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Neuro? Logical! Forum for all neuro-things => from neuron to brain...

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Old 26-01-2008, 05:40 PM   #1
Diane
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Default Extreme Placebo?

Mo at Neurophilosophy blog has had this post included in a book: An illustrated history of trepanation.

It's an interesting piece, but what really caught my eye was this:
Quote:
Halvorson and another man named William Lyons drilled holes into the skull of 29-year-old Heather Perry from Gloucester, England. Following their arrest in Utah for practising medicine without a license, they were fined $500, placed on three years' probation, and ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation. Nevertheless, Perry, who had been suffering from chronic fatigue, depression and myalgic encephalomyelitis, said that immediately after her trepanation she experienced a "definite improvement" in her condition.
This Halvorson person had previously trepanated or trepanned himself, if you can imagine. Looks like he is starting an advocacy group.

Here are some other links to info about this, um.. procedure: Wikipedia, a first person account, prehistoric example.

It looks like this has been going on with humans in a wide-spread way, across lots of different cultures, and over vast swathes of time. I don't know why I never knew about it prior. Live and learn I guess. It seems to be associated with some sort of ritual need or spiritual/psychological yearning. Perhaps one day it will be offered up to consumers alongside weird piercings/tattoos, scarifications and all the other things people do to their physicality in order to gain, even if only temporarily, a sense of dominance over their bodies, over existential "pain", perhaps...

Not for me, not in this life, not in this body.
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Old 26-01-2008, 06:02 PM   #2
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Hi Diane,

Your post reminded me of a book that was popular not too long ago (I've not read it). It's not about trepanation but it sounds interesting. I suspect that the title is meant to be attention grabbing more than a literal assertion of cause.

When the Air Hits Your Brain
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Old 26-01-2008, 06:08 PM   #3
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makes Craniosacral therapy rather appealing doesn't it -unless you have a black and decker fettish ?
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Old 26-01-2008, 06:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ian s View Post
makes Craniosacral therapy rather appealing doesn't it -unless you have a black and decker fettish ?
Very funny!

I read the personal account. Seems that the initial benefits in mental clarity, mood improvements and energy were more due to the fact that he stopped smoking pot before the trepanation. He doesn't advise others try this extreme attempt at enlightenment. He says, "I have come to the frustrating conclusion that the trepanation has had no lasting effect."
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Old 26-01-2008, 06:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
"I have come to the frustrating conclusion that the trepanation has had no lasting effect."
That's just not true. The hole in your head is very lasting.
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Old 26-01-2008, 08:16 PM   #6
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Can't recall the details, but trepanation started at least 3000 years ago according to the archeologists in Egypt and elsewhere.

Maybe as the precursor to the frontal lobotomy, it worked quite well sometimes in its hit and miss fashion.

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Old 26-01-2008, 08:23 PM   #7
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I took a skeletal anthropology course as an undergrad and some of the native american remains that we had access to had evidence of trepanation.

We used them as a way to learn to identify a newly inflicted wound (those who died during or shortly after the procedure demonstrating a "green bone" trauma) with an old one (those lucky souls who survived the treatment demonstrating a healed bone edge).
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Old 14-02-2008, 01:49 AM   #8
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Mo's now added a film clip
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Old 14-02-2008, 03:00 AM   #9
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Goodness gracious!

The clip shows something much more than a "hole" in the head! The medicine man performed 4 1/2 hours of this ritual, doing something in the cranium in quite primitive conditions, and the woman walked away - with a wide area of her skull permanently removed.

Apparently it had some "success" as the medicine man performed it repeatedly, sometimes on the same person.

Extreme placebo, indeed.


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Old 14-02-2008, 03:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Newman View Post
Hi Diane,

Your post reminded me of a book that was popular not too long ago (I've not read it). It's not about trepanation but it sounds interesting. I suspect that the title is meant to be attention grabbing more than a literal assertion of cause.

When the Air Hits Your Brain
I have read the book. Fascinating anecdotes from the author's years in training. Shows how humane doctors can be.
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Old 14-02-2008, 04:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
When the air hits your brain
The full quote has been on our fridge for about 3 years:
"You're never the same once the air hits your brain."

It was a neurosurgeon's response to a whole series of jokes about Murphy's Laws.

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