Neuronal circuits in the brain 'sense' our inner state
on 22 July 2020
Brain Circuits

Love it or hate it, dopamine is our friend through thick and thin, good times and bad. But like most well-intentioned people, it can act against what we really want, even what is really good for us; that's the essence of most anxiety. Hypnotherapy is the natural and safe solution to the life you want . . . 

Sometimes the absence of punishment is a reward, powered by aversion!

Dopamine is mostly known as the pharmacist of the brain's pleasure centre but that is misleading as dopamine plays many roles in the way our life unfolds. Essentially there are 5 known Dopamine receptors (and 2 new suspects), classified as D1 to D5. D1 and D5 are grouped together and perform a stimulatory response in the brain, as in, towards pleasure type behaviours. D2, D3 and D4 the other group, which are more inhibitory in nature, as in, away from pain, difficulty or unwanted experience, e.g. danger etc. As an example of its role in brain/body function, here is a list of each type of dopamine receptor role:

  • D1: memory, attention, impulse control, regulation of renal function, locomotion
  • D2: locomotion, attention, sleep, memory, learning
  • D3: cognition, impulse control, attention, sleep
  • D4: cognition, impulse control, attention, sleep
  • D5: decision making, cognition, attention, renin secretion

Most dopaminergic neurons come from an area of the brain called the ventral tegmental area, from where the 4 reward pathways send outbound signals (efferent) and receive inbound signals (afferent) from many brain areas. However, in Parkinson's disease, this is a result of a loss of dopaminergic neurons/receptors in an area of the brain called substantia nigra, (black substance) pars compacta, part of the basal ganglia. This is an area that is involved in fine motor control. So in that sense, it has much less to do with motivational salience. While conducting research on flies is useful, from a therapeutic perspective the big difference is a consequence of the way our brain encodes experience and observation into memory, with our native language being the cognitive/emotional interface. Consequently, most, but by no means, all, of the clients who present for therapy, are at the mercy of this memory phenomenon. Dopamine plays a role in many aspects of that memory conundrum but we have the ability to be mindful about our awareness of the many moments of now, that we experience daily. Evidence to support that comes from those moments when memory is stimulated by something bad or good! Relative to our perception of that memory determines which type of dopamine receptor becomes active.

The value of that, to any given client, is somewhat a consequence of the outcome/intention of this type of research and what hypnotherapy has an alternative objective. So, what are those objectives? Well, predominantly this type of research is in developing pharmacological interventions, medication, and hypnotherapy has the intention to change brain function is somewhat the same way the brain consolidates and reconsolidates memories. The vast majority of how and why we function the way we do is via the enactment of neurological algorithms, aka memories. Every response to life, bad or good, is a result of conscious and non-conscious brain processing. We breathe as a consequence of non-conscious brain processes. A simple way to look at memories is that they are coded messages within and across many brain regions, that elicit a behavioural response. If these happen often enough they form what we refer to as habits. Breathing is slightly different in that it is an innate response from the moment of birth. I guess the evolutionary logic there, comes from the realisation that we are, way, to stupid to be put in charge of that habit. Nevertheless, we can assert conscious control over our breathing. Hypnotherapy is a cross between aspects of consciousness and the outcome of changed non-conscious processing. Essentially creating a neuro-linguistic bridge between emotion and cognition. The point at which we know emotional, what we know cognitively. As an example, every person with a spider phobia I have ever worked with, knew, cognitively, that a spider won't hurt them; they just didn't know it emotionally! The phobic response was an emotional reaction to what they did not know emotionally; not what they knew cognitively.

So, the next time you have an emotional/mental issue, you have to ask yourself two questions, 1. do I want to take medication or 2. do I want to explore the possibilities of hypnotherapy? My choice led me to where I am today and I am really glad to be here. Hypnosis does what it says on the can!

Hypnotherapy is not, or at least shouldn't be, just about hypnosis and therapeutic intervention, it should be about taking a holistic approach to life. In order to function to our utmost potential, we need to focus on "all of the basics," i.e. breathing, hydration, food, sleep, exercise, in all its forms and then hypnosis will work much more effectively. It is still good if you ignore the basics, obviously not too much, and mostly this is the place many clients are already in. Very few clients breathe properly, 99% do not breathe properly (diaphragmatically), many are somewhat dehydrated and many have poor diets. You will survive but for some, longevity could be impaired. But the quality of one's life is not expressed in the number of years they live, It's what they achieve in those years that really counts and all of this is an intrinsic part of the way I deliver my therapy! So, if you want to live a good life, why not make an appointment for a free consultation? See below for the link to a new future!

