*Notes on Hippocampus

HIPPOCAMPUS

“The limbic system comprises the amygdala, hippocampus, medial thalamus, nucleus accumbens, and basal forebrain, all of which connect to the anterior cingulate gyrus, which is the major gateway to the frontal cortex.  This system is the launching point of emotions and the emotional connector to the cognitive prefrontal cortex.  Yet all of it is wrapped around the system for movement.  (Ratey/ug/227)”

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++ linked through serotonin to the raphe

++ [copied from RAPHE] ++ “This region appears to facilitate the hippocampal recognition of mismatch, the loss of control and of defeat.  (Henry/np/41)”

++ involved with serotonin

++  [copied from MEDULLA] ++ “…the production of the fear-anxiety hormone epinephrine in the medulla, by the methylation of norepinephrine, is accomplished by an

enzyme that is in turn controlled by the action on the adrenal cortex of the andrenocorticotrophic hormone ACTH produced by the pituitary gland.  (Henry/np/42)”

The production of this hormone in response to anxiety depends on the degree of distress; this involves hippocampal activation of the pituitary system.  (Henry/np/42)”

++ “…the pituitary adrenal cortical response to stress is controlled by the hippocampus….

The hippocampus has an inhibitory role in regulating stress responses of the adrenal cortex….

The hippocampus acts as a brake on the pituitary adrenocortical system protecting it from excessive activity.  (Henry/np/42)”

++ “Linked to this action of the hippocampus on the pituitary adrenal axis…it functions as the core of a neural memory system that receives abstracted (Henry/np/42) information from all sensory modalities.

The input is compared with the body’s cognitive map of the environment.

The outcome of this matching determines the interest in, and response to, an idea.

A mismatch between the inner map and the current milieu is a measure of the degree of distress due to uncertainty.

The route for this response releasing inhibition appears to be via the medial corticohypothalamic tract.

Thus the hippocampus forms a critical part of the subtle coordination of the organism’s adrenal cortical response to novelty or discrepancy, especially with events in the social environment.

A dramatic example of such a mismatch is the perception of loss of an attached figure, such as a parent by child.  (Henry/np/43)”

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Teicher/nc

“A number of structural and functional neurobiological consequences of early stressful experience have been identified and include reduced corpus callosum size, attenuated [thinned, weakened] development of the left neocortex, hippocampus, and amygdala, enhanced electrical irritability in limbic structures, and reduced functional activity of the cerebellar vermis.  (Teicher/nc/2003)” cc to files on these brain areas

The neurobiological consequences of early stress and childhood maltreatment.

Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 27 (2003) 33-44

Martin H. Teicher, Susan L. Andersen, Ann Polcari, Carl M. Anderson, Carryl P. Navalta, Dennis M. Kim

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from Teicher/nc

“Preclinical studies have demonstrated the marked vulnerability of the hippocampus to stress ‘3,4’.  This region has a protracted ontogeny, a high density of glucocorticoids receptors ([5,6] but see Ref. [7]), and persistent postnatal neurogenesis [3].  The density of synaptic connections in the hippocampus fluctuates with age [8].  As is true of many regions of the mammalian brain there is a period of postnatal overproduction of axonal and dendritic arborization, synapses and receptors, followed by a postpubertal period of pruning and elimination [9-11].  We have found that early stress seems to prevent the normal peripubertal overproduction of synapses in CA1 and CA3, but does not prevent pruning, which leads to an enduring deficit in overall synaptic density (Andersen et al., unpublished observation).  (Teicher/nc/34)”

reports mixed observations as far as size relation of this area to normals

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“Isolation reared monkeys with behavioral disturbances have elileptiform spike and sharp-wave activity in their fastigial nucleus (output nucleus of the cerebellar vermis) and hippocampus [61].  This provides an intriguing parallel to the observation of abnormal EEG activity in children or adults with abuse histories [36,62,63].  The cerebellar vermis appears to play a role in the control of epilepsy or limbic activation.  Preclinical [64,65] and clinical studies [66,67] have found that electrical stimulation of the vermis suppresses the onset and spread of seizures.  (Teicher/nc/36)”  [cc to fastigial nucleus and hippocampus]

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parahippocampal gyrus

The hippocampus is known to play a critical role in encoding and retrieval of episodic information [93] and has been implicated in the generation of dissociative states [94,95].  The hippocampus and parahippocampal gyrus may also play a significant role in the pathophysiology of generalized anxiety and panic disorders [96-98], which may arise from excess noradrenergic influences from the locus coeruleus on the hippocampus.  [cc to locus coeruleus] In addition, the septal area and hippocampus may be crucial components of the behavioral inhibitory system, which acts to arrest ongoing behavior when it is environmentally inappropriate [99].  [cc to septal area]  Serotonergic projections from the median raphe nuclei to the hippocampus presumably play an important role in establishing an individual’s overall level of behavioral inhibition [99].  Therefore, alterations in hippocampal development may subserve the amnestic, dissociative, anxiogenic, and disinhibitory aspects of PTSD.  [cc rest to raphe nuclei] (Teicher/nc/37)”

“As noted above, early severe stress may be associated with reduced synaptic numbers in the hippocampal regionWhile this phenomenon may explain some difficulties in memory retrieval associated with traumatic events, Stein’s study [13] suggests that hippocampal alterations may be more associated with dissociative symptomatology than problems with declarative memory.  (Teicher/nc/37)”

This is some kind of telling observation from my point of view.  What I refer to as dissociation in my childhood feels exactly like that – an interruption with memory.

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“Heath [61] found that primates reared in isolation had epileptiform EEG patterns in their hippocampus and fastigial nuclei, which project from the vermis to the limbic system and modulate seizure susceptibility [169-171].  (Teicher/nc/37)”  [cc to these latter files]

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“It is true that most neuron’s can’t be regrown when they die; our brains would have a hard time holding on to memories and skills if cells were easy to replace.  However, in a few specific regions, such as the hippocampus, the birth and differentiation of neurons continues through old age.  (Ratey/ug/44)”

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“…autism, a developmental disability that affects several areas of the brain, including the cerebellum, hippocampus, and limbic system, beginning at a very young age.  (Ratey/ug/78)”

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“Arousal is controlled by the reticular activating system, which connects the frontal lobes, limbic system, brainstem, and sense organs.  Incoming information from the sense, or thoughts, can arouse us, and depending on the startle value it alerts the rest of the arousal circuit.  The hippocampus – a key player in long-term memory – also communicates with the reticular activating system.  With its store of knowledge, the hippocampus is the way station to our memories, able to compare the present with the past and thus monitor events as either novel or ordinary.  That way, if the reticular activating system startles over something harmless, the hippocampus works as a protective filter to conserve the brain’s energy by inhibiting the system.  (Ratey/ug/115)”

cc to reticular activating system, frontal lobes, limbic system, brainstem, hippocampus,

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“Many drugs and thrill-seeking activities seem to achieve their pleasurable and addictive effects by inducing the excessive release of dopamine in the hippocampus and nucleus accumbens.  (Ratey/ug/128)”

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“But how do we swing our attentional spotlight from one object or thought to the next?  Paul Churchland, a professor of philosophy at the University of California at San Diego, suggests that this ability is driven by the relationship between working memory and long-term memory.  Working memory is a significant part of the executive functioning of the prefrontal cortex.  The systems that handle working memory are located in the frontal lobe, right in front of the areas con- (Ratey/ug/130) cerned with motion and process.  They hold data, motivations, and ideas all in mind for a bit, and then count on the long-term memory system to encode the information in the hippocampus and other parts of the cortex.  (Ratey/ug/131)”

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“The many maps that are created are inventoried by the cerebellum, basal ganglia, and hippocampus.  These three areas keep track of the maps everywhere else in the brain and order the brain’s output.  Together they form a kind of supermap, which contains multiple local maps.  This creates a system of connections for whole categories of information, as well as patterns of motor activity.  The end result of this complex value system of loop-within-a-loop layers of maps is the infinite variety of each person’s thoughts and behaviors.  Your concept of “chair-hood” or “grandmother-hood” in the brain is a global rather than a localized affair.  Each region of the brain contributes to the recognition of a chair or grandmother, which explains why recognition can be triggered by any number of different sensory elements….

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“We can know ourselves only because we can remember.  (Ratey/ug/185)”

“Memory is the centripetal force that pulls together learning, understanding, and consciousness…..Modern instruments such as PET scanners show us that the brain is more like an active ecosystem than a static, preprogrammed computer.  There is no single center for vision, language, emotion, social behavior, consciousness…or memory.  (Ratey/ug/185)”

“Science has always wanted to know where memories are “stored.”  Is it in the perception neurons, where we saw or heard something for the first time?  The hippocampus, which pulls memories together?  The frontal lobe, which triggers recall?  None of these, and all of these.  (Ratey/ug/185)”

“The even more fundamental question is:  What is a memory?  Endel Tulving at the University of Toronto has been searching for memory for more than forty years and he still does not know what to call memory.  Is it the storage space or the act and strategy of the retrieval?  Is memory the (Ratey/ug/185) act of searching for the memory or the energy devoted to forming the memory in the first place?  (Ratey/ug/186)”

A memory is only made when it is called upon.  In its quiescent state it is not detectable.  Therefore we cannot separate the act of retrieving and the memory itself.  Indeed, bits and pieces of a single memory are stored in different networks of neurons all around the brain.  We bring the pieces together when it is time to recall that memory…..When the day is over we put the pieces back, and even if they’re not in exactly the same places we still know where to find them and how to put them together again.  (Ratey/ug/186)”

“The formation and recall of each memory are influenced by mood, surroundings, and gestalt at the time the memory is formed or retrieved.  That’s why the same event can be remembered differently by different people.  One person isn’t necessarily “right” and the other “wrong.”  Memory also changes as we change over time.  New experiences change our attitudes, and thus how and what we remember.  (Ratey/ug/186)”

“Memories – from two minutes, two years, and two decades ago – come and go every waking hour.  Each one arises from a vast network of interconnected pieces.  The pieces are units of language, emotions, beliefs, and actions, and here, right away, comes the first surprising conclusion:  because our daily experiences constantly alter these connections, a memory is a tiny bit different each time we remember it.  (Ratey/ug/186)”

“Consider the effect of mood, for example.  The frontal cortex is the part of the brain that neatly organizes the bits and pieces into a temporal, logical, and “meaningful” story.  However, it must be set in motion by the amygdala, which provides an emotional tag to a memory, a “meaning” that helps cement the pieces.  [glue]  Given this, one’s emotional state at a given instant affects how the amygdala processes the emotional tag of a memory, perhaps changing ever so slightly how that memory is reconstructed.  An individual who is depressed is predisposed to see a certain memory in a negative light – so it’s a different kind of memory than it would have been had the person been generally happy.  (Ratey/ug/186)”  cc to files

“The string of events in the memory may be the same, but the tone and hence the meaning are very different.  (Ratey/ug/187)”

“Even if memories are not catalogued in a central repository and must be reconstructed each time we recall them, another question still remains:  Where does the memory reside once it’s assembled?  Neurologist Antonio Damasio in Descartes’s Error proposes hat the  at “convergence zones” near the sensory neurons that first registered the event.  He and his wife Hanna used MRI scans to locate convergence zones that oversee the recollection of the names of objects and animals and other zones that unite sensory information about people, perception, and emotion.  (Ratey/ug/187)”

Convergence zones also enable us to automatically conceive of objects, ideas, or interactions as a whole, if the pieces have been put together enough times…..we have acquired not only a name but a holistic concept of the item that true understanding can emerge.  (Ratey/ug/187)”

“The Damasios also propose that there is a hierarchy of convergence zones.  “Lower” convergence zones link the cues that allow us to (Ratey/ug/187) understand the general concept of “face” while “higher” convergence zones allow us to recognize specific faces.  Linking the two are intermediate convergence zones that differentiate details in individual faces – nose line, pallor, eye shape.  (Ratey/ug/188)”

