that it does benefit all-cause mortality. By recruiting new muscle fibers and increasing the body’s ability to use fuel, interval training potentially lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome. This type of vigorous exercise cuts deep belly fat and fat around the waist. After interval training, the amount of fat burned in an hour of continuous moderate cycling increased by 36 percent, said Jason L. Talanian, the lead author of the study and an exercise scientist at the University of Guelph in Ontario. Cardiovascular fitness — the ability of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen to working muscles — improved by 13 percent. Results were independent from any type of special dieting or food plans.
8. NAC and Glutathione: N-acetylcysteine is converted by the body into an amino acid called cysteine. Cysteine also helps synthesize glutathione, one of the body’s most important natural antioxidants and detoxifiers of chemicals into less harmful compounds. Glutathione is known to aid in the transport of nutrients to lymphocytes and phagocytes, two major classes of immune cells, and to protect cell membranes. Researchers found that mushrooms have high amounts of glutathione known for immune system boosting propertiesand anti-cancer capabilities. NAC can protect against a wide range of health problems and the science backs up the claim. In one studythere was a 30% increase in lifespan of mice. This powerful metabolite is also used against environmental pollutants including carbon monoxide, chloroform, urethanes, herbicides, pesticides, reducing toxicity of cancer drugs, hangover remedy, damage due to certain X-ray dyes; and for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
9. Decreasing Calories: Calorie restriction leads scientists to molecular pathways that slow aging, improve health. Organisms from yeast to rodents to humans all benefit from cutting calories. Restricting calories can double or even triple lifespan. About 30 percent of the animals on calorie restriction diets die at an advanced age without any diseases normally related to aging. The less you eat the longer you will live. Studies have shown how the lifespan of people in certain cultures increased due to their diets. One of the primary effects of aging is a slower metabolism, the younger your body is, the faster and more efficient your metabolism. The less you eat, the less toll it takes on your digestive system. Aware of the profound influence of calorie restriction on animals, some people are cutting their calorie intake by 25 percent or more in hopes of lengthening lifespan.
10. Vitamin D: In the absence of vitamin D from sunlight, disease increases more than 1000 percent. Vitamin D is lacking in some 70 percent of American children. Data from a systematic review of almost 200 population-based studies shows that more than a third of populations worldwide may suffer from low levels of vitamin D. Researchers have discovered that it’s active in many tissues and cells besides bone and controls an enormous number of genes, including some associated with cancers, autoimmune disease, and infection. It’s been known that vitamin D can prevent that genetic damage. The best way to get vitamin D is getting out in the sun and stop lathering on sunscreen. Researchers at the University of Leeds suggest that people with very pale skin may be unable to spend enough time in the sun to make the amount of vitamin D the body needs — while also avoiding sunburn. So it’s important to have your vitamin D levels assessed by a qualified health practitioner who can order the appropriate tests.