THE HOW AND WHY CHIROPRACTIC
CAN HELP WITH CHILDHOOD BRAIN DISORDERS
For simplification purposes, Autism Spectrum Disorders includes a range of conditions classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) under the umbrella title, “Disorders usually first diagnosed in infancy, childhood, or adolescence.” They can include, Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Learning Disabilities such as Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, Sensory Integration Disorder, etc. One or more of the following are observed with these conditions: social deficits, communication difficulties, repetitive behaviors and interests, and cognitive delays. I’m lumping all of the above disorders into one general category, sought of the lowest common denominator, in order to make it easier to convey a difficult concept from a different typical allopathic point of view. The complex neurology that led to a better way of treatment for those afflicted with these disorders has been mostly removed in this article in order to help you stay awake. This radically improved understanding is the result of Dr. Ted Carrick’s research, which is heavily based on the Kandel and Schwartz textbook/Bible in most medical schools, “Principles of Neural Science”. Dr. Robert Melillo, further applied that research to this specific field. Please consider that it would require years of reading textbooks that can weigh more than a child to get this condensed drilled down knowledge.
LET THE GAMES BEGIN
From 1990 to 1995 there was a 250% increase in Ritalin (Methylphenidate) use in the United States. Ritalin functions as a dopamine uptake inhibitor. By 1997, a 700% increase in Ritalin use occurred. 90% of worldwide Ritalin use is in the US alone. This increase suggests that disorders that fall into the Attention Behavioral Continuum (ABC) are not strictly genetic problems. However, experienced teachers report a significant observational change in kids over the last 15 years, noting a general global decrease in language and cognitive abilities. While it has been found that both over diagnosis and overmedication are significant, nevertheless, these multifaceted syndromes are a real problem that is getting progressively worse.
Standardized test scores for 4th graders were compared between 1960 to 1980, and a huge decrease in the difficulty of the tests were noted. Despite this, scores decreased during this period, and continue to do so, particularly in measurements of language skills and cognitive abilities. There are many stats that I could use to further the point, but the one that struck me is that only 1 in 5 ABC kids get any treatment and most of that is in the form of medication.
SCIENTIFIC DATA: WHAT DO WE ACTUALLY KNOW?
ADHD and most other learning disabilities seem to show decreased activity in frontal lobes and other subcortical structures via PET scans and functional MRI, particularly in boys.
Stimulant medication, especially dopamine uptake inhibitors (Ritalin) seem to improve symptoms.
Boys are affected more than girls, in an 8:1 ratio.
High comorbidity of symptoms: 50% of kids with one diagnosis within the ABC realm have at least one other ABC diagnosis, and the majority have more than one. Kids can be on up to 35 different medications as a result.
No obvious ablative pathology exists in any of these kids. However, the sensorimotor loop involving the prefrontal cortex, basal ganglia, cerebellum, and thalamus demonstrates both decreased activity and reduced anatomical size, particularly in the right brain and the left cerebellum.
Diagnoses are typically vague, made with checklists from the DSM 4, involving parental interviews and vague subjective symptoms. These stand as syndromic disorders, based on groupings of symptoms only, the vast majority of which overlap.
- Researchers have noted that in learning disabled children, there is often poor proprioception (knowing where your body parts are) and low muscle tone. Symptoms of poor proprioception and low muscle tone are poor balance, posture, clumsiness, and poor coordination. Associated with the symptoms are speech and language problems.
- A study performed with 4000 learning-disabled children in 1988 demonstrated that 94.1% of the subjects had a cerebellar vestibular dysfunction. (muscle coordination and balance-please include eyes because they have significant muscle connections that work off the balance system)
TYPICAL EARLY HISTORIES
ABC kids are predominantly born to mothers with histories of allergies and/or immune difficulties, often with prenatal exposure to toxins or pesticides.
They tend to be breech births, with prenatal or neonatal oxygen deprivation, cerebral swelling, or other birth injury, but no obvious brain damage or disorder.
They typically manifest with colic or other digestive disorders, and alternate between chronic constipation and diarrhea, and reflux or projectile vomiting and pyloric stenosis.
They tend to present with allergies, asthma, thrush, yeast infections, and progressive eczema.
Most have had immunization reactions of some kind, and tend to regress or show significant slowing or stoppage of development at roughly 18 months.
Often show sleep disturbances, and regularly have some degree of hypotonia (poor muscle tone) and sensory processing difficulty.
Many are adopted within their first year of life. Kids in Romania that were abandoned by the state consistently showed self-stimulating behaviors, such as rocking in their cribs, and later demonstrated some degree of ABC disorder.
Diet becomes increasingly limited to wheat and dairy in every combination. Tend towards hypersensitivity to food textures.
Manifest with allergic symptoms, both dietary and environmental.
Strabismus (cross eyed) and nystagmus (shaky eye movements) regularly seen in various ocular functions.
Abnormal or delayed crawling, often skip stages of crawling before walking.
Clumsy, with floppy or hypotonic movements. Often show toe-in or knock-kneed gait patterns.
Common thread: all have some history of motor, digestive, sensory, and immunological dysfunction. All appear to be similar problems of varying degree and area of involvement.
HOW TO EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCES IN ONE WORD – HEMISPHERICITY.
It was been discovered in the 1800’s that the brain lateralized certain functions. For example, research suggests that two hemispheres focus on different types of features of visual input. This can be used for therapeutic advantage. Most signs in ABC children being discussed, can be categorized as typically right or left brain disorders.
Attention deficits exist for 2 reasons, either they are unable to pay attention or fixate, which are right brain functions, or unmotivated and uninterested, which are functions of the left brain. All ABC disorders can be categorized in a similar fashion, and with a much greater degree of specificity than this. It has been found that humans have a higher dopamine concentration in the left hemisphere, but we will soon see that even though dopamine enhancing drugs calm symptoms, they do not promote nerve pathways that would help regulate the neurotransmitter the way nature originally intended.
GENDER FACTOR: WHY MORE BOYS THAN GIRLS
Distinct differences exist between male and female brains, and these are accentuated in early development. Males are typically right brain dominant, with a larger right frontal lobe. As a result, adult males typically have better right brain skills than women.
Maternal health is a necessary condition for appropriate fetal brain development. Maternal estrogen level is critical in this process, as it is converted to testosterone that spurs fetal male brain development.
Females tend to be better with left brain skills, such as language. Females also tend to have a much greater degree of brain symmetry than males, with the primary asymmetry being a slightly larger left posterior temporal lobe for speech and language access. As a result, if they suffer some form of insult early in development, they will be much more capable to compensate for this injury than will males.
Other than hormonal influences, early brain development is intimately tied to the motor system, especially the cerebellum.
The male brain thus appears to be much more susceptible to maternal stress than the female brain. Physical, chemical, and emotional stresses all alter the maternal estrogen level, which tends to primarily affect male brain development.
- The majority of ABC disorders involve the right brain, and males are much less able to recover from an early right brain insult than females.
Many teachers interviewed tie the rise in ABC problems to an overall decrease in physical activity in kids. Children are in general, becoming much more sedentary. Rise in ABC disorders correlates to the increase in juvenile obesity levels (currently 24-35% of kid population, was only 12% in early `90s).
Since the advent of TVs, VCRs, and computers, we have seen an increase in anxiety and affective disorders that mirror the ADD increase. This represents the adult manifestation of the same problem.
Motoricity (moving muscles) appears to be the key to appropriate brain development. Motoricity and cognition are essentially the same process, as we shall see. As of now, the most common “answers” to this problem have been genetics and imbalances in neurotransmitters.
EVOLUTION, DEVELOPMENT, AND BRAIN FUNCTION MADE SIMPLE
Yes, this is important to understand the solution.
