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              All Things Motivational    
                     A Neal Engelking Blog
           [This blog does not give medical advise, diagnosis nor treatment]








                                 All Things Motivational
                                                   A Neal Engelking Blog

10-11-17
Recent research on the drug ketamine (street name Special K) as a potential mood elevating drug has generated a lot of excitement. The similarities between the daily motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) and ketamine are dramatic to say the least.

Both are reportedly capable of producing an immediate evocation and subsequent dramatic elevation in positive emotion and mood; unlike antidepressant medication which can take days and even weeks to become effective.

Major depression affects more than 16 million American adults each year, nearly 1/3 of whom don't find relief from antidepressants and other traditional treatments. (1)

Both ASC and ketamine may very well offer hope for enormous numbers of people who haven't benefitted from other depression treatment options.

Ketamine is an anesthetic drug that blocks pain through an unknown method but in part may involve opiate receptor sites which have been linked to pain, pleasure and motivation.

ASC theoretically reduces pain by generating massive amounts of endogenous dopamine which acts on opiate receptor sites.

Ketamine is FDA approved as an anesthetic for surgery and diagnostic procedures it's also used to treat depression suicidal thoughts posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) other mood disorders and nerve related pain.

ASC is effective for any disorder related to depleted dopamine which can include, but is not limited to, Parkinson's disease (PD) and all types of addictions and depression. ASC has not been researched and all evidence is strictly anecdotal.

(1)  https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20170706/ketamine-and-depression-faq


6-10-16
A recent study adds further supports the theory that Accelerate- State Conditioning (ASC) might reduce "cravings" (e.g. binge-eating) though the activation of dopamine levels - As outlined in the book Accelerated-Conditioning: A 5 minute daily motivational routine designed to elevate mood and permanently change behavior, dopamine levels can be dramatically and rapidly elevated using ASC through the mechanism of evoking multiple episodes of frisson. There are many free excerpts from that book here.

According to new research at Baylor University and published recently in the journal Biological Psychiatry (1) activating dopamine neurons could turn off binge-like eating behavior.

"Human literature suggests that dysfunction of the serotonin system or dopamine system in the brain may be associated with developing binge-like eating behavior," said Dr. Yong Xu, associate professor of pediatrics at Baylor and senior author of the paper. "However, mechanistically, there's no direct evidence to show how this system affects behavior."
In this study, Xu and colleagues identified a neural circuit where a group of serotonin neurons project to and activate dopamine neurons. They showed that activation of this circuit can inhibit binge-like eating behavior in mice.

Neal's Note: This study suggests to me that depleted dopamine levels contribute to "cravings" like binge-eating and therefore a dopamine elevating routine like AccceleratedStateConditioning is likely to prove to be useful tool in combating this harmful behavior.

(1) Pingwen Xu, Yanlin He, Xuehong Cao, Lourdes Valencia-Torres, Xiaofeng Yan, Kenji Saito, Chunmei Wang, Yongjie Yang, Antentor Hinton, Liangru Zhu, Gang Shu, Martin G. Myers, Qi Wu, Qingchun Tong, Lora K. Heisler, Yong Xu. Activation of Serotonin 2C Receptors in Dopamine Neurons Inhibits Binge-like in Mice. Biological Psychiatry, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2016.06.005



07/24/2015
A new study supports the theory that the daily use of Accelerated-State Conditioning may reduce cravings for high-fat and high-sugar foods - 

Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) Theory hypothesizes that performing the daily motivational routine ASC significantly elevates endogenous (natural) dopamine levels.

A new study from the University of Montreal suggests that a diet high in saturated fats (in this case palm oil) dampens dopamine function (the brain circuitry involved in mood disorders, drug addiction and overeating).

This might, it's hypothesized, lead to heightened reward-seeking behavior where people want more high-fat and high-sugar foods to get the same level of pleasure or reward as they used to – a bit like increasing a drug dose over time to get the same high.

If this is the case, then using the ASC routine (instead of consuming high-fat/sugar foods) to elevate dopamine should also c ut these cravings. I, for one, have found this to be the case over the years. Throwng in an extra episode of the 60 seconddaily ASC routine when experiencing most cravings (including
ones for foods high in fat and/orsugar) has served me well for keeping addictions and compulsive behavior at bay.

Impairments in dopamine can also affect motivation, says Stephanie Fulton, study author and associate professor at the University of Montreal's department of nutrition. Her earlier studies show similar results. In one case, mice given a high-fat diet were much less active, avoided open areas and did little exploring.
When their brains were studied, they were found to have higher levels of corticosterone, a stress hormone.

Other studies have also found a link between negative moods and a high-fat diet, with inflammation pegged as a key player in the process, along with changes to gut bacteria, both of which can be triggered by a high-fat (and high-sugar) diet.

SOURCE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/well-good/teach-me/70493773/do-highfat-foods-harm-your-brain

09/05/201
Mental health providers frequently find clients to be "treatment resistant" no matter what their efforts, but labeling someone "treatment resistant" is rarely, if ever, helpful and doesn't mean there aren't undiscovered answers for clients.

One of the most common mental health complaints is that of depression. Many sufferer's of depression 
(both acute and chronic) report they are unable to find relief from conventional "therapies and 
treatments".

From medical treatments such as medication, shock therapy, etc. to psycho-social 
therapies like cognitive behavior therapy, or "talk therapy" for some, nothing seems to provide relief. 

There are many reasons why an individual might not respond to conventional "treatments", far more 
than can be covered in a short blog.

What I would like to suggest from all of this is that there has been a real lack of willingness to try 
various "alternatives and/or supplements" to conventional treatments for depression (and all 
illnesses) many providers. Only the very bold are willing to let clients sign "hold harmless" documents 
and experiment with something new when all else has failed, possibly from an inordinate fear of litigators and regulators.

Take for example the powerful, mood-elevating motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning 
(ASC). No matter how many articles, blogs, books I've published over the years, this powerful routine  
just can't seem to make it into more than a handful of professional helper's "tool-kits". 

One of the primary objections by professionals for not trying it is it's not "evidenced based", but nothing becomes evidence based until you pull together some clients, students, etc. who are willing, to try something new and then do some testing with them.

Oh well, just because new ideas are hard to sell isn't a reason to stop promoting what's worked for me 
and others over the years. Nor does it prevent the occasional professional from ""recognizing the value" and start recommending ASC and moving a client from the "treatment resistant" to the "improved client" file!

05/22/14
The "medical model" attributes mental disorders primarily to brain chemical imbalances resulting from irreparable genetic defects - Those who promote this viewpoint theorize mental disorders are basically incurable and medication is necessary throughout life to help control symptoms like chronic depression or mania. 

The "psychosocial model" theorizes that, although chemical imbalances probably underlay mental disorders, these imbalances are brought about by “thought disorders” (both conscious and unconscious) and are alterable and/or even reversible. Hold the right thoughts and you are cured because you never were medically ill in the first place. You were just making illogical conclusions (perhaps subconsciously) which affected your emotions and behavior.

If the psychosocial model is correct it would go a long way in explaining why the daily motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) is so effective for lifting depression and curbing anxiety.

ASC is designed to elevate and then calm mood as needed by manipulating thoughts, both conscious and unconscious. Thought disorders affect mood; e.g. negative emotions are usually the result of illogical thoughts according to rational-emotive theory (one of the psychosocial theories addressing mental disorders). 

In part, the daily motivational routine ASC trains an individual to deliberately switch focus from debilitating thoughts and behavior to helpful, healthy ones. But it goes much further than most other psychosocial therapies because during the routine individuals learn to evoke massive quantities of "the chemicals of positive emotion" (e.g. dopamine, serotonin, etc.) through the deliberate "triggering" of multiple episodes of frisson. Frisson has been shown to significantly elevate brain levels of dopamine (Salimpoor 2011).
-Neal

04/17/14
When it comes to "the chemicals of positive emotion" (e.g. neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, etc.) think of the brain as a sponge - when the brain is "in balance chemically" (containing a normal amount of neurotransmitters) the sponge is "damp", when its overloaded (having an excess of neurotransmitters) it's "wet" and when its deprived (lacking in neurotransmitters) it's "dry".

Using this analogy, a "wet" brain can result in hyper-activity, hypo-mania, excessive euphoria, mind-chatter, insomnia, anxiety, mania, etc.. 

A "dry" brain can result in abnormally low activity resulting in depression, low energy, low motivation, suicidal thoughts, etc..

So here's a suggestion; keep your brain "damp"! 

Use mood elevating routines like Accelerated-State Conditioning to rapidly elevate the "chemicals of positive emotion" when its too "dry" and your favorite method of reducing stimulation (mindfulness, meditation, deep breathing, going into slow motion, relaxing music, etc.) when it's too "wet".

Remember, brains get chemically out of balance very easily in this age of stress, excitement, etc., but it's most likely our thoughts (conscious and unconscious), and interpretation of events that create these imbalances.

So, watch your emotions, use your coping skills and stay "damp"!

Neal

02/06/2014
How Accelerated-State Conditioning might reduce and/or eventually eliminate your cravings for heroin - Cravings for street drugs like heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine have been linked with abnormally low levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals which allow nerves in the brain and body to work properly. Dopamine is the major neurotransmitter found in the parts of the brain which let us feel pleasure. 

Dopamine levels are thought to be depleted by a variety of conditions including extreme stress which includes the physical and emotional pain associated with drug withdrawal.

Street-drugs are believed to go beyond just replacing depleted dopamine; they are thought to create temporary, abnormally high levels of dopamine which has been linked to the extremely pleasurable feelings associated with drug “rushes and highs”. 

