The physics of "back and to the left"

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Offline Andrew Mason

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Re: The physics of "back and to the left"
« Reply #40 on: July 13, 2022, 06:32:13 PM »

2.   The two cases, the nineteenth century injury and JFKs injury have to have two separate causes, because the nineteenth century response took several days to take effect, while JFKs was almost instantly.

However, the nineteenth century damage to the spinal cord was caused by an infection, not a bullet. As I recall, a heavy weight struck the back of the neck of the victim. This did not cause any immediate damage to the spinal cord. But it did cause an infection to set in, which within a few days did reach the spinal cord and damage it, resulting in the victim raising his arms and holding them in a similar position of JFKs. Except this patient was lying on his back in bed while JFK was sitting up.

Naturally, if in one case the damage is caused by a bacterial infection, the reaction could take a few days to set in. While in another case, if the damage is caused by a bullet, the reaction would be immediate.

Dr. John Lattimer stressed that this diagnosis is not based on his examination of the patient (naturally) but is based on the location of the bullet path near a certain section of the spinal cord and his study of the Zapruder film. Coming up with an accurate diagnosis is hard enough when one has a patient one can examine in person. It is even more challenging when it is instead based on looking at a film of the patient. Still, this is about as good a professional guess as we are ever likely to end up with.
I am not sure where you get this. The original report (Brain: Vol 9, 1887) states that the man, L.F., fell while on a ladder. His head fell backward while his feet were trapped in the rungs.  It describes the immediate effect which indicates that his spinal cord was immediately damaged by the fall:
  • "He at once became unconscious, remaining so for several hours. On regaining consciousness he found that his legs were quite immovable and his arms partially so, while there was numbness in the lower portion of his body, and insensitiveness to external impressions, coupled with a dull aching pain. There was also great pain in the head, neck, and shoulders. The urine had to be drawn off twice daily. He remained in this condition until his admission to the Infirmary on the fourth day after the accident.

    When admitted he was found to present complete paralysis of the lower limbs, and of the abdominal and thoracic muscles. All the muscles of the arms were paralysed, with the exception of the biceps, brachialis anticus, supinator longus and deltoid, the consequence being that the elbows were flexed, the shoulder abducted and rotated outwards, and the hands and arms fell into the position indicated in the annexed engraving (Fig. 1, p. 512), taken from a photograph...

The post-mortem confirmed that there was physical damage to the spinal cord due to the spinal fractures:
  • "...At the post-mortem examination was found depression of the 6th cervical spine and laminae; the disc between the 5th and 6th vertebrae was broken across, the upper part of the body of the 6th vertebra being tilted backwards. The laminae wore uninjured, but the right superior articular process of the 5th vertebra, and the corresponding transverse process of the 6th were broken off. At this point the cord was compressed, being flattened for a distance of about 1/4 inch."



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Re: The physics of "back and to the left"
« Reply #40 on: July 13, 2022, 06:32:13 PM »

Online Dan O'meara

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Re: The physics of "back and to the left"
« Reply #41 on: July 13, 2022, 07:49:38 PM »
IMO The shot before 228 hit JFK in the throat from the front. Just as the Drs at Parkland, who saw the wound before the tracheotomy, said. JFK's movenment from Z228 to Z236, a third of a second, is from a shot from behind.



The incredibly rapid movement of JFK's arms upwards, the extreme nature of the posture with the elbows extended upwards to, what appears to be, their maximum extent and the spasticity evident in his hand positions, all indicate damage to the nerves of the Brachial Plexus, most probably due to the transit of the bullet though his body and accompanying cavitation.
This movement begins at z225 which means the bullet that entered his back has already been fired (at z222/223). The movement you are focusing on is most likely JFK's body stiffening as part of the reflex reaction caused by by damage to the nerves of the Brachial Plexus.

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Re: The physics of "back and to the left"
« Reply #41 on: July 13, 2022, 07:49:38 PM »

Offline Gary Craig

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Re: The physics of "back and to the left"
« Reply #42 on: July 14, 2022, 09:51:18 AM »
The incredibly rapid movement of JFK's arms upwards, the extreme nature of the posture with the elbows extended upwards to, what appears to be, their maximum extent and the spasticity evident in his hand positions, all indicate damage to the nerves of the Brachial Plexus, most probably due to the transit of the bullet though his body and accompanying cavitation.
This movement begins at z225 which means the bullet that entered his back has already been fired (at z222/223). The movement you are focusing on is most likely JFK's body stiffening as part of the reflex reaction caused by by damage to the nerves of the Brachial Plexus.

