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A Theory About Cranial Nerves

Guest 12StringANSGuitar

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Guest 12StringANSGuitar

Hi, I'm new here, and I have recently began a personal hobby researching the ANS system, the Cranial Nerves, and relating what I read to some idea that I have.

I am not a doctor, only someone who is searching for some solutions to both mine, and others personal issues with health.

I began this personal quest because I became familiar with someone who has suffered from an ANS problem consequent to surgery.

I guess I would like to know if any of you(thru your own study and experience), would be able to comment on any thoughts I've recently had about the ANS systems effects, but specifically, an analogy related to the Cranial Nerves, and what I am currently believing to be their absolutely critical nature in how the body and mind 'understands' itself.

The analogy I have come up with with regard to the Cranial nerves, is why I have chosen the psuedo-nym that I have.

I'm thinking that our brain/body connection are either in tune, or out of tune, depending on whether there has been damage to any one of our Cranial Nerves, thru trauma, or other things that may effect them from carrying their 'message' correctly back and forth from the brain to body(begin point to end point).

I have analogized this process not only to a guitar being in tune or not, but also to that of a marine animal, or submarine sonar, 'Pinging' for its information.

If this is not functioning properly, the wrong information is gotten, and the response will also be 'off' similarly.

On my job, I often run into many doctors, and recently I was able to enjoy the conversation I had with a neuro-pathologist.

I tossed some of my thinking past him, and although he thought my comments interesting, he smiled and explained where my ideas were not exactly recognized by science fact.

However, I asked him if research was able to isolate each different cranial nerve thru some kind of contrast imaging, in order to detect if there was damage to any paticular one,, and if this would figure into any disease that a paticular person(who had damage to that one cranial nerve), might be suffering.

His answer to me was that the cranial nerves are difficult to see,, and I think(my memory is bad), that as far as he knew, no attempt to differentiate these cranial nerves from one another thru the idea I had, has been done.

**If anyone thinks that is wrong, please let me know.

I guess my thoughts are that I think its very possible that the body-brain messaging system is effected greatly when the Cranial Nerve system is mis-functioning, and if there was a way to correct this, much illness/disease, etc.,

could be cured.

I think the word 'pinging' that I use as an analogy, is about the same as the body and brain attempting to 'mirror' correct information, so that a harmony results between the two. If the Cranial Nerves are damaged, than its like a mirror being imperfect.

**I also have concerns as to how a deficit in the neuro-transmitter 'acetycholine', may effect the functions of the Cranial Nerves. Does anyone have any info on this?

I hope this doesn't sound like a ramble, and that it might make some sense to others here.

I've much personal research to do, but I wanted to get your opinion.


me....one out of tune guitar! I think I have this POTS thing, because my heart will sometimes swing 90 beats within 20 seconds! I was tested for another heart issue a few years ago, and we found this out!

Unfortunately, I never went back for further testing,, and would only know of how this relates to POTS, because I looked at this website.

Paradoxically, I'm in really terrific condition! I must watch my stress levels though!

thanks again!

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I'm not convinced that the cranial nerves are the key to the problem. The cranial nerves control smell, hearing, sight, etc. The only one that might be implicated is the vagus nerve, but that alone is insufficient. Vagus nerve stimulation will cause passing out, but alone, is not a coherent explanation for the long term fluctuations in all autonomic systems. Rather, it's more likely that one of the brain's controlling centers is involved more directly. One of the leading researchers in the field believes it has to do with the basal ganglia--either a physiological problem, or a catecholamine (aceltylcholine is one) uptake or production problem. Please read through the Mechanisms section http://www.dinet.org/what_are_the_mechanisms_of_POTS.htm , causes http://www.dinet.org/what_causes_pots.htm and the research section to become better informed.


Personally, I have an INTACT autonomic system. My form of dysfunction is related to extra stretchy collagen due to a genetic variant. My body reacts perfectly to blood pooling in my lower body when I'm upright, and because the veins are too loose, they cannot get the blood up north fast enough. Hence, by brain senses the lowered flow/oxygen level, and cranks out beaucoup norepinephrine. This raises my bp, and my heartrate. Eventually, the norep well runs dry for a period, my heart rate returns to normal, and my bp sags to the point where it's unreadable (if I am still standing). I usually get enough warning signs to sit or lie down, such as profuse sweating, intense nause, seeing stars, greying out, vision and hearing issues as the blood flow to the brain is slowing--signs of anoxia to the brain. In a few minutes I can recoup, and start the process all over again.

For other people, the issues aren't as well understood, but the mechanisms page represents the current understanding thus far.


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Welcome to the site. I'm new here as well. Just wanted to say that your scientific curiosity is great. Hope you get the answers that you are looking for here.


I was wondering if you (or others) know of any doctors doing basic science research on ANS disorders or POTS. I know there is clinical research being done at many places (like Vanderbilt) but basic science is a little harder to track down. I'd like to find a PhD project in this area.

Thanks for any info you have,


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nina/mighty mouse gave you a good "run down" of things. personally i think that cranial nerves may play some role for some people, but not that they are "the" answer or even an answer for most people with ANS problems.

like kristen said, though, i do commend your delving into things to the degree that you have!

i have Autonomic Neuropathy, OI/POTS, & NCS with other associated diagnoses and for me the cause isn't certain but is likely a post-viral autoimmune process on a system that already had a tendency toward autonomic issues. (the neuropathy is the cause of many/most, if not all of my symptoms but it's thought that an autoimmune mechanism may have caused the neuropathy.)

good luck to you, and welcome to the forum. there's a lot of good info here with great people to go along with it!