The 5-minute daily motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) is designed to dramatically elevate levels of endogenous (natural) dopamine (and other “chemicals of positive emotion”), "at will" and within minutes often resulting in feelings of euphoria like those described as a "runner's high", a "stage-performer's high" or a "drug-high".

Once learned, the ASC routine allows individuals to accomplish this, in part, by evoking or "triggering" multiple episodes of frisson at will. Frisson (the pleasurable experience frequently described as chills, shudders, goosebumps, etc.) has been linked with significant elevations of dopamine (Salimpoor 2011).

But, unlike street-drugs, there are no known negative side-effects from using the ASC routine. Obviously there are no legal concerns either, as ASC can best be described as a psychological coping skill like therapy or auto-suggestion.

Neal

02/04/2014
Daily Use of Accelerated-State Conditioning might help with diabetic induced vision problems - The 5-minute daily motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) is designed to elevate levels of endogenous (natural) dopamine (and other “chemicals of positive emotion”), dramatically, at will and within minutes. 

ASC assists individuals to accomplish this, in part, by evoking or "triggering" multiple episodes of frisson at will. The highly pleasurable experience of frisson has been linked to significant elevations in brain levels of of the neurotransmitter dopamine (Salimpoor 2011). 

According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience (1), dopamine-restoring drugs already used to treat Parkinson's disease may also be beneficial for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness in adults, researchers have discovered. Diabetic retinopathy affects more than a quarter of adults with diabetes.

Doctors had previously thought most of the impairment of vision in diabetic retinopathy came from damage to the blood vessels induced by high blood sugar, but had known that dopamine, a vital neurotransmitter in the brain, was also important in the retina.

"There was some evidence already that dopamine levels were reduced in diabetic retinopathy, but what's new here is: we can restore dopamine levels and improve visual function in an animal model of diabetes," says Machelle Pardue, PhD, associate professor of ophthalmology at Emory University School of Medicine and research career scientist at the Atlanta VA Medical Center.

The first author of the paper is MD/PhD student Moe Aung. Senior authors are Pardue and P. Michael Iuvone, PhD, professor of ophthalmology and pharmacology and director of vision research at Emory Eye Center.

Aung and his colleagues examined mice that were made diabetic by treating them with streptozocin, which is toxic to insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. By injecting the mice with L-DOPA after getting streptozocin, the researchers could delay the appearance of visual problems by weeks and lessen the severity of the visual defects. Researchers also found that the visual benefits of L-DOPA originated from the retinas, since treatment improved retinal responses (as measured by electroretinography) to levels similar to control animals.

L-DOPA, a precursor to dopamine, is part of the most common drug treatment for Parkinson's disease. The symptoms of Parkinson's (tremors and movement difficulties, as well as disturbances in sleep, digestion and cognition) are caused by the death of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. L-DOPA is usually combined with carbidopa to combat side effects and increase uptake in the brain.

The researchers also measured the effects of other dopamine-related treatments on visual function. Dopamine receptor agonists – drugs that mimic the action of dopamine – are sometimes prescribed for Parkinson's patients who do not respond to L-DOPA. Neurons and retinal cells have several molecules that enable them to respond to dopamine, and individual drugs affect them to varying degrees. Working with Iuvone, MSP graduate student Chad Jackson, now at Vanderbilt, found that giving diabetic mice dopamine receptor agonists that acted on the receptor D1R improved the ability to see fine lines (acuity), while drugs that act on D4R improve contrast sensitivity.

"This is important because it shows that treatments targeting dopamine could be beneficial to patients with established diabetes," says Iuvone. "It should be straightforward to try L-DOPA or dopamine receptor agonist treatment in adults, although L-DOPA could have complications in children. Bromocriptine, a dopamine receptor agonist, is already FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes. It will be important to determine if the same dopamine receptors modulate acuity and contrast sensitivity in humans."

SOURCE: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-01/ehs-nat012114.php#

(1) Aung, Moe H., et al. "Dopamine Deficiency Contributes to Early Visual Dysfunction in a Rodent Model of Type 1 Diabetes". The Journal of Neuroscience, 15 January 2014, 34(3): 726-736; doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3483-13.2014

Neal

01-11-2014
Recent studies may explain why Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) frequently converts negative anxiety to positive excitement - Both myself and others have noticed that anxiety is significantly diminished with a 5-minute session of the motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC). In these cases, anxiety is frequently replaced with elevated feelings of positive emotion, self-confidence, optimism and even mild euphoria (similar to a “runner's high”). 

Some new studies (1) are shedding light onto the underlying psychological/physiological events that might reveal, in part, the source this phenomenon. 

In studies at the Harvard Business School, lead researcher Dr. Alison Woods Brooks, an assistant professor of business administration, found that it is was easier for her study subjects to switch from the negative emotion of anxiety to the positive emotion of excitement than it is was to switch from anxiety to a state of calmness. The old adage of “calm down” when feeling anxious may become the new adage “get excited” when feeling anxious if this strategy proves popular.

Dr. Brooks states in her work; “Individuals often feel anxious in anticipation of tasks such as speaking in public or with a boss. I find that an overwhelming majority of people believe trying to calm down is the best way to cope with pre-performance anxiety. However, across several studies involving karaoke singing, public speaking, and math performance, I investigate an alternative strategy: reappraising anxiety as excitement". (Reappraisal has been defined as “a form of cognitive change that involves construing an emotion-eliciting situation in a way that changes its emotional impact” (Gross & John, 2003, p. 349)).

Brooks further comments, "compared with those who attempt to calm down, individuals who reappraise their anxious arousal as excitement feel more excited and perform better. Individuals can reappraise anxiety as excitement using minimal strategies such as self-talk (e.g., saying “I am excited” out loud) or simple messages (e.g., “get excited”), which lead them to feel more excited, adopt an opportunity mind-set (as opposed to a threat mind-set), and improve their subsequent performance. These findings suggest the importance of arousal congruency during the emotional reappraisal process".

In one experiment, 140 participants (63 men and 77 women) were told to prepare a persuasive public speech on why they would be good work partners. To increase anxiety, a researcher videotaped the speeches and said they would be judged by a committee. Before delivering the speech, participants were instructed to say “I am excited” or “I am calm.” The subjects who said they were excited gave longer speeches and were more persuasive, competent and relaxed than those who said they were calm, according to ratings by independent evaluators.

"The way we talk about our feelings has a strong influence on how we actually feel", said Brooks",

Naturally, those familiar with Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC)  are very familiar with this fact as the routine (and its sub-routine SuprAffs) is based, in part, on repeating believable and specific positive words  and phrases (SuprAffs, customized to fit an individuals needs) out loud (while smiling and looking into a mirror alternated with looking at pictures smiling faces) of which most find extremely mood elevating.

SOURCE: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2013/12/performance-anxiety.aspx

(1) Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Online - December 23, 2013

Neal

01-08-14
Do Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) and Ketamine (both have been linked to dramatic, rapid reductions in depression) involve similar neurology? - I suspect they do, because both have been linked to significantly elevated levels of serotonin (one of the major neurotransmitters commonly referred to as the "chemicals of positive emotion”.

Many of my previous blogs have outlined the case for the 5-minute daily motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) elevating all of these endogenous (natural) neurotransmitters (especially serotonin and dopamine).

Now, a new study (1) has recently linked Ketamine to serotonin. The study was recently reviewed in CounselHeal.com. Here are a few highlights from the article:

"Ketamine [may] treat depression by boosting serotonin, according to a new study. The anesthetic, which is sometimes used illegally as a recreational drug, is a promising candidate for the treatment of depression in patients who cannot be helped by other drugs.

New research on macaque monkeys reveals that the drug increases the activity of serotoninergic neurons in the brain areas regulating motivation. Scientists said the findings suggest that ketamine's action on serotonin may explain how it relieves depression in people.

While previous studies found that ketamine has an antidepressant action with short onset and long-term duration in patients suffering from treatment-resistant major depressive disorder, the mechanisms underlying ketamin's action for relieving depression have been unclear.

After performing PET scans on rhesus monkeys, researchers found that ketamine triggers an increase in the binding of serotonin to its receptor 5-HT1B in the nucleus accumbens and the ventral pallidum, but a decrease in binding to its transporter SERT in these brain regions. Previous studies have linked both brain regions, the nucleus accumbens and the ventral pallidum, to motivation and depression.

Further experiments revealed that treatment with NBQX, a drug known to block the anti-depressive effect of ketamine in rodents by selectively blocking the glutamate AMPA receptor, cancels the action of ketamine on 5-HT1B but not on SERT binding.

Researchers explained that both these findings suggest that ketamine may act as an antidepressant by boosting the expression of postsynaptic 5-HT1B receptors, which is mediated by the glutamate AMPA receptor."

SOURCE: http://www.counselheal.com/articles/8198/20140107/scientists-discover-ketamine-treats-depression.htm

(1) Translational Psychiatry, Vol 4, January 2014


11-20-13
A new study shows that opioids are also being over-prescribed in hospitals - One of the benefits of the daily motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC), is the potential for pain reduction through fast, significant elevations in endogenous (natural) dopamine levels, (along with the other "chemicals of positive emotion").

In my view, nursing staff could be taught, (under the direction of physicians), to show hospital patients how to use the ASC routine to reduce pain, resulting in the ability to get by with lower doses of narcotics. * 

We already know that antibiotics are being over-prescribed nationwide, and now a new study shows that opioids are also being over-prescribed in hospitals.

The study, conducted by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, reveals that more than 50 percent of nonsurgical patients were given high doses of opioids during their hospitalizations. Furthermore, the study says, half of those 50 percent still received these doses on the day they were released from the hospital.

Opioids are the classification of narcotic pain medications that include morphine, oxycodone, and fentanyl. The CDC reports that over the last ten years, fatal overdoses due to opioids quadrupled, and more than 14,000 people die from opioids every year.

