View Full Version : "..laugh and express normal joy when they are tickled."


mildadhd
08-01-15, 09:29 PM
This thread is meant to explore affective consciousness.


THE STRANGE SITUATION OF CHILDREN DEPRIVED OF THE CEREBRAL CORTEX


For a variety of reasons, children can be born with intact brain-stem structures but largely absent telencephalic structures, namely, the cerebral cortex, the thalamus, and the basal ganglia.

This unfortunate condition is commonly due to a major stroke, occurring in utero, as a result of which all or most of the cerebral cortex is damaged and reabsorbed, leaving the skull cavity filled with cerebrospinal fluid.

This is known as hydranencephaly, to distinguish it from developmental defects, generally known as anencephaly, that compromise other structures beside the cerebral cortex. 10

The affected children can survive for many years, even past adolescence, and are often dismissed as “vegetative.”

They are commonly institutionalized.

These children, however, are anything but vegetative.

On the contrary, they are awake and behaving.

To a limited but by no means negligible extent, they can communicate with their caregivers and interact with the world.

They are patently minded in a way that patients in vegetative state or akinetic mutism are not.

Their misfortune provides a rare window into the sort of mind that can still be engendered when the cerebral cortex is absent.

What do these unfortunate children look like?

Their motions are quite limited by the lack of muscular tone in their spine and the spasticity of their limbs.

But they move their heads and eyes freely, they have expressions of emotion in their faces, they can smile at stimuli that one would expect a normal child to smile at—a toy, a certain sound—and they can even laugh and express normal joy when they are tickled.

They can frown and withdraw from painful stimuli.

They can move toward an object or situation they crave—for example, crawl toward a spot on the floor where sunlight is falling and where the child will bask in the sun and obviously draw benefit from the warmth.

The children look pleased, in an external manifestation of the kind of feelings one would predict they would have following an emotional response appropriate to the stimulus.


These children can orient head and eyes, albeit inconsistently, to the person addressing them or touching them and reveal preferences for distinct people.

They tend to be fearful of strangers and appear happiest near their habitual mother/caregiver.

Likes and dislikes are apparent, none so striking as in examples of music.

The children tend to like some musical pieces more than others; they can respond to different instrumental sounds and different human voices.

They also can respond to different tempi and different composition styles.

Their faces are a good reflection of their states of emotion.

In brief, they are most joyful when they are touched and tickled, when preferred music pieces are played, and when certain toys are shown in front of their eyes.

Obviously they hear and they see, although we have no way of knowing how well.

Their hearing seems superior to their sight.

Of necessity, whatever they see and hear is achieved subcortically, in all likelihood in the colliculi, which are intact.

Whatever they feel is achieved subcortically by the nucleus tractus solitarius and parabrachial nucleus, which are intact, as they have no insular cortex or somatosensory cortices I and II to assist with such a task.

The emotions they produce must be triggered from the nuclei in the periaqueductal gray and must be executed by the cranial nerve nuclei that control facial expressions of emotions (those nuclei are also intact).

The running of the life process is supported by an intact hypothalamus, located immediately above the brain stem and helped by an intact endocrine system and by the vagus nerve network.

Hydranencephalic girls even develop menstrual periods at puberty.


That these children give some evidence of mind process is not in doubt.

Likewise, their expressions of joy, sustained as they are over many seconds and even minutes, and consonant as they are with the causative stimulus, can be reasonably associated with feeling states.

It is compelling for me to assume that the delight they exhibit is real felt delight, even if they cannot report it in so many words.

That being so, they would achieve the bottom riser of a stepwise mechanism leading to consciousness, namely, feelings connected to an integrated representation of the organism (a protoself), possibly modified by object engagement, constituting an elementary experience.


The possibility that they do have a conscious mind, albeit an extremely modest one, is supported by an intriguing finding.

When these children suffer an absence seizure, the caregivers easily detect its onset; they can also tell when the seizure ends and report that the “child is returned to them.”

The seizure appears to suspend the minimal consciousness they normally exhibit.

Hydranencephalic individuals present a most troubling picture, one that informs us of the limits, in humans, of both brain-stem structures and cerebral cortex.

