Healing Brain Seminar: November 1981
THE HEALING BRAIN
A Weekend Symposium
November 21–22, 1981
Pacific Medical Center and
The Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge
We have radically underestimated our sensitivity to the social and physical environment as well as human capabilities for self-healing. Recent advances in the brain and behavioral sciences have revealed that interpersonal interactions can markedly influence physiological responses and that social support and friends may modify disease susceptibility. We are also learning more about how sensitive the brain is to environmental changes, how stress alters our immune system, and how to mobilize the brain’s intrinsic healing potential.
These and other findings of major clinical importance will be explored at a two-day symposium. A distinguished faculty of researchers and clinicians will provide through lectures, panel discussions, and questions and answers an up-to-date review of emerging trends in behavioral medicine.
Philip A. Berger, M.D., is associate professor of psychiatry at Stanford University. His main research has been in the role of endorphins and mental health, especially the relationship to schizophrenia. He is the author of many journal articles. Among his books are Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Behavioral Neurochemistry.
Marian C. Diamond, M.A., Ph.D., is professor of anatomy at the University of California, Berkeley and former associate dean of the College of Letters and Science. Her research has centered on how the structure of the nervous system can be modified by changes in the environment. She is also currently developing a school health education program to enhance body awareness in children.
Arthur Kleinman, M.D., is professor and head, Division of Cultural Psychiatry, and adjunct professor of anthropology, University of Washington School of Medicine. His major work has been in the areas of medical anthropology with extensive field work in Taiwan, and more recently China, and the integration of clinical social science in medical education and practice. He is author of numerous scientific papers, editor-in-chief of the international journal Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, author of Patients and Healers in the Context of Culture, and coeditor of The Relevance of Social Science for Medicine.
Jon D. Levine, M.D., Ph.D., is acting chief of the Pain Research Laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco and resident in medicine at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Francisco. His research has been on the mechanisms of pain and analgesia in animals and the role of endorphins in placebo analgesia.
James J. Lynch, Ph.D., is professor of psychology, University of Maryland School of Medicine and scientific director of the Psychophysiological Clinic and Laboratories. His research interests have included biofeedback control of brain wave activity, the psychophysiology of affiliation and cardiac function about which he has written a book, The Broken Heart: The Medical Consequences of Loneliness.
Meredith Minkler, Dr.P.H., is assistant professor of Health Education, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests include the problems of aging in American society, the health effects of retirement, and the role of supportive ties in health maintenance.
Robert E. Ornstein, Ph.D., is associate professor of medical psychology, University of California, San Francisco and president of The Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge. His major interests include the function of the two hemispheres of the brain and perception and communications in the human sciences. He is author of The Psychology of Consciousness and The Mind Field, and coauthor of On the Psychology of Meditation.
George F. Solomon, M.D., is professor in residence and vice chairman, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco and chief of Psychiatry Valley Medical Center of Fresno. He also serves as director of medical education, Fresno County Department of Health. He has done extensive research on emotional factors in autoimmune disease and the effect of stress on the immune system. He is author of many scientific papers and coauthor of the book, The Psychology of Strength.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21
THE CHANGING BRAIN
Robert E. Ornstein, Ph.D.
The “brain” is usually thought of as a static organ. However, recent research indicates that the brain is much more plastic than previously thought. The brain changes its organization to meet different situations: the cerebral hemispheres are selectively activated and suppressed for different types of thought. The chemistry of the brain changes with different food intakes and with changes in the weather. The implications of such brain changes for health will be discussed.
ENVIRONMENT, AIR IONS, AND BRAIN CHEMISTRY
Marian C. Diamond, Ph.D.
We are becoming increasingly aware of the ease with which the cerebral cortex of the brain can be changed by alterations in the external environment. More recently, negative air ions have been shown to change brain chemistry with different effects when the organism lives in an enriched or impoverished environment.
THE PSYCHOBIOLOGY OF HUMAN CONTACT
James J. Lynch, Ph.D.
Most psychosomatic disease results from hyperactivity of the autonomic nervous system in response to interpersonal interactions. In most settings the individual is unaware of this body reaction. The implications of this view of clinical diagnosis and treatment will be explored with particular reference to the medical consequences of loneliness and the importance of human companionship.
PEOPLE NEED PEOPLE: SOCIAL SUPPORT AND HEALTH
Meredith Minkler, Dr.P.H.
A major and often neglected risk factor in morbidity and mortality appears to be the extent to which an individual is enmeshed in a supportive social network. Various mechanisms by which social ties influence health will be reviewed. Case studies will be presented to demonstrate the role of pre-existing and intentionally developed supportive networks in helping people cope with stressful life events and decreasing susceptibility to illness.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 22
BELIEF AS PATHOGEN BELIEF AS MEDICINE
Arthur M. Kleinman, M.D,
The beliefs and expectations held by people in a society play a significant causal role both in disease and its remedy. Extreme pathogenic effects include such phenomena as “voodoo death” and “the giving-up-given-up syndrome” while the placebo effect and faith healing are examples of the therapeutic power of belief. Such beliefs have profound physiological consequences mediated through the central nervous system which must be taken into consideration in any account of human health and disease.
EMOTIONS, STRESS, AND IMMUNITY
George F. Solomon, M.D.
Emotional distress may suppress the immune response and thereby be implicated in the multifactorial causes of infectious disease, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer, resistance to which appears to be immunologic. The central nervous system, particularly the hypothalamus, and various neuroendocrines appear to be involved in regulation of the immune system.
ENDORPHINS IN MENTAL HEALTH
Philip A. Berger, M.D.
Endorphins are natural brain chemicals that have pharmacological properties that are nearly identical to opiates, such as morphine or heroin. They may have a role in schizophrenia and depression. As there is both an excess and a deficiency of endorphin activity in patients with mental disorders, the narcotic antagonist naloxone is also under study. Naloxone blocks the activity of opiates and endorphins and has been found to block the pain relief produced by acupuncture, nitrous oxide, electrical stimulation of the brain, and placebo injections.
PAIN, PLACEBOS, AND ENDORPHINS: USING THE BODY’S OWN HEALING MECHANISMS Jon D. Levine, M.D., Ph.D.
Recent research on the intrinsic analgesia systems of the body has joined forces with research on endorphins, the endogenous opiate-like chemicals produced by the body. The role of endorphins in the placebo effect and other physiological states will be explored.