Dr. Shoshana J. Herzig, a hospitalist at Beth Israel and lead author of the study said in a press release: “Prior studies have found that higher opioid doses are associated with a heightened risk of adverse events. Patients receiving doses of 100 mg per day or more are at substantially greater risk for serious problems, including severe breathing problems.”

Additionally, 26 percent of patients were given opioid doses on the day they were discharged from the hospital. According to the research team, this means that these patients most likely went home with an opioid prescription, because opioid doses are tapered off and not halted abruptly. Herzig says, “Unless physicians are diligent about checking on other opioid prescriptions that a patient may have received in another setting, this means that patients could wind up with multiple opioid prescriptions, thus increasing the likelihood of an inadvertent overdose or other adverse event.”

The researchers hope that this study will encourage doctors to be very aware of their patients’ prior medications and be more vigilant about prescriptions for complicated drugs like opioids.

SOURCE: Tripp, Megan “Patients Receiving Too Many Opioids, Study Say” BostonMagazine November 19, 2013

*This blog does not give medical advise, diagnosis nor treatment.

10-22-13
Accelerated-State Conditioning might help those with sleep disorders by elevating dopamine levels - Many health disorders have been linked to depleted levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain and body.

The 5-minute daily motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) is designed to elevate endogenous (natural) dopamine levels dramatically and within minutes.

At least one study has linked low levels of dopamine with sleep disorders. The first tantalizing clues that chemical imbalances in the brain may be partly to blame for certain life-disrupting sleep disorders were reported in two studies by University of Michigan Health System researchers (1).

In two papers in the journal Neurology, the team reported apparent links between deficits in brain chemistry and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD). Both are relatively common sleep problems that disturb the slumber, and daytime behavior, of millions of Americans.

The new findings were made using two types of neurochemical brain scans and detailed sleep studies in 13 patients with multiple system atrophy (MSA), a rare and fatal degenerative neurological disease almost always accompanied by severe sleep disorders. Their results from the MSA patients, who all had both sleep apnea and REM behavior disorder, were very different from those of 27 healthy control subjects.

Specifically, the researchers found that MSA patients had a far lower density of certain brain cells, or neurons, that produce the key chemicals dopamine and acetylcholine. The greater their lack, the worse their sleep problems were.

The patients with the fewest dopamine-producing neurons in the striatum of their brains had the worst RBD symptoms of thrashing, talking and violent flailing while they slept. And patients with the lowest levels of acetylcholine-producing neurons in the brainstem had the most interruptions in their breathing during sleep.

And while the researchers are careful to note that their findings to date can only show a correlation, not causation, between brain chemistry and sleep disorders, they plan further research to explore the relationship.

"It's exciting to be able to show this major neurochemical deficit for the first time, and confirm what others have suspected," says lead author Sid Gilman, M.D., F.R.C.P., the William J. Herdman Professor and chair of the Department of Neurology at the U-M Medical School. "We don't yet know if we will find this same effect in patients with other neurological diseases or in people who are otherwise neurologically well, but these findings are already suggesting further research opportunities."

For instance, the U-M team is recruiting patients with Parkinson's disease for a similar study, to see if brain chemistry disruptions from their disorder may also be linked to sleep problems. Gilman says he and other specialists suspect that sleep disorders may be an early symptom in many cases of Parkinson's disease.

Gilman and his colleagues chose MSA patients as their first subjects for studying sleep disorders and brain chemistry because of their extremely high incidence of OSA, RBD and other sleep problems; their disease's tendency to cause degeneration of certain nerve cells in their brains and spinal cords; and clinical evidence that some of their sleep problems can be successfully treated with medications that replace lost dopamine.

In addition to plaguing MSA patients, sleep disorders are also a fact of life for millions of others.

Obstructive sleep apnea, in which breathing temporarily stops or diminishes dozens or even hundreds of times during a person's sleep, may affect 3 percent of adults but goes undiagnosed in most of them. Its most notable symptoms are snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness, though it can also affect blood pressure, memory and even reaction time while driving.

REM sleep behavior disorder, meanwhile, occurs less often but is outwardly more dramatic. Patients literally act out their dreams during the rapid-eye movement, or REM, phase of sleep, moving their arms and legs, getting out of bed, talking and shouting, and even hitting or punching. RBD can endanger the sleeping person, or his or her bed partner,

In addition to correlating brain chemistry with the overall severity of sleep disorder symptoms, the new studies even give hints as to how the brain chemistry changes may affect the specific muscles involved in those symptoms.

For instance, the specific brainstem areas where the largest deficits in acetylcholine neurons were seen -- know as the PPT/LDT nuclei -- are connected to the part of the brain that controls the muscles of the upper airway and tongue. Those muscles are crucial to maintaining uninterrupted breathing during sleep.

Gilman notes that the correlation between brain chemistry and sleep symptom severity suggested by the new results is bolstered by recent evidence showing the MSA patients experience nerve loss in some of the same specific brain areas pinpointed in the current study.

(1) Gilman, Sid, et al "REM sleep behavior disorder is related to striatal monoaminergic deficit in MSA", Neurology July 8, 2003 vol. 61 no. 1 29-34 

SOURCE: Sleep Disorders Linked To Faulty Brain Chemistry, Study Finds, ScienceDaily.com, July 8, 2003

10-20-13
Study suggests the higher the anti-psychotic medication dose, the greater the loss of brain tissue - A flood of research indicating negative effects from long-term use of psychtropics gives users incentive to turn to alternatives (to medication) like the non-medical, daily motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning.

One such recent study suggests the higher the anti-psychotic medication dose, the greater the loss of brain tissue. The study (1) by University of Iowa psychiatry professor Nancy Andreasen uses brain scans to document how schizophrenia impacts brain tissue as well as the effects of anti-psychotic drugs on those who have relapses.

Andreasen’s study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, documented brain changes seen in MRI scans from more than 200 patients beginning with their first episode and continuing with scans at regular intervals for up to 15 years. The study is considered the largest longitudinal, brain-scan data set ever compiled, Andreasen says.

The researchers also analyzed the effect of medication on the brain tissue. Although results were not the same for every patient, the group found that in general, the higher the anti-psychotic medication doses, the greater the loss of brain tissue.

“This was a very upsetting finding,” Andreasen says. “We spent a couple of years analyzing the data more or less hoping we had made a mistake. But in the end, it was a solid finding that wasn’t going to go away, so we decided to go ahead and publish it. The impact is painful because psychiatrists, patients, and family members don’t know how to interpret this finding. 'Should we stop using antipsychotic medication? Should we be using less?'”

The group also examined how relapses could affect brain tissue, including whether long periods of psychosis could be toxic to the brain. The results suggest that longer relapses were associated with brain tissue loss.

The insight could change how physicians use anti-psychotic drugs to treat schizophrenia, with the view that those with the disorder can lead productive lives with the right balance of care.

“We used to have hundreds of thousands of people chronically hospitalized. Now, most are living in the community, and this is thanks to the medications we have,” Andreasen notes. “But antipsychotic treatment has a negative impact on the brain, so … we must get the word out that they should be used with great care, because even though they have fewer side effects than some of the other medications we use, they are certainly not trouble free and can have lifelong consequences for the health and happiness of the people and families we serve.”

(1) Nancy C. Andreasen, M.D., Ph.D.; et al.  Relapse Duration, Treatment Intensity, and Brain Tissue Loss in Schizophrenia: A Prospective Longitudinal MRI Study. The American Journal of Psychiatry, VOL. 170, No. , June 01, 2013

SOURCE: http://now.uiowa.edu/2013/08/how-schizophrenia-affects-brain

10-16-13
Does the 5-minute daily motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) have the potential to lower blood pressure? -  It very well may. I've used the ASC routine for the better part of 35+ years and my blood pressure has always been normal.

An interesting new study (1) reviewed in ScienceDaily.com recently suggests a link between dopamine levels, happiness and blood pressure. For those of you who follow my work, you know that Accelerated-State Conditioning Theory states that the ASC routine elevates endogenours (natural) dopamine levels dramatically within minutes by "triggering" multiple episodes of frisson.

The endogenous (natural) neurotransmitter/hormone dopamine triggers positive emotion which can include feelings of happiness. While its release is induced, among other things, by the "feel-good" classics sex, drugs or food, the brain does not content itself with a kick; it remembers the state of happiness and keeps wanting to achieve it again. Dopamine enables us to make the "right" decisions in order to experience even more moments of happiness.

Now a team of researchers headed by ETH-Zurich professor Martin Fussenegger from the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) in Basel has discovered a way to use the body's dopamine system therapeutically. The researchers have created a new genetic module that can be controlled via dopamine. The feel-good messenger molecule activates the module depending on the dosage. In response to an increase in the dopamine level in the blood, the module produces the desired active agent. The module consists of several biological components of the human organism, which are interconnected to form a synthetic signalling cascade. 

Dopamine receptors are found at the beginning of the cascade as sensors. A particular agent is produced as an end product: either a model protein called SEAP or ANP, a powerful vasodilator lowering blood pressure. The researchers placed these signal cascades in human cells, so-called HEK cells, around 100,000 of which were in turn inserted into capsules. These were then implanted in the abdomens of mice. 

These animals were subsequently exposed to situations that corresponded to their central reward system, such as sexual arousal, which a female mouse triggered in males, the injection of the drug methamphetamine or the drinking of golden syrup. In each case, the mouse brain responded with a "state of happiness," the formation of dopamine and its release into the blood via the peripheral nervous system. In mice which received different concentrations of golden syrup, the "state of happiness" varied: the more the sugar was diluted, the smaller the amount of dopamine and thus the active agent that circulated in the blood. "This shows that dopamine does not merely switch our module on and off, but also that it responds based on the concentration of the happiness hormone," says Fussenegger. 

