Brain Damage, When and How?

maxwell mmmaxwell at hotmail.com
Wed Jul 18 13:01:19 EST 2001

John H <John at faraway.com.au> wrote in message news:h7757.93697$Rr4.345519 at ozemail.com.au...
> 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!

Hmmm. Well, for me, it's been ten+ years without. Inter-individual differences in phenomenological responses vary considerably, no surprise.
I don't happen to know of any good studies that have assayed long-term memory effects.
For myself, I found usage interfered with memory consolidation, but I also am acquainted with some fellows, one a mathematician, and the other a physicist, who use cannabis occasionally, and it apparently does them no trouble.
> 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).

This is new to me-- thanks. I haven't read in the topic more than a smattering, however.

 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.

Seems (personally speaking) not to have had lasting impact, as I've rather good episodic memory for events preceding and during my 23 years of usage, and similarly, for me at least, semantic memory is also preserved. However, these are but my impressions-- I could well be wrong.

> Unfortunately I started cannabis after giving up on Uni. From your account
> should have been vice versa!

Heh. Heck if I know. <g>
> 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. 

Medicine is mostly applied science and other empirical knowledge. Many MDs are rather non-comprehensive in their pharmacological knowledge, and the ones that have special knowledge see a disproportionate number of clients who have real abuse difficulties. Lends bias, often enough.

> Politics and medicine, these drugs should never be taken in combination.

Contraindicative, yep.
> 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 ... .

Well, for myself I now only self-administer caffeine, some nicotine, and the prescribed dexedrine is taken as needed, though not always daily. WRT your observations of friends consumed by their 'pleasures,' I'm also acquainted with any number of folks who have really been in the 'same places' for many years.
Whether chicken or egg came first, I don't know.
> PS the quote about walking towards the future, not mine, can't remember
> source but from some book I read years ago.

Thanks for that-- I like it a lot.
> 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; 

Not if my ciggies impact, but fear of physical mayhem is something I give not much attention to.

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.

Multiple causes. In lung, benzo-alpha-pyrenes, have been implicated as p53 pathway disrupters, IIRC,  but I'm no molecular guy, so may have this all mis-remembered from back in cell & molecular.
> Thanks for your observations,
> John H.

Thank you for sharing your experiences, too.

> maxwell <mmmaxwell at hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:9j1cqk$lgu1k$1 at ID-81739.news.dfncis.de...
> ..inline..
> ----- 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
> establish the causes for various sub-clinical (perhaps!) neuro pathologies. I had
> lots of neurosurgery as a child that left me with bits of brain damage but
> > unfortunately and strangely all the medical records have disappeared. I
> have relapsing dysthymia, traces of ADD, chronic insomnia, absolutely hate
> tests 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
> therapy)
>  I don't bother trying to 'figure myself out' anymore and the professionals certainly have given
> up 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
> a chair facing the present. It is even harder to get up and walk toward the future."
> Thank you for that-- I've never before said it so well.
> > However, I will say that putting time into studying and thinking about your
> > 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,
> be wary of strangers bearing gifts. Some say anything can be cured but I
> prefer this admonition:
> >
> > "There's always an easy solution to every human problem -- neat, plausible, 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, respectively.
> 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
> looking backward you'll stumble when you try to move forward. Don't despair, look
> at what Maxwell is now doing for a living. Most with neuro pathologies fall
> by 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..   ;~)
> -m
> >
> > 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
> might also have sustained some brain damage in infancy which accounted for
> some 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
> way unusaul, all I know is that at 7 months old I was rushed into hospital
> as my lips had turned blue, It was pneumonia and I guess that I might have
> been starved of oxygen at this point as I was immediatly put into an oxygen tent.
> > > Could this have caused lasting damage ?
> > > Larry

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