Thursday, December 08, 2011

what phantom limbs and mirrors teach us about the brain...,


Video - VS Ramachandran on mirror neurons

BBCNews | In a lab in southern California scientists are curing the previously incurable with little more than a mirror, and changing our understanding of the brain in the process.

In mid-November the team at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) announced the results of a small pilot study which suggests that a simple mind trick involving mirrors can help ease the pain of osteoarthritis, a condition that affects one in 10 people.

That study is in its very early stages, but since the mid-1990s neuroscientist Vilyanur S Ramachandran, who heads the team, has been extolling the benefits of mirrors for all manner of diseases and syndromes, from stroke to the mind-boggling medical phenomenon of the phantom limb.

Ramachandran's 20-year association with the mirror, and phantom limbs, has driven him to the forefront of experimental neuroscience.

The phantom (or arthritic) hand is placed behind the mirror. When the patient looks into the mirror he feels the reflection of the real hand superimposed on the phantom. He then tries to move both hands.

Many patients report they feel the phantom mimicking the movement of the real hand.

When the real hand opens its fingers, it looks as though the phantom has opened, and pain is relieved. By doing this repeatedly some patients find the phantom disappears. Providing a visual substitute for the phantom limb effectively "amputates" it.

The syndrome occurs in at least 90% of amputees - in two-thirds of those it manifests as an insatiable itch in the missing limb, many feel extreme discomfort or even chronic pain.

In most cases, pain-killers and surgical treatment have no effect.

Ramachandran's first phantom limb patient - who he calls Victor - lost his arm crossing the Mexican border into the US. He had an itch in his missing hand.

When Ramachandran prodded him in the left cheek with a cotton bud, Victor claimed he felt it in his missing left thumb - when he touched his upper lip, Victor though he was prodding his index finger.

The neurons that detect sensation in the missing hand, at a loss for anything to do, had somehow started detecting sensation in the face.

In this case there was a simple and effective treatment for the itch - scratch the face. But to Ramachandran it also had theoretical implications. It appeared to demonstrate the plasticity of brain modules - their ability to adapt to each other and their environment.

This was a radical idea as the established notion at the time was that the brain is made up of independent modules, insulated from each other and hardwired to a specific function. The notion of plasticity was something only a small group of scientists were considering.

28 comments:

nanakwame said...

Why consciousness is a connection of multi entities and events, it is not just the brain or the self. Though I do agree that knowing the Self; one is a better traveler.  The stuff makes so much sense.

nanakwame said...

btw: found interesting the work of science and art


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/06/nyregion/southbury-conn-adjusts-to-aging-population.html?src=recg

CNu said...

It's the mirror mirroring mirrors..., today's posts more bluntly, verifiably, and specifically disclose more about the structuro-functional organization of the three-brained anthropocosmos - than any other days' posts combined. But even with all the homework I've assigned over the past four years, I don't know that folks priors are sufficient to the task of grokking father-son-holy ghost.

arnach said...

You would already know about mirror neurons if you'd read the list.
Here's some more fresh meat for you to chew on: Physiologically, what is a thought?  Enjoy.
Seems to me we're still awakening (as a species) in terms of how, and with what, the meat processor is programmed.  Hopefully the ecology of our planet will hold out long enough to see what limits this thing might have, and what we can build on what has been (and is yet to be) built.  Think about it.  At what age do the pathways of the brain "set" the most?  How much of what happened to you when you were at a certain stage of development limits or enhances your life today?  What happens when well-nourished, raised, etc. children in the prime of their learning capability are exposed to the things we're only just beginning to learn right now?  We already know what happens to the rest of the human meat machine when it is extensively and agressively pushed during development:  Have you ever seen an NFL defensive linemen in real life?  They are HUGE.  Seems to me there's a lot more to be wrung out of the cabeza muscle too.  Think about people that were your age now, back when you were ten years old:  What was the world like when they were ten?  Someone turning ten today was born eighteen months after the tech bubble popped and three months after nineleven.  While most of the internet is dreck (at best), khan academy alone is the equivalent of the most excellent library ever to a ten year old.
Fortunately, it is possible for h. sapiens to develop new (or outgrow ingrained) behaviors, even at the advanced age of most subrealists.  We know that some plasticity can remain until a significantly advanced age.  Unfortunately, based on what I see of many of my elders, there seems to come an age when flexibility is lost and things become set in stone.  That's kind of scary; I hope it's not an immutable fact of life like so many of the other things that make getting old so much fun.

nanakwame said...

