Thursday, December 31, 2015

Deadly dilemma

I was waiting on this book (his website) before I started the previous one.  Read a couple of chapters and now in the dilemma of finishing the second or going back to the first.

Neither book I believe will mention anything resembling my own off the wall hypothesis, but I was wondering if either book would mention Dr. Derakhshan's theory or the study by Carr et al where they demonstrate that the dominant hemisphere can initiate the action of the muscular pairs close to the axial skeleton. My own feeling is that I learned to organize myself in a 'right sided' control way with my musculature close to the axial skeleton. It lead to my right side having greater control and the left more of a stabilization role. Unfortunately, it works out to a greater load and twisting of my axial skeleton to the left as my right had more freedom and range in many if not all movements.

Just looked in the index for "Carr"  in the Right Hand Left Hand book and came up with an interesting side note. "The Scottish surnames Carr and Kerr come from the Gaelic caerr, meaning awkward."

It goes on to mention a famous poem about the fighting abilities of clan Kerr who fought left handed.

But the Kerrs were aye the deadliest foes
That e’er to Englishmen were known
For they were all bred left handed men
And fence [defence] against them there was none

From Google a link

And From left field

A longstanding dream theme of my mine is that I am on the golf course but can't take a back swing to hit the ball. There's a multitude of reasons and scenarios but always the frustrating feeling of not being able to take a swing. Last night I had one where I was able to tee off but only standing on my left foot. I pulled it left of the green but made decent contact.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Childhoods End

Arthur C Clarke had a book by the above title that I read as a kid.  Reading a lengthy but fun book that reminded me of it with a similar title The Evolution of Childhood: Relationships, Emotion, Mind.  Have not gotten that far into it yet but one of the facts that he has been making is that as our brain develops it gets rid of a great deal of the excess cells and connections that were created. The author briefly so far has touched on brain lateralization which is felt to be started before birth but that it is possible with a brain lesion for the other side to take over the dominant role at a young enough age. I am sort of plowing through the book at this point in time with the plan of taking a second look at it. It's fairly complicated with many unfamiliar terms and my brain has it's gears whirring to remember what many of the semi familiar neuroanatomical words are.

As for my work on myself I am finding more of a sense of my facial and sublingual musculature that I feel is 'left initiated'  There is a smoothness to some of the actions that I have not felt before. Even though it feels like I am pushing through a great resistance I am usually surprised at the strength of the movements which have reflections away from the point I am trying to move. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Harmless blather more or less

Running with my personal meme of the past week or so where I think I am asking the question does my thought process have any value to anyone else. I mostly write in the first person because I do not want to generalize my thoughts and feelings on others.  I don't think I am the only one to perceive others persona normally as right sided and that I am the only one who did not have an independent left tongue/sublingual musculature/throat/head. In fact I imagine I am like most people and that there was certain advantage to lateralize control to one cerebral hemisphere. Where I am less sure is that I am actually doing what I think I am doing now in differentiating these left side functions (right cerebral hemisphere).

I am fairly positive I never really saw the left half of people's faces most of my life. It was there but somehow unseen. In my attempts to see the left side of face and relate to it using my left side of face I am using the myself in a different way than my normal. In attempting to differentiate  the left side musculature in an independent way from the right I am less sure I am achieving my goals. It feels different like I am using the left side as the initiator of the movement but I don't think I can be sure. Also I believe I can use the left side musculature in speech but somehow cannot gain independent left side control of the tongue in movements in my mouth.

So a more or less harmless blog is probably not a bad medium for what I am trying to say. There is so much more scientifically rigorous thinking about the issue if one is interested one can find. For now I will still try and work on trying to achieve a left side independence in perception and movement.

Plus, I write like crap

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Courage, not

How do I know anything of enough value to speak up on it?

I went back to school at age 35 after stints in the Merchant Marine and General Engineering contracting and took approximately 4 years of schooling. I graduated summa cum laude with a physical therapy assistant license from a junior college.  Like most careers it took about 5 years of on the job training to become experienced. However, if I switched to a new discipline like Spinal Cord as compared to Acute Inpatient I would not know as much as someone right of school who had spent 6 months on that service.

