I have been in HOT pursuit of an idea all day.  This thought has lingered inside of me for 4 years in a ‘body knowing’ place because of what I know as a survivor of severe abuse and malevolent treatment from birth until I left home at 18.

In order for this idea to be given form I need to link it to other people’s related thoughts, and many of these ideas are only recently appearing as science races into a new place of truth about what it means to be a human — and how we develop in interaction with our environment from out conception.

I am not a scientist.  Even if I come up with a theory, and develop an hypothesis, I cannot create or perform research to either prove or disprove my ideas.  So, I have to use the interactive thinking the web provides and see what I can come up with.

And I found something very exciting – but I could not find it until I included the words ‘fish’ and ‘evolution’ into my search on the ‘vagus nerve’ and ‘the immune response’.

It has been my thinking that there has to be a point within the body — and within the body of a developing infant-child exactly ‘where the fire meets the gunpowder’.  A tiny person is powerless to stop trauma that happens to it from outside of its body.  It is therefore forced to try to stop the trauma ON ITS INSIDES.

This STOP action is the job of the vagus nerve as it controls the parasympathetic STOP arm of our Autonomic Nervous System and interacts with our immune system.  Right at this point where the developing body has to try to STOP the force of the impact of trauma ON ITS INSIDES is where Trauma Altered Development is forced to kick in.

It is RIGHT here, at this present moment in time where I cannot think into the future and must patiently await for science to confirm what I know is true – that RIGHT here where the fire meets the gunpowder, where a developing infant-child has to adapt within a malevolent environment and alter who it is becoming that EPIGENTIC forces that interfere with normal development by altering the immune system-vagus nerve-Autonomic Nervous System and brain interactions in preparation for survival within a toxic, malevolent unsafe and insecure attachment environment come into play.  The research proving this point is coming, but it is not entirely here yet.

This, I believe, is where and how what Dr. Martin Teicher calls evolutionarily altered development happens.  When a tiny growing body cannot STOP the ongoing affects of trauma happening to it from outside its body, the STOPPING happens on the inside.

This form of Stop the Storm of the impact of trauma — within a developing little body — causes things to happen like what happened to change my mother into the monster she became.  She could not afford to experience the suffering deprivation-trauma caused her so her body found a way to STOP it.


My idea goes back to the very beginnings of how severe abuse and neglect in a malevolent environment force a newborn to begin to alter its development in adaptation to the deprivation-traumas that surround and impact it.

Thinking about how a tiny little body has so much work to do to grow its Central Nervous System including its brain, and about how its Autonomic Nervous System is able to at least control its heart rate and breathing from birth, knowing that an infant’s immune system is already in operation, I think about how all these developing processes interconnect.

I believe that it is the job of the immune system to protect and defend us within our environment.  I therefore suspect that it is our immune system that responds to the toxins in our environment – and if our earliest caregivers actually maltreat us and are themselves toxins in our early world, then our immune system must respond accordingly.

In this response to threat, to trauma, all our development is changed.  I suspect that there is an intersection within us where our immune system affects our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).  The vagus nerves are intimately connected with the parasympathetic STOP arm of our ANS.  (I have collected pages of information and active links today on the subject.)

I think about how development altered through trauma ends up often making people into such changed people that their lives become very difficult in adulthood, both for themselves and for those around them.  I think about my mother’s birthday post I wrote for her last night, and I think about how compassionate would be the opposite of the way she turned out.


I have spent the best part of this day searching for information I read online a few years back about how information transmitted through the vagus nerve reaches male brains differently than it does female’s.  I remember reading that men receive the information from one branch of the nerve – the left one – only while women receive information into both sides of their brains through both branches of the vagus nerve at the same time.

I combed through every gender and the brain link I presented last Sunday, and found nothing about this!  So I have been on the hunt, in pursuit, ever since.

I just found a fascinating article connecting the vagus nerve to compassion—something that my mother, through her trauma altered early development, did not grow up to possess – compassion.  Something about her adaptation to early deprivation and trauma changed her – and eliminated the possibility of having this experience from her for the rest of her life.

This article 9referenced below) follows exactly my line of expanding thought about how early trauma interacts with our immune system, our developing brain, and impacts our Autonomic Nervous System’s development.  It seems very probable to me that the evolutionarily altered person Dr. Martin Teicher describes due to developmental changes through early exposure to trauma experiences changes related to what this article is describing.

Compassion at the Core of Social Work: A – Florida State University

This article by Dan Orzech contains the following:




“… Dacher Keltner, PhD, believes that the seat of compassion may just lie somewhere else: the vagus nerve. Keltner is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and coeditor of Greater Good, a magazine about prosocial behavior such as compassion and forgiveness. For the past several years, he has been examining the novel hypothesis that the vagus nervea bundle of nerves that emerges out of the brain stem and wanders throughout the body, connecting to the lungs, heart, and digestive system, among other areas-is related to prosocial behavior such as caring for others and connecting with other people.

The vagus nerve is considered part of the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. That means it’s involved in relaxation and calming the body down-the opposite of the “fight or flight” arousal for which the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system is responsible. Medicine has traditionally focused on the vagus nerve’s role in controlling things such as breathing, heart rate, kidney function, and digestion. But researchers lately have experimented with stimulating the vagus nerve to treat epilepsy as well as drug-resistant cases of clinical depression (see sidebar).

Keltner has been exploring the idea that the vagus nerve-which is unique to mammals-is part of an attachment response. Mammals, he says, “attach to their offspring, and the vagus nerve helps us do that.” Researchers have already found that children with high levels of vagal activity are more resilient, can better handle stress, and get along better with peers than children with lower vagal tone.

In his laboratory; Keltner has found that the level of activity in peoples vagus nerve correlates with how warm and friendly they are to other people. Interestingly it also correlates with how likely they are to report having had a spiritual experience during a six-month follow-up period. And, says Keltner, vagal tone is correlated with how much compassion people feel when they’re presented with slides showing people in distress, such as starving children or people who are wincing or showing a facial expression of suffering. Among other things, Keltner is interested in the implications of these findings for human evolution. “Much of the scientific research so far on emotions,” he says, “has focused on negative emotions like anger, fear, or disgust”-what Keltner calls the “fight or flight” emotions. “We tend to assume,” says Keltner, “that evolution produced just these fight/flight tendencies, but it may have also produced a biologically based tendency to be good to other people and to sacrifice self-interest.

Evolutionary thought is increasingly arising at the position that the defining characteristic of human evolution is our sociality We are constantly cooperating, constantly doing things in interdependent fashion, and constantly embedded in relationships. From an evolutionary perspective, that suggests that we should have a set of emotions that help us do that work.”


WATCH THIS VIDEO – HE SAYS WHAT I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR – THE VAGUS NERVE CONTROLS OUR IMMUNE SYSTEM!!  I believe that it is here that an abused developing infant-child experiences the start of its Trauma Altered Development.


Dacher Keltner in Conversation

43 min – Feb 5, 2009
Why have we evolved positive emotions like gratitude, amusement, awe and compassion? Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at UC Berkeley



Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life by Dacher Keltner


The Evolution of Compassion

Dacher Keltner

University of California, Berkeley


Dacher Keltner
Ph.D., Stanford University

Campus Contact Information
Departmental Area(s): Social/Personality; Change, Plasticity &
Director: Berkeley Social Interaction Laboratory

Interests: Social/Personality: emotion; social interaction; individual
differences in emotion; conflict and negotiation; culture



Well, this is enough thinking and research for one day!  I am not going on to read the following today!!  It has just always made perfect sense to me that something in a traumatized tiny developing body causes its immune system to respond – and triggers the vast array of changes that we see in severe infant-child abuse survivors.  I believe the answer lies along this track.

What happens to an infant’s physiological development when no one calms the crying baby?

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PARENTS HIT AND TERRIFY THE BABY?  Immune systems changes to development through interaction with the vagus nerve, that’s what.


Vagal activity, early growth and emotional development – Elsevier

by T Field – 2008 – Cited by 1Related articles
The vagus nerve is a key component in the regulation of the autonomic nervous system and Infant growth and development. Several studies have documented a ….. including the hypothalamic-pituitary–adrenal axis and the immune system


Parental Meta-Emotion Philosophy and the Emotional Life of …

by JM Gottman – 1996 – Cited by 228Related articlesAll 5 versions
nerve. The tonic firing of the vagus nerve slows down many physiological processes, such as the …. a central part of the immune system that is …..


Calm Sleeping Baby – Baby Massage

Relaxation and enhancement of neurological development. Massage provides both stimulation and relaxation for an infant, Massage stimulates a nerve in the brain, known as the vagus nerve. Strengthens the immune system. Massage causes a significant increase is Natural Killer Cell numbers.


Tears – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Strong emotions, such as sorrow or elation, may lead to crying. lysozyme) fight against bacterial infection as a part of the immune system. A newborn infant has insufficient development of nervous control, so s/he “cries without weeping. of the facial nerve causes sufferers to shed tears while eating.


TOUCH IN LABOR AND INFANCY: Clinical Implications

Increases in infants’ vagal activity during massage may lead to an increase As noted earlier, massage has been shown to increase activity of the vagus nerve, As in animal studies, massage has shown immunesystem benefits in humans. autonomic nervous system; a disturbance in the development of sleep-wake



Oct 29, 2009 Does your infant suffer from colic? Reflux? Projectile Vomiting? In her book, Molecules of Emotion,8 Dr Candice Pert (a recognized system interference are a hindrance to normal immune system function. Scientists are still discovering exactly how the immune and nerve systems interrelate.


