Posted by Ueli (22.214.171.124) on October 07, 1999 at 20:40:59:
In Reply to: Crackpot Theory number 5,234 posted by Jack Boyd on October 07, 1999 at 13:06:03:
If I understand you right, you say that a healthy brain (or a CH brain out of season) is chemically balanced.
But this balance would not be static, but rather a dynamic equilibrium that has a tendency to return to its original state after a disturbance.
As an example, like a water trough on a pasture. With a constant water supply the trough is (usually) full and excess water is spilling over. When a cow drinks out of the trough, the water level falls and the spilling stops. After the cow goes away, the water level raises again until the quasi-stationary state is reached again.
Now, in our brain there are a lot of chemicals interacting by enhancing or inhibiting each other. There is actually never a balance in the sense that every component reaches it 'design' concentration, because the hypothalamus steers in a daily and seasonally rhythm the delicately tuned feed back system of this chemical mix, in a way that each component has at every moment the concentration that is needed.
Here comes my wild shot in the dark:
If for some (unknown) reason one component deviates from its normal value, it would enhance itself and reach a huge overshot that is only slowly (let's say 1 hour) regulated back to a normal value. Such an overshot would cause the cluster pain (maybe by dilating blood vessels or what have you). The pain receptors would be saturated most of the time, which explains the fast attack and decay times and the long, relatively constant high pain level in between. (If you ask me: the saturation level is way too high.)
Such an event could be started by the chemical soup reaching an unstable composition (say 2 hours after falling asleep) in a system skewed (during a cluster period) toward instability by a yet unknown mechanism.
And in a rather similar way could an additional chemical such as alcohol or MSG kick this system into instability.
Now all start firing back.
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