Where is your Second Brain?
I can hear you screaming: “What are you talking about? Are you insane?”
My answer is simple: “Thank you for asking; I am fine.”
If you really want to know where the second human brain is located, just keep reading this article.
I have no intention of writing a scientific paper, but I will explain, in plain English, some scientific facts known for many years.
Just a basic understanding of how everything is connected in the human organism, helps us to improve our life.
In the early 1970’s, Dr. Robert Ader, Professor at the University of Rochester in NY, discovered something very unusual and interesting: The immune system, which protects us from illnesses, can be trained to learn to remember to respond to outside signals.
Dr. Ader’s experiment
Dr. Ader’s famous experiment was simple, but very profound and understandable.
What was the experiment all about?
He gave rats saccharin (sweetener), together with Cytoxan, a drug which reduces the immune system. As a result, the number of the immune system’s cells (T- cells) dropped, which is a normal reaction to the drug that was given.
What is not “normal” is this: when Dr. Ader gave the rats saccharin alone, without a drug, the result was the same: a low count of T-cells.
Dr. Ader’s conclusion was this: The immune system has learned and memorised to suppress T- cells in response to the saccharin, even when the drug Cytoxan is not actually given!
And now, you tell me: Which human organ can learn and memorize?
Did you say: the brain? You are right, but you are not the first one who has suggested that the immune system is the “body’s second brain”.
Francisco Javier Varela (1946 – 2001), was a biologist and neuroscientist who first described the immune system as “a second human brain”.
Now you know: my question at the beginning of this article was correct and logical.
Back to Ader’s experiment.
This experiment was a demonstration that the nervous system can affect the immune system, for the reason that the nervous system communicates with the immune system.
This experiment was the beginning of the new science Psychoneuroimmunology, studying the interaction between the human mind (psycho), the nervous system (neuro), and the immune system (immunology).
Ader’s next conclusion was: If saccharin alone reduced the immune system, by association with the slowing down of the immune response drug, is it possible that stress has a similar effect on immune system?
The rest is history.
The experiment demonstrated that the nervous system can affect the immune system and the immune system can affect the nervous system.
Today, it is a proven fact that the brain, the endocrine system (the system that secretes hormones), and the immune system communicate with each other. This proven fact can heal us, or kill us. Our behaviour can change immune functions, and immune responses can modulate our behaviour.
There are messengers that transmit positive feelings from the brain to the immune system. There are messengers that transmit negative feelings.
It is not science fiction when we teach people that the immune system “listens” to our emotional state. This is the mind-body connection at work.
When the mind is sick, the immune system is sick as well, and vice versa. This well known fact about the emotion-body connection helps us to understand how to heal ourselves.
Do not ignore signs of feeling down, depression or panic attacks. Ignoring these signs could lead to illness.
Now, we better recognize the role of positive beliefs, thoughts and emotions and how they affect our health.