Thinking is internalized movement. The ability to cognate and manipulate concepts is the exact same physiologic process as the ability to move. Motor system development spurred the development of the brain, at all stages in evolution.
Cognition (thinking) and emotions were born out of motoricity.
The frontal lobe houses most higher functions, as well as being the primary site of motoricity. Can see a mirror image in cognitive decline and motor function decline in Alzheimer studies.
Two things make humans unique:
- Bipedalism: cognitive functions are keyed in with bipedalism, which was the initiating factor in the growth of the human brain.
- Large brain relative to our size, due to the development of the neocortex.
Association areas have been the largest area of growth in the human brain. These are the site of higher level processing, and are unique in humans. The prefrontal cortex is the most advanced association area.
From an evolutionary standpoint, a brain is only needed in moving animals.
The development of jaws, rather than filter feeding, provided a motive to move around and search for food. This led to the development of more sophisticated brain machinery to control motoricity.
Life moved into ponds, and developed wings, since ponds and streams would occasionally dry out.
Next major development was fleshy-lobed fins, which could be used to move during drought to other water sources.
Reptiles began to develop. The driving force behind both movement and the evolution of the brain was the large spinal tail, which drove oscillations in the brain.
Reptiles developed the ability to adduct their arms, which gave them better oxygen ability, as well as improved motor capacities.
Birds developed bipedalism. Their knees pointed backwards, so they lacked the mechanical advantage necessary to make bipedalism efficient. Instead, they maintained their stance based purely on muscular activity.
Dinosaurs developed, with their knees pointing in the opposite direction, giving them a huge mechanical advantage. If you don’t believe in evolution you might want to consider that in all species the nerves that control the extensor muscles (the muscles on the back side of us) are in the same area of the spinal cord. As fish began to crawl out of the sea they used their fins to move on land. Eventually the fins rotated position. Our quadriceps muscles (the large muscle on the front of our thighs that extend the knee), are extensors and technically should be in the back of our legs. They are provided power by nerves that are in the section of the spinal cord for the posterior muscles such as our triceps and back muscles. That is a good example of phylogenic preservation or an expression of how in our development from bacteria, new systems developed from existing systems.
Brachiation (arms) was the next major development, and the ability to lead an arboreal existence required the development of sophisticated targeting skills.
A Key point is through every level of evolution we see advancement of brain function tied to and resulting from some new motor advance, with new systems evolving on and modifying older systems. All of these developments were driven by advancements in motoricity. However, without sensory input, the brain cannot create a process-a meaningful response. Without motor activity provided by constant muscle action, 90% of sensory stimulus to the brain is lost. Don’t worry, gravity firing muscle spindles/specialized nerve receptors, provides us with most of what we need.
The nervous system further develops, which results in the mechanical advantage necessary for bipedal locomotion as opposed to arborealism. Or said slightly different, bipedalism developed due to the advantage in brain function required to coordinate this function. A massive growth in brain function, unprecedented in evolution, occurred at the time of bipedalism development. A 3-4x increase in brain size took place at this time.
Speech didn’t develop until 100 thousand years ago, and thus was not the major driving force behind brain development. Societal advances and tool using similarly developed in response to brain growth, not the other way around.
- If we lose the ability to have appropriate bipedal function, we regress into a flexed posture, due to the loss of large sensory nerve feedback. (It takes large nerves to communicate to the brain what the feet are doing in order for the brain to figure out what it would like for the feet to do next) One function of large sensory nerves, known as 1A’s, is they transmit to your brain where you are in space and time. You can think of this particular nerve function as anti- gravity because these nerves contribute so much to our ability to resist our never ending opponent. Actually, if it was not for gravity, we would not be humans at all. Hopefully you’ll shorty see why. For now think of these nerves with something that you might be familiar with. The drunk test. You can’t point to your nose without this system of specialized nerves. These nerves are what chiropractors utilize and what are responsible for our great success.
- The brain initially started with a sensorimotor loop, (a basic nerve pathway found in lower forms of life) then developed cells interposed between the sensory and motor neurons. The motor neurons serve to respond to sensory input, and these interneurons provide the functional space where movement strategies are generated and then implemented.
Neurons and interneurons became where we think, eventually becoming the site of essential functions.
Neurons and interneurons facilitate and orchestrate the ever-growing complexity of sensory and motor transformations. In essence, this led to the development of abstract thought.
Ultimately, advanced motor activity became genetically encoded.
SOME NEUROLOGY TO TIE IT TOGETHER.
If you ignore the big words it will actually make more sense
If a neuron is fired repeatedly, it becomes efficient via the process of plasticity. Plasticity is how we learn. An example of plasticity would be to throw a beach ball at a young child and it hits him in the nose. Eventually the eyes and muscles talk to each other, make permanent connections in nerve cells in various areas of the central nervous system, and the child learns to catch it. A new discovery that was not taught when I went to college is Cellular Immediate Early Gene Response (CIEGR): That is basically that any time the cell is activated, a cascade of genetic expression is initiated. This does not require that the cell even be fired. It is a mechanism in our DNA and it is what promotes life to higher levels and here is a chance to feel good about yourself, because we are at the highest level. O.K. maybe not you.
With increased activation, the cell becomes thicker, sprouts new dendrites, and new dendritic spines, allowing it to be activated by more cells. The more our cells connect, the more human we are.
Given the increased metabolic demand on the cell, CIEGR codes for more mitochondria and associated metabolic machinery. You could think of this as if you don’t use; it you lose it. Because we are using certain cells more, they have a genetic code that allows them to make themselves more useable. (able to hold up to increased metabolic demands placed upon the cells.)
Failure to fire the cell results in failure to reproduce protein, and results in transneural degeneration. What makes us human is billions of cells firing to promote growth and stability of other cells. If one group of cells doesn’t fire correctly due to a lack of stimulation they can have tremendous negative consequences on totally unrelated systems. An example could be that you might have seen a Parkinson’s patient with an uncontrollable hand tremor. The problem is in their midbrain and treating the hand is not going to accomplish much in this case.
BIPEDALISM AND THE BRAIN
The human brain contains roughly 100 billion neurons. With respect to the chimpanzee, the human brain has only 1.25 more neurons per cubic inch. However, human brain tissue has a far greater degree of interconnection, much thicker cells, and far more glial cells. All of this allows for a vast increase in metabolic activity.
60% of the human brain is fat, in the way of myelin. Myelin forms after birth. The majority of myelination takes place by age 30.
Growth of the human brain was stimulated by the increased frequency of firing of sensory nerves that was mandated by the development of bipedalism. Picture it almost like a cycle. In other words, the increased sensory input from large muscle groups helped make us arrive on the planet. (Us in this case means the human brain. By walking around, it stimulated the brain into developing more systems that were required to make us act as if we were at the top of the food chain. I’m being told that we are at the top of the food chain.)
The brain is receptor (sensory nerves) driven. The more frequent the stimulus from sensory nerves, the more CIEGR (DNA expression) it will evoke.
What powers our brains? It gets dark at night so light energy wouldn’t work out too well. There is not always a Mozart concert playing and if we were depended on that, thinks would go very wrong when the music stopped. The only constant stimulus for humans on earth is gravity, so this drives the majority of plasticity (nerves hooking up). Muscle spindles are the primary gravitational receptors. Muscle spindles are special nerves, those ones I mentioned earlier, 1A’s. They transduce gravity into nerve cell activation by responding to stretch and producing receptor potentials that drive the brain. Another function you can actually relate to is that you can shake someone’s hand firmly and also pick up an egg without breaking it. Just one of many functions that these specialized nerves perform.
