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Gamma power

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    Posted by Diane<script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,9,28,10,3,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> (Member # 1064) on 28-10-2005 17:03<noscript>October 28, 2005 10:03 AM</noscript>:

    I bring you another chapter from Sagan's excellent book, co written with Skoyles, Up From Dragons. The preceding chapter is on Prefrontals and how they are the conductor of the orchestra of the brain. This one is about the conductor's baton, the organizing effect of gamma synchronization. Likely this has something to do with SC; gamma synchronization "binds" inputs of various sorts (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) into a seamless whole, making things seem effortless, etc.

    References have been spliced in.

    quote: <hr> Chapter 5: Mind Engine, (Up From Dragons, Sagan/Skoyle)

    Conductors do not hide in little boxes merely imagining music. No, they go out, stand in spotlights on podiums, and direct. At least in rehearsals, they may shout and stop the music-making. They may even walk out to show a player how to play a phrase. This of course, is limited to rehearsals; not even Herbert von Karajan would interrupt his orchestra during a public performance. Then they communicate with their hands, eyes, body, and that silent instrument, the baton. Which raises the following question: If the prefrontal cortex is the brain’s conductor, where is its “baton”? Somehow it must be there, since except during performance of routine skills, brain scans and electrodes implanted in the brain show it actively “tuning up” the cortex (Desimone 1996; Desimone, Miller, Chelazzi 1994: 86; Miller and Desimone 1994:522, note 13; Miller, Erickson, Desimone 1996; Roland 1993: 139, 225-726). For instance, when looking for a bold letter in a word (as in the previous word, ‘bold’), part of the visual cortex is activated twice: first when the word is identified, and then 100 ms later, after prefrontal activation organizes it to attend to the thickness of letters (Posner 1994: 7401-7402). Another example is when you think of uses to go with nouns – say, hammer and hit. Initially, at 200 ms, this lights up the left prefrontal cortex and the nearby anterior cingulated gyrus; only half a second later, under the control of the prefrontal cortex, does the Wernike’s speech area (where much of the linguistic processing take place) light up (Synder, Abdullaev, Posner, Raichle 1995).

    How does the prefrontal cortex do this? A few hints are emerging. Just as you cannot understand the role of a baton without knowing, for example, that players have eyes that follow its movements, so you cannot understand the prefrontal cortex’s baton without knowing something about the players of its neural “orchestra.” First, something about the anatomy of sight. The conventional story goes something like this: The retina in the eye passes an image through the optic nerve to two bulges on the thalamus, the lateral geniculate nuclei – literally, the side-jointed nuts. After this, what the eye sees goes on to the primary visual cortex. This part of the visual cortex then feeds what it sees to further,
    “secondary” parts of the visual cortex and then to other parts of the brain. The idea that information gets passed on sequentially along the visual system in this way is what we might call “the old story.”

    Things are actually more complex: The secondary parts of the visual cortex not only receive input but also feed information back to the primary cortex. The lateral geniculate nuclei used to be thought of as mere gateways that channeled to the cortex things seen by our eyes; these gateways, however, receive more axon wiring from the visual cortex than from our eyes through the optic nerves (Llinás and Paré 1991: 525; Cowey and Stoerig 1991)). Nor does the lateral geniculate nucleus go quiet once it has passed visual information to the cortex. On average, its neurons keep active for 320 ms after retinal input – as long as the rest of the primary visual cortex (Dinse and Krüger 1994: table 1). Yet the neurons in the cortex are already recognizing shapes within 20 ms (Rolls and Tovee 1994) – even the prefrontal cortex is activated after only 100ms. None of this fits with the story of the jointed nuts’ being a mere gateway to the brain. Something more complex is going on. Scientists now find that the cortex and thalamus (of which the lateral geniculate nuclei are part) reverberate impulses back and forth.

    Before we look closer, however, a warning is in order: studying the neuroelectronics happening under our skulls is hard, and what we know is very incomplete. Scientists are like military intelligence listening into enemy signal communications and picking up only a fraction of what is going on. In enemy territory, there are land lines whose communications cannot be overheard. Not all radio traffic is intercepted, and weather can degrade much of what is. Likewise, much of the activity in the brain does not reach the EEG “listening stations” scientists put on the scalp. (By the way, neurology is as full of initials as the military – EEG stands for electroencephalography, the science and technique of amplifying the tiny voltages induced by the brain upon the scalp.)

    And the importance of what we do “hear” is not always clear. Is it an irrelevant hum or the very broadcasts of thought? Even if we are half correct, what remains unknown? There is a temptation to take what is found to be more than the story than it is and extend the little we know more than we should. But that is typical for science in an early stage; it has happened in the past with astronomy, chemistry, and the workings of our bodies. In a hundred years we will know much, much more. Like military intelligence, we have to go on the fragments that are available. We are beginning to get a grip on complex phenomena. Until recently the data were so fragmentary that they did not seem to make much sense, but now we can start to put together a story of some of its intricacy.

    In brief, electronic oscillations appear to be a ‘mind engine’ that lets us think, see, and know. They are to our experience what circulation and metabolism are to our bodies, the very processes of life. Moreover, the prefrontal cortex can lead and pull together these oscillations.

    Many different oscillations have been detected in the brain, some happening between the thalamus and cortex, others not. Mysteriously slow, some oscillations last 40 to 100s, (Albrecht, Royl and Kaneoke 1998) while others have very fast frequencies, around 1000/s, or, to use the scientific term, 1000 hertz (Hz) (Klostermann, Funk, Vesper et al., 2000). These differing frequencies appear to correlate with states of consciousness. Among the slowest of these brainwaves is delta, in which the brain is in a kind of “off” state. These oscillations happen at between one and four times a second. These are the oscillations of deep sleep. (To complicate things, there are also two other oscillations during our deep sleep, happening at slightly lower and higher frequencies (Steriade, Contreras, Dossi, Núñez 1993).)

    There is a problem with this off state. As anyone with an alarm clock knows, it takes time to regain full consciousness. This means the brain cannot go to sleep in its odd moments while it is doing nothing; instead it has to find a way to “idle.” Alpha rhythms (Markland 1990), happening roughly between 8 and 13 times per second (8-13 Hz), represent this standby mode. They are most easily observed using EEG by asking people to shut their eyes. With the eyes closed, the visual cortex has nothing to do and so temporarily turns off and generates alpha waves. As soon as the eyes open, it is reactivated out of standby and alpha rhythm stops.

    Even with our eyes shut, however, imagining objects or scenes can activate the visual cortex. When people do this, the visual cortex is no longer in standby and alpha waves disappear. Forward in the brain, the standby activity over the cortex involved in movement and touch is usually called mu, or motor alpha (Arroyo, Lesser, Gordon et al., 1993a). The standby rhythm for hearing has only recently been discovered and is called tau, or hearing alpha (Tesche and Hari 1993). It is found over our temporal cortex. Hearing and especially motor alpha rhythms can occur at frequencies higher than 8-13 Hz, in which case they are known as beta rhythms. However, this still functions as a standby, appearing during rest and disappearing during activity (Tesche and Hari, 1993: figs. 2c and 2d; Steriade, Contreras, Dossi, Núñez 1993; Tesche and Hari 1993). Alpha is not usually found in the front of the brain, however, not because the front part of the brain cannot make alpha, but because it rarely goes into standby – even with the eyes closed and the ears plugged, brain scans show it active (Mazziotta, Phelps, Carson, Kuhl 1982; Roland 1984, 1993:472). (The brain scans also show the visual cortex to go into action when the eyes are open and turn off when they are shut.) But the prefrontal cortex can show alpha, as when people drift off to sleep or meditate. When we are falling asleep, this frontal alpha activity is only temporary, lasting 10s or less (Markland 1990:171; Sanatmaria and Chiappa 1987: 348; Hari 1993: 1046-1047). But in meditation, such as transcendental meditation (TM), zen, yoga, and qi gong (a Chinese form of meditation), it lasts longer and changes, increasing slightly in amplitude and becoming more coordinated and slightly lower in frequency than normal (Anand, Chhina, Singh 1961; Banquet 1973; Kasamatsu and Hirai 1966; Zhang, Li, He 1988). Some highly practiced meditators can control their brain waves so that the alpha state remains over their visual cortex even after they open their eyes during or following meditation (Anand, Chhina, Singh 1961; Banquet 1973: 146; Kasamatsu, Hirai 1966). As with other evolved aspects of the mind, people vary in their alpha activity. Some people have a lot, others a little. How much we have seems to tie in to how we think. People with little alpha activity are high visualizers; they do not turn off their visual cortex because they use it constantly while in thought. In contrast, those with much alpha activity tend to be more verbal in their thoughts and so more likely to keep their visual cortex on standby (Slatter 1960).

    An advantage of alpha is that the brain can flick quickly from it into work mode – gamma rhythm (Basar and Bullock 1992; Bressler 1990; König and Engel 1995; König, Engel, Singer 1995; Kulli and Koch 1991; Llinás and Paré 1991; Ribary, Ioannides, Singh et al., 1991; Singer 1993, 1994; vonder Malsberg 1995). Gamma waves are oscillations in the 20 to 80 Hz range. For short, neurologists call them 40-Hz oscillations (Bressler 1990). They are triggered when the reticular formation in the brainstem puts the brain into a state of arousal (Munk, Roelfsema, König et al., 1996). Gamma bursts occur in time frames of a tenth to a third of a second.

    The new discoveries surrounding gamma are exciting – they could be a kind of Holy Grail for the sciences of the mind- but reducing general psychological processes to the behavior of neurons is a problem. Although alpha, the standby state of the cortex, is fairly easily detected using electrodes put on the scalp, gamma is elusive. Gamma does not readily pass through the skull for a variety of reasons. The amplitude of its high frequency oscillations is low. It is also, compared to alpha, more localized, fragmented, and transient. Worse for those trying to study it, muscles make electrical noise in the 10 to 70 Hz range that interferes with gamma’s detection. To top it all off, where and when it can be detected, it oscillates too quickly to show up on the paper traditionally used for EEG recordings (Rockstroh, Elbert, Birbaumer and Lutzenberge 1983: 105; Spydell and Sheer, 1982; Spydell, Ford, and Sheer 1979). Thus, most work on the brain’s electrical activity has focused on the more convenient alpha. Not being able easily to detect the faster gamma activity, scientists thought that the brain stopped oscillating when it was working and produced desynchronization, or noise.

    The Binding Problem
    What does gamma do? As with many things in the mind, the reason for its existence is hidden by its success. Consider your ability to see – it is extraordinary. Shut your eyes. Open them. Now look at your fingers while moving them in front of each other and this book. Consider what doesn’t happen. Your fingers do not appear to take on the color of this page. Nor, as they move about, do they seem to jump from hand to hand. Nor do their movements transfer to these words.

    Your brain has done two incredible things. First, it has segmented the visual scene before your eyes into separate “perceptual groups” – hands, book, and what is beyond them. In doing this, it has efficiently divided what you see into figures and backgrounds. Such segmentation is important because it lets you see your fingers as belonging to two hands and separate from the book, even while all are occupying the same visual space.

    Second, your brain causes you to see each of these perceptual groups – objects and “gestalts” – as having different visual attributes: color, shape, and movement. That is truly remarkable. The brain processes such attributes in different cortical areas. In fact, making sense of what is before our eyes involves processes spread over two dozen different areas in each hemisphere. But in spite of this, vision is a wonderfully unified experience. Somehow, the part of the visual cortex responsible for color must be able to process the colors of our skin, this book, and what lies beyond it at the same time without mixing them up. The same is true for the other areas of the brain processing shape and motion. And just as remarkably, the processing of an object’s color, motion, and shape happening in these different areas must come together as one experience. Even more amazingly, this has to happen for all the many objects seen and processed in the near instant of opening our eyes or changing our gaze. Yet the brain has no problem with this. Somehow it binds what we see with such incredible ease that we do not notice it, even though it is created by the activity of many brain areas. Your sight is performing a minor miracle. We should never cease to be amazed that our fingers do not turn the color of this book when we see both together. Or that their movement does not transfer to these words. Or get visually mixed with the world beyond. We do not hallucinate. We see.


