The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 19 No. 5 • June 2016


THREAT
CHASED BY A VIRTUAL PREDATOR,
HOW SCARY CAN IT BE?
C-8 MCT OIL
WHEN FEAR IS NEAR

Imagine this: As your brain ages, it becomes unable to get all the energy it needs from glucose and as time goes on it needs to obtain more and more of its energy from ketones. The horrifying part of this process is that the liver, as IT ages, becomes unable to supply enough ketone bodies to the brain and the brain cannibalizes some of its own lipids in order to generate ketones. The lipids that it uses to make ketones have been identified as being found in WHITE MATTER (Klosinski, 2015), in which myelin coats neurons, enabling different brain areas to become connected to each other. The loss of these connections is a major degenerative process involved in ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE (AD) and also occurs in aging.

The results of losing parts of the myelin sheath are dire. Your cognitive processes become slower and, worse yet, that process whereby the brain has to STEAL fats from the myelin sheath to make ketones, causes you to lose IQ POINTS.

Of course, a predator can get “closer” in time as well as in distance and this experiment we describe here is about a predator chasing an experimental subject through a virtual maze to get closer and closer and, then, actually has the ability to administer pain (via shocks, at a low level of one shock or a high level of three shocks (and, yes, they really hurt). Though the predator is merely a computer program, not a real animal, the reality of the pain makes this a very serious game that gives a clear picture of how the brain faces real danger.

When danger is imminent, your brain swings into high gear, engaging one area after another that alert you to that danger and then plan how to get you out of it. But as you age, you become slower because of the loss of the myelin sheath that insulates nerves—that myelin sheath increases the speed of information transmission. We know now something about how to keep myelin from being used as an energy source when the brain runs low on glucose. It could, when danger is near, save your life.

PREDATOR CHASES PREY
THE EXPERIMENT

A 2007 paper (Mobbs, 2007) describes an experiment involving human subjects who interacted with a computer program simulating a predator in a maze. They were stalked by the “predator” and the response of brain areas were imaged by fMRI to follow how their brains responded to the “predator” as it became closer and closer. The feature that provided the intensity to the ensuing drama was that the “predator” was designed to chase, capture, and inflict pain because the subjects were at risk of actually receiving painful shocks (one or three), which feel a lot like bites, if they failed to evade their pursuer. The researchers had hypothesized that the brain’s response would encompass three “‘core stages:’ ‘pre-encounter,’ where there is risk in the absence of immediate danger, ‘post encounter,’ where the threat is detected, and ‘circa-strike,’ defined as distal or proximal interaction with the threat stimulus.” “...distal threat elicits activity in the prefrontal cortices, which possibly reflects the complex planning of avoidance strategies...” while, when the threat becomes very close, midbrain structures such as the periaqueductal gray area (PAG) takes control. The PAG is a more ancient brain area that has evolved to control fast reflexive activity, such as fight or flight, under conditions where actual physical injury might occur.

That’s the experiment. Here is how this might look to you as you enter the maze.

You’re in a maze. (Mobbs, 2007) Suddenly, you sense “something” approaching. Your ventromedial prefrontal cortex comes onto alert. What is out there? You rapidly turn the pages of your memory backpages, looking for something you’ve met before. As the “thing” (whatever it is) keeps on moving toward you, your midbrain, including the periaqueductal gray, takes control. The situation has come into dangerous territory now, the territory where fast reactions and automatic solutions are needed, not careful thought and planning. Because you know that this “thing” will inflict pain. That is its mission in life, to track you down and make you feel pain. You grit your teeth as the “thing” makes its move and you are entirely on automatic—time has slowed down, as you wait to see if you’ve made it to safety.

You breathe deeply, feeling relief. You’ve evaded it and all is well, at least for now. You move cautiously through the maze now, alert to more danger, back into ventromedial prefrontal cortex territory again.

You feel fortunate that you have been taking C-8 MCT Oil for weeks now. Perhaps it made the difference.

References

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