Author: Virgil Seutter
Date:     October 8, 1997
Parent Node:

8.2   Chiropractic Theory: An Incomplete Explanation...or Misinterpreting the Idea  (8.2.)

8.2.1. That which is referred to as "Chiropractic Philosophy" is really theory; the theory that an "Innate Intelligence 8.2.1" exists underlying the ability of the body to heal itself. As stated, science has no way of verifying this theory using present methods for inquiry. On the other hand, the theory of "vertebral subluxation" contains elements that may be subjected to the scientific process of inquiry. It is an observable phenomenon that should, somehow, be verified through scientific protocol. The inquiry process, however, has left more questions than answers. In principle, the results of inquiry suggest that either the reductionist method could, at the very least, be inappropriate as a tool for inquiry or, the methodology is simply wrong and [therefore], as a logical conclusion, reductionist methods are wrong. That neither assumption may be entirely correct does not seem to occur as another option.

8.2.2. From a chiropractic perspective, the inability to designate specific lesion areas (subluxations) in the research that provide a cause-effect relationship suggest that anatomical variances exist to somato visceral complaints that cannot support a reductionist inquiry. This, in itself, does not suggest that reductionist method is wrong, merely that something is going on that prohibits strict reductionist verification of the subluxation theory. In principle, it means that reductionist inquiry has, possibly, reached a limit in verifying present theory or that, possibly, the theory (subluxation complex) may need to be revised.

8.2.3. Further studies in support of reductionist method, but not that of the subluxation theory, is found in the recognition that reductionist limitation exists in the ability to anatomically dissect the neurological pathways (8.2.3a )...further supports an argument that questions the single level lesion (the subluxation) and somato-visceral responses. Convergence from multiple pathways to the spinal interneurons are in turn diverted through axon collaterals that prohibit a signal tracing of communication pathways (8.2.3b ). Interneuronal network behavior is implicated in dorsal spinocerebellar tract cells and sensory receptors in which monosynaptic functions are replaced by population discharge of cells that exclude a delineable circuitry (8.2.3c ).

8.2.4. The problem of reductionist inquiry is further complicated by the entrance of the cognitive sciences as a contemporary explanation of functional elements of the cerebral cortex and topobiological characteristics of the brain; that immunoregulatory effects may be linked to right cortical hemispheric activity or that testosterone is postulated in effecting hemispherical development ( 8.2.4a). Additional complexity emerges as the exact nature of neuronal influences overlap into neuroendocrine perimeters in the choroid plexus and cerebrospinal fluid systems (8.2.4b ). Nor can we dismiss the theory of neuronal group selection as an indicator of a dynamic selection process to explain the plasticity of synaptic connections ( 8.2.4c).

8.2.5. While the above statements reflect the possible limitations to a reductionist methodology as it pursues a biological inquiry in the neuro-subluxation connection, it does not suggest that reductionist methodology is wrong. It might, however, suggest that the syntactic, hierarchical structure of biological systems leads to asymptotic relationships in which the complexity of design and function (or intent and design) merge into imperceptible relationships that cannot find a definitive pathway. If this is the case, it could mean that, in principle, there may be another dimension to the theory that has not been discussed. This would favor the hypothesis that the vertebral subluxation theory cannot sustain examination because, in principle, an information processing system overrides the neuro physiological nature of the single level subluxation complex.

8.2.6. This latter idea finds support in studies that link the existence of supraspinal mechanisms to higher centers in the brain or, to pain studies that, while focusing on the morphological schematic of the wiring system, does not anticipate the plasticity of synaptic connections. Nor, for that matter, can it be said that pain can be described as nociception or neuropathy (8.2.6a). The entrance of sensory, emotional, and behavioral factors superimpose in a complex interaction that expresses itself as a "perception" of pain as a qualitative variable rather than a strict mechano - quantitative description. The preconceived notion of a stimulus - response to the nervous system cannot fit the changes occurring in central sensitization in which changes to the dorsal horn of the spinal cord after injury results in anatomical changes. The sprouting of myelinated afferent terminals confirm a plasticity to the nervous system that preempts the idea of a "hard-wired" schema of the nervous system (8.2.6b).

8.2.7. The ability to view the nervous system from the viewpoint of a wiring system schema and the effect of the subluxation complex may not entirely explain the coordinational nature of interactive connectedness. The plasticity of the nervous system suggest accommodation to changes that could deal with higher centers of communication that may be more appropriately defined within an "information processing" schema. The importance of the vertebral subluxation complex as a mechanism that plays some role in maintaining entropy within the system might be viewed from that of non equilibrium physics and dynamical systems in which far-from-equilibrium states are descriptions of dynamical events within a coordinational system. It is no longer examination of a motor/sensory wiring system schema that commands attention, but the examination of a dynamic, coordinational, system within an information processing schema.

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