There’s a Suicide Epidemic in Utah — And One Neuroscientist Thinks He Knows Why

Welcome To Utah SignLiving in Utah means packed powder in April, canyoneering in the clouds, snow-capped vistas so vivid they look Photoshopped — and the shortest average work week in the country. So it’s not surprising that surveys show how much Utah residents love their outdoorsy, adventure-filled state.

But there’s another side to Utah that isn’t shown in surveys. Despite ranking as America’s happiest state, Utah has disproportionately high rates of suicide and associated mood disorders compared to the rest of the country. In fact, it’s the No. 1 state for antidepressant use. These polarized feelings of despondency and delight underlie a confusing phenomenon that Perry Renshaw, a neuroscientist at the University of Utah investigating the strange juxtaposition, calls the “Utah paradox.”

Utah residents and experts are aware of the paradox, often attributing gun use, low population density and the area’s heavy Mormon influence as potential factors. But Renshaw thinks he’s identified a more likely cause for the Utah blues: altitude.

Renshaw believes that altitude has an impact on our brain chemistry, specifically that it changes the levels of serotonin and dopamine, two key chemicals in the brain that help regulate our feelings of happiness. America’s favorite antidepressants (and party drugs) work by controlling the level of these chemicals in the brain. The air in Utah, one could say, works just like this.

Since moving to Utah in 2008, Renshaw has found mounting statistical, scientific and anecdotal support for his theory. If Renshaw’s theory holds true, his work represents a major step forward in solving a long-standing mental health mystery.

Read the full article here:

http://mic.com/articles/104096/there-s-a-suicide-epidemic-in-utah-and-one-neuroscientist-thinks-he-knows-why

To learn how Neurofeedback Therapy treats Depression without drugs or surgery click here:

http://www.nfcenters.com

Advertisements

Cats, Astronauts and Orange Robes… The Unlikely History of Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback began in the late 1950’s through the work of Dr Joe Kamiya at the University of Chicago.  He discovered that he could train cats to control their epileptic seizures through a simple brain feedback device. Happily, he moved on to train humans to control their epilepsy using the same method.

In the 1960’s, the technique caught the attention of NASA scientists, who used it in astronaut training – initially to train out the likelihood of astronauts having seizures when exposed to lander fuel, and later for focus and attention training. They still use it in their space training programs today.

In the mid 1970’s, neurofeedback caught the attention of meditators as an aid in spiritual development, and so wandered into the no-man’s land between science and religion. Conferences were attended by two people in orange robes for each one in a white lab coat. Soon neurofeedback gained a certain reputation as a meditation or spiritual tool, which considering the extreme biases of the time made it an unpopular choice for career minded researchers.

Neurofeedback didn’t fit the (now defunct) medical view of how the brain functioned. Though the empirical data proved that neurofeedback worked, it couldn’t possibly work under the medical model. This kept neurofeedback regarded as ‘spooky’ medicine.

On the fringes work continued. By the late 80’s neurofeedback was being applied to attention deficit disorders, and through the 90’s to a wide variety of psychological and central nervous system based conditions.

Over the last decade, the medical view of the brain has changed completely and the principles of neuroplasticity are universally accepted. Neuroscience has come to accept the interrelation between the central nervous system, the autoimmune system, emotional, physical, and mental health. It has conceded that indeed, the brain can change at any age, and that we create new neurones throughout life. The natural mechanisms underlying neurofeedback are now becoming clear.

To most medical practitioners, neurofeedback is still foreign. Many hold a view based on its old reputation, and have had no exposure to the vast research available concerning neurofeedback. Old views die hard, particularly regarding competing methods that lie outside of their expertise.

About the Author:  BrainWorks Neurotherapy is located in London, UK.  http://www.brainworksneurotherapy.com

What’s in a Name? How Neurofeedback works.

questionEvery day I receive calls from people asking, “Does Neurofeedback treat this?  Does Neurofeedback treat that?”  The conditions range from Adult ADD to Anxiety to Depression and everything in between.  What Neurofeedback is effective in treating is much easier to understand once we drop the “labels” for specific conditions.  Neurofeedback is used to address symtpoms associated with Brain Wave Dysregulation Syndrome (BDS.)  BDS occurs when Brain Wave levels depart from accepted normal magnitudes, be it high or low.  When this occurs, specific symptoms are manifested.  For example:

A) Higher than normal magnitudes of Alpha Wave activity may produce symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia such as pain, irritability or depression.

B) Higher than normal magnitudes of Beta Wave activity may produce symptoms associated with generalized anxiety, panic attacks, migraine/tension headaches, chronic pain or insomnia.

C) With higher than normal magnitudes of Theta or Delta Waves, the person will likely experience attention and focus issues such as those associated with ADHD, cognitive decline, learning disorders, or symptoms related to concussion.

These are just a few examples of Brain Wave Dysregulation Syndrome.  So, the more appropriate question when calling would be, “Do the symptoms associated with depression (or any other condition) fit the known pattern of any form of Brain Wave Dysregulation?”

To learn more about Neurofeedback and its role in combatting BDS, visit our website at:

http://www.nfcenters.com

About the author: Greg Warden is the Executive Director of Neurofeedback Centers of Utah.

 

Neurofeedback… a report from the front lines

If someone were to tell you there was a simple method to reduce or eliminate symptoms Neurofeedback, ADHD, Anxiety, Addiction, PTSD, St. George, Utahassociated with neurological conditions, increase the prospects of permanent recovery from Addiction five fold, make students smarter, athletes better, artists more creative and business people more productive… well, your BS meter would probably peg in the red and rightfully so.  What’s the old saying?  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  In the case of Neurofeedback, the key word here is PROBABLY.  But seeing is believing.  Every day I see people come to our center for treatment.  Individuals suffering from Depression, ADHD, Addiction, Chronic Pain, Insomnia and more.  What I have witnessed has validated the more than 600 studies that sit on my desk espousing the efficacy of Neurofeedback.  Here’s a report from the front lines:

1) ADHD sufferers incapable of sitting still for more than 10 or 15 minutes for treatment, easily sitting for 50 minutes to an hour after only 6 sessions.  For one patient we have requested a reevaluation and possible reduction in medication by their attending physician.

2) Depression sufferers, after only 4 sessions claiming they feel GOOD!

3) Insomnia sufferer, sleeping but 2 hours per night, experienced a full 10 1/2 hours of sleep after the 3rd session and has continued to enjoy a full 6 hours or more of rest on a consistent basis.

4) Light sleepers claiming they are getting the sleep of their lives after only 4 treatments for a completely unrelated condition.

Because the average number of sessions required for a complete Neurofeedback treatment is usually in the range of 10-20, it is exciting to see tangible results so early.  To get the latest in Neurofeedback research, patient progress and advanced notice of our individual workshops, follow our blog, Facebook, Google Plus or Twitter.

About the Author, Greg Warden is the Executive Director of Neurofeedback Centers of Utah in St. George.

Visit our website for more information: http://www.nfcenters.com