Patients can tell quickly by hundreds of clues which therapists had experience with their injury type and who did not. An easy give away is how much pain was caused.  As a therapist working with spinal cord injuries one of the hardest task was to maintain a patient's range of motion in their joints while minimizing unnecessary pain.  I spent around 4 years on on the Spinal Cord Injury service but I was never once satisfied with my technique. Several times I lost the battle of maintaining ROM.  At the time, most patients after the initial injury would be put on the rotating bed to prevent pressure sores. They would sometimes wait of upwards to a month for the spinal cord cervical fusion operation. They were almost always in a cervical halo unable to move their bodies and in significant pain in the regions that they had sensation. Many times their shoulder joints would be the most problematic and that was the area I had to put the most attention. Even with premedication for pain, I frequently felt more like a torturer than a benefactor. The most discouraging experiences I had as a PT assistant was to watch a patient lose range in their shoulder's daily while suffering under my hands.

I did learn and improve my technique over time but that learning was mostly an internal sense of what would would work and not work with that individual. Sometimes the most obvious beneficial thing I could do was to ask for help from other members of the team. Heterotopic ossification is big problem with spinal cord patients. It would greatly increase pain if present during ROM plus limit motion. Often therapists would be the first one to 'feel' the problem. For the most part experience was learned on the job with trying to distinguish what worked, what didn't and why not. That was true in all three careers that I had. Because I did not know something it was often useful to ask but the self search for an answer was in a sense the 'truer knowledge'. It was not mine for good or bad until I experienced the trial and error process. That does not mean I couldn't also be dead wrong.

 On occasion that search would stand up to substantial knowledge, experience and position of authority. My first job on a tanker as a very inexperienced third mate by I stopped both the chief and second mate from opening the wrong sequence of valves in loading the tanks. It's possible they were testing me. However from their reactions I don't think so. The courage to say something came from the act of spending hours with the ship's piping diagram trying to figure it out by myself.

Today, by chance met an old friend and colleague and the thought crossed my mind to tell her about this blog. I thought for a minute but took the easy way out like the guy in this video. Sometimes, I just want to fit in.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Pot meet Kettle

Since I am not sure my ideas are scientifically sound I am hesitant about broadcasting them too much. I believe I feel a difference in the way I differentiate my left and right structures of my head, and that is tied into how I see the persona of others represented in themselves.  I keep finding examples to tie things together but at best they are weak anecdotes rather than a structural proof of what I believe. There is a great deal on the web that deals with outlandish claims and how do I throw out the good from the bad?

Most of my judgements are made within seconds and depend a great on my gut 'feel' on whether the issue is possible. Recently found some very clever 'flat earth videos'. They have very a great deal computer generated animation showing how the earth is actually flat and come up a with a pretty good story of how everything ties together. I spent a large part of the last two days trying to think of ways I could disprove their theories but my proofs are weak enough that a smart person could find a way to stump me with an alternate explanation (at least for awhile). I have navigated on a third mates license using the principles of celestial navigation but far more navigating was by rote technique than a good understanding of how everything tied together.  I think the flat earth is a bunch of BS but they would most likely feel the same way about my 'hypothesis'.

In one of my favorite books the author brings up the mythos over logos argument in that we live by myth but is overturned by knowledge but then absorbed by the mythos

The mythos-over-logos argument points to the fact that each child is born as ignorant as any caveman. What keeps the world from reverting to the Neandertal with each generation is the continuing, ongoing mythos, transformed into logos but still mythos, the huge body of common knowledge that unites our minds as cells are united in the body of man. To feel that one is not so united, that one can accept or discard this mythos as one pleases, is not to understand what the mythos is.

I am sincere about my 'hypothesis'. I am not sure it is correct.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Man overboard

"Humans are pattern seeking animals. We must find cause and meaning in all events(quite apart from the probable reality that the universe doesn't care much about us and often operates in a random manner). I call this bias "adaptationism"-the notion that everything must fit, must have a purpose, and in the strongest version, must be for the best."