“The beauty of the Damasios’ system of memory is that it illustrates the brain’s wonderful efficiency.  Instead of storing an infinite succession of daily movies, the brain reconstructs them from a manageable number of reusable elements of experience.  The sense of feeling “cold” is one puzzle piece that is available to help complete many different puzzles:  a winter wind, a cave, ice cream.  There is also beauty in the fact that there is no need for any logical ordering or classification of memories, which would be a true burden on the brain.  (Ratey/ug/188)”

“While the plasticity of the brain’s neural networks allows us to store and bring together the pieces…some neurons may be specialized for different types of pieces of memories – features, patterns, location, direction.  (Ratey/ug/188)”

“If memories consist of pieces, it would seem likely that something in the brain must be responsible for divvying up an event into bits and later bringing them back together to form a memory of that event.  We don’t know what process, or brain region, might be responsible, although mounting evidence suggests that the hippocampus might serve as the master regulator, the hub at the center of the wheel.  The hippocampus is in both the right and left hemispheres, and we do know this much:  without it we learn and remember nothing.  (Ratey/ug/188)”

“The hippocampus does not store memories.  It has been likened to an intelligent collating machine, which filters new associations, decides what is important and what to ignore or compress, sorts the results, and then sends various packets of information to other parts of the brain.  It is a way station that hands out the pieces.  (Ratey/ug/188)”

“Where the pieces are dispersed and how they are reconnected are processes that are not well understood.  Sleep may play a role.  (Ratey/ug/188) REM sleep is crucial for organizing pieces and the associations between them needed for forming lasting memories.  (Ratey/ug/189)”

“What about memories that are not sensory in origin, such as reflections, beliefs, or emotions?  When the brain forms concepts, it constructs maps of its own activities.  The maps categorize, discriminate, and recombine the various brain activities needed to form ideas and emotions.  The bits and pieces are of a different nature, but they are dispelled together in the same way.  (Ratey/ug/189)”

“Not only are memories more widely distributed than we once believed, but the plastic brain seems to be able to change how it distributes certain types of memory if there is an extreme need to do so.  (Ratey/ug/189)”

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“Learning and memory processes exist in a circular relationship that we take for granted.  Learning enables information to cross over the lines of perception into memory, but once stored these memories affect future learning.  (Ratey/ug/190)”

“…what is not the most recent, and most powerful, explanation for how memories become encoded:  a process called long-term potentiation (LTP).  (Ratey/ug/191)”

“Each and every new experience causes the neuronal firing across some synapses to strengthen and others to weaken.  The pattern of change represents an initial memory of the experience.  However, the pattern soon disappears unless it is made more permanent by LTP, which is the cellular mechanism that causes synapses to strengthen their connection to one another, coding an event, stimulus, or idea as a series of connections.  (Ratey/ug/191)”

“When a stimulus is received, LTP blazes a new trail along a series of neurons, making it easier for subsequent messages to fire along the same path.  The more the path is refired, the more permanent the message – the new learning – becomes.  (Ratey/ug/191)”

“As neurons in the chain strengthen their bonds with one another, they then begin to recruit neighboring neurons to join the effort.  Each time the activity is repeated, the bonds become a little stronger, and more neurons become involved, so that eventually an entire network develops that remembers the skill, the word, the episode, or the color.  At this stage, the subject becomes encoded as a memory.  (Ratey/ug/191)”

“This process, , is not standardized.  Motivation can affect how encoded a memory becomes….when there is a reward, the pieces of a memory are more strongly bonded.  (Ratey/ug/191)”

“Each time an experience is recalled or repeated, the neurons can practice their chemical volleys and strengthen their connections.  If the fledgling network is not reinforced, the connections will disband.  Once memory connections become firmly bonded they tend to last, but over many years they can fade, as we all have experienced.  If a memory unit is not occasionally reused or reinforced, the connection may weaken, disband, or die.  (Ratey/ug/192)”

I imagine this is part of why they say trauma memories should not be remembered.  And yet I suspect that such a memory is encoded differently in the first place…..

“…shocking events send messages to every nook and cranny in the brain, triggering a kind of super-LTP that recruits neurons from all over the brain, cementing the event immediately in memory.  Because the process is happening everywhere in the brain, insignificant everyday details, such as where you are or what you are wearing, are swept up into the potentiation and also become hardened into long-term memory.  Researchers sometimes call this flashbulb memory, as if every detail of a single, sudden moment had been captured in a photograph.  (Ratey/ug/192)”

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“The model of memory as a set of distributed pieces that are pulled together on demand, the need to repeat the firing patterns to etch them into long-term memories [well, obviously flashbulb memories are different than this], and the role of LTP in making this happen are all supported by modern sleep research.  The culmination of decades of work by researchers such as Allan Hobson at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center shows that brain wave activity in the hippocampus during dreaming actually rehearses memory patterns, either to harden newer experiences into long-term memories or to keep fading connections alive… The mechanism most cited is the cortex’s processing sensor information during a new experience and sending it to the hippocampus, which initiates replay and consolidation of the experience into long-term memory during sleep.  (Ratey/ug/192)”

“…during REM sleep there is communication between the amygdala, (Ratey/ug/192) the anterior cingulate gyrus, and the occipital lobes, structures that have long been linked to attaching emotional significance to memories and dreams.  (Ratey/ug/193)”

“More evidence comes from the evolutionary ladder.  In the one mammal that does not experience REM sleep, the spiny anteater, the prefrontal cortex – the major center of learning and behavior – is so disproportionately large relative to the animal’s body mass that memories are encoded at the moment an event is first experienced.  Higher mammals, lacking this massive reservoir, were perhaps forced to develop and reserve REM sleep as a time for solidifying memories; recall the study showing that the exact neuronal firing patterns present when rats explored a maze were repeated precisely when the rats were in REM sleep.  (Ratey/ug/193)”

cc to files

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“The possibility that LTP is the mechanism behind memory storage has several enormous physiological implications.  One is that each particular memory is built in and stored and retrieved from a specific neuronal network.  Another is that a given neuron may participate in many memories at once…..  our brains are capable of constantly recognizing and reorganizing relationships in everyday experience while simultaneously comparing our current flows of experience to past memories.  (Ratey/ug/193)”

“The juxtaposition of the past and the present is an important aspect of LTP, for although it is rapidly induced, it is also easily disrupted by new stimuli, shifts in attention, high brain temperature owing to illness, and neuronal electrical disturbances such as seizures and electroconvulsive shock.  (Ratey/ug/193)”

“Another implication of LTP is that learning “exercises” the brain, giving it the stimulants it craves.  A well-toned brain often has more blood capillaries and glial cells, which, together, cater to the furious metabolic and nutritional needs of the brain’s neurons.  If neurons in the sequence are allowed to weaken, the memory weakens.  (Ratey/ug/193)”

“Short-term memory is also referred to as “working memory” because it allows us to carry out the hundreds of tasks we busy ourselves with each day.  Working memory gives continuity to what we’re aware of from one moment to the next.  (Ratey/ug/194)”

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“Short-term and long-term memory are easily distinguishable.  The complex question is how short-term memories make the transition to long-term memories.  [how would this be different from what he described as learning?] Initial consolidation of short-term memory does not happen until the information has been sent by the cortex to the hippocampus.  (Ratey/ug/194)”  cc to cortex

Research suggests that there is a special window in time during which the transition to long-term memory is possible.  This window is essentially the time needed for neurons to synthesize the necessary proteins for LTP.  An initial stimulation triggers a communication across the synapse between two nerve cells in the brain.  Further stimulation then causes the cells to produce key proteins that bind to the synapse, cementing the memory in place.  If LTP – and hence a memory – is to last for more than a few hours, proteins produced in the first neuron must find their way to specific synapses and bind to them, an event that changes the structure of the synapses and (Ratey/ug/194) increases their sensitivity to incoming signal.  This may explain why we must repeat a list of words over and over in order to memorize them.  It may also validate the role of REM sleep as a process for reliving new and old experiences so they become more permanently etched as long-term memories.  (Ratey/ug/195)”

“…remembering something in the short term uses proteins that are already present in synapses.  But to shift the memory into the long term, new proteins that reconfigure synapses are needed. The synthesis of these proteins is controlled by a protein known as CREB, which is thought to act like a switch that triggers the production of new proteins.  (Ratey/ug/195)”

“CREB’s importance may extend beyond memory.  It is turning up in other situations that involve a long-term change in braid procedure, such as resetting the body’s internal clock after crossing time zones and developing a tolerance to drugs….  CREB probably works with other proteins in these processes of learning, but it seems to be the one crucial for the process to occur.  (Ratey/ug/195)”

Is there any connection or relationship between this protein and genetic protein processes?

“…the many neuronal processes involved in learning and memory occur simultaneously each waking moment.  Because there is such a staggering number of neuronal connections in the brain, the amount of parallel processing occurring at any instant is awesome….  Parallel processing is essential to our ever-changing interconnected network of neurons.  The activation of one particular firing pattern can inhibit or excite other firing patterns, which accounts for the existence of complex mental phenomena such as perception, thought, and impulse.  (Ratey/ug/195)”

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working memory is in prefrontal cortex file

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IMPLICIT VERSUS EXPLICIT MEMORY

“…human memory is distributed throughout the brain, yet certain memory functions are still dependent on certain areas.  (Ratey/ug/199)”

“The brain’s development encourages this. (Ratey/ug/199)”

Procedural memory or skill learning is the first memory function to develop in the brain’s early states of growth; a baby learns to extend its arm.  (Ratey/ug/200)”

I got this as much as I could subject to reprieves from mother’s interruptions.  To the degree that I was alone, I was free to “explore.”  This is also a process that is meant to include play, and positive interaction with others. But I was able to acquire the basics.

“Then, its perceptual representational system solidifies, and the baby recognizes objects.  (Ratey/ug/200)”

This is an area that did not operate correctly in regard to attachments, or being able to form representations of attuning, caring others that were going to “come back” to take care of my needs.  This is the stage where hope and trust are supposed to begin to operate.  Using the mental representation of a caring other is also meant to create the inner ability to implement self soothing strategies to ease transitions, to moderate the stress of distress, and to modulate arousal and stimulation levels.  It is a definite stage whereby the infant is being able to internalize external regulatory functions.  Because these needs are not met, because the brain does not exercise its growing capacity to form these representations which are our first forms of cognitions, there remains a limited capacity to self-regulate.  Hereafter through adulthood the individual will be reliant upon external sources in the environment to regulate these levels of stress/distress.  The difficulties will manifest in all attachment relationships as the NEED is great – the individual, because they did not have secure attachment, are not and will not be autonomous individuals – autonomy being a hallmark of a secure attachment history and ability.

Without the formation and operation of an adequate representational system and ability, death is operating.  Death happens when you are alone and do not know how to take care of yourself and do not have the ability to do so.

I can see that if the representational system begins to operate around five months, then fear would begin to operate with an increasing awareness of need and of absence.

Annihilation to the other happens if there is no mental connection to them coming back formed at the same time that there is an awareness formed that they are gone in the first place.  So it must be an awareness on some level of need, of the other as meeting that need, of the others presence or absence – I would think a sense of time and timing would begin to operate here.

About the cerebellum:  distinguishing different time intervals (Ratey/ug/top of 205)

A growing sense of need, hope and trust would all be tied to timing and time.  It therefore would also be tied to the body’s sense of rhythm along with timing.  Experiences in this arena, it would seem to me, would directly operate how this region of the brain establishes itself in relation to the individual – how it operates, period.

“Next it acquires semantic of “factual” memory, and the baby calls the round object “ball.”  (Ratey/ug/200)”

Does this assume the baby is at the language stage?  It can associate a word with an object or action before it can say the word.

Here, in particular, active interaction and engagement with the environment is building the brain capacities for the connection between cognition, stimulation, and emotion.  Play is a crucial tool for the development of semantic memory.