In the quadruped position, forces along the spine are limited, and very little resistance to gravity is required.
Rising into a bipedal position requires an enormous coordination of function, as well as drastically increasing the stress on the spine. The deep intrinsic spinal muscles have the greatest population of gravitational receptors. Bipedalism increases the stress on these receptors, which promotes increased feedback to the brain, providing the activation necessary for enhanced plasticity. Keep in mind your back hurts almost always because these deep spinal muscles are weak. They are involuntary muscles; you have no control over them. You can’t turn one vertebra one way and the one below it the opposite way. These muscles function as anti-gravity muscles and are controlled by your automatic pilot, the cerebellum, also known as your unconscious. You wouldn’t want to think about the billions of calculations it would take to move one step forward.
Bipedalism evolved as a positive adaptation to the environment, providing access to new sources of food. The increased brain input from bipedalism provided the fuel delivery and activation necessary to keep large neuronal size and output possible.
- Given the tight link between motor system feedback and plasticity, motor uncoordination results in cognitive decline, and improvement in motor control correlates with an equal improvement in cognitive processing.
(important to understand in order to realize why current practices are failing children)
Neurotransmitter deficiencies are the essential premise behind pharmaceutical interventions in ABC disorders (Attention Behavioral Continuum). The assumption is that not enough of specific neurotransmitters are being produced, and that by either directly supplementing these, or by preventing their synaptic reuptake to make them linger longer in the synaptic cleft, an enhanced level of functionality can be obtained.
Neurotransmitters are formed from amino acids, by way of very rudimentary metabolic processes. They require very few enzymatic systems, as they very closely resemble their parent amino acids. For example, glutamate, the primary cortical excitatory neurotransmitter, is only a slightly modified version of the amino acid glutamine. Neurotransmitters are very cheap to produce in terms of their energy costs.
It is very rare to not have the capacity to produce neurotransmitters, since they are so easy to manufacture. This inability only pertains to certain genetic disorders.
In the majority of situations wherein neurotransmitter formation is deficient, either the cell lacks sufficient energy to make and produce them, or the presynaptic activation that would cause the cell to release the neurotransmitter is not present at an appropriate frequency. Keep in mind that cells fire when stimulated by groups of other cells. Higher purpose neurons depend upon stimulation from lower neurons to fire. This is something not easily visualized with regard to ABC/Attention Behavioral Continuum Disorders, even by many doctors.
Ritalin functions as a dopamine uptake inhibitor. This does nothing to restore appropriate dopaminergic activity. Rather, it simply extracts a greater degree of functionality from what limited dopamine is present. A much more logical and appropriate approach would be to increase the frequency of firing of dopaminergic pathways, thereby providing the cell with sufficient metabolic capacity to produce and release dopamine as required.
Neurogenesis: a new field of study. It has recently been shown that, despite previous theories that the neuropil was fully formed at 17 weeks of gestation; new neurons can be formed in the hippocampus, and possibly in other areas as well. A recent neurogenesis study showed that rats on treadmills produced 40% more new neurons than sedentary rats. Maybe the rat race is good for us?
The plasticity of neurotransmitters can change over time, in order to strengthen connections between cells:
- The amount of neurotransmitter synthesized can be altered.
- New connections can be made via CIEGR from increased presynaptic frequencies of firing.
- An imbalance between the amount of transmitters synthesized and the regulation of receptors can result in pathology of function.
Dopamine plays an enormous role in the orbitofrontal cortex, producing the reward cascade. In other areas, dopamine produces schizophrenia. Simply supplementing with dopamine analogs is a nonspecific approach, whereas afferentation (that thing Chiropractors do) can be specifically targeted, as well as being nontoxic.
Based on new imaging techniques, such as functional MRI, there is a poor likelihood of global derangement of neurotransmitter systems.
PLASTICITY IN THE SYNAPSE: HOW LEARNING WORKS
- Long Term Potentiation: changes the strength of connections by stimulating a dendritic spine repeatedly, then restimulating the same spine at a later time, causing a response. Long Term Potentiation, is when the cell is changed permanently. This process operates in declarative/explicit learning, also known as conscious learning. This process involves activity in the hippocampus, via glutaminergic (a specific type of neurotransmitter) projections.
Procedural implicit learning is regarded as unconscious activity. This is cerebellar or limbic learning, though it may have began as conscious learning.
The majority of declarative knowledge involves left brain activity, whereas implicit knowledge makes use of the right brain.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE MIND
I’ll try and make it interesting Advanced motor development, which was predicated upon the need to promote survivability and search for food, required the development of the capacity for prediction, which is a main function of the frontal cortex.
In order to perform meaningful and useful actions, the brain must perform a rapid comparison of the sensory referred properties of the external world with a separate internal sensorimotor representation of these properties. (Realize that our nervous systems, which are composed of nerve cells only do two things. They either transmit sensory information or make a muscle fire in response to that information. To do this they also only do two things. Fire or not fire. That is the binary code that computers are based on. Ones and zeros. Picture firing as a 1 and not firing, as a 0) The brain must then transform the premotor representation( the area of your brain between the large sensory and motor strips in the frontal lobe) into finely tuned and executed movement.
This requires the existence of a premotor template, which is the essence of cognitive thought. This also requires the existence of memory and the means to compare the sensorimotor template with previous conditions and outcomes.
- The ability to predict evolved in tandem with increasing complexity of movement strategies. Even the simplest movements engage most of the body’s muscles, requiring tremendous sophistication and coordination.
OSCILLATORY NATURE OF MOVEMENT AND THOUGHT
Constant online awareness and regulation of simple motor activity would greatly exceed the brain’s processing capacity. What gives the brain a break from being continually online and processing information? This was overcome by the development of oscillation, in which the brain comes online and offline in a binary fashion. This oscillation is present in the form of an 8-12 Hz physiologic tremor (oscillation) in all motor activity. 12Hz is the finest temporal resolution possible in human motor activity. Side note: I’m pretty sure that frequency is what Qigong healers are utilizing.
With breakdown of brain function we see a breakdown of movement. The normal physiologic tremor slows and becomes visible.
A key point is that normal cognitive function (thinking) is not merely an issue of activation, but also one of timing, as threshold (the point where nerves transition to the on position) must be reached simultaneously in all elements of a conscious perception in order for proper cognitive binding to take place such that things can make sense.
This oscillation arose initially by way of the spinal oscillation necessary for fish to swim, and became encoded and conserved in genetic structure, such that some specific neurons possess intrinsic oscillation. While the brain is largely sensory driven, it also functions to some extent as a closed system. Certain neurons oscillate spontaneously, allowing the brain to organize itself functionally, as well as architecturally during development. As such, the brain possesses genetically programmed pacemakers.
Oscillations are produced independently and intrinsically, and are not dependent on external stimuli, but rather are modified by them. These oscillations provide for the global baseline activity of the brain. They are the primary source of cortical activity while in the dream state, when external activation is at its lowest.
Oscillations function primarily as a closed system, whereas sensory activation represents an open system. The closed system aspects of the brain act as the context of cognition, whereas open system sensory input provides the content imposed upon it.
This is very important to understanding the reason why chiropractic integrative brain based modalities are so effective with these disorders.
The cerebellum is the main area of responsibility for most ABC disorders.
There are more granular cells in the cerebellum than neurons in the rest of the brain combined.
- The largest tract in the brain is the corticopontocerebellar tract, (a highway that connects our conscious to part of our unconscious) containing 20-40 million fibers.
The cerebellum was viewed historically as primarily motor in nature, however it has more recently been shown to have a significant relationship to cognitive (thought), autonomic, visceral (organs and glands), and emotional functions.
