Case Study

August 8, 2014

Why is there electrical activity in the brain? Describe how it is used by neurons.
There is electrical activity normally in the brain used in neurons to communicate and send information along the brain.  Without the electricity in our brain, our neurons wouldn’t function.

What happens in the brain during a seizure?
During a seizure, parts of the brain receive abnormal electrical signals that mess up the normal communication between neurons.

What is epilepsy? How is it diagnosed?
Epilepsy is a condition that makes your brain more susceptible to unprovoked seizures and is diagnosed through an EEG test and/or an MRI.

What are the procedures for doing an EEG test and MRI scan? What type of information does each of these tests provide?
An EEG test is done by attaching electrodes to your scalp and connecting them to a electrical box with wires which is then connected to an EEG machine then the EEG machine then traces your brains electrical activity. This test tells us if the brain is having any electrical abnormalities such as a seizure. A MRI produces pictures of the brain structure through a strong magnetic field and pulses of radio waves. This can tell us what part of the brain the seizures are affecting.

What are some possible causes of seizures other than epilepsy?
Some other causes of seizures are thing such as infection, genetic factors or brain tumors.

Based on the information in the case, what type of seizures does Jerrod appear to be having?
Jerrod seems to be having complex partial seizures

What should you do during a seizure to help Jerrod?
During a seizure, one should help Jerrod by preventing him from doing anything dangerous like walking into traffic.

What are some treatments for epilepsy?
Some treatments for epilepsy are anti-epileptic drugs such as Epitol, Vimpat or Valium. Another route if the medications aren’t working is surgery.

What is Rasmussen Syndrome (what are its history, symptoms, prognosis, etc.)?
Rasmussen’s syndrome is a progressive neurological disease. It affects children from the ages of 14 months to 14 years old. Its symptoms are; mild weakness of an arm or a leg, seizures, progressive weakness on one side of the body, and thinking, memory and language impairment. Most anti-seizure drugs are ineffective and anti-inflammatory steroids can possibly be effective but in children where it has really progressed, a hemispherectomy may be necessary and quite successful.

How did the doctors use EEG and MRI to help diagnose the disorder?
The doctor used the EEG to diagnose the seizures and later, after the seizure medicine wasn’t working, he used the two MRIs to deduce that Jerrod’s brain was beginning to get damaged by these consistent seizures.

What structures or abilities of the brain are concentrated in the areas of the left hemisphere that would be removed in the hemispherectomy?
Jerrod’s left temporal lobe, part of his left frontal lobe, some parts of his parietal and occipital lobes and they would sever the corpus collosum.

Other than reducing his seizures, how else might Jerrod’s thinking or behavior be affected by losing these parts of his brain?
Almost all children who undertake a hemispherectomy end up having partial paralysis on the opposite side of the body as the hemispherectomy. So Jerrod will most likely have some form or paralysis on his right side. However, as far as neurological function goes, Jerrod’s intelligence should stay the same or even increase due to the lack of medication and seizures.

What types of abilities would he still retain, because the brain structures would remain intact?
Jerrod would retain the ability to receive sensory information, control his emotions to an extent, and retain memory.

What might the family do to help Jerrod recover after such a surgery?
The family might help Jerrod by being supportive, helping him adjust to a (hopefully) seizure free life, and emotional/social help.

If Jerrod had the surgery, would his level of functioning get better, worse, or stay the same over time?
His level of functioning should get definitely better than it would have been and with time, post surgery should improve as he adjusts.

What other kinds of questions would you have about the surgery? Can you find the answers?
I was wondering if surgery was limited to a certain age, because the brain can adapt much better as a child, and I found it can be preformed at any age, but results are better for children under 14.

What decision do you recommend to the family? Why or why not go ahead with surgery?
I would recommend that the family go ahead with surgery because the side affects are minimal for a surgery that could greatly improve Jerrod’s quality of life. He would be able to go through life seizure free and with improved intellectual ability.


Final Project

August 7, 2014

dysphagia gerstmannsapjasa binswagin huntingtons joubert syndome

My project was on various mental diseases, I’m very curious about mental diseases and how they affect certain people.  With my micro zines I tried to just inform the general population about these half dozen diseases.  I chose to use microzines because they are a fun a colorful method to share information.  All citations are on the microzines.

