Final Project: Emotions

August 6, 2014

Woo.Heekyoung.FinalProject

In this final project, I did a research about emotions, specifically about fears. I was quite interested in fear response, the causes of fear and the exact factors that lead a person to detect the emotion of fear. I wanted all audience to be able to read and understand my presentation, so I tried to limit the use of complicated words that many might possibly would not understand.

I decided to make a powerpoint since I wanted my presentation to be informative. This will allow the others to go through the slides at their own pace, without having to rush themselves. Hope you guys enjoy!


Final Project

August 6, 2014

Schreder.Abigail.Finalproject

My final project is about depression on a neurological and psychological level, this is meant to be presented at schools or something like that so it is pretty general. I chose to do a power point because that made the most sense to me and it would then be easier to show a larger audience. I wanted to do this because I’m in a club at school that deals with these sorts of issues and I wanted to have a multi-functional final project! My hope is that this project might be able to erase some of the stigma against mental illness.
All my sources are listed at the end of my power point.


Final Project: How Can I Be Sad When I’m Not Crying?

August 6, 2014

Hello! I’m Heather, and this is my final project! It’s hard to believe that Neuroscience n Action is Over!

I hope you all enjoy and learn something from my project.

How Can I Be Sad When I’m Not Crying 2014

I chose to learn more about depression because it is something that has affected my life personally (people I know and care for.) It is something still being researched and largely not understood. Unfortunately though, it is also increasing in prevalence along with other neurological disorders, especially due to shifting family and world situations. In addition, because I hope to become a pediatric neurologist someday, I found this topic particularly interesting as it related to children, and how all types of doctors are associated with diagnosing depression-i.e, neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, pediatricians. Therefore, I wanted to focus on a child’s view of depression and how it affects young people specifically.

In addition, I decided to complete my project in the form of a children’s book because I wanted to make the topic more understandable and approachable for children and parents. Oftentimes, depression is a word only heard in stories/movies and the hospital, and tends to be a shunned topic in life at home. Therefore, I completed my project with the hope that it would foster open communications about mental health, finding happiness, and self-fulfillment. Children are known for asking “Why?” and for loving to read. That’s why I made my book with a title as a question: “How Can I Be Sad When I’m Not Crying,” – a very simple yet complex question for youngsters and parents alike.

Above I attached the pdf form of my book. It is about 18 pages long, and includes the sources I used, on the last page. I used both art materials (pens, Sharpies, colored pencils) and printed images to enhance the visual stimuli in my book.

I hope you all enjoy my book and have your questions answered!

Thanks for a great class 🙂

 

Additional Photo Sources:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_YvDebc1G8qo/TJCSGdljk3I/AAAAAAAAABc/ANx-VUAiBVY/s400/grandpa_and_granddaughter_park.jpg

http://www.babybrainpsychology.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/baby-brain5-010.jpg

http://school.discoveryeducation.com/clipart/images/thought-girl-color.gif

http://eofdreams.com/doctor.html


Final Project: Fight or Flight Response

August 6, 2014

Link to Prezi: http://prezi.com/2txw4vohcuel/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

Why I chose this project? 

I wanted to do a project on a fairly well known and understood process that affects the nervous system as well as the rest of the body. In addition, the effects of stress on a person’s body were very interesting to me and so was understanding what happens when we are scared for our lives. The fight or flight response was the perfect mix of all of my interests and goals for this project. It was also something I, along with most people I know, had experienced making me eager to better understand it.

I chose to do the project in the form of a prezi for two main reasons. One, it would provide an interesting visual that would make it more fun to view and would allow me to insert pictures and videos. Two, it forced me to condense my information. Although my slides are rather full, I could have made the prezi a great deal longer and more detailed. However, I wanted to limit myself to explaining the most important information in a way that was easy for anyone to digest.

