DeMon / Curadores Feridos / AMtro

Trespassing of Boundaries and Unification of Differences Through Art

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A Dancer’s Brain Develops in a Unique Way?

Music activates our deeper brain areas, but what happens in a dancer’s brain? Movement can trigger a flow state which makes way for an intuitive neural network.

As technology takes over more areas of our lives, interest in more natural ways of life has also increased massively. One example of this desire to reconnect with nature is the upsurge of yoga and meditation retreats.

Music and dance have been fundamental parts of the human experience for millennia. They have enabled interaction which has given rise to close communities and rich cultures. 

Neuroscience has studied music for decades. It has been found to activate the deeper brain areas in a unique way. Deep brain areas are primarily responsible for emotions, memory and social interaction.  They evolved in the human brain much earlier than the cognitive functions in the cortex. 

Deep brain areas are primarily responsible for emotions, memory and social interaction.

My doctoral dissertation developed methods for understanding the processes that dance generates in the cortex. 

I compared the brain functions of professional dancers and musicians to people with no experience of dance or music as they watched recordings of a dance piece. The brain activity of the dancers was different from that of musicians and the control group during sudden changes in the music, long-term listening of music and the audio-visual dance performance. 

These results support the earlier findings indicating that the auditory and motor cortex of dancers develops in a unique way. In my study, the dancers’ brains reacted more quickly to changes in the music than those of musicians or members of the control group. The change is apparent in the brain as a reflex, before the dancer is even aware of it at a conscious level.

I also found that dancers displayed stronger synchronisation at the low theta frequency. Theta synchronisation is linked to emotion and memory processes which are central to all interpersonal interaction and self-understanding.

In dance, the basic elements of humanity combine in a natural way.

Touch and cooperation are integral elements of dance – without them, there can be no dance. They are as important to dance as movement and music. 

However, the neuroscience of dance is still a young field. Consequently, the brain processes of touch and cooperation have not yet been studied through dance specifically. 

We do know that in dance, the basic elements of humanity combine in a natural way. It combines creative act, fine-tuned movement and collaboration, much like playing music. The movement involves the whole body, like in sports. There is touch, like in gentle interaction. 

Dancing is also associated with “flow”, a well-researched phenomenon in which the person becomes fully immersed in an activity. Flow experiences have been found to increase the general contentment and productivity of the person as well as the quality of the activity. It reduces the activation of the neural network which is responsible for logical deduction and detailed observation. 

This makes room for the creative neural network which also has an important role in generating a relaxed state of mind.

Practicing an instrument requires extreme precision. It has been found to shape motor processes in the brain in many ways. Meanwhile, studies conducted on dancers reveal how their brains have specialised to process dance motion. 

Certain areas of dancers’ brains have specialised precisely to observe dance movements. The brain structures of musicians and dancers have also been found to differ from the general population in the areas responsible for processing movement and sound.

Brain synchronisation enables seamless cooperation.

Studies on producing music and movement show how during cooperation, the brains of two people become attuned to the same frequency. This is apparent in how the low-frequency brain waves of the participants become synchronised. 

Brain synchronisation enables seamless cooperation, and is necessary for creating both harmonic music and movement. The ability to become attuned to another person’s brain frequency is essential for the function of any empathetic community.

Lately, researchers have gained fantastic results regarding the role of exercise as a mood enhancer. In addition to drug treatment and psychotherapy, exercise is currently even being recommended as a form of treatment for depression. Exercise releases hormones that create a sense of wellbeing, which in turn boosts positive emotional processes in the brain. It also lowers the activation of the amygdala, the brain’s fear and stress centre. 

Finding the right dance style can make dancers euphoric, and make them forget the drudgery of official exercise recommendations and step counters.

Dancers who pursue graceful movement must practice being aware of their bodies and (being aware) of wordless communication. These skills are particularly important today, when we spend so much time sitting and in virtual realities. Our way of life has taken us further from our own physical experiences and the understanding of the wordless emotional messages of others.

For example, contact improvisation makes the dancers to listen attentively to the body of their partner. Touch is known to reduce pain, fear and anxiety. 

Functional brain imaging has shown that these effects of touch are also apparent in the brain. In one study, a touch from a significant other reduced the intensity of the pain activation in the brain during an electric stimulus when compared with pain experienced alone.

Pain, stress and anxiety often go hand in hand with depression. Dance, music and related expressive forms of therapy could help lessen mental fluctuations even before the onset of full depression. Promising results have been gained from treating depression through music therapy. 

