Sunday, August 25, 2013


went up to montreal for the weekend, on account of jp's inter-rotation break. had a mostly good weekend, won't go into the problems here.

relevant part to this journal: i had my first TMS. my friend tk has been working on some TMS experiments alongside her boyfriend, ar. ar is french. so one point of interest for the weekend was spending a night and some time in the apartment of a frenchman in montreal, which i'd never done before. small things matter.

anyways, even though they were resistant owing to my falling on their official list of 'do not tests' (migraine), i managed to push my way into the TMS room and got a few zaps. jp too. they had it set at low power, don't remember the numbers. they started at parietal cortex and got arm and hand muscles to twitch, though i could never really feel it through the much more salient face twitching (which i think was just caused by conduction through facial nerves, not cortex). both me and jp got the arm/hand twitches. i didn't think it was that interesting really. maybe higher power and finer tuning would produce a more interesting result.

then they tried occipital cortex. jp couldn't see the phosophenes, but thought maybe she might see something. what i saw was very clear. exactly synchronous with the click, against the darkness of occluded and closed eyes, below and just right of fixation (which happens to be the locus of most of my migraine auras, though i didn't mention that), i saw a patch, maybe half a degree across and of irregular but defined shape, with a boundary shaped like poland or ohio. it seemed to be a brightening of the background noise, almost had a golden hue against the red-black background; as it flicked off, i thought it left a fine-grained afterimage, redder, maybe with striations.

so that was interesting. less amazing than i expected, but he was keeping the power low so as not to induce a seizure. i've read up on it, and there's no actual evidence that migraineurs are susceptible to seizure from TMS. i told him i figured it was like having everyone turn off their e-book readers on the airplane at takeoff. no evidence of trouble, but it is the brain (or an airplane), so may as well be safe.

got a sunburn biking across montreal. saw the buckysphere. i have a mustache.  what else... well, many things. by the end of this week, i must have applications prepared. must or bust.

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