<_< melissa

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kristen -

i have come across some research in the past (while looking for clinical research info) but have no idea where/when/what specifically. if there's nothing out there i nominate you to start some up, ok? i'll have a look on some sites & send anything i find your way.

B) melissa

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Guest 12StringANSGuitar

Just want to thank all of you who responded. I have a great bit of reading to do on this(obviously).

Personally, as I indicated in first post, I am inclined to thinking analogically; but maybe there's another reference that might serve me better to understand this.

I may have confused some initial reading, because I was under the impression that an ANS disorder, although of many variety, still was consequent to either one or more Cranial Nerves suffering a degree of affliction.

It was from this, that my thinking veered into how philosophers have commented on our inner selves being a reflection of the external world(hence, 'you are the world'; 'the observor is the observed', etc.),, and then how our senses act as an inter-face with the external, and then send information to the brain which synthesizes this information from the sensory system; and then a picture of our reality is formed.

Similarly, if everything we know is both information/data/energy,, then there is a constant process going on(whether from external world to internal- senses interfacing with outter world, and your brain),,, and then what goes on between your Brain and Your Body.

Everything is attempting to 'comprehend' the information being both received(or put out/transmitted- they're actually the same thing anyway), and therefore, I use the term 'Mirror' as a reasonable way to define what is happening.

I used 'Pinging', to describe what is happening during the process of this 'information comprehension' attempt to complete the circuit of information during this 'Mirroring' process.

Sorry if thats redundant, but I thought this might better explain my thoughts.

I don't think any of us could disagree that all things are of a quality that is both energy and information, that is constantly being interpreted,, and do to the fundamental nature of causality, I would think that the Master Control over the body- which is the brain-, has its own 'helpers' which inter-face with all things of the body. I was sort of under the impression that these things were the Cranial Nerves.

I also thought that the afferent and efferent responses, fit perfectly into this idea of 'brain-body messaging', and pinging.

I'll read the website, and I'll get back.

Thanks again. Per usual, I tend to comment on things before I've enough information(bad habit), but I thought I had something unique and possbily helpful.

**How about this though. Have any of you ever tried to make an analogy of what the ANS system is? On another website, I posed the question, and used a computer as my reference/analogy,, and asked their members(some who know computers well), what in a computer might be similar to a live persons ANS?

They had some interesting responses, but I'm pretty much a computer illiterate, and couldn't quite comprehend all that they were saying. Still, it was educational to see how people familiar with one discipline, would apply their knowledge to another.

***I also think another good analogy, is to view our body, as a smaller version of the Universe(or just our own Solar system), and try to think which things of the Cosmo World, are similar to the brain, ANS system, etc.

O.K., I wrote another long ramble...sorry. B):D (thank the heavens that emoticons can be here to lighten the heavy stuff :P ).



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Guest 12StringANSGuitar

I guess physics might call this 'synchronicity', but I forgot to mention that I just picked up(earlier today), the latest(Aug.) edition of Scientific American, and the lead article is about 'Is The Universe Out Of Tune'!

How cool! I haven't read this as yet(behind on lots of things), but I hope there's something there that will substantiate my thinking.

Also, if anyone has ever read anything by Dr. Masaru Emoto..'The Hidden Messages in Water', I think that his theory about H2O crystals, may be of interest to you, because of the ties he makes to consciousness, and energy.

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Guest Julia59


I think lower brain compression/problems---as well as upper cervical problems are sometimes linked to ANS dysfuntion. Sometimes EDS--(ehlers danlos syndrome) can cause instability in the upper cervical spine. I have also heard that many people with chiari malformation--(lower brain compression/small posterior fossa---or herniation of lower brain into the spinal canal----have EDS as well. Most people with upper spine and brain stem compression issues will have some form of dysautonomia or another.

I had symptoms as a child, but unfortunately it was never investigated----so I was known as the kid with anxiety/IBS------and basically it was thought that everything was in my head most of my young life. I really never connected my childhood symptoms to my POTS/spinal/lower brain issues until long after my POTS diagnosis. There are more studies each day on EDS, and the role it plays on dysautonomia.

On my recent appointment with Dr. Heffz --a neurosurgeon, I was told my cervical spinal stenosis has progressed to the point of causing mylopathy. Unfortunately the POTS is getting worse right along with it. He also said the brain stem compression will have to be addressed as well---as the EDS is causing more insability on an already unstable cranial/cervical junction which can further aggrivate the situation. (My cranial nerves are intact) at this point. I was officially diagnosed with EDS at the chiari institute by Dr. Bolognese last year, and it was further confirmed by Dr. Grubb and Dr. Heffez.

There is no doubt in my mind that the center of ANS dysfunction is at least partly caused in the brain-----but is it secondary to something else----i.e.--->EDS?

Cranial nerves can be affected with lower brain compression---but that is usually when the compression is also in conjunction with instability, and the skull begins to sag---(cranial settling). Usually the ANS dysfunction is noticed long before it gets to that point.

I'm not a medical professional by any means--so take my post with a grain of salt.

Julie :0)

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12stringguitar...do you play?

I think you might find a book over on www.NDRF.org (somebody correct me if thats the wrong ending) helpful. It's is the website for The National Dysautonomia Research Foundation. They have a book on there that you can download for free written by some of the folks at NIH. Dr. Goldstein did alot of the book with somebody else and it explains about the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems work etc, and is done with pictures and analogies that really help break something down to easy terms. Not sure if you'd read that or not, but thought you would enjoy it. The causes of dysautonomia are very varied, as are the different types of dysautonomia.

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There's a link directly to the free pdf download page at the top of this forum. It's in the "help yourself..." topic

Yes, the book is at NDRF and is quite good...not to mention, FREE

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