I don't remember any mention of damage to that nerve by the autopsy doctors.
Of course that doesn't mean there wasn't, but even if there was I haven't found info that
points to it causing the kind of reaction seen in Z228 - Z236 from JFK.
Not being a doctor that is just my uneducated observation.

"The brachial plexus is the network of nerves that sends signals from the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm and hand.

Common symptoms of brachial plexus injuries are:
Numbness or loss of feeling in the hand or arm.
Inability to control or move the shoulder, arm, wrist or hand.
An arm that hangs limply.
Burning, stinging or severe and sudden pain in the shoulder or arm."

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Re: The physics of "back and to the left"
« Reply #42 on: July 14, 2022, 09:51:18 AM »

Offline Brian Roselle

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Re: The physics of "back and to the left"
« Reply #43 on: July 14, 2022, 04:13:25 PM »
Gary,

I don't know if the autopsy went into the detail of dissecting the vertebral column to remove and examine the spinal cord inside, particularly through the C4-T1 area. If they did that, then perhaps signs of bruising damage or lesions of the cord would be supportive. There need not be a total severing of the spinal cord to have an effect. If there are any reports of this inspection being done at autopsy I would be interested in the observations and comments.

The brachial plexus originate or roots in the spinal cord area of C4-T1, so bruising or lesions or damage to the spinal cord in the C4-T1 area would effect the plexus function and in turn the muscles that are innervated by them. These happen to coincide with the muscles seen effected on JFK on film starting around z226 and onward to z312.

If I had to guess I think it would have been a local radical shearing impulse or compression of the vertebra, impinging on the spinal cord in that area, or even a vertebra torque or twisting in that area that might explain cord trauma and importantly causing a bilateral effect.

The visual presentation of muscle symptoms of spastic paralysis and its common cause (cervical spinal trauma) that I summarized on https://sites.google.com/view/spastic-paralysis/home
look to match JFK's reactions quite closely (especially pattern lll) which is why this seems to me, if these occurred quickly and reflexively after a traumatic bullet insult, to best explain the mechanics of how, and why, JFK is reacting the way he does at this point in the film.

The more I hear about a Thorburn reaction, the more it sounds like that it is different, or at least a somewhat different but possibly a related reaction, but perhaps not a rapid reflexive reaction to spinal cord trauma.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2022, 04:14:26 PM by Brian Roselle »

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Re: The physics of "back and to the left"
« Reply #43 on: July 14, 2022, 04:13:25 PM »

Offline Gary Craig

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Re: The physics of "back and to the left"
« Reply #44 on: July 14, 2022, 06:47:14 PM »
Gary,

I don't know if the autopsy went into the detail of dissecting the vertebral column to remove and examine the spinal cord inside, particularly through the C4-T1 area. If they did that, then perhaps signs of bruising damage or lesions of the cord would be supportive. There need not be a total severing of the spinal cord to have an effect. If there are any reports of this inspection being done at autopsy I would be interested in the observations and comments.

The brachial plexus originate or roots in the spinal cord area of C4-T1, so bruising or lesions or damage to the spinal cord in the C4-T1 area would effect the plexus function and in turn the muscles that are innervated by them. These happen to coincide with the muscles seen effected on JFK on film starting around z226 and onward to z312.

If I had to guess I think it would have been a local radical shearing impulse or compression of the vertebra, impinging on the spinal cord in that area, or even a vertebra torque or twisting in that area that might explain cord trauma and importantly causing a bilateral effect.

The visual presentation of muscle symptoms of spastic paralysis and its common cause (cervical spinal trauma) that I summarized on https://sites.google.com/view/spastic-paralysis/home
look to match JFK's reactions quite closely (especially pattern lll) which is why this seems to me, if these occurred quickly and reflexively after a traumatic bullet insult, to best explain the mechanics of how, and why, JFK is reacting the way he does at this point in the film.

The more I hear about a Thorburn reaction, the more it sounds like that it is different, or at least a somewhat different but possibly a related reaction, but perhaps not a rapid reflexive reaction to spinal cord trauma.

