Cause of Clusters? - please read!

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Posted by Carl D ( on February 06, 2000 at 14:51:29:

As most of you know, I have been a CH sufferer for 12+ years, the last two I have been chronic. Like many, I ask the question constantly, "Why don't they know what causes these $#@% things? Why can't they figure it out? Why do so few doctors even show interest?"
All of these questions can only frustrate a CH sufferer. But it is questions like these that have had my gears clicking the last few days.
As some of you know, I have been researching the Hypothalamus, it's actions and correlation to the other areas of the brain and other organs.

Now I know some of you will think I am out of my mind, and that I have probably resorting to smoking crack or something. Then again maybe my brainstorming (no pun intended) has stumbled upon something big. I believe I may have had what some spiritualists refer to as a "Breakthrough." With that. lets begin:

Cluster Characteristics

I have noticed with my own personal experiences that sometimes during an attack, my pulse will drop and my blood pressure will rise. We all know the effect of a CH attack and it's characterists. We also know that Oxygen can abort or ease attacks. Why is this? Some have reasoned a lack of o2 to the brain, and once rectified - the pain ceases, but why?

Perhaps when considering the cause, we are looking in the wrong place. We are looking at the part of the body that is suffering the physical symptom, but the head may not be the source of the actual problem, just suffering the symptom. Maybe the answer is right under our nose. Maybe it is not the head, but the Heart we should be looking at.

The Heart, The Hypothalamus, The Relation.

Dr. Peter J. Goadsby in London has discovered that clusterheads have an enlargement in the area of the brain known as the Hypothalamus. In the last few years, scientists have also proven that the brain indeed rejuvenates brain cells, which was once thought impossible.
The Hypothalamus is responsible for many actions. It controls the body clock, the four "F"s (fight,flight,feeling and fornicating), and is also the first area of the brain to receive the signal that something is wrong in the body. Therefore, once receiving the signal that something is wrong - it begins to try and compensate for the mechanical error in the body. With a cluster sufferer, it is possible that since this part of the brain is being hyperactively used, it may also be the part of the brain to rejuvenate more cells - thus creating "extra gray matter." But what is the Hypothalamus trying to compensate for? What is going wrong in the body to make it overact? Lets get to the "heart" of the matter, shall we?

The Heart is responsible for the body's blood flow. When in a CH attack, a person heart rate may increase or decrease, but there is almost certainly a change in rythm. There might be a malfunction in the heart that is not allowing the brain to receive enough o2. When it hits the 'malfunction' point, it throws off bloodflow and also pumps the blood harder, thus expanding the vessels and putting pressure on the nerves.
It has been reported by some, that after having heart surgery for any numerous types of heart conditions, that thier CH attacks go into full remission. Why is that? Unless, of course, our head is only suffering the physical symptom of a heart problem. This would explain why the Hypothalamus is sometimes working harder than in most individuals.

The Heart, Episodic CH, Sleep Deprivation, and Chronic CH.

On that line of thinking, this might possibly explain why some people who are episodic may go chronic. When a CH sufferer begins an episode, he may lose little sleep, and may only have his cycle last a few weeks to a few months. When a person begins an episode and begins losing vast amounts of sleep, it is putting an extra strain on the heart. Studies of sleep deprivation have proven that this can be the case for some. That extra strain on the heart of a CH sufferer (who may already have a heart malformation to begin with) could cause the episodic sufferer to become chronic - due to the fact he is deprived sleep, his body does not have the necessary time to recouperate. Undergoing constant sleep deprivation, the heart and body is in a constant state of exhaustion, and the strain keeps the person in cycle. Thus, they become chronic, due to the sleep deprivation. If that person even gets 10 hours sleep in one night, his body is still suffering countless hours of lost sleep. It may take two weeks of solid sleep for the body to 'catch-up.' Even then, it is impossible for a CH sufferer, because he will be inevitably awakened with attacks. Thus the person remains chronic.

That ends my hypothesis. Maybe it is just another crackpot idea, but then again - Maybe this is it.
How many of you have had any type of heart problems? Like say, palpitations, murmers, etc. How many have a family history of heart disease? I have had palpitations for the last 12 or 14(?) years, and was diagnosed with a heart murmer. My brother had a heart attack at the age of 24, and my fathers side of the family has a history of heart disease.
The only way to rule this out as a possibility is to have what is called a "stress test" performed on the heart. This procedure, like most, is not cheap - but most of us have wasted the $$$ on MRI's, Catscan's, MRA's, etc. This may be worth a shot.
If I ever get my disability, I will have a stress test performed.

What if we all had heart surgery and went into permanent remission? Wouldn't that bum alot of pharmaceutical companies out.

Just thinking 'Out of the Box',
Carl D

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