“Head case” (Trepanation)

HOLE HEADI prefer to immerse myself in my topics, going to the relexologist or consulting a pet psychic, then relating my experience. However, I will be examining trepanation from a more detached perspective. Trepanation refers taking an auger, drill, or similar implement and punching a hole in one’s head. I like my skull intact and besides, I was never that handy with tools.

In truth, holes in the skull can be beneficial. Consider eye sockets, or the opening that enables the spinal cord to reach the brain. There is also a specific instance in which emergency room doctors will drill holes in a patient’s skull. If a head wound is severe, the brain may begin to swell enough that the pressure must be alleviated, so the victim’s melon is bored through.

Trying to get a doctor to drill a superfluous hole in your head may be more difficult, although possible if one’s definition of doctor is supple enough. Trips to California and/or psychic fairs may increase the chance. Trepanation is the world’s oldest surgical practice, making it immensely valuable to those who highlight the appeal to ancient authority. This logical fallacy is sometimes combined with the ad populum and you end up with this, from trepanationguide.com: “Trepanation has been practiced on every continent, through every time period, and by every race.” This is a seeming endorsement that fails to cite any benefit of the procedure.

The reason for noggin-drillin’ has varied by time and culture. Some thought it would open the Third Eye, while others used it to exorcise demons without having to summon a priest. In still other places, it was used to alleviate afflictions, and while it wouldn’t cure what was bothering you, it would take your mind off of it.

There are very few proponents today, and I could only find four this century who were fervent enough to turn their advocacy into action. If the patient, who is probably also the surgeon, survives the procedure, they will attain a higher consciousness, said Bart Huges, the most significant modern proponent of trepanation, which is sort of like being the most powerful hockey team on Samoa.

Huges proposed that trepanation could enhance brain function by balancing the proportion of blood and cerebral spinal fluid. He believed that when our ancestors began to walk upright, their brains drained of blood, and that the blood flow to the head was further limited by gravity. This was said to shrink the scope of human consciousness. And on one of the few pro-hole-in-your-head websites out there, it is written that the skull prevents the brain from breathing properly. But if all this were true, these detriments would have kept us evolving this way and we would have developed a hole, or maintained our baby soft spot for life. Still, Huges decided that trepanation would allow better blood flow to the brain and enable the patient to achieve a permanent high.

Huges devotee Amanda Fielding self-drilled, then ran for parliament on platform of free trepanations for all, netting 49 votes. Fielding maintains that having a hole in her head allows more oxygen to reach her brain and helps expand her consciousness. She claims she now has more energy and inspiration, and is enjoying this permanent high. Two more disciples, Joey Mellen and Pete Halvorson, have said the same thing. That makes trepanation 4-for-4, although we realize the importance of data over anecdotes, and data on this trepanation patients is nonexistent. There are also no double blind studies. There would be a tough time getting volunteers, and it would be arduous at best to design a protocol in which the subjects were unaware whether or not their skull was being aired out.

Brain doctors consider trepanation patients to be out of their punctured heads. Neurologist William Landau told a Salon reporter, “There is no scientific basis for this at all. It’s quackery.” Meanwhile, neurology professor Robert Daroff has conflicting opinions. On one hand, he described it as “horseshit,” but he also conceded it might be “bullshit.” Whichever farm animal excrement he ends up deciding on, Daroff said the result will be without benefit and potentially calamitous. Perhaps forced to state the obvious, Daroff told Salon, “It’s dangerous to expose your brain. There’s a risk of infection and other problems.”

As such, there will be no trepanation and subsequent relating of this experience for me. I am, however, signed up for the next alien ghost hunt.

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