Research has shown that stress can physically reshape the brain, causing both extensive and long-lasting damage to the human brain. Brain cells can shrink and the connections between neurons can decrease. In short, stress causes big changes to the human nervous system. In 2008, new knowledge regarding the effects of short-term stress were measured at University of California, Irvine, and breakthrough research on the effects of long-term, chronic stress were conducted at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Fred Helmsetter, a researcher at UW,found that after laboratory rats were restrained daily for just three weeks, the region of their brain involving learning and memory shrank by three percent.
"Whether over the long or short term, it appears that stress has become as great a threat to human brain development as [recreational] drugs or alcohol," report Sandy Rose and Sheba Ali of UCI.
We already know that the optic nerve is formed directly from the brain (diencephalon) during embryonic development and that the optic nerve is part of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) rather than the peripheral nervous system. Furthermore, we know that parts of the brain (e.g., visual cortex, lateral geniculate nucleus) shrink in glaucoma patients. Therefore, anything we can learn about factors that impact the brain will be interesting to those concerned about the health of the optic nerve.
Of couse, the pharmaceutical companies are already looking for drugs that can be marketed to offset the brain-damaging effects of stress, as well as drugs that can offer some degree of neuroprotection for glaucoma patients. So far, no drugs has been proven effective in offering protection for the optic nerve in glaucoma patients. And these drugs, if ever developed, will be no different from any other pharmaceutical drugs developed so far -- they will have a narrow scope of benefit and a long list of side effects. On the other hand, technologies of consciousness have been used over thousands of years to develop the full capacity of the human mind. Research has shown that some of these technologies of consciousness can completely reverse the damaging effects of stress on the human brain. I strongly believe that there is no more promising path to neuroprotection for the optic nerve than to utilize technologies of consciousness.
Serene Impulse, a unique mind-body skill, is an excellent approach to not only undoing the harmful effects of stress, but also building up new mental abilities. This effect is analogous to the way exercise builds up new physical abilities. Serene Impulse can increase the thickness of the grey matter in the cortical region of the brain, just like barbell curls can increase the thickness of the bicep muscle. (Serene Impulse can also reduce the thinning of the cortical region of the brain that results from stress and aging). Maintaining the thickness of the grey matter of the brain is necessary for the proper functioning of the brain. There is no research yet on the direct benefit of Serene Impulse on the optic nerve, but I see no reason why it can't do for the optic nerve what it can do for the brain in general.
Serene Impulse can be thought of as an effortless inner fitness program because it produces real physiological changes in the brain and nervous system. Just as exercise makes the muscles stronger and the bones more dense, the regular practice of Serene Impulse results in measurable changes in key structures inside the body and brain -- it is good for your brain and nervous system. These structural changes can be found in areas of the brain that are important for sensory, cognitive and emotional processing.
Regular Serene Impulse practice can benefit anyone's brain and nervous system. Serene Impulse is a natural process that works through innate mechanisms in the human body. It does not require any special skill. Anyone can benefit from Serene Impulse.
The unique health benefits of Serene Impulse are not limited to the brain -- they extend to the entire body. Serene Impulse is said to benefit the body, mind, emotions and spirit.