In another step, the scientists linked the dopamine sensor module to the production of the antihypertensive agent ANP and implanted the customised cells in the abdomens of hypertensive male mice. Contact with a female mouse triggered such feelings of happiness in the males that the dopamine-induced ANP production corrected the hypertension and the blood pressure even reached a normal level. 

Based on their experiments, the researchers were also able to demonstrate that dopamine is not only formed in the brain in corresponding feel-good situations, but also in nerves in the vegetative system, the so-called sympathetic nervous system, which are closely knit around blood vessels. The brain is interlinked with the rest of the body via the sympathetic nervous system, despite the fact that the brain is unable to release "its" dopamine directly into the circulation due to the blood-brain barrier. 

Dopamine receptors have also been known to exist in body tissue such as the kidneys, adrenalin glands or on blood vessels, as well as in the brain. Dopamine, which circulates in the blood serum, regulates the breathing and the blood sugar balance. For a long time, it was thus assumed that the activities of brain and serum dopamine were connected. The fact that the ETH-Zurich researchers in Basel have now managed to demonstrate this connection deepens our understanding of the body's reward system. 

Martin Fussenegger says that eating, for instance, can be seen as therapeutic input thanks to this module. "Using the gene network, we link up with the normal reward system," he explains. Good food triggers feelings of happiness, which activate the module and intervene in a process that is normally only controlled by the subconscious. As a result, daily activities could be used for therapeutic interventions. 

For the time being, however, the dopamine hypertension model is only a prototype. With their work, the scientists have proved that they can intervene in the body's reward system as a result. Nonetheless, it is more than merely an idea or experiment in living cells. "It works in a mouse model that simulates a human disease and the components we used to produce the module also came from humans." When and whether a treatment based on the happiness hormone will hit the market, however, remains uncertain. The development of prototypes into a marketable product takes years or even decades. 

(1) K. Rossger, G. Charpin-El Hamri, M. Fussenegger. *Reward-based hypertension control by a synthetic brain-dopamine interface*. /Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences/, 2013; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1312414110 

SOURCE: ScienceDaily.com  "Happiness lowers blood pressure" Retrieved October 16, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2013/10/131015103945.htm

10-04-13
Can using the 5-minute daily motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning delay or prevent Parkinson's Disease? - I strongly suspect it can. The relationship between dopamine levels and Parkinson's Disease (PD) symptoms is just too strong.

And as many of you know, Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) is designed to flood the brain and body with any quantity of endogenous (natural) dopamine desired, "at will" and within minutes. Depression is often linked to low levels of dopamine. One of the primary goals for using ASC daily is to reduce and/or eliminate the symptoms of depression.

PD is primarily due to the insufficient formation of dopamine in the brain, in the dopaminergic neurons. Besides affecting muscle function and therefore the characteristic muscular symptoms of Parkinson's Disease such as as rigidity and tremor, dopamine insuffiency also affects the emotions.

A recent study has linked depression to significantly increased risk for PD. In the largest study of its kind, involving more than 23,000 subjects, people who had depression were found to have more than three times the chance of developing PD. This suggests that depression might be an indication of future PD, even beyond that of other early indicators. The study was recently reviewed in the October 2013 issue of the journal Neurology.(1)

The study's authors wrote in their Conclusions: "The likelihood of developing PD is greater among patients with depression than patients without depression. Depression may be an independent risk factor for PD". 

(1) http://www.neurology.org/content/early/2013/10/01/WNL.0b013e3182a956ad.short?rss=1

SOURCE: http://www.viartis.net/parkinsons.disease/news/131003.htm

9-19-13
You can produce far better antidepressant drugs than the pharmaceutical companies, for free - using the revolutionary, 5-minute daily motivational routine, Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC).

The antidepressant drugs sold by pharmaceutical companies are often designed to synthesize (or stimulate the production of) nature's "chemicals of positive emotion", which include the major neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. These chemicals of positive emotion are found in the parts of the brain known to control and regulate motivation, pleasure (e.g. positive emotion) and reward.

The ASC routine is designed to help you temporarily elevate your personal levels of thesel endogenous (natural) chemicals in the brain and body that antidepressants are trying to replicate and/or stimulate production of.

The ASC routine helps you evoke massive quantities of  these "natural antidepressants" (dopamine, serotonin, etc.) "within minutes", resulting in a temporary state of mile euphoria (similar to a runner's or natural high). 

Not only is the resulting dramatic elevation in positive emotion and mood (using the ASC routine) far faster than that created with synthetic chemicals (antidepressants) there are no known side-effects, potential drug interactions, withdrawal effects nor legal concerns with "drug screening", etc.. 

You can read more about the ASC routine on this website (see the Book Excerpts section) 

Neal

* This blog does not give medical advise, treatment nor diagnosis.

9-2-13
Can Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) help those suffering from injury induced paralysis? 

It depends on many things, including the nature of the injury causing the paralysis, whether you consider the emotional effects from these injuries as a form of suffering, etc..  

At the very least, the daily mood elevating ASC routine can help with the emotional symptoms of injuries (depression, anxiety, etc.) and at best may even facilitate with physical changes, improvements and yes, even cures.

As I've written many times, it's my contention that ASC evokes temporary, abnormally high levels of  the "chemicals of positive emotion" which include the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. 

These types of chemicals are found, not only in the brain, but throughout the entire body. 

One of the most severe types of paralysis comes about from spinal cord injuries, especially where the spinal cord is severed completely.

One study suggests the possibility of a novel approach to curing this type of paralysis in the future by injecting the wound site with these types of neurotransmitters. (ASC, in theory, "floods" the entire body with massive amounts of these chemicals, including wound sites).

In the study, paralyzed rats learned to walk, run and spring deftly over obstacles after they were put on a physical training regimen that included electrical and chemical stimulation of their broken spinal columns and a “robotic postural interface".

The study, published in the journal Science, suggests that for humans with spinal cord injury, the trick to regaining lost movement may lie not in regeneration of the severed spinal cord, but in inducing the brain and spinal cord to forge wholly new paths toward each other. 

The Swiss authors liken that process to the way that infants, their nervous systems incomplete and learning by experience, sync up their brains and limbs so they can progressively crawl, stand, walk and play.

All told, 250,000 Americans live with spinal cord injury, and just over half -- 52% -- are paraplegic. Each year, 11,000 new injuries occur--overwhelming in young males.

In this study, coaxing that neural reinvention along took four key components: a soup of neurotransmitters — serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine -- injected into the epidural space; a set of electrodes supplying a continuous flow of electrical energy near the site of the break in the spinal cord; a rehabilitation rig that supports the unsteady participant and initially forces movement of the legs; and a training course that is as real-world as possible.

After five to six weeks of training on uneven and irregular terrain, all 10 rats used in the study regained the capacity to walk voluntarily “and even to sprint up a staircase,” says study co-author Gregoire Courtine, a research scientist in spinal cord repair at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland.

“It was pretty exciting,” he said in an interview Thursday.

The experiment brought together many disparate threads of rehabilitation research and was several years in the making. Its 10 rats were paralyzed in a way that mimics many spinal cord injuries that result in paralysis of the lower limbs: The spinal cord is partially severed at two separate but neighboring sites, leaving intact tissue but interrupting the passage of messages from the brain to the legs.

About a week later, training began for 30 minutes a day. First, the neurotransmitter cocktail was introduced into the area of injury, reawakening neurons long dormant. Five to 10 minutes later, researchers sent a steady current of electricity through the chemically-excited neurons that control leg movement.

At first, the rats responded with involuntary movement of the legs. But prodded across challenging obstacles by a supportive robotic prosthetic, the rats’ movements became increasingly intentional.

Two to three weeks into the training, “the first, effortful voluntary steps emerg-ed.”

The regimen brought about changes at the site of the injury that were equally striking: In the rats trained “overground,” as opposed to those that got training only on a treadmill, surviving neurons below the site of the injury began to sprout long tentacles — axons reaching out in the darkness — across the space where the spinal cord had been severed. From the brain’s motor cortex, down through the brainstem and the descending neural pathways, axonal projections reached southward in search of new connections.

Prodded by their hard practice and by rewards like Swiss chocolate, the injured rats grew "de novo brainstem and intraspinal relays" that would find each other across the neural wasteland caused by injury. With five to six weeks of hard work, chemical support and electrical stimulation to the area, the rats built a “detour circuit” around the impassable roadblock of spinal cord rupture. “Voluntary control over sophisticated locomotor movements” was completely restored, the study authors wrote.

So what's the point of this post? I contend that rather that wait years for a study to turn into a form of proof, go ahead and use the daily ASC routine with the hopes of some eventual improvement in your current health situation because, And remember, besides potential injury relief, there are dozens of other valuable benefits from using ASC 5-minutes daily. 

SOURCE: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/31/news/la-heb-paralyzed-spinal-cord-20120531

                                                    Prior Blogs

The primary value of a SuprAff (Super Affirmation) is it's ability to help change specific habits without effort or willpower

It doesn't really matter what physiological or chemical event turns out to be the cause of positive emotion -  

8-19-13
One of the most enjoyable parts of my work is teaching people the numerous benefits of  getting "high" for 5 minutes a day - 

As discussed many times in this blog, the 5 minute daily motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) teaches a new, powerful and yes, revolutionary way to create a temporary state of "euphoria" (a natural, intense high) in minutes. It also teaches some unique methods to bring ones self “back down off the high" just as quickly.

After the 5 minute session, a person can find themselves, refreshed, alert, optimistic, even joyful, yet calm and relaxed. The intense "dopamine flooding" which occurs during the ASC routine, is followed by a "clearing or washing" of excess endogenous (natural) dopamine from the brain and body, using a variety of "relaxation" techniques. 

