End of the cycle

“And then straightaway
he put on his hat, brandished his sword,
sand with a sidelong glance, stole off.”
My professional cycle has been closed. Today is my last day. I am retiring.
I’ll continue writing on the blog and participating in the proposed initiatives to spread knowledge about neurons and body perception.
I leave the corporate world (Osakidetza) after several years of preaching in the desert of my hospital with the most absolute disdain of what I could contribute with my proposals.
The brain, neurons, have something of a taboo for professionals and, to a lesser extent, for the sufferers.
The disdain to what is ignored is striking and unbearable. Few let the auto-complacent calmness of the politically correct doctrines and agreed protocols get disturbed. Migraine, it’s argued, is a genetic brain disease. Period. They only hope to identify the responsible genes to provide the specific antidote for each individual, upon presentation of the genomical card. Everything that isn’t a molecular contribution is pure quackery. A waste of time.
Knowledge about neural processes should have imposed a radical change in concepts and proposals for neurologists. There are no signs of that happening. Basic issues such as perception, emotion, cognition, mobility, placebo, empathy, mirror neurons, efferent copy, reward system, decision making, error detection, nociception, information processing, Bayesian logic… are exotic matter for those who feel comfortably installed (with the timely support of Farmaindustria) in the universe of new drugs.
The texts are still contaminated by a symptomatic lexicon. They keep talking about pain receptors, pain signals, pathways of pain, pain centers. They still maintain that the brain does not hurt if you puncture it and, as the only painful intracranial structures are in the meninges and their large vessels, that’s where you have to find the source of pain, in the “trigemino-vascular axis.” The reality is that the painful brain area was never actually punctured, for the simple reason that it is hidden deep in the “sylvian valley”, in the lobe of the insula. If you puncture it when the guy is awake, he confirms it hurts. The brain does hurt … if the sensitive points are found.
Pain is about anti-inflammatories, triptans, antidepressants and anticonvulsants, electromagnetic stimulations, electrodes, botulinum toxins, detachments of tight muscles … and information, a lot of information. We must make the citizen and the professional be aware of it. Workshops, conferences, campaigns, international days for pain … but no word is said about the risk of information.
“I swear to God, I’m astonished by this grandeur…”
Last week I was invited to a High School to speak about neurons and pain. Everything was new for the students. Their minds were as open for Neuroscience as for homeopathy or acupuncture. Their brains were already colonized by the alarmist culture of the “pain because of everything” and the “cure for everything”. I tried to warn them about indoctrination, acculturation, imitation of what is offered as sacred without further argument than the identity of belonging. Science against market and culture. Freedom from the critic, explorer, rigorous knowledge.
The brain is very interesting and sells audience in the media but we must move the media away from our bodies. It’s a mental thing, not a body thing. Health is not a game. No speeches. Solutions, solutions …
“And then straightaway
he put on his hat, brandished his sword,
sand with a sidelong glance, stole off.”
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This entry was posted in culture by arturo goicoechea. Bookmark the permalink.

About arturo goicoechea

Born in Mondragón, Guipúzcoa, in 1946. Head of the Neurology Department at the Santiago Hospital in Vitoria (Álava), Spain. Published books: Jaqueca, 2004. Depresión y dolor, 2006. Cerebro y dolor (Esquemas en dolor neuropático) 2008. Migraña, una pesadilla cerebral, 2009.

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