Your Weekly Dose of #5ThoughtsFriday: A description of what we think is important at BIAMD
The "Willie Shoemaker" Edition
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Damage to parts of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), a region within the prefrontal cortex, heightens monkeys' defensive responses to threat, according to new research published in JNeurosci. The study proposes a critical role for subregions of this brain area in different anxiety disorders.

A network of brain regions including the OFC has been implicated in human anxiety disorders. For example, previous research has linked arachnophobia and generalized anxiety disorder to decreased activity in lateral and medial OFC, respectively. Elisabeth Murray and colleagues from the National Institute of Mental Health and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai investigated the role of these OFC subregions in male rhesus macaques trained to retrieve a fruit snack reward in the presence of one of two fake, rubber predators - a grayish-green snake or a black, hairy spider - or neutral objects.

After producing selective lesions in the lateral or medial OFC in eight monkeys, the researchers observed that these animals took longer to reach for the fruit snack in the presence of the predator stimuli compared to 12 animals with intact OFC. The researchers also found that this effect could be attributed to the heightened defensive and reduced approach behaviors that followed damage to either subregion of OFC. Both experimental groups also failed to reduce their defensive responses to the snake and spider over time. Finally, monkeys with medial OFC lesions showed a greater tendency to express defensive behaviors even in the absence of threat. Overall, these findings suggest that specific symptoms of various anxiety disorders may arise from dysfunction in distinct subregions of OFC.

CLICK HERE to see more about the study.
It is just as important to note that one in two drivers considered to be under the influence of cannabis was also under the influence of alcohol. With risks cumulating between the two, it is particularly important to point out the danger of consuming them together.
Ever since the Grand Rapids study [1], all published research, whether experimental or observational, has shown a higher accident risk for drivers under the influence of alcohol [2–5]. This strongly increased risk can chiefly be explained by greatly reduced attentional and cognitive capacities, a delay in taking actions that could avoid an accident, and a higher degree of risk-taking [6], in particular, driving at high speed.

In recent years, there have also been numerous studies into driving under the influence of illicit drugs, notably cannabis. A number of experimental investigations have shown a decreased capacity of drivers under the influence of cannabis [7–9], in particular a decrease in attention, increased reaction time and reduced ability to control direction [10]. Individual variations are considerable, but there is an overall diminution in cognitive and motor functions related to driving. A further dose-dependent effect has been demonstrated in certain aspects of vehicle control, such as steering, keeping distance from the vehicle ahead, driving speed, reaction time and keeping on the right side of the road [11].

These experimental studies are indispensable for knowing how consumption of a given substance affects driving, and the intensity of its effect. Their main advantage is that they control both drivers’ actual consumption and driving conditions. On the other hand, for obvious ethical reasons, the doses to which the consumers are experimentally subjected are limited to reasonable levels, which in real life are often widely exceeded, for illegal drugs as well as alcohol. Moreover, in spite of constant technical progress in driving simulators, it is difficult for drivers to forget they are not on a real road, and that an error would not pose a danger as it would in real-life conditions. Driving on a test track is closer to reality, but still does not completely avoid the same criticism, given that courses are pre-established and drivers know they are being supervised. Finally, under controlled conditions, it is not certain that drivers adapt to their perceived capacities in the same way as in a real-life driving situation.

CLICK HERE to find why the combination is so frightening.
Stop being so busy, and just do nothing. Trust us.
Keeping busy?

Running from place to place and laboring over long to-do lists have increasingly become ways to communicate status: I’m so busy because I’m just so important, the thinking goes.

Perhaps it’s time to stop all this busyness. Being busy — if we even are busy — is rarely the status indicator we’ve come to believe it is. Nonetheless, the impact is real, and instances of burnout, anxiety disorders and stress-related diseases are on the rise, not to mention millennial burnout.

There’s a way out of that madness, and it’s not more mindfulness, exercise or a healthy diet (though these things are all still important). What we’re talking about is … doing nothing. Or, as the Dutch call it, niksen.

What is niksen?
It’s difficult to define what doing nothing is, because we are always doing something, even when we’re asleep.

Doreen Dodgen-Magee, a psychologist who studies boredom and wrote the book “Deviced! Balancing Life and Technology in a Digital World,” likens niksen to a car whose engine is running but isn’t going anywhere.

“The way I think about boredom is coming to a moment with no plan other than just to be,” she said.

CLICK HERE THEN start doing nothing.
What We are Reading We Think
You Might FInd Interesting
From New York Times bestselling author and blogger Heather B. Armstrong comes an honest and irreverent memoir—reminiscent of the New York Times bestseller Brain on Fire—about her experience as one of only a few people to participate in an experimental treatment for depression involving ten rounds of a chemically induced coma approximating brain death.

For years, Heather B. Armstrong has alluded to her struggle with depression on her website, dooce. It’s scattered throughout her archive, where it weaves its way through posts about pop culture, music, and motherhood. But in 2016, Heather found herself in the depths of a depression she just couldn’t shake, an episode darker and longer than anything she had previously experienced. She had never felt so discouraged by the thought of waking up in the morning, and it threatened to destroy her life. So, for the sake of herself and her family, Heather decided to risk it all by participating in an experimental clinical trial involving a chemically induced coma approximating brain death.

Now, for the first time, Heather recalls the torturous eighteen months of suicidal depression she endured and the month-long experimental study in which doctors used propofol anesthesia to quiet all brain activity for a full fifteen minutes before bringing her back from a flatline. Ten times. The experience wasn’t easy. Not for Heather or her family. But a switch was flipped, and Heather hasn’t experienced a single moment of suicidal depression since.

CLICK HERE for more.

 If you decide to buy this book, please don't forget to use  Amazon Smile  and select the Brain Injury Association of Maryland as your donation beneficiary.
5) Quote We Are Contemplating...

"You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down.”

Have you ever clicked on the beautiful pictures posted at the end of every #5ThoughtsFridays? Try it. You might learn something fun!
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