There's no need to fear employer's "drug testing" or "driving under the influence" because you've only created endogenous dopamine during the routine, which leaves no illegal metabolite.  

You can read about the many health benefits from creating a brief, yet intense, natural high using the ASC routine (for a few minutes daily, in a safe, controlled setting) here.

8-13-13
Sometimes we have to settle for being our own cheerleader. That's what I frequently do when it comes to promoting - the daily motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) and it's sub-routine SuprAffs . It's tough selling new ideas, especially if you are not a professional or academic in a field of interest. 

I've always liked the fields of psychology and philosophy but never pursued a graduate degree in either. So when I tell someone I've accidentally stumbled across a unique and revolutionary concept for self-motivation, you can imagine some of the looks and comments I get.

Fortunately, it's pretty easy to keep hammering away at my task (30 plus years now); mainly because I'm promoting what I (perhaps a little grandiosely) call “The World's Most Powerful Daily Motivational Routine”.

The reason I find the ASC routine so powerful is that, for me, it's virtually impossible to stay in a slump, or depression when using the routine daily. As outlined in the book excerpts on this website, during the ASC routine I'm flooding my brain and body with mood elevating (and motivating) dopamine (and other chemicals of positive emotion) “at will”, in significant quantities and literally within minutes.

So what's the message? Find what you love, build it, massage it, promote it and meanwhile, become your own cheerleader (maybe with a little help from ASC and SuprAffs?). 

7-28-13
If you're interested in Parkinson's Disease you might want to familiarize yourself with Accelerated-State Conditioning - 

Parkinson's Disease (PD) is one of many illnesses (including addictions) that have been linked to abnormally low levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. The 5-minute daily motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) is designed to significantly elevate endogenous (natural) dopamine levels within minutes.

ASC evokes the "chemicals of positive emotion" (which include dopamine) through several mechanisms, one of which is through "triggering" multiple episodes of the frisson (chill) response.

Researchers at McGill University (Salimpoor 2011) have demonstrated a link between "chills" and elevated levels of dopamine. 

The benefits from periodically "flooding" the brain with dopamine are numerous. I've been doing it personally (for a variety of reasons) for the better part of 30 years. With a lot of trial and error (which you won't have to go through) I've reached the point where I trigger several "chills" daily, usually in under one minute. 

For a more complete list of the potential benefits from elevating all the "chemicals of positive emotion" you can review some free book excerpts here.

7-21-13
Taking anti-depressants or anti-psychotics might keep you from obtaining a private pilots license -  Years ago I voluntarily admitted myself to the hospital for a manic episode and during my stay was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (manic-depression). I left after a few days after deciding I was under control and understood what brought about the episode.

I'm now in remission (symptom free) and have not been under a doctors care, nor taken medication for that illness, since 1994, (almost 20 years).  

Around 2005 I took a few private flying lessons and enjoyed it. So, I applied for a private pilot license. One of the questions on an application asked it I had ever been treated for a mental illness. There was no reference to how long ago or whether I was still under treatment. Naturally, I had to answer truthfully so I checked the box marked yes.

Long story short; I was denied a private pilots license. 

What's next, no driver's licenses for those who have gone to visit a mental health professional? Sure, I'm joking, but this is just one more of many examples of the extreme ignorance and stigmatization against disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, etc.. 

And with the vast broadening of the definition of mental illness in recent years (e.g. DSM V), my fear is that we are subjecting ourselves to further unnecessary restrictions on our freedom.

What do you think? Write me at Neal@NealEngelking.com

7-13-13
Are you using your antidepressant's side-effects of weight gain as an excuse for not exercising or eating properly? -  People with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression can lose weight and keep it off through a modified lifestyle intervention program according to a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded study reported online today in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Over 80 percent of people with serious mental illnesses are overweight or obese, which contributes to them dying at three times the rate of the overall population. They succumb mostly to the same things the rest of the population experiences — cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Although antipsychotic medications increase appetite and cause weight gain in these patients, it is not the only culprit. Like the general population, sedentary lifestyle and poor diet also play a part. Lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise should work for these patients, yet they are often left out of weight loss studies.

“People with serious mental illnesses are commonly excluded from studies to help them help themselves about their weight,” said Gail L. Daumit, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and the study’s lead author. “We’re showing that serious mentally ill patients can make successful, sustained changes with proper interventions.”

This study could usher in new forms of weight loss treatment for people with serious mental illness.

“Until now, obesity among those with serious mental illnesses has not received adequate attention,” said NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D. “People with serious mental illnesses need more attention to their physical health. This study provides convincing evidence these individuals can make substantial lifestyle changes and therefore should suffer fewer medical complications as they age.”

Other factors that preclude people with serious mental illnesses from losing weight include memory impairments or residual psychiatric symptoms that impede learning and adopting new behaviors such as counting calories. Socioeconomics are also a factor as many can’t afford or can’t get to physical activity programs like fitness gyms. Some patients additionally suffer from social phobia or have poor social interactions, and are simply afraid to work out in a public area.

Daumit’s group attempted to solve these issues by bringing the gyms and nutritionists to places most of these patients frequent — psychiatric rehabilitation outpatient programs. Under the trial name ACHIEVE, the researchers randomized 291 participants in 10 rehab centers around Maryland to receive the usual care , consisting of nutrition and physical activity information, or six months of intensive intervention consisting of exercise classes three times a week along with individual or group weight loss classes once a week. Both groups were followed for an additional year, during which the weight loss classes of the intervention arm tapered down but the exercise classes remained constant. The intervention arm included goals such as reducing caloric intake by avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages and junk food; eating five servings of fruits and vegetables daily; choosing smaller portions and healthy snacks; and moderate intensity aerobic exercise.

Participants in the specially tailored weight loss program lost seven pounds more than the controls—and continued to lose weight and did not regain, despite the reduced frequency of classes and counseling sessions. In contrast, the general population tends to experience peak weight loss in the first six months and then rebound and gain part or all of their weight back.

On average, each participant was on three psychotropic medications, with half on lithium or mood stabilizers, all known to cause weight gain. But no matter what they were on, they lost the weight.

“We’re showing behavioral interventions work regardless of what they’re taking,” Daumit said. Her group is now looking for ways to spread the program.

SOURCE: 
http://www.nih.gov/news/health/mar2013/nimh-21.htm 

7-9-13
In an ongoing effort to avoid severe high and/or low mood swings (and prevent the need for psychiatric medication), I frequently attend support groups that -

are designed to help people with various mental or behavioral disorders or to keep those currently free of syptoms from relapse. Folks who have at one time or another been diagnosed with Chronic Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, ADHD, OCD etc, frequently attend mental health support groups. However, having a diagnosis is not a requirement for attendance. 

Many people come to these meetings "in crisis" but fearful of doctors and/or medications. Some are just curious to see if they have what might be considered a “mental illness”. Also, many spouses and loved ones attend meetings with their loved ones to provide support and to better understand these disorders . 

Although experiencing a few “manic episodes” in my earlier years, I no longer have them and have not been under a doctors care, nor on medication for nearly 20 years. I think its fair to say I'm in remission from this condition and one of the ways I "stay that way" is with regular support group attendance. It's just one of many "coping skills" I've acquired over the years.

Support group attendance also gives me a chance to share with others my experiences in hopes they can find (if they wish) "alternatives" and/or "supplements" to the more invasive psychiatric treatments such as medication and electric shock. Treatments that are in some cases becoming suspect of severe long-term negative consequences pertaining to health, aging and longevity.

Self-help books on identifying thought disorders, relaxation techniques and many other "coping skills" can be effective alternatives or, at the very least, supplemental ways to deal with these disturbances. The importance of proper exercise and nutrition for mental health is also becoming better understood. I like to share with others my experience with some of these alternatives in support groups.

Also, I think it's fair to point out that many mental health professionals, including quite a large number of psychologists and more and more psychiatrists do not believe in the "medical model or theory" of causation in these disturbances. They might believe in "medicating for crisis" but that doesn't mean they believe the "temporary chemical imbalances" that can occur when we are upset are necessarily a "medical condition". They may very well be the result of a "thought disorder" rather than of genetic origin .

In summary, the primary advantage to the support groups mentioned above is that folks with similar histories (that often include mental health stigmatization) can find others who understand their concerns and problems. They also have the advantage of receiving feedback from others who can recognize if they are showing any symptoms or are in danger of relapsing into old behaviors and emotional patterns.

To find out more about these support groups I would recommend starting with a Google search like "mental and/or behavioral health support groups". My bias would be to lean towards groups that emphasis or are at least open to "alternative therapies" to the "medical model".

7-1-13
Accelerated-State Conditioning might be effective for reducing or even eliminating cocaine addiction -

When a person uses cocaine, it causes the brain to become flooded with the neuro-
transmitter dopamine. Dopamine controls pleasure responses which encourage continued use of the drug. During addiction, the dopamine pathways and networks involved in controlling our emotions, cravings and behavior, get dysregulated. Chronic cocaine use can cause dopamine to respond less to the stimulants. Thus, it takes more and more of the drug to create a "high" over time. Those changes may lead people to take the drugs compulsively and become addicted.

A recent study from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, fournd that the stimulant Ritalin (generic name methylphenidate), a common drug used to treat ADHD, might help break cocaine addiction. Methylphenidate, like cocaine, targets dopamine transporters. 

For the study,  the researchers recruited 18 adults who were addicted to cocaine but were otherwise healthy and were not on any medication. They were randomized and received a single dose of methylphenidate or a placebo. Then the researchers conducted brain scans when at rest. Non-addicted individuals were also used to serve as control subjects for comparison. 