 


Case Notes

August 5, 2014

Part I

  • There is electrical activity in the brain utilized by neurons to transmit signals. Based on the flow of ions in and out of the cell membrane, differences in electrical charge are created which generate action potentials. These electrical charges are essential to brain signaling and overall body function.
  • During a seizure, the brain had a rapid increase in electrical activity that can not be managed by the brain. With neurons sending rapid fire signals, the victim has no control over their body during this period of time.
  • Epilepsy is a neurological condition that affects the nervous system; it is diagnosed after a person has had two or more unprovoked seizures using either an electroencephalogram (EEG) tests which measures electrical impulses in the brain or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which provides brain imagery.
  • An electroencephalogram test assesses the electrical activity of specific regions of the brain. Abnormal patterns can be identified through an EEG test which would point to epilepsy as the cause. An MRI uses the strong magnetic field produced by atoms to create computer images of the brain. The images are very accurate and can diagnose a condition such as epilepsy by showing abnormalities in brain tissues, distortion in white matter, blood vessels, and much more.
  • Possible causes of non-epileptic seizures include narcolepsy, migraines, night terrors, cataplexy, unregulated diabetes, stroke, cognitive birth defect, brain infection, or a brain tumor.
  • Jerrod appears to be suffering from mild, partial seizures where only half of his body twitched. Since he regained normal control following the episode and he did not have any memory of it, it is very likely that he had a partial seizure.
  • To help Jerrod during a seizure, he should be placed on his side in a recovery position and let the seizure take its course. Do not try to restrict any movement but clear the area of any dangerous materials or items that could hurt him during the seizure.
  • Treatments for epilepsy include being on a ketogenic diet (high in fat, low in carbohydrates and proteins) and using medications given by the consulting doctor.  Alternative treatments include taking high doses of vitamins and vagus nerve stimulation. As there is no cure for epilepsy, these treatments can only minimize the number and control the seizures.

Part II

  • Rasmussen’s disease is an inflammatory neurological disease. It was named after the neurosurgeon Thomas Rasmussen. the disease mostly affects children under the age of 15 and targets one side of the brain. Its symptoms include frequent seizures, loss of speech and movement, inflammation of the brain, dementia, and paralysis of one side of the body. The inflammation of the brain leads to atrophy of the area since there is permanent damage to the brain cells. No medications can treat the frequent seizures. The only way to do so is to get a hemispherectomy. Unfortunately, some functions can be lost following the removal of portions of the brain. But the surgery is the only way to effectively reduce the seizures.
  • Through the EEG, the doctors saw a series of spikes that indicated the seizure activity was only partial- only one side of the brain was involved. Through the MRI, it was clear that there was damage to only the left hemisphere of the brain, solidifying the theory of Jerrod having partial seizures.
  • Structures and abilities that are concentrated in the left hemisphere of the brain that would be removed through the hemispherectomy include Jerrod’s left temporal lobe, part of his left frontal lobe, and some parts of his occipital and parietal lobes. The left hemisphere is responsible for language- processing, understanding, and word formation. He could potentially lose some vision in his right eye. However, at a young age the brain’s right hemisphere could take over some of those functions due to the plasticity of a young brain.
  • Other than reducing his seizures, Jerrod might have some difficulty in cognition, speech, and movement. He could have issues with his behavior as well in areas such as impulse control.
  • Abilities that Jerrod would retain include include movement of the left side of his body, storing memory, exhibiting emotion, sense of smell, and hearing as his amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus, along with other deep brain structures would remain in tact.
  • To help Jerrod recover after such a surgery, his family may place him in a rehabilitation center in order for him to recover and regain skills such as movement and speech that may have been impaired. He would need to be monitored closely to make sure he is responding well to the surgery.
  • If Jerrod was to have the surgery, his level of functioning may appear worse at the very early stages of recovery. However, over time- as he grows and develops- Jerrod will regain and restore the skills he had disease-free without any seizures to limit him. His level of functioning will improve over time.
  • What efforts are being made to find a noninvasive treatment for the disease? What issues can arise from not having the hemispherectomy? -Essentially Jerrod’s body would deteriorate over time with his seizures becoming more threatening. More brain matter could be lost.
  • I recommend for the family to go ahead with the surgery because there are more benefits to having the hemispherectomy compared to letting the disease degenerate his body. Although there may be some adverse effects at first, Jerrod will become healthier and lead a life with a reduced amount- if any- seizures.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/guide/diagnosing-epilepsy

http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/about-epilepsy-basics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-epileptic_seizure

http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/types-seizures/complex-partial-seizures

