Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mental Disease Theory: High Entropy Neural Pathways

An idea I just had.

Assumption: Neural Patterns stimulated more regularly will become stronger and more easily stimulated

Certain mental diseases could be treated and avoided by non-drug therapy, or brain stimulation techniques. A mental disease could start off as a seed neural pathway in the brain that has an unusually high entropy value, or unusually low resistance. These pathways because of their high entropy/low resistance would be stimulated easily, and the more they are stimulated the more likely the neurons involved in the pathway will become linked to other neurons, auxiliary to the pathway, but linked to the experience, additionally the more the low entropy state becomes activated, the more strongly the neurons in the pathway become linked, a cancerous feedback loop of thought. For instance, if you are eating breakfast when a certain pathway is stimulated, the smell, taste, visual data, or even other things on your mind could become linked to the neural pathway being stimulated. This could in turn cause this high entropy neural pattern to become stimulated when eating breakfast, associations like these could in theory branch out, so that almost everything in your life, every experience activates this high entropy pathway.

So if a person has a latent high entropy pathway that simply has not yet been stimulated they will not experience the particular mental illness that results from this pathway.

Intellectual athletes, those who are constantly trying to expand the powers of their mind may be prone to mental illness by activating pathways in novel ways. An intellectual athlete is more than just an explorer of the mind, activating many many pathways, but creates links between pathways possibly creating an infectious low entropy pathway. This could also explain why psychedelic drugs have been linked to mental illness in those with a family history of illness. Certain people have latent high entropy neural pathways that have yet to be activated, psychedelic drugs activate pathways in the brain in very different manner than the brain is normally activated. Therefore a psychedelic drug could simply stimulate one of these high entropy pathways, and thus start the feedback loop of cancerous thought, precipitating the illness.

If this theory explains certain mental illness, this would provide for enhanced treatment options over the traditional prescription and therapy treatment.

One would simply need to have real-time brain imaging machine with a certain amount of resolution that allowed pathways to be distinguished from one another rapidly. A therapist and patient would need to experiment to find which pathway the disease state occupies, and the auxiliary pathways that activate the disease state. Through neurobio-feedback the patient could learn to avoid activating the disease state. This would be an ongoing process, that would be very intensive during the beginning weeks/months of neurobio feedback, with neurobio-feedback sessions tapering off as the disease state becomes activated less and less. It may even be possible for the patient to break apart the high entropy system through neurobio-feedback.

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