The researchers wanted to see how specific regions of the brain connected with each other, by comparing the addicted individuals' brain connectivity pathways (using fMRI brain scans) to those of the non-addicted ones, with and without methylphenidate. The researchers were interested in the strength of connectivity in particular brain circuits known to play a role in addiction before and during peak drug effects.

Methylphenidate decreased connectivity between areas of the brain that have been strongly implicated in the formation of habits, including compulsive drug seeking and craving. They found that a single dose of methylphenidate normalized the brain pathways, increasing and reducing some of the neural activity between different networks of brain regions. Researchers theorized methylphenidate may have boosted the brain's control over the automatic responses that may lead a user to seek a drug. 

The results of Goldstein’s study reveal that Ritalin may cure cocaine addiction when used as a replacement therapy. Study leader Dr. Rita Goldstein admits that more research is necessary. However, she theorizes that Ritalin, as a cocaine replacement, may have the same benefits as methadone for recovering heroine addicts. 

According to lead Goldstein, a professor in psychiatry and neuroscience,  ‘Orally administered Ritalin increases dopamine in the brain, similar to cocaine, but without the strong addictive properties. ‘We wanted to determine whether such substitutive properties, which are helpful in other replacement therapies such as using nicotine gum instead of smoking cigarettes or methadone instead of heroin, would play a role in enhancing brain connectivity between regions of potential importance for intervention in cocaine addiction.’ 

The results of Goldstein’s study reveal that methylphenidate may cure cocaine addiction when used as a replacement therapy. 

NOTE: As previously discussed in my previous blogs, the Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) 5-minute daily motivational routine, like methylphenidate, elevates dopamine levels and might be an effective replacement therapy for many disorders potentially caused by dopamine depletion. The ASC routine has no known addictive properties. 

Using the same theorizing as done in the study above, the ASC routine might be an effective replacement therapy for reducing or even eliminating cocaine addiction.

SOURCE: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2350605/Could-ADHD-medication-Ritalin-cure-cocaine-addiction-New-research-shows-help-self-control.html)


6-28-13
Smoking May Act Like An Anti-depressant Drug According To This Study - 

Chronic smokers have biological changes in the brain similar to those caused by anti-depressant drugs, according to a university study. 

The study possibly explains an added difficulty in smoking cessation as well as a reason for the high rate of smoking among people with depression, said University of Mississippi Medical Center researchers. 

"What our study demonstrates for the first time is that chronic smoking produces biological changes in the human brain that are antidepressant-like," said Dr. Gregory A. Ordway, the study's principal investigator. Ordway is a professor in UMC's Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior. 

It's uncertain whether chronic smokers have these brain characteristics before they start smoking, which could increase their susceptibility to becoming smokers. But Ordway said investigators suspect smoking itself causes the neurochemical changes. 

The report was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. 

                                   ** Neal's Comments on the Study **.

Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) relieves some forms of depression by triggering multiple episodes of frisson (chills) within minutes. The “frisson/chill response” elevates endogenous (natural) dopamine (Salimpoor 2011). Dopamine is the major neurotransmitter in the brain associated with reward, pleasure and motivation.

Elevated dopamine levels have been linked with increased positive emotion resulting in decreased feelings of depression. It has been my experience that ASC, for all practical purposes, acts as an anti-depressant drug 

Moral of the story; ASC more, SMOKE less, FEEL better, LIVE longer!

SOURCE:
Kilmek, V., et al “Effects of long-term cigarette smoking on the human locus coeruleus.”
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2001 Sep;58(9):821-7. 


6/20/13
Recent studies support the concept that motivational routines like Accelerated-State Conditioning might stave off Alzheimer's Disease -

The 5-minute daily motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning promotes motivation and a "sense of purpose" by helping individuals change positive emotion, mood and behavior (habits,etc.) daily, to include acquiring new skills and adding new goals. 

At least one study suggests  possessing greater motivation and “a sense of purpose in life” may help prolong the effects of Alzheimer's disease (1). The study, published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, consisted of 246 participants who did not have dementia and who had later died and underwent a brain autopsy. The autopsies were looking in part for physical evidence of  “plaques and tangles”. Above normal amounts of which are linked to Alzheimer's Disease.

According to lead researcher Patricia Boyle, Phd , "Our study showed that people who reported greater purpose in life exhibited better cognition than those with less purpose in life, even as plaques and tangles accumulated in their brains."

Boyle further states "These findings suggest that purpose in life protects against the harmful effects of plaques and tangles on memory and their thinking abilities." She says "this [study] is encouraging and suggests that engaging in meaningful and purposeful activities promotes cognitive health in old age." 

Boyle goes on to say "Identifying factors that promote cognitive health even as plaques and tangles accumulate will help combat the already large and rapidly increasing  public health challenge posed by Alzheimer's disease,"  

Two years prior to this study, Boyle and her team had a similar study (2). More than 900 older adults who did not have Alzheimer’s disease took a survey gauging whether they believed there was meaning in their lives. In follow-ups with the study participants, the researchers found people who had a greater purpose in life had a substantially reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

(1) Boyle, Patricia, et al , "Effect of a Purpose in Life on Risk of Incident Alzheimer Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment in Community-Dwelling Older Persons", Archives of General Psychiatry, May 2012 

(2) Boyle, Patricia, et al, "Having a Purpose in Life Decreases Risk of Developing Alzheimer's Disease", Archives of General Psychiatry, March 2010 

6/3/13
New research is supportive of Accelerated-State Conditionings' purported ability to boost aging memories - 
The 5 minute daily motivational routine ASC is designed to dramatically elevate endogenous (natural) dopamine levels in the brain within minutes. 

In several of my prior blogs I've discussed in detail the process whereby Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) enables a subject to quickly and repeatedly evoke 
(trigger) dopamine, at will.

Previous animal studies suggests that the formation of episodic memory (long-term memory of events) requires activation of dopamine neurons in the hippo campus.  Loss of dopamine neurons and a decline of episodic memory are considered a normal part of aging.

A new study by Chowdbury, et al (1) now suggests that increasing dopamine levels with the dopamine precurser (parent chemical) levodopa in the 
human hippo campus enhances the persistence episodic memory.

In addition to effects on normal aging, this study has encouraging implications for the devastating disease Alzheimer's. According to one of the lead researchers in the study, Emrah Düzel, neuroscientist at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the University of Magdeburg, "episodic memory is that part of our capacity to remember, which is first affected in Alzheimer's dementia. This is why our results can contribute to a better understanding of the disease."

Hopefully, this latest research will give individuals further incentive to use the ASC routine daily throughout their lifetime.

(1) R. Chowdhury, M. Guitart-Masip, N. Bunzeck, R. J. Dolan, E. Duzel. Dopamine Modulates Episodic Memory Persistence in Old Age. Journal of Neuroscience, 2012; 32 (41): 14193 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1278-12.2012


5-3-13 Recent research is supportive of Accelerated-State Conditioning theory regarding motivation - 

Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) theory states that evoking "the chemicals of positive emotion" with the 5-minute daily motivational routine elevates mood, energy and motivation. One of those chemicals is the neurotransmitter dopamine. ASC elevates endogenous dopamine levels in the brain by evoking multiple episodes of frisson over a few minutes time. Frisson has been linked in a recent study to elevated endogenous dopamine levels (Salimpoor 2011).

An interesting article in DoctorTipster.com dated May 4, 2013, titled "Dopamine regulates our motivation to act, according to new study", reviewed some studies conducted by researchers in Spain showing that dopamine may be involved in the regulation of motivation, which means that previous beliefs according to which this neurotransmitter is involved in the generation of pleasure can be of the past. 

Here are some highlights from the article:

"Researchers have shown that dopamine underlies motivation and cause individuals to act or to persevere to get what they want. Discoveries made by researchers at the Universitat Jaume I of Castellón, have implications in many neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and in addiction.

University researcher Mercè Correa explained that for a long time it was thought that dopamine is associated with pleasure because it is released when we get something we want. In fact, recent studies show that dopamine acts before, in other words make us act. He added that dopamine is released to get something good or to avoid something bad. Studies so far have shown that dopamine is released not only in terms of pleasure but also under stress, pain or loss. However, according to Correa, this research has been done to highlight only the positive influence of dopamine. The new article is actually a review of several investigations on the role of dopamine in motivated behavior in animals.

Dopamine level is different for each man separately, some are more motivated to take action to achieve their purpose while others are more lax. Correa explained that dopamine is involved in maintaining the level of activity required to achieve a goal. He added that although it is generally positive, it largely depends on the stimuli. Increased levels of dopamine could explain the behavior of some individuals with various addictions. Understanding the biological parameters underlying human motivation has applications not only in medicine but also in other areas such as education or work.

Because of this these latest findings, dopamine is now seen as a neurotransmitter that can compensate for the lack of energy and motivation that occur in certain diseases such as depression. Correa explained that depressed people are not motivated to act and this is due to low levels of dopamine. Lack of energy and motivation are also found in other diseases such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s and others.

On the other hand, dopamine is involved in addictive behavior because high levels can cause a compulsive attitude. Correa suggests that dopamine antagonist therapy that have been applied so far had no effect perhaps because of inadequate treatment which was based on a misunderstanding of the mechanism by which dopamine function." 

4-17-13
Those suffering from Bipolar Disorder might be able to "inoculate" themselves from mania by  using Accelerated-State conditioning 5 minutes daily.

At least I believe I have done exactly that based on my personal history (As a reminder,  I'm not a doctor and do not give medical advise, diagnosis or treatment).

From what I read, at least one theory states that Bipolar mania may be the result (physiologically) of an abnormal amount "dopamine flooding" within certain areas of the brain. 

