Can a person reprogram their brain

New therapy for anxiety patientsbrain reprogram

With a new therapeutic approach, researchers hope to be able to better help anxiety patients. In a sense, they reprogram the brain by overwriting the fear with a positive feeling.

The method developed by neurologists from England, Japan and the USA is somewhat reminiscent of the Pavlovian dog. The aim was to overwrite bad experiences with positive ones. To do this, the neurologists first had to filter out the bad ones. They did this by creating fear. The researchers showed the subjects pictures and one picture received electric shocks.

"Not a dangerous electric shock, but one that hurts."
Matthis Dierkes (DRadio Wissen) on the fear study

After a few rounds, the participants were already scared if they only saw the picture without any electric shocks - and what interested the researchers now was what the brain activity looked like while the test subjects were scared. To do this, they put them under the brain scanner and looked at the samples.

In a next step, the participants had to go back to the brain scanner - but this time without thinking of anything. Now the researchers were waiting for the moment when the brain patterns looked the same. For example, because the test subjects thought of the picture again - and at that very moment they got money. For free. As a reward.

Hope for anxiety patients

To review the research, participants had to come back three days later and look at the electroshock images. In fact, they hardly showed any fear anymore. From this, the researchers conclude that they can outsmart the brain by rewarding them at the right moment.

It remains to be seen whether this method really works for all patients and with all fears. It is currently in the testing phase. The approach - using a brain scanner to filter out the negative experiences and then overwrite them with positive ones - should give hope to many anxiety patients who have previously had to face their fears in therapy, which takes a lot of overcoming.