In the 1860’s, railroad worker Phineas Gage survived the entry and exit of a projectile spike blasted by dynamite through his brain. This well-documented case was perhaps the first documentation of right frontal lobe injury as correlated with altered personality and emotional dyscontrol. As one of his associates so aptly remarked about him, "Gage was no longer Gage."
Drawing upon modern technology and decades of study, neuroscientists are beginning to compile a unifying theory of brain anatomy and function which includes the origin of self. In particular, the right brain and especially the right orbitofrontal cortex (ROFC) are implicated. Since 1994, four important books have been written describing right brain function in sickness and/or health by Damasio, Shore, Ornstein, and LeDoux.
This presentation will make the case that the ROFC is the master regulator of the brain and body, and the primary location of the "self", the place where the "I" is located. As its core are emotional regulation capabilities, as well as recognition of emotions in others. Neurologist Antonio Damasio has described the ROFC as having the most comprehensive and integrated map of the body state available to the brain and as a convergence zone which is privy to signals about virtually any activity taking place in our beings- mind or body – at anytime. The ROFC is the hierarchically dominant regulator of visual tracking, muscle tone, cardiac function, temperature homeostasis, the immune system, and neurotransmitter production. Appraisals are made in the ROFC of both sensory and social data.
The ROFC is remarkably vulnerable to injury and is affected in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, causing serious consequences for functioning which will be presented. This presentation will discuss how EEG researchers and therapists are trying to measure and treat disturbances in functioning after head injuries. Neurofeedback, HRV and brain blood flow biofeedback techniques will be described with reference to head injury cases. The ROFC can also be the site of seizure activity. Cases involving partial complex seizures of the frontal lobe will be discussed.
The neurobiology of the ROFC will be described with reference to the neuromuscular, neurovascular, neurohormonal and neuropsychiatric pathways of distress. The implications of dysfunction in any of these pathways for physical and emotional health will be explored. The use of EEG, HEG and HRV to enhance function after Brain Injury or in cases of PTSD will be explained.
Goals of this presentation:
To increase knowledge of attendees regarding the master regulating system of the brain (ROFC).
To relate dysfunction of this area to problems in physical and emotional disease.
To describe (and if equipment is available on site) to demonstrate how EEG, HEG and HRV can be used to measure and correct problems of ROFC functioning.
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