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/centers_clinics/epilepsy/types/rasmussen_syndrome.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rasmussen’s_encephalitis


Visual Illusions Presentation

August 5, 2014

This is an example of a kinetic illusion, which was a popular form of op art in the 1960s. They were famous for giving the appearance of motion without actually moving. Neuroscientist and engineer Jorge Otero-Millan of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix created it.

In the image, the rings appear to be moving in a circle, or rather something is moving around each of the rings. To some the rings even appear to rotate, or shrink in the center.

Microsaccades, a type of eye movement, are responsible for the apparent movement in the image. Microsaccades help humans compensate for a strange quality that our  eyes possess. When people stare at objects too long, the signals that the photoreceptors send to the brain become weaker.  Microsaccades refresh the photoreceptors and pump new life into vision when it is fixed. However, with light patterns always changing, with the new flash of starting at an image such as this kinetic illusion, microsaccades can give the appearance of motion when really only the amount of light is changing. When certain neurons in the parts of the brain responsible for visual motion get strong signals from the eye such as when looking at this optical illusion, the eyes detect motion even when there is none truly there.

This optical illusion reinforces the idea that if something must be designed to trick our visual system, our visual system must be a well evolved system indeed because for most images in nature, our eyes can communicate with our brain to effectively detect motion and stare at an image accurately for a long time.

Sources:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/slideshow/169-best-illusions/#4illusion

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2012/04/24/how-our-brains-set-the-world-spinning/#.U-EgWFYowdI


Final Project: Concussions

August 5, 2014

Dizziness, headaches, and sleeping issues are just some of the tell tale signs, or as experts say, neural precursors of a concussion.  Over the past few years concussions have become a significant issue in the world of athletics.  Like most injuries, concussions can either be severe or mild.  They can last months, weeks, or even as few as a few days.  They can be of little significance or they could mean the difference between life and death.  However, the questions is what is the neurological cause of this puzzling condition?

One of the reasons that concussions have become such a great focus of our attention is because of their impact in the game we all so truly love, football.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 2 million teenage football players suffer brain injuries, most of which consist of concussions, each year.  Effects have been even worse. Grantland writer, Jonah Lehrer reports that athletes who had suffered three or more concussions were nearly “ten times more likely to exhibit multiple “abnormal” responses to head injury, including loss of consciousness and persistent amnesia.  He also described how a 2004 study revealed that “football players with multiple concussions were 7.7 times more likely to experience a “major drop in memory performance” and that three months after a concussion they continued to experience “persistent deficits in processing complex visual stimuli.” What’s most disturbing, Jonah writes, is that these cognitive deficits have a real-world impact: When compared with similar students without a history of concussions, athletes with two or more brain injuries demonstrate statistically significant lower grade-point averages”.

Normal Brain vs. Concussed Brain

Normal Brain vs. Concussed Brain

When we, as observers and bystanders, see these numbers and shocking effects it prompts us to ask why we even play this game? Are we to sacrifice our long term well being for short term success and glory?

There are three ways concussions could occur.  Firstly, there could be a focal impact concussion where the brain was hurt wherever it was directly hit.  Next, the concussion might have occurred due to no direct impact on the brain or head, which can be described as a linear concussion.  Angular concussions result from a twist of the head, which ends up splitting the spinal cord and brain stem.  This hurts the Corpus Callosum which separates the cerebellum and the brain stem. In simple terms it affects the back side of your head near your spinal cord. Funnily enough, the most frequent concussion occurs from a combination of linear, focal, and angular concussions.

