Vagus Nerve & DMN used to reduce depression

Why most mental illnesses are gut brain/nervous system problems

The Neuroscience article shown below discusses the use of vagus nerve stimulation VNS to increase functionality of the Default Mode Network and reducing major depressive disorder.

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The Cognitive Principle Matrix uses the same two systems to explain why depression and most other mental illnesses are gut brain problems and not emotional problems and that therapy should start with the gut brain.

An explanation of the Depression process starts here.

Most depression is caused by a series of factors acting across three systems

  1. Experiencing a negative event [-]
  2. Taking that negative event personally [P]
  3. Ruminating over that event [process of connecting TPN-P2 & DMN-Mind Wandering-P2, in a repetitive manner].
  4. A "Bad habit" is created located at DMN-Procedural-P2. Bad habits are normal, but very bad habits lead to mental illness.
  5. The second system the Comparative-Predictive Mind starts at point 3. above, producing rumination. It escalates into a negative-comparative-predictive-loop, forming a very bad habit, which in a depressed person does not stop:

The four brains all move from positive to negative as follows:

6. The third process, the vagus nerve, which was activated back in Step 1, looks like this:

The depressed client is now stuck with a very bad habit passing through nervous system into the gut brain, with the withdrawal button switched on.

In Cognitive Principle Therapy, the Head Brain and the Spirit Brain commence work on the Gut Brain to overcome depression.

Why Start with the Gut Brain?

The Cognitive Principle Matrix is based an adaption of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. The basic need is for control, overcoming the first two steps in the depression cycle, that is, taking a negative event personally, overcoming fear and negative concerns which include hopelessness, panic, shame, paranoid fear etc.

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Treating Depression With Non-Invasive Vagus Nerve Stimulation

February 4, 2016 NeuroscienceNews.com

Depression can be a devastating and unremitting problem.

Researchers of a new study published in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry report successful reduction of depressive symptoms in patients using a novel non-invasive method of vagus nerve stimulation, or VNS.

Despite the growing number of medications and neurostimulation approaches available, residual symptoms may be both distressing and disabling. Traditional vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a neurostimulation technique that has been used to alleviate treatment-resistant symptoms of depression. Clinical trials suggested that it produced modest benefit that emerged over long periods of time. However, it was also costly and required risky neurosurgery to implant the vagal nerve stimulators.

In this new study, Drs. Peijing Rong and Jiliang Fang at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, collaborating with Jian Kong’s research team at Harvard Medical School, investigated a new, modified form of VNS called transcutaneous VNS, which instead stimulates the vagus nerve through electrodes clipped onto the ear, similar to how headphones rest inside the ear.

Patients with major depressive disorder who volunteered for the study received either transcutaneous VNS or sham (placebo) VNS and underwent a functional neuroimaging scan both before and after one month of treatment.

Compared to patients who received sham VNS, the patients who received real VNS showed significant improvement of their depressive symptoms. This improvement was associated with increased functional connectivity between the default mode network and precuneus and orbital prefrontal cortex, an important network in the brain known to be altered in depression.

“The transcutaneous approach may make this treatment for depression more accessible to people with depression, providing it proves to retain the efficacy of the more direct form of vagal nerve stimulation,” said Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry.

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