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Focused Free Writing: Thernstrom

  1. I actually found the article to be quite interesting. When I was in sixth grade I wanted to pursue a career in neuroscience. I wanted to become a neurosurgeon. My first impressions of this article was that it was informative as well as entertaining. It was not boring. I actually wanted to read further more.

  2. This article is a combination of a personal and science essay. At first when I read the article, the author mentioned her chronic pain condition. Her personal experience lead to the overall point of the article which was introducing the neuroimaging therapy and curing future pain, disabilities, diseases and etc.

  3. On page 3, “ …the pain-modulatory system is triggered by belief. The brain will shut down pain if it believes it has been given pain relief, even when it hasn’t (the placebo effect), and it will augment pain if it believes you are being hurt, even if you aren’t (the nocebo effect)…” I chose this passage specifically because it reminded me of an incident that happened to me. When I was little, my sister and I were talking. Neither of us realized there was a knife on the table. While I was talking to my sister, the knife was going through the palm of my hand. About three to five inches of the kitchen knife was inside me without realizing it. It was after the knife was removed from my hand when my sister noticed the incision. When she told me, I could not believe it since I did not feel any pain. Looking back at this incident makes me realize this paragraph does in fact make sense since I experienced it.

    An important passage I think is important to the author is when she participates in the neuroimaging. On page 4 she states, “ Only do I recall having a glimmer of my own pain-modulatory system at work…Mackey had designed an earlier study that did not use imaging technology but focused on how suggestion alters pain perception…” I think this is important to Thernstrom because not only is she researching and learning about the new f.M.R.I. machine for her article, it is also benefiting her since she has chronic pain that she wants to get rid of.

  4. Another emotion evoked in the article is curiosity. Thernstrom is curious as well as a risk taker that she undergoes the procedure of the neuroimaging.

  5. Throughout the article, Thernstrom articulates the positive effects of neuroimaging therapy. But one passage or portion of the article challenges the treatment’s effectiveness. She was told that although the heat would feel uncomfortable, her skin would not burn. She challenges the treatment’s effectiveness when she got a second-degree burn. “Naturally the protocol had been carefully designed to injure anyone, yet in my case that protection had failed because of the very phenomenon it was designed to study: expectation-the effect of the mind on pain or placebo.” This statement proves and challenges the treatment’s effectiveness.

  6. Towards the beginning of the article, on the second page, Thernstrom poses a question, “How can one part of our brain control another by looking at it? Who is the “me” controlling my brain then?” These questions being asked are functional in the text because it leads up to the explanation of how the new f.M.R.I. Works. The question almost foreshadows to what the main point of the article on how controlling a part of our brain is possible.

  7. In her article, she explains and describes pain as a physical state when really all our pain is in our head. By making pain a physical object emphasizes her argument more and sets us up to the neuroimaging therapy how we can “see” the locations of pain in the brain.

  8. The author is convincing us that with these new studies, she hopes that it will treat pain and even more hope to eliminate and fix other diseases, depression, stroke, and learning disabilities.

  9. My first thought when reading the article was how can we control a part of our brain when our brains function our thought process, organs and other functions in our body. I was confused on that issue but what challenged my first thought was the story of the martyrs and the Hindi monks. By reading her reactions of what the monks did made me realize faith can also play a major role in the distraction of pain. One time the doctor described my mother pain medication for her fractured ribs. My mother, as I found her to be too “old fashion,” told me she does not believe in pills and does not need them to treat her pain. She is a religious Greek Orthodox Christian who relies and practices her faith. She tells me that praying helps relieve the pain in her ribs and around her lungs.

  10. What is striking to me is the story of Bethany Hamilton’s arm was bitten off by a shark. By adding this anecdote to her article creates more of a realistic image than just saying the brain can be fooled. The story allows the readers to get a better visual sense of what Thernstrom is trying to mention. The martyrs and the monks also make her article stronger by adding religion to science.

  11. Usually the author ends the article with a series of questions voiced by them. By ending the article with a series of questions voiced by someone else is a change. Throughout the whole article we have been reading what she thinks the whole time and what she knows and so on. I know for myself, I like when the author adds outside voices or quotes with other people’s opinions because it doesn’t make the article sound bias or all about her ideas and thoughts. Instead by adding someone’s voice shows how other people share the same thoughts and ideas as the author. By adding other voices makes this piece more of a news feature and not an editorial.

  12. In the article she mentions about the monks and how they pierced their tongue with a needle and other things that we find to be painful. I like how she brings faith and religion to the article. Psychologists say those with a faith or some sort of belief or more optimistic.

  13. By reading her images of martyrs and monks and what they did reminds me of the movie “Passion of the Christ.” This movie which explains the story of the last twelve hours before Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection also relates to what the monks did. The Monks did not feel pain when they had needles in their tongues because they had their faith. With Christ, he was brutally flagellated by the Romans but did not cry in pain or anything since he was sent from God, his father, to sacrifice himself for the sake of the people on Earth and ascend into heaven after his resurrection and to take the saints with him.




One thought on “Focused Free Writing: Thernstrom

  1. Reblogged this on WRT 102.21: Science and Society.

    Posted by marykrontiris | February 7, 2012, 3:02 am

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