Now what is the science behind a concussion? When a football player is involved in a head to head collision the first thing that happens is that the cortex, which is very mushy and somewhat jelly-like, is shoved into the skull. Due to the fact that the brain is unable to feel pain directly, a direct impact can shove the cortex through the protective cerebrospinal fluid and into the cranium. A few moments, specifically milliseconds, after a person gets a concussion, Jonah Lehrer writes that “neurotransmitters are released as billions of brain cells turn themselves on at the exact same time”.

The Brain looks like scrambled eggs once it is concussed

The Brain looks like scrambled eggs once it is concussed

He goes on to describe that “this frenzy of activity leads to a surge of electricity, an unleashing of the charged ions contained within neurons”. It’s as if the brain is pouring out its power. This is why if you have ever seen someone receive a helmet to helmet hit in a football game the athlete immediately collapses to the ground.  The energy is sapped out of their mind, and they are at the risk of blanking out.  Even one concussion, as the journal Radiology reports, could cause permanent damage.  Dr. Yvonne W. Lui, Neuroradiology section chief and assistant professor of radiology at NYU Langone School of Medicine reported that “Two of the brain regions affected were the anterior cingulate and the precuneal region,” Dr. Lui said. “The anterior cingulate has been implicated in mood disorders including depression, and the precuneal region has a lot of different connections to areas of the brain responsible for executive function or higher order thinking.” Some patients receive long term damage to these parts just after minor blows to the head”.

The red regions shows the anterior cingulate and precuneal region in a picture of a damaged concussed brain

The red regions shows the anterior cingulate and precuneal region in a picture of a damaged concussed brain

Concussions largely effect the brain on a molecular level as well. They do this by effecting the function of neurons which help control the function of the whole brain.  Some things that happen according to the XLNT brain Sport Sports Concussion management “include the release of toxic excitatory neurotransmitters like glutamine, increased metabolic energy demands to assist with the cell recovery, and the inability to regulate electrolytes.  All of these things have the ability to accumulate over time and make it harder to fully recover from a concussion.

Recovery from a concussion is even tougher.  After having a concussion for a little while cells start to attempt to recuperate and regain form and equilibrium.  This process could take anywhere from a several hours to a few months. The body and brain actually try to instill side effects like making bright lights painful in order to make the brain be used to think as little as possible. In order to effectively have your brain heal after a concussion there must be no barriers or interruptions during the arduous healing process due to the fragility of the wounded brain. Interestingly, concussions lead to energy starved neurons. These energy starved neurons need to be kept in a stable condition for proper healing.  A small impact during healing on the head can lead to as Jonah Lehrer puts its it, “a devastating molecular cascade”.  Just a small second hit during recovery lead brain cells to commit suicide which results in an unrecoverable loss of neurons.  Scientists nowadays are finding cutting edge techniques in which they could test whether people are truly recovered from their concussions.  Dr. Neselius from the University of Gothenburg is one of these leading researches who has found out that testing the cerebrospinal fluid in a person’s brain can show if they have healed or not.  Her studies show that most people never truly recover from concussions before getting the permission to return to daily activities.

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From top right to top left to bottom right to bottom left: This is a zoomed in picture of a person’s concussed brain and how concussions are simply caused by an impact to a very small part. It can be compared to burning a small part of your body, sapping all life and energy from the region.

With the recent lawsuits against the NFL and NCAA due to concussion problems, it is evident that in the future years these brain injuries will be given even more importance.

