HunterThinks.com

The best-laid plans of mice and men go oft awry

Posted: 22 November 2018
Updated: 22 November 2018

How complex and complicated is my health?

After I found the biological causes of most (or all) of my symptoms, I have tried to write an explanation of everything I know in non-technical terms and provide everything that supports my explanation. Today, I discovered it is impossible to explain everything in non-technical terms to an audience that does not have a sufficient foundation of relevant knowledge.

Although exceptionally unlikely, today I met a doctor who was 100% fluent in English and in medical English. The medical English fluency is important because it eliminated miscommunications and increased the speed at which I could speak. When I am speaking medical English, for example, and I say, “amygdala,” I am referring to a region of the brain. But if the listener does not speak medical English, she will believe I am referring to the part of the throat that English speakers call “tonsils.” (Read the unusually fascinating etymologies of amygdala and tonsils.)

Most (or all) of my debilitating health problems are in the medical specialties of neurology or psychiatry. This doctor specializes in diabetes. Of the many medical specialties, a diabetic specialist is in a better position than most others to understand the details of my health problems. And, even when comparing this gentleman to other doctors, he is exceptionally intelligent and unusually educated across many specialties. 

Due to this unique opportunity to communicate completely in technical jargon and the lack of necessity for me to explain any organs, any tissues, or any biochemicals, our discussion was incredibly efficient. Those of you who have an in-person relationship with have almost certainly seen me speak when I am very excited when talking about some topics: I speak more quickly than an iPhone glass cracks. 

We spoke for one hour and ten minutes while confirming that 1) I was explaining things with sufficient clarity, 2) that my descriptions of medical science were correct, and 3) he understood my meaning even when I could not remember technical terms. Whenever I made a claim about medicine that was outside his scope of knowledge, he asked me to support my claim with credibility and/or evidence. I supported all of my claims. 

In 70 minutes with nearly ideal conditions, during which I was speaking faster than climate change kills people, I described, at best, 50% of the information relevant to my current health. It is probably closer to 25%, however, because I only discussed each issue as a separate problem. I did not explain any of the ways that the issues interact with each other or with the environment. My dopamine level is low due to downregulated 5HT2A and my amygdala initiates The Stress Response too often due to hyperconnectivity in my Default Mode Network, for example, and I talked about both of those at least a little, but I did not explain that when my amygdala initiates the stress response, the quantity and location of my dopamine greatly affects how my body reacts to the biochemicals of the stress response. The quantity of possible combinations of different factors, such as dopamine, the amygdala, the environment, food, or stress, is astronomical.

Consequences and conclusions from the conversation

I will not write a comprehensive description of my health issues, especially not in lay terms.

If you do not have substantial training in neuroscience, you probably will not fully understand my health problem with the 5HT2A receptor, especially not the incidental effects. 

The stress response initiated by the amygdala is dauntingly complex and complicated. The direct effects, for example, of the initiation of the stress response typically peak in much less than one hour, but the full range of direct effects do not finish until two or three days later. 

[This paragraph says the stress response is complicated. And it has a rant. Skip it if you believe the stress response is complicated.] When medical texts describe the stress response, they only describe the biochemicals and organs that are substantially involved during the initiation of the stress response and the biochemicals and organs that reverse those changes, nevertheless, those diagrams and descriptions are insanely complex. Despite the complexity, they leave out extremely important information, such as the role of insulin in the stress response. The standard training of doctors about the stress response causes serious defects in healthcare delivery. An easy example is “stress eating.” Doctors are not taught the anxiolytic effect of insulin during the stress response, so they use therapies to treat “stress eating” that ignores the most likely cause of the likely conditioned response that is “stress eating.” I think it is appropriate to say that I have strong and passionate views of this subject. 

If you do not fully understand how the stress response produces some of my symptoms, such as becoming pseudo-catatonic, then you are a human. No one in the world fully understands the stress response because it is too complicated and because we are aware that we do not understand substantial parts of the stress response. 

The leading expert on my health problems

The doctor was not in a position to say, “Everything you said is exactly right.” He could say, however, that I am right if I was talking about a subject within his field of competence. For everything else, the strongest validation he could honestly say was, “What you described does not contradict my medical knowledge and what you described is plausible.” In my 70 minute explanation, he either validated my knowledge or acknowledged that my statements about medicine were plausible. Without exception.

Many doctors and scientists understand 5HT2A better than I understand it. The same is true for the Default Mode Network. Despite my rant about models of the stress response, many doctors and scientists know more about the stress response than I know. In some cases, I need to adjust my behavior to improve my health. In some other cases, I need to process my emotions to improve my health. And there are many therapists who have a better understanding of how to achieve those two goals than I have.

Not one doctor or scientist, however, has a better understanding of my symptoms and my health problems than my understanding. I am the leading expert of my health problems. 

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