    Scientists call this puzzle the binding problem (Engel and Singer 2001; Gray 1999; Reynolds and Desimone 1999; Singer 1999; vonder Malsberg 1999; Wolfe and Cave 1999; Shadlen and Movshon 1999). It occurs for all our senses. The feel of our bodies, for instance, is spread over seven brain regions. It is perceived across all our senses, and yet what we see and hear happen as one experience, not as separate ones. Moreover, the problem is not limited to perception. Movement also requires the coordination of many brain areas – perceptual and motor – working as one. Thought and memory also require the processing of several areas coming together (Cohen and Eichenbaum 1993:286-287; Shashri and Ajjanagadde 1993). Further, we must be able to do such things as bind emotions to what we see, think, and recall. In short, the brain has to have a trick that lets it process things across the brain as if they were all being processed in the same place.

    How does the brain manage this amazing feat of mental magic? At first scientists were puzzled. Those modeling the brain in the 1980s suggested some theories. They argued that it might involve the existence of some kind of synchronization among neurons. Though neural processes may be happening in different parts of the brain, they could work together if they did things at the same moments in time. The need to bind different objects would not cause problems, since the different bindings could fire at slightly different times. Thus, the neurons processing the color of your fingers would lock their processing with those tackling the shape of your fingers, rather than with those processing the shape of the book. Such synchronization could happen just once, but it would be easier to arrange in the brain if it happened repeatedly in all oscillations. This would allow neurons to build up processing together and share information. Such synchronization need not last long – only a few tens or hundreds of milliseconds would do. Separate processing would be thus kept apart through slightly different rates of firing. This prediction was made, and scientists looked and found it to be the case. There is now direct evidence that part of the answer exists in those gamma oscillations going on between the cortex and the thalamus.

    Gamma Activity
    By the late 198os, scientists had the technology to detect gamma bursts. Work using implanted electrodes – limited to research on animals – showed gamma activity binding and segmenting what the animals saw. Gamma creates faint magnetic as well as electrical fields in the brain. These two kinds of fields occur at right angles to each other, so each reveals something hidden by the other. Some research uses EEG; more recently, magnetoencephalography (MEG) has been used. Scientists are finding that hard-to-detect gamma may be responsible for even more neural synchronization than we thought. In one new technique used on aimal brains, cameras peer directly at the coherence of large groups of neurons that, tagged with voltage dyes, change color as they spike in unison. This technique allows us to visualize neurons firing at the same time even at distances up to 6 mm apart (Arieli, Sholam, Hildesheim, and Grinvald 1995). MEG already lets us see gamma moving in patches around human brains. The gamma activity shifts up and down between the cortex and thalamus and shoots across the brain (Llinás and Paré 1991:531; Ribary et al., 1992).

    As noted, the visual part of the thalamus, the lateral geniculate nuclei, receives as many axons from the primary visual cortex as it does from the retina. There is feedback, a synchronization among neurons in the thalamus and those of the cortex. Within the top layers of the cortex exist special neurons called chattering cells that generate gamma waves when excited. These neurons lead, the rest of the cortex follows, and gamma activity synchronizes (Gray and McCormick 1996). In brained animals, including humans, this synchronization is correlated with sharpened perception: Cells link to respond to a common stimulus, such as a moving image (Sillito, Jones, Gerstein and West 1994; Lutzenberger, Pulvermüller, Elbert, Birbaumer 1995). Research on cats suggests they use gamma to segment scenes in discrete ways and time periods depending on what they see (Engel, König,Kreiter et al. 1992; Engel, König Singer 1991; von der Malsberg 1995).

    Visual coherence depends on gamma. When sight fails to develop normally, so does gamma activity. This is the case with strabismic amblyopia, in which the two eyes are out of alignment, something that could cause double vision. One way the brain avoids this is to see using only one eye. As a result, vision in the other eye and its visual cortex is not normal. It does not bind percepts properly: Fragmented contours may come together, while continuous ones may appear disrupted. Such distortions correlate with impaired gamma. Compared to the eye that is fully used, neurons in the ignored eye’s visual cortex do not synchronize very well when binding visual percepts (Roelfsema, König, Engel et al., 1994).

    Gamma oscillations are reset by new stimuli (Llinás and Ribary 1993; Ribary et al., 1992). Indeed, this resetting limits our ability to distinguish two rapidly repeated tones. We hear them as one sound. When we hear two tones there are two bursts of gamma waves; when we hear them fused as a single sound, there is only a single burst of oscillations (Joliot, Ribary, Llinás 1994). Such misperceptions occur not only when we disregard a real entity but also when we bind fragments together to see unreal optical illusions (Tallon, Bertrand, Bouchet and Pernier 1995).

    Perception by one of your senses can evoke other responses, partly via gamma. If you hear, say, a sudden click, in seconds this will evoke a train of reactions in the electrical and magnetic potentials on your scalp. Tiny voltages in its electrical potentials switch from negative to positive in a series of peaks and troughs. Or so it was thought. New MEG research suggests that electrical and magnetic fields lock in phase but only for the earliest 20 to 130 ms of evoked responses. MEG can see what cannot be easily seen with EEG: four or more gamma cycles in 20 to 130 ms after a click is heard (Hari, 1993: 1057; Pantev, Makeig, Hoke, et al., 1991). Gamma, like alpha, does not apply only to vision. Indeed, most gamma work done on humans has been done on hearing (Hari 1993; Pantev, Makeig, Hoke et al., 1991; Ribary et al., 1992; Tesche and Hari, 1993; Tiitinen, Sinkkonen, Reinikainen, et al., 1993).
    Gamma also operates when smelling odors and when feeling touches on one’s body. And it does not happen just in one hemisphere; gamma binds visual processes across the two sides of the brain (Engel, König, Kreiter, Singer 1991), connecting areas of the human cortex as much as 9 cm apart (Desmedt and Tomberg 1994). In this rapidly expanding area of science, evidence of these oscillations and synchronizations is turning up outside our sensory cortices. Research suggests that they help the brain prepare before it does things (Kristeva-Feige, Feige, Makeig et al., 1993; Murphy and Fetz 1992; Pfurtscheller, Neuper, Kalcher 1993; Sanes and Donoghue 1993; Vaadia, Haalman, Abeles et al., 1995) and synchronize neural activity among sensory, motor, and prefrontal cortices (Bressler, Coppola, Nakamura 1993; Desmedt and Tomberg 1994). People react to stimuli differently; fast reactors react before fully perceiving the stimulus, and others, slower, react afterward. Such differences show up in gamma activity (Joeit and Makeig 1994). Gamma also links processing that takes place in the prefrontal and parietal cortices for selective attention (Tiitinen, Sinkkonen, Reinikainen et al., 1993; Desmedt and Tomberg 1994).

    Gamma may also have a role in memory. While theta waves’ slow frequency of 3-7 Hz is the main brain frequency used for memory storage in our hippocampus, gamma has also been found there. Such hippocampal and cortical gamma may hook up to link memory and sensation. This is the proposal of a research group headed by György Buzsáki at Rutgers University: The “coherent oscillation of neocortical and hippocampal neurons may reflect the fusion of currently perceived and stored attributes of objects and events.” (Bragin, Jandó, Nádasdy et al., 1995). Tantalizing research done by Hellmuth Petsche and colleagues in Vienna suggests synchronization and gamma might underlie the experience and pleasures of music (Petsche 1996; Petsche, Richter, von Stein et al., 1993; Petsche, von Stein, Fritz 1996; Bhattacharya and Petsche 2001).

    Further work suggests gamma may underlie the binding that is required to enable us to reason (Shashri and Ajjanagadde 1993). It has been linked to solving verbal, mathematical, and shape puzzles (Spydell, Ford, Sheer 1979; Spydell and Sheer 1982). When people detected real words, such as “moon,” among letter strings that only look like words, such as “noom,” scientists caught gamma connecting neural assemblies in the left hemisphere (Lutzenberger, Pulvermüller, Birbaumer 1994). Moreover, learning-disabled children fail to show the increased gamma normally seen during problem solving (Sheer, 1976). And the gamma-challenged may show dementia or disordered thought: Reduced gamma correlates with Alzheimer’s disease (Ribary, Ionnides , Singh, et al., 1991) and schizophrenia (Haig, Gordon, De Pascalis et al., 2000).

    The link between gamma and synchrony may tempt us to think of it as a kind of computer clock in the brain (Pöppel 1989:227). But although both computers and brains use time to synchronize, brains are much, much slower. A 10-million fold rate difference separates silicon and biocomputers: Computer chips clock at thousands and hundreds of millions of hertz, while the brain runs at 20-80 Hz. Yet whereas computers use a clock running at only one frequency, our brains combine many frequencies. Computers work in serial, while our brains are true parallel processors. So whereas the cycles of computers are used to order the execution of instructions, gamma oscillations temporarily link the brain’s many separate areas of processing in a kind of bioelectromagnetic dance.

    Not all synchronization happens in oscillation. Electrodes implanted in brains find some neurons firing in synchrony that do not appear to be doing so in cycles. One possibility is that they are part of hidden oscillations; a neuron’s participation in an oscillation can only be spotted if its fellows are found firing along with it. Or neurons might be joining in without firing electrical impulses to one another; they can electrically oscillate across their cell membranes at a subthreshold level, insufficiently strong to cause them to fire. A collection of neurons may thus oscillate electrically but silently together and as a result show only “irregular” activity. Thus, even the irregular firing of neurons may not be so irregular – desynchronized – as was thought (Llinás, Grace, Yarom 1991; Nuñez, Amzica, and Steriade 1992; Wang 1993).

    Nothing is simple when it comes to the brain. A recent development is that synchronization has been found to link with oscillations, but only over distances of 2 mm or more, not shorter (König, Engel, Singer 1995). Other subtleties no doubt exist. What we know of the role and existence of gamma at present still depends on fragmented evidence. Oscillations may exist for reasons other than binding; binding may involve other, as yet undiscovered, processes. Oscillations occur subcortically as well as cortically. The main lesson in any area of science is that with better knowledge, things originally seen as simple are eventually revealed as much more complex.

    Steering: Hands on the Gamma Wheel
    Norbert Wiener first used the word cybernetics – the study of control processes in living beings and machines. The prefix cyber- is taken from the Greek word for “steer.” How are the manifold processes of the brain steered? What can we say of the cybernetic processes underlying thought, which we can control even as they control us?

    There is more to gamma and brain activity in general than passively binding the processing done by neurons. Brain activity can be focused. Gamma thus not only enables experience but offers a means by which the prefrontal cortex can organize the brain. To explore how this might happen, we must return to the anatomy of the thalamus.

    Although we described the thalamus as if it were a single entity with two bulges – the lateral geniculate nuclei – it is more complex, consisting of many smaller parts, including two more bulges, the medial (middle) geniculate nuclei. The lateral and medial geniculate nuclei are “specific” thalamic nuclei; they are strongly linked to specific areas of the cortex: the lateral geniculate to the visual cortex and the medial geniculate to the auditory cortex. Other thalamic nuclei – the intralaminar, or nonspecific, nuclei – are linked widely. Their deadpan name belies their exciting function: They help shape which cortex areas bind together (Llinás, Ribary 1993; Metherate, Cox, Ashe 1992). They seem to bring together the sensory and other information that the intralaminar nuclei give the cortex. One specific nucleus (actually a group of nuclei), the pulvinar (meaning “cushion” or “pillow”), may be responsible for something else: It projects to the visual cortex beyond the main area serviced by the thalamic projection from the lateral geniculate nuclei. Instead of relaying eye input to the brain, the pulvinar seems to let us mentally focus on what we see – it governs our visual attention (Olshausen, Anderson, Van Essen 1993; Leberge 1995; Robinson and Peterson 1992).

    Other parts of the pulvinar deal with other senses, governing our focus on what we touch and hear. Steering attention is an important function. The pulvinar is the largest part of the human thalamus, and, not surprisingly, it displays gamma oscillations (Shumikhina and Molotchnikoff 1995). So gamma and other neural activity not only let the brain bind processes but also provide a powerful steering mechanism.

