Psychotherapy Out of Bounds

PSYCHOTHERAPY Out of Bounds, continued
This story [of Trina RR] can hardly be left without some kind of an explanation. Is it intended to imply that some magic or a miracle occurred? It is not. Although the following ‘explanation’ can hardly be stated as having established validity, it does provide a kind of plausible understanding of the events described.
First, some definitions are needed. Focal epilepsy refers to epilepsy affecting a specific area or group of nerves in the brain. Non-focal or general epilepsy refers to epilepsy affecting a wider area or a large number of nerves in the brain. Status epilepticus refers to a fairly constant state of epileptic discharge or of ‘short-circuiting’ in the brain. It is possible that a general form of status epilepticus might be occurring in Trina’s brain as a result of the widespread nature of her CP symptoms or, say, a birth injury. This could well be initiated from a focal discharge affecting a specific set of nerve tracts, such as those leading to the visual cortex from the eye. This, in turn, might continuously interfere with the transmission of nerve impulses, such as retinal impulses, thus effectively preventing vision. This might happen, for example, if the foetus came equipped, or developed, weak access to neural inhibition for at least that specific area. This might be one way to account for blindness in some people whose eyes and optic nerves are intact, but who are said to suffer from ‘nerve blindness’.
If this explanation is valid, then trained increase in sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) in the EEG might result in an increased access to neural inhibition throughout the brain. This, in turn, might prevent the uncoordinated brain activity underlying the CP symptoms. At least, that was the idea Felicity had in starting out to treat the CP symptoms with EEG-SMR training. What may have happened before the desired effect was achieved, however, is that the threshold amount of neural inhibition, required to prevent the focal epileptic activity on the optic tract, could have become available to block the irritative interference with visual tract transmission, so that vision was no longer prevented. If this latter effect were to be achieved, vision might develop, even if for the first time.
It will be noticed that the above story is replete with ‘ifs’. That was intentional. It is rather hard to verify exactly what is going on in the brain in its moment-to-moment functioning. Since its functioning is mainly comprised of invisible electrical activities which, unlike engineered electrical circuits, cannot be controlled to observe what happens under varied conditions, it is hard to specify exactly what is taking place at any given moment. The only way yet available to discover what might be going on within the brain is to find ways to control the stimuli going in through the sensory tracts and to observe the effects on the system in the resulting behaviour. The abbreviated interval of time available in Trina’s case, along with the occurrence of an unpredicted event (vision), prevented any effective test of the above hypotheses. How’s that for science fiction!?

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