What’s going on in the crazy fast events?
Neuroplasticity? Quantum entanglement?
By Allan Gardiner
Warning: technical jargon ahead
You won’t find the events here
Could “managing” pain prevent ending it?
Pain with no known reason
What happens to people with pain that resists “managing” or has no target to treat?
Could healing processes be blocked at the last step that is needed to conclude the pain experience?
Just one tiny step away from normal?
You might be thinking, “That’s what I do for my patients”.
Occasionally, does your patient’s rapid recovery surprise you? And them? Could it be the delay that makes normal feel so unexpected?
Once in the back to normal state, could its duration (years) convey information about the activating “dose” or modality?
Events, not processes
Like a catalyst, your tools might provide just enough “dose” to prompt the return of homeostasis. Evidence of its return accrues while improved functions persist after therapy ends. The “dose” goes to zero with the catalyst no longer needed.
Events are easy to understand when it’s physics. More challenging are the concepts surrounding change-of-state phenomena in physiology. We tested graphics for communicating the concepts. Let us know how well these graphics work for you.
The outcome of the event appears to occur only toward homeostasis. Would the other way be called an injury?
Slower bio-mechanical processes, such as diabetes, might erode the improved functions. In PhotoMed development studies, volunteers with “managed” pain or slow-healing impairments didn’t respond so quickly and completely.
PhotoMed’s therapy is not unique
The body does the work, not the therapy. PhotoMed’s therapy may be more efficient than others at prompting the desired event.
PhotoMed’s Instant Feedback System™ records the steps taken and timing to achieve improved function, or not. The real-time recordings may be like Disney’s nature movies with a few unexpected events.
Let’s start with touch-perception mapping errors
The errors seem weird. It’s easier to show with a video than to describe:
Errors when you watch someone else
Errors upon restored sensation.
Watch for the whole-body response at the instant when the body figures out that the touch-maps need an update.
Correcting your patient’s mirror-neuron synesthesia doesn’t require any tools other than your finger. Is it neuroplasticity or quantum entanglement? We don’t know.
Lois, at 78 years old, experienced pain in the base of her left thumb from using a grabber to pick up garbage on the track where she walked. Her pain was repetitively relieved by PhotoMed’s non-invasive therapy. Well, almost.
“Not quite gone” was her typical report. During one of those visits, by chance, her mapping error presented itself. Let the camera’s roll. Enjoy. Please don’t laugh. (1:11)
How many of your patients might have a “not quite gone” layer of discomfort like Lois? You might check for this phenomenon in your patients with scars, injuries, loss of sensation, or post-surgical pain.
Would you be surprised? How about after your 10th case?
Link to more details about mirror-neuron synesthesia.
Sensation lost to diabetes
“George” couldn’t feel his feet for the past 8 years. The numbness was thought to be an effect of 40+ years of diabetes.
During his first visit, he achieved the feeling of vague sensations from heavy pressure.
During his second visit, George was asked to NOT move or look at his feet. He complied.
Within minutes, his sensation returned to near-normal. However, he couldn’t correctly identify where he was being touched.
Watch the monofilament testing recorded about 6 and 28 minutes after George’s first procedures during his second visit. (46 seconds)
Could George’s loss of sensation have a different cause than the suspected diabetes?
Could that cause have a more ordinary explanation? Could the loss of sensation be a “learned non-awareness” of touch like holding your hand in cold water? Could the phenomenon be analogous to “learned non-use”?
Link to more about the restoration of sensation.
People with “locked-in” syndrome may be considered in a “vegetative” state because they have no output. That was Josephine’s early days. Josephine was fully awake and aware.
Josephine experienced a massive stroke in her brain stem that left her in a “locked in” state. She could voluntarily only raise and lower her left eye. Up for yes. Down for no. When you visit her, please don’t ask “or” questions.
Josephine had been expected to die on the way to the hospital. This was 14-years later. Josephine says that she was lucky to have a loving family to take her home. She still enjoys her husband, Winston, after nearly 40 years of marriage, her daughters, and grand children. Josephine is quick to tell a joke if you’ve got a few extra minutes for her to spell each letter by signaling with her eye.
She enrolled in one of PhotoMed’s studies. We wondered, could a few visible light photons awaken movement? Probably not. Everyone agreed.
It seemed useless to video fingers that hadn’t moved for more than a decade. Talk about a missed opportunity!
Within 5 minutes of therapy, her fingers moved a wee tiny bit. Josephine reported that she could see her fingers move under her command for the first time.
By 4 days later, Josephine fanned the spark of movement into a fire.
Watch how much that Josephine had accomplished. (21 seconds)
The recording show that her fingers were straighter than would have been expected. Flexion contracture typically leads a closed hand. Something unexpected was going on for 14 years.
Attempting to talk recruits other functions
Josephine’s efforts to make speech sounds appeared to recruit her diaphragm. The evidence was her increasingly hearty laugh. Perhaps most important, the time between suctioning her mouth and tracheostomy tube increased from 10 minutes to an hour or more.
Could her impaired fingers, wrist, and diaphragm functions be a “learned non-use” phenomenon? Josephine reported that it was easier to move her fingers and mouth while the therapy was on. Improvements were incremental once they restarted.
Elated by Josephine’s improved functions, our team learned a sad lesson. No one had asked Josephine to make sounds or talk.
A Historical Connection
Edward Taub, PhD, coined the term “learned non-use” in 1972. He developed “constraint induced therapy” to help stroke affected parts to move again. Reading about his ideas inspired our working with Josephine.
We introduce the term “learned non-awareness” in his honor for people who can regain sensation like George..
Thanks Dr. Taub.