The connection between autism and cerebellar function is that cerebellar function is a precursor to the frontal lobe in both anatomic and functional development. Problems with balance, coordination, and motor sequencing are observed in almost all autistic kids.
- The cerebellum possesses an intrinsic somatotopic representation (map) of the world, as does the thalamus and the brain; these are key for sequential motor function. Cerebella anatomy is very complex so instead of providing the details, the key point is to realize that there are all kinds of specialized cells and sub-groups within the cerebellum to see to it that we are not one big giant spasm.
- Consequently, a net effect of these processes from these sub-groups is to ensure that the next sequential movement will come about efficiently, as the surrounding motor areas are pushed closer to threshold and thus can be easily and rapidly activated. This represents the development of motor prediction. The same type of process can be seen with respect to cognitive function.
- Predictive functions were crucial evolutionary developments, and are the foundation of linear cognition. Aberrancies in the surrounding inhibitory mechanisms of the cerebellum, cortex, and basal ganglia are responsible for many ABC disorders.
- The cerebellum and the thalamus relays to motor and premotor areas that are located higher up in the central nervous system.
- Chiropractic treatment greatly affects both of these central nervous system specialized regions.
The vermis (the center of the cerebellum) is heavily underdeveloped in ADD/autism. The stimulus behind vermal development is input from the motor system.
We can generally predict at the age of 3 months who will fall into the autistic spectrum due to poor motor abilities.
The vermis drives the fastigium (another part of the cerebellum), which drives the ventrolateral thalamus,(the thalamus is an area where all sensory nerves must go except for smell) and this fires the frontal motor and premotor cortices.
It also drives all four of the vestibular nuclei bilaterally (balance center), which fire the medial and lateral vestibulospinal tracts to control excitation of extensors and postural control. (This was mentioned above as those muscles in your back that you can’t consciously control) This is beginning to explain how brain based chiropractic modalities can be of help.
The vermis also fires the Nucleus Tractus Solitarius, ( NTS), ( a group of nerves in the brain stem, which is below the brain and above the spinal cord), which drives the vagus nerve ( the nerve that directs all your organ systems, digestion, breathing, etc.) for parasympathetic control. (Parasympathetic control is your brakes. Sympathetic control is your gas pedal) All visceral afferents ( sensory nerves from organs) relay through the NTS, which is the primary parasympathetic ganglion. This is going to shortly be related to the Brain Gut connection regarding ABC children.
- The NTS is in the medullary reticular system. It drives the apneustic (breathing) and chemotactic centers. Aberrant NTS control manifests as difficulties with digestion, nausea, and dizziness (via output of the fastigial nucleus, which is in the cerebellum).
The flocculonodular lobe (an older part of the cerebellum) regulates medial postural control, (spine) and receives vestibular (balance) inputs. It is responsible for coordination of vestibuloocular responses. (If you hear something it is important to turn your eyes in that direction as to avoid being eaten by a saber tooth tiger. Fortunately we developed a part of our brains that allows this.) It drives the ascending medial longitudinal fasciculus ( a tract of nerves relating to eye movement except for 12 which is the tongue) to regulate cranial nerves 3, 4, 6, and 12 ( the actual nerves that move eyes in a certain direction, 12 is for the tongue). It is intimately associated with the vestibular canals to compensate for head movement.
Chiropractic brain based therapies utilize these different connections to affect regions of the brain that will support regulation of the areas that are deficient in ABC (Attention Behavioral Continuum) children. Consider how wonderful that is that deep internal structures of the brain can be so easily reached by utilizing things like balance and eye movements.
Oculomotor dysfunction is present in almost all forms of ABC disorders.
Another special area of the cerebellum, the lateral dentate is purely cognitive associational. Another clue as to why children with these disorders respond to chiropractic brain based modalities. Remember, most experts still consider the cerebellum as to have no relationship to this subject.
The cerebellum is mostly concerned with learning new activity. Once learned, the new activities are stored as fixed action patterns. FAP’s
The cerebellum also functions in direct autonomic control through direct connection to the hypothalamus, which is the main autonomic control center, as well as through its connections to the nucleus tractus solitarius. The deep cerebellar nuclei project through the superior cerebellar peduncle to the hypothalamus (the area of the brain that is the beginning and control center for autonomic functions.) In physiology, it is important to consider where things are located since they usually have a reason for being where they are. All this is basically saying that everything is connected to everything. The hard part is understanding exactly how, and we’re going to skip a lot of that. But if you care to read the above bullet point again, you will begin to see how Chiropractors help patients with problems that are not located in their backs.
NONMOTOR FUNCTIONS OF THE CEREBELLUM
- Information Processing: the cerebello-cerebral system modulates language and motor tasks
- Ideation Tasks: these are early stage mental tasks, the initial constituents of thoughts. When thinking of words or tasks, areas of the cerebellum light up first.
- Learning and Sensory Processing: the cerebellum is connected to the ventral tegmental (related to eyes) and mesolimbic areas (related to emotions) of the midbrain. The ventral tegmentum is dopaminergic, and its output increases mesolimbic and neocortical activity required for learning. It functions in sensory processing by modifying and sharpening sensory input. It receives virtually every sensory system, independent of those involved in movement.
The prefrontal cortex, basal ganglia, (groups of specialized motor nerves) thalamus, and cerebellum are all connected in a cognitive-motor loop, and these tend to be smaller in autistic kids.
The cerebellum is tied more into right brain development than left brain; it is a precursor to development of the frontal lobe, as well as a prerequisite for appropriate frontal lobe development.
The brain functions as a reality emulator: it creates reality within the internal space. The brain can do this on an intrinsic basis via the dream state.
The reality emulation exists primarily as a prerequisite for coordinated, directed motoricity, by generating a predictive image of an event to come that provokes behavior. This image is the premotor template.
Movement provokes brain oscillation, (oscillation started when we were fish and reptiles and is what helped us evolve into slightly smarter creatures) and thus movement becomes thinking. O.K. it’s obviously more complicated than that, but I’m trying to make this somewhat user friendly.
What is easier to picture is; as humans evolved from quadrupeds to bipeds, the emphasis of control of balance and posture and coordination of head and eye movements was shifted partially to the spinal muscles and joints.
This would tie in with the study of animals and humans in microgravity environments, where significant structural changes of somatosensory and visual cortices of the brain were noted after just 7 to 14 days of less gravity.
Chiropractors have achieved great results that they have over the decades because they utilize the gravity receptors in our musculoskeletal system. All children with learning disabilities and behavioral problems present with motor symptoms. The most common of these motor symptoms are poor muscle tone, postural unsteadiness of gait, clumsiness, hyperactivity, oculomotor dysfunction, gross and fine motor and coordination, and slowness of movement. In a nutshell, our muscles utilize gravitational energy to help stimulate our brain.
We are taught as children that our eyes have the ability to transduce electromagnetic radiation into digital signals that go onto our brain to be deciphered into a visible understanding of what those photons of light energy being reflected off surfaces are. We are taught that our ears can transduce sound wave energy into digital signals that can be interpreted by our brains so we know we are hearing a conversation as opposed to a concert. We are not taught that gravity is transduced by our special nerve cells in muscles and joints or just how important that is for higher functioning healthy bodies. Actually, my teachers, in 1960 did know the importance of physical education and we had classes in it. Since this has been cut out of many school budgets an increase in ABC children has been observed.
GLOBAL 40 HZ OSCILLATION: THE SIGNAL THAT BINDS
40 Hz oscillation is known as Gamma Oscillation.
This is the coherent neuronal activity that is large enough to be detected from the scalp. It is increasingly generated during cognitive tasks.
Key point: 40 Hz coherence waves are related to consciousness.