Correct me if getting this wrong.
Whether the bullet entered from the front, (a shot from the picket fence IMO) or from the rear the damage caused to the
brachial plexus nerve(s) would/could have caused JFK arms into the position they are in after he is struck? I'm not understanding how damage to nerve(s) that control the shoulder, arms & hands would force JFK's upper body forward in about a third of a second via Z228 - Z336. 

"The minimum time for a neurological reaction to an external stimulus is 200 milliseconds, or between three and four frames of the Zapruder film." 
Could an external stimulas of say a bullet to the back at between Z224 - Z225 have caused JFK to lurch forward so quickly?  The stimulas that caused his arm movement would have been earlier based on his reactions as he emerged from behind the Stemmons sign?   Z221 - Z222.


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Re: The physics of "back and to the left"
« Reply #44 on: July 14, 2022, 06:47:14 PM »

Offline Andrew Mason

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Re: The physics of "back and to the left"
« Reply #45 on: July 14, 2022, 10:16:58 PM »
Could an alternative to the jet effect at Z313 be the piece of bone that shoots up at a 45 degree angle from the top of JFKs head? Would an opposite and equal reaction to this bone rocketing off from JFKs head cause JFKs head to be forced downwards, and with no where to go would cause JFKs head and body to subsequently spring "back and to the left".

Think about it. If you compress a spring, it will spring back and upwards away from where you applied the force downwards.
The ejection of any matter results in an impulse to the head that is equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to the momentum of the ejected matter.  So each drop of blood, each bone fragment and each particle of brain matter exploding out of the head imparts momentum to the head that is equal and opposite to its own momentum from the explosion.  [All momentum is relative to the frame of reference of the head at the instant before the ejection began.]

So the ejection of the skull fragments is part of, rather than an alternative to, the jet effect.

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Re: The physics of "back and to the left"
« Reply #45 on: July 14, 2022, 10:16:58 PM »

Offline Brian Roselle

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Re: The physics of "back and to the left"
« Reply #46 on: July 15, 2022, 03:11:33 PM »
Correct me if getting this wrong.
Whether the bullet entered from the front, (a shot from the picket fence IMO) or from the rear the damage caused to the
brachial plexus nerve(s) would/could have caused JFK arms into the position they are in after he is struck? I'm not understanding how damage to nerve(s) that control the shoulder, arms & hands would force JFK's upper body forward in about a third of a second via Z228 - Z336. 

"The minimum time for a neurological reaction to an external stimulus is 200 milliseconds, or between three and four frames of the Zapruder film." 
Could an external stimulas of say a bullet to the back at between Z224 - Z225 have caused JFK to lurch forward so quickly?  The stimulas that caused his arm movement would have been earlier based on his reactions as he emerged from behind the Stemmons sign?   Z221 - Z222.




Gary, good question(s), thanks for asking. I think they may be more difficult to answer than what they initially seem, but Ill at least try to provide my impressions on how these might be answered.

First let me condense the questions and if I miss any of your points of concern, let me know.
1.   Could a shot from the front cause the unusual neck, shoulders, arms, and hands/fingers reactions that are seen?
2.   How could this relate to some apparent upper body forward motion around z228-z236
(I assumed z336 was a typo so used z236), and if the main muscle reactions of shoulders thru fingers were caused by a frontal shot at z221-z222, could a different back shot at z224-z225 cause some forward motion at z228-z236?

To discuss a couple of these questions, it might help if I shared a little more background on what I was doing and some other stuff I found on this.
My intent in all this was to better understand JFKs posturing and find an updated medical description with a mechanistic explanation of the apparent stiffening reactions that were observed. I felt like there might be more information available now-a-days that describe this better than it was few a decades ago. When I saw the visual depictions of some patients with spastic paralysis that appeared to be so close to JFKs presentation, that is when I adopted the term. Looking back on my notes I saw the following related items:
-   Spasticity is related to muscle stiffening and the stiffening can be facilitated via a stretch reflex in a traumatized spinal cord.
-   Spasticity can begin suddenly or gradually and is often not seen immediately after an injury.
 So it appears that many cases apparently do develop over time, and perhaps Thorburn would fall under this classification (although a Dr. Artwohl was not convinced).

