Thursday, February 19, 2015

Spooky Science For Thursday...!

Many of you might be able to relate to this story a little.

It's scary just what science can do with us, or maybe I should us! I for one do not nee for them to vreate a "Shadow Person" for me. I have enough problems as it is! Know what I mean?

You Can Be Shocked Into Having A Sinister Shadow
By Heather Ramsey on Monday, February 16, 2015

When electrically stimulating the left hemisphere of an epileptic’s brain, doctors discovered that they could create a sinister shadow person for the patient much like the type of illusion a schizophrenic may experience. It’s that creepy feeling you get when you think someone is watching you or following you. Neurologists believe they can build on this knowledge to reveal how the brains of schizophrenics and paranoiacs conjure up these sensations.

You’re alone. You get the strange feeling that someone is following you. Maybe you simply feel like you’re being watched. But when you look around, no one’s there. Is someone hiding or are you imagining things?

Even people without mental health problems can have fleeting moments of strange sensations. But for individuals who suffer from schizophrenia or paranoia, the experience is often much longer and more intense. Schizophrenics may feel like someone is mimicking their movements. Other mental health patients may feel as though they’re controlled by aliens or being persecuted in some way. Some people even believe that aliens have abducted them.

In the mid-2000s, doctors accidentally found that they could reproduce delusions in patients with no previous psychiatric problems. At University Hospital in Geneva, neurologist Olaf Blanke was trying to find the source of a 22-year-old woman’s seizures before she underwent epilepsy surgery. With dozens of electrodes implanted into the young woman’s brain, Dr. Blanke applied mild electrical stimulation, or shocks, to different areas of the brain to identify where seizures were triggered. He also wanted to know which areas controlled hearing, speech, or other brain functions that he didn’t want to disturb in surgery.

As each electrode stimulated a different area of the brain with a mild electrical current, the patient was asked how she felt. The procedure was fairly uneventful until the doctor shocked the woman’s left temporoparietal junction (TPJ), an area of the brain located approximately above the left ear.

Immediately, she sensed the presence of a “shadow person” behind her. She didn’t realize that it was just an illusion, an imagined double of her own body. She really felt as though someone else was there. “He is behind me, almost at my body, but I do not feel it,” she told doctors.

The creepy shadow person mimicked her bodily positions and actions. He lay beneath her when she was lying down and sat behind her when she was sitting. When the woman was instructed to lean forward and hold her knees, she felt a disturbing sensation of the shadow person hugging her. When she was asked to do certain activities, the shadow person attempted to interfere. For example, when she was holding a language-testing card in her hand, the shadow person tried to take it. “He doesn’t want me to read,” she said.

Fortunately, the effect was temporary for her. When the electrical stimulation stopped, the shadow person disappeared. Shadow people can also appear to people experiencing sensory deprivation, such as mountain climbers at high altitudes or sailors alone at sea. Patients with blood flow disruptions to their brains, such as those who’ve had minor strokes, may also perceive shadow people.

The young epileptic’s experience raises interesting questions about how our brains recognize our bodies and perceive “self.” The TPJ is associated with self-perception, which allows us to distinguish ourselves from the people around us. By processing sensory cues like sight, sound and touch, it helps us to understand how our bodies are positioned and how they relate to what’s around us. When the function of this area of the brain is disturbed, we may perceive two bodies rather than one, with the second mistaken for a stranger.

Schizophrenics often feel their bodies belong to someone else or that someone else is responsible for their actions. Frequently, they feel like they’re being followed or controlled or manipulated, whether by strangers or aliens. In some of these cases, hyperactivity has been noted in the TPJ. But schizophrenics often have much more complex delusions than the young epileptic did. They see and hear things all around them, not just in a shadow position.

Nevertheless, neurologists believe they can build on this knowledge to reveal how the brains of schizophrenics and paranoiacs conjure up these sensations. Perhaps it will even lead to more effective treatments for people suffering from these disorders.

Ya know, I can understand that science may just want to help, but I wonder if some areas are best left alone. I don't want them experimenting with what little brain I have!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. It's sweater weather!


Mamahen said...

I agree with you...leave my brain alone!! Sub zero temps for lows n single digits for highs for a day or two..hibernating weather here.....

Chickenmom said...

Dr. Frankenstein, anyone? I'll take sweater weather over thermal underwear weather anytime!

linda m said...

I agree with you. Some things are just best left alone. Nothing good ever comes from such experimentation. And I need all the brain cells that I have left. I'll gladly trade my arctic parka for a sweater to sit on your patio. It is too cold here to even take the garbage out.

Sixbears said...

Great. They know how to make us crazy. Talk about mad science.

JO said...

This is not good. I also understand they are trying to not affect certain parts of the brain but leave mine alone.

Sunny here but chilly morning for us too.

HermitJim said...

Hey Mamahen...
I am sure that I am not the only one ready for Spring!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Phyllis...
I know what you mean about the warm clothes. Love my sweats!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Linda M...
Experiments like this can do us more harm than good, I think.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Sixbears...
In some cases it didn't take a lot of help. It is mad science for sure!

Thanks for the visit this morning!

Hey Jo...
I, for one, am beyond just stay away from my head.

Thanks, sweetie, for dropping in!

Anonymous said...

Creepy but I guess these experiments perhaps can lead to something that helps sick people but I wouldn't let them do that to my brain :-) :-)

Have a great day!

Dizzy-Dick said...

Shucks, I don't think they would find anything if they drilled into my head, but I ain't going to let them try.