Man and Machine

Is a computer like a human brain or is a human brain like a computer? When machines allow us to extend our abilities, are we enhancing our humanness or becoming more machine-like? What are the meaningful distinctions between humans and machines and how do these impact our daily pursuits of health, well-being, and happiness?

One primary practical distinction is that humans initiate spontaneous, unique, non-predetermined actions and machines do not. Advanced machines such as military early warning systems may initiate spontaneous activities, but all of these are predetermined and predefined to a greater or lesser degree. And for any machine responses that are not previously designated and programmed as routine, human interaction is required for initiation of the suggested action.

Generally, even the "smartest" machine only has access to a built-in suite of responses. Noted exceptions include computer programs based on simple rules which emulate living systems. The "cellular automata" generated by these programs demonstrate spontaneous emergent behaviors not predictable from the simple rules themselves. The "artificial life" thus observed is exceedingly complex and can even provide optimal solutions to deep scientific problems posed to the system by investigators.

Cellular automata are examples of complex systems, defined as systems which are critically sensitive to small changes in initial conditions. Complex systems achieved fame in Michael Crichton's novel (and the subsequent Stephen Spielberg film), "Jurassic Park". In the book, the paleobotanist Dr. Ian Malcolm uses the weather as an example of the nature of complex systems. In a scene which has achieved iconic status, Malcolm relates how a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon rain forest can cause a tornado in the American Midwest. Small changes in a complex system's initial state can lead to substantial unpredictable results in the system as a whole.

The human nervous system is such a complex, dynamic system.1,2,3 Small changes in the nervous system's initial state can result in dramatic outcomes. For example, a spinal misalignment (resulting from an innocuous low back muscle strain) can irritate a spinal nerve (a small change in initial conditions) which can lead to chronic indigestion, allergies, migraine headaches, or even high blood pressure down the road.

Most machines are not complex in this way, but they do require regular maintenance and care. As human beings, we are complex systems by our very nature and the importance of regular maintenance and care is that much greater. A healthy spine and optimally functioning nerve system go very far toward ensuring the health of our body-as-machine and our associated happiness and well-being.

1Bourjaily MA, Miller P: Synaptic plasticity and connectivity requirements to produce stimulus-pair specific responses in recurrent networks of spiking neurons. PLoS Comput Biol 7(2):e1001091, 2011 [Epub February 24, 2011]
2Rigotti M, et al: Internal representation of task rules by recurrent dynamics: the importance of the diversity of neural responses. Front Comput Neurosci 4:24, 2010
3Power JD, et al: The development of human functional brain networks. Neuron 67(5):735-748, 2010

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Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "Life would not be the same without Dr. Jayne! In addition to being the loveliest and most caring person, she's an extraordinary chiropractor. She truly has healing hands, an incredible knowledge of the body (MY body!), an uncanny gift for knowing exactly what the issue is right away, and then correcting it effectively. I always know I can rely on her to correct my neck and back issues when they arise, sometimes just after one visit. And Dr. Lou and Jayne's staff are wonderful - kind and patient, and always extremely helpful. I wouldn't go anywhere else."
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  • "Dr Jayne and Dr Lou are both amazing! They offer not just great care, but a warm, welcoming atmosphere— truly family friendly! They go above and beyond and truly care about the whole patient, well beyond chiropractic care. Dr Jayne has offered amazing support and solace through my journey as a new mom and I will always be grateful!"
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  • "Absolutely amazing ! First, the staff was very friendly. I am 8 months pregnant and I've had a lot of back/shoulder pain, and the doctor Jayne was very friendly and professional. You can tell she know what she's doing. She did an amazing job, when I got up from the chair I felt like I was 10 years old again ! My pain was completely gone. I am so happy I have found that place !"
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  • "I've seen a whole bunch of chiropractors and Lou and Jayne are the best, by far. They're also two of the sweetest people I know."
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  • "Dr Lou and Dr Jayne are fantastic. They've put my spine back in line and are always the nicest people to work with."
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  • "Dr. Lou has taken care of me for close to 20 years. ALWAYS spot on and just an amazing staff. Thank you for all you do."
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  • "For two days I have been dealing with that ache in my bicep and having to stretch my hand and it constantly cracking...within minutes of leaving your office from my adjustment my ache is gone and no need to stretch the hand and when I did no cracking. Magic Hands I tell ya!!"
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  • "Drs. Lou and Jayne are the best. Wonderful with even the very youngest children and babies, all the way to folks in later life. Friendly, personable, and strong at what they do -- each with his or her own style. Great to have appointments with both of them! They also have things like a water massage table, which is a wonderfully relaxing mini-escape, and laser treatments for things like carpal tunnel. They are also a gay-friendly business, which encourages me to refer more folks to them."
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