Concussion Recovery Via The Social Network

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“A distributed system represents a collection of separate dynamic assemblies of neurons with anatomical connections and similar functional properties. The operations of these assemblies are linked by their afferent and efferent messages. Signals may flow along a variety of pathways within the network. Any locus connected within the network may initiate activity, as both externally generated and internally generated signals may reenter the system. Partial lesions within the system may degrade signaling, but will not eliminate functional communication so long as dynamic reorganization is possible.” Dr. Bruce Dobkin, ” The Clinical Science of Neurologic Rehabilitation”

Functions or operations of brain are not isolated to one specific area. Rather a “social network” or a team exists to carry out tasks, functions, operations. This social network is spread out or distributed throughout the nervous system. It is a dynamic system in that the “social connections” are always changing; some lines of communication growing stronger others weaker. The health of a given neuron, a cluster of neurons, a network of clusters, is literally dependent on its’ “social network” and the communication it participates in, which includes both incoming and outgoing (i.e. afferent and efferent) messaging between neurons, clusters, systems.

Imagine the neuronal network as a social network. If we think about an individual person’s social network, they are connected with others in their immediate neighborhood which represents a cluster of neurons, which are in turn connected to others within the city, state, country and finally internationally. Brain, like a neighborhood, community, country or even humanity, does not operate within isolated regions of function but rather as an ever evolving web of connected individuals carrying out shared goals, dreams, ideologies. Now, communication within this network can start anywhere (i.e. locus) and the probability of a given assembly of neurons within the social network receiving the message is dependent on the strength of the message, the frequency of the message and the proximity to the original source of the message.

The networks within brain are like individual soccer teams. All the players and coaches are connected by a similar functional purpose (i.e. put the ball in the other teams net). They all communicate with one another and that communication can start anywhere from the players on the field to an external source like the coach. The ball will move along preferred lines of communication based based on past history, programs and present social networking.  The health of that team, their level of function is dependent on the communication between the clusters of players like the neurons (i.e. defenders – midfielders – forwards). When things break down, so long as their are enough players the network can reorganize with appropriate communication and regain functional operations.

At Brain Centers NW we apply this understanding of the communication between and within overlapping networks to engage systems, so they can gain appropriate, viable relationships to attain optimized function.


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