Hypnotherapy stands out as one of the most effective strategic life management methods there is, especially in its ability to promote clear thinking and good states of mental wellness. The behaviours that make life challenging are often a result of too much stress, too little or poor quality sleep and too little by way of mental and emotional clarity! So, to get or take back control of your mind and your life, it makes perfect sense to use a methodology that addresses the subconscious brain's role in perpetuating negative, vague and ambiguous states of mind. Hypnosis helps us to create calm relaxing states of mind that make life work better! If you would like to address any concerns you have in this direction, or, if you just want the ability to make your life feel better, then why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation? Hypnosis gives you the ability to have a good life! 

My objective is to help people understand how and why we become illogically trapped into emotional experiences that may actually be happening but for reasons, we may never have imagined! If you want to know more about Hypnotherapy, why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation?


For more information on the Free Consultation - Go Here Or, to book your Free Consultation today, you can do so here

The Research:

How decisions are made and how behaviour is controlled is one of the most important questions in neuroscience. The neurotransmitter dopamine plays a central role in all of this. Scientists looked into the role that dopamine plays in the decision-making process and in controlling movement.

Animals have an innate preference for certain scents and tastes. Attractive scents are linked to things like good food. Less attractive scents -- that of spoiled food, for example -- instinctively give the animal a signal which says: "There could be danger here!" When it comes to taste, all animals have similar preferences: Sugars and fats are perceived positively, whereas a bitter taste is perceived rather negatively.

In order to be able to make such evaluations, we need signals in the brain that tell us "This is good" or "This is bad." The dopaminergic system in the brain, better known as the reward system, plays an important role in these evaluations.

Understanding what happens in the brain

Neurons that produce dopamine, known as dopaminergic neurons, play a role in a range of diseases, from addictive behaviour and obesity to Parkinson's disease. During addiction or obesity, the reward system signals can be too strong or also too weak. In Parkinson's disease, dopaminergic neurons degenerate, and this affects the control of motor functions.

To learn more about the processes in the brain, basic research is essential. Ilona Grunwald Kadow, Professor of Neural Control of Metabolism at the TUM School of Life Sciences in Weihenstephan, and her team are conducting research on the fly Drosophila melanogaster.

Neuroscientists often use this fly as a model because its neuronal networks are much simpler than those of humans. Using genetic tricks, scientists can turn individual network components on and off or change them. This enables the researchers to understand the principles of neuronal circuits that underlie the functions of more complex brains. "Dopamine plays a very similar role in the brain of humans and insects," explains the scientist.

Further clarifying the effect of dopamine

Dopamine is one of the most intensively studied signals in the brain. It is involved in both cognitive (e.g. motivation, reinforcement, goal-oriented behaviour, motor control and movement, decision-making and learning) and more basic functions (e.g. reproduction and nausea).

How dopamine contributes to the various aspects of neural circuit functionality and behaviour is an open question, but it is believed that dopaminergic neurons use different activity patterns to send a signal to the brain about what the body needs and senses. "We have now investigated the activity of the dopaminergic neurons in greater detail," said Ilona Grunwald Kadow. The team developed a custom 3D-imaging method based on in-vivo calcium imaging, as calcium is a good indicator of neuronal activity.

Neurons react flexibly and individually

Using this method, the research team was able to show that the activity of a network of dopaminergic neurons reflects both the innate preferences for smell and taste as well as the physiological state of the organism.

In addition to sensory stimuli such as smell or taste, dopaminergic neurons also record information as to whether an organism is moving or not. The neurons can respond to both internal behavioural states and external signals, bring them together, and use this to support both cognitive and motor processes.

"By doing that, the neurons can react flexibly and individually to the most important information -- such as smell, taste, but also hunger or one's own movement. This is important to reach a balanced decision, because an external sensory signal can sometimes mean something good or bad, depending on an organism's condition," says Prof. Grunwald Kadow.

Surprising results

The researchers were surprised that dopaminergic neurones behave quite differently in different animals. The scientists speculate that this might explain individual preferences and behavioural differences between individuals.

In addition, the researchers found that the movement of the animal not only activates these dopaminergic neurones, but also other areas of the brain that actually have nothing per se to do with movement. This provides starting points for further research, for example, what role movement plays in general when reacting to an environmental stimulus.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Technical University of Munich (TUM)Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. K.P. Siju, Vilim Štih, Sophie Aimon, Julijana Gjorgjieva, Ruben Portugues, Ilona C. Grunwald Kadow. Valence and State-Dependent Population Coding in Dopaminergic Neurons in the Fly Mushroom BodyCurrent Biology, 2020; 30 (11): 2104 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.04.037

Cite This Page:

Technical University of Munich (TUM). "Neuronal circuits in the brain 'sense' our inner state." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 July 2020. <>.