Little Limbic?

The brain is a marvelous creation like none other. It determines how we react to situations and our environment. Dopamine released at the right time can relax us, while adrenalin can get us pumped up for action. With such an organ controlling everything our body does, one could question if we are really in control.

Taking a closer look at our brain, we can find segments and defined regions. Each region governs different controls. For example, the medulla oblongata controls eye movement, breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate. At the lower temporal section, we will find the limbic system. Note: the term “limbic” system is antiquated, but for simplicity, I choose to use it in this blog. 

The limbic system has two horn-like sectors on each temporal side that controls spatial memory. This is the hippocampus. Have you ever revisited a city and remembered how to navigate the roads. That, my friend, is the hippocampus at work. 

The funny thing about the hippocampus is that it can decrease in size when a person is exposed to stress. This will result in the loss of long-term memories. Adults who have experienced abusive childhoods often have considerable gaps in their memories. The size of this region is smaller in Alzheimer’s patients and those with dementia. 

Another exciting find comes in the form of learning. Earlier, we mentioned that the hippocampus controls long-term memories. This means events in the “now” are not correctly stored. Thus, when it’s time to remember that memory is not there. Welcome to the foundation of some learning disabilities. 

It is fundamentally accepted that abused or neglected children suffer academically. I’d like to point out the stress they are placed under and the duration. For most, there is no way out of this abuse. Stockholm’s syndrome may play a part in this, but I believe their refusal to leave exists within the bond between parent and child. 

So is an abused child destined to grow up poor and live a life of crime? We’ll find out more next week as we continue this discussion. 

Until the next blog, live life, be happy and click the like button.  

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