The condition gives the lie to the claim that sentience, feelings, and emotions arise only out of the cerebral cortex.

That cannot possibly be the case.

The degree of sentience, feeling, and emotion that is possible in these cases is quite limited, of course, and, most important, disconnected from the wider world of mind that, indeed, only the cerebral cortex can provide.

But having spent a good part of my life studying the effects of brain damage on the human mind and behavior, I can say that these children have little in common with patients in vegetative state, a condition in which the interaction with the world is even more reduced and that can actually be caused by damage to precisely the same regions of the brain stem that are intact in hydranencephalics.

If a parallel could be drawn at all, once the motor defects are factored out, it would be between hydranencephalic children and newborn infants, in which a mind is clearly at work but where the core self is barely beginning to gather.

This is in keeping with the fact that hydranencephalics may be first diagnosed months after birth, when parents note a failure to thrive and scans reveal a catastrophic absence of cortex.

The reason behind the vague similarity is not too difficult to fathom: normal infants lack a fully myelinated cerebral cortex, which still awaits development.

They already have a functional brain stem but only a partially functional cerebral cortex.

-Antonio Damasio, "Self Comes to Mind", p 80-83.


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aeon
08-02-15, 12:49 AM
In brief, they are most joyful when they are touched and tickled, when preferred music pieces are played, and when certain toys are shown in front of their eyes.

So not much different than I am, then. ;)

Lulz aside, I found this very interesting, and I was previously unaware of this state of being.


Thanks,
Ian

mildadhd
08-02-15, 12:14 PM
All Humans have the 7 instinctual primary unconditioned emotional-affective response systems in common, before individual experiences occur.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-admRGFVNM

"Tickling Rats for science."

IN HUMANS, EMOTIONS can bias our thinking and decision-making.

For instance, depressed or anxious people tend to be more pessimistic than happier people, expecting bad things to happen and paying more attention to potential threats and punishment.

Animals might show the same biases, but it’s been difficult to test this assumption.

How do you know when a lab rat is happy?

One answer: They laugh.

http://www.wired.com/2013/09/tickling-rats-for-science/

mildadhd
08-02-15, 12:44 PM
There are 3 psychobehavioral processing levels of brain control.

-Tertiary processing (neocortical) (awareness, emotional-self-regulation)
-Secondary processing (upper limbic) (learning and emotional memories)
-Primary state/processing (deeply subcortical) (primary emotional response systems)

(Note anything not quoted is my layhuman interpretation)


Abundant evidence now indicates that raw affects are ‘ancestral memories’—genetically provided tools for living—that arise, at a primary process level, from homologous lower brain functions in all mammals.

Raw emotional affects can now be studied causally by activation of subcortical circuits that arouse instinctual emotional behaviours [4,6].

Although primary ‘rewards’ and ‘punishments’ have typically been defined as ‘objects’ of the world, both obviously achieve their psychological power by arousing brain-affective networks, which are homologous at the primary process level in all mammals.

A key breakthrough was that localized brain stimulations that evoke ‘instinctual’–emotional actions also mediate brain reward and punishment processes that control learning (from [7] to [8]).

This coalesces in a dual-aspect monism strategy for understanding primary-affective consciousness in animal brains [9]–e.g. instinctual rage behaviours reflect angry feelings.

In discussing uses of dimensional and basic emotion approaches, a focus on levels of control within the BrainMind helps clarify why diverse approaches need to cooperate [4,6].

Mammalian brains are evolutionarily layered organs like no other in the body—ancestral progressions remain evident within neuroanatomical and neurochemical organizations.

The more ancient medial and caudal brain regions generate raw affects, as indexed by rewarding and punishing properties of artificial brain stimulation, and, to the best of our knowledge (based on brain-imaging and decortication studies), no higher brain ‘read-out’ is needed for them to be felt [10,11].

Such effects encourage us to envision psychobehavioural processes at: (i) primary process levels (genetically ingrained ‘instinctual’ organizations); (ii) secondary processes (‘cognitive’ elaborations through simple learning, such as fear conditioning); and (iii) tertiary processes (interactions of lower affective processes with higher BrainMind functions such as complex perceptions, thoughts, temperaments and perhaps certain moods).

