The Herman Trend Alert
November 21, 2018
Using Positive Emotions to Shrink Cancer
In the futures field, we have something we call "weak signals". Weak signals are low-level indicators of trends that may develop. To us, the topic of this Herman Trend Alert is such a signal. However, from our research, we have high confidence that this study is only the beginning of our understanding of the relationship between our brains and disease.
Stress and disease
For many years, we have known about the relationship between stress and disease, and that high levels of stress or other negative feelings have been known to cause cancer. Actually, increased stress is associated with many types of cancer. What has not been explored before is the affirmative effect of positive emotions.
Engendering positive emotions in mice
Researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology artificially activated the "reward system" in the brains of mice with two types of cancer. This activation led to a dramatic reduction in the size of their malignant tumors. The journal Nature Communications published the results.
Understanding health improvement
The understanding that an improvement in the patient's emotional state could affect the course of the disease is a concept that several researchers, including professors at the Stanford University School of Medicine, had demonstrated. However, the mechanism was not understood. With the latest research from Israel, there is the beginning of a physiological model that explains at least part of this effect.
Another example of personalized medicine
According to the researchers, once we understand the brain's influence on the immune system and its ability to fight cancer and other diseases, we will be able to use this breakthrough in many medical treatments. Due to differences in genetic makeup, different people react differently; the tremendous potential for healing comes when we gain a thorough understanding of the mechanisms.
Mice are not humans, but. . .
The authors of the study emphasized that the study did not use human test subjects and that they had tested only two cancer models (melanoma and lung cancer). Plus, the success was based on only tumor volume and weight. That said, this advance allows doctors to comprehend the physiological role their patients' mental states play in the development of malignant diseases.
What the future holds
In the future, by activating different parts of the brain, doctors may be able to support the immune system to be better at blocking the development of cancerous tumors. Because this study was supported by the Adelis Brain Research Award, the research will have a global impact for the benefit of all humanity. We have only begun to understand the full relationship between positive feelings and healing.
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