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Jul 14, 2012

Psycho Babble

"Therapeutic action may be related to ability to inhibit polysynaptic responses and block post-tetanic potentiation."
"Inhibits voltage-sensitive sodium and calcium channels, stabilizing the neuronal membrane and modulating calcium-dependent presynaptic release of excitatory amino acids; may also have dopaminergic effects."
What the heck do those two quotes mean you may be asking yourself? And, what is Jen doing now?

Well, my friends, I've recently become interested in a couple of medications for epilepsy, a pet area of psychological study for me. I looked them up in my handy 2004 Lippincott's Nursing Drug Guide, by Amy M. Karch (link to Amazon's page for the book).  The above two quotes are the therapeutic action descriptions from the descriptions of the two medications.

Inhibit polysynaptic responses, well, since a synaptic response is just the response in the synaptic gap between two different brain cells, also known as, neurons, I would hazard a guess that the polysynaptic responses are the responses in multiple synaptic gaps. Inhibition of synaptic responses just means that the response doesn't happen in the synaptic gaps where this medication's molecules are present in the brain.

Block post-tetanic potentiation, the post-tetanic potentiation can be translated as the activity in the receptive neuron after stimulation by repetitive (tetanic) pulses from the originating neuron, which changes the ability of the receptive neuron to intake various chemicals, which in turns leads to various actions on a gross and fine motor level eventually. By blocking the potentiation, the ability of the receptive neuron to intake various chemicals, after the originating neuron sends repetitive pulses of electricity, this medication stops whatever action would eventually come from the accumulation of neurons firing like this into an action.

So, the first medication stops the receiving neuron from getting messages in two different ways.

The second medication also works on the electrical currents in the brain, but the interesting part of this medication is the last part, the afterthought.

Dopaminergic effects, this medication may also activate the brain's reward system. This medication rewards the patient for taking it. The dopamine pathway is the reason we like decadent food, sex, drugs, and alcohol. Now, I'm not advocating taking illicit drugs or abusing prescription drugs. But, those behaviors are rewarding because the brain likes the sensations, and logic doesn't stand a chance against the dopamine pathway. That's why this is definitely where an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

My mom at my age had smoked for a while, many years. I have never smoked a pack of cigarettes. My dopamine pathway isn't tied up in smoking at all. If I had a dream where I woke thinking I smelt smoke, I'd think I was in the presence of a fire. My mom, though, might wake thinking something like, "Man! That was a really good cigarette!" Then, when her logic kicks in and she remembers that she no longer smokes, the thoughts and dream could cause distress and feelings of regret or anger. All because her dopamine pathway was tied up with smoking for more years than not in her life at this point.

I have a weight problem. Technically, I'm obese, but I don't dwell on that fact. I do like good food, though. I'm trying to change my dopamine pathway to feel rewarded by fruit salad without a sweet dressing or exercising. Most of the time I'm okay about my progress. Weekly weigh-ins show that I lose more than I gain, though I'm working on getting the gained part lower. My dopamine pathway has been tied up with sugar and sweets since my mother's milk gave me some sweetness with the protein and other good things. That's thirty-seven years I'm trying to change. I don't dwell on that, or I'd be overwhelmed.

Anyways, I thought you'd get a kick out of the psycho babble of the technical psychological stuff I'm interested in and what the meaning is in lives I know a little something about. Have a grand day/night, as the case may be.