If the infant is left to discover this universe alone, attachment information in terms of arousal – approach/avoid – is likely to be skewed.  If the environment does not have emotional significances attached to it, attention and motivation and direction of action, and the actions themselves will be affected.

I believe this function is primarily left hemisphere and is emphasized in our culture.  But a life lived primarily from this perspective, using the level of semantic memory, creates a cold, detached, “emotionally dismissive and avoidant” person.  Logic can rule without either empathy or connection.  There is no real context for the information.

“Lastly, it develops the capacity for episodic memory, which allows it to consciously recall past experiences, and the baby remembers the last time it threw the ball and the dog chased it, and throws it again because watching the pup pounce is so much fun.  (Ratey/ug/200)”

This area of my development was evidently completely interfered with.  I did not consciously recall past experiences.  I am still unsure exactly why.  My first guess is that they were not remotely relevant because I was not, myself, remotely relevant.  All that matters was mother’s world.  I see now that I was literally a figment of her psyche, a projection of her psyche.  I never existed to her, so I never existed to my self.

He is unclear here whether or not having the episodic memory is the same as autobiographical.  The first perhaps without the individual in it, the latter with the individual in it.

I had no consciousness, so for me I can’t tell what he means here!

“This hierarchy and layering of memory systems allows for many complex memory functions.  (Ratey/ug/200)”

These abilities are directly correlated with the growth of additional structures in the brain that then become operational.  They can’t operate if they are not there!

He is not saying here that episodic memory means the baby is placing themselves within the memory as an experiencer of the experience.

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“The last stage of the brain’s development creates the specialization of the hemispheres.  This is when certain memory functions get localized, though most still have some basis in different regions, and is what makes explicit and implicit memory possible.  (Ratey/ug/200)”

Well, that is interesting.  If there is damage through abuse interactions to the corpus callosum, then how does this affect the operation of this memory?

Explicit memory encodes factual knowledge – names, faces, events, things.

“It depends on an initial dialogue between the hippocampus and the temporal lobe.  (Ratey/ug/200)”

Explicit memories are directly accessible to our conscious awareness.  (Ratey/ug/200)”

“They are flexible, rapidly relieved, and occasionally unreliable.  (Ratey/ug/200)” cc to files

Implicit memory is responsible for the laying down of skills and habits that, once learned, do not have to be consciously thought about, such as eating, talking, walking, riding a bike, and the way to go about making friends.

They are inflexible, slow, but extremely reliable, and involve the basal ganglia and cerebellum.  (Ratey/ug/200)”  cc to files

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“…patients suffering from disorders of the basal ganglia, such as Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease, seem to have no problem remembering facts and events.  However, they are no longer able to properly perform an appropriate sequence of habituated movement, such as walking.  They also cannot recognize the next item in a mental sequence that has been explained to them over and over again; they can retrieve memories that are stored, but they can’t store new ones.  (Ratey/ug/200)”  cc to file

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“A great deal of our everyday functioning and learning is the result of turning explicit memories into implicit ones.  (Ratey/ug/200)”

“For example, explicit procedural memories can become implicit when we are able to complete a task without referring to how we have done it in the past…. As we (Ratey/ug/200) master the task, we no longer have to actively remember what to do.  We just do it.  (Ratey/ug/201)”

“The procedural memory, at first explicit, has become implicit.  (Ratey/ug/201)”

“Larry Squire at the University of California at San Diego has used EEG and PET scans to show that the location of the memory in the brain changes as it becomes implicit.  (Ratey/ug/201)”

Then why the hell doesn’t he finish the thought, and tell the reader right here what these regions are and what happens!  Frustrating!

METAMEMORY

“One important example of implicit memory is metamemorythe ability to have knowledge of one’s own memory capability.

It is a “feeling of knowing.”

New research indicates that the frontal lobes may oversee metamemory, because individuals who have had portions of the frontal lobe removed lack it.

In everyday life, they have to function with no intuition about what they actually do and do not know.

Metamemory operates when a word is on the tip of our tongue and we know that we know it but we just can’t jog it to the front of our heads.

People who have lost significant parts of their frontal cortex do not have the notion of what they have forgotten.  (Ratey/ug/201)”  cc to frontal lobes file

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EPISODIC VERSUS SEMANTIC MEMORY

“Although for simplicity we are describing each type of memory function as fairly straightforward, it is important to know that memories are anything but.  (Ratey/ug/201)”

This is evident in episodic and semantic memory.  (Ratey/ug/201)”

Episodic memory is the capacity to

place facts and events in time and to refer to them freely.  (Ratey/ug/201)”

  1. (Ratey/ug/201)”    remembering the future

Episodic memory is by necessity far more plastic than semantic memory, but it is also far less reliable and can be distorted by all sorts of distractions, including fear, anxiety, and stress.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

episodic memory is tied to a specific time and place  (Ratey/ug/202)

This must be related to the formation of mental representations – the spanning of time and place – from the beginning – in the brain.

Episodic memory cannot by its nature be acquired this way [acquired by rote, aided by our ability to generalize and categorize].  In fact, the original Greek meaning for episodic memory is “the spinning of a tale” – a creation made of thoughts, beliefs, interpretation, and emotion.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

Episodic memory also constitutes the storytelling shaman in all of us.  (Ratey/ug/201)”

“…our memories are not dead tokens of the past but the powerful forces behind what we believe in the present and imagine about the future.  (Ratey/ug/201)”

This is not talking about implicit remembering.  He is saying that episodic memory is accessible and available to us.

I believe that we have the “undercurrent” of our stories that are not available to conscious recall because they are in the brain and in the body – and probably in the right hemisphere – without words, but they generate “senses” and “patterns” and “images” of who we are and where we come from.

Semantic memory is detached from personal experience.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

“It is cognitive rather than autobiographical, the impersonal basis of one’s repertoire of knowledge.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

This makes me think about so much self-help stuff – it comes from the cognitive and remains in the cognitive.

It does not resonate with the story of our lives or the storyteller that we all are.

This is a level I could function on as a child.  It is why I could, with great effort, go to school as much as I have.  Part of the effort is that my brain did not form to put together or synthesize “remote” information with personal.

It takes great effort to keep the two types of “in-formation” and knowledge and awareness separate.  It is natural, I believe, for them to be integrated.  This is ivory tower facts.  I hesitate to even call it either knowledge or information.

Semantic memory allows for the retention of facts and everyday functions, including

categories of events,

objects,

spatial knowledge, and

symbolic description.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

++ is not tied to a specific time or place

Semantic facts differ from episodic facts only in that they are removed from a specific moment and place.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

I would also say that semantic facts do not involve the perceiver

In my case, I bet I remembered the episodes of my life, the separate incidents, without putting them in a specific moment or place.  My life was then semantic and factual rather than episodic or autobiographical.

Semantic memories are often acquired by rote, aided by our ability to generalize and categorize.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

“Language depends largely on semantic memory.  In order to have a universal system of symbolic representation, we need a system of recall for impersonal knowledge – knowledge such as the meaning of words, grammar rules, and syntax.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

What connection does this have with the innate “biogrammar” that Henry writes about?  According to him, these “biograms” do not operate consciously, they are innate to our species, and they give us an underlying archetypal structure from which we operate as a species.

“Like explicit and implicit memories, episodic and semantic memories also have a circular relationship.  Episodic memory is embedded in semantic memory, yet semantic memory is dependent on episodic memory.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

“Indeed, meaningful episodes seem to enter the consciousness in the form of scripts that are later converted into autobiographical memory.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

“People who have a form of amnesia in which they are unable to recall many specific events that happened to them in the past may recall the sequence of events that is required to turn off a computer, and will remember the general personality traits they may have had prior to their amnesia, but cannot recall a single event illustrating any trait.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

“Endel Tulving and Dan Schacter reported on a patient, Gene, who had suffered damage to his frontal and temporal cortex, including his left hippocampus.  He was unable to recall any specific  event of his past and could not learn anything new.  However, he had semantic knowledge; he was able to remember the route he took to get to school and the details of changing a tire, even though he could not remember himself at school, or any time he might have changed a tire.  (Ratey/ug/202)” cc to files this paragraph – episodic and semantic memory, rest in hippocampus

Though episodic and semantic memory are related, a recent study of three British children suggests that the

hippocampus is critical only (Ratey/ug/202) for episodic memory. (Ratey/ug/203)”

“…children with severe amnesia due to damage to the hippocampus can still have surprisingly good semantic memory.  (Ratey/ug/203)”

these children they studied “couldn’t remember what day it was or what TV program they had just watched, and they routinely got lost in familiar surroundings.  Yet they somehow learned to read, write, and spell as well as their classmates.  They got average grades in mainstream schools and rattled off facts and definitions.  Yet they would forget conversations they’d just had and even what day it was.  The tragedy is that, despite their academic smarts, their amnesia is so severe that they have to live under strict supervision, and will never be able to lead independent lives.  (Ratey/ug/203)”

Gee, why doesn’t he say here that these children can somehow apply themselves and take advantage of “the brain’s amazing plasticity” to heal themselves?  Why doesn’t he say here that they can recruit neurons from a neighboring region, or practice a lot until they are good as new?  There ARE limitations, and damn it, I am going to specify what is possible and what is not possible to change!  Otherwise, those of us with changed brains will always be made to feel that there is something wrong with us!  Nobody is blaming these children for their incapacities in these abilities!

I never consciously thought about what day it was, though if somebody had asked me I could have told them.  I was able to learn to read, write, etc – but something was wrong.  I can, even now, forget a question somebody asks me when I am under social pressure – also like the difficulties in learning at the window factory.  But from this information,

So perhaps the functioning of my hippocampus was damaged – I did not remember myself in my life or in my environment correctly.

And yet at the same time, if I am under social distress pressure, I cannot learn or remember the semantic facts, either – like learning at the factory.  If that new learning is in the cortex first, then I had trouble there, as well.

Or may be the stress/distress prevents me from being able to retrieve this information from whatever long-term storage region it gets placed in.

How do emotions affect the creation of memories, the storage of memories, the retrieval of memories, the interaction of memories?  Specifically when something is stored either with a survival instinct or a happy one.

SENSORY MEMORY

“…basic types of memory:

sensory,

motor,

visuospatial, and

language

“Each of our senses gives us a part of the world – sound, sight, taste, smell, and touch – and so our memories can be recalled from any number of sensory cues.  (Ratey/ug/203)”

“…a rare condition known as synesthesia, in which the sense that is triggered in response to a normally unrelated stimulus – the seeing of smells, for (Ratey/ug/203) example – is perceived not in the mind’s eye but as an actual external event.  As a result, most synesthetes have astounding memories.  This arises from an ability to eidetically reexperience the synesthetic sense tied to the memory itself.  (Ratey/ug/204)”

“Most of us do not realize the extent to which our sensory experiences are our memories.  (Ratey/ug/204)”

MOTOR MEMORY

“Recent research has shown that the cerebellum plays a leading role in motor memory.  (Ratey/ug/204)”  rest of this is in cerebellum file

++++

“For motor memories, the frontal cortex plans and organizes events while the basal ganglia and hippocampus act together to store the memories for the long term.  It must be remembered that the hippocampus bridges the transition between short-term and long-term memory, and so motor memory, like sensory memory, has a crucial window in time of vulnerability.  (Ratey/ug/205)”  cc to files – from cerebellum

++++

“In general, events that cause us great joy or pain are easier to recall than other memories.  In fact, the encoding and retrieval mechanisms of emotionally charged memories are structurally different from those of other forms of memory.  (Ratey/209)”

TRAUMATIC MEMORY

Few people ever develop a narrative of trauma over time.  (Ratey/ug/209)”

Based on the work of van der Kolk at Boston University, who wrote Traumatic Stress

“Five of them who had claimed to have been abused as children could not, as adults, even tell a complete story of what happened to them.  They had only the intuition that they had been abused.  Some had fragmentary memories that were supported by other people’s accounts of actual incidents.  Essentially, these people had dissociated themselves from their experiences.  (Ratey/ug/209)”

This is why I am fortunate for mother’s litany.  She cemented in my memory the traumatic experiences that I continued to beaten for over time.

