Neuroscientists show how brain responds to sensual caress

Until now, medicos thought that first we perceived touch, then we assigned meaning to it. This study indicates that, in heterosexual men anyway, meaning is assigned to touch at the same moment the touch is perceived.

Fortunately, they do plan on investigating other demographic groups, including other ages, gender and sexual orientations.

I tend to assume that men are hot-wired to respond positively to sensual touch, in a way that seems pretty indiscriminate to many women; and, of course, straight men are socially far less likely to feel all that vulnerable or threatened by those who touch them than most other demographic groups.

It’ll be interesting to see what turns up when they examine the responses of demographic groups with more inflections around tactile sensation. This is an interesting start.


Valuable gadgetry means good data

OK, this stuff is cool enough to make me want to keep my iPhone:

iPhone glucometer:

iPhone blood pressure monitors & trackers:

I’d like to design a mobile app for tracking and managing pain. Flareups and neurotoxic food sensitivities wouldn’t stand a chance. Touchscreens rock for radio buttons and simple data entry; just have to make it easy to pick what you need and dump it into a dashboard with different ways of viewing the data — historically, by symptom, by factor; graph, chart, etc.

Collecting and tracking your own data is key to surviving and thriving with a long-term condition. ┬áIt is possible to make good use of gadgetry, though it’s not something I usually focus on.

Any of you developers want to write the backend?


Doing what? Doing SOMETHING.

This links to an article that states the astounding — nay, earthshaking — news that people like to be productive; it’s good for their heads. Exactly what they do isn’t always the point.

I’ve been saying that for years. Being productive is good pain control and significantly helps depression.

Pity I never knew there was funding available to make a lot of other people say the same thing! Heh.


Re-Learning Aids

I originally created this blog as a place to digest articles on medicine and biomedicine — especially as they relate to real, live human beings of the kind who need to use medicine and biomedicine. After all, needing it means our systems are not quite normal.

I have a condition that punches holes in my memory and cognition. This means that, even though this biomedical stuff is meat and drink to me, I have to look up things that — with my old brain — I used to know like the back of my hand. (That is, the hand where the CRPS started, naturally.)

Really basic things, like the names of our handful of neurotransmitters, each with its many jobs; or the role of the pituitary gland and its intense relationship with … well, with every other regulatory part of the body.

So I’ll post a couple of tutorials on these subjects here, for both you and me to refer to at need. If I’m really clever, I’ll post them as pages which you can access easily; for now, I’ll be happy to get them up at all.

Soooo …. [drumroll, please]

Coming soon:
– A quick rundown on neurotransmitters, with interesting dietary notes.
– Tutorial on the Limbic-Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis.


Just a sip: Nanotubes, conductance and immunology

One of the most expensive and brutal treatments I’ve tried was the SCS (spinal cord stimulator) trial. This involved hammering two metal-laced widgets the size of drinking straws into that tiny, sensitive space entirely surrounded by bone which we call the spinal cavity. The one that’s usually fully-filled by a mass of busy, sensitive nerve tissue.

My arms hadn’t hurt so little in years. My spine, back, neck and head had never hurt so much in my entire freaking _life_. At the mere rememberance, I still feel the shoulder, scapular and upper-back muscles twist themselves into that ghastly position that caused the least pressure against my cord. My neck is going to be cramping the rest of the day. Wish I hadn’t mentioned it.

So yeah, that was bad. I wrote Medtronics a bunch of notes from the nurse/patient/biogeek/engineer perspective. I have seen no indication that they did anything but circular-file them, so I feel free to discuss it now. They’ve had their grace period.

There’s no reason for such flat-out stupid, ham-handed, ignorant engineering. I’ve tried to see an upside to the current SCS tech, and I just can’t.

Shoving titanium into someone who’s allergic to surgical steel? Check your MSDS sheets, gentlemen. Cramming cubic centimeters into a space that’s painfully sensitive to pressure changes of cubic millimeters? Hang on, who thought _that_ would be a good idea?

Welcome to the future of implantable devices — especially those going into immunoreactive, sensitized systems:

Meet the carbon nanotube: body-friendly, weavable, conductive, cheap, easy to work with. Does its job on, easily, one thousandth the scale of silicone and wire.

Why is this on my mind? (Gentlemen, look away and hum.) First day of my cycle after a month of progress in rebuilding basic endocrine responses. EVERYTHING is supersensitive and hyperreactive. I want a carbon nanotube *body!*

Best I can do is coconut water. It really smooths out the bumps, if I drink enough of it. Here’s to 21st century tech, and hoping it makes it into something as profitable as biomedicine!