- Asynchronous activity can be detected in the brain on EEG during conscious activity and in REM sleep.
Key question: how does the brain bind all brain activity from various areas into coherent activity and consciousness? (The answer is coming shortly)
Dissimilar stimuli do not combine in single neurons, ever. That means, the brain lacks the processing power to accomplish cognition from a single nerve cell.
Memories exist not in individual neurons, but in assemblages of neurons, such that multiple levels of organization can be extracted from the same spatial system.
The brain polls all systems at 40 Hz, and creates frames of reality via this snapshot activity. As such, our perception of reality is based on the same principles as the motion picture film.
At moments of focusing, the brain goes for an instant into a phase lock, wherein all areas of the cognitive experience are linked and frozen in space and time.
The corpus callosum (thick nerve tracts between the left and right hemispheres of the brain) provides hemispheric synchronization. Damage or aberrant function here causes an inability to link appropriate perceptions at any given time. The thalamus and cerebellum modify the development of the corpus callosum. **This was part of the answer to the question above.
- Key point: temporal processing difficulty is a foundational problem in all of these ABC kids.
The brain has an inherent minimum reaction time of roughly 12.5 milliseconds. The brain cannot resolve individual events as discrete if separated by less than this interval. As such, this represents the speed of thought.
With problems in gamma oscillation, the brain’s processing speed decreases. It slows significantly in dyslexia. The ability to process sounds is much slower, creating CAPD (central auditory processing disorder). This results in difficulty learning language, since the speed of verbalization in normal conversation exceeds the child’s auditory temporal resolution. As a result the child is unable to adequately distinguish discrete phonemes in early development. We essentially lose the ability to develop phonemic ability by the age of 10. If the child does not develop an appropriate set of phonemes, they will not learn to read fully, since words cannot be sounded out if the phonemes upon which they are based do not exist for the child. Side note. You just discovered why even normal kids are having trouble learning. Some expert decided to change the way mankind has learned from the beginning of our time and somehow managed to get the country to not use Phonemes in the classroom.
A recent Canadian study demonstrated that the 40 Hz oscillations stop completely when the dorsal columns (sensory tracts that transmit positional information) are sectioned. (cut in half) The dorsal columns transmit proprioception, ( information about where we are in space and time), which can also be thought of as the sense of the relative position of neighboring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement. The effects of high velocity low amplitude decavitation of spinal joints, (Chiropractic treatment) are carried along these nerve pathways.
The input that drives the 40 Hz oscillation comes from the deep intrinsic slow twitch muscle fibers of the spine, particularly the multifidi. (That’s the name for those back muscles that hurt you that I discussed above.)
KEY POINT: the global 40 Hz Gamma oscillation, the basis of cognitive function, is critically dependent upon activation from spinal intrinsic muscle feedback.
FIXED ACTION PATTERNS
FAPs are essentially motor programs that begin as conscious procedural memory, but are ultimately encoded in subcortical structures and become automatic.
The brain initiates the patterns only once after they are developed and programmed. This allows for conservation of resources, and is dependent upon oscillatory function.
If a child never develops smooth coordinated activity to initiate FAPs, the child will never get to the stage where the brain can reduce the level of energy required for movement.
Movement will remain to some level conscious activity. As a result, the child will not progress to the next stages of neurological development regarding autonomic and immune regulation.
When the point is reached where the brain must go through a major growth phase, such as required by language development at around age 2 (the time of maximum myelination), the child will start to show signs of neurodevelopmental slowing, regression, or outright crashing. At this point the brain must steal energy for higher level processing rather than developing a new energy level.
Immunosuppression is a predominantly right brain activity. Overactivity of the right brain will lead to an overproduction of cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone that lowers our immune response.
Space dyslexia and motion sickness: oculomotor dysfunction is common in astronauts, resulting from a lack of feedback through the spinal muscles. Astronauts tend to develop ADD and dyslexia. Placing a continual stretch on extensor muscles will restore this function. Astronauts backs became severely painful due to the lack of graviational stimulation to the proprioceptive nerves. To over come this they are forced to do rigorous exercise to stimulate those positional sense nerves. Moving joints can make up for the lack of gravity that normally stimulates these specfic nerves.
- Neurolab: NASA experiments on neurologic expression in zero gravity revealed that lack of gravity affects genetic expression, and as a result, cells develop aberrant proteins and morphologies.
Key point: It was stated earlier that thinking was the internalization of movement. That means many brain loops are firing away when thinking and that it closely resembles all the nerves that would fire if we were to actually move. However, you still need the extra boost that moving muscles in earth’s gravitational field provides. On the other hand, tennis and basketball players that only visualized there skill with the ball performed as well as the players that were actually practicing for that period of time. Understanding the complicated feedback loops that create this is too difficult, but you should know this result in case you have to sit out for awhile from your favorite activity. Just seeing themselves shooting the ball into the hoop kept their specialized skill set while not being able to practice it.
The inability to fix gaze implies a predominance of one cerebellar hemisphere. The child will also tilt the eyes away from the target to utilize the retinal areas that feed the appropriately functioning cortical hemisphere.
FAPS are a strategy to program motor movement to relieve the need for control of individual movements to save energy and processing capacity.
FAPs develop over time. If something is performed with enough frequency it will become an FAP.
Most FAPs reside in and are initiated by the basal ganglia.
The frontal and prefrontal cortices perform executive functions by determining which patterns to initiate, and modifies what needs to be modified midprogram. The cortex is involved in fine tuning and end-range aspects of the movement, not the gross activity of the movement.
All novel stimuli enters through the right brain. Language acquisition problems are linked to this, rather than language disorders based on left cortical deficits (where the language skills will ultimately reside).
FAPs are stereotyped and relatively unchanging between individuals and within species, and vary from the simple to the complex.
FAPS are somewhat more elaborated reflexes that seem to group lower reflexes into synergies, groups of reflexes capable of more complex goal-oriented behavior.
Initially, learning takes a large amount of cortical activity, however as FAPs develop, that same activity requires less and less cortical activity.
The right brain develops first in humans, as does gross motor function, and language develops with fine motor in the left hemisphere.
Language is built on the same system as fine motor in the right hand. It requires rapid sequential fine motor control of both the hand and the mouth.
Often language development serves to provide a temporary decrease in fine motor skills, as the same system is utilized for both.
As a result therapy geared toward the development of fine motor skills is often more efficient at developing speech skills than speech therapy.
- All of the ABC disorders represent normal behavior at abnormal times, as some part of the brain remains immature.
- Language is a human FAP that is genetically programmed, and should be expressed at a specific time. However, this is based on more complex motor and fine motor FAPs that need to be developed first.
FAPs allow the mind to do other things.
Over time FAPs get embedded in the basal ganglia. These “tapes” are continuously running, and the brain chooses which one will be released into the thalamus, which fires the cortex and drives motricity.
Diseases of the basal ganglia provoke spontaneous movements, which are often very complex, since self-inhibition no longer occurs.
THE BASAL GANGLIA
The basal ganglia and cerebellum have very specific somatotopic relationships. (Somatotopic is also known as homongular, which is a type of mapping usually seen in text books as sought of a distorted gorilla overlying the brain. The distortion is in the disproportionate amount of real estate the hands get as opposed to the feet. The sensory awareness of the muscle in the finger is located in specific areas of the lower parts of the brain such as the cerebellum, the thalamus and the cortex. The foot is mapped to a spot slightly below or above the previoius one mentioned, but in a specific area of the brain structures. All the nerve wirings from our extremities do not just go somewhere haphazardly. That allows for conservation of energy and movement.)
