Thalamic Reticular Activating System (RAS)
The Reticular Activation System (RAS) contains a group of neural nuclei that run through the entire brain stem, the
medulla, the pons, and the mid-brain. The RAS is also part of a complex system involved in emotion modulation and
decision making that includes communication links and loops with the amygdala and cerebellum. When activated the RAS will also fire or send signals to all parts of the Cortex as well as other parts of the brain, such as the hypothalamus and the limbic (emotional) system. The RAS plays an important role in mental processing efficiency. This applies to both routing of information as well selecting and filtering what is actually routed. The RAS has long been known to be involved in wakefulness and sleep but knowledge of its critical role in conjunction with the thalamus in neuronal traffic control is relatively recent. The RAS plays, for example, a central role in the concept of "switching" of neuronal impulse flow. The RAS also acts as a customizable filter which adapts and reacts to different situation types instantly. Besides the numerous opportunities for corrupted, altered or incorrect switching of data flow, one's personal beliefs (conscious and unconscious) also program the RAS regarding what is or is not important. Significantly, due to central nervous system (CNS) processing constraints, out of millions of bits of information processed at any time the RAS only permits or assigns the conscious mind approximately 130 pieces of this information per second. Consequently, something like 99.9% of all data presented to the brain is filtered out (though this may not be entirely true of unconscious systems and processes).
Though our DNA might determine what we look like and much of our physical potential, its role in our life path we now know to be largely secondary. It is the sensory data (signals) associated with our environment and the interpretation we place on these signals or data that rule our life. It is the perceptions that we endow the data with that govern our behavior as well as what our DNA is permitted to support. These perceptions are the product of a relationship between signal and "noise" or background interference. This, what we are terming interference, is a confluence that includes misinformation, unconscious processes, fears, trauma and survival related programs originating both inside and outside of the psyche that may degrade reality perception and appropriate responses to it.
The selective data allowed to consciously surface in the mind are the ones internally calculated over time to be personally important to the host with particular attention to host survival. Consequently, as this neurological component has proven to be easily and historically unbalanced or compromised as well as subject to limiting belief patterns, this is an area that deserves our significant attention. Combined with often inefficient cross-hemisphere communication, data is not only filtered and potentially compromised it is also sent on unnecessary routes requiring additional synaptic travel time. There is, consequently, also a loss of data and processing efficiency as well as a potential fixture on self-limiting beliefs. (1) Early childhood stress and related misdirection of data routing in the RAS are often further compounded by over-stimulated survival emotions, associated mainly with the amygdala, that constitute yet more serious data flow switching related to embedded deep survival fears. Since the RAS sets our basal muscle tone in response to a perception of the need for fight or flight (in all of its various forms) our modern family, peer, school and career pressures often keep an individual and their RAS in a state of prolonged hyper-alertness which can also eventuate at some point into conditions such as emotional, adrenal or chronic fatigue.
See also: Learning Disorders
An unbalanced or poorly programed RAS is the source of a great deal of learning and behavioral difficulty for children as well as for adults. The basic threefold functions of the RAS (waking/sleeping, alertness and arousal) can have a particularly acute impact on children's learning and behavior challenges that also carry over into later life—not only as ongoing life-long challenges to performance but also compounded by the associated early learning deficits. For an example, a child who fidgets unduly and can't seem to "sit still" is not only likely to be punished but is also likely to experience learning problems accompanied by poor self identity. The reality is that this child is not disobedient. Rather, he has an under active RAS that is requiring a great deal of proprioceptive (physical) stimulation to keep his RAS functioning and his cerebral cortex alert. If he does sit still his RAS will shut down and he will not be effectively attentive. He/she cannot win. The same is true of a host of potential neurological imbalances and data flow issues particularly in an age in which there is over-stimulation from almost all frequencies of the energy spectrum.
Misdirection of data in the RAS is common and generally begins at an early age when the child is presented with some sensory and/or emotional sensory data situation for which he/she is not yet equipped. Some such situations may appear harmless to parents or other adults but provide a temporary processing overload to the child's immature and developing neurological systems. Consequently, in such a situation, the RAS reflexively sends the particular data stream to an alternate location rather than the one that would normally process it. The data may seem safer or less intrusive in this otherwise inappropriate location. It is an instantaneous survival decision based on some belief or instinct that the normal apparatus cannot handle it. Unfortunately, though it may have served the child at that time the it was installed, the switch has been set and will continue to function in that manner—sending some information on what becomes a circuitous route as the data wends its way to its proper processing location on an indirect path and with some degree of data and time loss in this more complex transit. (2) Data switching may actually occur at a number of levels and within a number of neural structures but is almost always the result of stress that crosses some threshold relevant to the capacity of the individual.