    Yet this raises the question: Which parts of the brain steer? The story is only partially in. There are probably many processes involved, but it seems that one specialized area of the thalamus oversees how information passes between the thalamus and the cortex. In between the thalamus and the cortex is the so-called reticular thalamus, Latin for “bedroom net.” The reticular thalamus sends axons into the thalamus and receives impulses from the axons, navigating information flow in both directions between the thalamus and the cortex. Neuroscientists believe it has a role (along with the cortex and the thalamus) in generating gamma activity (llinás, Grace, Yarum, 1992; Pinault and Deschênes 1992). More importantly it enjoys the perfect position to act as a kind of gatekeeper, controlling what happens above in the cortex (Blenner, Yingling 1993; Mitrofanis and Guillery 1993; Yingling and Skinner 1977). But if the reticular thalamus acts as a kind of guide or lens on cortex activity, what controls it? Who controls the controller?

    The brain lets several parts of itself (including parts of the cortex, the thalamus and even the basal ganglia (Parent and Hazrati 1995:117). to which we will come later) shape what the reticular thalamus does. Another part consists of the brainstem neurons in another “net” called the reticular formation (aka: “Acetylcholine ascending projection of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus.”) These manage the brain’s general state of arousal. For instance, they have a role in shifting the brain from sleep to wakefulness and back. Were this neural “on” switch to break, the cortex would still be technically alive but effectively “brain dead.”

    Other possible controllers include the parts of the cortex whose axons extend through the thalamic net. Though the processes are far from understood, these areas probably give the cortex some control over its own processing. However, we do know that one part of the cortex has special power over the thalamic net: our prefrontal cortex, which may also control the thalamic net in a secondary, indirect fashion by exerting control over the reticular formation (Desmedt and Debecker 1979: 660-661). The prefrontal cortex, through the reticular thalamus, can organize what the rest of the cortex does. In effect, the reticular thalamus serves as the baton with which the prefrontal cortex can modulate and organize the rest of the brain (Blenner and Yingling 1993; Rockstroh, Elbert, Birbaumer, Lutzenberger et al., 1983: 102-104; Yingling and Skinner 1977), a baton that can adjust, area by area, the activity of the rest of the cerebral cortex.

    Instead of being shifted by external cues or automatic associations, what is bound by gamma can be manipulated from within. The brain can focus on a task. Attention can be sustained, reactions suppressed. Gamma, in short, can be willed.

    In the 1970’s many attempts were made to train people to control their alpha rhythms through biofeedback. A good idea, perhaps, but the outcome is generally admitted to be a failure (RockstrohElbert, Canavan, et al., 1990: 130-131). In striking contrast, the few experiments that tried to teach control over gamma were successful (Bird, Newton, Sheer, Ford 1978). Unfortunately, however, the researchers did not persist. As we noted, using EEG to detect gamma is difficult. So far no one has taken up their work using MEG. But it seems like an obvious candidate for a research program.

    Prefrontal cortex gamma control seems to go through the reticular thalamus. Russian scientists using implants in humans have linked activity in this part of the brain to starting voluntary acts (Raeva and Lukashev 1993). That is one clue.

    Another is that the reticular thalamus, in its position between the thalamus and cortex, controls sensory evoked potentials. As noted, some of these are associated with gamma oscillations. Indeed, one direct link has been found between gamma and the prefrontal cortex. Some subjects had their fingers lightly stimulated, and depending on which finger it was, they were to move their big toe. It is a task that makes many people focus sharply on their fingers. Sensitive EEG was used to look at the gamma that appeared over their prefrontal cortex and the part of their parietal lobe that attends to finger skin touches (an area distant from the one activated by movements of the big toe). It found that when the prefrontal cortex was alerted to a touch, its gamma synchronized for five oscillations – 125 ms – with the gamma happening over the touch-sensitive parietal cortex, 9 cm away (Desmedt and Tomberg 1994). How they connected we are not sure, but it could be through either the reticular thalamus or the axons linking the prefrontal and parietal cortices, or even both.

    All the above lines of evidence amount to hints – circumstantial evidence – that the prefrontal cortex has a key role in controlling and shifting the brain’s awake gamma activity. While we lack proof positive, the prefrontal cortex is also known to control some other brain activity, called slow potentials (Rockstroh, Elbert, Birbaumer, Lutzenberger 1983; Rockstroh, Elbert, Canavan et al., 1990). These reflect the buildup of activity in cortical neurons used in attention (Rockstroh, Elbert,Canavan et al., 1990: 50-55; Rockstroh, Müller, Cohen, Elbert 1992; Sandrew, Stamm, and Rosen 1977). PET scans show parallel increases in blood flow in areas over which slow potentials appear (Lang, Lang, Podreka et al., 1988). Linked to cognition, slow potentials predict peoples’ accuracy in doing things (Morgan, Wenzl, Lang et al., 1992). Linked to cognition, slow potentials predict peoples’ accuracy in doing things. A stimulus presented is learned and focused on better when a slow potential is present (Sandrew, Stamm, Rosen 1977). Slow potentials appear to be controlled by the reticular thalamus (Rockstroh, Elbert, Birbaumer, Lutzenberger 1983: 103; Yingling and Skinner 1977: 91-92).

    Although the relationship between slow potentials and gamma is unknown, there is some evidence that slow potentials are ultimately controlled by the prefrontal cortex. German researchers have explored whether people can consciously control their slow potentials. Wiring them up with electrodes, they showed them their slow potentials in the form of the position of a rocket shape moving across a screen. The object of a game was then to get a rocket through a “goal” at the top of the screen. Lots of slow potentials and the rocket moved to the top of the screen; not enough and it stayed near the bottom. People found it rather easy to use the sight of the rocket as a visual cue to help them control the slow potentials appearing in their brain. With experience, people found they could move the rocket up and down blindly, without looking at the screen. In effect, they could will their slow potentials.

    But not all people. Those with frontal lobe injuries Rockstroh, Elbert, Birbaumer, Lutzenberger 1983: 168-169; Rockstroh, Elbert, Canavan, et al., 1990: 178-18981) could control their slow potentials only if aided by the external cue given by the rocket. Lacking an intact prefrontal cortex, they could not cue, or will, their slow potentials internally.

    The prefrontal cortex shapes how we process some evoked potentials in the first 25-50 and 100 ms of sensory experience (Knight, 1991: 142; Joutsiniemi, Hari 1989; Desmedt, Debecker 1979: N120). This is quick – 40 ms (Europe) or 33 ms (America and Japan) is the time it takes a television set to refresh one picture. An interesting case occurs when we attend to clicks: A brain wave appears over the auditory cortex at 51 ms, another roughly 14 ms later over the prefrontal cortex, and then another 14 ms later over the auditory cortex again. It takes roughly 14 ms for impulses to travel the 14 cm distance between auditory and prefrontal cortex at 1 cm per ms (Zappoli, Zappoli, Versari et al., 1995).

    It has been found that when the auditory cortex is responding to such sound, the very earliest of its evoked responses – those in the 25- to 35- ms range – seem to escape the control of the prefrontal cortex. They are not modulated or gated, by those with prefrontal cortex injuries. Later responses are, however, providing further evidence that the prefrontal cortex is sculpting brain activity (Knight, Scabini, Woods 1989). The Swedish neuroscientist Per Roland, drawing on evidence from work with PET scans, argues that the fields of brain activity are “tuned” and “recruited” by processes involving the prefrontal cortex (Roland 1993:139, 226). Cooling the prefrontal cortex reversibly brings to a halt the functioning of the rest of the brain. Based on such work, researchers suggest the prefrontal cortex modulates processing in other brain areas (Goldman–Rakic and Chafee 1994). Likewise, injuries to the prefrontal cortex on one side of the brain can bring to an almost standstill the brainwaves on that side of the brain (Zappoli, Zappoli, Versari, et al., 1995).

    The growing list of hints from the “signal traffic” picked up on the scalp is that the prefrontal cortex is in subtle and powerful control, conducting much of the rest of the brain. In terms of the military intelligence metaphor, we have an advantage. Enemies learn with time to hide their communication traffic better. But not the brain – the brain doesn’t care if we listen in. In the future, our listening posts on the brain will become sharper and more sensitive in interception. MEG is a fresh technology that has hardly been exploited as a research tool yet. Increasingly researchers are combining EEG and MEG with functional brain scans such as PET and fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to more deeply probe and understand the brain. A foreign agent’s intelligence report on the brain, if given today, would finger the prefrontal cortex as being in control. Soon, perhaps, we will know details of the structure of its staff command.

    The importance of the prefrontal cortex does not end here. This chapter and its antecedent do not follow on our discussion of neural plasticity by chance. Although the prefrontal cortex interests us in its own right, it may have played an even bigger role in the past. Its protean and plastic powers, we argue, had a key role in increasing brain size and in launching the evolutionary journey that led to humanity.

    <hr> Posted by Diane (Member # 1064) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,9,29,13,21,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 29-10-2005 20:21<noscript>October 29, 2005 01:21 PM</noscript>:

    This article, titled Ongoing Spontaneous Activity Controls Access to Consciousness: A Neuronal Model for Inattentional Blindness, discusses gamma frequencies in quite a bit of detail.

    Although it is about vision, and inattention to it, toward the end is a very interesting section that if just a couple words were different, would speak to ideomotor movement, I think:
    quote: <hr> Spontaneous Activity and Autonomy of the Organism
    We close by noting that most theories of conscious processing have failed to recognize the important role of spontaneous thalamocortical activity (for exceptions, see [1,7,120]). By contrast, the present computational model proposes an essential role for spontaneous activity within an anatomically distinct set of “workspace neurons” in giving the formal organism an autonomy relative to the external world. Autonomy has several facets. First, in the absence of external signals, an autonomous organism must be capable of generating spontaneous representations and intentions (self-activation). Our present and past work [18,19,20] proposes that spontaneous neuronal activity is an essential component of this “projective style” [121,122], which departs from the input-output view currently dominant in the neural network community. The present work shows how sources of noise such as spontaneous membrane oscillations and noisy synaptic transmission can be harnessed to generate a stream of highly organized states of self-activation in the complete absence of external inputs. This capacity is expected to play a crucial role in the spontaneous generation of novel, flexible behavior, as evidenced for instance in neuropsychological tests such as the Tower of London test or the Wisconsin card sorting test.

    Second, even when submitted to external stimulation, an autonomous organism must be capable of representing internally only those stimuli that are relevant to the present situation. Relevant stimuli must first be selected, based on reward-based evaluation systems not included in the present model (but see [123]), and then maintained online over a time period often incommensurate with their actual input duration, all the while resisting distraction by irrelevant stimuli. The present work provides the basic building blocks for such a decoupling of part of the organism's internal activity from its current inputs. A crucial role is attributed to the strongly recurrent connectivity of cortical neurons in association areas, which collectively form a conscious workspace, an internal “milieu” buffered from the outside world, and within which mental hypotheses can be entertained and discarded at will. An inevitable consequence of this autonomy, however, is that some stimuli are inappropriately filtered out, thus causing inattentional blindness.
    I say this, because sensory input is sensory input, i.e., kinesthetic, visual, whatever, it's still input. The other thing brains do is create motor output, based on perception/apprehension of input from without or of spontaneously generated input from one brain region to another, then some response to it. It doesn't seem so farfetched to me that different regions of the brain would experience unique "perceptions" of simple contact, then respond, and gamma would be the "binder" turning all the reponse outputs into a smooth motor reply, which would be the ideomotor part, unmasked by design and by request. The experience of it consciously would be the "surprise" part of the phenomenon. (Picture the prefrontals just sitting back for a change, letting the orchestra play by itself.)

    My personal 'surprise' element in experiencing simple contact and my own ideomotor movement was a sudden 'image' both kinesthetic and visual, of heat sliding down my spine, my spinous processes lighting up and showing themselves as visibly to my internal perception as stegasaurous plates are in a drawing of such a dinosaur. (I suspect part of my visual cortex and part of my internally spontaneously generated kinesthetic cortex are overlapped or intertwined.) Whatever, I felt I had met my own spinal homunculus, sensory and motor, and that it was glad to have had me pay it a visit.
    <hr> Posted by Barrett (Member # 67) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,9,31,13,50,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 31-10-2005 20:50<noscript>October 31, 2005 01:50 PM</noscript>:


    I’m not sure many will take the time necessary to read this whole thing but once I got started I found it hard to set aside. As you have indicated , this is very important material for those of us interested in what might be happening within the brain, and thus, the manifestation of that activity on the patient’s sensibilities and consequent movement. I feel the role of gamma waves will gain further significance as more study takes place. As yet, it provides anyone reading this carefully with the ability to speculate as if he actually knew something about neuroelectronics. Of course, I can always exploit such an illusion when I teach-especially to an especially bright group.

