We are familiar with earth worms, and earworms (a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person’s mind after it is no longer playing).
Bet you didn’t know YOU have THOUGHT WORMS
The average person will typically have more than 6,000 thoughts in a single day, new research into the human brain suggests.*
*The academic project—which was led by Jordan Poppenk, from the Department of Psychology, and Masters student Julie Tseng—outlines a method of isolating specific moments when a human is focused on a single idea, a phenomenon the researchers described as a “thought worm.”
“Can measures of thought dynamics serve a clinical function? For example, our methods could possibly support early detection of disordered thought in schizophrenia, or rapid thought in ADHD or mania. “
“Thought worms are adjacent points in a simplified representation of activity patterns in the brain,” Poppenk explains. “The brain occupies a different point in this ‘state space’ at every moment.”
“When a person moves onto a new thought, they create a new thought worm that can be detected by brain scans……Drilling into this helped us validate the idea that the appearance of a new thought worm corresponds to a thought transition.”
Researching this spontaneous thought can help test how our brain patterns and thoughts are influenced by external influences, from drinking a cup of coffee to watching a movie for a second time.
“Thought transitions have been elusive throughout the history of research on thought, which has often relied on volunteers describing their own thoughts, a method that can be notoriously unreliable,” Poppenk said. “Being able to measure the onset of new thoughts gives us a way to peek into the ‘black box’ of the resting mind—to explore the timing and pace of thoughts when a person is just daydreaming about dinner and otherwise keeping to themselves.”
In the future, the team plans to look at how cognitive dynamics “vary across the lifespan” and attempt to better understand how mentation rate—the time it takes for a person’s thought to move on—relates to their individual personal qualities. “For example, how does mentation rate relate to a person’s ability to pay attention for a long period?” Poppenk said.
Caffeine, the main stimulant found in coffee, works on a chemical level to give you energy by replacing the biochemical adenosine, which makes you tired.
Your brain on coffee
Caffeine, the main stimulant in coffee, works on a chemical level to give you a boost of energy. However, caffeine is structurally similar to another chemical naturally created in the body, called adenosine, which makes you tired. Similar to how morphine binds to endorphin receptors, the caffeine in your morning coffee binds to your brain’s adenosine receptors, preventing the biochemical from making you tired.
What are the health benefits of coffee?
Builds your adrenaline supply which increases your heart rate and allows blood to pump faster.
Prevents dopamine from being reabsorbed into your system, which allows it to linger in the brain for a longer amount of time, causing you to feel it’s positive effects (such as happiness) for a longer amount of time.
Boosts metabolism and increases physical performance/muscle strength.
When consumed in excess, caffeine can cause anxiety, heart palpitations, and sleeping problems.(According to Consumer Reports, up to 400mg of caffeine per day (which equals two to four 8 ounce cups) can be part of a healthy diet, however anything over 600 mg per day is too much.)
Helps with your nutrient intake (the vitamins B2, B3, B5, manganese, and potassium are all found in coffee)
Lowers your risk of developing type 2 diabetes
Helps fight depression symptoms
Provides a source of antioxidants
Can cause your brain to function at optimal levels, making you smarter
This lingering of dopamine is what often triggers the brain to crave more caffeine. (While dopamine itself isn’t inherently addictive, it does play a large role in many addictions.)
The more coffee you drink, the more adenosine receptors are formed, meaning it can take more coffee to keep you awake now than it did when you started drinking coffee as a young adult.
According to research, caffeine has a half-life of around 6 hours.
Within the first 10 minutes, the caffeine enters your bloodstream and is pumped throughout your body, causing an increase in blood pressure and heart rate.
Up to 20 minutes after intake, caffeine binds to the adenosine receptors, neutralizing fatigue. Dopamine levels increase and linger, which provides the drinker with an alert and focused feeling.
Within 30 minutes, your adrenal glands shift into high gear and begin producing more hormones. During this time your vision may become sharper due to your pupils dilating.
Within 40 minutes, your body begins producing more serotonin, which improves the neuron function within your spinal cord – this leads to improved coordination and muscle strength.
After 4 hours, your metabolism increases, which is why you burn energy faster. Your body begins to break down stored fats during this time.
Within 6 hours, the liquid coffee has gone through your system and you will likely feel the urge to urinate, during which time approximately half the caffeine you consumed is expelled.
Consuming caffeine when cortisol levels are high decreases the health benefits.
Cortisol, a naturally-occurring stress hormone, has a very distinct circadian rhythm that is regulated by the brain’s central pacemaker. Interrupting this rhythm can lead to metabolic abnormalities, fatigue, and poor quality of life, (2009 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism).
Consuming caffeine when your cortisol levels are at a natural peak can lead to interference in the production of cortisol and an increase in your tolerance, which can impact your response to stress and will cause to you need more and more caffeine as time goes on.
When is the best time to drink coffee?
The cortisol levels in your body are at a natural peak three times per day, one of which is in the early morning.
*To get the most positive impacts of your daily caffeine intake, drink coffee between 10 in the morning and 12 noon or between 2 in the afternoon and 5 in the evening.
This will allow your brain to make the most of your caffeine surge, as it’s not replacing any other important functions, such as the cortisol release that naturally happens several times per day.
As my fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue symptoms go unabated I have asked my doctor Patricia Ahearn repeatedly to get her lobotomy certificate. I’m sure there is week-end or on-line training for doctors. She’s a very caring person so it’s been hard to understand why she’s been stalling.
Maybe she’s been waiting for this new research?!!!!!!
hmmm . . . speed up the evolutionary process . . . we could still rule the world . .
“An almost complete version of a tiny human brain has been grown in a U.S. lab in a move that could bring major strides to the treatment of neurological diseases, a scientist says. Rene Anand, a professor at Ohio State University, has grown in a dish a brain equal in maturity to that of a five-week-old fetus, his university reported.”
“It not only looks like the developing brain, its diverse cell types express nearly all genes like a brain,” Anand said.”
“Around the size of a pea, the brain in a lab dish includes multiple cell types, all major regions of the brain and a spinal cord, but lacks a vascular system, the university said.”
“It was grown from human skin cells and is claimed to be the most complete brain of its type grown yet.”
With the new 3D printing technology I might be able to make me new brain, each morning, right at home.