The quote is from Stephen Jay Gould, in his book Bully for Brontosaurus,. In the chapter "The Panda's Thumb of Technology", he draws on an analogy of the QWERTY typewriter and the panda's thumb illustrating it may not be the best system for typing or in the case of the panda the most functional design. However, it still prevailed in being adapted or evolved in a certain time and place.

I often wonder if I am seeing patterns that are not there in order to explain to myself what I feel. Some of the exercises created by Moshe Feldenkrais are strictly done in the mind with very little movement seen from an observer. The imaginary pane of glass sliding through the body from the head is one such and that is where the idea comes from in my own take on it. Another exercise one uses an imaginary brush to paint the outside of the head on either side. This exercise pointed out to me many years ago the way I used the left and right side of my head was different but I could not put a finger on how.

"We normally pay no attention to the asymmetry of facial movements as we speak (unless extreme in severity or when we are alerted about it in a particular case by someone more sensitive than ourselves)"

Quote is from Dr. Derakhshan's paper 

I could feel the asymmetry but not equalize the movements in my left jaw and neck.  It led to the perception that I am always slightly twisted so that my right side is given a slight advantage to have slightly more free range. It was a very long time before I felt that I did not have a separate perception, a left moving image of my jaw, tongue, sublingual musculature and throat. There was a separate realization that I did not really see the left side of someone's face. I think I see normally the 'persona' as existing in the right half of someone and that is how my body in total responds in kind.  I feel now I have a partial use of  left moving image but I can not say that it is a real benefit. More to the point of this post why would I be the only idiot talking about it. I don't know, but the most logical conclusion would be that I am incorrect.  Later in the chapter by Gould, he throws me a partial lifeline that I can cling to. "Stasis is the norm for complex systems; change when provoked at all, is usually rapid and episodic."

I'm more comfortable with the slow and steady kind of change as I hold steadfast to my partial life buoy.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Eccentric DOMS?

As a kid when I used to get sore from a physical activity it was often fairly immediate and usually rectified within two days or so but as I have aged I often get the delayed onset muscle soreness that seems to show up two to three days later.  It has more the dull aching quality than the sharp sense of overuse. Yesterday I had a full day left side of my face, tongue, throat, sublingual soreness that flirted with the verge of being a headache. I did get out and played golf in a very nice afternoon which kept me fairly distracted from the pain but it was always in the background.

I attribute the pain to the work I did in the class on Sunday with manipulating the tongue.Even though I continue to be not successful in getting of a fully functional image of the left tongue I continued to get more of a independent left initiated muscle groups of the left jaw, throat and sublingual region. Many times I have gotten similar pain in my attempts to use the left side musculature of my head in as the initiator of the muscular patterns involved in communication. DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is now being attributed to the inflammatory reactions associated with eccentric contractions or as a muscle lengthens under load. I wouldn't  think there would a great deal of load or for that matter eccentric contractions in the regions I am trying to activate. However, if I am using the left side in a subordinate way to the right usually in attempting to initiate with the left maybe I am resetting the sarcomeres.

A couple of advil (generic brand) did wonders for the pain.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Slughorn to my lips, again

I went to a very nice course yesterday by a teacher who is a practitioner based on the works of Moshe Feldenkrais.  She is a member of the guild and certified to start her own training program where people can be certified as a practitioner.  The advertisement for the course I took is below and I highly recommend taking one of her courses. I have done many lessons on the same themes but have not done a full day of movement lessons for some years now. I definitely need it with the limitations of my slug like life style making some of the simple movements and positions much harder than they needed to be. It was very nice to be reminded of the pelvis spine connection all the way to the base of my skull.

