Brain Damage, When and How?

John H John at faraway.com.au
Tue Jul 17 22:02:51 EST 2001

Now there's a striking co-incidence Maxwell. Cannabis is the only thing I
have found that helps me sleep etc and many people would be amazed at how
much I have learned and written while stoned. Of course this places me in a
terrible dilemma because I wonder about the wisdom of sustained cannabis
use. When I stopped using it all the childhood symptoms returned and hey my
memory doesn't seem to work as well as when I am stoned!

So I've read quite a bit about cannabis and found something interesting from
Maria Volkrow studies. It raises CBF or glucose utilisation in orbitofrontal
and basal ganglia, both good targets re depression and attentional
mechanisms(right orbitofrontal the most probable damaged area for me). In
terms of cognition cannabis does not appear to be bad. There is still debate
about long term cognitive deficits after cessation but that's up in the air
and even if established the deficits are going to be very small, perhaps
reflecting more individual adaptive mechanisms than any deficit per se.
Unfortunately I started cannabis after giving up on Uni. From your account
should have been vice versa!

Of course, every time I tell doctors about cannabis use they just refuse to
believe me ... . And then are thoroughly embarrassed when I begin to probe
on what they actually do know about it. Politics and medicine, these drugs
should never be taken in combination.

I never recommend cannabis to people, I have always suspected it works for
me precisely because of my problems. My experience with everyone else is
that it doesn't help them think and it certainly has damaged a number of my
old friends because they have let it completely dominate their lives and
leisure. But I must say that it is far better than all of the drugs doctors
have had me take ... .

PS the quote about walking towards the future, not mine, can't remember
source but from some book I read years ago.

And ...

Recent studies indicate that smoking cannabis causes a huge increase in risk
for oral cancers but the risk seemed to 'arise' in the early 40's so you
might out of the danger zone; I'm right in it because the risk was dose
dependent and I could smoke forests of it (much more than everyone else) and
still think and still remember and still work .... . Cancer risk may have
something to do with mapk activation, not just the burning plant products.

Thanks for your observations,

John H.

maxwell <mmmaxwell at hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:9j1cqk$lgu1k$1 at ID-81739.news.dfncis.de...
----- Original Message -----
From: John H <John at faraway.com.au>
Newsgroups: bionet.neuroscience
Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2001 2:25 AM
Subject: Re: Brain Damage, When and How?

> I suspect Asperger's itself involves some brain damage. As to the cause,
> take it from someone who spent years - unsuccessfully - trying to
> the causes for various sub-clinical (perhaps!) neuro pathologies. I had
> of neurosurgery as a child that left me with bits of brain damage but
> unfortunately and strangely all the medical records have disappeared. I
> relapsing dysthymia, traces of ADD, chronic insomnia, absolutely hate
> of every kind(perhaps an aversion induced from years of post operative
> therapy and tests), and generally quite a chaotic life (attempted Uni 6
> times but dropped out despite being at honours level).

Interesting parallels with my own symptomology. Besides my earlier mentioned
ADD, etc., my own sleep patterns have been fragmented and somewhat
non-circadian since at least as early as age 10, dysthymia was sufficiently
present to warrant a disability determination by the government, and my
contacts with emdees are near-always the result of crisis events-- not
'routine checks.'

Also, my first two attempts at Uni ran respectively 1 and 2 1/2 semestres,
in my twenties, and I never finished 2ary school previously (GED exam).
It was only after many years of chronic self-medication with cannabis and
occasional drinking intervals (of months-long durations) and subsequent to
near-death from abdominal ailment, that I marched myself into Uni and stayed
the distance (many years after I'd done similar WRT here-and-now oriented

 I don't bother trying
> to 'figure myself out' anymore and the professionals certainly have given
> on me. So then, my best advice for you is:
> "It's easier to lie on a couch digging into the past than it is to sit on
> chair facing the present. It is even harder to get up and walk toward the

Thank you for that-- I've never before said it so well.

> However, I will say that putting time into studying and thinking about
> conditions and possible remedies to the same is always worthwhile. I have
> been slowly improving most of my life (now 42) and one reason for this has
> been my constant searching for solutions. I was very lucky, an old poster
> here helped a great deal, gave some good leads to think about. So keep
> looking, you may find a soul who can help you along. One warning though,
> wary of strangers bearing gifts. Some say anything can be cured but I
> this admonition:
> "There's always an easy solution to every human problem -- neat,
> and wrong."
> H L Mencken.

So often true.
> Maxwell is correct the oxy depriv can easily cause diffuse damage though
> certain regions appear more vulnerable than others (hippocampus,
> striatum???).

_Roughly_ divisible into decrements of episodic and procedural memory,

I suggest you follow his lead, don't spend too much time
> looking for causes, rather focus on solutions. It may not be anoxia, we
> don't know what causes Aspergers or any number of ... . If you keep
> backward you'll stumble when you try to move forward. Don't despair, look
> what Maxwell is now doing for a living. Most with neuro pathologies fall
> the wayside, some manage to get through one way or the other (like myself)
> and some like Maxwell do quite well. Just do your best.

On _some_ days I do quite amazingly well, and am know as one of the few most
likely to elicit from colloquia presenters the reply "That's a very good
question." (scientist talk for 'how did we miss that?'), while because there
are many days when my attention span is still extremely diffuse, I fall
behind on work schedules, and maintain no illusions to actually do other
than small modules of ongoing larger projects. So far, anyway.
Still, perseverance furthers, and chronic desires may serve to offset
chronic decrements.
..hmm- pretty psychodynamic for a substrate guy...  ..mea culpa..   ;~)

> John H.
> Larry <NDA at larry-arnold.com> wrote in message
> news:9iudpu$tdi$1 at news6.svr.pol.co.uk...
> > When I was dx'd with Asperger's syndrome the pyscologist said that I
> > also have sustained some brain damage in infancy which accounted for
> of my additional lerning problems.
> >
> > I have speculated long and hard about how this might have happened.
> >
> > My parents are no longer alive to tell me whether my birth was in any
> > unusaul, all I know is that at 7 months old I was rushed into hospital
> my lips had turned blue, It was pneumonia and I guess that I might have
> > starved of oxygen at this point as I was immediatly put into an oxygen
> >
> > Could this have caused lasting damage ?
> > Larry

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