“Memories of traumatic or other highly emotional events remain unusually stable over time.  This is remarkable given how easily other memories deteriorate.  (Ratey/ug/210)”

++

“According to van der Kolk…the important distinction is that sensory elements of normal, everyday experiences are easily integrated into an ongoing personal narrative.

Traumatic experiences are exceptional because these intensely emotional events are not encoded into the ongoing narrative states.  (Ratey/ug/210)”

A traumatized individual

is often unable to formulate a unified conception of the harrowing experience,

yet continues to be haunted by the powerful emotions of the experience in the

form of fragmented sensory perceptions and emotional states.  (Ratey/ug/210)”

++

“Perhaps traumatic memories cannot be explicitly recalled because they are established too heavily in long-term memory.  (Ratey/ug/210)”

Is this in long-term implicit memory, then?

“When a subject tries to recall the event, the actual sensory experience interferes by flooding back in a mass of vivid and painful but seemingly irrelevant details.

The amygdala overreacts while Broca’s area, crucial for language and speech, shuts down.  (Ratey/ug/210)”

“As a result, the subject is “struck dumb” with each attempt to recall the traumatic episode and is unable to express the experience in words.  (Ratey/ug/210)”

This is important because the formation of words often acts as a delaying function, giving the brain time to sort out the information needed to remember.  [is this in the cortex?] (Ratey/ug/210)”

But if no words are being formed, the brain is overcome with confusion of incoming data.  [what part of the brain?] (Ratey/ug/210)”

“Therapeutically, helping such a person find words can begin a process of dealing with the terror, moving it from a sensation to a concrete experience that can be tackled. (Ratey/ug/210)”

When the emotional response can be tolerated, then words can come.  When the problem is known and can be named, it becomes less terrifying. (Ratey/ug/210)”

The same is true with a psychiatric problem; once a patient has a name for it, it is less threatening.  (Ratey/ug/210)”

++

IMPORTANT

“A recent study by Antonio Damasio has pinned down the brain regions involved in this mismatch.  (Ratey/ug/210)”

“Damasio concluded that emotional conditioning is dependent on the amygdala

and that emotions are processed independently of the events with which they are associated.  (Ratey/ug/211)”

“There is a limit, however.  If the emotional arousal is too high, the hippocampus is hindered in making a proper categorization and evaluation of the traumatic event.  (Ratey/ug/211)”

“What happens, chemically, is that a traumatic experience or painful memory – or a high incidence of stress, for that matter – causes the level of cortisol in the brain to rise.  (Ratey/ug/211)”

Cortisol, the stress hormone, works by binding to receptor sites in the hippocampus, but when emotion gets too high too much cortisol binds to each neuron. (Ratey/ug/211)”

“The onslaught increases the metabolism of the cells so much that they essentially overheat and die.  (Ratey/ug/211)”

CELL DEATH

“As a result, the hippocampus

The person can only reexperience the painful sensory fragments, not the event.  (Ratey/ug/211)”

The traumatic experience is recorded as separate and dissociated from other life experiences, and takes on a timeless and alien quality.  (Ratey/ug/211)” cc to brain chemicals and amygdala

I know this describes me, but this is painful, and too difficult!

++++

4/8/2007

Easter

I will be going into myself soon, like doing open-heart surgery on myself.  I need to go in and take a look at my SOUL WOUND,

This is like going into find Excalibur in the stone.  The wound my mother gave me because her mother gave it to her and her mother gave it to her.

Not the sins of the father being passed down, but the sins of the mothers.

We have to remember that the pain center is the same for physical and emotional pain.  We have to remember the motor centers are the same for movement of the body as for movements of thoughts.

I have to accept that I have metamemories.  I have memories that I will never be able to watch on a movie of the mind, either because they were formed while I only had implicit memory ability in my brain, or because they were so traumatic that cortisol has vaporized them.  But I also have to remember that my pain center felt them all, and my brain has stored all the emotions.

I have to discover the abilities that I have as well as those I don’t, and then work accordingly.

I had no mother to comfort me.  That is the essence of the wound.

Not only did she not comfort me, she hurt me.  Terribly.  She hated me and wanted me dead.  From the first breath that I took this was true.  From even before that.

++++

4/22/2007

“Research has shown that the younger a person is at the time of the trauma and the more prolonged the trauma, the greater the likelihood of significant traumatic amnesia.  What is devastating is that even though the actual account of the experience is hidden, the emotional and sensory components of the memory stay with the person for life; and any sensation related to the traumatic experience, from intimacy to fear to sexual arousal, becomes a powerful cue for negative emotions.  Together, these symptoms form a condition now known as posttraumatic stress disorder.  (PTSD).  (Ratey/ug/212)”

“…some traumatic events can be temporarily forgotten and subsequently remembered.  (Ratey/ug/212)”

“There’s no reason to question the memories of people who have always remembered their abuse or who have spontaneously recalled it on their own.  However…there is reason to seriously question whether memories newly found in suggestive therapy were indeed there all along or were invented under the powers of suggestion.  This issue comes down to distinguishing between dissociation and repression.  (Ratey/ug/213)”

dissociation as cause of traumatic amnesia:

“…it is possible for our thought, feeling, and conscious memory systems to lose communication.  Trauma or stress may break the links between these systems, which results in the fragmentation of past events, so the traumatic experiences can never be explicitly reconstructed.  (Ratey/ug/213)”

based on work of Ernest Hildegard and John Kihlstrom –

“…repression works only for an isolated traumatic experience; it is not powerful enough to explain the total amnesia of entire periods of a person’s past.  For [David] Spiegel {Stanford U], traumatic amnesia can only be explained through dissociation.  (Ratey/ug/213)”

Is this the same dissociation that Schore writes of, concerning the vagal response?

“…Lenore Terr at the University of California at San Francisco suggests that repeated traumatic events defy the natural tendency people have for reinforcement.  The repeatedly abused child, for example, becomes more adept at using repression to dissociate the experience from his or her conscious awareness.  Schacter goes further (Ratey/ug/213) to say that the general knowledge of abuse is retained while the event-specific details may become blurred, which might help explain why the memories of sexual-abuse- survivors are often sketchy on details.  Episodic memory can fade out and semantic memory will take over.  (Ratey/ug/214)”

Semantic being factual – I don’t have that much, either!

“The research seems to support the possibility of forgetting details of repeated trauma, but does not support full amnesia of the experiences…..not instantly disappear, which is what amnesia is all about.  (Ratey/ug/214)”

++++

4/28/2007

“There is good reason to believe that different brain mechanisms are at work for temporarily forgotten traumas versus amnesia of extended periods of time….The content of a flashback may say more about what a person believes or fears about the past than about what actually happened.  So while single incidents may be repressed, dissociation offers the best explanation for traumatic amnesia.  (Ratey/ug/214)”

Speaking about a woman with dissociative identity disorder:

“…her history contained signs and symptoms of a disturbed identity that dated back to childhood….  (Ratey/ug/215)”

“A person with a true dissociative disorder leaves behind a trail of serious pathology….(Ratey/ug/215)”

“…Those who doubt the validity of recovered memories say there is no basis for the amnesia of trauma.  Those convinced that PTSD is real say painful repressed experiences need to be fully remembered, dealt with, and gotten rid of.  (Ratey/ug/216)”

priming for memory – “it’s just that the person can’t initiate the process of retrieving it.  (Ratey/ug/217)”

“Researchers don’t yet know conclusively why almost everyone experiences some memory loss with aging.  Neurons might become less effective owing to shrinkage, cell death [yeah, I guess they are less effective if they are DEAD!], degeneration from lifelong exposure to stress-released chemicals such as cortisol, or just a drop in efficiency, as we see in muscle cells.  There may also be a decrease in neurotransmitters (notably acetylcholine), neurotransmitter receptors, or the dopamine that keeps the receptors receiving.  (Ratey/ug/218)”  cc to brain chemicals

“…age-related neuronal loss is insignificant.  However, it has been shown that parts of the hippocampus atrophy as we age, and that this correlates closely with problems with explicit memory (that of facts and figures, faces, and things).  (Ratey/ug/219)”

“One reason for this may be that while few neurons are lost overall in the brain, the basal forebrain, which provides the hippocampus with acetylcholine, suffers markedly.  Without acetylcholine, the hippocampus’s synaptic plasticity hardens, though this conclusion is quite controversial.  (Ratey/ug/219)”  cc to brain chemicals and basal forebrain

“Another study showed that both the young and the elderly have an increase in hippocampal blood flow when they recollect a recently studied word, but use a region of the prefrontal cortex when trying to retrieve the word later.  For effective memory, the frontal lobes must work just as well as the hippocampus.  (Ratey/ug/219)”   cc to prefrontal cortex

++

this is in frontal lobe file:

“The frontal lobes are also strongly affected by aging.  Changes there include neuron atrophy as well as a reduction in blood flow and glucose metabolism.  As the frontal lobes are the center of the executive function, which logically sequences memory organization, it is not surprising that poor frontal lobe functioning leads to a breakdown of temporal order and recall.  Aging people often have difficulty remembering the order and timing of events.  (Ratey/ug/219)”

+++

“Dopamine may also play a role in the loss of plasticity, and thus of memory.  (Ratey/ug/219)”

“The weakening of synaptic connections, sometimes referred  (Ratey/ug/219) to as long-term depression (versus long-term potentiation), occurs when receptors on neurons at either end of the synapse begin to close down – to stop receiving messages.  The presence of dopamine, which seems to act as a chemical reward and indicator for a neuron that continues to receive, keeps them open and receptive.  Thus, a decline in dopamine might lead to the degradation of synapses and memory.  (Ratey/ug/220)” cc to brain chemicals

++++

implicit memory works in the background, not yet made available to our conscious minds

can be affected by stimuli we are not aware of  (Ratey/ug/220)

“The subliminal messages have an effect because they are priming the brain to pursue a memory…… the primer…generates activity in the area of the brain where related representations are stored.  That area then starts to send out messages that arouse the brain’s smell and taste functions. [writing about subliminal popcorn messages}  These turn on the amygdala and hypothalamus, which say, “Go get some popcorn.  Gotta get it.  Hungry.  Gotta survive.”  (Ratey/ug/221)”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Feeling of What Happens:  Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness

Harcourt Brace & Company

1999

Antonio R. Damasio

“hippocampus “(whose integrity is necessary to create memories for new facts)  (Damasio/FWH/43)”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

[] “3.  The hippocampus, a vital structure in the “on-line” mapping of multiple, concurrent stimuli.  The hippocampus receives signals related to activity in all sensory cortices, which arrive (Damasio/FWH157) indirectly at the end of several projection chains with multiple synapses, and reciprocates signals via backward projections along the same chains.  It is essential to create new memories of facts but not new memories of perceptuomotor skills.  Most importantly, it appears to contribute to the establishment of memories elsewhere, in circuitry connected to it.  (Damasio/FWH/158)”

[][ “4.  The hippocampal-related cortices namely areas 28 and 35.  These cortices may hold dispositional [implicit?] memories of even higher complexity that those in 2, above.  (Damasio/fwh/158)”  [referring the hypothalamus and the basal forebrain]

++++

“The hippocampus is a recipient of information from several sensory modalities and its circuitry is such that its signals can probably construct, in some fashion, an n-order map of the “scene” that results, at each moment, from the organism’s multiple image-making devices.  It might be conceived, then, that the hippocampus would be an ideal structure to generate the second-order map I proposed as a basis for core consciousness.  This cannot be the case, however, as many studies of patients in whom the hippocampal region is damaged on both sides indicate.  A profound learning and memory defect can always be found in those cases, but no impairment of core consciousness ever ensues.  (Damasio/FWH/270)”

++++

HIPPOCAMPUS

“The limbic system comprises the amygdala, hippocampus, medial thalamus, nucleus accumbens, and basal forebrain, all of which connect to the anterior cingulate gyrus, which is the major gateway to the frontal cortex.  This system is the launching point of emotions and the emotional connector to the cognitive prefrontal cortex.  Yet all of it is wrapped around the system for movement.  (Ratey/ug/227)”

++++

++ linked through serotonin to the raphe

++ [copied from RAPHE] ++ “This region appears to facilitate the hippocampal recognition of mismatch, the loss of control and of defeat.  (Henry/np/41)”

++ involved with serotonin

++  [copied from MEDULLA] ++ “…the production of the fear-anxiety hormone epinephrine in the medulla, by the methylation of norepinephrine, is accomplished by an

enzyme that is in turn controlled by the action on the adrenal cortex of the andrenocorticotrophic hormone ACTH produced by the pituitary gland.  (Henry/np/42)”

The production of this hormone in response to anxiety depends on the degree of distress; this involves hippocampal activation of the pituitary system.  (Henry/np/42)”

++ “…the pituitary adrenal cortical response to stress is controlled by the hippocampus….