 

 

Works Cited

  1. Kahn, K. (2014, January 9). Teen concussions increase risk for depression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140109175502.htm
  2. The science behind concussions. (n.d.). Concussion Facts. Retrieved July 30, 2014, from http://www.xlntbrain.com/concussions/science
  3. Lehrer, J. (2012, January 19). The Fragile Teenage Brain. Grantland. Retrieved July 30, 2014, from http://grantland.com/features/jonah-lehrer-concussions-adolescents-future-football/
  4. Radiological Society of North America. (2013, March 12). Single concussion may cause lasting brain damage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130312092642.htm
  5. University of Gothenburg. (2014, May 27). Recovery from sports-related concussion slower than believed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140527114501.htm

 

Why I chose my project?

Due to my long involvement in sports I have always been concerned with the threat of brain injuries.  In recent years, the brain injury called concussion has risen as one of the formost physical threats to athletes everywhere. Through my project I hope to to  convey that concussions are not just a short term injury.  Additionally, I hope to illustrate how athletes and people need to spend more time knowing the true damage the concussion can pose towards one’s brain. I chose to write an essay as it is the most effective way to explain one’s thoughts and ideas in a comprehensive manner.  For this topic, it is important to cover all edges and unlike artisitc displays the best way to describe concussions is to write about them.


Final Project: The Genetics behind Intracerebral Hemorrhages

August 5, 2014

By Joonho Jo

The emergency room door blasts wide open as an urgent looking man rushes in. “Will she be okay?” A resting grandmother lies on the cart. Her eyes are closed shut, and her arms tremble softly back and forth, back and forth. “She’s been in an intracerebral hemorrhage. This could result in her body being paralyzed. The future is hazy.” The doctor bites his nails, and shuffles his feet.

Strokes are the second leading cause of death in the world and are first in the causing of disabilities. Cerebral hemorrhages account for more than 15% of all of these deaths. An intracerebral hemorrhage, the most fatal and least treatable stroke, is a condition which occurs when a diseased blood vessel in the brain bursts, allowing blood to rush freely inside the brain. When this overflow of blood causes pressure to rise, the brain cells surrounding this area are damaged. Sometimes, if the pressure rises an abnormally large amount, the brain may become too overwhelmed and can cause unconsciousness, paralyzations, or even death.

There are several causes known to us about this devastating condition. In many cases, previous head injuries or hypertension could result in an intracerebral hemorrhage later in a person’s life. Aneurysm, a weakening in a blood vessel wall has been known to have caused cerebral bleedings in the past. Even with these causes, scientists desired to search for more possibilities. Questions were asked such as, “Are there instances when parents who have had bleedings have children who have bleedings?” and “Are there any alleles that are correlated with a higher incidence rate of intracerebral hemorrhages?” Recently, studies have shown that another factor can play a large part in the incidences of an intracerebral hemorrhage: genetics.

In a review article done by Baoqiong Liu, Le Zhang, and Qidong Yang, doctors at the Department of Neurology at Xiangya Hospital, it was found that several alleles have been noticed to be correlated to a higher incidence rate of hemorrhages. They reported that in a study done in Japan, the renin gene MboI site m allele was found to increase the chance of cerebral bleeding.

Unlike the renin gene, which displayed a direct correlation to the higher rate of instances of intracerebral hemorrhages, the article also illustrated several other genes that triggered or activated a physical response that in turn caused a more frequent rate of intracerebral hemorrhages. For example, a platelet-activating factor (PAF), which is a phospholipid embedded in the granules of the platelets is normally inactivated by the enzyme PAF acetylhydrolase. But in the case of a person with a missense mutation (V279F) in Exon 9 of the gene causes this enzyme to malfunction, resulting in a risk factor for a cerebral bleeding.

In another study done by Daniel Woo, Laura Sauerbeck, and several others, another gene was proposed to be related in the higher incidence rate of intracerebral hemorrhages. The apoE4 genotype was suspected to have an association with cases of cerebral hemorrhages.

Previously, there have been several genes that were proposed to be part of the causes of the brain bleedings. The importance of enhancing our knowledge about the genetic risks of intracerebral hemorrhages cannot be overstated. If the scientific world is able to find out more about the genetic risk, new risk assessments will be able to be produced, which already creates an immediate clinical impact. Other recent discoveries about the genetic risks of diseases such as coronary artery disease, age related macular degeneration, and Crohn disease, just to name a few, have opened up countless different biological views for scientists to study. Hopefully, in the future, other researches will be able to do the same for intracerebral hemorrhages.

 

Bibliography

Biffi, A., Kidwell, C. S., Worrall, B. B., Anderson, C. D., Falcone, G. J., Kissela, B., et al. (2013). Novel Insights Into the Genetics of Intracerebral Hemorrhage.Stroke44(6, Supplement 1), S137-S137.

Cerebral Hemorrhage. (n.d.). Cerebral Hemorrhage. Retrieved July 30, 2014, from http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Programs-and-Services/Stroke-Program/Stroke-Resources/Cerebral-Hemorrhage.aspx

Rost, N. S., Greenberg, S. M., & Rosand, J. (2008). The Genetic Architecture of Intracerebral Hemorrhage. Stroke39(7), 2166-2173.

Woo, D. (2002). Genetic and Environmental Risk Factors for Intracerebral Hemorrhage: Preliminary Results of a Population-Based Study * Editorial Comment: Preliminary Results of a Population-Based Study. Stroke33(5), 1190-1196.

Yang, Q., Liu, B., & Zhang, L. (2012). Genetics of intracerebral hemorrhage: Insights from candidate gene approaches. Neurology India60(1), 3.

 

Reasons behind my ideas:

I was interested in completing this project on intracerebral hemorrhages because of several reasons. First, my great grandmother suffered an intracerebral hemorrhage, which caused me to want to know more about it. Second, I knew that a bleeding in the brain such as an hemorrhage had a huge effect on a person’s life, and I wanted to find out how such a small popping of a blood vessel could possibly kill somebody. This showed, to me, how important the brain was to the body. The effects of a blood vessel popping in an arm is a lot less severe than a bleeding in the brain.

I chose to write a journal article, like one you would see in the New York Times Science Section because at my school, I currently write for the newspaper. I was really intrigued by how the science section differed from let’s say the news section. In my first attempt to write a science article, I was able to learn a different style of newspaper writing. Another reason I chose this medium was to use several research and review articles and summarize or combine them to form one article that gave the reader the “main idea” of all of them. Please feel free to give me suggestions on how to improve the article.

 

 


Case Study

August 5, 2014

Part 1

The brain communicates by using electrical signals. These signals are passed on in the brain through neurons. A neuron is composed of three parts: the soma, dendrites, and axon. In the brain, a neuron receives the signal through its dendrites and passes on the signal through its axon. These signals are the reason one can preform all the tasks he, she, or it does.

A seizure is occurs when there  are irregular electrical signals in the brain.  There are two types of seizures. The first are known as Generalized Seizures. This is when both sides of the brain have irregular signals, triggering the attack. Common symptoms include feeling an aura, meaning that they have a sensory, visual, motor,Other symptoms are confusion and weird involuntary action. etc. perceptual disturbance.   The second type of seizures are known as Partial or Focal Seizures. These occur when a specific or localized area of the brain has irregular brain signals. This can either stay localized or spread throughout the entire brain. The irregular firing of electrical signals causes a wave of depolarization also known as paroxysmal depolarizing shift.  Common symptoms include loss of conscientiousness, confusion, impaired breathing, etc.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which the nerve cells have abnormal, excessive or synchronous activity. This is diagnosed through various testing and background research on the patient. The test used are the EEG (electroencephalogram), MRI ( magnetic resonance imaging), blood tests, MRS (magnetic resonance spectroscopy, PET (position emission tomography), and SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography).