Although primary process affects are not learned, they are surely further elaborated by learning and cognitions...

(See article)

-"Affective consciousness in animals: perspectives on dimensional and primary process emotion approaches"

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2010/07/30/rspb.2010.1017


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mildadhd
08-02-15, 01:24 PM
"autobiographical self" (tertiary)
"core self" (secondary)
"protoself foundation" (primary)


"Brains begin building conscious minds not at the level of the cerebral cortex but rather at the level of the brain stem.

Primordial feelings are not only the first images generated by the brain but also immediate manifestations of sentience.

They are the protoself foundation for more complex levels of self.

These ideas run counter to widely accepted views, although Jaak Panksepp (cited earlier) has defended a comparable position and so has Rodolfo Llinas.

But the conscious mind as we know it is a far different affair from the conscious mind that emerges in the brain stem, and on this point there probably is universal agreement.

The cerebral cortices endow the mind-making process with a profusion of images that, as Hamlet might put it, go far beyond anything that poor Horatio could ever dream of, in heaven and earth."

"Conscious minds begin when self comes to mind, when brains add a self process to the mind mix, modestly at first but quite robustly later.

The self is built in distinct steps grounded on the protoself.

The first step is the generation of primordial feelings, the elementary feelings of existence that spring spontaneously from the protoself.

Next is the core self.

The core self is about action--specifically, about a relationship between the organism and the object.

The core self unfolds in a sequence of images that describe an object engaging the protoself and modifying that protoself, including its primordial feelings.

Finally, there is the autobiographical self.

This self is defined in terms of biographical knowledge pertaining to the past as well as the anticipated future.

The multiple images whose ensemble defines a biography generate pulses of core self whose aggregate constitutes an autobiographical self."..


Antonio Damasio, "Self Comes To Mind", "Constructing The Conscious Brain", (Chapter: "Awakenings", A Preview of Main Ideas) p 23-24.





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mildadhd
08-02-15, 01:43 PM
"autoneotic" (tertiary)
"noetic" (secondary)
"anoetic" (primary)

Abstract

In recent years there has been an expansion of scientific work on consciousness.

However, there is an increasing necessity to integrate evolutionary and interdisciplinary perspectives and to bring affective feelings more centrally into the overall discussion.

Pursuant especially to the theorizing of Endel Tulving (1985, 2004, 2005), Panksepp (1998a, 2003, 2005) and Vandekerckhove (2009) we will look at the phenomena starting with primary-process consciousness, namely the rudimentary state of autonomic awareness or unknowing (anoetic) consciousness, with a fundamental form of first-person 'self-experience' which relies on affective experiential states and raw sensory and perceptual mental existences, to higher forms of knowing (noetic and autonoetic) and self-aware consciousness.

Since current scientific approaches are most concerned with the understanding of higher declarative states of consciousness, we will focus on these vastly underestimated primary forms of consciousness which may be foundational for all forms of higher 'knowing consciousness'.

(See article)

-"The flow of anoetic to noetic and autonoetic consciousness: a vision of unknowing (anoetic) and knowing (noetic) consciousness in the remembrance of things past and imagined futures."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19713132


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Kunga Dorji
08-06-15, 02:09 AM
The point is, that consciousness is dependent upon brainstem activity.

If you look at Damasio's stuff closely he is saying that the brainstem is both necessary and sufficient for the manifestation of consciousness within a human body.

(Damasio, of course, is committed to the model that "Mind is what the brain does", but that is an article of faith and not a proposition that he has been able to test).

ADHD is, of course, a disorder of consciousness. It is not a disorder of genes or neurotransmitters.
It is a disorder in which we are unable to manifest behaviours that reflect our innermost intention.

Attention is one of the aspects of consciousness, and few commentators in this field actually appreciate this critical fact.