Dance therapy can help with many disorders of the mind and body, from anxiety to dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

Dance is a highly subjective experience. However, neuroscience can help us understand how people can use dance to feel more connected to each other in our technology-filled world.

Hanna Poikonen

The author is a Master of Science (Technology) and a dancer, and is writing her doctoral dissertation at the University of Helsinki’s Cognitive Brain Research Unit.

Hanna Poikonen at Twitter @WiseMotionCo

From the Researcher’s Pen is a series of articles in which researchers describe their work. This article was produced by Uutistamo in cooperation with the University of Helsinki.



Ground Zero – 2018 Proofread

Some people see my book as an exercise of self-pity. To show this is not the case, I decided to ground the ideas it revolves around on a conceptual starting point, a ground zero as I put it. Therefore, the readers would do good to at least read through this essay to follow suit the saying: “haste makes waste”.

I graduated in dance from UNICAMP (University of Campinas) in 1990. Close to the end of the course, I was doing dishes when, suddenly, my left hand got inexplicably very weak; so much so that I could not hold a glass. I hurried to the doctor then. After hearing me out, he told me that I had an inflammatory muscular condition; so he prescribed me anti-inflammatory drugs.

Because of my dance training as well as my personal experience in other physical activities, I knew that this diagnosis was not right. Therefore, I did not take the medicine prescribed by him. However, almost a year later I went back to him as both the tip of my nose and my skin got numb or itched often. All he did was to ignore my complaint and scold me for not having obeyed his orders one year before.

As the frequency and intensity of these occurrences increased, I went to see another doctor. She told me that I had a neurological condition and that I had had partial convulsions that due to a pinched nerve streamed either from the central nervous system or from the peripheral one.

It made sense to me, but even so, all the symptoms I was having just started to seem right when I threw a party to celebrate my birthday. While I was buying some drinks, I talked to the bartender with the right hand over the counter while hiding the left one behind my back as it moved like a crawling spider. What had seemed funny and intriguing to me at first, became so frequent and intense along the party that I rudely left my friends in it and ended up celebrating my birthday alone in the hospital thinking about death rather than celebrating life.

I spent the night and almost the whole of the next day over there, and the doctors were certain now that I had a problem with the central nervous system. Therefore, they scanned my brain. With that, they discovered a strange body in it that would probably grow. Nevertheless, it was neither possible neither to make a precise diagnosis of what I had nor to define the severity of it. Even so, the renowned scholars of the Medical School at UNICAMP were quick to give me their “verdict”. I use this word because it better describes the fact rather than the word diagnosis, since that previously to any testing, those doctors were certain I must have an AIDS-related disease just because they inferred I was gay. Sticking to their judgment and leaving aside any ethical standards, they abandoned my case as they were certain of my imminent and inevitable death,. Fortunately, a medical student interned at UNICAMP hospital and that had seen me at the students’ house, arrived on the scene and decided to take charge of my case.

Following an open diagnosis as my tests results were not ready yet; she restated her lecture’s verdict by prescribing me drugs for a severe case of toxoplasmosis only found in patients with immune deficiencies. Nevertheless, instead of responding well to the treatment, I only got worse. However, the worst was when I hurried back to the hospital in a helpless panic because due to some strange sensations caused by the fit-controlling drugs, I thought death was just around the corner. To calm me down, she said AIDS was neither different nor more severe than any other disease [1]; In fact, she told me, it was as if I had a brain tumour impossible to be removed surgically. By saying this, she placed my case somewhere between AIDS and a lethal, non-removable form of brain cancer. Since the results of my tests had not come yet, I faintly hoped that my case was not so severe and that I had something else.

Fortunately, for the sake of my mental health, I left Campinas, the city where UNICAMP is based, and went back to São Paulo, my hometown, and where my family and the doctors we trusted lived. At first, they agreed with their colleagues, especially about cancer, but they also believed in other more promising and less severe possibilities. Still, all of them agreed that my case required surgery. After the operation they sent whatever they had removed from my brain to be analyzed, and only after that did they close a diagnosis. To my relief, my hope came true, and I had neither AIDS nor deadly cancer. Instead, I had “something else”.

“Something else” meant neurocysticercosis, a disease caused by flatworm eggs. Although it can be deadly and impossible to heal by surgical procedures, it was not my case. Nevertheless, a brain surgery may cause permanent disability to the patient. To minimize this risk, the doctors were very careful. They left me awake during part of the operation so that they could ask me questions and from my replies differentiate the brain tissues from the cyst.  However, even so,  the operation left me with a permanent motor after-effect that although a minor one, would change my life forever.