    I’m wondering if you’d agree with or modify the following:

    • The amount of alpha activity one uses varies-thus leading to different learning styles

    • Gamma activity spikes when the brainstem puts the brain into a state of arousal-perhaps secondary to a touch on the skin-also known as the “work mode” resulting, I suppose, in motor activity, of which ideomotor would be one example

    • Gamma oscillations “bind” several brain areas at once, leading to behavior, learning, insight and general activity not normally present in their absence

    • From the text; “Gamma oscillations are reset by new stimuli.” Perhaps alterations in touch from one spot to the next or various pressures at the same spot would “reset” the gamma activity. Sounds like a typical strategy used when employing Simple Contact to me

    • Our evident control of the prefrontal cortex (with a little training) would be sufficient to enhance gamma activity and lead to motor activity similar to that which would occur if we were touched-thus, people can move ideomotorically without the handing of another after a few lessons

    Can I say to my classes: “Touch is important when first trying to elicit the self-corrective expression of ideomotion not because it guides anything, but simply because it stimulates gamma activity, and that’s required for the “work mode” of the brain to kick into gear.”?

    Please let me know what you think.
    <hr> Posted by nari (Member # 2772) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,9,31,14,17,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 31-10-2005 21:17<noscript>October 31, 2005 02:17 PM</noscript>:

    Lengthy posts can be daunting, but well worth the effort, I find, once I get into it.
    With much of what Diane has posted in the recent past here, and elsewhere, I keep thinking: these gammas have got to be the 'catalyst' (or at least one of them)behind self-corrective expression of ideomotion. Back to the central governor theory, but not quite in the way Noakes intended, perhaps.

    If some can elicit that instant response by themselves without any afferent input such as touching - then those people have an especially tuned up orchestra which springs into action with one small baton action. I suspect they also have strong implicit and explicit memory, and other goodies such as highly tuned spatial orientation, which require very fast planning/execution skills.

    <hr> Posted by Christophb (Member # 3884) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,9,31,15,10,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 31-10-2005 22:10<noscript>October 31, 2005 03:10 PM</noscript>:

    Yeah, I could barely put the article down, fascinating stuff.

    Hmmmmm, I wonder if this is what people train when engaged in the practice of movement arts (tai chi/yoga/feldenkrais etc) Would the focus on spatial orientation/attention coordiation of various body parts in relation to the stimulus of gravity or touch (as with 2 person exercises) promote gamma synchronization? On rare occassions when I do my tai chi right, it feels like simple contact (and I get the warmth/softness/effortlessness and surprise)... and yes, I do have a one track tai chi mind.

    <hr> Posted by Diane (Member # 1064) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,9,31,21,36,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 01-11-2005 04:36<noscript>October 31, 2005 09:36 PM</noscript>:

    Lots of thoughts churning. Interesting ideas. I'll take a look at those questions Barrett. I'd say I agree with most of them at the moment, but that's superficial agreement.. I have to think more. I'll be back in a few days.

    There are tons of articles now, on gamma, and some that talk about gamma and ideomotor together in the same article. Bernard has listed several abstracts on a thread parallel to this one, including some of the ones cited by Sagan, over where he admins.. you know where. (I'd put the link here, but it won't work. Something I'll never understand...) I will look to see if there are answers besides the ones in Sagan's chapter, and the one on inattentional blindness.

    I read inattentional blindness, but I think inattentional access to kinesthetic input/output. Blindness to one's own feedback from one's own movement: Inability to feel it being incomplete, missing great chunks, dimensionless. Thinking it's all fine, and then one day, pain. Something like that term of Hanna's, "sensory-motor amnesia." And I think, hmmnn, simple contact, ideomotor movement; the inner lights go up and in the movement maze, mirrors are cloaked so one can "see" where one is going (kinesthetically) finally, without having to work hard to get out. The body becomes more 'real', homunculi unsmudge, things that feel like blocks of concrete in or between body segments melt into ductile taffy. I'm integrating it more and more all the time. The 75-year-olds are having a real party with it, they love to feel their bodies working well again.
    <hr> Posted by Randy Dixon (Member # 3445) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,1,0,27,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 01-11-2005 07:27<noscript>November 01, 2005 12:27 AM</noscript>:

    I found this funny:

    ). PET scans show parallel increases in blood flow in areas over which slow potentials appear (Lang, Lang, Podreka et al., 1988). Linked to cognition, slow potentials predict peoples’ accuracy in doing things (Morgan, Wenzl, Lang et al., 1992). Linked to cognition, slow potentials predict peoples’ accuracy in doing things. A stimulus presented is learned and focused on better when a slow potential is present (Sandrew, Stamm, Rosen 1977).

    The repeat of "Linked to cognition...accuracy in doing things" is what I mean.

    It was an interesting read, I found it interesting how much of this seems to be under our control and conscious will.
    <hr> Posted by Jon Newman (Member # 3148) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,1,7,2,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 01-11-2005 14:02<noscript>November 01, 2005 07:02 AM</noscript>:

    Randy, are you trying to draw me into this conversation? Success!

    There is a difference between cognition and consciousness and conflating the two is easy to do. Your example only speaks to cognition, which things like amoebas seem to have.

    Cognition is necessary for consciousness but is insufficient. And having consciousness is necessary for free will but is insufficient. I'm making an assumption, and thus could be wrong, that when you state "under our control and conscious will" that you are meaning free will.

    It's insufficient because in order to be a freely willing agent you have to demonstrate that one's consciousness caused an event AND the consciousness that caused the event was not itself caused. Thus there would have to be part of us that is not subject to the laws of nature and remains uncaused throughout life.

    It may be, however, that you are using the common sense conception of free will to mean that we do have choices and that we can be held responsible for them, to which I would agree.


    Diane, I noticed this book is out of print now, so thanks for the posting the chapter.
    <hr> Posted by Diane (Member # 1064) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,1,8,1,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 01-11-2005 15:01<noscript>November 01, 2005 08:01 AM</noscript>:

    quote: <hr> Diane, I noticed this book is out of print now, so thanks for the posting the chapter. <hr>
    I found it still for sale at Amazon. Looks like some copies are still available. Shame if it's out of print.
    <hr> Posted by Randy Dixon (Member # 3445) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,1,9,9,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 01-11-2005 16:09<noscript>November 01, 2005 09:09 AM</noscript>:

    "Instead of being shifted by external cues or automatic associations, what is bound by gamma can be manipulated from within. The brain can focus on a task. Attention can be sustained, reactions suppressed. Gamma, in short, can be willed."

    I'm referring to statements such as this one. Which seem to suggest that the author believes we do have a large degree of control over the "controller" I think looking at free will in the light Jon has put it creates an unnecessary paradox, all linear type relationships have this paradox inherent in them, cause-effect, chicken-egg, nature-nurture etc. however they can be discussed and examined independently. Except perhaps the chicken and egg.
    <hr> Posted by Jon Newman (Member # 3148) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,1,9,23,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 01-11-2005 16:23<noscript>November 01, 2005 09:23 AM</noscript>:

    My example is without paradox although it may be counterintuitive.

    <hr> Posted by Barrett (Member # 67) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,1,10,18,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 01-11-2005 17:18<noscript>November 01, 2005 10:18 AM</noscript>:

    From Wikipedia: "A paradox is an apparently true statement or group of statements that seems to lead to a contradiction or to a situation that defies intuition...(and) The word paradox is often used interchangeably with contradiction; but where a contradiction by definition cannot be true, many paradoxes do allow for resolution, though many remain unresolved or only contentiously resolved."

    I think we're closer to counterintuitive thinking here, but it's a close call at times.

    In neuroscience the well-worn phrase, "It's not free will, it's free won't," might be helpful here. It seems that the conscious mind has the primary function of deciding what won't be expressed, not what will.

    This means that we can decide to stop posing and instead move authentically, instinctively, correctively and essentially without effort. Perhaps touch of a certain sort combined with a nonjudgmental social environment allows the gamma activity to organize the brain in a way not normally seen once we are enculturated. If our culture has the "no pain, no gain" meme firmly placed (effort is always implied there), such a notion would be counterintuitive, as Jon says. But activity such as this doesn't require any violation of physical law and, it seems, this is certainly biologically plausible.
    <hr> Posted by Jon Newman (Member # 3148) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,1,10,51,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 01-11-2005 17:51<noscript>November 01, 2005 10:51 AM</noscript>:

    Here we have another example of a learning opportunity arising despite the thread veering off topic. I was using paradox and contradiction interchangeably and incorrectly.

    <hr> Posted by Diane (Member # 1064) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,1,13,46,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 01-11-2005 20:46<noscript>November 01, 2005 01:46 PM</noscript>:

    Barrett, I did some thinking about those points you listed above; most of the things you said are supported directly by statements in Sagan's chapter in the first post.

    I dug around a wee bit for this one:
    quote: <hr> Can I say to my classes: “Touch is important when first trying to elicit the self-corrective expression of ideomotion not because it guides anything, but simply because it stimulates gamma activity, and that’s required for the “work mode” of the brain to kick into gear.”?

    Please let me know what you think.
    I foound something that although doesn't mention gamma specifically, is all about attention. In an old (1994) review paper by Posner (cited by Sagan a couple places), called Attention: The mechanisms of consciousness, appears this interesting statement, in the context of a discussion of amplification of attention:
    quote: <hr> ..It is found in all areas of the brain that have been studied. Attention to sensory information amplifies brain areas used to process that modality; similarly, attention to motor output activates brain areas used to generate the movement. <hr>
    (emphasis mine.)

    Before that, he sets out the three major hypotheses (current in 1994);
    quote: <hr> Three fundamental working hypotheses characterize the current state of efforts to develop a combined cognitive neuroscience of attention.
    1. There exists an attentional system of the brain that is anatomically separate from various data-processing systems that can be activated passively by visual and auditory input.
    2. Attention is carried out by a network of anatomical areas. It is neither the property of a single brain area nor is it a collective function of te brain working as a whole.
    3. The brain areas involved in attention do not carry out the same function, but specific computations are assigned to different areas.
    More toward the end of the paper, the anterior cingulate is discussed as part of an older overview of the awareness network:
    quote: <hr> In this section, we note five points, each of which appears to relate subjective experience to activation of the anterior attention system. <hr>
    (edited for brevity)
    1. activation increases with number of targets
    2. active during tasks requiring subject to detect visual stimuli
    3. activated when listening passively to words, but not when watching those words.. for a visual word to dominate awareness, an act of visual orienting is needed to boost its signal strength.
    4. more active during conflict blocks of Stroop test
    5. relation between the vigilance system and awareness.
    quote: <hr> When one attends to a source of sensory input in order to detect an infrequent target, the subjective feeling is of emptying the head of thoughts or feelings. This subjective 'clearing of consciousness' appears to be accompanied by an increase in activation of the right frontal lobe vigilance network and a reduction in the anterior cingulate. Just as feelings of effort associated with target detection or inhibiting prepotent responses are accompanied by evidence of cingulate activation, so the clearing of thought is accompanied by evidence of cingulate inhibition. <hr>
    So, even though the whole paper was all about attention to vision, there is a tantalizing little nod to motor systems. The cingulate is a player and it is inhibited if the eyes are closed. Moving attention to motor output systems will amplify their signals. Trying too hard might turn the cingulate back on and mess with the network. I think there's some fodder there, but will need to dig more for gamma specifically, probably.
    <hr> Posted by Diane (Member # 1064) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,1,13,56,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 01-11-2005 20:56<noscript>November 01, 2005 01:56 PM</noscript>:

    This paper contains a few more clues about how the brain organizes muliple input streams. It was from a year ago.

