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Why can’t this man feel whether or not he’s standing up?

John johnhkm at netsprintXXXX.net.au
Tue Aug 3 04:37:01 EST 1999

Robert M. Mihalek wrote in message
<7o4k4r$mno$1 at usenet01.srv.cis.pitt.edu>...
>In article <933336997.825948 at server.australia.net.au>
>"John" <johnhkm at netsprintXXXX.net.au> writes:
>> "Through trial and error over three years, Waterman, who lives in
>> England, taught himself how to move again by consciously controlling and
>> visually monitoring every action. To this day, if the lights go out
>> unannounced, he crumples to the floor, unable to budge until they come
>> on. It’s almost impossible for most people to imagine his condition, he
>> admits."
>What happens if he closes his eyes while standing?

He then finds out how gravity can impair cognition. Falls to the floor like
a leaf.

After months of the condition in a hospital bed barely able to move he one
day determined to achieve something and some days later, by sheer brute
force of will and creative endeavour (like that doesn't lead to
breakthroughs) he found that by carefully creating an internal visualisation
of his body or particular part thereof he could make himself perform the
actions. There is no problem motor wise, the only known damage, and they put
him through the mill, was to the sensory dorsal root ganglions, all 33 pair
down the side of the spinal cord. No propriception (spelling!) input.

In later tests it was revealed that he achieved these amazing feats - the
condition though rare is about but no-one else has achieved anywhere near
the level of recovery of Ian Waterman - by intense activity in a prefrontal
region, very intense, when they finished he was visibly exhausted.
Interestingly, in one set of experiments the pet scan suggested great
activity re dorsal\ventral visual streams, looked like to me
parietal\temporal: the higher visual stream. Sorry, but I'm lousy on anatomy
and can't remember the program that clearly.

It's all visual, Ian Waterman is not a case of less damage than the other
cases, but simply someone who persevered - very energetic prior to accident,
and young - sufficiently to find a way around it. They introduced him to
another sufferer but it was clear that he was not going to learn Ian's
tricks, at least to the same extent. He used similiar methods for what
limited movement he had - they internally visualise then 'linearise' the
action sequences. It's no longer natural, it's purely abstract planning and

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