[PDF] Emotion

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – View as HTML
vagus nerve— a branch of the parasympathetic autonomic nervous system — may be involved in positive …. New research on the immune system suggests a biological …… Handbook of infant development


[PDF] Phylogenetic origins of affective experiences: The neural …

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – Quick View
by SW Porges – Cited by 3Related articlesAll 3 versions
The healing power of emotion: Affective neuroscience, development ….. how the autonomic nervous system interacts with the immune system, nervous system. The vagus nerve exits the brain stem and has branches …… Porges SW, Doussard-Roosevelt JA, Portales AL, and Greenspan SI (1996) Infant regulation of the


Evolution and Emotions

File Format: Microsoft Powerpoint – View as HTML
Neurological Development and the Limbic System. R-Hemi has closer connections to limbic system than L-Hemi. R-Hemi develops earlier in infancy than L-Hemi. Emotions appear in Stim vagus nerve, slows Heart 1 (H1). ….Effectiveness of the immune system; ability to ward off illness,


The Brain and the Neuro-psycho-immune System – Anne Baring’s Website

When Cannon stimulated the vagus through electrodes implanted in the …. Emotions are in the digestive system, in the immune system, The nervous system consists of the brain and network of nerve cells We remember most the most vivid memories – this was probably of great help in evolutionary development,


Vagus Nerve Is Direct Link From Brain To Immune System


Deep Brain Stimulation … – Blogs – Revolution Health

which explains how the brain and the immune system are interconnected through the vagus nerve. “It turns out that the brain talks directly to the immune


How the Dalai Lama can help you live to 120… « Terryorisms

Oct 5, 2006 … it is the way the immune system responds to the mind. Let me explain. You immune system is controlled by a nerve call the vagus nerve


The Dana Foundation – Seeking the cause of deadly inflammation ….

May 3, 2007 And the vagus nerve story is progressing on multiple fronts, for device development, for understanding classical physiology, meditation, “Look, everybody knows that meditation is good for your immune system.



Breakthrough “Neuro Nutrition” Targets the Brain and Vagus Nerve

Jul 6, 2008 … The Vagus Nerve is the body’s most powerful anti-inflammatory … the Vagus Nerve, has a direct ability to restore the human immune system


NSLIJ – Scientists Figure Out How the Immune System and Brain …

When they stimulated the vagus nerve, a long nerve that goes from the base of Many laboratories at The Feinstein Institute study the immune system in


Cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway – Wikipedia, the free …

Kevin Tracey found that the vagus nerve provides the immune system with a direct connection to the brain. Tracey’s paper in the December 2002 issue of


The vagus nerve, cytokines and depression

The vagus nerve mediates behavioural depression, but not fever, in response to peripheral immune The immune system, depression and antidepressants


Article: Scientists figure out how the immune system and brain ….

Jul 21, 2008 Scientists figure out how the immune system and brain communicate When they stimulated the vagus nerve, a long nerve that goes from the ……..In a major step in understanding how the nervous system and the immune system Pain & Central Nervous System


Brain ‘talks’ directly to body’s immune system – The Hindustan …

Brain ‘talks’ directly to body’s immune system – Report from the Asian News Pain & Central Nervous System Week, Vagus Nerve Stimulation Can Suppress



[PDF] Does vagus nerve constitute a self-organization complexity or a …

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
by B Mravec – 2006 – Cited by 3Related articles
nervous system modulates immune functions via vagus nerve (5, 6). from the immune system to the brain via the vagus nerve


[PDF] Evidences for vagus nerve in maintenance of immune balance and …


Brain ‘talks’ directly to body’s immune system

post: Nov 14, 2007

He discovered that the vagus nerve speaks directly to the immune system through a neurochemical called acetylcholine.


Vagus Nerve Schwannoma: effects on internal organs?

I just gave a talk the vagus nerve and the immune system–the vagus nerve > probably plays a very important role in many important chemoregulatory



BiomedExperts: The vagus nerve mediates behavioural depression ….

We propose that behavioural depression is mediated by the vagus nerve indicate that the recently proposed vagal link between the immune system and the



MY MOTHER’S DREAM – March 29, 1960
The whole family was out walking and suddenly we looked up to see a dark rainbow appear – then it got bright and behind it a skyline appeared outlining massive dormed buildings such as I’ve never seen and skyscraper buildings – then it all disappeared and a big wind came.

We realized it was a hurricane. We could hardly stand up against the wind. We saw big apartment buildings on the sides of the streets but the entrances faced another street and we were on the wrong side. The wind grew stronger – finally a door appeared and we went in the building and the person asked us what was wrong? We told her of the great wind but as we pointed outside – all was silent and the wind was gone … and I awoke.


Stop the Storm of the intergenerational transmission of unresolved trauma carried on through the maltreatment of little infant-children.  If we don’t do this, changes in development will continue to rob these children of their own life free from Trauma Altered Development.

If we don’t stop the trauma from happening on the outside, the tiny developing body will do everything in its power to stop its affects on the inside.  This is what happened to my mother.


Don’t forget to check out — Brain Facts – A primer on the brain and nervous system




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