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Sunday, April 20, 2008

SENSORY OVERLOAD – A SERIOUS PROBLEM

SENSORY OVERLOAD – A SERIOUS PROBLEM

In my opinion we are experiencing a serious health problem in a disease I am calling “Sensory Overload.” Our brains are processing so much information that it has little time to rest and regenerate. Our bodies require regeneration and we accomplish this by rest and sleep. However, many individuals do not sleep soundly and suffer with sleepless nights quite frequently also associated with restless leg syndrome where parts of their bodies are in constant motion. So both the brain/mind and physical body is in constant motion with no time to rest and regenerate. Today I wish to address the problem with the brain and not the body.

Although the brain is a marvelous organ much more complicated than any man-made computer, it has some limitations. If we understand some basic principles the limitations can be overcome. It would appear that the brain/mind complex is able to process almost limitless bits of information. It can remember and intertwine this memory with input from the other senses. It can make associations with other sensory information – something a computer cannot yet do because the computer has no real ears, or eyes, nor can it smell, taste or feel. Although it can process sound and visual data it no where can do what the mind/brain can do.

Unlike a computer the brain requires a period of rest in order to regenerate, for want of a better explanation. It must undergo sleep regeneration. I do not know why nor does any one else knows. Perhaps it is to regenerate the chemicals the brain requires to perform its functions. But for what ever reason, given the requirement of rest, the brain continues to function until it dies.

I have been interested in the limits of the brain to process information and whether too much information processed within a short period of time can overwhelm it. Also related to this might be the type and quality of the information.

QUANTITY AND QUALITY OF INFORMATION

I will discuss quality and quantity together. A teenage at one time, but now we see adults and even young children, walking mindlessly down the street completely absorbed by the information coming from the earphones of a music player or the newest thing, the Ipod. The hammer, anvil, and stapes – the three bones of the middle ear – are in constant motion. I am sometime with some people and one of the persons is a veritable “motor mouth” who never stops talking. I begin to get a sensation within my middle ear. Will this person not stop talking? My ears are aching. Additionally, the teenager is listening to the music at such a high decibel level that it eventually affects the nerve endings resulting in permanent hearing loss. So we have both the constant input of sound and the volume negatively impacting upon the entire hearing process, including the bones, nerves, and brain.

Frequently, the music is not the melodic soothing sounds of a symphony, but rather the cacophony of rock and heavy metal what-some-may-call music. Both the brain/mind and body are affected by the quality of sound. See how we react negatively to a high pitch shrieking sound. Each instrument in a band elicits a sound which in turn elicits a response from the listener. When we listen to the soothing sounds of Baroque classical we relax. It is music played often by individuals who meditate or relax during or after practicing yoga. The actual notes, level of playing, and beat or rhythm together produce a relaxation response within the body of the listener.

Observe the crowds attending the average rock concert. The music with its notes, level of playing, and rhythm is designed to cause the audience to go into a frenzy. This experience, at one time also accompanied by drugs, really produces an event! I went to several rock concerts and, believe me, it was not my cup-of-tea. But then I am in a minority. I know this. Being what I am, and I consider myself a serious thinking man, I carefully watch what I put into my brain. This not only includes drugs, except perhaps for an occasional glass or two of wine, but also the quantity and quality of the sounds to which I listen. If we overindulge in alcohol our sleep is subsequently affected, and we wake up the following morning agitated, sometimes confused, because we did not experience a sleep sufficient to regenerate the brain. We are affected by the alcohol and/or perhaps drugs

Similarly, the quality and quantity of our sensory input affect the sleep experience. The input of discordant sounds just does not stop where ever it finally resides within the brain. This memory continues to work and intertwine resulting in our subconscious experience. I believe that dreams are creations of our subconscious mind. How and why the brain/mind complex creates dreams, many of which we do not understand I do not know. But, nevertheless, dreams come from somewhere.

The obvious advice is to carefully watch what you put into the brain/mind with the same degree of scrutiny you give to the food you eat. We have finally realized that the foods we consume affect the health of the body. So let us also realize the food we feed our brain/mind also affects us.

nicola michael ©. Tauraso, M.D.)
Director, Tauraso Medical Clinic
Web site: www.drtauraso.com
Blog site: http://www.drtauraso.com/blog/index.htm
Email: drtauraso@drtauraso.com




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