August 13th, 2009
by Mike T Nelson · Filed Under: Mobility · Uncategorized · neurology · neuroplasticity
I have crazy new information today based loosely off the following abstract, so hold on tight.
The Lancet, Volume 374, Issue 9685, Pages 238-238
B. Mokhlesi, M. Khan
You have to see this pic from the abstract!
From the abstract
“A man aged 48 years who had a history of obsessive compulsive disorder and depression was found unconscious on his basement floor with a nail gun. He arrived at the emergency room in a deep coma with a 15 cm (6 inches) nail embedded in the occipital lobe……. Although the man did not have any sleep disorders before the traumatic brain injury, he developed substantial and persistent hyper somnolence with daily sleep duration of 20 h”
First off, the guy is lucky to not have any other issues considering there is a huge freakin’ nail in his melon! They were able to treat him with drugs and I guess he is back to “normal” now. Eeek. I can’t imagine sleeping for 20 hours a day for weeks (although it does sound nice for a few days).
Nails, Hippocampus, Athletic Performance
The hippocampus is a section in the brains of humans and other mammals primarily concerned with the limbic system and plays important roles in long-term memory and spatial navigation. (Note, the limbic system include the following brain structures: hippocampus, amygdala, anterior thalamic nuclei, and limbic cortex. It develops to mange the “fight’ or ‘flight’ chemical).
In our fury rodent friends, the hippocampus has been investigated as part of the brain system responsible for spatial memory and navigation; so this may be important for athlete on the playing field.
Neurons (brain cells) in the rodent hippocampus area respond as place cells: that is, they fire bursts of electricity (action potentials) when the animal passes through a specific part of its environment. No, they don’t get shocked every time the crawl past the rodent water cooler, as they (and you) can’t feel the action potentials. These hippocampal place cells interact with head direction cells, whose activity acts as an inertial compass, and with grid cells in the neighboring structures (cortex). What does that mean?
In rodents, there appears to be 2 mechanisms involved 1) Head Direction Cells and 2)Place Cells
“1) Head-direction cells: When a rat is placed in a large recording chamber and allowed to forage for food, there are cells in some parts of the brain that fire whenever the rat faces one particular direction. It does not matter where the rat is in the chamber; whenever it faces in that direction, those cells fire like crazy. Each of the head-direction cells has its own, unique directional preference, so that the direction the rat faces at any given moment is signaled by the firing of some particular combination of these cells.”
“2) Place cells: These neural cells are the complement of head-direction cells. They fire whenever the rat is in a certain location, rather than a specific direction. Studies indicate that place cells, too, use both landmarks and path integration (a record of the animal’s movements through space) to keep track of where they are.”
The interesting part is that they seem to operate independently from cues from the eyes (visual) and inner ear (vestibular function from the semicircular cannels that provide input to the brain about head orientation)
In humans, their is much debate about the existence of place and head direction cells. I envision some cool experiments with humans in a maze, blindfolded, looking for food at the end!
We can control our movement maps though!
If you want to drive from White Bear Lake Minnesota to Chicago IL you need a great map. A detour through the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan to say “Wat Up to da Yoopers” is not ideal. You want to drive right from point A to point B in the most efficient manner, unless you want to take a sight seeing detour.
How Do You Get a Great Movement Map?
Your brain controls all of your movement and strength, so to optimize it we need to look at how the brain gets its information. This primarily comes from:
1) Eyes (visual and eye muscle movements)
2) Vestibular (inner ear “balance”)
3) Proprioceptive (info from the joints)
In order to optimize the body for performance (and pain reduction), we need to optimize each one of these systems. This is what I really love about the Z-Health system, as it works to optimize each system and then combine them in a way to get maximal results in record time!
Better movement = better performance
Superior athletic performance for virtually ANYONE is the result as you can learn to move more athletically and do things that they thought were not possible with the correct approach.
Where Do I Start?
For most, the best way to start is by doing some dynamic joint mobility work (like Z-Health or dynamic mobility drills). If you are near a Z-Health trainer, you can stop in to see them and get a custom approach just for your movement to jump start your progress. If you are in the Twin Cities MN area, hit me up at michaelTnelson@yahoo.com
So while the debate in humans about head direction and place cells rages, we know for certain that you can control your movement maps by visual, vestibular and joint movements; so get to it! That PR is just around the next corner and stay away from the nail gun!
Time is ticking the offer below and may already be over depending on when you read this page, so click below