    Here's another, our friend Wolfgang again. It's a bit long as well, but has a few tidbits:
    quote: <hr> As we will show, TEC is not entirely new. It rather takes
    up elements from old and forgotten theories and (re)combines
    them in a novel way. This is particularly true of the
    ideomotor principle (cf. Greenwald 1970) and of motor
    theories of cognition that were so broadly discussed a century
    ago (cf. Scheerer 1984) and then fell into oblivion because
    the theoretical zeitgeist of the new century was inputcentered
    throughout and did not much care about action
    per se. Precursor versions of TEC and treatments of some
    aspects of its functional logic have been published before
    (cf. Aschersleben & Prinz 1995; 1997; Hommel 1997;
    1998a; Müsseler 1995; 1999; Prinz 1984b; 1987; 1990;
    1997a; 1997b; Prinz et al. 1995). Its present version has
    emerged from our collaboration on a number of experimental
    projects and our efforts to understand the major
    theoretical implications of their results.

    <hr> Posted by Jon Newman (Member # 3148) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,1,16,37,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 01-11-2005 23:37<noscript>November 01, 2005 04:37 PM</noscript>:


    Authors Freeman WJ.

    Title Mesoscopic neurodynamics: from neuron to brain. [Review] [59 refs]

    Source Journal of Physiology, Paris. 94(5-6):303-22, 2000 Sep-Dec.

    Abstract Intelligent behavior is characterized by flexible and creative pursuit of endogenously defined goals. Intentionality is a key concept by which to link neuron and brain to goal-directed behavior through brain dynamics. An archetypal form of intentional behavior is an act of observation in space-time, by which information is sought for the guidance of future action to explore unpredictable and ever-changing environments. These acts are based in the brain dynamics that creates spatiotemporal patterns of neural activity, serving as images of goals, of command sequences by which to act to reach goals, and of expected changes in sensory input resulting from intended actions. Prediction of the sensory consequences of intended action and evaluation of performance is by reafference. An intentional act is completed upon modification of the system by itself through learning. These principles are well known among psychologists and philosophers. What is new is the development of nonlinear mesoscopic brain dynamics, by which the theory of chaos can be used to understand and simulate the constructions of meaningful patterns of neural activity that implement the process of observation. The design of neurobiological experiments, analysis of the resulting data, and synthesis of explanatory models require an understanding of the hierarchical nature of brain organization, here conceived as single neurons and neural networks at the microscopic level; clinically defined cortical and subcortical systems studied by brain imaging (for example, fMRI) at the macroscopic level, and self-organizing neural populations at an intermediate mesoscopic level, at which synaptic interactions create novel activity patterns through nonlinear state transitions. The constructive neurodynamics of sensory cortices, when they are engaged in pattern recognition, is revealed by learning-dependent spatial patterns of amplitude modulation and by newly discovered radially symmetric spatial gradients of the phase of aperiodic carrier waves in multichannel subdural EEG recordings. [References: 59]
    <hr> Posted by Christophb (Member # 3884) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,1,17,28,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 02-11-2005 00:28<noscript>November 01, 2005 05:28 PM</noscript>:

    I just had a patient in the clinic who is a theater actor. In one of his acting classes in university, he and fellow students had to go to the mall and pick a "target" (any person, but had to be stationary). They walked up next to them and stood quietly in their personal space for a moment so not to be threatening. They then extended out to their target an object (banana/garbage/whatever). They target would almost always unconsciously reach out and grab the object often without even looking directly at it or acknowledging the giver. After it was in their hand, they were surprised and wondered why the heck they grabbed it. Sounds a little like simple contact?

    <hr> Posted by nari (Member # 2772) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,1,21,49,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 02-11-2005 04:49<noscript>November 01, 2005 09:49 PM</noscript>:

    Chris, that sounds extraordinary - off the top of my head I could not imagine grabbing a proffered article without a conscious thought about what it was; but then it hasn't been done to me that I can recall. I wonder if the same outcome would occur if the actors had a small spider or a Scotch thistle?

    <hr> Posted by Jon Newman (Member # 3148) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,2,19,48,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 03-11-2005 02:48<noscript>November 02, 2005 07:48 PM</noscript>:

    Concept-matching in the brain depends on serotonin and gamma-frequency shifts.

    Bayly MB.

    Med Hypotheses. 2005;65(1):149-51.

    A Eureka moment has three components--puzzle, solution and hedonic response (elation etc.). Puzzle and solution come together in the association cortex and are immensely variable from instance to instance. By contrast, the hedonic response is subcortical and almost one-dimensional; how is it triggered? It is triggered by the relation between puzzle and solution, a good fit or good match, like the relation between two words that rhyme. In 1999 J.W. Fost proposed that serotonin is a crucial agent; here it is proposed that a frequency-jump initiates the serotonin causal chain, as energy shifts from 20 to 40 Hz or some such jump. The hypothesis assumes that any discrete idea is embodied in a time-course of electrical and chemical changes in a network of neurons, and that keeping the idea in mind involves repeating more or less the same time-course over and over. If observed frequencies in the gamma range result from such repetition, the period for running the time-course once is of the order of 25 ms. Also accepted is the suggestion that, although the brain runs many processes simultaneously, in the conscious mind attention focuses on only one idea at a time; an attempt to "think of two things at once" actually results only in giving them attention alternately, with a repeat-time of the order of 50 ms and frequency 20 Hz. Only if the two time-courses have certain elements in common will there be any repetition at 40 Hz. Now suppose a thinker takes up a problem and makes a succession of attempts at solution. As long as he thinks of wrong answers, he generates activity only at 20 Hz, but when he hits upon the right answer, activity at 40 Hz shows up. This is a highly oversimplified scenario but its essential features might carry over to the vastly more complicated workings of a real brain. The virtue of the proposed mechanism is its generality. Under the proposal, any ideas in mind that do not match give no result but as soon as two ideas match, results ensue. This behavior in the model, wholly general except in one specific respect, is needed for conformity with real human brains' behavior. In normal people, production of this "link-joy" is an important reward mechanism and malfunction of this system may contribute to Capgras syndrome and some varieties of autism.

    PMID: 15893132 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
    <hr> Posted by Diane (Member # 1064) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,2,21,42,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 03-11-2005 04:42<noscript>November 02, 2005 09:42 PM</noscript>:

    Interesting absract Jon.

    Had a tough case today. She's had tightness/stiffness/soreness for six years, no particular incident that started it, used to be a runner and so on, can't now, has been everywhere and seen everyone for everything, including IMS. Nada. No help. This was her 3rd visit to see me. Last time I saw her I did a great job on her leg, pain all gone, taped her here and there, she left in a relatively painfree state, but today, she came in and said, it started hurting again as I walked down the street.

    I thought to myself, good grief, how adverse can a nervous system be tensioned and the person still alive and hopeful? We started with simple contact. She went for a good ten minutes or so, and after I asked her, so how did that feel, how does it feel, and she gave me the WESS answers, but she seemed oddly unenthusiastic for some reason. It was apparent to me that even though her body had responded, and her brain, she hadn't. She said she felt sad. (She wasn't getting the joy-link mentioned in the article above.) So I switched hats.

    While she lay supine and I handled her neck, we chatted, and I asked her why she felt sad.. she said she felt she couldn't do this sort of movement, that she felt wrong somehow doing it.

    I won't relate the entire story, but it turns out she's had lots of cognitive therapy, but nothing that ever helped her be in her body before. She had the big split happening to her. And it is being culturally maintained, of course, by her taking her body off to see body people and her mind off to see the mind people. We discussed culture and how if we let it, it will impose itself on our bodies. She said she felt driven by a big inner cop who is always teling her to move along, move along, and a sense of fear, so that she actually feels safer if she never relaxes.

    I told her my little vision of the body, how it's the only sovereign bit of ourselves we really have, that we can't afford to let culture interfere with our relationship to our inner ecosystem, that we have to exert our right to exist however "we" want, at least part of the time, "we" referring not to some constructed idea we have of ourselves and how we think we should want to move, but rather letting the inner creature move instead. I told her about how non-monolithic the brain is, how it is comprised of bits of all these nervous systems we've evolved through, how we can let those parts move us, how we can develop a new relationship to them, how they've been around for a great deal longer than we have had human layers patched in, how they keep us alive, how those parts share our bodies and we could do worse than to let them have a chance to stretch our bodies for us. That she has the right to take control away from the inner robocop and give it back to herself. That is wasn't only her right, it was a duty too. (She's kinda big on duty.)

    It turned into a discussion of what individuation means, what it could accomplish. By the end of the session she could see the point of practicing some ideomotor movement every day, not just for the physical feel good side of it, and the reoxygenation of her peripheral nervous system, but also as a symbolic act of taking back her Self, extracting it from this trap it was in. I reminded her that every second of her life, ten million of her body cells died and ten million new innocent ones were born, who knew nothing about inner cops. That these new cells would give her a fresh start if she allowed them to experience a few minutes of movement freedom daily.

    At the end of our hour together she seemed a lot less sad about the idea and more animated, enthused. I have no idea if she will be able to follow through, but we made a "therapeutic contract" where she promised me she would do a bit every day, and would report to me in a week's time, and we'd see where we were at.

    I offer this little story as an example of how sometimes we might need to provide a bit more in the way of therapeutic containment than merely a physical solution to an ostensibly physical problem.
    <hr> Posted by nari (Member # 2772) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,2,22,33,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 03-11-2005 05:33<noscript>November 02, 2005 10:33 PM</noscript>:



    <hr> Posted by Barrett (Member # 67) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,3,4,13,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 03-11-2005 11:13<noscript>November 03, 2005 04:13 AM</noscript>:


    As you know, I am wary of approaches that include counseling done by those of us aho aren't trained as counselors. Despite that, what you describe is exactly the sort of appeal to the patient's sensibilities that I often make. Most respond to my evident respect for their uniqueness and realize that their own respect for that isn't as great. Not yet anyway.

    If they aren't too far gone, say, in the direction of self-loathing, this can be very effective and certainly fits well with the concept of ideomotion. For all I know, the unique stimulus of these words of acceptance is enough to get some gamma activity going. I should add that the power of self-loathing should not be underestimated.

    It keeps all kinds of people sick in a variety of ways, pain being just one.
    <hr> Posted by Barrett (Member # 67) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,3,4,29,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 03-11-2005 11:29<noscript>November 03, 2005 04:29 AM</noscript>:


    The abstract above strikes me as perfectly relevant to our personal search for a corrective movement. As you know, this can take a few seconds to result in visible activity accompanied by the "aha" that the characteristics of correction would theoretically generate.

    It also reminds me of the search in your head for, say, an actor's name or the show you'd seen them on before. For the curious, this search leaves us unfulfilled, even needful, until it has been successfully completed. The satisfaction one feels once the answer is found is akin to the successful "consumatory act" needed to resolve hunger, thirst or pain. We should continue to search until we are satisfied, of course, and though eating when we are hungry is not frowned upon, moving in order to resolve pain often is.

    For that matter, trying to satisfy our curiosity by reading a lot can be as well. For instance, I know that I am considered an oddity as often as I am respected for my tendency to study.
    <hr> Posted by Gil Haight (Member # 691) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,3,11,49,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 03-11-2005 18:49<noscript>November 03, 2005 11:49 AM</noscript>:

    Hi everybody,
    Diane-"Trying too hard might turn the cingulate back on and mess with the network."
    Certainly there is no small coincidence here between this and previous threads which have dicussed how activity in this area (cingulate-limbic/paralimbic). interfere with endogenous mechanisms designed to inhibit pain.
    nice topic.
    <hr> Posted by Christophb (Member # 3884) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,3,14,4,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 03-11-2005 21:04<noscript>November 03, 2005 02:04 PM</noscript>:

    Found this article regarding meditation and gamma

    long term mediation

    <hr> Posted by Gil Haight (Member # 691) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,3,14,38,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 03-11-2005 21:38<noscript>November 03, 2005 02:38 PM</noscript>:

    All of this is quite interesting and indeed when we think we are on to something we are reinforced to to continue that endeavor. In short to know(or think we know) feels good.
    I just had two no-shows, looking for something to read I opened Thomas Moore's " The Original Self" exactly to a passage which states " Consciousness is a sign that we haven't yet learned to live from the soul"
    <hr> Posted by nari (Member # 2772) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,3,14,45,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 03-11-2005 21:45<noscript>November 03, 2005 02:45 PM</noscript>:

    Barrett and Diane

    The detection of people who do not like themselves as they are (or were) is indeed overlooked. I suspect it is much more common than we think. The impact on our approaches with them is, I think, quite considerable, and this would apply equally in paediatrics.

