Autonomic systems


Mar 10, 2013
Melbourne Australia
Firstly, thankyou for our site and your work. The information here takes us well beyond the information that us allopathic doctors have access to.

I am interested in the article on Autonomic systems:

The article refers back to the old model of a simple paired opposition between sympathetic and parasympathetic responses.

A more recent update to this model is found in the form of Prof Stephen Porges "Polyvagal Theory".

This theory is now becoming highly influential, and provides a much clearer understanding of the functions of the parasympathetic system.

It is now understood that the parasympathetic system is divided into two phylogeneticlly distinct parts.
The newest part, the myelinated vagus, is responsible for the automatic generation of socially appropriate facial expressions, and is operative only when the individual is in a state of calm and comfort ( a rest and digest mode that allows positive social interaction).

The older part of the vagus, the unmyelinated part is associated with more dramatic stress responses. It allows reptiles to go into torpor, or to survive under water for long periods without breathing.

In mammals though, activation of this response often causes fainting in humans or dissociative states in severe trauma. Its chronic activation is also part of depression- and in fact may well be related to the dysregulation of the immune system that causes higher levels of cancer in depression.

It is being suggested though that the cancers are not primarily caused by the biochemical effects like serotonin, but by the immune dysregulation.