the liver and the brain

Lester Zick lesterDELzick at worldnet.att.net
Fri Sep 3 10:23:57 EST 2004

On 3 Sep 2004 08:01:26 -0700, iain.macmillan at health.wa.gov.au (Iain
Macmillan) in comp.ai.philosophy wrote:

>Matthew Kirkcaldie <m.kirkcaldie at removethis.unsw.edu.au> wrote in message news:<m.kirkcaldie-FC9A38.12461403092004 at tomahawk.comms.unsw.edu.au>...
>> In article <363d693e.0409021806.4347802e at posting.google.com>,
>>  rscanlon at nycap.rr.com (ray scanlon) wrote:
>> > I know that it is difficult for a man, who has spent his lifetime cataloguing
>> > trees, to listen when he is told that he is surrounded by a forest.
>> > Nevertheless, that's the way it is.
>> > 
>> > You must try.
>> What a pompous, patronising attitude.  I hope you enjoy your insular 
>> world of self-importance - it's clear you are incapable of learning, 
>> since you already have all the answers.  It's a pity that people who've 
>> spent their lives studying these things seriously don't agree with you, 
>> but clearly you're more comfortable with your smug generalisations than 
>> the hard light of real-world phenomena and evidence.
>> Please don't bore us with your posturing, we've seen it all before.  If 
>> you're willing to discuss something seriously, please do so.
>>       MK.
>Apologies for a lurker (a biological psychiatrist)posting to this
>erudite discussion. The original post referred to the brain and the
>liver. I thought it might be useful to contrast the brain with the
>The human heart was long regarded as the seat of all sorts of mystical
>and or magical forces, until a chap called William Harvey worked out
>that it is, in fact, a pump. Since then, over the past three hundred
>and odd years, the mechanism of the heart's pump action has been
>worked out - how the complex interlinked muscle fibres contract, how
>the timing of these contractions is regulated, and, most importantly
>for therapeutics, how these effects can be modified by drugs etc.
>I think it's reasonable to say that the heart as an organ is pretty
>well understood, despite its being essentially a vast, intricate
>network of cells which would be pointless to map exactly.
>My thoughts are that the brain is a squishy organ, pretty similar in
>size to the heart, with wiring, support structures and areas whose
>individual function is pretty well understood - visual pathways etc.
>Bits of brain develop with time and experience, bits seem to stop
>working (eg DLPFC in depression, Drevets et al. Nature) and other bits
>seem to depend critically for their function on vascular factors,
>which appear to be of great importance in the development of at least
>some brain diseases.
>A patient with heart failure in 1610 might have cough, chest pain and
>swollen ankles. Eminent physicians of the time might see chest pain as
>important, and treat with aspirin, cough as important and treat with
>opiates, or swollen ankles as important and treat with leeches - all
>of which treatments would be likely to produce benefits, but not with
>the mechanisms or for the reasons the treating physicians would give.

Aspirin in 1610?

>My hope is that the equivalent conceptual leap for the brain that
>Harvey made for the heart is near, and that the lag in translating it
>into a clear understanding of how the brain "works" is less than the
>three hundred years it took for Harvey's work to be translated into
>precise understanding.


>who has only posted previously in response to florid psychopathology

Regards - Lester

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