chapter  5
16 Pages

Body—Mind Memory in Development and in the Clinical Exchange

O f a l l the body's 11 systems, on ly t w o , the i m m u n e system a n d the cent r a l nervous system, store memories . B o t h have a central role in d i s t in - guish ing self f r o m nonself . Just as the i m m u n e system remembers some of w h a t the b o d y has forgotten, the m i n d stores memories u n k n o w n even to itself. I m m u n o l o g i c a l memory , as specific as for one t iny v i rus , lasts a l i fet ime; l y m p h nodes, the h a r d drive storage site of the i m m u n e system, have a large megabyte capaci ty as a reposi tory of i n f e c t i o u s - i m m u n e memory . If the i m m u n e system fails to dis t inguish self f r o m nonself , a u - t o i m m u n e disease results as the b o d y rejects this perceived al ien c o m p o - nent. T h e i m m u n e system can o n l y store memories of previous events; the m i n d can create memories of events that have never occurred (Krueger,

1998) . M a n y things can distract the m e m o r y storage of b o t h the i m m u n e a n d nervous system, i n c l u d i n g drugs, m a l n u t r i t i o n , stress, in fec t ion , a n d age. T h e fundamenta l m i s s i o n of the m e m o r y of both systems is the same: to protect a n d to i n f o r m . E a c h of t w o b o d y systems that have m e m o r y , has a central role of d is t inguishing self f r o m nonself . If the i m m u n e system fails to dis t inguish , by not recogniz ing nonself , the result m a y be a cancer; the b o d y misperce iv ing an aspect as nonself a n d rejecting this a l ien c o m p o n e n t m a y result i n a u t o i m m u n e disease.