Resilience and the Brainstem
Trauma occurring even in early life and childhood can have adverse epigenetic consequences that appear in later life in a systemic impairment of resilience. There is a direct relationship of brainstem injury and impaired resilience, including impaired immunological resilience, which only in the last few months has been recognized to be mediated at least in part by the brain’s own immune system.
Research on the strategic importance of the brainstem in maintaining resilience, in particular the destructive and long enduring impact of trauma to the brainstem, is still in its infancy. Few rigorous studies satisfying standards of evidence-based medicine exist. Nonetheless, reports of leading practitioners confirm the strategic importance of the brainstem as the regulator of the autonomic nervous system and further that:
Trauma to the brainstem can come in diverse forms—physical, emotional, and environmental—and endure and express itself in illness far into later life.
Trauma tends to “layer” in the neck, somewhat analogous to rings in a tree. When it locates in the neck, trauma torques the axis and atlas bones that protect and hold the brainstem.
Trauma or even sub-concussive trauma extending over many months or years can express themselves in a wide variety of maladies, depending on individual vulnerabilities.
There is a direct relationship of brainstem injury and impaired resilience, including impaired immunological resilience, which only in the last few months has been recognized to be mediated at least in part by the brain’s own immune system.
An important question is the pathways in which trauma to the brainstem affects neuroplasticity in the cerebral cortex, especially when the brainstem itself is thought to have relatively low neuroplasticity.
Notes: Trauma to the Brainstem—A New Frontier Notes:
- They’ll Have to Rewrite the Textbooks
- The pioneering work of Dr. Joseph Migliore, DC
- From Lissa Rankin, MD
“Suddenly, it all made sense. As an integrative medicine doctor in posh Marin County, Calif., I never understood how my patients – all health nuts, eating vegan diets or juicing, working out with personal trainers or taking supplements, and sleeping eight hours a night – could be some of the sickest people I’ve ever met. But after my research, I had an epiphany: My patients were sick because they were in chronic repetitive stress response. No amount of kale can counterbalance the poisonous effects of high doses of cortisol and epinephrine on every cell. Their bodies had lost the ability to self-repair…..”
“As a physician, I was trained to believe that I know your body better than you do. If you get sick, you should hand yourself over to me the way you might bring your broken-down car to a mechanic. With little or no input from you, if the exchange goes well, voila! You’re all fixed up and ready to roll….” “The problem is that this dynamic sets us both up for failure.”
“Your body is a self-healing organism. By bypassing its natural self-repair process and handing all your power over to a doctor, you might be ignoring the very thing you need to heal. This is not a revolutionary idea. As doctors, we learn that the body can heal itself. Our physiology texts teach us that it is brilliantly equipped with natural self-repair mechanisms that kill the cancer cells we produce every day, fight infectious agents, repair broken proteins, keep our coronary arteries open and naturally fight the aging process….”
“We also learn that our autonomic nervous system has two major operating systems — the sympathetic nervous system, which produces the body’s stress response, also known as “fight or flight”; and the parasympathetic nervous system, which produces the body’s relaxation response, also known as “rest and digest.” This is our homeostatic state, when the body is in equilibrium.
“But here’s what they don’t teach in medical school: The body’s natural self-repair mechanisms only fully function when the nervous system is in relaxation response.”
- High Prevalence of Evidence of CTE in Brains of Deceased Football Players
- The terrific movie Concussion starring Will Smith
Notes: Neuroplasticity and Resilience Notes
- Neuroplasticity and cellular resilience in mood disorders
- The Neuroscience of Building a Resilient Brain