The basal ganglia like the cerebellum are composed of special areas that have specific functions. The Caudate and Putamen nuclei of the basal ganglia function together as the neostriatum, which is associated with the frontal cortex. (Remember, the front of our brain is what seperates us from all the rest of the animal kingdom)
While certain areas of the basal ganglia are primarily for motor function, the caudate nucleus is involved in higher levels of cognitive and emotional function. This is not generally given much consideration with regard to ABC children.
All of these basal ganglia nuclei deal with dopamine, as well as with enkephalin, substance P, and GABA, which is the mother of all inhibitory neurotransmitters.
While one of it’s pathways promote movement, another pathway inhibits movement.
At this point the neurology gets too complex and it is best to think of it as, everything affects everything.
There are many complex brain pathways, but the net result of this is to inhibit the thalamus, thereby terminating the FAP.
Here is a more complicated way of saying everying in the nervous system effects everything else. The substantia nigra ( associated with Parkinson’s when damaged) has inhibitory effects on the superior colliculus. ( A specialized area of the thalamus for eye movement) Ocular predictive function and saccadic eye movement involves burst neurons in the superior coliculus, which drives reflexive movements into the basal ganglia and mesencephalon (an area of the mid brain partially dedicated to getting our eyes to work right). The reason why I’m torturing you at this point is below.
The superior and inferior colliculus are involved in any type of reflexogenic movement of the eyes and ears. These reflexes should be superceded by higher cortical reflexes. This is associated with attentional mechanisms as well.
- Optokinetic (eye movement) pursuit is initiated by the contralateral cerebellum. Eye movement in neurology class was always the most difficult, so the best way to grab this is, it takes a lot of specialized nerves to be able to follow objects with your eyes. These nerves have connections to areas of the brain that need to be stimulated in order to help children with ABC. But just watching a movie is not going to do it. The key to getting good results is temporal sequencing of different therapies, that is, knowing which areas of the brain are lagging behind and knowing how to reach them and not over stimulate them.
- The Opto kinetic reflex is present even in fish and the frog. All sighted animals possess this mechanism, which allows them to follow the movements of the visual environment. These nerve pathways are arranged in the brain in such a way that they also contribute to the maintenance of posture. The auditory pathway is also involved since it is important for our eyes to track what we are hearing.
A loss of input to the substantia nigra may result in hypokinesia. This is also associated with behavior, as a loop exists between the cortex and the neostriatum.
Hypokinesia is associated with decreased affect and depression, whereas mania is associated with hyperkinesia. Hyperactivity, OCD, and Tourette’s syndrome are all hyperkinetic disorders, arising from a similar mechanism to dystonias, (abnormal muscle tone/posture) involving the ventral neostriatum.
Recent research indicates that damage specifically to the left frontal lobe, appears to produce depression. In contrast, patients that developed mania following brain injury were more likely to have damaged the right hemisphere than the left. There are children with and without learning disabilities that exhibit depressive type symptoms. Depressive symptomatology can include being withdrawn, sad, irritable, and slow-moving. Manic behavior in children may present as aggression, hyperactive, angry, rigidity, lack of concentration, repetitive or persistent behaviors, frustration, anxiety, and possibly violence.
Perseveration (uncontrollable repetition of a particular response) is common in right hemispheristic lesions, as the right orbitofrontal and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices gate thoughts, thereby preventing thought perseveration.
The right cortex reads the emotional nonverbal gestalt, analyzing danger, context, and so on. The majority of this information regarding social interaction is gained from an analysis of the eyes. If a child lacks this right cortical function, there will be no impetus to make eye contact, and the child may be diagnosed as autistic.
ADHD has a relation to dopamine, via certain brain loops. (mesolimbic and mesocortical systems) The dopamine for these is provided by an area of the brain stem that is associated with coordinated eye movement. (ventral tegmentum, which sits right in front of the substantia nigra.) It has connections to the limbic system. (emotional centers) This drives survival mechanisms, motivation, procreation, and basic emotional drives.
The emotional system is the basic drive behind goal direction, and this arose out of predictive functions. Predictive capacity is programmed on the genetic level even in single celled organisms, consisting of approach / avoidance behaviors.
The limbic system provides the basic motivation that gives the underlying tone that says avoid or approach. This is also an autonomic function.
- This is implicit in FAPs in animals. The limbic system can be seen as a premotor FAP. Which actual FAP is selected for use in any given situation will be dictated by the emotional tone of the situation and the goal you are attempting to achieve.
Internal changes in the ANS (Autonomic Nervous System) will change the perception in the limbic system. In this way autonomic changes are translated into emotions. Think of that this way. Just as an overstimulus of pain(pain resides in a totally different system than the ANS) can trigger our autonomic nervous system to make us throw up, the state of our organs being powered by our subconscious brain centers can affect our emotional centers.
Negative emotions are generated in the right brain, as is withdrawal behavior.
Approach behavior is positive motivational activity generated in the left brain.
Depression generally results from decreased left frontal activity, manifesting as decreased positive emotions and increased negative thoughts. If activity can be increased in the left frontal cortex, depression tends to abate.
Dopamine pathways are primarily involved in motor function, via the frontal lobe. Many more dopaminergic receptors exist in the left frontal lobe than in the right cortex.
Given that the left cortex has many more dopamine receptors, a loss of dopamine activity will tend to affect the right side to a greater degree, as the left has a greater ability to compensate for the loss.
Dopamine and acetylcholine are more predominant in the left brain, whereas norepinephrine and 5-HT (a serotonin precursor) are more prominent in the right cortex.
As a result, if 5-HT activity is decreased, since more receptors exist in the right cortex, we will tend to see the symptoms manifest more as a decrease in left cortical activity, resulting in depression.
In the normal state for a 13 year-old, the prefrontal cortex fires to inhibit the limbic areas. In kids, emotional responses are processed primarily in the amygdala, (a more primitive emotional area associated with smell), which regulates fight or flight responses and is tied into the hypothalamus. As the brain develops, at around age 12-13 the prefrontal cortex starts to mature and begins to override the amygdala, thereby decreasing impulsivity.
The prefrontal cortex also inhibits bulbar dopimanergic neurons to prevent dopaminergic escape, which manifests as schizophrenia.
ADHD kids tend to have poorly developed prefrontal areas.
The right prefrontal cortex is particularly involved in inhibiting amygdalar responses. The amygdala is driven heavily in fearful situations, such as the odd kid being continually bullied at school.
The decreased prefrontal activity can be viewed as a 9 year-old prefrontal brain in a 13 year-old body, resulting in the child existing in an eternally vigilant state.
The addition of testosterone serves to further sensitize the amygdala.
The right brain also houses the conscience; right lesions leave the child with poor development of social norms. As a result, if pushed far enough, the kid walks into school and starts shooting. All of the children involved in the recent spate of school shootings have ADHD or LD. These kids lacked the necessary level of movement to drive the development of the prefrontal cortex.
In schizophrenia, the prefrontal cortex is not working as well. In schizophrenia, dysregulation of emotions occur via overstimulation of limbic areas.
Alzheimer’s study: decreased dopamine activity (receptors and production) produced cognitive and motor deficiencies. An exhaustive study found only two consistent findings with decreased dopamine:
- Increased caloric intake, particularly of carbohydrates.
- Decreased physical activity.
All of these are seen in ABC kids, and this is tied to TV viewing and sedentary behavior. Modify those 2 things in kids, and you will profoundly change these systems.
The orbitofrontal cortex is stimulated by smell and taste. It becomes very hard to change kids’ food predilections, since they become very sensitive.
Right cortical deficits result in children unaware of their own social impact on others. They do not know when they are being annoying, or when they have entered another’s personal space. They require dramatic social interaction to get any needed social stimulation.
