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Brain Plasticity

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by golden, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. golden

    golden Senior Member

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  2. Nielk

    Nielk

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    The most effective treatment for me has been neurofeedback.
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  3. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Brain plasticy hypotheses are older than I am. Its not new. What keeps happening though is that we keep learning more about it. Much of physiotherapy and other therapies assist the brain to cope with injury and recovery. I am less than convinced that physio is nearly all about muscles etc. What activity does to the brain is change connections, create adaptations. Its a kind of associative learning. Regions of the brain that activate together, and receive other supporting signals, become more connected.

    The opposite is also the case. If there is no signal reinforcing brain connections they tend to atrophy. This is what happens in long term immobility from limb casts. The limb becomes disconnected from brain function, and at that point physiotherapy has to be intense and prolonged to restore brain function controlling the limb - its mostly not about muscles at that point. I think this is one of the issues about repairing spinal chord damage as well.

    Its also the theory behind CBT, though its questionable how much linguistic therapy can alter brain deep function - my best guess is not much if any. It can alter attitudes, but attitudes are not proven to do much more than create an altered adaptation to psychological stressors.

    However not all regions of the brain have the same scope or degree of plasticity. I am not up to date on this science though, I am a decade and a half to two decades out of date. Some regions of the brain appear to have very limited plasticity. This is not suprising as some regions will have very specialized function, and so plasticity would be damaging.
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  4. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    Thoughts are not really a problem for me ... I am pretty much free to choose any thought ...

    Equally thoughts appear , thoughts disappear. Dont really have to pay much attention to that .


    I thought CBT theory was to change the imagined embedded thoughts (eg. false illness beliefs ) into something else eg. i am normal (even though cant move from couch lol)?

    I am talking of real healing - the kind the 'dead ' brain did in the story above when the young man got better ...

    :)
  5. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Hi Alex --- Just thought I'd mention I've long been intrigued by the concept of whether various kinds of visualizations and/or energy work modalities have the ability to alter and/or improve various kinds of brain functioning, especially some of the brain and cognitive impairments associated with CFS. IIRC, dannybex has mentioned in the past that he knows a woman who attributes her almost complete recovery from CFS using these kinds of techniques.
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  6. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    Like Alex says, brain plasticity is mostly about adaptation and compensation. The parts of the brain that are destroyed in trauma does not regrow.
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  7. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    The brain can repair itself. I will see if there are any articles on it ...
  8. Kina

    Kina Moderation Team Lead

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    The brain can re-route and re-organize which is a form of repair. There is a ton of research out there.

    This article seems to more about gross medical incompetence.
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  9. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    The point I took from the article was that 4x expert consultants declared young man brain dead.
    And unrecoverable...

    Now , to come back from that seems pretty good to me.

    I would like to read pioneering articles on the miracles of Neuroplasticity...

    It has made me wonder ....when we recall being well and 'normal ' - this is a very good thing - right?
    We are establishing firm brain pathways.

    Brain damage maybe more like the leaves falling off a tree - bit of a temporary nuisance , irrepareble, but more leaves can be grown in time...

    :)
  10. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Hi Adreno, just thought I'd mention that brain tissue that was once thought to be destroyed by trauma, such as stroke or an embolism, was instead found to be "dormant' [not sure if that's the exact scientific term]. And they found that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) can "revitalize" these dormant brain cells, and often restore significant function to a damaged brain. This can be the case even if HBOT is not started until years later. However, the sooner it's started, the better. I've heard that almost all brain damage from stroke can be reversed if treatment with HBOT is started within 48 hours or so.
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  11. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    From what I can find, HBOT doesn't look too impressive. As for brain tissue being "dormant" after injury, I have never heard about this, and would like to see a reference?

    http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD004...-life-in-patients-with-traumatic-brain-injury
  12. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130123144218.htm

    My G.P.runs a breathing clinic once a week. x8 yogic deep breathing exercises.

    One of his patients had had a severe stroke and told nothing could be done however he cured himself with increasing his oxygen levels.

    He was an O.A.P. and the star of the group :)

    I thought great and forced the breathing and had a really bad time. New symptoms and bad neurological problems and collapsed too from it.... taken an age to try to get back to where i was.


    I will probably try again soon though lol as i am reaching a more pro active stage. Oxygen sounds such a good idea.
  13. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    People have the most numbers of neurons at age one or two. After that they go into decline. However there is redundancy, a lot of it, and the brain can rewire itself to tap into that. I am not aware that neurons can regenerate, though I don't see it as impossible as they had capacity to grow at some point. What is the case is that neurons can reconnect to other cells, and that such reconnections depend upon brain activity. Things like physiotherapy, vizualizations, meditation and even CBT can in all probability assist with such adaptations. However as I said, such adaptations can only occur in some regions of the brain, and to a limited extent, there are limits.

    Also if the CBT/vizualizations etc have the wrong goal for the patient, based on a poor diagnosis or assessment, they can retard recovery rather than enhance it, by the same arguments. Similarly it might have no effect.

    My suspicion is that guided visualizations would be more effective than CBT for this purpose. I also think the net result would typically be very limited. If the primary problem in ME is not in the brain, which is likely but not proven, then altering brain function cannot result in cure but may assist with coping. If a patient can cope sufficiently that they have almost a normal life, that is almost as good as full recovery.
  14. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    I recently watched a PBS segment on brain plasticity. In it they gave an example of people who had chronic pain for a long time, which in turn significantly affected the brain. It described chronic pain as creating deep patterns in the brain, which cause the individual to experience pain long after the original cause of the pain was eliminated. Without having any set therapy, they set out to see if people could learn to control their pain by showing them simultaneous scans of their brains while they attempted to modulate their brain's reactions with their thoughts. It's all very experimental, but as I recall, they were having some success.

