brain disease

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Read the following, then research any degenerative brain disease using the following link: Make sure you visit the designated links below. Write up a half page summary of your research and give the internet links where you found your information. Then, take at least 2 of your reference links and convert then to APA style references. Do not use one of those programs where you type in the information and it converts the information for you. Go to this link, it shows you exactly how to format your references:

Biological Foundations of Psychology

This chapter on neuronal anatomy excites some and bores others. I’m sure that you read about Phineas Gage, the railroad worker. Our ability to correlate what goes on inside our brain with outside behavior has improved phenomenally since his time. We are at an amazing time in history where researchers can have you think of a memory you actually had versus a memory you are fantasizing, and they can tell the difference, just by looking at an image of the brain. Now if I were just starting to study this topic, I might be wondering, “what good is this to me?” If you have children or plan to, you might want to know the optimum time to influence brain growth, and hence intelligence. Or, perhaps someone in your family has had a stroke or Alzheimer’s, and you’re wondering, “what part of the brain is damaged, and can it be repaired?” Or, “does smoking dope or drinking alcohol really hurt your brain?”

In addition to the material in the book, I want you to know that there are critical stages of brain growth. Some researchers have sewn the eyelid of kittens shut, then later removed the stitches when the cats were grown. What they found was that the eye was perfectly normal, but the cats could not see! For vision to work, the neural support for vision in the brain must receive stimulus at a critical stage of development. If it doesn’t, that part of the brain will die.

You see, you’re born with this tremendous neural infrastructure of 100 billion neurons, and almost immediately they begin dying off. It’s really the concept of “use it or lose it.” If a part of the brain receives sensory stimuli, the dendrites grow out and connect with other neurons (as many as 50,000 connections with other neurons are possible), creating a more efficient pathway for communication between neurons in the brain. And, if the stimuli isn’t received, well, then the neurons die.

The implication are particularly poignant when it comes to the matter of intelligence! A debate has raged for most of this century over how much of intelligence is inherited (nature) versus how much is learned (nurture). Finally, the research seems to support that at least part of intelligence is learned. But, there is probably a critical window (that “use it or lose it” period) which is mostly gone by age 5. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn. You can learn throughout your whole life, and learning will stimulate dendrites growing out to connect with other neurons. Brain plasticity, rewiring of the brain, can even occur during old age. But, if you want your child to be more intelligent (within genetic limitations), your need to start early.

Some research indicates that babies can recognize stories or music they were exposed to in utero. The dendrite connections are rather sparse at first. But this early stimuli causes them to grow and connect with other neurons, ensuring that the neuron will live rather than die off. If it should die, well, too bad! We really don’t grow new neurons ( some newer research indicates there may be an exception where new neurons grow in the hippocampus, effecting memory).

But how do you stimulate a baby’s brain? Any sensory input will help. Sound, sight, touch, taste and smell, will all stimulate brain growth and intelligence if done early enough. Glenn Doman has done a lot of research on this topic, particularly with the critical stages for helping brain injured children. Check out his website:

The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential

.I wish to clarify some points on the issue of brain imaging. While MRI’s and PET scans are the primary methods for looking inside a brain, they may have very different uses, depending on what we wish to find out about the brain. PET scans show function while an MRI will show structure. If you have just had a stroke, and the blood supply to a part of the brain is blocked, the structure may look perfectly OK until the tissues starts to die. But, if we are measuring function, then we can see immediately that that part of the brain has stopped working and then proceed to reestablish blood supply. Functional MRI’s are gradually becoming available, and these can show both function and structure.

Visit this page and watch this video:

Visit this page and look at examples of how drug abuse can change a brain:

This is an extremely important source of information that will be discussed further in class:[1].pdf

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