I not following you but I know when folks started arbitrarily giving meaning to dark and unknown; it included labeling  ghosts, aliens, and niggers. And a force that was not seen bu an ally. It is not that things don't exist as I sit here, I can't see what is all around me, but I know that even in a dark room there more than me as in a lighted room. Now it was important for meaning and order for us to come this far.  Now vitalism is weak as quanta gets more understanding and will be assist the understanding of the brain/consciousness problem. It is interesting why old sages stated that impermanence was the true reality. After persona, family, faith, class, ethnicity,  nation, you think it will easy for a person to feel comfortable in what is being said today? We have rejected people who stated they have no country for how long now. 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Without_a_Country

John Kurman said...

How far back do mirror neurons go? Well, at least back to mice and rats. I'm guessing, like, 225 million years?

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2011/12/rats-feel-each-others-pain.html?ref=hp

CNu said...

but I know that even in a dark room there more than me as in a lighted room

and how exactly do you "know" this, and, to what extent must others simply take your word for it as fact, beyond the mere fact that you believe it true?

No, Gurdjieff taught an enigmatic law of three with regard to the nature of awareness. Ramachandran and others are fast approaching verification of a tripart structural and functional process in the nervous system from whence what experience as awareness emerges.

Now vitalism is weak as quanta gets more understanding and will be
assist the understanding of the brain/consciousness problem. It is
interesting why old sages stated that impermanence was the true reality.


What is interesting here, and why Penrose is so important, is that certain well-defined operations accessible to awareness are non-computable. Now this can lead to all manner of interesting speculations, including those of Hameroff, which speculations I favor because of Hameroff's deep knowledge of subsystems and his extensive work hacking the same (anaesthesiologist/physical chemist)

After persona, family, faith, class, ethnicity,  nation, you think it
will easy for a person to feel comfortable in what is being said today?


I think it doesn't matter in the least bit at all.

Been reading old speculative fiction (my $.50 paperbacks) and one of them is Nature's End by Whitley Strieber(what a character he is) http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/394986.Nature_s_End

There are multiple thematic strands running through that book, but some of them include enhanced human intelligence (here and now), artificial intelligence (around that signpost up ahead), gerontological engineering and life extension (around that signpost up ahead), 1% vs 99% (here and now) - and so on...., - the 99% in the U.S. are depicted in such squalid 3rd world terms - and not merely immigrant strivers - and what it is that they're locked out of is access to the current state of sci-tech extant in that dystopian near future projection.

99.X% are already completely locked out of access to the current state of sci-tech today - and there are hundreds (thousands) of billionaires already outside the reach of society for most practical purposes - as Gibson sagely put it "The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed". The loss of "comfort" on the part of the people you lament is probably the very least of their problems, and is certainly the very least of their childrens' problems...,

CNu said...

Accounts for those being-functions of those two-brained beings on which we feed...,  but it's the three-brained being-functions about which we need concern ourselves http://books.google.com/books?id=s4LDFxp1kAIC&pg=PT416&lpg=PT416&dq=beelzebub%27s+tales+three+brained+beings&source=bl&ots=GRgRCwMOiR&sig=I0nm2nOGodp5KVP30O2hBqXNeOk&hl=en&ei=DFLiTrP1Fcr_ggfNl8XeBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CD0Q6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=beelzebub%27s%20tales%20three%20brained%20beings&f=false

nanakwame said...

After persona, family, faith, class, ethnicity,  nation, you think it 
will easy for a person to feel comfortable in what is being said today?

I think it doesn't matter in the least bit at all. 
I  have not read the whole give and take, but it damn sure matters. We are not talking about yeast, field mice, (btw they were worshiped since grain was stored and mofo still here) or bacteria in a spinning nature we can not see b/c of gravity and other forces. We are also in a spin and a shot of dice every second. Time is an illusion Craig, we making it by our language and our chatter and our literature and our tools.. Describe that mother fucker in techie terms you can't. Not yet so you have your Sufi. So you telling me I am to go into a insane state, for what? Majority of human kind don't know what the fuck you are talking about and I know, most would lose their minds. They say 1 out 3 Americans is touched by some sort of mental ills. Damn and will review it more by damn, What does it say for our children and it doesn't matter. Talk with your heart not your balls. The study of mental illness is the greatest gift in the last 60 years, and before that the stories are too cruel. There most be a reason why some can handle truth.

nanakwame said...