The hippocampus (a major component of the brains of humans and other vertebrates. It belongs to the limbic system and plays important roles in the consolidation of information from short-term memory to long-term memory and spatial navigation) must be functioning in order to have declarative memory.
The use of olfaction (smell) can help enhance hippocampal activity.
Loss of the sense of smell is the earliest marker of Alzheimer’s / dementia.
ADHD kids usually have absent olfaction(sense of smell) on one side or the other.
The arcuate fasciculus is disrupted somewhat in dyslexia. This connects Wernike’s and Brocca’s areas, centers for speech
Key Point: the brain also tends to develop dorsal and ventral imbalances, (front and back) not just hemispheristic ones. (sides)
Specific frequencies of sound and light are specific to the right and left brains.
The limbic “lobe” in its entirety has connections to the hypothalamus. The entire system thus regulates the Autonomic Nervous System. The brain regulates the entire endocrine system. (Perhaps the reason for a positive mental attitude)
Acupuncture affects the prefrontal cortex and its inhibitory effects on the amygdala. The link between these is the cingulate gyrus, where pain is experienced. A lack of appropriate regulatory function results in an excessive experience of pain.
The supplementary motor areas, Brodman’s areas 4s and 6, are involved in fine motor control.
The motor cortex controls individual muscles.
The premotor cortex is involved in more complex movements, involving groupings of muscles.
The supplementary motor areas regulate even more complex behaviors, on the level of FAPs.
The prefrontal cortex is specific for cognitive control of motor function. It has no direct motor control, but determines when and when not to move, as well as how and why to move.
The corticospinal pathways drive movements of the fingers and toes.
The rubrospinal pathways drive flexor movements of the arms, shoulders, knees, and legs.
The reticulospinal system drives primarily extensors. The medial reticulospinal tract promotes proximal muscle extension activity.
All ABC kids tend to have some degree of hypotonia. (poor muscle tone) These nerve pathways for large muscle groups listed above are key to effecting an improvement.
Loss of neocortical function results in a loss of promotion of bipedalism on that side.
Gravity is the only constant and this is what has the most profound effect on stimulating our nervous system.
However, the higher cortical regions become dependent on lower cortical areas for stimulation. (movement)
Once initiated by genetic expression, other cortical areas maintain these pathways.
Muscle spindles can be directly modified by the brain in terms of their sensitivity.
ASYMMETRIC DISTRIBUTION IN THE BRAIN
Brain asymmetry is primarily due to evolutionary developments. Most functions are bisymmetrical, however the higher the level of function, the more asymmetry is present.
Brain mapping in ADD has consistently shown differences in intra-hemispheric coherence: various areas are firing at different rates.
Bisymmetry is believed to be an evolutionary adaptation for movement. It is believed that a deviation away from bisymmetry towards asymmetry of brain function is due to the development of higher mental functions.
Isolation of visual input through hemifield stimulation has shown dramatic results on schizophrenia and anxiety.
Anatomical differences: asymmetry is influenced by fetal gonadal steroids. In males, the right cerebral cortex in rats is thicker, whereas in female rats the cortex is more symmetric. This asymmetry is present at birth and continues throughout.
Exposing mothers to stress during pregnancy lowers fetal serum testosterone, causing a shift toward left cortical function at the expense of right cortical function. This can occur during a critical period that continues postnatal. The male brain appears to be much more susceptible to these disruptions in androgen levels.
Early lateralization and functional asymmetry occurs prior to language and cognitive development.
Fine motor activity with primarily the right hand, precedes language development. The development of both is interrelated to one another.
The development of hand dominance relates to language milestones.
The left brain and right cerebellum are involved in movement syntax, which is required for fine coordinated movement.
Gesturing is used to help ourselves think. Restriction of hand movement slows speech and makes it less organized.
In visual processing tasks, the two hemispheres focus on different features. The left brain perceives smaller parts, with high frequencies. It is where detail is perceived. The right brain perceives the gestalt, and receives lower frequencies. It perceives patterns.
If the letter L is presented, and it is made of small Ds, focusing on the L will light up the right hemisphere, whereas focusing on the Ds will light up the left hemisphere. As a result, when viewed by brain injured individuals, those with left brain deficits will see the L, and those with right brain deficits will see the Ds. Therapeutically speaking, looking at the small D letters will stimulate the left hemisphere.
Lower frequency visual stimulation drives the right hemisphere, whereas higher frequency stimulation drives the left hemisphere.
The right hemisphere focuses on distance judgement tasks, such as near / far recognition, versus above / below recognition, which is a left hemispheric function.
The right hemisphere has an advantage for near/far tasks. The visual sensory system of newborns is functional in this for processing; however it is particularly limited in its transformation of information with high spatial frequencies. This suggests that the development of various brain areas is more advanced in the right hemisphere than the left at birth and shortly thereafter.
The right hemisphere develops first, and responds better to low frequency tones and music types. These involve all nonverbal and environmental sounds, such as those that paint an image in the brain. It also responds to aversive and negative tones, such as scary music.
A parallel is noted in the processing of auditory information. Hemispheric asymmetry to auditory stimulation is related to its temporal frequency.
Dichotic listening is a procedure wherein different sounds are applied to each ear simultaneously. Research here has revealed that the right ear has an advantage for linguistics, whereas the left ear has an advantage for the emotional context. Auditory stimulation decussates to the opposite hemisphere.
Spinal and truncal oscillations with slow twitch fibers have also been shown to proportionately drive the right brain, whereas fast twitch fibers stimulate the left brain. This can be seen in apes, wherein the left hand is typically used for bracing, and the right hand for manipulation. In humans, this relationship persists, as typically the left hand holds the paper and the right hand writes. This is based on the same gestalt versus detail relationships that exist for visual and auditory processing systems.
Visual and auditory perceptions are linked, in that seven basic tones exist in the diatonic scale, and these are largely conserved throughout the species. Similarly seven basic colors exist in our perception of the visual light spectrum. These colors are analogously linked to the tones. Lower tones within the scale provide proportionately lower frequencies of auditory stimulation at the same amplitude, as is the case with lower frequencies of light. Different colors of light can be utilized to provide specific levels of stimulation. Progressing through the visual spectrum can gradually ramp up the level of stimulation.
Lenses with red and blue hemifields can be used to slow the frequency of firing of the faster hemisphere and increase the rate of the slower side.
Blue light will be faster than the average rate of white light, whereas red will be at a slower frequency than the full spectrum average.
The micturition centers exist in the back of the frontal lobe. ADHD boys have a high propensity towards nocturnal enuresis. Given the proximity to the primary somesthetic cortex, there is a good probability of enhancing micturition control via parietal (side lobes that receive lots of information) input to increase frontal function.
The right brain is responsible for attention, particularly in the parietal and frontal cortices, whereas the left brain is more for intention perception and sensory processing.
The right cortex has a somatotopic map of both sides of the body, whereas the left cortex only maps the right side of the body.
Fine motor representation is more bilateral in the left brain.
Flashlight effect: attention is drawn towards a specific space. Attentional bias is generally toward the side opposite of the brain lesion. The right brain draws toward the left side of the world. Individuals with lesions in the right brain will tend to neglect the left side of the body. In severe cases, such as in strokes, full hemi neglect is possible. These individuals may tend to shift toward the right side of the paper when writing.
The vigilance system is the most basic and primitive. This is driven primarily by the brainstem. Activity in this system makes the individual more anxious, nervous, and fearful, as well as prone to withdrawal responses.
The vigilance system is purely in the brainstem, and is regulated by the right brain only.