Thalamic reticular switching, though it may have been resident within a person for nearly a lifetime, is fairly easy to fix and is a prerequisite to deeper levels of data switching. However, its function as a data filter is another matter that may require a separate approach. Now we are dealing with belief systems, some of which will almost invariably be self-defeating or limiting in some manner. In conjunction with any deeper level switching and data processing issues this is where the real work is to be done and where client willingness and desire play a very large facilitative role.
With respect to data routing and processing efficiency and its correction associated wave form communication must also be taken into account. In additional to physical neural communication pathways that have been observed scientifically and clinically it has recently become evident that electromagnetic oscillations in both local and distant structures and pathways are necessarily part of the overall coordination of human data processing—affecting both conscious and unconscious processes. Consequently wave form communication as well as quantum considerations must also be taken into account. (3) Where there is energy, there is information. Furthermore, as indicated elsewhere, information is almost always accessible and is never lost.
1) Such counterproductive beliefs are further constrained or supported by the very routing and processing inefficiencies associated with the blocked synaptic and processing routing. This also relates to the concepts of the Pain Body and Attractor Fields. See PROCESSES 1 and http://www.reticularactivatingsystem.org/
2) This relates to the Thalamic Nuclei or Reticular Nucleus of the Thalamus. There is a linear data stream coming in on the left side entering into the Postero-lateral Nucleus of the Thalamus (the sensory nucleus). It will then be projected up to the Cortex. The data flows from the left Postero-lateral Nucleus out to the Reticular Nucleus and back to the same place (Left Posterior Lateral Nucleus), making a loop. This circular path is where Thalamic Reticular Switching related to stress and/or trauma occurs. This may be a temporary or more permanent state. When the data comes in to the Left Postero-lateral Nucleus it may divert there (Left Thalamic Reticular Nucleus) and the Thalamic Reticular Nucleus erroneously routes it to the Right Postero-lateral Nucleus and mistakenly sends it to the other Postero-lateral Nucleus (right) and up to the wrong hemisphere. If the flow switches at that point, (Left Thalamic Reticular Nucleus) instead of going back where it belongs (Left Postero-lateral Nucleus) the data goes to the opposite nucleus (Right Postero-lateral Nucleus) and then up into cortical levels—resulting in logic data in the gestalt hemisphere. If the corpus callosum is open the data can be subsequently transferred across to the other hemisphere for proper, though delayed, processing. However, much of the corpus callosum channels are often also compromised effecting further data loss and processing degradation.
4) There has been a paucity of studies focused of wave form effects upon the brain and neurological systems. However, the following studies delve into some of the arcane coherence particulars involved. See: Viviano, Tremotopic Mapping of the Human Thalamic Reticular Nucleus, 2013, Master's Thesis, Graduate Program in Biology, York University, Toronto. www.viviano.ca/archive/jdv-msc-thesis.pdf. See also Wright , Bourke, et. al., Toward an Integrated Continuum Model of Cerebral Dynamics: The Cerebral Rhythms, Synchronous Oscillation and Cortical Stability, 2001, Journal of Biological and Information Processing Sciences, Dec. V.63, I.1-3, pp 71-88.Brain Dynamics Laboratory, Mental Health Research Institute of Victoria, Melbourne, School of Physics, University of Sydney, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Science, University of Auckland, http://paulbourke.net/papers/paper24/. This research aimed at a simple mathematical model to combine physiological and related wave form operations to explain observed synchrony and apparent neurological self organization unexplainable by purely physiological means. "Continuum models of cerebral cortex with parameters derived from physiological data, provide explanations of the cerebral rhythms, synchronous oscillation, and autonomous cortical activity in the gamma frequency range, and suggest possible mechanisms for dynamic self-organisation in the brain. The operation of the brain requires the coordinated interplay of billions of neurons via their synapto-dendritic couplings. The development of a concise mathematical description of this interplay is a major goal of neuroscience, but attempts to attain this goal encounter problems of a fundamental nature. ...At microscopic level, fast synaptic feedback appears to be crucial to the stability of the excited cortex. At mesoscopic scale interactions via dissipative wave transmission between excited cortical areas create fields of synchrony, and at macroscopic scale low- frequency resonances and traveling waves generate the 1/f background spectrum of the cortex." (e.g. 1/f = frequency of background data sensory noise). pp. 72, 80. See also: Nunez, P.L. Electric Fields of the Brain,1981, Oxford University Press (a landmark but dated work); and Palm, Wennekers, Synchronicity and its use in the brain, 1997, Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20, 695-696.