Our brains are the most adaptive organs in our bodies so constant repetition will change the way that they work. And that constant repetition applies not only to learning to play an instrument but to playing computer games.
The difference is that each interaction we get from a computer game give us a small dopamine hit. But you know what dopamine does? It makes you want more – and more – so that your brain is constantly looking for more, and releasing more dopamine in an exhausting, stimulation-seeking merry-go-round.
This was the message from Paula Healy who holds an MSc in Neuroscience and whose area of expertise is the relationship between the brain and electronic media – speaking at an electro-sensitivity meeting in the autumn.
But dopamine also affects our ability to make decisions by reducing the frontal lobe activity of the brain – the part of the brain that controls its executive function and, thereby, our impulses and our ability to self regulate and plan ahead. Meanwhile, a flickering screen continually draws our attention and encourages us to be distracted and to multi-task – something which the brain enjoys although it finds the constant release of dopamine and adrenaline stimulated by the multi-tasking exhausting.
The result is behavioural addiction – even digital dementia. Estimates suggest that 24 million children could already be addicted to computer game playing. In China they have established government funded boot camps to break children of their addictions while the Capio Nightingale Hospital in London includes ‘technology addiction ‘ in the list of conditions that they treat.
To avoid such an outcome Paula recommends:
- Being selective in your use – and particularly in your children’ use – of the internet
- Avoid multi-tasking
- Take lots of short breaks from screens
- Take time of – and laugh a lot
- Exercise lots – walk, tree hug – and make sure you take your children with you
- Meditate or or use mindfulness techniques
During the same meeting, Dr Erica Mallery Blythe also gave us run down on the massive amount of research that has been done around electro-sensitivity and the potential harms that it highlights. Dr Mallery Blythe coordinates a group, PHIRE, of medical doctors and specialists who gather, coordinate and critique research with the purpose of ‘improving education regarding health effects of non-ionising radiation’.
There are 10,00s of papers on electro-sensitivity, many of them funded by the industry, the results of which are inconsistent. However, it is worth noting that 70% of the independently funded studies from the 1970s onwards show credible evidence of harm. Points worth noting:
- All bodies parts can be affected by radiation
- All living creatures can be affected by radiation and at very low intensity
- If electronic waves coincide (polarisation/forced oscillation) the effects are greater
- There are high levels of calcium in all our body cells. If this oscillates as a result of electromagnetic waves, it sets up oxidative stress which known to play significant role on all bodily malfunctions.
- 24 hours mobile phone usage/exposure is now known to cause DNA damage
- Using the Hills Criteria for Causality the connection between radiation and brain tumours satisfies six of Hills’ nine criteria.
- Low intensity radiation causes leakage around brain capillaries thus breaking the blood-brain barrier
- Radiation has a dose responsive effect on semen, causes ovarian damage and affected the growing foetus.
But, before you get too depressed….. There is much that you can do to protect yourself and to minimise your exposure to electromagnetic radiation. We will be having a report soon on how to get your home assessed for radiation (see RoyRiggs.co.uk) but meanwhile you can check in to ES-UK for loads of information, to the Powerwatch site for loads more information plus suggestions on what you can to reduce your exposure and a shop in which you can buy what you need. And for my own experiences of dealing with and protecting myself for radiation, see this article onto Foodsmatter site.