Why Brainwaves Matter in Chronic Pain — Maybe a New Test for Central Pain
My 24/7 pain may be related to messed up brain waves! Why brain waves? I have had a brain wave revolution, and it bugs me that I didn’t see it sooner. Many of you already know. Here’s the reason it took so long:
The 'EEG guys' have been Epilepsy experts, but not accepted by a more powerful branch who focused on synapse ends making chemical contact.....no GABA (or dopamine or serotonin) signals a neurotransmitter problem, let's go after that...that is a broad problem for lots of stuff, not just epilepsy...and progress on how calcium goes in and out of nerve cells, carrying measurable amounts of electricity too. Our Central Nerve System runs on electricity and chemistry at the same time! That's what defines our tests and pills.
That's what I kept reading until I saw 'Thalamocortical Dysrhythmia' for the first time. Bugs me bad.
Because meanwhile, the 'EEG Guys' got their software cranking, and they started seeing amazing stuff. After being ignored, they may have found a way to measure with a machine people who have CPS, and similar 'invisible pain' illnesses. That's a lot of people. Think about it. They can take an MRI, and see clearly where my thalamic zone injury is. But they don't know exactly what it causes! Headaches, tinnitus, and vertigo? Maybe, docs say, don't know really.
But for the 'EEG Guys', once they get a good idea of what mechanically is causing the 'phantom pain' feeling, making it stop is getting closer. They are finding, in fact, that most of us with CPS, fibromyalgia etc have very similar brain wave patterns.
The electricity that goes in to our nerve cells (called ions) must come out! Especially in the thalamic area. It's data in, processed for delivery, and data out. Now, here's what I didn't quite get......one neuron alone makes a signal, a noise, a measurable 'oscillation'. When millions of nerve cells are working hard together in the thalamus to pass along stuff the white matter can think about, they do it in rhythm!
"Hey, you might want to think about this, you touched that stove so your hand is burnt." Involuntary system takes over, scream, "Aaah!"
The electricity that causes all this stuff, is waves of juice going in and out of large patches of nerve cells working together. There are measurable 'loops' of nerve cells, electric circuits, that go to the cortex and back. A fraction of the total cells in the brain is all we need to make a measurable noise or wave, since there are 85 billion nerve cells (neurons), and 80 billion 'auxiliary cells' like glials doing other cool stuff. Just think if one sends signals, 'click-click-clock’, 'click-click-clock’, hey 'click-click-clock' we can barely hear that. But when a big part of the thalamus is involved, 1% of 85 billion cells =.85 billion, or 850 million cells!
The thalamus has four parts, so let's say about 100 million cells are pumping electric ions in, and spitting them out, in rhythm, along that circuit, the 'thalamocortical loop' to communicate clearly with the white matter (cortex) where deep thinking about pain happens. That makes a pretty loud and clear wave pattern, theta waves, and mystery 'gamma-band' waves. Now it's, 'CLICK-CLICK-CLOCK', 'CLICK-CLICK-CLOCK','CLICK-CLICK-CLOCK'. "OK, I hear you thalamus, Pain!"
So, what happens when a bad spot on the thalamus is killed, turned into a malfunctioning evil lesion? It makes a 'short' in that loop! When juice passes through it stops, goes back, messes up rhythmic bursts coming from thalamus. Now, half of the 100 million cells, the spot that got knocked down by stroke, is going 'HEY, CLICK-CLOCK-CLICK', CLOCK-CLICK-CLICK, AAH, FORGET IT!) And, the ones that are still good are pouring out electricity, in rhythm.
That miscommunication on the 'thalamocortical loop' causes confusion on the messed up part, and moves out of the way resistors ('neural inhibition is big part of what thalamus does, changes one frequency from spine, to new frequency for white matter) so that the good oscillation or wave now gets really loud.
What does this mean in how we feel pain all the time? Someone touches you, signal (measured in waves) gets garbled by thalamus. Thalamus then tries to send along the signal. Instead of nice touch, it's unregulated voltage says real loud, PAIN! This is 'thalamocortical dysrhythmia' and it is happening in numerous places, causing symptoms not just because of where in brain stroke is, but because of oscillations along various 'loops'. So I have one large spot where failed brain surgery caused stroke. Several loops go through there! So the 'aura' of my CPS attack is not only burning fire on my right side, I feel anger out of control, I feel depressed, I have complex migraines etc etc.
OK. Hope that language is plain. Just think, your neurologist thinks you have CPS. They send you to the 'EEG' guys for a 3 day data-wave test. I did this, ruling out epilepsy before brain surgery. They put a wired cap on your head for 72 hours. Only now, they have tweaked their software (just like fMRI and PET do), they have a massive database to compare my patterns with others with CPS. Both my theta-wave and gamma-band oscillations are wonky, much like yours! So, results of EEG and MEG, is solid test, you have CPS! Here's how we make it ease up, soon those circuits will be repaired.
I’m doing my 'Churchill thing’, writing from the tub at 0430am! But, no cigar, champagne, or stenographer......I feel like this is a breakthrough. Time to make coffee. What have you learned to improve this hypothesis? Test may be five more years, as clinical tests are still too small. Need raise some cash for the 'EEG Guys’. Dr. Rodolfo Llinas is a genius: