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Neuroscience


 
How do you stimulate speech if that part of the brain is dead?

Stimulating the speech areas (Broca's area was illustrated in the lecture) is probably not the right way to state the phenomenon. What is happening is actually stimulation-induced interruption of speech. The patient names objects while sites on the cortical surface are sequentially stimulated. Broca's area is a site or sites in the frontal lobe where the stimulation interrupts the patient's ability to generate speech (without producing other obvious motor or sensory phenomena).

The example of the dog and the bell made the dog pant for food, is this the same for our reactions we have to certain life circumstances that has implanted a memory in our nervous system, which then creates fear which has us react this way over and over to certain challenges in life? This would make it hard for one to get out this pattern unless retained like the dog with the bell.

The example of Pavlov's dog was meant to illustrate learning of new associations. Several neurobiological mechanisms of associative learning have been described, and in several different parts of the brain. Learned associations between some stimulus and an axious or aversive reaction seem to depend on a structure in the temporal lobe called the amygdala (means "almond"), and almost certainly depends on the kind of neurobiological mechanisms of synaptic placticity that I discussed in lecture.

Is the essential tremors (ET) considered the sign of Parkinson's or disease by itself? What is the specific name of the electrical device placed in the center of kent brain?

The device is called a Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) system. It is manufactured by Medtronic. ET is not considered a sign of Parkinson's disease. They are different conditions, although it is true that patients with ET probably have a greater incidence of also developing Parkinson's disease, and it is also true that patients with Parkinson's disease are more likely than non-Parkinsonian individuals to develop ET. The reasons for the overlap in incidence is not known, but they are nevertheless thought to be separate conditions.

If someone has had a severe head injury but a regular MRI of the brain shows no problem...would a functional MRI be of benefit? What could a fMRI show in this case?

Head injury can produce damage to the nervous system at a microscopic level, frequently in the form of shearing axonal processes from their cell bodies. This damage is not visible at the level of MRI, and it can explain any number of problems or deficits a person may experience following a head injury. functional MRI may show patterns different from the norm, but what functional MRI shows depends largely on the behavioral task and the control task employed. That is, functional MRI images are obtained by subtracting one set of images obtained while the subject does one thing (say moves fingers), from another set obtained while the subject does something different (for example, lies still) the difference between the two tasks should isolate one facet of behavior (in the example finger movement).

Do they still use a gamma knife to treat essential tremors?

There have been published descriptions of using stereotactic radiosurgery (of which Gamma Knife is one subtype) to create a lesion in the thalamus for essential tremor, although I have not found reason to offer this to patients myself. One major drawback of the therapy is that it is challeging to be sure about the size of the lesion being created, and that once created, the lesion cannot be adjusted (i.e. in case of side effects)..

What are good foods for brain?

Fish, isn’t it? Or carrots? Actually, there is no special brain food, and even though the brain has a lot of fat in it (the myelin sheathing each nerve axon is a form of fat), even people on very low fat diets seem to get enough. Babies need more fat because their brains grow so rapidly, and they should not normally be put on a low-fat diet, no matter whether they are chunky (reduce total calorie intake instead.)

What does the latest neuroscience research tell us about correlation of cell phone usage over time versus tumor production in the neural tissue.

No definitive study has made the association. These studies are surprisingly difficult to do, as there are many ways they can confound data. A good review is at the National Cancer Institute site. Note, a site that ends .com is usually not a reliable source of information about health or science; look for .gov or .edu.