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The pineal gland is still a somewhat mysterious organ at the center of the brain. It was dubbed the “seat of the soul” by 17th-century French philosopher René Descartes and is still viewed as the physiological structure corresponding to the “third eye” in some esoteric traditions.

In medicine, the pineal gland remains rather elusive to research due to its location, snugly nudged to the wall of the third ventricle in the middle of the brain. Its main and most well-researched function is the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that plays a critical role in regulating the circadian rhythm.

Epiphany Corner

  1. Why the pineal gland hasn’t yet revealed all of its secrets
  2. How breathwork might help you hack into your pineal gland
  3. Why ‘beauty sleep’ might be more than just a catch phrase
  4. The link between the pineal gland and the hallucinogenic compound DMT


Scientific paper that has been used for this episode:

Ping et al. (2017) Acta Biomater
Inhibitory effects of melatonin on titanium-particle-induced inflammatory bone resorption and osteclastogenesis via suppression of NF-kB signaling

Portofirio et al (2017) Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat
Can melatonin prevent or improve metabolic side effects during antipsychotic treatments?

Mayo et al (2017) Cell Mol Life Sci
Melatonin transport into mitochondria

Franklin et al (2017) Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry
Contrasting effects of vortioxetine and paroxetine on pineal gland biochemistry in a tryptophan-depletion model of depression in female rats

Matsuoka et al (2017) Radiology
Reduced pineal volume in Alzheimer Disease: a retrospective cross-sectional MR imaging study