    From this, I extrapolated that perhaps at least a certain segment of pwCFS may have a somewhat similar situation. One in which a virus or bacteria came along and dealt a trauma to the brain and nervous system, left some lasting imprints, and then perhaps moved on, leaving behind some dysfunctional neurological functioning. It would explain in part, at least in my mind, how Jay Goldstein's novel methods he used for his CFS patients worked. I think it's these kinds of situations where visualizations and thought control could be useful for some pwCFS. If the original cause of CFS is still there however, then the therapies would most likely only improve coping, as you suggest.
  15. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    Alex,
    As far as i can see ...

    Hyde - brain stem injury from brain virus
    Perrin - reversed lymph flow causing brain inflammation and toxic brain
    Petefield -lasting thyroid damage from past virus
    Myhill - mitochondria dysfunction
    Rich - methylation block - low glutathione levels
    Adams - mercury poisoning can cause brain dysfunction

    i had settled on the brain being fundamental factor...
    I am looking for neuro tools //visualisations to grow a better brain lol :)

    Have you a hunch on the underlying illness source?
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  16. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Hi Golden,

    I believe I sustained a brain stem injury from a serious head injury/whiplash I experienced as a teenager, and I've experienced chronic headache and neck pain ever since. I went to many different doctors and chiropractors over many years to try to get relief, which I did. But it was never lasting.

    I finally discovered a treatment called Atlas Profilax, which "repositions" the atlas (upper most cervical vertebra). This is the vertebra that all 12 major cranial nerves pass through to the rest of the body. The cranial nerves branch out from the brain stem.

    After my atlas was repositioned, a great deal of pressure was relieved from my brain stem and cranial nerves. Many of my CFS symptoms improved, although they have not gone away. I sometimes wonder if I had had this atlas realignment done shortly after my injury, instead of 40 years later, whether I could have completely avoided an ME/CFS downward spiral. The following is a post I did shortly after getting my atlas alignment done:

    Atlas Profilax Worked / is Working Very Well for Me
  17. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Here's a list of some of my symptom improvement after getting the Atlas Profilax done:

    Symptom Improvement
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  18. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    golden , stimulating the brain to adapt is about stimulating the parts you want to change, and in the direction you want to change. That is what CBT is about too. Visualizing what you want to do, visualize yourself doing it, as a daily routine and you are on your way. With something physical then doing it is important, even if most of that is mental. However such visualization can still cause PEM I think, though not as badly nor as easily as actually doing stuff. Physiotherapy in stroke or other brain injury patients can help retrain the brain.

    My best guess is that the brain is damaged as a secondary consequence to immune issues, but that such damage is typically neither severe nor irreversible. However the immune problems have to be fixed first before the brain can fully heal, and we don't know how to do that. My leading cause for the problem is enteroviruses, given that recent advancements in our knowledge of them change the whole picture of what such a virus can do. I do think that methylation problems, and EDS, and any oxidative stress inducing disorder exacerbates this, and also increases the risk of getting this problem.

    When I say the brain damage is not severe, I mean that most of the problem is metabolic, hormonal or immune, and the underlying brain structure is mostly intact.

    Physical injury to the brain stem/upper spine can sometimes be alleviated and Wayne is right that if this is a problem for a patient then dealing with it can help. However I had many long talks with a chiari patient who had surgery once, and this is a path you want to be careful with as its also possible to further damage the brain stem/upper spinal chord.
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  19. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    hi Alex,


    thanks for your thoughts on causes . i had forgotten the immune system. I actually think my immune system is both over AND under functioning at the same time . I dont know how, but its my hunch.

    This makes targeted visuaslisation very difficult. I am very aware of those people who have been so good at visuaslisation - they succeeded in curing the condition but created a new one too in the process ...

    I totally agree that its a cause of PEM - and a minimum energy level is needed first.

    I cant see how CBT is anything like visuaslisation though ? or how it can effect any real healing?

    OK on a pedantic level, one could say the brain has been altered during the course of a night asleep and dreaming. So in that scenario , doing a new course of cbt will alter the brain -
    but for practical purposes cbt is just telling you that your car is broken. That there is no physical reason for this. To rest it an build up useage of it again - and in the meantime accept the situation and dont get caught up in negative mental spirals .?

    Are we talking about the same CBT ? i wondered.

    With visuaslisation you are going straight to your inner pharmacy and asking for a cure....
  20. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    Hi wayne ,

    Happy this treatment had some (quite a lot by the looks of it ) success :)

    i had a cluster of things happen to me when i got ill. One of them was x2hospital visits to remove four teeth under general anesthetic.

    This made room for my wisdome teeth - but i got tmj from this.

    I think the problematic point is called the Victor point (not sure ), but i have a lot of crunchy bones in my head.
    pain at this point

    So i was interested in Perrin also adopting a theory of spinal alignment at this point.

    When I found out about the Atlas - I thought it cant fail. But it did :(

    It was very painful , and that was it .

    It still feels like the bones in my head arent right. So I begun on cushions to support me in a cobra yoga position...

    basically just a neck stretch , and it was wiping me out instantly. I would do it for a few seconds and have to sleep.

    But its much better now in that it doesnt knock me out.
    will keep on trying different techniques to gently effect the spine.

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