Additionally, I did find earlier discussion related to this and it tended to focus on brachial plexus trauma more so than trauma a little bit further upstream in the spinal cord. There was some earlier discussion in the mid 70s about JFKs unusual stiffening after the second shot when ITEK reported on his general motion and commented that he appeared to remain in a frozen position leading up to z312. In the mid 90s there was some commentary from doctors that focused on effect to the brachial plexus. I think their knowledge and insight is applicable here, but it also seems there is a good chance that if a lower cervical vertebra wing process was indirectly pushed or even slightly physically grazed by a bullet passing, there would be tremendous torque/twisting on the spinal cord in that area which could contribute to cord damage and have effects bilaterally (effects on both left and right sides).

The following references were from Dr. Artwohl and Dr. Strully.

Comments from Dr. Artwohl

JFK was not exhibiting a Thorburn response. He was exhibiting an immediate response to the bullet passing through the base of his right neck. It sort of looks like a Thorburns position, but it is not a truly what Thorburn was describing, which is a much-delayed reaction (days to months) following a low cervical cord transection.
JFKs reaction to the neck wound was, for all intents and purposes, instantaneous to the hit at Z-223/224. As the bullet passed through his neck, the pressure cavity caused an immediate and wide spread stimulation of all the nerves in the immediate vicinity, that is of the brachial plexus, the large group of nerves that emerge from C5-T1. These are the nerves that supply motor function to the arms.

Comments from neurologist Dr. Strully, dated April 9, 1994. 

"Before all else, it is necessary to remember that this assassination reveals a sequence of neural responses initiated in the neck by the shock wave and cavitation induced by the bullet in its traverse of the neck.  This traumatized all structures in a 6 inch radius in all directions from the path of passage through the neck.  This spread of forces occurred in a fraction of a second, traumatizing all neural structures in the immediate vicinity within a fraction of a second as determined by the speed of the missile according to ballistic studies.
As a result, contraction of the muscles innervated by nerves closest to the bullet's path took place first; -- right deltoid, left deltoid, right biceps followed by the left biceps and sequential contraction of all muscles in the forearms, hands, chest, abdominal walls and paraspinal muscle groups, with muscles in the lower extremities, farthest from the shock wave, responding last.  All neural structures in the neck were stimulated at the same moment but the distance an impulse had to travel to cause muscle contractions in the hamstrings and gluteal muscles was greater, thus the motor responses in these muscles occurred much later."
[...]
"All movements seen in the films, occurring relative to the bullet's passage, were involuntary; lifting of the shoulders was a result of contraction of the deltoids followed by contraction of the biceps muscles which flexed the upper extremities at the elbows, then forearm and intrinsic muscles of the hands causing clenching of the hands."

You can see that the neck area and brachial plexus are focused on in these doctor discussions but Dr. Strully also alludes to the possibility of muscles reacting further down the body in the chest, abdominal walls, and possibly the lower extremities.

With all this background I would answer your questions as best I can as follows:

1)   If the trajectory of a bullet passing through the neck from the front or back was in the correct orientation to penetrate and pass right by or graze the brachial plexus or lower cervical spinal region, I would expect that similar effects could occur.
2)   If Dr. Strully is correct that additional cavitation effects can have an impact on nerves innervating muscles below the neck and shoulder area, and into the upper torso and abdomen, this could account for additional muscle reactions and some general body forward reaction movement forward immediately following the initial arm reactions.
If you prefer to go with a back impact second bullet explanation, there would probably need be a second bullet hole in the back, presumably an entrance (no exit hole from this bullet in the front since the single hole in front is speculated to be a different bullet entering the front of the neck and exiting the back of the neck which caused the arm reactions), then I suppose you could argue a second shot in the back pushed him forward. It probably would have to be a softpoint that mushroomed at strike to transmit a lot of momentum going into the back and push him forward. In this case since it didnt front exit you would look for a second hole in the back side and a remnant mushroomed bullet that ended up in the chest cavity.

The neuromuscular reactions are complex, and if there is a better medical term or nomenclature for the effects seen here I would be glad to adopt it. It just seems that spastic paralysis, which could include spinal cord and brachial plexus effects, is a closely related term and I think better than Thorburn.

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Re: The physics of "back and to the left"
« Reply #46 on: July 15, 2022, 03:11:33 PM »

 

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