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Brain and Mind - Essay Example

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Your Full Date Understanding the Brain and the Mind Introduction The brain is an essential part of the human body weighing only about three pounds, and made up of billions of neurons that are interconnected by axons, which are fibers that transmit the signals from and to the different arts of the brain (Ramachandran, ted.com)…
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"Brain and Mind"

Studying the Human Brain Computational Approaches Different equipments have been developed and studied by neuroscientists to understand the how the brain works at the cellular level. Early neuroscientists used the Positron Emission Tomography [PET] for neuro-imaging. This technique makes use of a radioactive sugar called Fluorodioxyglucose. Sugar, being the primary energy source of the brain, is rendered radioactive and injected into a person. The flow of the radioactive sugar is then monitored and the flow of localization through the different parts of the brain gives the scientists the actual movement of signals when certain actions are carried out. However, the main issue on this is the introduction of radioactivity to a person (Voytek, “Computational Analysis”). Cellular electrophysiology is another technique of brain mapping that makes use of the action potentials, in the form of electrical signals, sent out by the neurons in different areas of the brain while an action, such as moving or speaking, is being carried out. Similar to this technique is the macroscale electrophysiology where signals of the brain are recorded in 64-bit channels. The limitation of this technique is that the resolution is poor, yet the main advantage is that the signal is recorded at almost exactly the same time it was made (Voytek, “Computational Analysis”). Another computational approach to neuro-imaging is Diffusion Tension Imaging [DTI] which makes use of the contractions of the axons in the brain when water flows through them. The variation in the strain creates a map showing the movement of the water all over the brain, that is from the front lobe to the back, or left to right . Limitation of this technique, however is that the connectivity map created cannot be integrated with functional brain data (Voytek, “Computational Analysis”). Integrated Approaches Other studies involved the use of these techniques to evaluate the effect of the damages or lesions of the brain on patients, such as those with Capgras syndrome. Damages to certain parts of the brain affects our recognition from reality and these damages created delusions. With the help of neuro-imaging or brain-mapping, the damaged parts of the brain can be determined in patients with brain damage, and these damages correlated to the functional localization (Ramachandran, “Three Clues”). Stroke, is another type of brain damage that randomly or unexpectedly happens to any human being. Jill Bolte Taylor’s first-hand experience provided a realistic observation on what happens when a person gets a stroke. During the occurrence of a stroke, with the lesion situated at the left side of the brain, an individual loses grasp of reality. This means that the brain can no longer differentiate the individual from the rest of its surrounding. Motor functions, capacity to read and the sense of hearing are also affected during this time (Taylor, ted.com). The Mind A study in Italy discussed about a certain type of neurons called mirror neurons, situated at the frontal lobe of the brain which fires a signal in the brain that makes a person imitate what another person is doing. This neuron, at the psychological level, may be responsible for the imitation in human behavior as well Read More
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