Is spirituality just an area in the cerebrum?



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I.Is spirituality just an area in the cerebrum? Italian scientists from the University of Udine have examined changes in self-transcendence in patients after brain tumor surgery on the posterior parietal lobe.

Italian scientists from the University of Udine have examined changes in self-transcendence in patients after brain tumor surgery on the posterior parietal lobe. They have now published their results in the US specialist magazine “Neuron” (Volume 65, Issue 3, February 11, 2010) under the title “The Spiritual Brain: Selective Cortical Lesions Modulate Human Self-Transcendence”. The researchers led by study leader Cosimo Urgesi, a neuroscientist and psychobiologist from the University of Udine, examined around 70 patients with gliomas or meningiomas before and after an operation on a tumor.

The conclusion was that injuries to the cerebrum in the posterior parietal lobe increased the self-transcendence of those affected. Self-transcendence is a description of how a person can feel that they belong not only to themselves but as part of a higher-level context. An intervention in the front part of the brain decreased the feeling of self-transcendence slightly, whereas it remained unchanged in a control group without nerve tissue extraction. It also doesn't seem to make any difference whether the left or right area is addressed during the operation.

The Italian doctors concluded from this that the areas of the brain affected by the operations influence a person's spiritual expression. And the researchers want to go even further: Future investigations should show whether inhibition of activity in the posterior parietal lobe can reduce self-transcendence.

The sensational thing about their findings is that a phenomenon that has so far been so little rationally tangible and not scientific at all, such as that of belief, spirituality and religiousness, can now be biologically translated and possibly mechanically influenced. (Thorsten Fischer, naturopath osteopathy, 02/13/2010)

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