The hippocampus has an inhibitory role in regulating stress responses of the adrenal cortex….

The hippocampus acts as a brake on the pituitary adrenocortical system protecting it from excessive activity.  (Henry/np/42)”

++ “Linked to this action of the hippocampus on the pituitary adrenal axis…it functions as the core of a neural memory system that receives abstracted (Henry/np/42) information from all sensory modalities.

The input is compared with the body’s cognitive map of the environment.

The outcome of this matching determines the interest in, and response to, an idea.

A mismatch between the inner map and the current milieu is a measure of the degree of distress due to uncertainty.

The route for this response releasing inhibition appears to be via the medial corticohypothalamic tract.

Thus the hippocampus forms a critical part of the subtle coordination of the organism’s adrenal cortical response to novelty or discrepancy, especially with events in the social environment.

A dramatic example of such a mismatch is the perception of loss of an attached figure, such as a parent by child.  (Henry/np/43)”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

+++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++++++

Teicher/nc

“A number of structural and functional neurobiological consequences of early stressful experience have been identified and include reduced corpus callosum size, attenuated [thinned, weakened] development of the left neocortex, hippocampus, and amygdala, enhanced electrical irritability in limbic structures, and reduced functional activity of the cerebellar vermis.  (Teicher/nc/2003)” cc to files on these brain areas

The neurobiological consequences of early stress and childhood maltreatment.

Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 27 (2003) 33-44

Martin H. Teicher, Susan L. Andersen, Ann Polcari, Carl M. Anderson, Carryl P. Navalta, Dennis M. Kim

+++++

from Teicher/nc

“Preclinical studies have demonstrated the marked vulnerability of the hippocampus to stress ‘3,4’.  This region has a protracted ontogeny, a high density of glucocorticoids receptors ([5,6] but see Ref. [7]), and persistent postnatal neurogenesis [3].  The density of synaptic connections in the hippocampus fluctuates with age [8].  As is true of many regions of the mammalian brain there is a period of postnatal overproduction of axonal and dendritic arborization, synapses and receptors, followed by a postpubertal period of pruning and elimination [9-11].  We have found that early stress seems to prevent the normal peripubertal overproduction of synapses in CA1 and CA3, but does not prevent pruning, which leads to an enduring deficit in overall synaptic density (Andersen et al., unpublished observation).  (Teicher/nc/34)”

reports mixed observations as far as size relation of this area to normals

++++

“Isolation reared monkeys with behavioral disturbances have elileptiform spike and sharp-wave activity in their fastigial nucleus (output nucleus of the cerebellar vermis) and hippocampus [61].  This provides an intriguing parallel to the observation of abnormal EEG activity in children or adults with abuse histories [36,62,63].  The cerebellar vermis appears to play a role in the control of epilepsy or limbic activation.  Preclinical [64,65] and clinical studies [66,67] have found that electrical stimulation of the vermis suppresses the onset and spread of seizures.  (Teicher/nc/36)”  [cc to fastigial nucleus and hippocampus]

++++

parahippocampal gyrus

The hippocampus is known to play a critical role in encoding and retrieval of episodic information [93] and has been implicated in the generation of dissociative states [94,95].  The hippocampus and parahippocampal gyrus may also play a significant role in the pathophysiology of generalized anxiety and panic disorders [96-98], which may arise from excess noradrenergic influences from the locus coeruleus on the hippocampus.  [cc to locus coeruleus] In addition, the septal area and hippocampus may be crucial components of the behavioral inhibitory system, which acts to arrest ongoing behavior when it is environmentally inappropriate [99].  [cc to septal area]  Serotonergic projections from the median raphe nuclei to the hippocampus presumably play an important role in establishing an individual’s overall level of behavioral inhibition [99].  Therefore, alterations in hippocampal development may subserve the amnestic, dissociative, anxiogenic, and disinhibitory aspects of PTSD.  [cc rest to raphe nuclei] (Teicher/nc/37)”

“As noted above, early severe stress may be associated with reduced synaptic numbers in the hippocampal regionWhile this phenomenon may explain some difficulties in memory retrieval associated with traumatic events, Stein’s study [13] suggests that hippocampal alterations may be more associated with dissociative symptomatology than problems with declarative memory.  (Teicher/nc/37)”

This is some kind of telling observation from my point of view.  What I refer to as dissociation in my childhood feels exactly like that – an interruption with memory.

++++++++++++++++++

“Heath [61] found that primates reared in isolation had epileptiform EEG patterns in their hippocampus and fastigial nuclei, which project from the vermis to the limbic system and modulate seizure susceptibility [169-171].  (Teicher/nc/37)”  [cc to these latter files]

++++

“It is true that most neuron’s can’t be regrown when they die; our brains would have a hard time holding on to memories and skills if cells were easy to replace.  However, in a few specific regions, such as the hippocampus, the birth and differentiation of neurons continues through old age.  (Ratey/ug/44)”

++++

“…autism, a developmental disability that affects several areas of the brain, including the cerebellum, hippocampus, and limbic system, beginning at a very young age.  (Ratey/ug/78)”

++++

“Arousal is controlled by the reticular activating system, which connects the frontal lobes, limbic system, brainstem, and sense organs.  Incoming information from the sense, or thoughts, can arouse us, and depending on the startle value it alerts the rest of the arousal circuit.  The hippocampus – a key player in long-term memory – also communicates with the reticular activating system.  With its store of knowledge, the hippocampus is the way station to our memories, able to compare the present with the past and thus monitor events as either novel or ordinary.  That way, if the reticular activating system startles over something harmless, the hippocampus works as a protective filter to conserve the brain’s energy by inhibiting the system.  (Ratey/ug/115)”

cc to reticular activating system, frontal lobes, limbic system, brainstem, hippocampus,

++++

“Many drugs and thrill-seeking activities seem to achieve their pleasurable and addictive effects by inducing the excessive release of dopamine in the hippocampus and nucleus accumbens.  (Ratey/ug/128)”

++++

“But how do we swing our attentional spotlight from one object or thought to the next?  Paul Churchland, a professor of philosophy at the University of California at San Diego, suggests that this ability is driven by the relationship between working memory and long-term memory.  Working memory is a significant part of the executive functioning of the prefrontal cortex.  The systems that handle working memory are located in the frontal lobe, right in front of the areas con- (Ratey/ug/130) cerned with motion and process.  They hold data, motivations, and ideas all in mind for a bit, and then count on the long-term memory system to encode the information in the hippocampus and other parts of the cortex.  (Ratey/ug/131)”

++++

“The many maps that are created are inventoried by the cerebellum, basal ganglia, and hippocampus.  These three areas keep track of the maps everywhere else in the brain and order the brain’s output.  Together they form a kind of supermap, which contains multiple local maps.  This creates a system of connections for whole categories of information, as well as patterns of motor activity.  The end result of this complex value system of loop-within-a-loop layers of maps is the infinite variety of each person’s thoughts and behaviors.  Your concept of “chair-hood” or “grandmother-hood” in the brain is a global rather than a localized affair.  Each region of the brain contributes to the recognition of a chair or grandmother, which explains why recognition can be triggered by any number of different sensory elements….

++++

“We can know ourselves only because we can remember.  (Ratey/ug/185)”

“Memory is the centripetal force that pulls together learning, understanding, and consciousness…..Modern instruments such as PET scanners show us that the brain is more like an active ecosystem than a static, preprogrammed computer.  There is no single center for vision, language, emotion, social behavior, consciousness…or memory.  (Ratey/ug/185)”

“Science has always wanted to know where memories are “stored.”  Is it in the perception neurons, where we saw or heard something for the first time?  The hippocampus, which pulls memories together?  The frontal lobe, which triggers recall?  None of these, and all of these.  (Ratey/ug/185)”

“The even more fundamental question is:  What is a memory?  Endel Tulving at the University of Toronto has been searching for memory for more than forty years and he still does not know what to call memory.  Is it the storage space or the act and strategy of the retrieval?  Is memory the (Ratey/ug/185) act of searching for the memory or the energy devoted to forming the memory in the first place?  (Ratey/ug/186)”

A memory is only made when it is called upon.  In its quiescent state it is not detectable.  Therefore we cannot separate the act of retrieving and the memory itself.  Indeed, bits and pieces of a single memory are stored in different networks of neurons all around the brain.  We bring the pieces together when it is time to recall that memory…..When the day is over we put the pieces back, and even if they’re not in exactly the same places we still know where to find them and how to put them together again.  (Ratey/ug/186)”

“The formation and recall of each memory are influenced by mood, surroundings, and gestalt at the time the memory is formed or retrieved.  That’s why the same event can be remembered differently by different people.  One person isn’t necessarily “right” and the other “wrong.”  Memory also changes as we change over time.  New experiences change our attitudes, and thus how and what we remember.  (Ratey/ug/186)”

“Memories – from two minutes, two years, and two decades ago – come and go every waking hour.  Each one arises from a vast network of interconnected pieces.  The pieces are units of language, emotions, beliefs, and actions, and here, right away, comes the first surprising conclusion:  because our daily experiences constantly alter these connections, a memory is a tiny bit different each time we remember it.  (Ratey/ug/186)”

“Consider the effect of mood, for example.  The frontal cortex is the part of the brain that neatly organizes the bits and pieces into a temporal, logical, and “meaningful” story.  However, it must be set in motion by the amygdala, which provides an emotional tag to a memory, a “meaning” that helps cement the pieces.  [glue]  Given this, one’s emotional state at a given instant affects how the amygdala processes the emotional tag of a memory, perhaps changing ever so slightly how that memory is reconstructed.  An individual who is depressed is predisposed to see a certain memory in a negative light – so it’s a different kind of memory than it would have been had the person been generally happy.  (Ratey/ug/186)”  cc to files

“The string of events in the memory may be the same, but the tone and hence the meaning are very different.  (Ratey/ug/187)”

“Even if memories are not catalogued in a central repository and must be reconstructed each time we recall them, another question still remains:  Where does the memory reside once it’s assembled?  Neurologist Antonio Damasio in Descartes’s Error proposes hat the  at “convergence zones” near the sensory neurons that first registered the event.  He and his wife Hanna used MRI scans to locate convergence zones that oversee the recollection of the names of objects and animals and other zones that unite sensory information about people, perception, and emotion.  (Ratey/ug/187)”

Convergence zones also enable us to automatically conceive of objects, ideas, or interactions as a whole, if the pieces have been put together enough times…..we have acquired not only a name but a holistic concept of the item that true understanding can emerge.  (Ratey/ug/187)”

“The Damasios also propose that there is a hierarchy of convergence zones.  “Lower” convergence zones link the cues that allow us to (Ratey/ug/187) understand the general concept of “face” while “higher” convergence zones allow us to recognize specific faces.  Linking the two are intermediate convergence zones that differentiate details in individual faces – nose line, pallor, eye shape.  (Ratey/ug/188)”

