Recently, I came across an article entitled 'Infant Sleep and Child Mental Health: a Longitudinal Investigation' by Cook, F., Conway, LJ., Giallo R., et al., Archives of Disease in Childhood, published online on the 9th of March, 2020. (1). This was based on a study carried out by the University of Melbourne, Australia.
In this article, it is established that infants with prolonged sleep disturbance during the first year of life are more prone to anxiety and emotional dysregulation by the age of 10 (with the first signs of anxiety manifesting at the age of 4). This lays down the foundation for later mental health issues such as autism, attention deficit disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder. These are all 'states on the spectrum' - which, in my experience, can culminate years down the line in Alzheimer's disease.
Apparently, 17% of infants struggle with their sleep - this includes regular waking at night or needing company in order to fall asleep in the first place. This research would indicate that addressing sleep issues within the first year of life may guard the individual against developing mental health issues in the future.
It is explained that epigenetic influences on the developing embryo exposed to post natal depression in the mother may play a role here. Of course, other more hidden influences may impact on the embryo which may often lie in the history of the antecedents.
When tracing the trajectory of the remedy, Alumina (Aluminium Oxydata), it is clear that anger and a series of disappointments (such as abandonment and effects of scorn) can reside in the early background of this remedy. What is often overlooked is that often there is an early history of sleep disturbance in this remedy picture even though this remedy does not appear in the rubrics for 'insomnia in infants' or 'insomnia in children'.
As the child develops, it could be that they remain vigilant at night due to a pressing - often unconscious - need to listen out for their arguing parents. This can create the split so often seen in this remedy when the individual shuts down and almost feels like a spectator in their own life experience. This is a survival tool and ebbs away at their very brain structures - initially the amygdala - the 'emotional barometer' and latterly the cerebellum - 'the memory centre', the two being very inter-connected.
Carcinosin and Cypripedium are two important remedies in the rubric 'insomnia in infants' where only six remedies appear. Carcinosin fears to be alone at night and suffers alternating moods, as well as hyperactivity. Cypripedium just wants to jest and be playful - this can look very much like the remedy - Medorrhinum - which is also a remedy which comes alive at night. However, none of these remedies impact the brain over time in the insidious way that happens in Alumina. Being a deeply syphilitic remedy, the effect is very eroding and immutable. In fact, when exploring earlier states on the spectrum in case-taking, it often transpires that sleep disturbances are an early sign of their onset.
My conclusion is that Alumina being the central remedy for diseases of the cerebellum, the patient suffers reduced coordination capacity and poor cognitive integration. The seeds are often planted early in life where the 'splitting off' culminates in the type of disconnection seen in Alzheimer's disease. This remedy teaches us that it is childhood trauma which cultivates dissociation. It is this very early formative stress which inhibits the growth of new neurons. The brain then becomes less adaptable. Alzheimer's disease may then remain dormant and be triggered in old age, or even earlier where the duress has been more intense. It is often assumed that Alumina is the only remedy indicated in this disease. However, if this particular brain structure is compromised in the case, Nux Moschata - a lesser-known remedy is also applicable (2).
(1) 'Infant Sleep and Child Mental Health: a Longitudinal Investigation', by Cook, F., Conway, L.J., Giallo, R., et al, Archives of Disease in Childhood, published online 9th March, 2020.
(2) 'Sculpting the 'Software': Targeting Specific Brain Structures' by Adalian, E., Homeopathy in Practice, Winter, 2010.