With regular use of the 5-minute daily motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC), I (theoretically) elevate my endogenous (natural) dopamine levels dramatically and in minutes. I've designed ASC to enable me to deliberately evoke multiple episodes of frisson (cold chills/rushes/goosebumps) "at will". Frisson has been linked to elevated dopamine levels (Salimpoor 2011). Elevated dopamine has been linked to elevated positive emotion (thus the "mood elevating" attributes of ASC).

This daily theoretical elevation of dopamine levels with ASC very possibly creates a "dopamine tolerance" over time which I personally believe creates a personal "immunity of sorts to Bipolar mania. This theory is of course based on my personal anecdotal evidence, but possibly explains why I've only had one brief manic episode in nearly 30 years (though previously diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 3 times from 1976 to 1986). [As an aside, during that time period I have deliberately evoked thousands of episodes of frisson (and experienced the accompaning temporary "natural highs") using the ASC routine.]

Lets keep our fingers crossed that this turns out to be true. (Any budding young neuro-psych grad students want to test the theory?)

4-11-13
With SuprAffs you'll  frequently find yourself working on one goal or other just because you "feel like it". That's how auto-suggestion routines like SuprAffs work. No pain, no hassle, no "white-knuckling", no relying on "will power". Change happens slowly but surely and effortlessly on a sub-conscious level. The same process happened when you developed (sub-consciously) any unwanted habit, compulsion or addiction in the first place. (At least I don't think I developed my bad habits "consciously", LOL).

With SuprAffs (a sub-routine of the 5-minute daily motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning), the pleasure of completing "micro-tasks" daily is easy and self-reinforcing. You simply (slowly, but surely), start changing how you "feel about things".

You start "feeling" motivated to work on very small but manageable "micro-goals" (which, with time, lead to larger goals). And, as a result, you're always finding yourself "doing" something desirable, even things that had previously been “put off”. 

So, whether its finishing up a project you've been putting off at work or meditating cross-legged in the new cave you just found; life just keeps getting better as you constantly grow and develop (or just escape from your "comfort zone") with SuprAffs! 

For an extensive list of useful SuprAffs (no eMail or name registration required) CLICK HERE

4-7-13
Establishing a new “self-image” of “change-agent” is actually pretty easy with Accelerated-State State Conditioning because you're constantly succeeding with small daily changes in your behavior and emotional responses using the SuprAffs sub-routine within Accelerated-State Conditioning. 

The reason you're experiencing constant change and forward motion (2 days forward, then one days slip still equals progress) is that you have broken your goals down into such microscopic sub-goals that they are nearly impossible to not accomplish. You can always break a goal down into a smaller component simply by asking yourself “what small portion of the this task am I willing to do now? “

And, of course there is rarely some micro-component of a task you're unwilling to do even if its just “visualizing the next step. So, since you are always moving towards a goal (no matter how small) with this process, it's virtually impossible to not start seeing yourself as an “agent of change”. 

And of course once you develop the “self-image” of a person who has the power to “change”, “grow”, “develop” etc., well; you fill in the blanks!

3-28-13
Feeling out of sorts? Get back on track quickly with Accelerated-State Conditioning -

We all have them; days that make us wonder, why bother? Let's face it, sometimes things just pile up and we're ready to throw in the towel.

Unfortunately, this happens all to often when we can't just drop things. We have to work, kids need attention, the yard's a mess, the list is endless. So what's the answer? Pop a pill? Drink more coffee? Well for me, the best solution has always been to go extra heavy on the 5-minute daily motivational routine, Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC). Sometimes, I'll use it several times during the day if something is especially disturbing until I get permanent relief.

What's so special about using ASC during low periods? Well, for me, what's special is that it always improves my mood and energy levels. No matter what's troubling me, I know my "chemicals of positive emotion" have been depleted by one or more "illogical" thoughts. And, I know that evoking multiple episodes of frisson (to replenish dopamine) with ASC and switching my focus to my positives with SuprAffs (part of the ASC routine) will "re-balance" them.

So, the moral of the story? Learn how to do the ASC routine and shorten those "low periods" quickly and effectively.

9-7-12
Mental health professionals don't understand the value in stringing multiple episodes of frisson together because -

Firstly; they don't know how to create multiple frisson "at will" and secondly; as a result of not having this knowledge they've never experienced the exhilarating rushes and extreme positive emotion (including feelings of bliss, euphoria, peacefulness and well-being) that result from this specific experience. Stringing multiple episodes of frisson together over a few minutes time period injects more "chemicals of positive emotion" (dopamine, the endorphins, etc..) into the blood stream than any street drug ever created! McGill University studies recently proved frisson significantly elevated dopamine. 

The positive emotions generated by frisson are the result of the physiological events caused by elevations in the actual (natural, endogenous) chemicals nature and evolution designed for this purpose (the purpose of elevating mood and motivation). Antidepressant medication, street drugs, etc.. can't hold a candle to the long lasting mood elevating effects of stringing multiple episodes of frisson together over a few minutes time-frame. Frisson are free, legal and don't require a doctor's prescription.

How can you learn to create frisson at will? By learning the principals of Accelerated-State Conditioning (outlined in part on this website). 


8-7-12
Why I prefer frisson to anti-depressants for elevating mood!

I've always been prone to melancholy. Fortunately, rather than turning to psychiatric medication years ago I chose to create multiple episodes of frisson, at will, to elevate my mood. I accidentally discovered that I could elicit them, at will and within minutes, when I was practicing a speech in front of a mirror years ago.

So what  frisson episodes? They are  physiological responses commonly referred to as "cold chills", "shutters" or "goosebumps". They are enormously pleasurable and create a heightened sense of well-being in most people. Musicians, artists and highly sensitive people are more prone than the general public to experience them frequently. 

Perhaps you have experienced them listening to certain musical phrases. Maybe you gotten them when informed you were given a big salary increase. Maybe you never get them. Some folks don't.

How do they elevate mood? Well, primarily shifting your focus to your positive attributes and by releasing into your blood stream what's known as the "chemicals of positive emotion". Specifically, neurotransmitters like dopamine according to recent research (Salimpoor 2011).

How can you elicit episodes of frisson at will? By repeating positive words and sentences (preferably while smiling and talking out loud into a mirror), while trying to recall the memory of a frisson.  

Pavlov trained his dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell and you can train yourself to get "goosebumps" by repeating positive words while thinking of what a frisson feel like.

Sounds simple enough, right? Well it's not; it takes a lot of practice and if you have never experienced frisson you have to do specific behaviors to start getting them.

One way is to repeat positive words, affirmations and/or statements in front of a mirror while smiling. After doing an exercise like this for up to an hour a day for several days, you will hopefully start experiencing these "chills" or "goosebumps".

So why the preference over anti-depressants? Two words; SIDE-EFFECTS!

Good luck, see you on "cloud 9"!

WARNING:
What I've described above (and call Accelerated-State Conditioning) can be very powerful and mind expanding, an altered-state if you will. And like drugs or alcohol it can be abused if you are trying to stay "high"? for protracted periods. Like any new psychological routine, use slowly and with caution! If you find yourself becoming hypomanic or manic, by all means stop the routine until you calm down.

8-6-12 
How Accelerated-State Conditioning may boost cancer therapy

The daily motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning  is designed to enable a person to elicit multiple episodes of frisson (cold chills, rushes, etc.) "at will", and within minutes.

Frisson has been linked to significantly elevated levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine (Salimpoor 2011). Dopamine has been linked in dozens of studies to elevated positive emotions which are linked to better health and longevity.

According to a recent study, doses of the neurotransmitter dopamine might offer a way to boost the effectiveness of anti-cancer drugs and radiation therapy, say researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

Using animal models of human breast and prostate cancers, the researchers found that injections of the neurotransmitter dopamine can improve blood flow to tumors and improve delivery of an anticancer drug, doubling the drug's concentration in tumors and increasing its effectiveness. 

The increased blood flow also raised tumor oxygen levels, a condition that typically improves the effectiveness of both chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

The study also found that dopamine plays an important role in maintaining the structure of normal blood vessels, and that it does this by working through the D2 dopamine receptor, which is present in normal blood-vessel cells called endothelial cells and pericytes. Dopamine was absent in tumor blood-vessel cells.

"Our study indicates a use for dopamine in the treatment of cancer and perhaps other disorders in which normalizing abnormal and dysfunctional blood vessels might improve therapeutic responses," says Dr. Sujit Basu, associate professor of pathology and a researcher in the OSUCCC – James Experimental Therapeutics Program.

"Since dopamine and related agents are already used in the clinic for other disorders, these comparatively inexpensive drugs might be applied to the treatment of cancer to increase the therapeutic responses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy," he says. The blood vessels that develop inside tumors are structurally abnormal, chaotic and leaky and do a poor job of supplying blood to the tumor, Basu notes. This hinders the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents, and it leaves tumors oxygen deprived. This oxygen deprivation makes tumor cells resistant to chemotherapy and radiation.

Basu and his colleagues found that the dopamine treatment normalizes the structure of abnormal tumor blood vessels, indicating an important role for a neurotransmitter in the remodeling of blood vessels. Other key findings include the following:

1. The tumor tissue used in the study showed the absence of dopamine.

2. After dopamine treatment, tumor blood vessels in both cases resembled normal vessels in regard to leakiness and architecture. Pretreatment with a dopamine receptor antagonist negated this effect.

3. Subcutaneous human colon tumors in mice treated with dopamine and the chemotherapeutic drug 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) accumulated twice the amount of 5-FU as tumors in mice treated with the drug only.

4. Subcutaneous human colon tumors in mice treated with both dopamine and 5-FU were less than one-third the size of tumors in mice treated with 5-FU only.

"Overall, our findings suggest that the normalization of tumor blood vessels using the neurotransmitter dopamine might be an important approach for improving therapeutic efficacy in the treatment of cancer patients," Basu says.

