is the method by which nerves “speak” to each other so impulses can be sent
from one part of your body to the brain and back. For example, when you touch a
hot plate by accident, it doesn’t take long before you quickly let go of the
plate. The reason you let go quickly is because of neurotransmission. Certain
types of neurons or nerves (called afferents) bring information to the central
nervous system where the information is processed and then signals are
transferred back to the target site (such as your hand touching the hot plate)
by different nerves (called efferents) telling you to immediately let go of
that hot object. It’s like the flow of traffic into a city during rush hour.
People work all day and then drive in the opposite direction on their way home
(afferents in the morning going in the city or “brain” and efferents in the
evening bringing new information home). This “give and take” process of
information coming in, being processed and going out helps coordinate our
bodily functions. This allows us to constantly adapt to surrounding changes in
temperature, stress, noise, and so on.
Each neuron has as many as 1500
connections from other neurons, but they don’t actually touch one another.
Rather, there are “synapses” where nerve impulses stimulate the release of
calcium and neurotransmitters, which either inhibit or excite another neuron
and each neuron may be connected to many other neurons. If the total excitatory
stimuli are greater than the inhibitory stimuli, that neuron will “fire” and
create a new connection resulting in an action (like dropping the hot plate).
Okay, sorry for the enthusiastic
description and details of neurotransmission. More importantly, how does all
this relate to fibromyalgia? A new study
(published May 14, 2012 in NATURE by scientists at Weill Cornell
discovered that a single protein (alpha 2 delta), “…exerts a spigot-like
function controlling the volume of neurotransmitters and other chemicals that
flow between the synapses of brain neurons.” This study shows how brain cells
“talk to each other” through these synapses relaying feelings, thoughts, and
actions and how this powerful protein plays a crucial role in regulating
effective communication in the brain. They found that if they added or
decreased this single protein (alpha 2 delta), then the speed of
neurotransmission increased or decreased by opening or closing the calcium
channels that trigger neurotransmission release.
The relationship between calcium and
neurotransmission has been known for 50 years, but how to “turn on or off” the
volume is a new discovery. They hope this finding will help in the design of
new medications that will help regulate the neurotransmission in the brain,
thus help reduce the increased pain perception found in people suffering from
Our aim in sharing this information
with you is to keep you informed with what is on the cutting edge of research
as we’ve said many times before, a “team” of health care provision is the BEST
way to manage FM including chiropractic and primary care!
If you, a friend or family member
requires care for FM, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by
choosing our services!
To schedule an appointment with one of our Fibromyalgia Doctors in San Francisco call 415-392-2225.
Serving local 94111 for over 20 years.