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1. Parts of the Brain and Their Functions

2. Diseases of the Brain and Their Causes & Effects

3. Testing the Right and Left Hemispheres

4. Personality

5. Links

6. Bibliography



BREIF DESCRIPTION OF THE BRAIN AND NERVOUS SYSTEM

Your brain gives you the power to do so many things, like think, speak, imagine, dream, plan, and much more. It controls your body temperature, and allows you to walk, talk, and experience emotion. It is also in charge of your senses; seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, and touching. The human brain weighs about 3 pounds and contains 100 billion cells, most of which are neurons. These neurons shoot messages to other parts of your body, telling it what to do. For example, if you needed to walk to the other side of the room, neurons in your brain would fire to your legs and tell them to walk. All day long your brain is telling the rest of your body what to do.
Your spinal cord is a big part of the nervous system. It runs all the way down your back, beginning at the brain. The spinal cord has thread like nerves that reach out and are involved in every organ in your body. When your body gets a message, (whether its from your had, foot, stomach, back, etc...) it goes through the spinal cord and your brain tells you how to react. If you stepped on a needle, your brain would tell you to get off that needle so you don't hurt yourself.

1.

Parts of the Brain and Their Functions


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Frontal Lobes- The frontal lobes control our emotion and personality (see #5). They also work out problem solving, language, memory, judgement, impulse control, motor function, and how you act socially. The right frontal lobe is in charge of abilities that don't are non-verbal, while the left frontal lobe is in charge of abilities that are verbal. Some scientists argue that this rule is not so, and both frontal lobes control all behavior. This is also the most common place for a brain injury, due to it's large size and it's placing in the front. Frontal damage usually causes it to be difficult to comprehend feedback and happenings in the environment around you.

Parietal Lobes- The parietal lobes can be divided into two separate areas, one of which includes perception and sensation, and the other includes "integrating sensory input usually with the visual system." (Kandel, Schwartz, and Jessel, 1991) When people get head injuries and harm is done to the left parietal lobe, diagnoses such as Gerstmann's Syndrome, which causes Agraphia, Acalculia, and Aphasiar, occurs. All of these involve language and math. When harm is done to the right parietal lobe, it makes it hard to care for yourself by doing everyday activities such as dressing and doing laundry.

Temporal Lobes- The temporal lobes also control your senses, language, and memory skills. Damage to the temporal lobes can affect sensory input, visual input & perception, long term memory, and altered personality. One of the most common ways people can have their personality altered is when the temporal lobes have a seizure.
Occipital Lobe- The occipital lobes are the "center or our visual perception." The occipital lobe processes understanding of movement, color, and shape. It interprets that each color and shape is different. It would be impossible to understand even basic geometry without this part of your brain. It is involved a lot when babies first begin to see. The occipital lobe is not often injured, because it sits in the back of the brain. Illusions and be caused by temporal lobe seizures, which make it look like objects are bigger or smaller than they actually are.

Cerebellum- The cerebellum is involved in the coordination of motor skills. It helps you move and balance. When this part of your brain is injured, the outcome is slow movement and swaying while walking. Also, falling over and abnormal eye movements are typical when the cerebellum in injured.

Brain Stem- All information passes through the brain stem on it's way to or from the brain. It is involved in basic attention and consciousness. The brain stem attaches to the spinal cord.
Spinal Cord- The spinal cord is involved with your nervous system. (see above) If someone fractured or dislocated their vertebrae, it causes damage to the spinal cord. If the spinal cord is broken, the messages from your brain can't be delivered the the appropriate body parts and that causes paralyzation.


2.

Diseases of the Brain and their Causes & Effects

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There are many diseases that can occur in your brain, but I just listed two with descriptions, causes, and effects.

Alzheimer's Disease- The cause is unknown. 10% of people 65 years or older have been seen to have this disease. Alzheimer's results in loss of short term memory, followed by long term memory, and causes victims to not be able to do simple tasks like dressing. Slowly, patients begins to loose problem solving skills, and all their senses. Most end up dieing of pneumonia. They are said to have about 8 to 10 years after being diagnosed.


