The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth.

~Chinese Proverb~

March madness and mental health

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2012 – Imagine a college band performing at half time during a football game.

The band members miraculously play their instruments while carrying out a choreographed march, forming interesting patterns on the field. If, in the middle of their song, the bass drums starting beating too slowly, what would happen?

The band director would madly flail away in an attempt to keep the performers in step. As each tardy bass drum beat is struck, the straight lines of the marching band start waffling. Players start turning corners into one another and soon little piles of performers begin forming, like ant hills. Snatches of the melody are heard here and there over a fading dissonant background.

That can happen in our brain too. It has a rhythm determined by how frequently our brain cells, or neurons, fire off their signals. If some neurons start firing a beat(s) too slow, our choreographed brain patterns begin waffling and bumping into each other. These tangled signals may lead to the symptom of an illness . . .

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