Gibson sagely put it "The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed"
Again the Bantu stated the past and the future walks in the present. What is the point? That we have a present future and past future, the syfy writers have proven that.  Nothing is ever evenly distributed even in the cosmos as we get close to finding our twin for earth, I would re-check that statement???

"enigmatic law of three" Why just the law of three (though it is a good evolutionary number, like the term three legged stool) Why not all the primary numbers? And 4 - Mystic say three men in a room and a 4th enters, g_d (wisdom) sits. Love me some 0., for I believe we return to, and? Did you know that Yoruba counted to 8 from 0, and their divination numbers start as 8 being the most powerful and "white" and ten being the last. They were also fond of 16, twins were great among the Yoruba and twins were born among Afro/Euro Americans. They have stories of the dual Oba

nanakwame said...

Been reading old speculative fiction (my $.50 paperbacks) and one of them is Nature's End by Whitley Strieber(what a character he is) http://www.goodreads.com/book/...
I go with the great Octavia Butler's past future view, we can't get away from our biases, but; her's was Hegel and I think he blew folks out the waters, with his weakness.  Hierarchical, we been at this and love to hear more. Her own works made her depresses  btw it is nice to paint the human, one is talking about IRL. and she stop her trilogy. Met her once in a book store. in Brooklyn' such a lovely woman. Anyway! What happening to Cities and States in USA is important to follow and she laid out a scenery life, and as I stated, if Hollywood was to make her books of the Parable's, folks would freak. Why they make the aliens from outside, ain't none, life outside us don't look like us. 
Our opposition is not stupid; why art always been important.  They always gave the view that it was the color folks areas like Detroit. It is harder and will be harder to push that BS, which triggers fascists. The life of the city/town which is like that ant colony is truly human.

CNu said...

Gurdjieff was not a sufi and it's about time western science caught up with and began rendering explicit the esoterism embedded within and throughout the culture.

Majority of human kind don't know what the fuck you are talking about and I know, most would lose their minds.

Lieutenant, your men are already dead....,

Majority of human kind don't know what the fuck you are talking about and I know, most would lose their minds. I  have not read the whole give and take, but it damn sure matters. We
are not talking about yeast, field mice, (btw they were worshiped since
grain was stored and mofo still here) or bacteria in a spinning nature
we can not see b/c of gravity and other forces.


Why is it again that these matter?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_Sower

CNu said...

What is the point?

Them what's got, may get, them what's not, shall surely lose - so the bible says - and it still is news...,

Why just the law of three

Beelzebub's Tales is a description of what exactly in the language of form?

CNu said...

The life of the city/town which is like that ant colony is truly human.

That statement flatly contradicts the overwhelming majority of human history, and in the contemporary context in which occupants of the city produce scant little sufficient to their own maintenance, it borders on an outrageous lie.

nanakwame said...

RYFKM - agriculture and industrial periods one of our worst, but there was always the "colonized" city and what did it produce are you RYFKM Doc. Without towns and city your country produces would have died by August. And you would never have known a Charley Parker. Go over this again for me with some connections to human life. We missing some legs in your Trinity here. What is one of the problems of over-population in places like Africa?

nanakwame said...

I have no interest in claiming any ism's. I see bodies of knowledge as like reference points in archival streams, where I make reasons and better my perceptions and life. Then there is the silence - beautiful nothingness and moments of look at a full moon like a poet. If Gurdjieff stories and myths make you comfortable good for you. I am a libertine first. But in denying what he must of dipped in and associated with, is a dogmatic position. Nock was correct most of what we know was build upon before Gurdjieff was born. Not only that then I believe you have a weak position on consciousness and self. Why do we have to look backwards, all the way to the first quiver in the womb? I like this better than some of Jesus's Wisdom

http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/indra%E2%80%99s-pearls-geometry-and-symmetry

CNu said...

Not only that then I believe you have a weak position on consciousness and self.

lol, which is why you spend so much time struggling to proselytize and validate against the liminal reference frame.., {I ain't mad at you, I just see you far more clearly and completely than you see yourself}

nanakwame said...

You are proselytizing  my friend.  Please don't do that, it is such a bore.
What new is Mr. Berman saying that hasn't been said since the 1960's really. 
"These are profoundly challenging revelations for
all of us raised on Enlightenment ideals of progress"

This is an oxymoron to what you place here with science. What the fuck is enlightenment meaning today? Some recent libertarian history have been better than this didactic mantra

This is what “a new civilizational paradigm”
finally means

No shit - a new paradigm and how do we get there, in the tradition of evolution - mainly heuristic, and you have a name for your new civilization?