I am reading Dan Siegel's " Handbook of Interpersonal Neurobiology" at the moment and I think his definition of "attention" is useful,though it may not be the last word:


Attention is the process that shapes the flow of energy and information. Attention can be within consciousness so that we are aware of the object of our attention. Attention can be non conscious, in that the energy and information flow is being directed but we are not aware of that flow.
-- and this is where the brainstem comes in.
ADHD is a disorder of subcortical structures that automatically direct the flow of attention. It is not a disorder of will or intent.

This is vitally important to understand.

For one thing this understanding frees us from guilt about our behaviours- which often do confuse and hurt the people close to us.

The most important thing though is that the cure to ADHD is not to "try harder" (we are already trying very hard indeed (thanks everyone for noticing our efforts --- NOT).
To cure ADHD we need to "try smarter".
Can only pay attention to interesting things- but can't cope at work?
Maybe you have chosen the wrong career options. We all need to find a niche that allows us to work to live and to come home happy and full of energy. This one is about neurodiversity.

However the other part of the problem is about malfunctioning normal physiology:
Maybe there is a medical problem that is making your chosen occupation difficult?

On this note, every ADHD patient I have seen in the last 3 months (while I have been administering the new questionnaires) has presented primarily because of issues with an increased burden of reading (especially at the computer). They all have significant issues with converging their eyes on the one point- that cause reading to be difficult and stressful. ( I have been undergoing therapy for this one recently and it has made a BIG difference).

These convergence issues are testable.

The issue here relates right back to brainstem and especially the superior colliculus (referenced by Damasio PAage 83 ff).

The interesting thing here is that this ties directly back into the upper cervical malalignment issues that I have been banging on about for years.

A malalignment at C0-1, C1-2 or C2-3 causes massive distortion of proprioceptive information fed to the superior colliculus such that that information does not match the actual body position and the mismatch differs between left and right.

One of the most important outputs of the superior colliculus is information that directs eye movement.

Damasio is most informative here; Self Comes to Mind: P84
Where he describes a lizard watching and catching a passing fly. The action is directed straight from the superior colliculus and does not involve the PFC
(prefrontal cortex) at all.

( Even if the lizard had a significant PFC recruiting it would introduce an unnecessary delay and reduce the lizard's chance of even catching the fly).

Understanding ADHD as a subcortical problem opens new therapeutic opportunities that are much faster and more potent than those driven by the insights of conventional psychiatry.

I offer this link on convergence disorders for the interested reader.
One notes that the definition of ADHD does not exclude convergence disorders as a part of the causative loop (see part IV of the ADHD definition as per DSM V).

It has also been my observation that many patients have commented upon the improvement in stereopsis that they experience on stimulant medication.

http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/foundation-urges-screening-for-vision-disorder/article_d05f0e3b-471d-5a2e-8945-da729d83374a.html

Also of interest: the book "Fixing my gaze" by the neuroscientist Sue Barry. She suffered longstanding visual problems as the result of a strabismus.
As child she was put in the class with all the ADHD kids. See her website "stereosue".

Lunacie
08-06-15, 08:47 AM
Thanks for that info Kunja. For the last couple of months I've been experiencing
a Fibromyalgia Flare-up, and as in the past, have noticed how much it affects
my vision, my eye movement, my balance. In many ways, FM is like ADHD,
so it's like I now have a double-whammy.

Kunga Dorji
08-06-15, 08:54 AM
Thanks for that info Kunja. For the last couple of months I've been experiencing
a Fibromyalgia Flare-up, and as in the past, have noticed how much it affects
my vision, my eye movement, my balance. In many ways, FM is like ADHD,
so it's like I now have a double-whammy.

Hi Lunacie,
my partner has had ADHD all her life- but developed fibromyalgia about 13 years ago.

There is enormous overlap, and I see one possible path to FM as being a burned out version of ADHD.
ADHD is, after all, very stressful and fatiguing to live with.

There is very rapid progress being made in the common neurological pathways driving these conditions- and I am very keen to see what the next few years will bring in terms of improved outcomes.

Lunacie
08-06-15, 09:32 AM
I first developed FM when I was 19 or 20, long before most doctors had even
heard of it. When it's bad, it's pretty bad. When I'm in remission, it's still there
but less troublesome.