Right brain lesions tend to result in persistence of the vigilance system. Because of other systems in the brain being affected, we often see diminished ability to orient to something quickly.
Persistent activity of the vigilance system can delay development of other brain mechanisms.
Easily distracted but pleasant kids with no big behavioral problems except perseveration likely have poor development of the rear sides of the brain.
Implicit modeling of parental postures can have large effects on kids. Strong emotional bonds exist between mothers and daughters, and fathers and sons. If mothers tend to become depressed, decreased left frontal activity will be present in daughters. If the mothers snap out, so do the children.
THE CORPUS CALLOSUM
The wiring that connects left and right sides of the brain.
Temporal synchronization (the rate of firing of nerve cells) allows the binding or integration into a single event memory of various physical dimensions of objects, including location, shape direction, movement, color, texture, and sound. This is the phase locking of discrete and varied aspects of a perception that produces memory.
For accessing memory explicitly, one must activate all regions involved simultaneously, including emotional and cognitive reactions to the stimulus.
If unable to react, the entire network, including the contextual network that reveals the memory is more likely to be fragmented.
Callosal transection, results in no intra-hemispheric synchronization.
The corpus callosum does not function to the degree previously thought regarding information transference. Rather, the callosum is involved in linking information temporally. It allows temporal synchronization for phase locking, discrete aspects of an experience into a singular perception. In the absence of this, available memory will not be linked with specific markers of emotion and timing.
The corpus callosum equilibrates the level of activation between the two hemispheres.
If an activation imbalance exists between the hemispheres, a functional neglect syndrome will be created in the hemisphere with lesser activity. There will be inhibition of activation in the contralateral hemisphere, via reciprocal brainstem connections. All this means is, the result of chronic high function in one hemisphere will be active inhibition of the inactive side. Again, think use it or lose it.
This can be demonstrated clearly with callosal sectioning. After disruption of the pathway, if the right side is activated at a high enough level, the patient will lose the ability to speak via active inhibition of the left side.
All disconnection characteristics can be viewed as secondary to an imbalance of activation as opposed to a lack of transferred information.
When one hemisphere is favored for processing for an extended period of time, the under activated side becomes refractory, resulting in a chronic functional imbalance.
In such kids, if the left side is driven hard enough with academia, a relative neglect syndrome develops in the right side. The child develops social withdrawal, and ultimately loses attentional mechanisms, resulting in a loss of academic ability.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Certain areas of the brain are responsible for specific functions. Below are the current anatomical names for very precise areas of the brain. It’s not important for you to know exactly where they are, but it is important to realize that through nerve pathways that are already present, (eyes, ears, muscles, joints, smell) chiropractic integrated brain based therapy can stimulate these areas to function better.
It is believed that most of the unique qualities that human’s posses are due to expansion of our prefrontal cortex even though we’ve been told that it is our frontal lobe in general that makes us superior in the food chain. What’s important to understand is that motor activity is in the frontal lobe and more sophisticated control of it is due to development of the prefrontal cortex. One of the key points to all that was written previously is that motor activity, things like actually catching a baseball instead of watching one go by on a computer screen is one of the basic drivers for healthy brain development. I realize that does not explain younger children that are suddenly stricken with Autism and how it can help them, but we’ll get to that soon.
A poor functioning prefrontal cortex can result in: an individual becoming carefree, and euphoric. There is a loss in their capacity to do things for a delayed reward. There is decreased inclination to observe social norms. Lowered powers of concentration, attention span, initiative, and spontaneity, as well as decreased abstract reasoning can be observed. These areas of the brain are greatly affected by the special nerves in joints that chiropractors effect. These nerves respond to other stimulus than just the high velocity low amplitude fast stretch decavitation (that cracking of the joint that some people are frightened by). Vibration at optimal frequencies is also a way to get these nerve receptors that will eventually travel up to higher brain areas and drive the resident nerves in that area to respond to get a positive result.
The Orbitofrontal cortex mediates social behavior. Therefore, Chiropractic brain based therapies utilize eye pathways to balance these areas of the brain. You may see below that I’m attributing attention disorders to different areas of the brain, but they can differ sharply. In orbitofrontal region, the attention disorder deals more with failure to focus and concentrate. This type of patient is unusually distractible, unable to inhibit interference from external stimuli that are extraneous to present context and not part of the action currently under way. The patient may exhibit inappropriate and childish humor. Additionally, they may be unable to inhibit instinctual drives and display belligerence, hypersexuality, and hyperphagia. (An abnormal food appetite) Disinhibition of instincts can drive the patient to unruly behavior.
Sociopathy is almost a hallmark of the orbitofrontal syndrome. I only mention that because the similarities between that syndrome and ADD are hyperkinesia and unruly behavior. It is reasonable to conclude that ADD has something to do with the orbitofrontal cortex. ADD is often outgrown in late adolescence so it would be logical to suppose that its clinical manifestation is due to a lag in the maturation of the orbitofrontal cortex. As mentioned way up above, nerve cells need to be frequently fired in order to get their full genetic expression to be realized. One purpose of using Chiropractic integrated brain based modalities is to persuade these nerve cells into connecting with others so that they can receive enough stimuli for them to function optimally.
The mediofrontal cortex also deals with motivation. Slightly in a different part of the brain, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex mediates executive behavior and motor programming. Deficits in this region are associated with inflexibility, impersistence, poor organization strategies, and sequencing. Language is affected by perseveration and decreased word fluency.
If we move over in the prefrontal cortex of the brain just a little forward and to the middle we are now in the Medial Ventral region. A problem there may manifest with a disorder of drive and motivation that is more profound than in the previous region discussed. Inattention and lack of interest are hanging out in this region. Apathy can lead to lack of spontaneity in all aspects of action including speech.
THE BRAIN GUT CONNECTION.
The vagal nerve (the cranial nerve that controls digestion) is primarily activated by the Nucleus Tractus Solitarius. Regulation of the NTS is primarily from descending projections especially from the frontal lobe. It has been discovered that one week of aerobic exercise training will increase vagal tone. All this means is movement powers up the brain, which then fires down to improve the health of its organs. Intestinal changes and dysfunction in children with autistic affective disorder are common and suggest a real connection. Asperger first recorded a link between celiac disease and behavioral psychosis in 1961.
In 1996, 439,000 autistic children were identified with abnormal intestinal permeability. Consequences of inflamed and dysfunctional intestines may play a part in behavioral changes in some children.
BETRAYAL BY THE BRAIN.
It is well known that the brain can influence gastrointestinal function, and may do so by the interaction of descending cortical impulses and routine afferent activity of the neurons of the nucleus of the solitary tract. We have all experienced an upset stomach after a stressful argument and typically, our appetite is stimulated to decrease since we don’t want to be digesting our food incorrectly and possibly creating toxic substances. However, we have also seen people that are immune to this innate self protecting response and just keep eating no matter how upset they are.
It is also important to realize the leaky gut syndrome, which has been associated with a variety of conditions including acute and chronic diseases such as systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes, allergies, asthma, acne, and of the one that brought you here, autism. A leaky gut allows substances such as toxins, microbes, undigested food, waste, or larger than normal macromolecules to leak through an abnormally permeable gut wall. These out-of-place substances affect the body directly or initiate an immune reaction and this was discussed earlier as being quite common in ABC children. This problem can typically be easily treated in young people and is a considerable therapy regarding normalizing ABC children.
The functional neuroanatomy is endless. I’ve reduced it down to the point where I feel enough credibility for these, what may be strange ideas to the medical community, has been delivered in order for you to take what may be a giant leap of faith to try things differently. The more brain systems that are integrated into treatment; the higher the probability of seeing a benefit. This difference in approach may just improve everyone’s life involved.