An EEG measures  the electrical activity (impulses) of neurons. This done by placing electrodes on the patients scalp. These electrodes will record the signals from the brain  and send them to a machine where they will be graphed. The results from the EEG will show whether the patient is have abnormal or normal brain activity. An MRI uses a magnetic field along with pulses of radio waves to create a 3D image of the patients organs. The patient lays down and is taken into what is essentially a very large magnet. Here, the patient’s organs will be scanned and a 3D computer model will be made of them. MRI allows doctors to compare the brains of someone who has seizures to someone that doesn’t. This can show the doctor whether there is something about the brain that is different that is causing the seizures or if any damage has occurred to the brain due to the seizures.

There a many causes for non-epileptic seizures (NES). NES can be cause by metabolic problems such as high or low blood sugar, high or low sodium etc. Mass lesions can also cause seizures. Overdoses on drugs or drug withdrawal may cause seizures. Also many drugs have a common side effect of seizures. Many infections including tapeworm and meningitis can cause seizures aw well.

I believe that Jerrod is having Partial or Focal Seizures. This is because Jerrod was said to be having seizures where is right arm is twitching. Since his right arm is the only part of his body twitching, it is more than likely that Jerrod is have simple partial seizures on the left side of his brain. This is most likely epileptic  because it seems that the parents were surprised when they started noticing this.  Therefore, medication is probably not the cause because the parents would have known if seizures were a side effect. He had this when he was playing with his dad, therefore it is unlikely that he remembered a horrific event in his life that could have caused it.

If Jerrod were having a seizure i would do a series of things to ensure his safety. First i would role him on his side so that he does not choke on his own vomit or fluids. Next I would cushion his head and loosen any tight clothing such as a belt or tie.  Finally, I would clear the area so that he does not hit anything around him. If his seizure was lasting more than five minutes, I would call an ambulance.

There are many treatments for epilepsy. The biggest one is the medication. There are currently 26 approved epilepsy medications that help over 60% of all patients. Surgery is also another option. This is a bit of a more drastic option and is not common. Currently, there are two devices that can help treat epilepsy. They are the Vagus Nerve Stimulation and the Responsive Neurostimulation. The Vagus Nerve Stimulation is a device that is implanted through surgery and it gives a stimulation during regualr intervals of the day. The Responsive Neurotransmitter is implanted in the brain through surgery and can recognize a seizure. When it does, it will release a signal that disrupts the seizure. There are even dietary treatments for epilepsy. Constant new treatments are being created for seizures everyday.

Part 2.

Rasmussen’s Syndrome, otherwise known as Rasmussen’s encephalitis is a inflammatory neurological disease. It was named after Canadian neurosurgeon Theodore Rasmussen. This syndrome is commonly seen in children between the ages of 14 months to 14 years. The cause of Rasmussen’s is currently unknown but we believe  that is an autoimmune process. During this, a certain section of the brain becomes inflated and then deteriorates. The symptoms are weakness on one side of the body,  loss of vision on one side of the body, cognitive difficulties and partial seizures. Throughout the years, various theories have come up on how the syndrome is caused.  Viruses have been a suggestion, antibody attacks on certain enzymes has come up, but there is still no cause.  Rasmussen’s rarely leads to death but it can Anti seizure medications are basically useless on this syndrome.

The EEG was used to locate where the seizures were coming from. This will inform the doctors whether the seizures are localized in one hemisphere or if it is on both hemispheres. So the doctors in Jerrod’s case noticed that they were originating from the left hemisphere, adding to their suspicion  that he might have Rasmussen’s. The MRI shows doctors how the brain has been damaged by the seizures. This gives them information on how severe the seizures are and what they might be able to do to reduce them. All of the information collected here is used to determine whether a patient needs a hemispherectomy.

As the doctors said, Jerrod would lose a large portion of his left hemisphere. The left temporal lobe, part of his left frontal lobe, and parts of his partial and occipital lobes would have to be removed. Other than this, part of Jerrod’s corpus collosum would be severed.  Due to all of this being removed from the left hemisphere, Jerrod will probably suffer from slight or mild paralysis on his right side of the body. Along with this, Jerrod may have some vision problems due to part of the occipital lobe being removed. Jerrod will also have some trouble with his memory and his understanding or language. Even with all of these problems, Treatment and rehabilitation can help him live a better life.