However my own take on the left and right tongue got in the way on my central issue on the use of my tongue. I still do not have a good representation of my left tongue as a separate entity from the right tongue unlike the sublingual musculature which has gained good measure of independence. Doing some of the more easier exercises with the tongue was difficult and my own thinking/feeling about it made it more complex. I feel that my own movement representation of my tongue is only right sided (left hemisphere dictated) with the left side representation is suppressed (neglected?) to the point of non existence. In other words I have a left tongue and right tongue, a left throat and right throat and to some degree it relates to jaw facial and eye musculature. Again if there is a common drive the movement representation may lay in the one hemisphere. There may be no benefit in attempting to do what I am trying to achieve and I would be far better off in attempting to develop my one representation of the tongue instead of questing for my dark tower. Even if I achieve my goal I don't see much translatable benefit for others.

What with my search drawn out thro’ years, my hope        20
  Dwindled into a ghost not fit to cope

On the other hand the movements relating to the spine in course reminded me in a way of what I feel in the use of the sublingual musculature. Starting one small movement in the left suprahyoid musculature the whole us of my head takes on a different sense. The upper cervical muscles, the left jaw lower face, left eye all come into a prominence that does not exist in my normal use. The way I turn my head has a different sense. My head musculature then can moves in a way that I could not have foreseen but only discovered. It is still somewhat painful, spastic and poorly controlled but has a definite 'left' feel about it.

Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,
  And blew “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.”

Tally ho, of course there may be a fine line between fool's errand and noble quest.

By learning to recognize habits and patterns relating to how we use our eyes, tongue, jaw and breathing, we can experience limitless changes to improve our self-use, balance and posture. In his book, AWARENESS THROUGH MOVEMENT, Moshe titles chapter 10 "The Movement of the Eyes Organizes the Movement of the Body". This is significant: proper, efficient use of the eyes will radically change how you move, feel and go about your everyday activities- the quality of everything you do will improve. 
And, if your tongue and eyes are free, your neck will be free. In this workshop, using lessons in sitting, lying on the back, standing and on the belly, we will explore the inter-connectedness of movements of your eyes, tongue, jaw, neck and breathing.

Friday, December 11, 2015


The annoying thing about reading scientific articles is that they often lead to conclusions that lead in the opposite direction from my own thinking. Skimmed several articles today. Found one that suggested by trying to convert left handers to right handers made part of the dominant hemisphere stronger(left hemisphere, right side control).  It may also points to large degree of superficiality in my thinking.

The second article matches my perception about my left and right side to some degree. As a generalization I feel my left side takes on the stabilization role to a large degree to put the right side in a slight position of advantage where it has more freedom of movement. I think what the article suggests it that the non- dominant side related better to unforeseen loading during the experiment.

When I see people in the distance I often try to see the persona expressed in their left half of face. I feel there is a postural shift involved. I have to relate left side to left side. It does not matter so much what they are but how I perceive them. So it may be possible I am doing the opposite of what I think and making myself more right sided left hemisphere dominant. Or maybe I am making my left side the dominant side with more right hemisphere input. I don't know.

Quote from first article

 In summary, the reorganization patterns found in converted left-handers point to two distinct neuronal correlates of handedness in executive and associative sensorimotor cortices. Although the executive representations in SM1 and caudal PMd are more flexible and can be influenced by preferred hand use throughout life, representations in higher-order sensorimotor areas of the dominant hemisphere (i.e., in the inferior parietal cortex and rostrolateral PMd) cannot be switched by educational training. Indeed, these higher-order representations are paradoxically strengthened by attempts to switch handedness for writing.

Quote from second article

These results indicate more effective load compensation responses for the nondominant arm; supporting a specialized role of the nondominant arm/hemisphere system in sensory feedback mediated error correction mechanisms. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

I shot an elephant in my pajamas, how I got there is the question.

Yesterday I posted a gif I saw on Imgur in the morning by that evening it was on the news. I know I had nothing to do with the viralness of the video but it is remarkable why so many people related to it. Last week another video went viral showing a mother elephant trying to help a baby elephant out of a hole and another mother finally comes along and helps.

