I would venture to say that those of us with MS probably know more about the brain than other folks. After all, we live with it changing every day, we see the effects of these changes, we adapt around them as we can. A friend of mine posted an interesting article about the 10 myths about the brain: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/Top-Ten-Myths-About-the-Brain.html and I found it rather entertaining to read, knowing what we MSers know.
1. We only use 10 % of our brain: well, with MS, we pull in recruits from all over the brain for the littlest functions, covering for the areas where black holes cause transmission losses. We can see it on fMRIs - while others may use a curlicue of brain activity, we use a spidernetwork...no wonder our brain aches!
2. "Flashbulb memories" are precise, detailed and persistent: Hey y'all? Remember that guy's name? Or why you are storing the iron in the fridge? Or where the iron is this time?
3. It's all downhill after 40, 50 60 - ah, the luxury of time. Actually, those of us with MS know we have to keep our brains active and use them all the time, or the slippage is truly magnificent. We are on medications that muddle our heads, too, all to keep our cranky bodies from misreading the messages from on high and pushing us into spasms and twitches. They make us foggy. But first thing in the morning, we rock. Ask us anything. Just not after 3 pm.
4. We have five senses: The authors here argue that we also have proprioceptive senses. Those ones that tell us where we are in space. I laugh. Hollowly. As I fling my body here and there. Something about losing the sense of touch and balance does something to that proprioceptive sense. I personally often think I am standing up straight when I am actually leaning slightly to the left (political reasons, sorry) and thus I weave elegantly like a sailboat in the wind. And don't ask me where my foot is at the moment. It could be anywhere. I assume it is at the end of my leg, but unless I look, I can't really be sure of that. Same goes for one of my breasts. Unfortunately my stomach remains.
5. Brains are like computers. He argues this is a myth. I argue our brains are like computers using Windows (TM).
6. The brain is hardwired. Well, we know it's plastic, in our case somewhat like silly putty, given to recording images that get stretched as we play with them and melting into a flat disk if not played with...Hey, if we didn't rely on brain plasticity we'd be staring into the air, gasping slightly. Hurrah for plastic brains! Although if I am told to play Sudoku ONE MORE TIME, I am going to explode. Not all of life can be reduced to squares of numbers. I prefer to struggle with learning to play the ukulele. Many good returns from this - music is multitasking for the brain, plus if I learn to play it well enough I can use it to annoy all my friends and relatives by singing "tiptoe though the tulips". Plus it hides my tummy.
Well, I could go on, but you get the idea. Life with MS is an exploration of the brain in all its marvels, whether we want to or not. Betcha you didn't know you could have hiccups anywhere, did you? Try them in your toes for a treat.
Heading out for the MS walk today, where I hope to be able to persuade my brain to let my legs do their thing without interruption. Lately it's been telling my glutes that knotted up is the way to be. Makes it hard to do that forward swing thing so I look a bit like Tim Conway doing his old man impression. Mind you, I laugh at the thought of him, so maybe that's a good thing...