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Mental traffic jam

The Rich Writer: Mental traffic jam

The Rich Writer

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mental traffic jam

Indulge the science geek in me for a moment:

Recent research from Northwestern University provided a major breakthrough in the understanding of schizophrenia. It turns out that a person with schizophrenia has a lower number of neural pathways in the front portion of her brain than normal. This person also has lower amounts of a protein that now appears to be important to formation of the usually dense web of neuron connections. The disease's symptoms seem to be the result of a mental traffic jam--the brain forms too few pathways to handle all the info it has to process.

It's a very cool discovery, because it suggests possibilities for someday developing a cure for this disease.

It's also cool because of what it suggests about how the brain works. In scizophrenia, thoughts jam up because there aren't enough "roads" to handle all the thoughts. Could it work the other way? Could your brain "jam" because you're trying to process too many thoughts--too much info--at once? Because this is one of the delightful dangers of the creative process: idea overload.
Well, if your ears start smoking next time you write, don't say I didn't warn you!

-- Cheryl :-)

(Photo Credit: Peter Penzes, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)

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