I have heard and read throughout my life the 'danger' of anthropomorphizing animal life as one should not interpret animal behavior with human emotions. Disney productions aside I wonder if I don't do the opposite and try to separate human emotions into something special. It certainly makes it easier to have an animal slain then eat it, if I imagine it as unfeeling. (I am an avid meat eater). It is hard for me to look at the orangutan gif and not get the feeling orangutan laughed fell over and basically said "stop it man you're killing me with your trick." Watching the elephants the 'concern' for others comes through. What else could be the motivating factor in my mind? They 'cared' that the baby elephant was stuck. I would go far as to say bees sting when they are mad. Often I am the most idiotic when I get angry over things that can be the most trivial. It is the emotions that drives my actions, then rationalize to justify what I did. One of the largest motivating factors is the fear I have for so many things that I compensate for in so many ways. Again the motivating factor can be very trivial as compared to the outcome.

What does this have to do with the left tongue? I get the feel I did not see what was right in front of my face. I saw and related to the right side of someone else and the left side sort of did not exist. It was there but I only partially related to it. Seeing the perona exhibited in the left side at times and trying to use my left side of face and mimic the emotions expressed often for the tiniest moment tells me I don't really have a clue how I function. Feeling the 'left' tongue/sublingual/throat/facial muscles operate in a new way says to me I can't trust how I know and define myself.

pic of elephant trunk hugs in link

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Orangutan laughs

Cute video

Orangutan watches magic trick

Watching the eyes and facial expression of the orangutan it's surprising to me how much I relate to his/her feelings. Even watching the human relate to the orangutan gives me the feel that his surprise was to how human was the orangutan's expression.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Mixed up?

I have posted the link to the study regarding elephants strong brain lateralization several times. The article suggests one sided lateralization is more functional in complex tasks. I feel that I do not use left half of my face/ throat/sublingual/tongue musculature in the same way as my right side counterparts. I think my left side somehow plays a subordinate role to the right side dominance so much so that I actually could not differentiate their movement in many but not all tasks. If there is a common drive that might explain to some degree what I feel.

Is there a functional reason to be one sided?   I don't know but an interesting quote from the article in reference to handedness.

In contrast to theories that center on the relative abilities of left- and right-handers, some researchers have focused on individuals with mixed, or no, hand preference. The idea that mixed-handedness and weak laterality are related to learning disabilities has a long history first proposed by . More recently, argued that the evolution of laterality is the key characteristic that allowed language and higher cognitive functions to develop. Individuals without a strong hand preference are thought to suffer from “hemispheric indecision,” which reduces academic ability and makes the individual more prone to psychotic disorders. Once again, evidence is mixed, with some researchers finding support for this theory () while others did not (). Recent large-scale studies, however, found lower levels of cognitive ability in mixed-handers.  used data from an IQ test administered in New Zealand as part of a nationwide television program. Data from 1,355 respondents revealed no difference in IQ between left- and right-handers. Mixed-handers, however, performed more poorly, especially on subscales measuring arithmetic, memory, and reasoning. Another large-scale study by collected data from 250,000 respondents using the Internet. Individuals who reported no hand preference for writing had significantly lower spatial ability and a higher prevalence of dyslexia, hyperactivity, and asthma than individuals with a strong hand preference.

My sense is that I am not so much right handed as I that I am organized to put the right side in a slight but significant position of advantage in most tasks, Including seeing others, eating, talking, writing, reading, walking, running, etc

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Not the low brow

Still thinking Geoff's eyebrows. If I was his infant I think my attention would be drawn to his high more active brow rather than the low brow. My attention is still drawn to his right side and I have to directly try and keep my attention on his left in order to see the difference. Otherwise all I see is his right.

His eyebrows remind me of the movement of this girl's hands. (Video has been taken down) Could the movements be explained by a common drive manifested with the delay in only the excitatory pathway through the corpus callosum? I don't really know. My thinking in this endeavor is not scientific or for that matter logical ( I hope it is) but it does arrive from the subjective experience of playing with my own movements and paying attention.  I obviously could be very wrong.

PS Seen twice today where the eyebrow on the left is more engaged. Here's one

President Obama gif

I know the President is left handed but if I don't actually look for his left eyebrow I don't see the left eyebrow raise. My attention is normally drawn to the right eye and head nod.