This week I’m honored to be able to share a guest post on the physical impact toxic thought from Dr. Caroline Leaf! I’ve read her books (I highly recommend “Who Switched Off Your Brain?”, which you can purchase here), and have followed her blog for some time now. An abbreviated bio: 

Dr. Leaf is a cognitive neuroscientist with a PhD in Communication Pathology specializing in Neuropsychology. Since the early 1980‘s she has studied and researched  the Mind-Brain connection.  During her years in clinical practice as a Communication  Pathologist she developed tools and processes that help people develop and change their thinking and subsequent behavior. Her scientific Science of Thought techniques  have transformed the lives of patients with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), learning disabilities, emotional traumas and released the potential of thousands of young students and adults.  

She frequently lectures to both Christian and secular audiences worldwide, linking scientific principles of the brain to spiritual, intellectual and emotional issues in simple and practical ways.


C-reactive Protein and How Our Bodies React To Toxic Thought

“Do not be anxious about anything…” Philippians 4:6a

This biblical admonition does not just have spiritual and mental implications, but physical as well. In fact our bodies react to physical attack, whether it be by trauma or infection, and mental alarm in a similar fashion by a process called inflammation

[1]. Inflammation involves different types of white blood cells and various substances including many different types of cytokines [2]. Inflammation, if short-lived, is beneficial, however if it is prolonged it can physically damage the brain and body.

Among the substances first released in the inflammatory process is the appropriately named C-reactive protein, a five-part protein produced in the liver [3]. Researchers have found that worrying about a past stressful event, known as rumination, is associated with persistently high levels of C-reactive protein in the blood, indicating chronic inflammation in the body [4]. Chronic inflammation is associated with mental and physical disorders.

We cannot control our circumstances; however we can control our reactions to those circumstances. It seems our reactions can be measured by C-reactive protein. If we react the wrong way, we can damage our brain and body. We have to take heed to what St. Paul goes on to say from the scripture mentioned above:

“…but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. Philippians 4:6b-7.

References

1. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014 Nov;49:244-52. Post-stress rumination predicts HPA axis responses to repeated acute stress. Gianferante D, Thoma MV, Hanlin L, Chen X, Breines JG, Zoccola PM, Rohleder N.Health Psychol. 2014 Dec;33(12):1606-9. Differential effects of poststressor rumination and distraction on cortisol and C-reactive protein. Zoccola PM, Figueroa WS, Rabideau EM, Woody A1, Benencia F.

Stress Health. 2014 Aug;30(3):188-97. Cardiovascular and affective consequences of ruminating on a performance stressor depend on mode of thought. Zoccola PM, Rabideau EM, Figueroa WS, Woody A.

Clin Schizophr Relat Psychoses. 2014 Jan;7(4):223-30. C-reactive protein levels in schizophrenia: a review and meta-analysis. Miller BJ1, Culpepper N2, Rapaport MH3.

Ann Clin Lab Sci. 2000 Apr;30(2):133-43. Review: Biology and relevance of C-reactive protein in cardiovascular and renal disease. Westhuyzen J1, Healy H.

2. Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease. 5th edition. Janeway CA Jr, Travers P, Walport M, et al. New York: Garland Science; 2001. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK10757 /

3. Ann Clin Lab Sci. 2000 Apr;30(2):133-43. Review: Biology and relevance of C-reactive protein in cardiovascular and renal disease. Westhuyzen J, Healy H.

4. Health Psychol. 2014 Dec;33(12):1606-9. Differential effects of poststressor rumination and distraction on cortisol and C-reactive protein. Zoccola PM, Figueroa WS, Rabideau EM, Woody A1, Benencia F.

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