I was relieved and grateful for being alive. However, I would blame that medical student from Campinas for that perhaps unnecessary and life-changing fright. Later on, though, I came to think: what if I had AIDS? And concluded: undoubtedly, she would have taken care of me and held my hand when my time on earth finally ended. Actually, I should have blamed her lectures instead as rather than abandoning me alone, they abandoned her as well. After all, they had let that young and unseasoned medical student solve a serious problem all by herself. Besides disgusting doctors, they had been lousy teachers as well.

Within her possibilities, she had been perfect. As a possible terminal patient, all I expect was to get attention from people that really cared for me rather than to be miraculously cured. Because of this painful process, I came to see death as universal and inevitable, as a natural fact, so that neither doctors nor patients can be untouched by it.

Sometimes I still get mad at it all and call the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Sod of sods and Divine S.O.B. However, thanks to it, I have thought about things we must let go. After all, what is life but a succession of symbolic labours and losses between real ones? If part of me died in that operation theatre, another one, unknown even to me, was born in that very same place.

[1] In 1992 there were not the drug cocktails that turn AIDS into a chronic condition.

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Cura: uma via de mão dupla

R. C. Migliorini

Em dado momento eu resolvi participar de um ritual do Daime. Nele há a ingestão de um chá considerado alucinógeno por alguns. Confesso que eu estava temeroso, porém, mais por causa da cirurgia neurológica a qual me submeti, do que pela possibilidade de eu estar ingerindo uma droga que não fosse aspirina. Eu não sabia como meu cérebro iria se comportar. E se eu entrasse em uma viagem sem volta?

Sabendo disso, o mestre que conduziria o ritual, em vez de me impedir de nele participar, disse que faríamos o seguinte: eu tomaria o chá em pequenas doses e, conforme a minha reação, ele as aumentaria ou não, até chegar à dosagem comum a todos os participantes. Assim fizemos, e tudo transcorreu de modo absolutamente tranquilo.

Refletindo sobre tudo, conclui que se eu havia sido corajoso, o mestre também o fora, pois se prontificou a mergulhar em uma região obscura para nós dois. Também me assegurou que estaria ao meu lado durante todo o processo e que me protegeria se preciso fosse. Essa afirmação, acrescida da sua experiência e tranquilidade, foi suficiente para eu sentir confiança e encarar a aventura. Portanto, mais do que as certezas que um mestre deveria ter, sua atitude dizia que eu podia esperar companheirismo.

Extrapolando para o contexto terapêutico, eu diria que o terapeuta que permanecer inflexível no seu papel de agente ou, em outras palavras, que não tiver dúvidas de que sabe mais sobre o paciente que o próprio, corre o risco de não ouvi-lo. Então, trata-o de cima para baixo e não se dispõe a encarar o desconhecido com ele, nem a sentir seu medo ou a escutar seus lamentos. Há cura real aí?

Essa perspectiva encontra ressonância em um artigo intitulado “O arquétipo do médico-ferido” presente na revista Journal of Analytical Psychology de 1975.

Resumindo-o bastante, ele alega que a verdadeira cura requer uma relação de troca entre médico e paciente. Afirma: o terapeuta precisa entrar em contato com sua própria ferida a fim de ativar o curador interno do paciente. Assim, o paciente “empresta” sua doença ao terapeuta de forma a ativar o lado doente, frágil, imperfeitamente humano e perecível deste último. Só então, o curador interno presente em ambos pode atuar de forma que paciente e terapeuta sejam curados simultaneamente. Concluindo, o paciente também é um curador e vice-versa.

Em suma, como uma via de mão dupla, o mundo da cura é também o mundo da doença.

A radionovela como proposta de Arte-terapia com deficientes visuais

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KOPELMAN, C. G. e MIGLIORINI, R. C. A radionovela como proposta de Arte-terapia com deficientes visuais.   In: FRANCISQUETTI, A. A. (Org). Arte-reabilitação: um caminho inovador na área da Arteterapia. p. 201-220. Rio de janeiro, Wak Editora, 2016 (ISBN 978-85-7854-379-2)

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Placa adaptada devolve autonomia a artista com deficiência motora

Dispositivo foi desenvolvido por equipe multiprofissional da Faculdade de Odontologia de Ribeirão Preto

Antes de ter acesso ao dispositivo, Joyce utilizava somente os dentes para segurar pincéis e digitar, o que causava dores e desgaste de sua arcada – Foto: Divulgação/Forp

Devido a uma doença neurológica, a artista plástica Elizandra Joyce Bueno tem espasmos musculares por todo o corpo. Ela nasceu com distonia generalizada congênita, um distúrbio que provoca contrações involuntárias e que poderia tê-la impedido de continuar pintando. Mas Joyce, como prefere ser chamada, conta com a ajuda de um dispositivo especial que a auxilia nos movimentos com a boca, sem prejudicar seus dentes e sua mordida.

