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View Diary: A Biologist's View of the Spill (161 comments)

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    imbic Sensitization or "Kindling"
    One common finding is that a part of the brain known as the 'limbic system', which has strong connections to the part of the brain involved with our sense of smell, the olfactory system, shows increased electrical activity in MCS patients when exposed to chemicals they are sensitive to. One of the main functions of the limbic system is the regulation of mood and autonomic nervous system functions, which would explain why many symptoms of MCS involve changes in mood, thought and sensory information. As a result of these findings a number of researchers have suggested that in MCS, the brain, and limbic system in particular, has become hypersensitized so that smaller amounts of chemicals cause the brain to become activated (1 , 2). This theory has been given a lot of weight by further research that has shown the limbic systems of animals exposed to either short term high concentrations of chemicals (such as formaldehyde), or long term lower concentrations, have become hypersensitized so that further exposure to a concentration of chemical, that previously would have had no effect, now initiates a high amount of electrical activity in their limbic systems (3 , 4). Researchers found that chemicals that differed greatly in their structure, had a remarkably similar effect on the limbic system. Additionally, the hypothalamus is part of the limbic system and is an important information processing centre and is the focal point in the brain where the immune, autonomic nervous, and endocrine systems interact. It has long been proposed that a malfunctioning hypothalamus upon exposure to chemical triggers could produce the symptoms described in MCS through its influence on all these body systems. The limbic system is known to be responsive to both chemical and cortical stimuli. This means that it can be activated either by thought, or exposure to chemicals in the form of natural neurotransmitters, or more importantly in the context of multiple chemical sensitivity, in the form of chemical irritants that enter the body through the nose. This fact provides a strong argument against those who state that MCS is purely a psychological illness, as chemicals triggering activation of the limbic system could initiate mood changes and other symptoms typically labeled as psychiatric[link

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    Nostalgia isn't what it used to be

    by stonemason on Fri May 14, 2010 at 07:33:49 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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