Sentimental - you are already that, some one who loves to re: film characters. Where do you think that comes from logos? 

nanakwame said...

btw describe to me, what this means rudiments of self-sufficiency Why don't you use your own IRL. For a man who speaks of Collaboration.  Love hear it. Not emotional self-contained don't confuse it.

CNu said...

1. No shit - a new paradigm and how do we get there, in the tradition of
evolution?

2. and you have a name for your new
civilization?


1. Cull

2. Smart Community

Sentimental - you are already that, some one who loves to re: film characters. Where do you think that comes from logos?

lol, no I know exactly where it comes from. It comes from the skilled craft of an assemblage of writers, musicians, designers, and others - melded together across generations of highly evolved collaboration and production - whose sole purpose is to move an audience.

25 years ago, I decided I could marry the woman who became my wife after she pointed out to me a whole host of manipulations taking place in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining - and I haven't watched a movie the same way since. However, I can instantly discriminate between those productions coming from skilled and knowledgeable artists, and those emanating from hacks.

 

CNu said...

I maintain an iota of distance between actuality and my daily round of actualite' - so barring a major triumph that I can't contain - there won't be any discussion of my work on this blog. I will, however, kick you out some semi-public stuff backchannel. Check your email.

arnach said...

Mr. Smith...

arnach said...

I'm pretty sure n > 3

CNu said...

Agreed wrt the totality of what can comprise N, but N sufficient for what we're talking about here, will not...,

DD said...

I can never tell if you guys are trying to look smart for each other or actually smart. Well, that's not true, i can tell and its both. And while the conceit is that this is a master level class, and it's possible I'm a (relative) dolt, as a professional communicator I would say that the oneupsmanship of erudition hereabouts makes the pedagogy shit. I do not know what the fuck is going on, and I'm trying to follow.

In other words, somebody post the goddamn syllabus or point me to the lower-division reading list, or I'll assume it's more Skull and Bones elitism than inscrutability to me and the unwashed masses.

Lotta brown belts hereabouts. Everybody knows the subject but nobody can teach it. Or I'm an idiot. Or both :)

CNu said...

lol, here you go  http://subrealism.blogspot.com/2008/08/awaken.html

AFAIC
- there is no such thing as "skull and bones" elitism, rather, there is
a corpus of information and a perspective with which no one who comes
here is deeply familiar.

Any and all confusion is my fault.  Like the experience of the alkahest http://youtu.be/iGf2loLAwVE - that perspective can really only be gleaned by direct experience and personal immersion.

Dale Asberry said...

Some are familiar. Some got here through entirely haphazard paths not traveled through nor gaps filled by said corpus. But such shortcomings are being addressed. As for experiencing the alkahest, the severely negative consequences are difficult to look past and the proper environment to experience is difficult to arrange - for many reasons. I suppose it is a proper lack of faith.

DD -

Pedagogy is more than the assimilation of information. We can't truly learn until we break past those beliefs we hold dear, the beliefs holding us back, the beliefs we must needs have shattered -- and then to only take one step forward to meet the next wall of denial. What you see as one-upmanship hereabouts is one person spouting self-sacred beliefs and the other rebuking the nonsense. That rebuke can then either be used by the one-upper to break through the nonsense or not.

My guess with you, and it is only a guess, is that you are avoiding your sacred cows and are hence unable to progress. I would further hypothesize that you are not addressing those beliefs because you fear the rebukes. It is no mistake that CNu regularly states that you can't train the mind without training the behind. And, it must be taken willingly.

nanakwame said...

Great, never would  of hung. What you describe in what Romantics.do.... We have common agreements. I have laid low for many years now. And never meant for you to reveal your work life. Conceptions and Inferences is what we are  debating. Got to walk with a man to really know the man.

Seagull circling/Brisk wind this Sunday morning/Food trove replayed ©
kacAll ideologies are idiotic, whether
religious or political, for it is conceptual thinking, the conceptual word,
which has so unfortunately divided man.


Jiddu Krishnamurti....Another person from the Gurdjief era. Read Jiddu auto, he finally fell in love with his dead friend's widow. And married her. Of course I don't agree with every iota, yet the time period is quite interesting. The proof of no Ghost coming in a seance was challenged too.Have a good day, my friend 

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