    Exposing themselves emotionally to a therapist who is genuinely interested in them as a person and not a patient, has happened in my experience quite a lot. It is one of the skills all PTs should have, even if used only rarely. Unfortunately it is an aquired skill, and usually seen as irrelevant as a training 'tool'to PTs who are only keen on fixing a joint or muscle. (Pardon the bite)

    <hr> Posted by Randy Dixon (Member # 3445) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,4,4,18,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 04-11-2005 11:18<noscript>November 04, 2005 04:18 AM</noscript>:

    I was looking through the Journal of Motor Behavior and came across two articles that people might find interesting regarding free will and stopping intended motions.

    voluntary action 1

    and this one:

    voluntary action 2
    <hr> Posted by Randy Dixon (Member # 3445) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,4,4,24,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 04-11-2005 11:24<noscript>November 04, 2005 04:24 AM</noscript>:

    There is this one by the same author also. I didn't really read it yet since I'm going back to bed but here it is:

    voluntary action 3
    <hr> Posted by Jon Newman (Member # 3148) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,4,7,10,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 04-11-2005 14:10<noscript>November 04, 2005 07:10 AM</noscript>:

    The following references are good reads for people interested in the topic of free will, (versus will in general).

    link 1

    link 2

    <hr> Posted by Diane (Member # 1064) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,5,10,22,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 05-11-2005 17:22<noscript>November 05, 2005 10:22 AM</noscript>:

    Wasn't sure where exactly to put this, but it looked like it belonged under either prefrontals or here. It's about the nitty-gritty of brain neurons interacting. Again, it happens to be about vision.. but might extrapolate to motor decision (or lack of decision) making.

    As an additional thought, I wonder how many therapists are "modelling" ideomotor movement for those patients who can't seem to de-inhibit themselves sufficiently to find their own spontaneously? I have been going ahead and doing this if I find the simple contact elicitation not working for me or them; (rationale: maybe it's some unforseen lack of handling skill on my part, maybe it's one of those transference/countertransference things.. if mirror neurons get activated via visual input of a demo of authentic indeomotor movement, patient will at least feel free enough to imitate, maybe they'll feel free to at least 'fake it til they make it.')
    <hr> Posted by Diane (Member # 1064) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,6,11,7,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 06-11-2005 18:07<noscript>November 06, 2005 11:07 AM</noscript>:

    After ruminating on this point for awhile, some inner cognitive fog lifted; I think I can see how modelling might reinforce the cultural load of inhibition the patient already carries rather than help subtract some of it. Probably the last thing they need is more visually introduced information into their baton from outside of themselves. Probably the urgent thing they need is to go in and find their own connection to their own movement. IOW don't pick up their baton and wave it at them, visually, get them to pick it up and start waving it themselves. Back to the basic (spelled out but still remarkably invisible) premises of SC and IM.

    My cognitive lapse expressed in the post above is likely due to a combination of my own (strong) sense of self plus a love for visual input/ease of being able to "incorporate" or use it to kinesthetically sense myownself plus probable hyperactivity disorder of my own mirror neurons plus...

    Whatever. It's still a murky boundary/projection; helping, not serving. Theoretically it won't help the patient find their own way. Duh. Got it. [IMG]smile.gif[/IMG] Rumination essential for one like me.
    <hr> Posted by Jon Newman (Member # 3148) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,6,14,14,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 06-11-2005 21:14<noscript>November 06, 2005 02:14 PM</noscript>:

    Hi Diane,

    For me anyway, I can appreciate what it is you were suggesting and why. I still struggle with 'doing for' versus 'teaching' and figuring out when each is appropriate. At least you didn't confuse viruses and bacteria.

    <hr> Posted by Diane (Member # 1064) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,6,15,4,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 06-11-2005 22:04<noscript>November 06, 2005 03:04 PM</noscript>:

    Not lately anyway..
    Thinking is like figure skating; when done well it looks easy, but one falls on one's butt frequently and it can happen while performing. No worries.
    <hr> Posted by Diane (Member # 1064) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,7,10,46,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 07-11-2005 17:46<noscript>November 07, 2005 10:46 AM</noscript>:

    Back to the contact part of simple contact, this information is interesting in that it suggests that by the time the sensory cortex has picked up on touch, it's already been registered by other parts of the brain.
    <hr> Posted by nari (Member # 2772) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,21,3,30,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 21-11-2005 10:30<noscript>November 21, 2005 03:30 AM</noscript>:

    Thought I would resurrect this thread in a manner of speaking.
    If the sensory cortex simply waits in a queue for the general opnion on how to respond with touch that has been registered elswhere, that fact certainly impacts on what PTs do to patients in a big way. It does make good sense, however.

    So the patient who arrives in a high turn-over practice, is tested and treated (helped) within fifteen minutes and then leaves - what does the brain make of that?
    Maybe anticipation is the key here, along with expectation. If a series of SLRs or empty/full/half full cups done on the shoulder (which has been suggested by a number of authors as inappropriate testing anyway) or bunged onto pulleys each time of attendance..
    what might the brain think about all that?

    Coming from a world where one is not 'allowed' to use the word "patients" and various other traditional words, I still have problems working out the real difference between 'helping' and 'serving'. The former suggests a degree of passivity, perhaps; the latter to me suggests we are there to attend to their requests.
    As for 'doing' vs 'teaching' - most would argue we do both. As jon points out - the difference can be grey. But teaching, I guess, can be purely verbal information, or directly demonstrating or telling someone how to move, or all three.

    Can anyone define the difference - or is it purely hands-on vs hands-off?

    <hr> Posted by Jon Newman (Member # 3148) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,21,6,57,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 21-11-2005 13:57<noscript>November 21, 2005 06:57 AM</noscript>:

    Hi Nari,

    Here's a page from my favorite "learning" website.

    So what is learning?

    and I think this is a good companion page

    Resistance to learning

    <hr> Posted by Diane (Member # 1064) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,21,8,30,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 21-11-2005 15:30<noscript>November 21, 2005 08:30 AM</noscript>:

    I know you likely mean cultural learning Nari.. However, at the biological level I think neurons are starving to learn and will learn something each day if they can, even from bad treatment, as long as it is different. (Not the same set of pulleys every day.)
    I guess that ties in with expectation and belief systems a bit.

    On a topic related to expectation, I heard about a fascinating observation (not a clue at this point who by) who noticed that weights were harder to lift and patients (clients, health consumers, take your pick) tired more rapidly and found the weights "heavier" if they were black. If the weights were white or a light color they could manage more reps. A bit tangential but I thought I'd mention it.
    <hr> Posted by Christophb (Member # 3884) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,21,9,5,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 21-11-2005 16:05<noscript>November 21, 2005 09:05 AM</noscript>:

    Ahh, Helping and serving... Must explain the 2 disgruntled pts who dropped off my schedule today. I was trying to think of how it related to the torture thread as well. They had been "helped"/coddled by previous PT's and had expected the whole experience to be passive. When I challenged their brains (expectations/belief systems) with teaching, both perceived more pain even though I did the furthest thing from physical pushing. Oh well, can't win them all.

    <hr> Posted by nari (Member # 2772) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,10,21,13,55,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 21-11-2005 20:55<noscript>November 21, 2005 01:55 PM</noscript>:

    jon, thanks for that site. I think you have posted the reference before, but I may have missed it.

    It started me thinking about patients attending at PT, and PTs attending a course. There are many factors common to both.

    1) They go because it is expected of them; someone has told them they should/must go.
    2) They attend because they want a solution to ongoing problems, and expectations are high that this will happen.
    3) They attend to confirm what they already know, and so raise the comfort and certainty zone.
    4) They attend because they know this would be a great learning experience.
    5) They are disappointed because the learning did not match their expectations and beliefs.
    6) They are excited because they now understand some new things/concepts which they will carry on with.
    7) They are disturbed and annoyed that they are expected to toss away some old paradigms that have become as comfortable as old socks.
    8) They take on knowledge when they have found an authority who appeals to their ways of learning
    9) They report to others that the experience was a waste of time/fantastic and a new meme starts circulating the culture.
    10) They blame the deliverer/system for not delivering the goods to them in the way they had hoped.

    Chris, those two patients are classic, aren't they. When a PT deviates from their belief system that going to physio is like going to an MT or the hairdresser (in their way of thinking - not intended to degrade MTs in any way!)...then, for them it is like a slap in the face with a wet fish. True, we can't win them all. A good example of how pain is associated with expectations and beliefs!!


    PS Not intending to take away from the gamma theme - but I think this is a relevant aside, with those pesky PFCs in action.
    <hr> Posted by Jon Newman (Member # 3148) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,15,18,45,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 16-12-2005 01:45<noscript>December 15, 2005 06:45 PM</noscript>:

    I don't know what the training entailed since this article is yet to be published (take that into consideration) but I'm interested. There is no mention of gamma in it but if I were a betting man I'd place my money on there being some association between the type of activity that constructs gamma and the training outlined in this study. We'll see.
    <hr> Posted by Diane (Member # 1064) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,15,19,43,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 16-12-2005 02:43<noscript>December 15, 2005 07:43 PM</noscript>:

    Wow. FMRI as the ultimate biofeedback machine..
    <hr> Posted by SJBird55 (Member # 3236) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,16,9,30,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 16-12-2005 16:30<noscript>December 16, 2005 09:30 AM</noscript>:

    So, exactly how is movement the key to reducing chronic pain?

    It appears that there is more and more literature and there will be more and more literature finding relevant differences within the brain of individuals with chronic pain. There were definite fMRI changes in the brain after an educational session on pain and then lumbar stabilization versus just lumbar stabilization alone.

    I would think that more successful treatments would have somewhat of a focus on the brain and an altering in brain pathways versus a strong peripheral focus.
    <hr> Posted by Jon Newman (Member # 3148) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,16,12,6,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 16-12-2005 19:06<noscript>December 16, 2005 12:06 PM</noscript>:

    Hello SJ,

    Your question presumes that there is one thing leading to the reduction of chronic pain. Movement is the result as well as the cause of internal states in this cyclic process making studying it very difficult. Do you suppose that fMRI changes in the brain would be reflected in movement and would movement have the potential to create changes in an fMRI?
    <hr> Posted by SJBird55 (Member # 3236) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,17,6,52,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 17-12-2005 13:52<noscript>December 17, 2005 06:52 AM</noscript>:

    When you move, a certain process needs to occur within the brain. Supposedly, from what I have read, if a person with chronic pain were to move a certain way, the fMRI would indicate a particular pattern within the brain... when someone without chronic pain moves the same way the fMRI indicates a different pattern. (Outwardly the movements appear equal.) In other words, the process involved in creating the movement is different between the folks with chronic pain and the folks without chronic pain. I haven't read anything yet that indicates that movement changes the processes within the brain. Changes in the patterns within the brain can be observed via fMRI with educating patients and then doing the same movement pattern. So, in that kind of study, it wasn't the movement that was key to altering the patterning, but instead the education. So, cognition does have a role in altering fMRI. Which from reading literature, again has me asking how ideomotor activity or "authentic" movement is a key to reducing chronic pain.
    <hr> Posted by Luke R (Member # 3561) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,17,7,33,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 17-12-2005 14:33<noscript>December 17, 2005 07:33 AM</noscript>:

    quote: <hr> when someone without chronic pain moves the same way the fMRI indicates a different pattern. (Outwardly the movements appear equal.) In other words, the process involved in creating the movement is different between the folks with chronic pain and the folks without chronic pain. <hr>
    Or the process involved in perceiving the movement and adjusting to feedback is different.

    quote: <hr> I would think that more successful treatments would have somewhat of a focus on the brain and an altering in brain pathways versus a strong peripheral focus. <hr>
    I don't think you can separate the two like that. Phantom limb pain is a good example of what happens in the brain when you take away the body, and so far the only way to correct it is via peripheral feedback of some sort.

    quote: <hr> Which from reading literature, again has me asking how ideomotor activity or "authentic" movement is a key to reducing chronic pain. <hr>
    Unless the brain receives non-threatening, corrective feedback from the periphery how can it cognize a return to normal function? (Right Diane?)

    quote: <hr> So, in that kind of study, it wasn't the movement that was key to altering the patterning, but instead the education. <hr>
    SC is also process of educating the patient about the presence and purpose of instinctive movement.

