Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Gamma Waves

Do Rats Have Souls?  (The Economist, today)

...She and her colleagues implanted six electrodes into the brain of each of rat and then killed it by injecting potassium chloride into its heart. In every case, for up to 30 seconds after the animal’s heart stopped beating, there were spikes of electrical activity in its brain. What spiked in particular was a phenomenon called coherent gamma waves. These are believed to reflect neurological processes that bind together the activities of various parts of the brain and are thought by some researchers to be involved in generating the mysterious phenomenon known as consciousness

Because of an acquaintance's recent bizarre behavior, I've been especially thinking/wondering about what kind of mysterious "force fields" (I, in my ignorance, have just used that for want of a better term) are at work when it comes to interaction between entities in the world. The mention in the article above of "gamma waves" made me perk up. When I did a search for the phrase, started coming up with many interesting science articles, like those below, linking schizophrenia with gamma-wave readings that "reflected a lack of synchrony": 
Out-of-sync neurons can disrupt different parts of brain networks that orchestrate perceptual or emotional learning, perhaps contributing to schizophrenia's variety of symptoms.
I'd had a bit of a Romantic notion that perhaps schizophrenics just saw "too much"--that they were TOO aware of patterns that might be lying below the surface... But after reading the articles, started to realize that schizophrenics aren't coming up with anything extra -- they're actually DEFICIENT-- failing to see patterns apparently generated by gamma-wave activity that mentally healthy people in the control groups were able to see. (On the other end of the thought-pattern spectrum, those experienced at meditating exhibited much MORE gamma activity.) 

Schizophrenia syncs fast: disconnected brain may lie at heart of disorder (Science News, 2005)

Schizophrenia may involve bad timing  (Science News, 1999)

Synchronized thinking: brain activity linked to schizophrenia, skillful meditation (Science News, 2004)

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