As promised in my last post about ‘new’ causes of multiple sensitivity to think about, here is another possible one for you: loss of brain-gating.
Well, almost all sensory stimuli goes through the thalamus in the brain and lots of inhibitory mechanisms (too complex to go into here) are needed to stop the thalamus activating in response to them. This is called thalamic-gauging or brain-gating. I heard one expression that 10% of the brain does things and the other 90% is there to stop it and keep it under control! The brain-gating mechanism is a good example of that.
If we didn’t have something to stop the thalamus processing and acting on all the sensory information coming in, we would get overloaded and not be able to cope. Just imagine being in a crowded room with lots of sounds, smells, people, chatter, music, tastes from the buffet etc – we have to have brain-gating to filter out what is not so important at any given time.
Essentially, the thalamus is responsible for inhibiting the sympathetic response, so if a person has lost some gating, they are more likely to be sympathetic dominant (possibly even classed as having some form or degree of dysautonomia), which means they become over-reactive to stress and stimuli.
Symptoms might include hypersensitivity to food, smells, sound, light, stress, movement and gravity, often they have fleeting pains in the body that move about all over the place, anxiety, adrenaline rushes, their heart races, they can’t get to sleep and more besides. The body is basically ‘listening’ too hard and reacting to too much as it comes in. The level of brain-gating loss will determine how hypersensitive a person is.
Loss of brain-gating is being considered as a mechanism in conditions like migraine and tinnitus. It’s not something I know a great deal about yet. I just need to know enough to recognise a problem could be there and that triggers me to give a protocol to help lower neuro-inflammation and improve sympathetic dominance. So, another possible ‘brain’ cause of multiple-sensitivity for us to work on 🙂
To summarise: when we have multiple sensitivity of any kind, we must consider that some neuro-inflammation process could be going on. A loss of brain-gating or neurons too close to threshold issue could well be contributing, especially if normal approaches are not working. In essence, if a person reacts with their usual symptoms especially fatigue and loss of brain function (ie. brain fog, brain endurance, cognitive/memory loss) to a neurological or sensory stimulus (taste, sound, smell, touch etc), then a neuro-inflammation protocol should be part of any approach alongside the usual leaky gut etc treatment. That’s the way I’m going clinically and personally anyway.
Hope that helps 🙂