Final Project: Creativity and Genius Correlate with Mental Disorders in the Brain

August 7, 2014


I chose a multi-part zine for my project because I believed through a combination of images and explanations, the information I was trying to relay would best be communicated. My project describes some theories about what does it mean to have a creative brain on an anatomical level and what would make a person with a creative genius brain different. I focus on a couple of studies which highlight some of the more interesting finds of what is known so far in the field, and how it has been concluded my many studies that there is a definite link between the creative geniuses and either themselves or family members struggling with mental illness. I tried to raise some of the more interesting theories as to why this may be and so on. I chose to do a project on this topic because I read an article in the Atlantic that talked about one of these studies and found it fascinating, so I wanted to do a final project on it.


Andreasen, N., Dr. (2014, June 25). Secrets of the Creative Brain. The Atlantic. Retrieved from

Hamilton, J. (Producer). (2010, June 2). Einstein’s Brain Unlocks Some Mysteries Of The Mind. Podcast retrieved from

Jung, R. E. (2013, July). The structure of creative cognition in the human brain.

Ludwig, A. M. (1994, November). Mental illness and creative activity in female writers. (Research Report No. 40536-0080). Retrieved from website:

Nielson, J. A., & Zielinski, B. A. (2013, August). An Evaluation of the Left-Brain vs. Right-Brain Hypothesis with Resting State Functional Connectivity Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Final Project- Schizophrenia

August 7, 2014

Schizophrenia is the chronic brain disorder that affects how one thinks, acts, and feels. The affected commonly cannot differentiate reality and the imaginary.  Schitzophrenia is commonly confused with the multi-personality disorder. However, these disorders are very different. Multi-personality disorder is when one has two or more personalities that affect the person’s behavior and that causes memory impairment of important events that is not causes by common forgetfulness. Schizophrenia causes someone to have visual and/or auditory hallucinations, false beliefs, and confused thinking. One famous example of someone with schizophrenia is John Nash.

The cause of schizophrenia is still unknown like most mental diseases but there are many theories on how it is developed. Theories involve genetics, substance abuse, prenatal things, infections, etc.. The genetic theory has multiple parts. The first is about hereditary factors. Schizophrenia is largely hereditary. There is an 80% chance that one of the twins in a family, raised together or apart, will get schizophrenia if  one of the parents has it or had it. The phenotype for this is genetically influenced but not determined.  This varies from 41% to 87% . Studies have also shown that the closer someone is related to someone who is living with or has lived with schizophrenia has a larger chance of obtaining it. At one point,evidence  singled out two genes (with other not as major) that may have a huge influence on developing schizophrenia. These genes are dysbindin and neuregulin. But this was later put down by a different massive study. As of now, there is no specified gene for the cause of schizophrenia. Substance abuse is a confirmed factor for developing schizophrenia. Cannabis has not been shown to directly cause schizophrenia but it has been shown to greatly increase the chances of developing it. Amphetamines release a large amount of dopamine into the system. Excessive dopamine is thought to be the the direct cause for many symptoms of schizophrenia. They also can worsen any schizophrenic symptoms the user may have previously had.  Hallucinogens basically create the same symptom a schizophrenic has.  In a UK census in 1993, 74% of  schizophrenics in institutions were smokers. Some prenatal stuff is believed to be a cause for schizophrenia. These include slow development and brain hypoxia. Infections are also believed to have a role in the development of schizophrenia.  Along with these factors, life experiences (be good or bad) have an confluence on schizophrenia.

There are five different types of schizophrenia. The first type is known as Paranoid schizophrenia. This is normally characterized by auditory hallucinations and/or delusional thoughts of  persecution, conspiracy, etc. The paranoia is often based on a particular theme. These people may have the disorder but most of the time they are able to engage socially and maintain their daily lives. One who has this subtype will often be very easily angered or may be very hostile.  The only way for someone to truly know if one has paranoid schizophrenia is if they discuss their feelings with another person or if they go to a mental health professional. The next type of schizophrenia is disorganized schizophrenia. The main feature of this is being disorganized. People with this normally do not have severe hallucinations or delusions but there are still present. Though they do not have major hallucinations, these victims have large problems maintaining their daily lives. Common tasks such as dressing, bathing, eating, can be extremely difficult or lost completely. Victims also have severe trouble articulating themselves and their speech may be incomprehensible. The third type of schizophrenia is known as Catatonic schizophrenia.  The noticeable difference in these people is that they have a great reduction of activity or a great increase in activity. Victims can repetitively do a useless activity for no apparent reason and refuse to move out of a certain position for no reason. Often, great physical strength is shown in keeping this position when tried to be moved. Two major symptoms include echolalia and echopraxia. The fourth type of schizophrenia is Undifferentiated schizophrenia. This is just when one has symptoms that cannot be officially placed in any of the other categories. The final schizophrenia is known as Residual schizophrenia. In this subtype, a patients shows lessened severity of symptoms but they are still present.