Multiple Sclerosis- Multiple Sclerosis is "due to an inborn error of immune reaction to an environmental agent, probably a virus." One in every thousand people in the U.S. is seen to have MS. Men get the disease half as often as women. What it does it attacks the nervous system and messes with the communication with the brain and the rest of your body. People with severe cases may loose the ability to walk and speak.




3.

Testing the Right and Left Hemispheres


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Everything your right eye picks up goes to the left side of your brain, or the left hemisphere, and everything your left eye picks up goes to the right side, or right hemisphere. The left hemisphere sees the details in things, while the right hemisphere sees the big picture. To test this theory, I had four different subjects cover one eye, and I would show them a card with either a picture or word on it. They would have to tell me what they see. If they were covering their left eye, testing the right eye and left hemisphere, they should understand what the words were faster than the pictures. If they were covering their right eye, testing the left eye and right hemisphere, they should understand what the pictures were faster than the words. Below are my results.




Subject 1



Right Eye; Left Hemisphere

Picture #
Time (seconds)
Word #

Time (seconds

1
1.78

1

1.30

2

1.75

2

1.37

3

1.38

3

1.14

4

1.27

4

1.13

5

3.25

5

1.22



Left Eye; Right Hemisphere

Picture #

Time (seconds)

Word #

Time (seconds)

1

1.29

1

1.56

2

1.28

2

1.11

3

1.74

3

1.33

4

1.70

4

1.63

5

2.30

5

1.43



Subject 2



Right Eye; Left Hemisphere

Picture #
Time (seconds)
Word #
Time (seconds)
1
3.51
1
0.90
2
1.90
2
0.79
3
0.94
3
0.97
4
1.24
4
0.93
5
1.76
5
1.80


Left Eye; Right Hemisphere

Picture #
Time (seconds)
Word #
Time (seconds)
1
1.26
1
1.22
2
1.50
2
0.95
3
2.00
3
0.71
4
1.29
4
1.60
5
2.28
5
0.91


Subject 3



Right Eye; Left Hemisphere

Picture #
Time (seconds)
Word #
Time (seconds)
1
1.40
1
1.23
2
0.89
2
1.14
3
1.57
3
0.83
4
0.93
4
0.85
5
1.17
5
0.77


Left Eye; Right Hemisphere

Picture #
Time (seconds)

Word #

Time (seconds)

1
1.13
1
1.66
2
1.75
2
1.38
3
1.13
3
1.25
4
1.11
4
0.87
5
1.76
5
1.10


Subject 4


Right Eye; Left Hemisphere

Picture #
Time (seconds)
Word #
Time (seconds)
1
1.73
1
1.11
2
1.40
2
0.79
3
1.54
3
0.76
4
1.51
4
0.89
5
1.58
5
0.75

Left Eye; Right Hemisphere


Picture #
Time (seconds)
Word #
Time (seconds)
1
1.65
1
0.98
2
1.88
2
1.26
3
1.23
3
0.97
4
1.14
4
0.80
5
1.21
5
1.29

Review:

A little over half of these results were what I expected, even though there are some that are not in line with the right/left hemisphere theory. My fourth person was right on line with what the outcome should be. Next time I do this experiment, I will make sure my timing is exactly the same every time, just to prevent errors.




4.

Personality

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What Does Your Brain Have To Do With Your Personality?

The front part of your brain, the prefrontal cortex, controls your planning, judgement, and personality. No one really knows how or why it has to do with personality, but it seems that whenever damage is done there, personality is changed.

Below is a personality test, so YOU can see what you're really like.

Big Five Personality Test


5.

Links

Below are a few links that could help more with understanding how the brain works.

Brain Injuries

The Whole Brain Atlas
Diseases of the Brain



6.

Bibliography


Traumatic Brain Injury Resource Guide. Web. 20 May 2010. <http://neuroskills.com>.


How Stuff Works. Web. 25 May 2010. < howstuffworks.com/brain>

TBI Guide/ How Brain Works. Web. 25 May 2010. <http://www.tbiguide.com/howbrainworks.html>


Kids Health. Web. 25 May 2010. <http://kidshealth.org/teen/diseases_conditions/body_basics/brain_nervous_system.html#>

Interview. DenHartog, Stephanie

Book. Exploring Psychology. David G. Myers.