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I Read A Lot

I found this passage descriptive of the same kind of response we see in veterinary chiropractic. There are leapers, creepers and keepers in veterinary medicine who work hard to keep animal chiropractic from moving forward. Interestingly we also see this in the chiropractic profession.


Norman Doidge is an MD who has an interest in the plasticity of the brain. By plasticity, we mean ability to change, and heal. In many medical courses, doctors are still taught today that the brain is static. Once it developed they thought it could not change. Many people and animals suffer because the doctor offers a poor prognosis once the problem is diagnosed as "neurological".


I often chuckle when I hear this. Everything is neurological. Breathing is neurological. Digestion depends on neurology.


The importance of the work of neuroplasticians is to find novel ways to aid the patient's brain to become better, stronger. In our animal patients, we primarily use chiropractic, and we train doctors to use chiropractic more and more.


And chiropractic in animals has been long looked upon by both the chiropractic profession and the veterinary profession as fringe. Those doctors who choose to take the LEAP to begin training in animal chiropractic are miles ahead of their colleagues who stick to the status quo.


This passage from Doidge's book, The Brain's Way of Healing

, sums up the current conflict over who should be able to do animal chiropractic and whether or not it solves client problems.


Thomas Kuhn, a great historian in scientific revolutions, has shown trends to obscure the tensions and differences within science, by presenting it as a unified whole. Kuhn brilliantly details how science often proceeds in great bursts. He argues that a scientific theory and its related laws and practices make up what he calls a “paradigm’’. No paradigm is perfect at describing the way the world is, and so, over time, some of the paradigm’s inadequacies become apparent, and then a scientific revolution occurs and the existing paradigm is replaced by a new paradigm. During the revolution there is a great tension between advocates of the old paradigm and the new one.


Kuhn shows that when a scientific revolution is occurring, books describing the new paradigm are often addressed to anyone who may be interested. They tend to be clearly written and jargon free, like Darwin’s Origin of species. But the revolution becomes mainstream, a new kind of scientist emerges. These scientists work on problems and puzzles within the new paradigm they inherit. They don’t generally write book but rather journal articles, and because they communicate largely with one another , a specialized jargon develops so that even colleagues in adjacent fields cannot easily understand them. Eventually the new paradigm becomes the new status quo. The everyday activities of the scientists who defend the new status quo make up what Kuhn calls “normal science”. Normal science assumes that the scientific community now, finally, ‘knows what the world is like,” and the scientists “defent that assumption, if necessary at considerable cost. Normal science . . .often suppresses fundamental novelties, because they are necessarily subversive of its basic commitments.”


Physicist and systems biologist Bruce West, PhD (chief scientist in the Mathematical and Information Sciences Directorate at the Army Research Office, who worked with Nobel Prize winner Jonas Salk for many years) has categorized the different kinds of scientists in his book, Where Medicine Went Wrong. First are the leapers, like Einstein and Newton, wh create new paradigms and leap ahead of the rest. As Schopenhauer put it, “Talent hits a target others miss. Genius hits a target no one sees.”


Several generations’ ideas of pathology and brain degeneration, diagnosis and prognosis determined the treatments that insurance companies would reimburse, in addition to the studies that major agencies would fund.


Clinically the idea that the brain cannot change or heal tends to be self-perpetuating. If a clinician tells a patient who has had a stroke that he may make very minor progress for about six month, (while the swelling and chemical changes in his brain are still resolving) but that he will “plateau” and not improve after that, the patient, if compliant, will not make attempts to improve, thinking more therapy pointless. The already damaged circuitry will atrophy further. Thus the negative prognosis becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.


Norman Doidge, MC The Brain’s Way of Healing, p 354 - 355


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