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Fourth World Eye Blog

Selfish Brain Theory

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Alternative approaches to healing obesity and diabetes are gaining more and more interest and understanding in Europe. The principle of enacting self determination to regain control over one's health is emphasized within the western medical system to achieve a better state of well being.
Recently one of the biggest studies ever conducted in the USA, involving 10,000 diabetics, planned for more than 10 years was discontinued after only four years. There were more deaths among the patients whose blood glucose was lowered than among the control group. Studies found that lowering the blood sugar with the help of insulin pushes the blood glucose into the adipose tissue and the muscles. The sugar transport to the brain in contrast is slowed down. The undernourished and for its high energy needs "selfish brain" starts demanding more supplies. The stress system gets activated: The heart starts pounding faster to transport more blood sugar to the brain. Heightening the risk of heart attack. Due to the lack of available energy from the body the brain commands to eat more. The patient gains weight. Diabetes gets worse. Eating becomes a strategy and turns into the sole reaction to stress and conflicts.

Based on this scientific research the method of "train the brain" is being developped at the University of Lübeck, Germany. In contrast to conventional ideas this method recognizes obesity and type 2 diabetes as central diseases of the brain on the basis of neuroendocrine defects. Changing behaviour is the focus of the "train the brain" therapy. Not only eating habits. Emotions are of prior importance. Anger, sadness, solitude all tell the person about his/her personal needs. However many patients are no longer aware of the causes of their emotions. They simply feel stressed and start to eat in order to feel better. The scientific researchers of the selfish brain project maintain that to overcome these habits and heighten the patients' awareness for their own needs should be an important part of treatment, besides medication. 

People need to be supported to efficiently cope with the stress underlying and contributing to metabolic dysfunctions to have sufficient strenght to undertake self-care and properly oversee the diseases which are so devastating the world over and severely threaten the survival of indigenous communities.


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