Saturday, December 27, 2014. I would be willing to bet everything I own, which is nothing much – including very generously my apartment’s special collection of bed bugs both living and dead – along with everything I know, don’t know, could know, might come to know – that I am significantly correct in my developing instinctual theory that the human brain region collectively known as the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC) is not only the seat of change but is also the bull’s eye of Trauma Altered Development (TAD) in the first place, the lifelong consequence of those changes AND is of its healing.
I am not a professional person in any way. I am not externally qualified to make statements of fact about anything “scientific.” However, due to the seriousness and the consequences of the extreme, severe, bizarre, comprehensive and long-term abusive trauma I lived through and suffered so greatly from for the entire first 18 years of my life from BEFORE the first breath I ever took in this world I am perfectly suited to making guesses about “what all of THIS might mean.”
If the ACC is designed to spearhead (attachment-related) growth — its own and the developmental trajectory of the body-self it is a part of — in response to environment (safe and secure or its opposite) then why would that special plasticity cease to exist at ANY TIME during a lifetime?
I am loosely being propelled forward into a course of self-study involving this topic:
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2001 May;935:107-17.
“We propose that the anterior cingulate cortex is a specialization of neocortex rather than a more primitive stage of cortical evolution. Functions central to intelligent behavior, that is, emotional self-control, focused problem solving, error recognition, and adaptive response to changing conditions, are juxtaposed with the emotions in this structure. Evidence of an important role for the anterior cingulate cortex in these functions has accumulated through single-neuron recording, electrical stimulation, EEG, PET, fMRI, and lesion studies. The anterior cingulate cortex contains a class of spindle-shaped neurons that are found only in humans and the great apes, and thus are a recent evolutionary specialization probably related to these functions. The spindle cells appear to be widely connected with diverse parts of the brain and may have a role in the coordination that would be essential in developing the capacity to focus on difficult problems. Furthermore, they emerge postnatally and their survival may be enhanced or reduced by environmental conditions of enrichment or stress, thus potentially influencing adult competence or dysfunction in emotional self-control and problem-solving capacity.”
My dear friend located a full copy of the following article online free:
by Francis L. Stevens, Ph.D., Robin A. Hurley, M.D., Katherine H. Taber, Ph.D.
“The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) lies in a unique position in the brain, with connections to both the “emotional” limbic system and the “cognitive” prefrontal cortex. Thus, the ACC likely has an important role in integration of neuronal circuitry for affect regulation and can be identified as a distinctive region in understanding psychopathology. Affect-regulation, the ability to control and manage uncomfortable emotions, is a primary goal for mental health clinicians in treating psychopathology. Avoidance of painful emotions is often the motivating force in negative behaviors such as substance abuse, binge eating, and suicide. These actions are taken as part of maladaptive approaches to control, avoid, or regulate painful emotions. Clinicians often treat patients by helping them to develop more adaptive coping mechanisms in regulating their emotions. Understanding the processes by which ACC contributes to regulation of emotions may assist clinicians in their therapeutic work.”
There is undoubtedly a clear, undeniable connection between the ACC brain region, TAD and the profoundly disturbing findings from the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) studies. If I choose to do so I will need to search online in an intense study to find who “out there” has traded guesswork for fact along these lines of my thinking.
Using the online search terms — cdc ace anterior cingulate cortex – I can see instantaneously that there is a beginning place for me to begin my inquiry. (This blog seems to appear at the top of the appearing link list….) I could say DARN! For the simple reason that I do not REALLY want to be among those on earth who know what I instinctively know.
Yet the good side of this in my thoughtful meanderings of speculation this morning is that if the ACC is the bull’s eye of trauma-related changes in this brain region, once this connection has been clearly shown it should also be true and demonstrable that this region is also a powerful target for changes that can be made in the opposite direction!
Even at a cursory beginning glance — interesting research! This is just one angle of entering the world of studies about development of the ACC and its very busy and fascinating engineering and operation!!
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