“The beauty of the Damasios’ system of memory is that it illustrates the brain’s wonderful efficiency.  Instead of storing an infinite succession of daily movies, the brain reconstructs them from a manageable number of reusable elements of experience.  The sense of feeling “cold” is one puzzle piece that is available to help complete many different puzzles:  a winter wind, a cave, ice cream.  There is also beauty in the fact that there is no need for any logical ordering or classification of memories, which would be a true burden on the brain.  (Ratey/ug/188)”

“While the plasticity of the brain’s neural networks allows us to store and bring together the pieces…some neurons may be specialized for different types of pieces of memories – features, patterns, location, direction.  (Ratey/ug/188)”

“If memories consist of pieces, it would seem likely that something in the brain must be responsible for divvying up an event into bits and later bringing them back together to form a memory of that event.  We don’t know what process, or brain region, might be responsible, although mounting evidence suggests that the hippocampus might serve as the master regulator, the hub at the center of the wheel.  The hippocampus is in both the right and left hemispheres, and we do know this much:  without it we learn and remember nothing.  (Ratey/ug/188)”

“The hippocampus does not store memories.  It has been likened to an intelligent collating machine, which filters new associations, decides what is important and what to ignore or compress, sorts the results, and then sends various packets of information to other parts of the brain.  It is a way station that hands out the pieces.  (Ratey/ug/188)”

“Where the pieces are dispersed and how they are reconnected are processes that are not well understood.  Sleep may play a role.  (Ratey/ug/188) REM sleep is crucial for organizing pieces and the associations between them needed for forming lasting memories.  (Ratey/ug/189)”

“What about memories that are not sensory in origin, such as reflections, beliefs, or emotions?  When the brain forms concepts, it constructs maps of its own activities.  The maps categorize, discriminate, and recombine the various brain activities needed to form ideas and emotions.  The bits and pieces are of a different nature, but they are dispelled together in the same way.  (Ratey/ug/189)”

“Not only are memories more widely distributed than we once believed, but the plastic brain seems to be able to change how it distributes certain types of memory if there is an extreme need to do so.  (Ratey/ug/189)”

++++

“Learning and memory processes exist in a circular relationship that we take for granted.  Learning enables information to cross over the lines of perception into memory, but once stored these memories affect future learning.  (Ratey/ug/190)”

“…what is not the most recent, and most powerful, explanation for how memories become encoded:  a process called long-term potentiation (LTP).  (Ratey/ug/191)”

“Each and every new experience causes the neuronal firing across some synapses to strengthen and others to weaken.  The pattern of change represents an initial memory of the experience.  However, the pattern soon disappears unless it is made more permanent by LTP, which is the cellular mechanism that causes synapses to strengthen their connection to one another, coding an event, stimulus, or idea as a series of connections.  (Ratey/ug/191)”

“When a stimulus is received, LTP blazes a new trail along a series of neurons, making it easier for subsequent messages to fire along the same path.  The more the path is refired, the more permanent the message – the new learning – becomes.  (Ratey/ug/191)”

“As neurons in the chain strengthen their bonds with one another, they then begin to recruit neighboring neurons to join the effort.  Each time the activity is repeated, the bonds become a little stronger, and more neurons become involved, so that eventually an entire network develops that remembers the skill, the word, the episode, or the color.  At this stage, the subject becomes encoded as a memory.  (Ratey/ug/191)”

“This process, , is not standardized.  Motivation can affect how encoded a memory becomes….when there is a reward, the pieces of a memory are more strongly bonded.  (Ratey/ug/191)”

“Each time an experience is recalled or repeated, the neurons can practice their chemical volleys and strengthen their connections.  If the fledgling network is not reinforced, the connections will disband.  Once memory connections become firmly bonded they tend to last, but over many years they can fade, as we all have experienced.  If a memory unit is not occasionally reused or reinforced, the connection may weaken, disband, or die.  (Ratey/ug/192)”

I imagine this is part of why they say trauma memories should not be remembered.  And yet I suspect that such a memory is encoded differently in the first place…..

“…shocking events send messages to every nook and cranny in the brain, triggering a kind of super-LTP that recruits neurons from all over the brain, cementing the event immediately in memory.  Because the process is happening everywhere in the brain, insignificant everyday details, such as where you are or what you are wearing, are swept up into the potentiation and also become hardened into long-term memory.  Researchers sometimes call this flashbulb memory, as if every detail of a single, sudden moment had been captured in a photograph.  (Ratey/ug/192)”

++++

“The model of memory as a set of distributed pieces that are pulled together on demand, the need to repeat the firing patterns to etch them into long-term memories [well, obviously flashbulb memories are different than this], and the role of LTP in making this happen are all supported by modern sleep research.  The culmination of decades of work by researchers such as Allan Hobson at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center shows that brain wave activity in the hippocampus during dreaming actually rehearses memory patterns, either to harden newer experiences into long-term memories or to keep fading connections alive… The mechanism most cited is the cortex’s processing sensor information during a new experience and sending it to the hippocampus, which initiates replay and consolidation of the experience into long-term memory during sleep.  (Ratey/ug/192)”

“…during REM sleep there is communication between the amygdala, (Ratey/ug/192) the anterior cingulate gyrus, and the occipital lobes, structures that have long been linked to attaching emotional significance to memories and dreams.  (Ratey/ug/193)”

“More evidence comes from the evolutionary ladder.  In the one mammal that does not experience REM sleep, the spiny anteater, the prefrontal cortex – the major center of learning and behavior – is so disproportionately large relative to the animal’s body mass that memories are encoded at the moment an event is first experienced.  Higher mammals, lacking this massive reservoir, were perhaps forced to develop and reserve REM sleep as a time for solidifying memories; recall the study showing that the exact neuronal firing patterns present when rats explored a maze were repeated precisely when the rats were in REM sleep.  (Ratey/ug/193)”

cc to files

++++

“The possibility that LTP is the mechanism behind memory storage has several enormous physiological implications.  One is that each particular memory is built in and stored and retrieved from a specific neuronal network.  Another is that a given neuron may participate in many memories at once…..  our brains are capable of constantly recognizing and reorganizing relationships in everyday experience while simultaneously comparing our current flows of experience to past memories.  (Ratey/ug/193)”

“The juxtaposition of the past and the present is an important aspect of LTP, for although it is rapidly induced, it is also easily disrupted by new stimuli, shifts in attention, high brain temperature owing to illness, and neuronal electrical disturbances such as seizures and electroconvulsive shock.  (Ratey/ug/193)”

“Another implication of LTP is that learning “exercises” the brain, giving it the stimulants it craves.  A well-toned brain often has more blood capillaries and glial cells, which, together, cater to the furious metabolic and nutritional needs of the brain’s neurons.  If neurons in the sequence are allowed to weaken, the memory weakens.  (Ratey/ug/193)”

“Short-term memory is also referred to as “working memory” because it allows us to carry out the hundreds of tasks we busy ourselves with each day.  Working memory gives continuity to what we’re aware of from one moment to the next.  (Ratey/ug/194)”

++

“Short-term and long-term memory are easily distinguishable.  The complex question is how short-term memories make the transition to long-term memories.  [how would this be different from what he described as learning?] Initial consolidation of short-term memory does not happen until the information has been sent by the cortex to the hippocampus.  (Ratey/ug/194)”  cc to cortex

Research suggests that there is a special window in time during which the transition to long-term memory is possible.  This window is essentially the time needed for neurons to synthesize the necessary proteins for LTP.  An initial stimulation triggers a communication across the synapse between two nerve cells in the brain.  Further stimulation then causes the cells to produce key proteins that bind to the synapse, cementing the memory in place.  If LTP – and hence a memory – is to last for more than a few hours, proteins produced in the first neuron must find their way to specific synapses and bind to them, an event that changes the structure of the synapses and (Ratey/ug/194) increases their sensitivity to incoming signal.  This may explain why we must repeat a list of words over and over in order to memorize them.  It may also validate the role of REM sleep as a process for reliving new and old experiences so they become more permanently etched as long-term memories.  (Ratey/ug/195)”

“…remembering something in the short term uses proteins that are already present in synapses.  But to shift the memory into the long term, new proteins that reconfigure synapses are needed. The synthesis of these proteins is controlled by a protein known as CREB, which is thought to act like a switch that triggers the production of new proteins.  (Ratey/ug/195)”

“CREB’s importance may extend beyond memory.  It is turning up in other situations that involve a long-term change in braid procedure, such as resetting the body’s internal clock after crossing time zones and developing a tolerance to drugs….  CREB probably works with other proteins in these processes of learning, but it seems to be the one crucial for the process to occur.  (Ratey/ug/195)”

Is there any connection or relationship between this protein and genetic protein processes?

“…the many neuronal processes involved in learning and memory occur simultaneously each waking moment.  Because there is such a staggering number of neuronal connections in the brain, the amount of parallel processing occurring at any instant is awesome….  Parallel processing is essential to our ever-changing interconnected network of neurons.  The activation of one particular firing pattern can inhibit or excite other firing patterns, which accounts for the existence of complex mental phenomena such as perception, thought, and impulse.  (Ratey/ug/195)”

++++

working memory is in prefrontal cortex file

+++++++++++++++++

IMPLICIT VERSUS EXPLICIT MEMORY

“…human memory is distributed throughout the brain, yet certain memory functions are still dependent on certain areas.  (Ratey/ug/199)”

“The brain’s development encourages this. (Ratey/ug/199)”

Procedural memory or skill learning is the first memory function to develop in the brain’s early states of growth; a baby learns to extend its arm.  (Ratey/ug/200)”

I got this as much as I could subject to reprieves from mother’s interruptions.  To the degree that I was alone, I was free to “explore.”  This is also a process that is meant to include play, and positive interaction with others. But I was able to acquire the basics.

“Then, its perceptual representational system solidifies, and the baby recognizes objects.  (Ratey/ug/200)”

This is an area that did not operate correctly in regard to attachments, or being able to form representations of attuning, caring others that were going to “come back” to take care of my needs.  This is the stage where hope and trust are supposed to begin to operate.  Using the mental representation of a caring other is also meant to create the inner ability to implement self soothing strategies to ease transitions, to moderate the stress of distress, and to modulate arousal and stimulation levels.  It is a definite stage whereby the infant is being able to internalize external regulatory functions.  Because these needs are not met, because the brain does not exercise its growing capacity to form these representations which are our first forms of cognitions, there remains a limited capacity to self-regulate.  Hereafter through adulthood the individual will be reliant upon external sources in the environment to regulate these levels of stress/distress.  The difficulties will manifest in all attachment relationships as the NEED is great – the individual, because they did not have secure attachment, are not and will not be autonomous individuals – autonomy being a hallmark of a secure attachment history and ability.

Without the formation and operation of an adequate representational system and ability, death is operating.  Death happens when you are alone and do not know how to take care of yourself and do not have the ability to do so.

I can see that if the representational system begins to operate around five months, then fear would begin to operate with an increasing awareness of need and of absence.

Annihilation to the other happens if there is no mental connection to them coming back formed at the same time that there is an awareness formed that they are gone in the first place.  So it must be an awareness on some level of need, of the other as meeting that need, of the others presence or absence – I would think a sense of time and timing would begin to operate here.

About the cerebellum:  distinguishing different time intervals (Ratey/ug/top of 205)

A growing sense of need, hope and trust would all be tied to timing and time.  It therefore would also be tied to the body’s sense of rhythm along with timing.  Experiences in this arena, it would seem to me, would directly operate how this region of the brain establishes itself in relation to the individual – how it operates, period.

“Next it acquires semantic of “factual” memory, and the baby calls the round object “ball.”  (Ratey/ug/200)”

Does this assume the baby is at the language stage?  It can associate a word with an object or action before it can say the word.

Here, in particular, active interaction and engagement with the environment is building the brain capacities for the connection between cognition, stimulation, and emotion.  Play is a crucial tool for the development of semantic memory.

