Brain Activation Patterns
Although specific functions are often attributed to specific brain areas, the entire nervous system is a highly-connected, feedback-looped whole. Most functions are performed by circuits or loops connecting various inner brain structures (called sub-cortical) as well as various areas of the cortex.
TLC identifies four major systems which can show significant disregulation. The tone system (with three sub-patterns), filtering system, processing system, and coherence (which can produce locking patterns). This analysis forms the basis of the TLC Assessment system. Our Training Plan Service will help you design training plans based on the Assessment.
Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) (internal body environment) and Limbic System(emotional brain) are linked by the Hypothalamus.
The ANS combines Sympathetic (SNS), “fight or flight”, and Parasympathetic (PNS) “rest and digest” branches, which maintain a homeostatic Tone. SNS responds quickly to “stress”; PNS more slowly. The SNS is an accelerator, while the PNS maintains the idling speed for the internal environment.
Tone issues grow out of excessive extended stress, and they tend to result in increases in energy demand by the Limbic System (emotional brain) and Autonomic Nervous System (internal environment manager). They frequently have built up over decades.
Chronic stress leads to increased ANS tone over time, increasing PNS tone and disrupting physiological maintenance functions. Increased Limbic tone is felt as Anxiety. Continued levels of stress drives increased ANS/Limbic tone, sense of exhaustion, more severe maintenance breakdowns and Depression. Relaxation can cause SNS to drop below PNS with a resulting “rebound”, experienced as Panic Attack, Migraine, etc.
Categories of Problems include:
- Significant “body” issues (sleep, digestion, temperature, pain)
- Rebounds: migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, night terrors, sleepwalking
- Fibromyalgia, auto-immune disorders, asthma, hypoglycemia
- Panic Attacks, bipolar mood swings, anxiety, depression, PTSD
- Mood issues (anxiety/depression) present, though perhaps covered.
There are three primary brain strategies for controlling this emotional overdrive: Disconnection, Reversal, and Blocking.
DISCONNECT STRATEGY: Brain activation patterns are seen in the left (T3) and right (T4) temporal lobes of the cortex (above the ears). Declarative memory (left side) and feeling tone memory (right side) are separated (often declarative is non-existent or very limited).
T3 or T4 shows significantly higher hibeta amplitudes (2 times or greater), probably due to amygdala activating hippocampus and temporal lobe. When T4 is higher, response to positive events is flat and intellectualized; response to “negative” events is often excessively emotional and regressive. Often relates to early abuse. When T3 is higher, emotional response is generally flat. Often relates to neglect and distant/missing parents.
REVERSAL STRATEGY: Tendency toward “driven” character, perfectionistic, demanding. Possible outbursts of anger and tendency to hold a grudge. Falls asleep but awakens and cannot sleep again. Brain activation patterns are seen in the prefrontal cortex or in the relation between the rear of the cortex and the prefrontal cortex.
Prefrontal. In order to maintain balanced positive emotional tone, the left should be more active (less alpha amplitude, more beta amplitude) than the right; excessive activation on right results in negative, darker moods; extremely low activation on right may result in mania.
Front/Back. Back of brain gathers, associates and integrates information from the environment into a comprehensive picture; front of brain determines meaning and implements actions. Front is “beta country”; back is “alpha country”. Excess alpha in front results in fogginess and motivational issues; excess beta in back results in anxiety and poor connection to the environment.
BLOCKING STRATEGY: Overloads the executive attention center to block undesired feelings. It is seen as obsessive, compulsive, phobic or addictive behavior, which may overlie and protect against depression.
The orbital cortex (11), just above the eye sockets, alerts the brain to a problem and in OCD it sends out repeated false alarms. Those signals go to the caudate nucleus in the Basal Ganglia , which screens outgoing impulses. The caudate fails to block these alarms, so they propagate to the Cingulate Gyrus (24), the brain’s emotional control center. All these frontal areas are extremely active (hyperfrontality), resulting in repetitive thoughts and behaviors outside the control of the rational brain.
This entire circuit, from orbito-frontal cortex/basal ganglia/cingulate gyrus is overactive in OCD and addictions. As a result, Serotonin levels tend to be very low in these areas. Effective training quiets the circuit and increases serotonin release, resulting in resolution of those problems.
Filtering issues deal with mid-brain functions controlling the interface between the mind and the environment. The EEG shows excessive activation surging up and down the spectrum, usually with very low activity in the 12-15 Hz band.
Poor filtering of incoming sensory material (distractibility), outgoing physical responses (impulsivity) and outgoing emotional responses (lability) are hallmarks of disregulation in the filtering system. Their source is the loop between the thalamus, pre-frontal cortex and basal ganglia.
Categories of problems include:
- Distractibility, impulsivity,emotional lability
- Sleep onset difficulties, active sleep, teeth-grinding, restless leg;
- Allergies, asthma;
- ADHD, Tourettes, Aspergers, Pervasive Developmental Delay, Autism
- Sharp or stabbing pains
Low Blood Supply to neuron restricts firing speed. Pattern of speeding up/slowing down results in going in/out of contact with the environment. EEG shows excessive Delta or Theta, sometimes combined with Alpha. Almost no fast activity above 15 Hz.
Extreme difficulty with language/sequencing tasks.
Categories of Problems include:
- Inattentive internal locus of awareness
- Chronic pain/aches
- Sleep deeply and quickly; difficulty waking up or wakes frequently;
- Learning problems with reading, listening, writing, organizing
Coherence measures relatedness in activity between sets of neurons. High coherence or relatedness generally results from one of two sources: communication between neurons (e.g. between Wernicke’s and Broca’s areas during language task in beta frequencies), or both sets of neurons responding to a common rhythm generator (e.g. alpha from the thalamus). Coherence in alpha and lower frequencies is normal, since these are global and regional resonances; coherence in beta is unusual, since it is a local resonance.
Beta coherence locks together neurons that should be performing independent functions, limiting their processing capacity. It may be that this locking is a result of excessive demand on those neurons, requiring this excessive and highly demanding response.
LOCKING ISSUES.Over sensory areas , high coherence can be related to sensory defensiveness and extreme sensitivity. Sensitivity to light in migraines may be seen as high fast-frequency coherence over the occipital lobes.
Over frontal control areas, it can be related to excessive emotional drive resulting in outbursts of anger or sadness.