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Schiefelbein, Stacey 99084969

October 4, 2005

Neurology Summary

 

There are three views of how mental illness are looked at. The first is that there is a chemical imbalance in the brain which affects the transmitters and receptors in the brain. The second view is that from Freud, that mental illness is caused by the upbringing of the child in its early years. And the third view is that of combining the first and second views. The question of why there are different symptoms for different mental illnesses is still waiting to be answered. Another question with much desired answer is how the symptoms in patients relate to various mental illnesses.

For a first example hysteria was listed. Patients with hysteria have no neurological malfunctions, even in MR scans the brain appears to be normal. But when a patient suddenly goes blind or becomes paralyzed with no neurological damage, it is thought to be a psychological issue. Using PET and MR technology doctors can watch which parts of the brain are active when they are engaging in various activities. An example to visualize this is, is as follows: two regions of the brain light up when you go to move your finger. The motor cortex which sends the message to the brain to move the finger. Then there is the pre-motor cortex that prepares you to move your finger. For a person that has trauma related hysteria when they try to move their leg a third area in the brain lights up. The anterior cingulated located at the orbito-frontal lobes lights up and is the reason why the man can not move his leg. This all makes sense because the emotional center for the brain has been damaged, therefore a man that has hysteria can not move his leg because of the emotional trauma that has damaged the center.

Hysteria is thought to be a disorder of “free-will”, you cannot do what you want when you want. In the human brain before an action is outwardly visual, physiologists have observed through EEG that a “readiness potential” one second before one’s “free-will” kicks in occurs. That then creates the question are we in control of our “free-will” or is it a subconscious activity. What is the purpose of the “readiness potential”? Its ahs a purpose, but what is it. We may have to take a look in quantum mechanics to get a better understanding.

When being pricked by a pin, the brain lights up in several different regions but especially in the insula and anterior cingulated . Now if the connection between the two regions is damaged the individual can feel pain but the individual does not hurt, this disorder is known as pain asymbolia.

Patients that have Capgras syndrome recognize people that they know, but they do not realize their mom is their mom, rather they believe an imposter is pretending to be their mom. This syndrome is cause when the limbic system and amygdala has been cut. When the two are separated it causes the emotional and emotions and visualization to be disoriented and non-functional. The person lacks galvanic skin response which secures when we recognize people. We sweat when we see people we know, this is caused by the emotional connection we have developed.

A similar illness is called Cotard’s syndrome. People with Cotard’s believe that they are dead due to a loss of all emotional connections in the brain. If a patient were to say “dead people don’t bleed”, and then was pricked by a pin and it drew blood, instead of compromising what they just watch happen they would say, “ dead people really do bleed”. Due to the delocalization and depersonalization of this illness found in acute anxiety, panic attacks, depression, patients disconnect themselves and place themselves in a zombie like stage. Epileptic seizures are very similar to this illness as well as not creating a galvanic response.

Not to far away on the list of illnesses is schizophrenia. This is when people think that aliens are controlling them or that the government has placed a chip in their brain. An interesting thing is that a schizophrenics lack the capability of being able to tell the difference between brain generated images and those from out. Normal people can make a mental picture in their heads and know that it is simply something that they have created. In patients they believe what mental pictures they have created , they cannot recognize that they created it in their minds and in fact that it is not a real image. In an experiment with those and those without schizophrenia they were asked to take their left index finger and hold it stationary and then with the right index finger poke the stationary left finger. Those with schizophrenia feel equal poke in both fingers, where as people without the dieses feel a poke in the left finger. Patients with the illness cannot decipher the difference of internal generated actions and external generated sensory stimuli.

A view of consciousness is that a person is aware of both qualia nad self. You cannot have one without the other . First we must figure out what self is. Self is a continuous path from past to present to future along with the idea of a coherent self. Through all our experience and developments we view ourselves as one person, a type of unity. Another part of self is that of “free-will” and being aware that you are aware of yourself. What differentiates us from the person next to us? Everyone has qualia and self. Could it be that there is no difference between you and I? Merely an illusion that there is a difference? Qualia is something that is sent to the brain to be “prepared” for actions around us., called metarepresentation. In a sense, qualia is like a second brain, a second “parasitic” brain. The “second” brain or qualia is to highlight certain things that are viewed as important. It also allows us to have an imagination. For example there is no such think as a unicorn, yet we have the capability of taking a horse and putting a horn in the middle of its forehead. It is thought that human beings are the only ones capable of such a thing.

Humans are also to be thought of as the only ones capable of having “will-power”. Lying to someone to glamorize ourselves is a conscious activity, where as animals and other mammals do not have this capability to do conscious activities as such but subconsciously can in self-defense. In Anosognosia, the distinction between telling a conscious lie and self-deception is impossible. Have you ever felt a sneeze coming on, and prevented it from coming? That is an example of free will, animals are not to be thought of having this quality. Even though qualia and self are two different things, but you cannot have one without the other, does one experience two selves at once? No, its impossible. Even people with split personalities only experience one at a time.

We has humans create scenarios in our minds to predict different situations and behavior, sort of like a cause and effect role playing situation. It is believed that part of our homo sapiens is categorized by the fact that we are self aware. We all are born with the knowledge of self and others. Sticking out your tongue to a baby and it will stick its tongue back out at you is proof of this “self” and “others” difference. Without having the knowledge of “self” we would not be able to blush. If we did not have awareness of self we would not have emotions.

When we break it down, it is thought that 20th century and 75,00 years ago humans are so different that it is thought that maybe 20th century humans are more closely related to homo eretus. Which is an interesting thought, we as humans have developed and changed so much we barely even see to have originated from where we did.

Damage to the idiomatic paraxial causes an animalistic affect. For example if asked to pretend one is hammering, they would make a fist and strike the table. People that do not have this damage would pretend to hold a nail and hold a hammer and strike the imaginary nail with the imaginary hammer. Its not that they are intelligent , its just that there was damage. If the patient was given an nail and a hammer and asked to execute the task, they could do it effortless. It’s just the imaginary concepts they have trouble with.

One must be aware that they are aware of themselves. Sort of like coherence and being able to figure out images that are brain originated or not and such. “Free-will” and “will-power” are also part of being self aware, along with “raw awareness of sensations” or “primary awareness“. For all of those listed in the previous sentence you must have metarepresentation, which means we have qualia. Once again brought to the conclusion that one cannot have self without qualia and vice versa. Not having these qualities may mean that we may have an illness discussed in this article or one not. The thing to remember is that self and qualia are two sides of a coin.

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Stacey Schiefelbein