We ARE what we EAT!


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WHAT

Nowadays, science verifies more and more this old proverb. Indeed, we begin to realize the enormous influence that our food has on our physical and mental health, on our feelings and our way of thinking.

 

WHY

Why? Because the food we gulp down has contact with our digestive system, which is a kind of … a second brain. That could sound strange, but sometimes reality does: not only our digestive system contains neurons, but it contains nothing less than 100 milliards of them1! Connected between them and also with the brain, the one which stands in the head, via the vagus nerve, of which between 80 % and 90 % of fibers are none-reciprocal, and let information pass from the stomach (in particular the small intestine, around which it is rolled up) to the brain2. So it is our digestive system which tells our brain how to behave, and not the opposite!

We thus very well understand that what we eat influences our digestive system, and thus our brain: our feelings, our reflections, etc.

Furthermore, our food also has a direct effect on our intestinal flora, these 100000 billion of small bacteria which develop in our digestive system. But this intestinal flora, which has a very important effect on our body, depends naturally on our food. And from its composition can ensue cardiovascular risks4, anxiety and dépression2, autism4, obesity4, neurological diseases (as the Parkinson’s disease5), diabetes4, cancer4, as well as disorders in our hormonal and immune systems 2.

HOW

  1. A research team led by Mark Kahn, of the university of Pennsylvania, showed that the risk of developing cavernomes (vascular malformations resulting in risks of brain haemorrhages) depended on the intestinal flora of an individual. To prove that, they identified certain bacteria of the intestinal flora of mouse freeing a toxin susceptible to cross into the body and to generate cavernomes. By preventing the fixation of this toxin in the body of mice, they managed to reduce of 90 % the development of cavernomes in the population of studied mouse, proving the direct link between intestinal flora and appearance of cavernomes.3
  2. Researchers showed the link between intestinal flora and Parkinson’s disease by transplanting the intestinal flora of sick mice in healthy mice, what made reveal the symptoms of the disease in the sane mice. On the other hand, by isolating sick mice in a sterile environment or by treating them with antibiotics (and doing so by eliminating their intestinal flora), the researchers managed to reduce the intensity of the symptoms of the disease.5
  3. A research team led by Floris Fransen identified that the intestinal flora of young individuals differed from that of the old ones. And by transferring the intestinal microbiote of old individuals in young individuals, and vice versa, they managed in a case to generate disorders to the guinea pig and to reduce them in the other one.4
  4. Professor P. Holzer, neuro-gastroenterologist from Graz’s Hospital, was able to observe during large-scale epidemiological studies led on volunteers, that food has an effect on the humor of people, as they eat healthily or not.3

WHAT CAN BE DONE WITH IT

 

These discoveries are a real revolution: they actually allow to envisage in the future to handle a lot of complex diseases simply by modifying the intestinal flora of the sick person, using for example antibiotics or probiotics.

Well, as prevention is better than cure, pay attention on what you eat!

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Notes

1■ Documentaire “Les super-pouvoirs de l’intestin” de Juliette Démas, diffusé sur France 5

2■ Article “Intestin grêle – le cerveau de notre cerveau

3■ Article “Quand l’intestin agit sur le cerveau”, magazine La Recherche Juillet-Août 2017

4■ Article “Un lien a été trouvé entre l’état de la flore intestinale et plusieurs maladies liées à l’âge”, Medical Xpress, 2 novembre 2017

5■ Article “La maladie de Parkinson commence bien dans les intestins”, magazine Science & Vie de février 2017

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From lullabies to military songs (Part 2)


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Hi Neurohackers! Previously we saw a cool introduction to the powers of music. Here is another one about applications of the concept!

Social applications are unlimited: we find of course the track of music in every religion, where texts must be precisely memorized, and where the rites referred to magic stuff. We know moreover from now on that this phenomenon was already present during prehistoric areas! Cro-Magnon men preferred the caves having the best acoustic properties and we found in the cave of Portel (Ariège, France), a testimony of this statement: two red points were drawn on the ceiling, and by standing between both, if we speak, the echo of the cave sends us back our voice “transformed”, “hollow”, “as if we were communicated with the spirit of the cave” according to the suggestion of Michel Dauvois.1 Thus we know that sounds and voices in particular has always been associated always to the divine world.

 

We still understand the interest of the military fanfare: it generates a protection bubble of sound, preventing the sounds of the enemy from reaching the troop, and thus let the men think that all is good so far! Furthermore, when we sing with the others, there is a form of “dissolution of the subject” into the population: everyone is an actor of his sound landscape, but he does not distinguish his voice from that of the others, if he sings in rhythm and in tune. And if it is the case, the impression of power is moreover multiplied tenfold (physical phenomenon of resonance). Thus we understand that we can generate a solid group spirit by this way.

The notion of ” sound landscape ” evoked above was created by Pierre Schaeffer (pioneer of the electronic music). It allows to bridge the gap between sound and music, by the means of ” the sound atmosphere “. If we saw that the psychology of man is modelled by the sound, we understand that his sound environment partially defines him… That is why the discipline of ” sound archaeology ” begins to be developed, trying to understand and then to reproduce the sound atmospheres of the past, and doing so trying to obtain information on the people who preceded us. But we also perceive here the ill-being of our time with all the problem of noise pollution…1

When we see the degree of importance that sound has for the man, we can finally raise the question: is sound essential to man’s development? Well, in fact, we notice that it is rather important for building himself: we saw in the first part of the article (lien html) that the sound connects the individual with the world which surrounds him, it erases the barrier which separates him from this one. Yet unsurprisingly, we know nowadays, that deafness has huge consequences on the development of psychomotor capacities of the children.2 In the same order of idea, we shall still note the use of ” the inner ear ” in the representation of the vertical posture for the individual

 

And finally, also interesting: the laboratories of Orfield, in Minneapolis, created, mainly for the NASA, a “anechoic room”. This place, said “anechoic” (without echo), absorbs 99,9 % of sounds. And we notice that to stay more than 45 minutes in such a chamber drives us crazy, because it breaks the balance between our inner physiological noises and the outer foreigner ones: the man is not made to hear only the beatings of his own heart!3 He is not alone in the universe, and maintains an intimate link with the outside world, a sound link.

And on these words ends this second part of article. But they say: all things come in threes! The next part and the end of this article is coming in the next episode.

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Notes

1■ Article “Searching for lost sounds” from 01net, 02/08/2017

2■ Website of the Service de Soutien à l’Education Familiale et à la Scolarisation des Pupilles de l’Enseignement Public du Vaucluse

3■ Article on the anechoic chambers

 

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