Friday, October 17, 2008

An Embarrassment of Sensation

I only have access, at the moment, to the abstract of this article, published in the October 16, 2008 issue of Rheumatology. The reference popped up as the latest item on my MedWorm "CRPS" news feed.

C. S. McCabe, one of the authors, is known to me (giggle) as someone who is at the forefront of investigations into (Step away from this non-scientist's understanding!) how to bridge the gaps between pain sensations, the complex processes of pain perception, and the expressions of pain -- he has written extensively on mirror visual feedback, for example.

Yes, I get the rolly-polly poly-semy of expression.

D. R. Blake is unknown to me, though from looking over his work, as represented in PubMed listings, he seems more oriented toward microbiology and his study of sensory/motor incongruence takes place more often at a cellular level (That was an attempt at clever levity. Quite successful, I'd say.) He also seems to have an intense interest in Chlamydia. (Ar!)

Both hail from the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in conjunction with The School for Health, University of Bath, Bath, UK.

Here is the abstract:

An embarrassment of pain perceptions? Towards an understanding of and explanation for the clinical presentation of CRPS type 1
October 16, 2008 (Rheumatology)

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), a fairly common problem in rheumatological and orthopaedic practice, is an allodynic pain state of uncertain pathology often variably and unpredictably responsive to treatments. Although published diagnostic criteria are available, in the reality of clinical practice these do not appear to encompass the wide variety of symptoms that a patient may present with. This leads to scepticism on the part of the clinician and confusion for the sufferer. This article aims to provide some explanations for an often bewildering clinical picture. We provide a construct for the plethora of symptoms that we have entitled ‘the embarrassment of pain perceptions’. With the aid of a case report we examine recent research that suggests how peripherally based symptoms and signs arise from changes within the central nervous system, with particular attention given to the control function of the motor–proprioceptive integrative system. We speculate how these changes within the central nervous system may provide the patient with CRPS the ability to access complex layers of lower level perceptions that are normally suppressed. We propose that such a system may explain some of the clinical puzzlements seen in this condition and suggest that the complexities of CRPS may provide an insight into brain development through evolution, which is a fruitful area for interdisciplinary clinical and scientific research.

KEY WORDS: Complex regional pain syndrome, Pain, Motor control system

This goes far toward explaining (because in an acceptable format, because provided by acceptable people) the often off-putting richness of pain vocabulary chez someone with CRPS.

Cough. Of course, I am not fooled by the seemingly haphazard use of "interdisciplinary" -- a quaint word in an ugly code.

But then, I haven't read the article yet.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

For Today, At Least: Thank you, Google; Thank you, Milliken

At this moment -- 7:21 pm on Thursday, 16 October -- GOOG sits at 390 in after-hours trading. I am profoundly grateful that my inability to make a decision has not been met, for today, at least, with disaster.

I am also amazed at the antimicrobial silver dressing, specifically SelectSilver by Milliken, which is wicking, at an unbelievable rate, unwanted swampy microbes from a bad foot ulcer. It remains to be seen if it will bring healing or not but it is, without doubt, another very nifty gift to medicine from industry.

And so it is that I pray Google will hold its value, and maybe even hit the yearly target of my dreams, thereby paying for all the antimicrobial silver dressings by Milliken that I will have to use in the coming weeks and months.

Of these small, odd things I sing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Married to the Sea: "The Champagne of Comics"

Married To The Sea

Maybe it is because I just won the Nobel Prize, I dunno. Whatever. But when I stumbled upon the cartoon siteMarried to the Sea: "The Champagne of Comics," I found it tickled my now elite funny bone.

Before winning the Nobel Prize, I might not have "gotten" this sort of highbrow humor.

That's not to say that winning the Nobel Prize has changed me in any meaningful way. No, I am still the same simple girl that I have always been.

It's just that now I have a Nobel Prize.

Anyway, here's the gist on this funny endeavor:

Married To The Sea is a comic created by Drew and Natalie Dee. Drew's other comic, which also updates daily at midnight, is Toothpaste For Dinner. Natalie's other comic is Natalie Dee. No historical accuracy is implied or intended in Married To The Sea comics.You may put one or more images from this site on your own website / livejournal page / myspace page / blog, as long as you also provide a link to this site, next to the comics. You may not use the images in advertisement(s) or content for your own projects.

Now, *that* is generous, no?

Not to be outdone, I have seen fit to use my influence -- as a Nobel Prize winner -- to encourage the various committees in Oslo to contract with MTTS in the creation of mugs, Tees, and refrigerator magnets bearing my funnified commemorative image.

All the hard work pays off

Hey! Guess what! I won the Nobel Prize!

I gotta give the guys in Stockholm a call back, though, because we were disconnected before I could hear the field for which they had chosen to honor me. I mean, take your pick.

Among the diverse areas acknowledged last year?


Aviation: Patricia V. Agostino, Santiago A. Plano and Diego A. Golombek, for discovering that hamsters recover from jetlag more quickly when given Viagra.

Biology: Johanna E.M.H. van Bronswijk, for taking a census of all the mites and other life forms that live in people's beds.

Chemistry: Mayu Yamamoto for extracting vanilla flavour from cow dung.

Economics: Kuo Cheng Hsieh, for patenting a device to catch bank robbers by ensnaring them in a net.

Linguistics: Juan Manuel Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and Nuria Sebastian-Galles, for determining that rats sometimes can't distinguish between recordings of Japanese and Dutch played backward.

Literature: Glenda Browne, for her study into indexing words that start with the word "the".

Medicine: Dan Meyer and Brian Witcombe, for investigating the side-effects of swallowing swords.

Brian Wansink, for investigating people's appetite for mindless eating by secretly feeding them a self-refilling bowl of soup.

Peace: The Air Force Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, for suggesting the research and development of a "gay bomb," which would cause enemy troops to become sexually attracted to each other.

Physics: L. Mahadevan and Enrique Cerda Villablanca for their theoretical study of how sheets become wrinkled.