Schizophrenia affects both males and females equally. Men seem to acquire it in their late teens to early twenties whereas women tend to develop it in their late twenties to early thirties. The cause for this statistic is still unknown because it is difficult to obtain information on this due to the illness being unique for each person. It has been shown that people that have a stable organized life before the illness normal have a better outcome after treatment than those who don’t. Even with that statistic, Women have shown to have a better prognosis for higher functioning than men. Children and adolescents who acquire this  illness never seem to fully recover after treatment. Treatment for schizophrenia varies based on how severe it is. Shock therapy was often used in most cases but now it is only used in very severe cases. Medication along with counselling  seems to benefit the victim as well. Medications often repress the dopamine gene because it is believed to have a major role on the symptoms of schizophrenia.


Causes of schizophrenia. (2014, July 28). Retrieved August 3, 2014, from

Types of Schizophrenia – Psych Central. (n.d.). Retrieved August 2, 2014, from

Schizophrenia. (n.d.). Retrieved August 3, 2014, from

Psych Central: Schizophrenia Treatment. (n.d.). Retrieved August 7, 2014, from

Schizophrenia: Symptoms & Types. (n.d.). Retrieved August 3, 2014, from

NAMI – The National Alliance on Mental Illness. (n.d.). Retrieved August 3, 2014, from

I decided to do research on schizophrenia because schizophrenia is one of the largest mental illness affecting people today.  It affects 24 million people over the age of 18.  Also after watching the movie “The Beautiful Mind” , which tells the life story of John Nash and his struggle with schizophrenia, I was interested in the topic. I wanted to educate my peers on what schizophrenia is, why it is caused, and how it can be treated. I chose to write an essay because an informative essay is clear and to the point.


August 7, 2014



My personal color associations:



A representation of color-sound synesthesia:





Robertson, Lynn C. Sagiv, Noam. Synesthesia : Perspectives from Cognitive Neuroscience. NC, USA: Oxford University Press, Inc, 2004. Web.

Ramachandran, Vilayanur S., and Hubbard, Edward M. “Hearing Colors, Tasting Shapes.” Scientific American. Web.

Synesthesia Test. “Synesthesia Statistics.” Synesthesia Test. 2011. 08/06/14.

So here’s my final project. I really really wanted to make it a more multi media type thing to really capture the complexity of having synesthesia but I don’t really have the resources for that. I am interested in synesthesia because I have a slight common form of it. I also think I would have been able to give better explanations through speaking, but I don’t currently have a web cam. Oh well.


Final Project

August 7, 2014

Throughout this course I found learning about the brain and how it functions to be very interesting. However, I wanted to learn more about what happens in the brain when it doesn’t function properly. For this reason, I chose to research four major and common neurological disorders in depth. I researched everything there was to know about these disorders from what they are to how they are diagnosed to their incidence in the United States. In my project, I am hoping to share all the knowledge I now have about these four neurological disorders with the public in a easy, straightforward way. I hope everyone learns something from my zines!

Scan 7Scan 8Scan 9Scan 10


Works Cited:

Alzheimer’s Association

            Tests for Alzheimer’s Disease

            What is Alzheimer’s?

