Dolors & Sense
by Sanford Rose
We are overstimulated, oversensationalized, overwrought.
This dysfunctionality is compounded by a chemically adulterated food supply grown in increasingly impoverished soils and supplemented by dangerous food additives.
We have more food than we ever had and, at the same time, often fewer essential nutrients (and especially micronutrients)—a combination that infallibly contributes to destructive overeating.
Excess sensation and poor diet conspire to destroy our minds.
They lead to obesity.
Obesity leads to diabetes. (About 20 percent of the US population is diabetic; another 25 percent pre-diabetic.)
Diabetes leads to depression. (Diabetics are almost five times more likely to become clinically depressed than non-diabetics.)
Depression destroys our brains.
Depressives end up with smaller hippocampi, smaller amygdalae and smaller anterior cingulates than most non-depressives.
They are twice as likely as non-depressives to proceed to full-blown dementia.
At the cellular level, the atrophic process runs along these lines:
Stress, mental and physical, works havoc with what is called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.
The hypothalamus, located in the mid-brain, is the master organ of neuronal deterioration.
When improperly regulated, it sends a chemical message to the pituitary gland, which sends another chemical message to the adrenal glands, which send a third message causing the neurons to be infused with more cortisol and more glutamate, the body’s principal excitatory neurotransmitter, than are good for them.
The excess cortisol interferes with glucose transport to the neuronal cell.
The excess glutamate damages the walls of a key sub-cell or cell organelle called the mitochondrion.
This two-pincer assault culminates in apoptosis—cell death.
The cell has defenses—trophic or growth factors, such as BDNF, mentioned in the posting of January 30.
But the assault remains relentless, and many people simply lack the knowledge of how best to mobilize those forces capable of forestalling nerve-cell atrophy.