If the infant is left to discover this universe alone, attachment information in terms of arousal – approach/avoid – is likely to be skewed.  If the environment does not have emotional significances attached to it, attention and motivation and direction of action, and the actions themselves will be affected.

I believe this function is primarily left hemisphere and is emphasized in our culture.  But a life lived primarily from this perspective, using the level of semantic memory, creates a cold, detached, “emotionally dismissive and avoidant” person.  Logic can rule without either empathy or connection.  There is no real context for the information.

“Lastly, it develops the capacity for episodic memory, which allows it to consciously recall past experiences, and the baby remembers the last time it threw the ball and the dog chased it, and throws it again because watching the pup pounce is so much fun.  (Ratey/ug/200)”

This area of my development was evidently completely interfered with.  I did not consciously recall past experiences.  I am still unsure exactly why.  My first guess is that they were not remotely relevant because I was not, myself, remotely relevant.  All that matters was mother’s world.  I see now that I was literally a figment of her psyche, a projection of her psyche.  I never existed to her, so I never existed to my self.

He is unclear here whether or not having the episodic memory is the same as autobiographical.  The first perhaps without the individual in it, the latter with the individual in it.

I had no consciousness, so for me I can’t tell what he means here!

“This hierarchy and layering of memory systems allows for many complex memory functions.  (Ratey/ug/200)”

These abilities are directly correlated with the growth of additional structures in the brain that then become operational.  They can’t operate if they are not there!

He is not saying here that episodic memory means the baby is placing themselves within the memory as an experiencer of the experience.

++

“The last stage of the brain’s development creates the specialization of the hemispheres.  This is when certain memory functions get localized, though most still have some basis in different regions, and is what makes explicit and implicit memory possible.  (Ratey/ug/200)”

Well, that is interesting.  If there is damage through abuse interactions to the corpus callosum, then how does this affect the operation of this memory?

Explicit memory encodes factual knowledge – names, faces, events, things.

“It depends on an initial dialogue between the hippocampus and the temporal lobe.  (Ratey/ug/200)”

Explicit memories are directly accessible to our conscious awareness.  (Ratey/ug/200)”

“They are flexible, rapidly relieved, and occasionally unreliable.  (Ratey/ug/200)” cc to files

Implicit memory is responsible for the laying down of skills and habits that, once learned, do not have to be consciously thought about, such as eating, talking, walking, riding a bike, and the way to go about making friends.

They are inflexible, slow, but extremely reliable, and involve the basal ganglia and cerebellum.  (Ratey/ug/200)”  cc to files

++

“…patients suffering from disorders of the basal ganglia, such as Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease, seem to have no problem remembering facts and events.  However, they are no longer able to properly perform an appropriate sequence of habituated movement, such as walking.  They also cannot recognize the next item in a mental sequence that has been explained to them over and over again; they can retrieve memories that are stored, but they can’t store new ones.  (Ratey/ug/200)”  cc to file

++

“A great deal of our everyday functioning and learning is the result of turning explicit memories into implicit ones.  (Ratey/ug/200)”

“For example, explicit procedural memories can become implicit when we are able to complete a task without referring to how we have done it in the past…. As we (Ratey/ug/200) master the task, we no longer have to actively remember what to do.  We just do it.  (Ratey/ug/201)”

“The procedural memory, at first explicit, has become implicit.  (Ratey/ug/201)”

“Larry Squire at the University of California at San Diego has used EEG and PET scans to show that the location of the memory in the brain changes as it becomes implicit.  (Ratey/ug/201)”

Then why the hell doesn’t he finish the thought, and tell the reader right here what these regions are and what happens!  Frustrating!

METAMEMORY

“One important example of implicit memory is metamemorythe ability to have knowledge of one’s own memory capability.

It is a “feeling of knowing.”

New research indicates that the frontal lobes may oversee metamemory, because individuals who have had portions of the frontal lobe removed lack it.

In everyday life, they have to function with no intuition about what they actually do and do not know.

Metamemory operates when a word is on the tip of our tongue and we know that we know it but we just can’t jog it to the front of our heads.

People who have lost significant parts of their frontal cortex do not have the notion of what they have forgotten.  (Ratey/ug/201)”  cc to frontal lobes file

++

EPISODIC VERSUS SEMANTIC MEMORY

“Although for simplicity we are describing each type of memory function as fairly straightforward, it is important to know that memories are anything but.  (Ratey/ug/201)”

This is evident in episodic and semantic memory.  (Ratey/ug/201)”

Episodic memory is the capacity to

place facts and events in time and to refer to them freely.  (Ratey/ug/201)”

  1. (Ratey/ug/201)”    remembering the future

Episodic memory is by necessity far more plastic than semantic memory, but it is also far less reliable and can be distorted by all sorts of distractions, including fear, anxiety, and stress.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

episodic memory is tied to a specific time and place  (Ratey/ug/202)

This must be related to the formation of mental representations – the spanning of time and place – from the beginning – in the brain.

Episodic memory cannot by its nature be acquired this way [acquired by rote, aided by our ability to generalize and categorize].  In fact, the original Greek meaning for episodic memory is “the spinning of a tale” – a creation made of thoughts, beliefs, interpretation, and emotion.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

Episodic memory also constitutes the storytelling shaman in all of us.  (Ratey/ug/201)”

“…our memories are not dead tokens of the past but the powerful forces behind what we believe in the present and imagine about the future.  (Ratey/ug/201)”

This is not talking about implicit remembering.  He is saying that episodic memory is accessible and available to us.

I believe that we have the “undercurrent” of our stories that are not available to conscious recall because they are in the brain and in the body – and probably in the right hemisphere – without words, but they generate “senses” and “patterns” and “images” of who we are and where we come from.

Semantic memory is detached from personal experience.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

“It is cognitive rather than autobiographical, the impersonal basis of one’s repertoire of knowledge.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

This makes me think about so much self-help stuff – it comes from the cognitive and remains in the cognitive.

It does not resonate with the story of our lives or the storyteller that we all are.

This is a level I could function on as a child.  It is why I could, with great effort, go to school as much as I have.  Part of the effort is that my brain did not form to put together or synthesize “remote” information with personal.

It takes great effort to keep the two types of “in-formation” and knowledge and awareness separate.  It is natural, I believe, for them to be integrated.  This is ivory tower facts.  I hesitate to even call it either knowledge or information.

Semantic memory allows for the retention of facts and everyday functions, including

categories of events,

objects,

spatial knowledge, and

symbolic description.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

++ is not tied to a specific time or place

Semantic facts differ from episodic facts only in that they are removed from a specific moment and place.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

I would also say that semantic facts do not involve the perceiver

In my case, I bet I remembered the episodes of my life, the separate incidents, without putting them in a specific moment or place.  My life was then semantic and factual rather than episodic or autobiographical.

Semantic memories are often acquired by rote, aided by our ability to generalize and categorize.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

“Language depends largely on semantic memory.  In order to have a universal system of symbolic representation, we need a system of recall for impersonal knowledge – knowledge such as the meaning of words, grammar rules, and syntax.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

What connection does this have with the innate “biogrammar” that Henry writes about?  According to him, these “biograms” do not operate consciously, they are innate to our species, and they give us an underlying archetypal structure from which we operate as a species.

“Like explicit and implicit memories, episodic and semantic memories also have a circular relationship.  Episodic memory is embedded in semantic memory, yet semantic memory is dependent on episodic memory.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

“Indeed, meaningful episodes seem to enter the consciousness in the form of scripts that are later converted into autobiographical memory.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

“People who have a form of amnesia in which they are unable to recall many specific events that happened to them in the past may recall the sequence of events that is required to turn off a computer, and will remember the general personality traits they may have had prior to their amnesia, but cannot recall a single event illustrating any trait.  (Ratey/ug/202)”

“Endel Tulving and Dan Schacter reported on a patient, Gene, who had suffered damage to his frontal and temporal cortex, including his left hippocampus.  He was unable to recall any specific  event of his past and could not learn anything new.  However, he had semantic knowledge; he was able to remember the route he took to get to school and the details of changing a tire, even though he could not remember himself at school, or any time he might have changed a tire.  (Ratey/ug/202)” cc to files this paragraph – episodic and semantic memory, rest in hippocampus

Though episodic and semantic memory are related, a recent study of three British children suggests that the

hippocampus is critical only (Ratey/ug/202) for episodic memory. (Ratey/ug/203)”

“…children with severe amnesia due to damage to the hippocampus can still have surprisingly good semantic memory.  (Ratey/ug/203)”

these children they studied “couldn’t remember what day it was or what TV program they had just watched, and they routinely got lost in familiar surroundings.  Yet they somehow learned to read, write, and spell as well as their classmates.  They got average grades in mainstream schools and rattled off facts and definitions.  Yet they would forget conversations they’d just had and even what day it was.  The tragedy is that, despite their academic smarts, their amnesia is so severe that they have to live under strict supervision, and will never be able to lead independent lives.  (Ratey/ug/203)”

Gee, why doesn’t he say here that these children can somehow apply themselves and take advantage of “the brain’s amazing plasticity” to heal themselves?  Why doesn’t he say here that they can recruit neurons from a neighboring region, or practice a lot until they are good as new?  There ARE limitations, and damn it, I am going to specify what is possible and what is not possible to change!  Otherwise, those of us with changed brains will always be made to feel that there is something wrong with us!  Nobody is blaming these children for their incapacities in these abilities!

I never consciously thought about what day it was, though if somebody had asked me I could have told them.  I was able to learn to read, write, etc – but something was wrong.  I can, even now, forget a question somebody asks me when I am under social pressure – also like the difficulties in learning at the window factory.  But from this information,

So perhaps the functioning of my hippocampus was damaged – I did not remember myself in my life or in my environment correctly.

And yet at the same time, if I am under social distress pressure, I cannot learn or remember the semantic facts, either – like learning at the factory.  If that new learning is in the cortex first, then I had trouble there, as well.

Or may be the stress/distress prevents me from being able to retrieve this information from whatever long-term storage region it gets placed in.

How do emotions affect the creation of memories, the storage of memories, the retrieval of memories, the interaction of memories?  Specifically when something is stored either with a survival instinct or a happy one.

SENSORY MEMORY

“…basic types of memory:

sensory,

motor,

visuospatial, and

language

“Each of our senses gives us a part of the world – sound, sight, taste, smell, and touch – and so our memories can be recalled from any number of sensory cues.  (Ratey/ug/203)”

“…a rare condition known as synesthesia, in which the sense that is triggered in response to a normally unrelated stimulus – the seeing of smells, for (Ratey/ug/203) example – is perceived not in the mind’s eye but as an actual external event.  As a result, most synesthetes have astounding memories.  This arises from an ability to eidetically reexperience the synesthetic sense tied to the memory itself.  (Ratey/ug/204)”

“Most of us do not realize the extent to which our sensory experiences are our memories.  (Ratey/ug/204)”

MOTOR MEMORY

“Recent research has shown that the cerebellum plays a leading role in motor memory.  (Ratey/ug/204)”  rest of this is in cerebellum file

++++

“For motor memories, the frontal cortex plans and organizes events while the basal ganglia and hippocampus act together to store the memories for the long term.  It must be remembered that the hippocampus bridges the transition between short-term and long-term memory, and so motor memory, like sensory memory, has a crucial window in time of vulnerability.  (Ratey/ug/205)”  cc to files – from cerebellum

++++

“In general, events that cause us great joy or pain are easier to recall than other memories.  In fact, the encoding and retrieval mechanisms of emotionally charged memories are structurally different from those of other forms of memory.  (Ratey/209)”

TRAUMATIC MEMORY

Few people ever develop a narrative of trauma over time.  (Ratey/ug/209)”

Based on the work of van der Kolk at Boston University, who wrote Traumatic Stress

“Five of them who had claimed to have been abused as children could not, as adults, even tell a complete story of what happened to them.  They had only the intuition that they had been abused.  Some had fragmentary memories that were supported by other people’s accounts of actual incidents.  Essentially, these people had dissociated themselves from their experiences.  (Ratey/ug/209)”

This is why I am fortunate for mother’s litany.  She cemented in my memory the traumatic experiences that I continued to beaten for over time.

