Your Marvellous Brain. Part 2: Through Paparazzi Eyes

The brain is such a celebrity, across the world; well known and famous. Yet it hides itself in a weird looking squishy greyish mass.

The Brain Through Paparazzi Eyes

Image from SteveKent.net

 

That made me think about the paparazzi? Photographers who follow celebrities around taking photographs, even when celebrities are in disguise. Why not a paparazzi view of the brain? A quick, flashy, secretive look behind the disguise.

 

Last week the overall structures of the brain was introduced. Today a snapshot look at the cerebrum, often simply termed the brain.

 

Why Learn About the Brain?

  • It helps figure out what outcomes you might see when a person has damage to a part or all of their brain. Mostly the part of brain damaged will determine physical and cognitive effects you see.
  • Strategies can be developed through understanding the damage to brain and developing ways to work around it.
  • It can help you to be more scientific and less emotional in your responses.
  • It’s a good idea to know a bit about how it works. After all every single thing you do, say, think, feel, act comes from your brain. It is likened to the most sophisticated computer imaginable.

 

A Quick Experiment For Your Brain

See the power for yourself. You can conduct your own quick experiment to see just one of many the complexities and surprises our brain holds.

  1. Take a marble or other small round object.  Or even your NOSE
  2. Cross the first (index)and second (middle) fingers of one hand
  3. Touch the marble lightly with the tips of both crossed fingers
  4. Close your eyes and gently keep moving your fingers on the marble. 

Can you feel two marbles?   What’s going on do you think?

The eye says one marble.   The finger nerve endings say two.

This was apparently discovered in Ancient Greece by Aristotle.  An illusion created by the brain as it interprets the physical and sensory information.

 

More about The Brain AKA the Cerebrum

Last week was a quick look at the major structures that make up the brain. Today a quick look at what makes up the Cerebrum.

Remember this is the Paparazzi approach; a quick snappy look at the major structures and functions.

Brain lobes

Image by Sebastian023

 

Tip Your Cap at the Cortex

The cerebral cortex is like a cap over the brain. A cap that has earned the brain its favourite nick name “gray matter” because the cells appear grayish in colour.

Different parts of the cortex have different functions depending on which lobes are below. For instance the area over the frontal lobe is mainly our motor (or voluntary movement) functions, while the area over the other lobes are more about sensory input. The area over the parietal lobes processes information such as touch, temperature.

It collects information coming in then sends it on to the necessary parts of the brain and nervous system to ensure necessary action and also memory for next time. You see and smell a beautiful rose and at the same time prick yourself on a thorn. You learn to keep out of the way of the thorns, and you recall the beauty of the sight and scent of the rose.

 

Forever Frontal Lobe

Much has already been said and will continue to be said about the Frontal lobe and what happens when the  Frontal lobe is damaged. This is the lobe well know for providing us with our social graces and personality.

The frontal lobe – at its name suggests sits at the front of the brain. It’s position right up front also suggests its rightful role as “boss” of the brain. It even has a section that is in front of the front! The Prefrontal cortex that is mainly managing our cognitive or executive functions. Hence its reputation for being responsible for our personality and social behaviour.

 

Perceptive Parietals
Parietal lobe

Image from Grays Anatomy

Our two Parietal lobes form the upper part of our brain. See the diagram on the right.

It is one of the earliest lobes to become active. Helping with movement, recognition, orientation.

It might help to remember P= Parietal P= Perception. The parietal lobe’s main functions are about making senses of stuff.

Examples include:

  • Understanding language
  • Working out where we are and where parts of our body are in space
  • Recognising faces and shapes
  • Understanding directions
  • Gathering up and analysing information from the senses. Integrating that information to help understanding.

 

Tiptoe through the Temporal
Temporal_lobe_animation

Image by “BodyParts3D, © The Database Center for Life Science licensed under CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.1 Japan”.

 

The temporal lobes sit at the side of the brain around our ears. They fit below the frontal and parietal lobes, and they join the occipital lobe.

A short version of what the temporal lobes do is: They are involved with hearing and memory.

The Temporal lobes look after functions such as:

  • Hearing
  • Understanding of language
  • Getting information from memory
  • Expressing behaviour using word
  • Perceiving and recognising objects. Recognition of faces
  • Reading, and verbal memory
  • Understanding music 

 

Eye on the Occipital Lobe

The single Occipital lobe is at the back of the brain, and at the base of the skull.

It appears to be entirely devoted to vision.

It receives information from the eyes. It talks with other parts of the brain such as the Temporal lobe, who is getting information from the body. The Occipital lobe then interprets that information.

Like many areas of the body messages from the eyes mostly cross over to the opposite side in the Occipital lobe. If there is damage to the right side of the brain it is likely vision on the left will be affected.

 

For More Information about the Brain AKA Cerebrum

For more information here are a couple of useful sites I have found:

Information on the nervous system and its workings including ‘The Brain Top to Bottom

An article by Kate Hoy  who is has also simplified and explained the brain in the article  Explainer: The Brain

There are many many sites talking about the celebrity that is the brain. Please share any great resources you know of in the Comments below.

 

And Finally

As I said last week: Wow the power!

Can you feel it?

7 billion of the world’s most sophisticated computers all working ALL the time. Hmmm just imagine if they all worked together solving the world’s issues we would be living in Utopia.

More amazingly, while we all have similar structures those 7 billion brains are apparently all different. Even brains of identical twins differ. They have different experiences and sensations that develop different neural pathways.

 

Have a think about what each part of the brain does. Can you work out what kind of difficulty a person might have if that part is damaged?

More coming up about that in a couple of weeks.

4 Responses to Your Marvellous Brain. Part 2: Through Paparazzi Eyes

  1. Zk June 29, 2014 at 3:26 am #

    The normal result of the experiment with a marble & crossed fingers of feeling 2 marbles, didn’t happen with either of my hands! I wonder if this is directly as a result of my previous ABI?!?

    • Melanie Atkins June 30, 2014 at 10:27 am #

      I could not say for sure why this did not work. I am guessing that if there was any change in feeling and sensation this might affect the result of the marble test. Someone more expert than me might be able to reply here. Thank you for sharing the result. Regards Melanie

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