The findings are published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source:
Sciencecodex.com 6-8-12 review of:

"Dopamine stabilizes tumor blood vessels by up-regulating angiopoietin 1 expression in pericytes and Krüppel-like factor-2 expression in tumor endothelial cells" PNAS 2011 108 (51) 20730-20735; published ahead of print December 5, 2011, doi:10.1073/pnas.1108696108 

6-12-12
Accelerated-State Conditioning May Reduce Aggression - 

Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) theory states the ASC routine elevates positive emotion and mood by elevating levels of the brain chemical dopamine. It theoretically accomplishes this through evoking multiple frisson within minutes. Frisson have been linked to significant elevations in dopamine levels. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in pleasure and reward.

A recent article in HealthDay News.com, dated June 11, 2012 and titled "Low Levels of Brain Chemical May Boost Aggression"  cites a new small study that showed people with lower levels of the  dopamine are more likely to be highly aggressive in competitive situations. 

The study included 18 healthy participants in their 20s who played a computer game in which they could win money. They were told, however, that an opponent in another room who was able to cheat may steal some of their winnings.

PET scans were used to assess dopamine levels in the participants' brains. During the game, participants with lower levels of dopamine were more distracted from their attempts to win money and were more likely to show aggressive behavior, wrote study author Dr. Ingo Vernaleken, of the department of psychiatry at RWTH Aachen University in Germany, and colleagues.

The researchers were surprised by the results because they expected to find that higher levels of dopamine were associated with increased aggression. The study was scheduled for presentation this week at the Society of Nuclear Medicine's annual meeting in Miami Beach, Fla.. Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

6-3-12
I'm always on the lookout for new research like this supporting Accelerated-State Conditioning theory - 

For over 35 years I've used the 5-minute daily motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) to help maintain positive mood and change habits.  The basic platform centers around repeating positive affirmations and positive self-talk while looking into a mirror while smiling. But I've learned with time that not all affirmations are alike. Being positive is just not enough, the ones that worked best for me were ones that were "believable" and "specific". The same goes for Self-Talk.

In a recent Huffington Post Blog (1), journalist Wray Herbert reviews a recent study published in Psychological Science that helps me understand why the ASC routine can be so powerful in promoting permanent change in behavior (like eliminating unwanted habits and/or creating new desirable ones).

The study concerns dieting and weight control strategies. Herbert points out that here are two major reasons for unhealthy weight, according to experts. One is a simple lack of self-control, the second is an inability to cope with stress. 

Herbert describes a question purposed by the study "what if there were a simple psychological intervention that addressed both of these issues at once -- bolstering self-control and buffering against everyday stress?".  According to Herbert, researchers Christine Logel of the University of Waterloo, Ontario, and Geoffrey Cohen of Stanford University describe a brief and simple way to give people the tools for resisting temptation and coping with life's pressures.

It's called "values affirmation," and it's done with a simple writing exercise describe just such an intervention. It's called "values affirmation," and it's done with a simple writing exercise.

In the study, half the subjects wrote an essay on their most "cherished values" (a form of self-affirmation like used in the ASC routine). The other half (the "controls") wrote about something they did not value particularly.

The results at the end of 2.5 months showed significant weight gain with the "controls" and significant weight loss with the "positive affirming" group.

(1) "A Simple Weight Loss Strategy. Really. Maybe.", Huffington Post.com/wray-herbert/, June3, 2012 )

3-21-12
Science is getting closer to understanding the physiology of dampening excess mood and mania:

 "Kappa" opioid receptors are bound by neurotransmitters known as dynorphins, and when activated can depress mood and produce dissociative, psychedelic experiences. In a new study scientists have for the first time determined the three-dimensional atomic structure of these receptors.

At some point in time we will no doubt be able to reverse mania quickly.  At that time, the Accelerated-State Conditioning routine (used to elevate mood dramatically in minutes) will become less feared and more prevalent.

(1) Team finds atomic structure of molecule that binds to opioids in the brain.  ScienceCodex.com March 21, 2012 - http://tinyurl.com/82jdzkq

3-20-12
The Reason Many Affirmations Don't Work:

Over the years we have been bombarded with the idea that affirmations will lead to the changes that we want.  But, as many of us have found out, they usually don't work.  They are simply too general and are not believable. Some of them probably do more harm than good.

Does this mean affirmations can't work? Not at all, but they must be worded in a manner that can effect change in the sub-conscious.

The SuprAffs sub-component of Accelerated-State Conditioning teaches us to plant suggestions into the subconscious (autosuggestion) with self-affirmations worded to be "believable" and "specific" but not "declarative". 

For example, with SuprAffs, we don't say "I'm financially solvent" when we want to be financially secure.  We say believable, specific things like, "I like it when I save 5% of my income monthly".

A research study at the University of Illinois on "Self-Talk" (1), showed that repeating declarations (e.g., "I am" statements like "I am financially secure") were much less effective on motivation and future goal oriented action, than repeating interrogatives (e.g., “will I” statements like "Will I be able to be financially secure?).

Although SuprAffs are not interrogative, I suspect the reason they work better than declarations is much the same.

(1)  Motivating goal-directed behavior through introspective self-talk: The role of the interrogative form of simple future tense. Senay, I., Albarracin, D., & Noguchi, K. Psychological Science, 21, 499-504.  http://pss.sagepub.com/content/21/4/499  


3-5-12
Accelerated-State Conditioning as positive force in the workplace:

In an article March 4, 2012, on the internet news website  LiveMint.com, titled "Creating a positive work culture"  journalist Komal Sharma interviewed Sarah Lewis, the  author of a new book titled "Positive Psychology at Work".   Below are some article highlights:

A statement made by Sharma in the review:

"The state of mind of the people who make up an  organization decides the well-being of the organization."

Some quotes from Lewis in the interview:

"Positive thinking does cross over with positive  psychology in two ways. One, it understands that body and  mind are as one and the state of each affects the other. And secondly, that visualization is a  powerful mental tool."

"A number of features have been identified through  positive psychology research as positively affecting work  performance. Feeling good is a key one. When we experience  positive emotions—excitement, amusement, awe, passion—our  brains are flooded with serotonin and dopamine,  neurotransmitters. What this means, in effect, is that our  brains are able to work better, faster, deeper. We are  able to deal with more complexity and ambiguity. We are  more creative, we learn faster. In addition, we become  more sociable. Generally these states are assets at work."

"Positive psychology offers the observation that negative  emotions —anger, despair, fear, frustration—are important  as they tell us something is wrong and needs attending to.  However, they are a poor fuel for producing anything much  other than fight, flight, or freeze behavior. Learning how  to get ourselves into a more positive emotional state  allows us to access a whole load of other behaviors and  resources to help us work creatively and productively with  the situation. So yes, emotions are an important fuel for  our energy and motivation, and different emotions produce  a different kind of fuel."

(Neal's comments on this article):

As Lewis points out in her book, obtaining tools to get  into a more positive emotional state can be very valuable  in the workplace. I think the 5-minute daily motivational  routine, Accelerated-State Conditioning (ASC) will be a  valuable addition to those tools. The reason being, it is  specifically designed to elevate positive emotion  dramatically and within minutes.  I think ASC could be so  valuable that corporations would benefit from having  small, private, soundproofed rooms available to staff when  they are in any type of negative mood which interferes  with workplace effectiveness.


3-2-12
I've just finished reading a terrific new book titled Connect: Affective Leadership for Effective Results by Lyn Boyer. 

This book is a great read and has motivated me to pursue some of my more "lofty goals" sooner than I had planned. As a result of reading this powerful book, I feel more confident in my potential and am excited about the prospect of trying many of the author's ideas. I'm eager to further develop my capacity for "Authentic Leadership" and especially "Authentic Living" as she has described them.
Lyn Boyer's book is well organized, contains a wealth of information and provides a great deal of well-documented research supporting and supplementing her themes. The book is easily understood and provides a road map to influencing “self “and others through a broadened understanding of human emotions as related to relationships. 
Lyn not only shows how connecting to people through emotion enhances our ability to “lead others” but to live better in general. We can apply her ideas to, family, groups, organizations and many other aspects of our lives. She provides many examples, charts and workshop style exercises throughout the book that readers can learn from and/or perform at their leisure to enhance their learning.
I highly recommend this book to anyone on a continual path of growth and development.


2-26-12
The daily (weekdays) SuprAff offerings on Twitter (@NealEngelking) are followed by a related research study citation:

 The postings are also available on Facebook on the Accelerated-State Conditioning page.



2-17-12
One of the most powerful components of Accelerated-State Conditioning is the speaking of positive affirmations outloud. 

Here's a link to an article by Loa Blasucci in DesertNews.com on 8-7-2011 - outlining some supportive research in Russia indicating this behavior has a positive influence on DNA! -  http://tinyurl.com/7xjvaoy 


1-18-12
There's nothing wrong with experiencing short bursts of temporary euphoria on a daily basis:

It can actually be beneficial.  Nature gave us the ability to experience these states-of-mind for many reasons.  What can create problems though, is how you gen-erate these brief, exhilarating, altered-states of consciousness.  If a person uses chemicals (medications, street drugs, etc.) to elevate positive emotion, decrease pain, etc., they risk unwanted side-effects and/or legal repercussions.  But, when you generate short periods of euphoria (for many perfectly legitimate reasons using the daily motivational routine Accelerated-State Conditioning, these unwanted effects are of course avoided.


1-17-12
A new study on anti-depressant research indicates 25% of anti-depressant users are non-responders and/or experience negative side-effects:

The studies' authors suggest these individuals might respond better to alternative therapies, including exercise, cognitive therapy, etc., (and/or Accelerated-State Conditioning, in my opinion).
Source: http://healthland.time.com/2012/01/18/new-research-on-the-antidepressant-versus-placebo-debate/



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