    <hr> Posted by SJBird55 (Member # 3236) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,17,7,45,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 17-12-2005 14:45<noscript>December 17, 2005 07:45 AM</noscript>:

    Well, again, look at neurobiology and placebo literature (Benedetti 2005). Expectations play a large role also. Is it the receiving of the non-threatening, corrective feedback or the expectation that pain will be reduced? And you have the term "educating" in that last sentence... education does alter processes.
    <hr> Posted by Luke R (Member # 3561) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,17,7,53,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 17-12-2005 14:53<noscript>December 17, 2005 07:53 AM</noscript>:

    Expectations always play a role. Are you suggesting they are the only component worth consideration?
    <hr> Posted by Jon Newman (Member # 3148) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,17,8,0,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 17-12-2005 15:00<noscript>December 17, 2005 08:00 AM</noscript>:

    SJ, I never argued that cognition doesn't play a role. You are correct in your assessment but you have to complete the circle. What would happen if the movement generated by the new brain state (reflected upon fMRI) never happened? Instead a different movement, from the repertoire of movement the brain has access to, was selected for some reason.

    Do you agree that the movement produced could at least affect an fMRI? For instance would an fMRI of you laying around looking at a glass of water be different before running a marathon without water and afterward? Could it be said the movement and your personal circumstance affected the fMRI before and after the marathon? Is it reasonable to think that these differences in fMRI are at least influenced by the conditions peripheral to the brain; conditions produced both by movement and non-movement of certain sorts? Do you think it would be possible to educate the brain out of its current need state at this point? Can this new need state be fulfilled by anything other than movement (drinking water in this case)? Do you think that after drinking water the fMRI may look differently?

    You mention in your post "outwardly the movements appear equal". It is unlikely that they were actually equal. What I believe but cannot prove is that the harder one tries to choreograph the subsequent movement the less adaptive the results will be.
    <hr> Posted by Diane (Member # 1064) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,17,11,14,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 17-12-2005 18:14<noscript>December 17, 2005 11:14 AM</noscript>:

    quote: <hr> Unless the brain receives non-threatening, corrective feedback from the periphery how can it cognize a return to normal function? (Right Diane?) <hr>
    Yes, if you mean the "sense of self" part of the brain, the prefrontal bits.

    In ideomotor movement, the movement is generated from a different area of the brain for a change (the evolutionarily/ embryologically older motor parts). The prefrontals, the area where movement is usually generated from, get to experience not being "in charge" of the movement.

    From their perspective, they watch a kinesthetic movie unfold, one that they are "in", but only in a cameo role. They could inhibit/ stop the process if they "wanted", but they suspend inhibition for two reasons:
    1. it feels "good" to continue allowing the movement (positive kinesthetic reinforcement)
    2. They've been asked to "allow" the other bits of brain some time and space to express movement by an outside authority figure, a treatment professional (cultural reinforcement). (Personally, [and Barrett please correct me if I'm wrong, if not now, some other time], I think this is the "idea" that is the "ideo" in Barrett's version of ideomotor movement.)

    These two reasons (or primers, or prompters, or deinhibiters) have to be in place simultaneously ( I think, personally) for most people to become bold enough to first try it, then "get it."

    Once the prefrontals have "learned" how to get out of the way, at least once, they can take on the job (of getting out of the way) themselves. From then on the task of moving the body can be perceived as a shared task, a task shared by various brain bits. Something about personal embodied consciousness has been learned through sensory feedback from the body: Differentiation, something the prefrontals are great at remembering later.

    This is all very consistent with Damasio's ideas. His whole book, The Feeling of What Happens, even though it is ostensibly about "e"motion, could just as easily be about just plain motion. He discusses all the bits that run things, how different levels of consciousness evolved (which is the part I'm keen to learn) how the trick inside the brain, is that part of the brain, the newer, more plastic parts, can create images (be they visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic images, whatever...he calls this part "extended consciousness") that they can 'remember', whereas the core part (that runs the life systems) can't because it is too hardwired. Extended consciousness is subservient to core consciousness. Core can live without extended but extended can't live without core. All cows are critters but not all critters are cows.

    Ideomotor movement is when the cow stops being such a self-aware cow (metaphorically speaking), and in a motor sense, just lets herself move as an undefinable critter. (Moving as opposed to moo-ving...)

    She goes back to being a cow again of course immediately after the deeper critter part has had a chance to exercise the body she has always assumed was pure "cow." She'll be a predictably more contented cow after, with the refreshed sensorymotor homuncular effects of those motor systems having been moved by parts of her brain outside of perceived standard "cow culture."
    <hr> Posted by nari (Member # 2772) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,17,13,59,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 17-12-2005 20:59<noscript>December 17, 2005 01:59 PM</noscript>:

    Out of technological necessity, subjects who are part of the rtfMRI studies are not in a 'natural environment', as is any subject for imaging. The bias of 'being studied' must also come into play, though I am nor sure how that particular environment would affect the responses and interpretation of same.

    <hr> Posted by SJBird55 (Member # 3236) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,17,19,56,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 18-12-2005 02:56<noscript>December 17, 2005 07:56 PM</noscript>:

    Jon, it depends on the movement. The movement is the end result... the stuff that happens in the brain is pre-movement, so the process that the fMRI captures would be pre-movement or even as far as during movement measurements. The only way that I think the movement might alter the fMRI would be if perceptions, anxiety, expectations, beliefs were changed.

    I don't quite know what you are trying to establish or question with the water/marathon question. There would definitely be a different importance of that water in the two cases, but I haven't read anything on fMRI dealing with thought processes in regard to the importance of something someone is viewing, so I can't answer - and I don't quite understand where you're going with those questions.

    I don't think you can eduate the brain completely out of its need state. Within that article there was something mentioned that patients could improve movement and feel that the movement was easier to perform (I think and I think that was with patients with Parkinson's) in a placebo group, but there was no change in any hormonal measurements. So, even though the movement pattern looked better and the patient reported improvement, there was no actual chemical change that occurred.

    There maybe be some cases where conditions peripheral to the brain may have an impact. When I spoke with a researcher at Michigan State (he was working with rats and he couldn't definitively state that what happened in rats happened in humans), but with peripheral nerve injury, sometimes sensitization occurred secondary to basically a reproduction of multiple nerve endings and these nerve endings were more easily sensitized and there was not the normal inhibition of messages headed to the brain. They were too predominantly excitatory in nature. So, sure if something like that potentially happens, then that means there are more communications heading up to the brain and so intuitively, I would think that there might be a difference in a fMRI if that was occurring because there would technically be an increased amount of signals going to the brain.

    Another different way of looking at what may have relevancy in chronic pain... technically, if the periphery is the key area to target in reducing symptoms, then one would think that the various medications that target various aspects in the periphery would be helpful. Obviously the medications aren't highly effective - which leads me to believe that the main problem isn't peripheral in nature. So, in a way, there may be more of a top-down kind of loop in chronic pain situations.
    <hr> Posted by Jon Newman (Member # 3148) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,17,20,40,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 18-12-2005 03:40<noscript>December 17, 2005 08:40 PM</noscript>:

    SJ, you say

    quote: <hr> So, in a way, there may be more of a top-down kind of loop in chronic pain situations. <hr>
    A loop is circle. There really is no top or bottom to it except what you arbitrarily assign to it. You also mention

    quote: <hr> ...if the periphery is the key area to target in reducing symptoms... <hr>
    We're back to discussing the error of single entry points again. Of course communication is important, both verbal and non-verbal. I use these all the time as does the patient.

    I think I've lost the point you are trying to make since in general we're in agreement.
    <hr> Posted by january (Member # 4267) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,18,6,55,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 18-12-2005 13:55<noscript>December 18, 2005 06:55 AM</noscript>:

    Hi all,

    A movement is a closed loop: a continual feedforward with a feedback ones.
    Of course, a movement is anticipated by brain pre-motor areas and if brain receives continual errors from periphery thus the system diverges and brain has only one solution to stop a faulty program: Pain.

    Chronic pain sufferers have two types: a incoming stimulus that is faulty or a ouput motor stimulus that is faulty but the result is ever the same : a faulty program that shows errors, needs a way to stop it. Nature solves it with pain.
    <hr> Posted by SJBird55 (Member # 3236) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,18,7,8,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 18-12-2005 14:08<noscript>December 18, 2005 07:08 AM</noscript>:

    No, we aren't in agreement. I think there is more of a loop centrally in the brain and there is only a small amount of information headed peripherally or from the periphery headed centrally. I don't even believe that "loop" is the most accurate term, but I don't know what word would be better. The loop isn't some evenly distributed circle and to me appears to be more like various intertwined loops that all have some effect on each other - and it's all right there in the brain bouncing around between different brain areas. From the literature, areas of the brain that don't need to be involved or areas of the brain that are too involved seems to be what occurs with patients in chronic pain.

    I believe that technically, the situation in the brain needs to be addressed for a successful outcome of long-term pain reduction. I do not see how ideomotor activity changes all the various intertwined loops in the brain. It's been stated that ideomotor isn't conscious... but in my mind, there needs to be some sort of cognition whether it is education or a mental awareness of movement that may make an impact on the situation of pain. I also don't understand how touch can alter the intertwined loops - unless there is a a perception/expectation involved (so again, some level of cognition).

    So, where are we in agreement?
    <hr> Posted by january (Member # 4267) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,18,7,20,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 18-12-2005 14:20<noscript>December 18, 2005 07:20 AM</noscript>:


    Are you really aware of muscles activation while you're walking ?

    Just no! Movements are made by a black (unconscious) box and we have really few control over it.

    I was of course simplifying since a single movement needs a lot of muscles thus a lot of constant loops.
    <hr> Posted by Jon Newman (Member # 3148) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,18,7,41,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 18-12-2005 14:41<noscript>December 18, 2005 07:41 AM</noscript>:

    SJ, again we are in agreement that it is not so simple as a loop. The nervous system is much more fractal in nature but the overall process of its workings tends to be quite circular.

    RE: consciousness and cognition, I'd suggest Cotterill for some interesting insights.

    Perhaps we'll speak in the future as I can not make you, nor is it my job to make you, understand. If you feel content with your understanding of how things worth then fantastic. If not, enjoy the journey of understanding as you can. However I get the distinct sense that understanding is not being sought as much as winning a debate for the fun of it. I've lost interest. Good luck.
    <hr> Posted by SJBird55 (Member # 3236) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,18,10,16,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 18-12-2005 17:16<noscript>December 18, 2005 10:16 AM</noscript>:

    Jon, I continue to attempt to answer your questions. What I would really appreciate would be reciprocation...

    How do you think movement impacts the brain centrally such that pain is reduced?
    How do you think touch impacts the brain centrally such that pain is reduced?

    january, I'd tend to believe that in people that do not have chronic pain issues that there is probaby a much more streamlined feedforward mechanism when it comes to initiating say walking. It still wouldn't be a simple task because I'd believe a whole different set of centrally driven occurrences happen - propriceptive, center of gravity awareness, timing issues... But for people that are painfree, I highly doubt that as many areas of the brain are as involved compared to someone with chronic pain.
    <hr> Posted by january (Member # 4267) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,18,11,57,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 18-12-2005 18:57<noscript>December 18, 2005 11:57 AM</noscript>:


    I think that the barrier that exists between a painful movement (done by a chronic patient) and a non painful is very thin. It differs only by a little thing and it is why some chronic patients are able to forget, within seconds, the pain carried during motion.

    It is just a "parasite" that disturbs the normal sequence of movement. It's why this parasite may be lost quite easily when you begin to understand how to disturb/reinitiate the normal sequence.