I was in remission for so many years (at least 8 years) that I'd forgotten about
some of the symptoms, like the difficulty focusing my vision. I never forgot the
pain in my hips, shoulders and neck, and knees.

Wish there was some way to figure out to get it back into remission, it may
have been following a couple of HGH shots for weight loss. And I really wish
there was some way to get remission from ADHD. :lol:

Kunga Dorji
08-06-15, 06:56 PM
Wish there was some way to figure out to get it back into remission, it may
have been following a couple of HGH shots for weight loss. And I really wish
there was some way to get remission from ADHD. :lol:

I'll reply privately to avoid thread hijack :)

Kunga Dorji
08-06-15, 07:37 PM
"autoneotic" (tertiary)
"noetic" (secondary)
"anoetic" (primary)


Since current scientific approaches are most concerned with the understanding of higher declarative states of consciousness, we will focus on these vastly underestimated primary forms of consciousness which may be foundational for all forms of higher 'knowing consciousness'.

-"The flow of anoetic to noetic and autonoetic consciousness: a vision of unknowing (anoetic) and knowing (noetic) consciousness in the remembrance of things past and imagined futures."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19713132


P

Very interesting, but there is no "may be" about the foundational nature of the primary forms of consciousness.

Given evolutionary constraints all brains follow the same developmental path, and the more primitive brains of reptiles and amphibians are still enough to turn these creatures into spectacular "survival machines"-
( I won't open the question of higher consciousness in lower animals here).

So when, using Damasio's metaphor, the lizard flicks out its tongue and catches the fly that is an example of consciousness (probably of the a-noetic variety). But that is pure brain stem.

However, as I am learning, distortions in perception and autoregulation that originate in the brainstem and subcortical structures can generate all sorts of attention problems as our attention is constantly diverted by false alarms generated by our brainstem, or our consciousness is dulled as our confused system struggles to get blood to our cerebral hemispheres wen upright.

mildadhd
08-06-15, 10:52 PM
Affective consciousness can overwhelm cognitive consciousness.

We all have experiences as parents that we are ashamed of and wish we could erase.

Such scenes always represent failures of self-regulation and impulse control.

What happens during these times is that the brain centers where the deepest emotions of fear and rage are generated simply overwhelm the higher centers meant to govern them...

-Gabor Mate M.D., "Scattered", p 39.


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mildadhd
08-08-15, 08:54 AM
The emotions they produce must be triggered from the nuclei in the periaqueductal gray and must be executed by the cranial nerve nuclei that control facial expressions of emotions (those nuclei are also intact).


-Dr. Damasio (see OP quote)

Emotional-affective consciousness originates deep subcortically (PAG), before neocortical higher cognitive consciousness.

Emotional-affective consciousness matures before cognitive consciousness.

Emotional-affective consciousness shapes cognitive brain development in early life.

We must all consider bottom-up psychological development biologically, especially in early life to best understand early development of top-down "MindBrain", and throughout life. (Also in regards to the most possible (but not only) period of prevention and lessening of severity of a ADHD, Etc.)


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Lunacie
08-08-15, 10:30 AM
We must all consider bottom-up psychological development biologically, especially in early life to best understand early development of top-down "MindBrain", and throughout life. (Also in regards to the most possible (but not only) period of prevention and lessening of severity of a ADHD, Etc.)


P

I think it's a bit too soon to say that early development can prevent ADHD.
The research doesn't clearly show that as a factor at this point.

mildadhd
08-08-15, 09:57 PM
I think it's a bit too soon to say that early development can prevent ADHD.
The research doesn't clearly show that as a factor at this point.

I feel it's never too early or too late, to understand and establish environments that help promote healthy psychological BrainMind/MindBrain development.

P

..normal infants lack a fully myelinated cerebral cortex, which still awaits development.

They already have a functional brain stem but only a partially functional cerebral cortex.

-Dr. Damasio (see OP quote)

Lunacie
08-08-15, 10:36 PM
I feel it's never too early or too late, to understand and establish environments that help promote healthy psychological BrainMind/MindBrain development.

P

I agree that it's good to learn what may promote health development.

But we don't know at this time whether that may prevent having ADHD.

I hope I'm making my point clear.