Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Whole Brain Nothing But The Brain.

This post is about the brain. Strokes and brains are closely related (thank you Mister Obvious). The brain is more than a glob of tissue in your skull. It is so much more complicated, and consisting of so many parts that it defies comprehension. Cutting the blood supply (aka; stroke) to any of these parts will have dire consequences. 

I'm going to tell you about a mobile app that will show you every part of the brain plus explanations giving you a better understanding of the complexity of this organ. 

This is a free app called 3D Brain (by DNA Learning Center) that I found on the Google Play Store. I would be willing to say that it is free on the iTunes - Apple Store, too. Just bring up the store app of your choice and do a search on 3D Brain.

3D Brain was produced by the Dolan DNA Learning Center at Cold Spring Harbor Labratory, 1 Bungtown Road, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724: www.dnalc.org

The following is taken from the info tab of the 3D Brain app itself as it appeared on my Android tablet. If you don't want to read all this then scroll down to where I show you the graphics and how to use the app.

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Overview
The brain is a remarkable structure that defines who we are as individuals and how we experience the world. Recent advances in neuroimaging have allowed researchers to look inside the brain, providing vivid pictures of its subcomponents and their associated functions. The gross structure of the brain is familiar to most. The outer layer of the forebrain constitutes the familiar wrinkled tissue that is the cerebral cortex, or cortex for short. The large folds in the cortex are called gyri (from the Greek, ‘circle’). The small creases within these folds are fissures (from the Greek, ‘trench’). Each hemisphere of the cortex consists of four lobes— frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital. Other important structures are the brainstem, cerebellum the limbic system (which includes the amygdala and hippocampus).

The G2C Brain consists of 29 interactive structures that can be rotated in 3-D space. Each structure contains information on associated functions, disorders, brain damage, case studies, and links to contemporary modern research.

Case studies
Perhaps the most well known-case study in neuroscience is Phineas Gage, who suffered severe damage to the prefrontal cortex following a railroad-related accident in 1848. An explosion drove a large iron rod through Gage’s skull, and he was later reported to have severe social impairments. Although the extent of these impairments remains controversial, his case study was a landmark in that it correlated specific cognitive functions with a specific brain area. Since then, tens of thousands of case studies have sought to associate specific brain regions with specific functions, and many of these are documented in G2C Brain structures. However, it is important not to overstate the point. All cognitive functions result from the integration of many simple processing mechanisms, distributed throughout the brain.

Associated functions
arousal
emotion
language
learning
memory
movement
perception
sensation
thinking
many others

Associated cognitive disorders
Almost without exception, cognitive disorders correlate to multiple regions in the brain. Just as the genes and biochemicals associated with cognition are expressed throughout the brain, gross structures that correlate with cognitive disorders are widespread. This is certainly true of the six disorders covered in G2C Online: ADHD, Alzheimer's autism, bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia.

Associated with damage
It is possible for the brain to repair damaged neural networks or to compensate for the loss of function in particular structures. Common impairments resultants from brain damage include deficits in attention, emotion, language, learning, memory, movement, perception and sensation.

Substructures
amygdala
basal ganglia
brainstem
Broca's area
cerebellum
cingulate cortex
corpus callosum
dentate gyrus
entorhinal cortex
frontal lobe
hippocampus
hypothalamus
inferior temporal gyrus
limbic system
medulla
middle temporal gyrus
occipital lobe
parietal lobe
perirhinal cortex
pons
prefrontal cortex
premotor cortex
primary motor cortex
somatosensory cortex
subiculum
superior temporal gyrus
temporal lobe
thalamus
ventricles
Wernicke's area
and many others
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Here I will show you the steps to use the app.

1. When you start the app you are presented with the following screen. You can tell your in 3D View mode because you can see the blue line under the words 3D VIEW near the top left of the screen. You can touch the brain and rotate it left and right by sliding your finger.




2. From this first screen you can bring up the list of parts as shown below by touching the word Brain that appears just under that blue line. The list will look like this:


3. Touching any of the items in the list as shown above will show you a 3D image like this one below. I selected Amygdala. Again, touching the image and sliding your finger left or right will rotate the image:



4. Now, if you touch the word LABELS near the top of the screen that is just to the right of the words 3D VIEW, you'll see the following with the blue bar now under the word LABELS, and lines pointing to each area for that part. This image does not rotate:



5. Next, if you want to see more information about this part, then touch the word INFO that is to the right of the word LABELS near the top of the screen.

This is what you'll see. A detailed description of the item:



6. To position to another brain item, touch 3D VIEW again and start over. That's all there is to it.


Research reviews

Harrison and Weinberger (2008) review schizophrenia by integrating research on genes, gene expression, and neuropathology (Pubmed ID number: 15263907).

Malenka and Bear (2004) review the processes underlying long-term potentiation and long-term depression (Pubmed ID number: 15450156).

Selkoe (2002) reviews evidence that Alzheimer's disease begins with subtle alterations of synapses in the hippocampus, caused by assemblies of the amyloid beta protein (Pubmed ID number: 12399581).

Sudhof (2004) reviews the synaptic vesicle cycle (Pubmed ID number: 15217342).

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