Sometimes less is more
For a long time, researchers thought that many neurological and psychiatric diseases were caused by insufficient brain activity. But the opposite is often the case.
Do you know that: Someone comes up to you, greets you in a friendly way, but you absolutely can't remember who that is? Or are you trying to focus on a newspaper article, but your mind keeps wandering? We often explain such temporary lapses in memory and occasional absent-mindedness with statements such as "my brain is still asleep" or "my gray matter isn't really working yet". When our mind isn't working as well as we expect it to in some way, we tend to assume it's on the back burner.
But is it really like that? In fact, for a long time many brain researchers assumed that cognitive impairments such as attention and memory disorders were caused by insufficient activity in certain areas of the brain. Accordingly, one must stimulate the affected regions in order to restore the functions.
Recent studies on patients with neurological and psychiatric diseases show, however, that the opposite is often the case: the neuronal inhibition mechanisms do not function properly. Especially in brain centers like the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus, nerve cells fire in a less controlled way…