Assistida por uma equipe multiprofissional da Faculdade de Odontologia de Ribeirão Preto (Forp) da USP, a artista usa uma placa miorrelaxante de acrílico adaptada. Usada por pacientes com bruxismo e dores faciais, a ferramenta foi personalizada para suas necessidades. Esses profissionais – cirurgião-dentista, médico, fisioterapeuta, protético e engenheiro mecânico – são especialistas do Centro de Formação de Recursos Humanos Especializados no Atendimento Odontológico a Pacientes Especiais (Caope) da Forp.

Placa adaptada apresenta dispositivo para digitação e pintura – Foto: Divulgação/Forp

A placa foi moldada individualmente para se adaptar aos dentes e à mordida da paciente, evitando que seus dentes sofram apertamento, explica a professora Andiara De Rossi, do Departamento de Clínica Infantil da Forp e integrante do Caope.

Os especialistas providenciaram uma cavidade de encaixe na arcada dentária superior da placa, com dispositivos de madeira que facilitam o encaixe dos pincéis e do lápis que a artista utiliza para digitar no teclado do computador. Segundo Andiara, uma alternativa de baixo custo, fácil adaptação e confecção. “Além de cuidados com a saúde bucal, nossa equipe apresentou um olhar voltado para as demais necessidades dos pacientes portadores de deficiência, que no Brasil encontram pouco suporte e apoio especializado”, afirma.

Detalhe da placa miorrelaxante – Foto: Divulgação/Forp

“A Joyce começou a pintar aos 13 anos de idade e usava os dentes para segurar pincéis”, lembra Ondina Bueno, mãe da artista. Com o tempo, começou a sentir dores e seus dentes amolecerem. Segundo a professora, a essa altura a artista tinha desenvolvido Disfunção Temporomandibular (DTM), overjet acentuado (dentes incisivos inclinados e projetados para frente), diastemas (espaço extra entre os dentes), mobilidade e desgastes dos incisivos superiores (dentes superiores frontais).

Joyce começou a pintar aos 13 anos de idade – Foto: Divulgação/Forp

Para as dores na região da cabeça, pescoço e articulação temporomandibular, a equipe da Forp investiu em fisioterapia e acupuntura. E, a cada seis meses, Joyce é submetida a aplicações de toxina botulínica, que diminui as contrações musculares em outras partes do corpo, como braços e pernas.

Uma das obras de Joyce – Foto: Arquivo pessoal

“Hoje, ela tem acesso ao computador”, conta satisfeita dona Ondina. A inclusão digital da paciente, com acesso às redes sociais, é importante. E esse dispositivo garante acesso digital a pacientes portadores de tetraplegia ou deficiências que não permitem o uso dos dedos das mãos ou pés, por meio de adaptações feitas de acordo com a necessidade de cada um.

Pessoas com deficiências motoras, como Joyce, encontram opções como os computadores por comando de voz, língua e movimentos dos olhos. Mas são alternativas de alto custo e que muitas vezes não estão disponíveis no mercado brasileiro. Para Andiara, “essa é a vantagem da placa de acrílico com encaixe, além de promover alívio das dores, proporciona inclusão social e digital, devolvendo autonomia, independência e qualidade de vida”.

Integram a equipe que assiste Joyce os professores Aldevina Campos de Freitas, Fabrício Kitazono de Carvalho, Raquel Assed Bezerra da Silva, Kranya Diaz Serrado, Alexandra Mussolino de Queiroz e Andiara De Rossi, a cirurgiã-dentista Carolina Paes Torres, o técnico José Carlos Ferreira Jr. e as alunas Késsia Suênia Guimarães e Michela Camilo.


Fachada da Clínica de Pacientes Especiais – Foto: Divulgação/FORP

O Centro de Formação de Recursos Humanos Especializados no Atendimento Odontológico a Pacientes Especiais, da Forp, atende de forma multidisciplinar pacientes especiais de todas as idades. Oferece serviços à comunidade abrangendo procedimentos educativos e preventivos, como orientação de higiene bucal; dentística restauradora; periodontia; tratamento endodôntico; extrações dentais; aparelhos ortodônticos; procedimentos cirúrgicos especiais; entre outros.

Mais informações: e-mail

Por Giovanna Grepi