We Are Our Brains
Notes taken while reading the excellent We are our brains by Dick Shwaab.
- Oxytocin - comfort , bonding
- Prolactin - in expectant fathers. Nesting behaviour in moms.
- Vasopressin - marital difficulties and aggression in men, but trust of strangers in women. Hormone created and released by the brain. Also inhibits excretion of water.
- Both vasopressin and oxytocin levels are unbalanced in autists
- Anencephaly linked to pesticide use
- Thalidomide taken during pregnancy led to birth defects (missing limbs)
Pain in a fetus
- Pain sensors on skin - 7th week onwards
- BUT wiring to cerebral cortex - 26 weeks onwards
- So the fetus can react locally after 7 weeks but it is doubtful that pain is actually transmitted until about 25-29 weeks
- Finally it must be perceived by the brain. Only at 35-37 weeks is there slight difference in reaction to a touch vs a pin prick
- Young people have a poor PFC i.e. pre frontal cortex , which limits their planning and organisational skills
- Puberty kicks in annoying behaviour within the family to limit incest, at the same time increasing risk taking and exploration.
- The kiss1 gene starts the whole process. Fat reserves are ensured by monitoring leptin. Melatonin inhibits puberty.
- Narcolepsy - sleep disorder. Tiredness in day, uneasy sleep at night.
- Cataplexy - too much emotion leads to patient seemingly becoming unconscious. They lose muscle tension and collapse but are fully aware otherwise.