Jerrod will still have complete control over the left side of his body because nothing is being done to the right side of his brain. Also since Jerrod’s thalamus, amygdala, hippocampus and other inner parts of the brain are being left intact, he will still have control over his emotions, sleep state, and his long term memory would be fine.

After surgery, Jerrod will have to go a rehabilitation center so that he can slowly regain control over the right side of his body. Also any visual or auditory problems he mentions should be reported to a doctor so that they can help him. Most of the surgeries go very well with some minor complications is any soon after the surgery. These normally do not last long. Other than the minor complications, Jerrod should have a smooth recovery in which he gets better  even though it will take a bit of time.I personally would ask if the surgery would cause pain afterwords. I found out that in the first few weeks of recovery, Jerrod might experience some pain.

In my opinion, I would send Jerrod for the surgery. His seizures will stop and he will eventually recover through the rehabilitation center. The syndrome might get worse and leave Jerrod with permanent paralysis or worse if it is not taken care of.

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/epilepsy/basics/definition/con-20033721

http://science.education.nih.gov/supplements/nih2/addiction/guide/lesson2-1.htm

http://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/guide/electroencephalogram-eeg

http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy/devices

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epileptic_seizure#Signs_and_symptoms

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003931.htm

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/magnetic-resonance-imaging-mri

http://www.medicinenet.com/seizure/page14.htm

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/centers_clinics/epilepsy/types/rasmussen_syndrome.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rasmussen’s_encephalitis#Treatment

https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/syndromes/rasmussen-syndrome


Science Fiction: Imaginary Neuro-Tech

August 4, 2014

My future neuroscience technology would be used to help injured birds that had lost a wing or both wings fly. What it would do is that it would appear like an exoskeleton and attach to the body of the bird and what remains of its wings. This exoskeleton would also be connected to a small machine that could be strapped on a bird’s back like a backpack. This machine would be able to read signals coming from the motor cortex and interpret them into movements allowing the wings to move up and down and ultimately allowing the bird to fly. This idea would be based off of the work of current neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis and would measure the brain signals from the motor cortex that would be received by a prosthetic wing linked to the brain-machine interface on the back of the bird. As the technology is developed the hope would be that only sensors would need to placed on the outside of the bird’s head in order to measure the signals coming from the motor cortex, but it would probably be easier at first to merely insert a chip into the brain of the bird in order for the brain-machine interface to more directly read the signals coming from the bird.

I would want to create this technology because when a bird injures a wing in the wild, it usually means the end of the life of that bird. Especially with birds in a zoo that are being specially cared for, this technology could help keep that bird alive. Also, mankind has always wondered how to fly and if we can make birds fly who previously could not, then perhaps in the future, by inserting certain motor neurons that birds have which respond and have the instinct for flight into human brains, and then by strapping on exoskeleton wings over our arms, humans could fly too! It is a little far fetched, but I thought it would be an interesting idea.

The main leap in technology that will be needed in order to make the bird flight exoskeleton neuroscience technology possible would be to minimize the size of the brain-interface machine that would be strapped onto the bird’s back in order to help it fly. Birds are small creatures, and unlike our current technology which can only do a few basic tasks such as lifting a coffee cup, and are often connected to a heavy machine on the floor, these conditions would not be ideal flying. Also, heavy metals would not be suited for the exoskeleton portion of the design as this would not be ideal for flying. A better alternative could be plastic with metal wires running through in order to transmit the brain signals from motor cortex to brain-interface machine backpack to bird wings.  I would predict that in the next 20 years or so a technology such as this might become possible. Already, at the World Cup, a man with an exoskeleton leg was able to walk and kick a goal into a soccer net. So the mobility required for this type of project already exists. Now all that is required would be to make a smaller machine and use a different material than metal, or perhaps a metal plastic hybrid for a lightweight material.birdtech