“Memories of traumatic or other highly emotional events remain unusually stable over time.  This is remarkable given how easily other memories deteriorate.  (Ratey/ug/210)”

++

“According to van der Kolk…the important distinction is that sensory elements of normal, everyday experiences are easily integrated into an ongoing personal narrative.

Traumatic experiences are exceptional because these intensely emotional events are not encoded into the ongoing narrative states.  (Ratey/ug/210)”

A traumatized individual

is often unable to formulate a unified conception of the harrowing experience,

yet continues to be haunted by the powerful emotions of the experience in the

form of fragmented sensory perceptions and emotional states.  (Ratey/ug/210)”

++

“Perhaps traumatic memories cannot be explicitly recalled because they are established too heavily in long-term memory.  (Ratey/ug/210)”

Is this in long-term implicit memory, then?

“When a subject tries to recall the event, the actual sensory experience interferes by flooding back in a mass of vivid and painful but seemingly irrelevant details.

The amygdala overreacts while Broca’s area, crucial for language and speech, shuts down.  (Ratey/ug/210)”

“As a result, the subject is “struck dumb” with each attempt to recall the traumatic episode and is unable to express the experience in words.  (Ratey/ug/210)”

This is important because the formation of words often acts as a delaying function, giving the brain time to sort out the information needed to remember.  [is this in the cortex?] (Ratey/ug/210)”

But if no words are being formed, the brain is overcome with confusion of incoming data.  [what part of the brain?] (Ratey/ug/210)”

“Therapeutically, helping such a person find words can begin a process of dealing with the terror, moving it from a sensation to a concrete experience that can be tackled. (Ratey/ug/210)”

When the emotional response can be tolerated, then words can come.  When the problem is known and can be named, it becomes less terrifying. (Ratey/ug/210)”

The same is true with a psychiatric problem; once a patient has a name for it, it is less threatening.  (Ratey/ug/210)”

++

IMPORTANT

“A recent study by Antonio Damasio has pinned down the brain regions involved in this mismatch.  (Ratey/ug/210)”

“Damasio concluded that emotional conditioning is dependent on the amygdala

and that emotions are processed independently of the events with which they are associated.  (Ratey/ug/211)”

“There is a limit, however.  If the emotional arousal is too high, the hippocampus is hindered in making a proper categorization and evaluation of the traumatic event.  (Ratey/ug/211)”

“What happens, chemically, is that a traumatic experience or painful memory – or a high incidence of stress, for that matter – causes the level of cortisol in the brain to rise.  (Ratey/ug/211)”

Cortisol, the stress hormone, works by binding to receptor sites in the hippocampus, but when emotion gets too high too much cortisol binds to each neuron. (Ratey/ug/211)”

“The onslaught increases the metabolism of the cells so much that they essentially overheat and die.  (Ratey/ug/211)”

CELL DEATH

“As a result, the hippocampus

The person can only reexperience the painful sensory fragments, not the event.  (Ratey/ug/211)”

The traumatic experience is recorded as separate and dissociated from other life experiences, and takes on a timeless and alien quality.  (Ratey/ug/211)” cc to brain chemicals and amygdala

I know this describes me, but this is painful, and too difficult!

++++

4/8/2007

Easter

I will be going into myself soon, like doing open-heart surgery on myself.  I need to go in and take a look at my SOUL WOUND,

This is like going into find Excalibur in the stone.  The wound my mother gave me because her mother gave it to her and her mother gave it to her.

Not the sins of the father being passed down, but the sins of the mothers.

We have to remember that the pain center is the same for physical and emotional pain.  We have to remember the motor centers are the same for movement of the body as for movements of thoughts.

I have to accept that I have metamemories.  I have memories that I will never be able to watch on a movie of the mind, either because they were formed while I only had implicit memory ability in my brain, or because they were so traumatic that cortisol has vaporized them.  But I also have to remember that my pain center felt them all, and my brain has stored all the emotions.

I have to discover the abilities that I have as well as those I don’t, and then work accordingly.

I had no mother to comfort me.  That is the essence of the wound.

Not only did she not comfort me, she hurt me.  Terribly.  She hated me and wanted me dead.  From the first breath that I took this was true.  From even before that.

++++

4/22/2007

“Research has shown that the younger a person is at the time of the trauma and the more prolonged the trauma, the greater the likelihood of significant traumatic amnesia.  What is devastating is that even though the actual account of the experience is hidden, the emotional and sensory components of the memory stay with the person for life; and any sensation related to the traumatic experience, from intimacy to fear to sexual arousal, becomes a powerful cue for negative emotions.  Together, these symptoms form a condition now known as posttraumatic stress disorder.  (PTSD).  (Ratey/ug/212)”

“…some traumatic events can be temporarily forgotten and subsequently remembered.  (Ratey/ug/212)”

“There’s no reason to question the memories of people who have always remembered their abuse or who have spontaneously recalled it on their own.  However…there is reason to seriously question whether memories newly found in suggestive therapy were indeed there all along or were invented under the powers of suggestion.  This issue comes down to distinguishing between dissociation and repression.  (Ratey/ug/213)”

dissociation as cause of traumatic amnesia:

“…it is possible for our thought, feeling, and conscious memory systems to lose communication.  Trauma or stress may break the links between these systems, which results in the fragmentation of past events, so the traumatic experiences can never be explicitly reconstructed.  (Ratey/ug/213)”

based on work of Ernest Hildegard and John Kihlstrom –

“…repression works only for an isolated traumatic experience; it is not powerful enough to explain the total amnesia of entire periods of a person’s past.  For [David] Spiegel {Stanford U], traumatic amnesia can only be explained through dissociation.  (Ratey/ug/213)”

Is this the same dissociation that Schore writes of, concerning the vagal response?

“…Lenore Terr at the University of California at San Francisco suggests that repeated traumatic events defy the natural tendency people have for reinforcement.  The repeatedly abused child, for example, becomes more adept at using repression to dissociate the experience from his or her conscious awareness.  Schacter goes further (Ratey/ug/213) to say that the general knowledge of abuse is retained while the event-specific details may become blurred, which might help explain why the memories of sexual-abuse- survivors are often sketchy on details.  Episodic memory can fade out and semantic memory will take over.  (Ratey/ug/214)”

Semantic being factual – I don’t have that much, either!

“The research seems to support the possibility of forgetting details of repeated trauma, but does not support full amnesia of the experiences…..not instantly disappear, which is what amnesia is all about.  (Ratey/ug/214)”

++++

4/28/2007

“There is good reason to believe that different brain mechanisms are at work for temporarily forgotten traumas versus amnesia of extended periods of time….The content of a flashback may say more about what a person believes or fears about the past than about what actually happened.  So while single incidents may be repressed, dissociation offers the best explanation for traumatic amnesia.  (Ratey/ug/214)”

Speaking about a woman with dissociative identity disorder:

“…her history contained signs and symptoms of a disturbed identity that dated back to childhood….  (Ratey/ug/215)”

“A person with a true dissociative disorder leaves behind a trail of serious pathology….(Ratey/ug/215)”

“…Those who doubt the validity of recovered memories say there is no basis for the amnesia of trauma.  Those convinced that PTSD is real say painful repressed experiences need to be fully remembered, dealt with, and gotten rid of.  (Ratey/ug/216)”

priming for memory – “it’s just that the person can’t initiate the process of retrieving it.  (Ratey/ug/217)”

“Researchers don’t yet know conclusively why almost everyone experiences some memory loss with aging.  Neurons might become less effective owing to shrinkage, cell death [yeah, I guess they are less effective if they are DEAD!], degeneration from lifelong exposure to stress-released chemicals such as cortisol, or just a drop in efficiency, as we see in muscle cells.  There may also be a decrease in neurotransmitters (notably acetylcholine), neurotransmitter receptors, or the dopamine that keeps the receptors receiving.  (Ratey/ug/218)”  cc to brain chemicals

“…age-related neuronal loss is insignificant.  However, it has been shown that parts of the hippocampus atrophy as we age, and that this correlates closely with problems with explicit memory (that of facts and figures, faces, and things).  (Ratey/ug/219)”

“One reason for this may be that while few neurons are lost overall in the brain, the basal forebrain, which provides the hippocampus with acetylcholine, suffers markedly.  Without acetylcholine, the hippocampus’s synaptic plasticity hardens, though this conclusion is quite controversial.  (Ratey/ug/219)”  cc to brain chemicals and basal forebrain

“Another study showed that both the young and the elderly have an increase in hippocampal blood flow when they recollect a recently studied word, but use a region of the prefrontal cortex when trying to retrieve the word later.  For effective memory, the frontal lobes must work just as well as the hippocampus.  (Ratey/ug/219)”   cc to prefrontal cortex

++

this is in frontal lobe file:

“The frontal lobes are also strongly affected by aging.  Changes there include neuron atrophy as well as a reduction in blood flow and glucose metabolism.  As the frontal lobes are the center of the executive function, which logically sequences memory organization, it is not surprising that poor frontal lobe functioning leads to a breakdown of temporal order and recall.  Aging people often have difficulty remembering the order and timing of events.  (Ratey/ug/219)”

+++

“Dopamine may also play a role in the loss of plasticity, and thus of memory.  (Ratey/ug/219)”

“The weakening of synaptic connections, sometimes referred  (Ratey/ug/219) to as long-term depression (versus long-term potentiation), occurs when receptors on neurons at either end of the synapse begin to close down – to stop receiving messages.  The presence of dopamine, which seems to act as a chemical reward and indicator for a neuron that continues to receive, keeps them open and receptive.  Thus, a decline in dopamine might lead to the degradation of synapses and memory.  (Ratey/ug/220)” cc to brain chemicals

++++

implicit memory works in the background, not yet made available to our conscious minds

can be affected by stimuli we are not aware of  (Ratey/ug/220)

“The subliminal messages have an effect because they are priming the brain to pursue a memory…… the primer…generates activity in the area of the brain where related representations are stored.  That area then starts to send out messages that arouse the brain’s smell and taste functions. [writing about subliminal popcorn messages}  These turn on the amygdala and hypothalamus, which say, “Go get some popcorn.  Gotta get it.  Hungry.  Gotta survive.”  (Ratey/ug/221)”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Feeling of What Happens:  Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness

Harcourt Brace & Company

1999

Antonio R. Damasio

“hippocampus “(whose integrity is necessary to create memories for new facts)  (Damasio/FWH/43)”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

[] “3.  The hippocampus, a vital structure in the “on-line” mapping of multiple, concurrent stimuli.  The hippocampus receives signals related to activity in all sensory cortices, which arrive (Damasio/FWH157) indirectly at the end of several projection chains with multiple synapses, and reciprocates signals via backward projections along the same chains.  It is essential to create new memories of facts but not new memories of perceptuomotor skills.  Most importantly, it appears to contribute to the establishment of memories elsewhere, in circuitry connected to it.  (Damasio/FWH/158)”

[][ “4.  The hippocampal-related cortices namely areas 28 and 35.  These cortices may hold dispositional [implicit?] memories of even higher complexity that those in 2, above.  (Damasio/fwh/158)”  [referring the hypothalamus and the basal forebrain]

++++

“The hippocampus is a recipient of information from several sensory modalities and its circuitry is such that its signals can probably construct, in some fashion, an n-order map of the “scene” that results, at each moment, from the organism’s multiple image-making devices.  It might be conceived, then, that the hippocampus would be an ideal structure to generate the second-order map I proposed as a basis for core consciousness.  This cannot be the case, however, as many studies of patients in whom the hippocampal region is damaged on both sides indicate.  A profound learning and memory defect can always be found in those cases, but no impairment of core consciousness ever ensues.  (Damasio/FWH/270)”

++++

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