            Facts and Figures



Cerebral Palsy. Org

            Prevalence and Incidence of Cerebral Palsy

Mayo Clinic

             Parkinson’s Disease

National Institute of Mental Health

             Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

National Institute on Aging

             About Alzheimer’s Disease: Alzheimer’s Basics

OC & Spectrum Disorders Research

              Neurology of OCD

Parkinson’s Disease Foundation

              Statistics on Parkinson’s


           CP-Topic Overview 


            CP-What Happens

            CP-Exams and Tests

            CP-Treatment Overview

            OCD-Topic Overview



            OCD-Exams and Tests

            P-Overview and Facts

            P-Symptoms and Types

            P-Diagnosis and Tests

            P-Treatment and Care



Final Project! Biological and Chemical Causes of Mental Illnesses

August 7, 2014

zine1  zinee2 zinee3  zinee4 zinee5 zine6 zine7 zine8 zine9  zinee10 zine11 zine12

I chose my topic because I have been interested in mental illness for a while, it just fascinates me the different things that can go wrong in the brain.  I chose to do a series of ‘zines because the neurotransmitter ‘zine was one of my favorite projects.  I did the zines on my computer this time, instead of doing them by hand because I think it looks more sophisticated, and it was easier to add graphics.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to rotate the top columns of the zines, so it can’t be printed and folded.  My target audience is people in waiting rooms at psychiatrist offices.  I stuck to a question and answer format so that it is easier to follow along with.  My citations/sources are listed on the “back cover” of each zine.

Final Project: The Effects of Screen Time on the Brain

August 6, 2014

saachi gopal final project

My final project analyzed the effects that excessive screen time can have on the brain overtime. As technology evolves, we become increasingly dependent on the variety of electronics within our reach. However, my project conveys the idea that we must not rely on these gadgets as they can seriously damage the structure and functioning of our brain. I chose to use a powerpoint for my project as it was a reliable medium to display the research I gathered regarding the topic. I hope that my project not only educates, but provides a different outlook on our dependence on screens.

Final Project: The Neural Benefits of Bilingualism

August 6, 2014

My final project is about the neural benefits of bilingualism. I chose this topic, because I have always been interested in languages, and I wanted to see how this affects the brain. I also know that there are a lot of people in this course that would be able to relate to it. I talk about major areas in the brain, and how they seem to be affected by bilingualism. I made an infograph, because I wanted something that was fun to look at, and interesting to read at the same time. 

Final Project_The Neural Benefits to Bilingualism


Costa, Albert, Mireia Hernández, and Nuria Sebastián-Gallés. “Bilingualism aids conflict resolution: Evidence from the ANT task.” Cognition 106.1 (2008): 59-86.

Gold, Brian T., et al. “Lifelong bilingualism maintains neural efficiency for cognitive control in aging.” The Journal of Neuroscience 33.2 (2013): 387-396.

Gold, Brian T., Nathan F. Johnson, and David K. Powell. “Lifelong bilingualism contributes to cognitive reserve against white matter integrity declines in aging.” Neuropsychologia 51.13 (2013): 2841-2846.

Kovelman, Ioulia, Stephanie A. Baker, and Laura-Ann Petitto. “Bilingual and monolingual brains compared: a functional magnetic resonance imaging investigation of syntactic processing and a possible “neural signature” of bilingualism.” Journal of cognitive neuroscience 20.1 (2008): 153-169.

Krizman, Jennifer, et al. “Bilingualism increases neural response consistency and attentional control: Evidence for sensory and cognitive coupling.” Brain and language 128.1 (2014): 34-40.

Mechelli, Andrea, et al. “Neurolinguistics: structural plasticity in the bilingual brain.” Nature 431.7010 (2004): 757-757. 

Ofan, Renana H., and Ehud Zohary. “Visual cortex activation in bilingual blind individuals during use of native and second language.” Cerebral Cortex 17.6 (2007): 1249-1259.

Stocco, Andrea, et al. “Bilingual brain training: A neurobiological framework of how bilingual experience improves executive function.” International Journal of Bilingualism 18.1 (2014): 67-92.

Final Project: BCI

August 6, 2014

I did my project on brain computer interfacing, with a specific focus on using electroencephalography to control robotic movement. Robotics has been a passion of mine for years, and I think that one of its best applications could arise from its integration with neuroscience. When apart – and especially when together – these topics are exciting, interesting, and potentially life-altering.

I tried to communicate this point, in addition to giving a general background on the subject, through the use of a video. This medium allowed me to animate the ideas and hopefully help solidify the viewer’s understanding.

Unfortunately, the video is too large to directly embed into this blog post, so I have instead linked it through a website, which is attached below. I look forward to reading your feedback!