Dear Ever Younger, Ever More Beautiful, and Every More Charismatic One,
The Associated Press recently reported on some fascinating scientific research on people in their 80s and 90s who they call SuperAgers. A small group of these, it turns out, are just as mentally sharp as we spring chickens in our 60s (or even younger)! Why?
The research is not focused on hypnosis. And yet hypnosis is very pertinent! Let’s connect the dots!
As NorthwesternMedicine Magazine reports in an article Why Are Some People Immune to Age-Related Cognitive Decline:
First they showed that SuperAgers actually exist — that anecdotal reports of unusually sharp grandmothers and great-uncles hold up under scientific scrutiny.
MRI scans revealed that the SuperAgers had no significant atrophy in their cerebral cortex, the important outer layer of the brain responsible for memory, attention, language and thinking. Their cerebral cortex was thicker than the normal agers, about the same size as members of the middle-aged control group. Unexpectedly, the anterior cingulate cortex, a region further inside the brain that’s involved in social behavior, was thicker in SuperAgers than in both elderly and middle-aged controls.
The research showed that SuperAgers had fewer tangles in the anterior cingulate cortex, a compelling finding considering that these twisted fibers of protein are a primary marker of Alzheimer’s disease. And compared to age-matched controls and individuals with mild cognitive impairment, SuperAgers had three to five times more von Economo neurons, a particular type of nerve cell linked to higher-order social intelligence (they’re typically found only in great apes and humans).
Hold on just one second!!! Did someone say anterior cingulate cortext?
From an INQUISITR article from 2016 entitled Your Brain During Hypnosis: See What Happens To Your Brain While Being Hypnotized:
Many skeptics consider hypnotism as some sort of a trick, but being hypnotized really does change the way your brain works. According to a recent study conducted by Dr. David Spiegel, the associate chair of psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine, reveals interesting facts about how the brain changes during hypnosis.
The study reveals that for those who were clearly hypnotized, they showed three distinct changes in the brain that were not present prior to being hypnotized. …
What parts of the brain were effected during hypnosis? Dr. Spiegel reports that dorsal anterior cingulate activity decreased during hypnosis. Spiegel describes the function of the dorsal anterior cingulate.
“It helps us compare context and decide what is worth worrying about and what isn’t.”
Also changed during hypnosis is the insula and the dorsal anterior cingulate. According to Dr. Spiegel, the connection between the two increased. Insula is the part of the brain that connects the mind and the body. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex helps a person carry out tasks.
Connect the dots and there you have it. To oversimplify: one batch of scientists has shown that oldsters who have fewer tangles in their anterior cingulate cortext have exceptional mental acuity in their advanced years. Another batch of scientists have shown that hypnosis directly effects the anterior cingulate activity.
As a side note, there is a celebrity psychiatrist and self-help author named Dr. Daniel Amen, who, although controversial, according to The Washington Post is a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. And he is the CEO of a chain of psychiatric clinics called the Amen Clinics.
Here is an extract from an article about hypnosis that the Amen Clinics has posted to its website:
Regression analyses between regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) and self-ratings confirm the hypothesized involvement of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), the thalamus, and the ponto-mesencephalic brainstem in the production of hypnotic states. Hypnotic relaxation further involved an increase in occipital rCBF that is consistent with our previous interpretation that hypnotic states are characterized by a decrease in cortical arousal and a reduction in cross-modality suppression (disinhibition). In contrast, increases in mental absorption during hypnosis were associated with rCBF increases in a distributed network of cortical and subcortical structures previously described as the brain’s attentional system. These findings are discussed in support of a state theory of hypnosis in which the basic changes in phenomenal experience produced by hypnotic induction reflect, at least in part, the modulation of activity within brain areas critically involved in the regulation of consciousness.
Why… there’s the anterior cingulate cortext again!
The scientists surely are on to something.
Yet if I may immodestly say so:
We’re way ahead of them!
You can be too!
Of course we do not pretend that any of these distinguished scientists or doctors have reviewed our work or validated our claims. That said, there is a rich and growing body of scientific evidence that hypnosis indeed can make you younger — in the cases we address today, mentally “younger” — which is to say mentally sharp. A “SuperAger,” which means a Super Youthful Oldster, or, as the reporter for NorthwesternMedicine Magazine put it “unusually sharp grandmothers and great-uncles.”
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