    It is just that Simple Contact is doing. It resets the program.
    <hr> Posted by SJBird55 (Member # 3236) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,18,13,55,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 18-12-2005 20:55<noscript>December 18, 2005 01:55 PM</noscript>:

    Jan, so what happened in the brain that made the patient forget?
    <hr> Posted by nari (Member # 2772) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,18,15,42,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 18-12-2005 22:42<noscript>December 18, 2005 03:42 PM</noscript>:


    Back to your water thing, which interests me.
    Back in 2003 at David Butler's course, he made the point that when we feel thirsty (need) and have a glass of water (comsummatory act) we feel better within seconds; long before the water has any chance of restoring any physiological status which may or may not have been lacking in hydration levels. So that is expectation and anticipation and probably a few other '-ions' we aren't sure of.
    What are your thoughts about the roles of expectation/placebo/motivation and the cutting-off point between satisfying a need state (eg extreme hunger) and ignoring a need state (eg no money, no food around except large poisonous snakes)?
    I suspect it is likely that, in dire circumstances, motivation is often the difference between starving to death and surviving. So it might be in all circumstances where there is a threat or need perceived by the brain. I wonder at what point motivation ceases and therefore shut down of systems begins, and a rtfMRI of a person at the terminal phase would be quite enlightening..and quite unethical.

    Hope this makes sense. I am not saying motivation is the only player, but has to be one heck of a driver.

    <hr> Posted by Jon Newman (Member # 3148) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,18,22,57,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 19-12-2005 05:57<noscript>December 18, 2005 10:57 PM</noscript>:

    SJ, rather than me giving you answers and then you saying I'm wrong or you don't agree, why don't you start with giving your understanding of the questions you ask. Perhaps it will be more constructive.

    Nari, If I've parroted Butler's thirst example it was unintentional. I find I often think I'm having original thoughts only to find that someone else has already thought the thought, leaving me to wonder if I've read or heard something that lead me to that thought. While I know that can happen, I'm not sure I came up with that knowledge on my own.
    <hr> Posted by nari (Member # 2772) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,18,23,27,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 19-12-2005 06:27<noscript>December 18, 2005 11:27 PM</noscript>:


    What does it matter if you've 'parroted?' Examples are for the using of...yeah great English there. The same thing happens often with other people too.
    Now maybe that would be a fascinating thread for the forum and Christmas chatter....

    Is there any such thing as an original thought ?
    Even Einstein, with his flash of insight into the relativity of light, was prompted by his wife's comments about the speed of light as they were casually watching light falling on far and near objects during a walk.

    We are probably nowhere near as 'original' as we think.
    But it's a nice thought to believe we are.

    <hr> Posted by avalon (Member # 4679) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,19,0,19,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 19-12-2005 07:19<noscript>December 19, 2005 12:19 AM</noscript>:


    It was a change in a neural network.
    A simple movement involves hundred millions neurons and it may easily perturbed by some hundred thousands.

    How does brain creates pain while moving?
    Because brain creates the movement and receives feedback that may correct the movement and so on... And because brain is the alarm system, too. It doesn't want that a movement harms the body/itself.

    Now, suppose a patient who hurted his elbow and felt pain and it was un unpleasant feeling/experience. Suppose, now, this patient do not want to experience this painful movement again. But life brings mandatory tasks and duties.

    How, brain could solve this huge problem?
    You must make a movement that you know that is/was painful? It is like driving a car the right foot on gas and the left on breakes... it doesn't work with a car but a body has breakes too: it calls it pain.
    <hr> Posted by Randy Dixon (Member # 3445) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,19,1,2,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 19-12-2005 08:02<noscript>December 19, 2005 01:02 AM</noscript>:


    I think you are in agreement with most here that a lot of the changes that must occur for the resolution of chronic pain happen in the brain. I think though that fMRI's are only going to give us a small clue about how that happens. There is a continual afferent-efferent interchange some of which reaches the level of the brain, some doesn't. As to the differences in quality of movement that appear the same, think about a time when you were tired and you had to yawn and stretch, one of those times when you felt compelled to stretch, rather than chose to. Now try to replicate that exact movement right now and decide if it feels the same or has the same physiological effect. Think also about a time when you were maybe nervous and tense and someone, maybe your husband, gave you support by simply placing a hand on your shoulder. Wouldnt' there be a relaxation and movement, even though it isn't overt. I believe the fMRI taken then would look quite different than if you tried to replicate that movement without the touch. So movement influences the brain and is influenced by it, I'm not sure the distinction between the movement allowing the nociception to disappear or the mental state changing to allow the relief resulting in the movement is that important.
    <hr> Posted by SJBird55 (Member # 3236) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,19,5,44,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 19-12-2005 12:44<noscript>December 19, 2005 05:44 AM</noscript>:

    Okay, Jon, thanks.

    Maybe I don't understand touch and how it affects completely because someone touching me in a nervous, anxious or tense situation doesn't do anything for me. I control my own nervousness, anxiousness or tenseness and I do that mentally. Someone touching me in those kinds of situations is a "nice to know you care" kind of thing for me, but it doesn't resolve or change how I feel until I decide to talk myself out of feeling that way. A wink, verbal encouragement or a thumbs up from someone is way more powerful in those situations than touching me. In fact, I'm more the opposite when it comes to touch - unless I know you really well and decide that you are allowed in my personal space - then technically I don't want you touching me - all that will do is irritate me. And, in that case, if one were to do a fMRI on me, I'm very sure that there would be something going on in my brain. Movement wouldn't be affected though - just my thoughts and my mental reaction toward the unwelcomed person's actions.

    When we're talking about touch and pain... maybe there is an expectation and a necessity for some of those patients to be touched? And with that touch it leads to a cascade of events in the brain which somehow helps with movement?
    <hr> Posted by Luke R (Member # 3561) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,19,6,16,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 19-12-2005 13:16<noscript>December 19, 2005 06:16 AM</noscript>:

    Sounds like your movement would be affected SJ. Whether you are aware of it or not you would be withdrawing, or planning to. [IMG]wink.gif[/IMG]

    <hr> Posted by Jon Newman (Member # 3148) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,19,7,22,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 19-12-2005 14:22<noscript>December 19, 2005 07:22 AM</noscript>:

    Luke and Randy I think you are both quite correct that it is might be more accurate to use the phrase muscular contraction rather than movement and although overt movement is certainly a possibility it is not necessary.

    SJ, all patients are going to have their expectations, so yes this is important but not unique. We can't ever really know what their expectations are. I imagine that one expectation should be "to hurt less" but I'm well aware that many expect to hurt more, given what our profession does and the reputation it's earned. You can almost palpate their ambivalence as they sit in front of you sometimes. Patients also often have an expectation to be fixed by another's profit center gadgets or simply by someone's hands (whether it's possible or not). Many PTs are over-willing to use these particular expectation pathways to their own advantage. They are shaping the expectations of tomorrow's patients and it doesn't do society any good in my opinion.

    Re: why movement (muscular contraction)? Consider the types of nociceptive receptors we have. Thermal, mechanoreceptors and chemoreceptors. Most of us rarely deal with pain secondary to thermal pain at the time that thermal pain is an issue unless we left a hot pack on too long. That leaves chemo and mechanoreptors as our sources peripheral to the brain. Most pharmacology is looking to interrupt the transmission of nerve signals through chemicals or block the sites of chemo-nociception proper. We're in charge of the mechanoreceptive nerves. Well the patient is in charge but it is what we deal with as a profession. The MD gets the chemo part. One exception to that would be the local and global chemistry we change through changes in perfusion of the nervous system via movement and release of humoral agents. The patient most typically accomplishes this with a change in muscular contraction. You are quite correct that all these movements begin in the CNS but the effect is lost if the potential movement is unrequited.
    <hr> Posted by Diane (Member # 1064) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,19,10,19,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 19-12-2005 17:19<noscript>December 19, 2005 10:19 AM</noscript>:

    About moving away from contact, excuse me people for dragging poor Damasio into the forum repeatedly, and please bear with me while I drag him in yet again. From a section called "The Beginning of Consciousness":
    quote: <hr> I was looking specifically for how the brain might represent the fact that when an organism is engaged in the processing of an object, the object causes the organism to react and, in so doing, change its state. (...) I propose that we become conscious when the organism's representation devices exhibit a specific kind of wordless knowledge - the knowledge that the organism's own state has been changed by an object - and when such knowledge occurs along with the salient representation of an object. The sense of self in the act of knowing an object is an infusion of new knowledge, continuously created within the brain as long as "objects," actually present or recalled, interact with the organism and cause it to change. <hr>
    This is, in a nutshell, simple contact, IMHO.. It's the set-up of a natural tension between two different (very different) parts of the brain inside one human skull: the survival part (brainstem etc) and the cortex part (sense of self). Consciousness is the gamma, the awareness, the "baton" used by the conductor of the orchestra as per Sagan, to create a learning experience. The learning experience will be the creation of a new "object" in conscious awareness, a new "relationship" between different parts of brain, one being core consciousness (nonconsciousness), the other being extended consciousness (our familiar sense of awakeness).

    The set-up is, that of course one part of the brain (the core) will naturally try to escape (that's the foundation of the whole idea!). Another part (the cooperative social culturally conditioned part) will trump the escape manouver because it wishes to cooperate with the therapist (who is taking the role of the "object interacting with the organism" and who is asking it, rather than causing it, "to change.")

    The "aha" moment comes when "extended consciousness" realizes the inherent tension there, can differentiate the layers, and can witness the brainstem trying to "rescue" the body from contact, slowly. The conscious has become conscious of the nonconscious.

    The kinesthetic focus is chosen by the therapist, sides of the head, whatever, some bit where the skin is sensitive and the cortex can get a good read.

    Extended consciousness (the part that has learning capacity) can learn something non-verbal a whole lot faster if someone outside the "organism" shines a metaphoric flashlight on the process, in this case, contact.

    Once the "organism" has learned this, i.e., once enough consciousness differentiation has been learned as a new "object" to be "imaged", the patient can do it by themselves, in two possible ways:
    1. by setting up a protagonist in one part of the body and letting an antagonist reveal itself in some other part, or;
    2. simply by tuning in to find out which part is playing which role that day or that minute;

    .. and then sit back and watch the brainstem try to rescue one part of the body from another part of the body. [IMG]smile.gif[/IMG]

    If "the organism" is given the freedom to do this, first by someone outside itself, then from inside itself, it will succeed in unglitching a lot of the movement problems associated with and contributory to persistent pain states.
    <hr> Posted by nari (Member # 2772) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,19,14,1,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 19-12-2005 21:01<noscript>December 19, 2005 02:01 PM</noscript>:

    Diane, you may have cracked the 'code' for SC, a la Damasio. It makes sense, which Barrett always said anyway.

    Perhaps a worthy exercise is to look at what we mean when we mean exactly by:

    'movement' 'contact' 'touch' 'activity' and 'exercise'. I am sure these nouns sometimes get used almost synonymously which can confuse the issue. When I look at the words which come up time and time again in posts, articles and conversations, are they close enough to be considered synonymous? This is how I might use them:

    'Movement' covers all aspects of a noncomatose state.
    'contact' suggests communication, verbal and nonverbal
    'touch' - physical contact
    'activity' - the state of doing something consciously, like vacuuming or playing tennis
    'exercise' - much overdone as a word. Suggests strengthening work, but really includes activity; usually choreographed, which may mean it won't help much.

    Some years ago David Butler suggested the use of 'movement' in lieu of 'exercise' which has an implication of repetition, weights, and pain.
    I don't know if this is of any value, but it helps me sort out what people really mean when they speak of 'exercise/s'.

    <hr> Posted by Diane (Member # 1064) on <script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2005,11,19,16,4,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> 19-12-2005 23:04<noscript>December 19, 2005 04:04 PM</noscript>:

    (Nari, I'm glad you may have been able to follow the cracking of the code of SC that I may have done a la Damasio.. )
    Last edited by bernard; 29-12-2005, 06:05 PM.
    Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. L VINCI
    We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. I NEWTON

    Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not a bit simpler.
    If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein