Functional Neurology Quotes

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The spirits of the brain are directly connected to the testicles. This is why men who weary their imagination in books are less suitable for procreative functions...
Louis de la Forge
While all doctors treat diseases, neurosurgeons work in the crucible of identity: every operation on the brain is, by necessity, a manipulation of the substance of our selves, and every conversation with a patient undergoing brain surgery cannot help but confront this fact. In addition, to the patient and family, the brain surgery is usually the most dramatic event they have ever faced and, as such, has the impact of any major life event. At those critical junctures, the question is not simply whether to live or die but what kind of life is worth living. Would you trade your ability - or your mother's - to talk for a few extra months of mute life? The expansion of your visual blind spot in exchange for eliminating the small possibility of a fatal brain hemorrhage? Your right hand's function to stop seizures? How much neurologic suffering would you let your child endure before saying that death is preferable? Because the brain mediates our experience of the world, any neurosurgical problem forces a patient and family, ideally with a doctor as a guide, to answer this question: What makes life meaningful enough to go on living?
Paul Kalanithi (When Breath Becomes Air)
Neurology’s favourite word is ‘deficit’, denoting an impairment or incapacity of neurological function: loss of speech, loss of language, loss of memory, loss of vision, loss of dexterity, loss of identity and myriad other lacks and losses of specific functions (or faculties).
Oliver Sacks (The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales)
Struggle is not optional—it's neurologically required: in order to get your skill circuit to fire optimally, you must by definition fire the circuit suboptimally; you must make mistakes and pay attention to those mistakes; you must slowly teach your circuit. You must also keep firing that circuit—i.e., practicing—in order to keep myelin functioning properly. After all, myelin is living tissue.
Daniel Coyle (The Talent Code: Unlocking the Secret of Skill in Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Everything Else)
Addiction to alcohol is also a neurological phenomenon, the result of a complex set of molecular alterations that take place in the brain when it’s excessively and repeatedly exposed to the drug. The science of addiction is complicated, but the basic idea is fairly straightforward: alcohol appears to wreak havoc on the brain’s natural systems of craving and reward, compromising the functioning of the various neurotransmitters and proteins that create feelings of well-being.
Caroline Knapp (Drinking: A Love Story)
It is difficult to overstate the importance of understanding mirror neurons and their function. They may well be central to social learning, imitation, and the cultural transmission of skills and attitudes—perhaps even of the pressed-together sound clusters we call words. By hyperdeveloping the mirror-neuron system, evolution in effect turned culture into the new genome. Armed with culture, humans could adapt to hostile new environments and figure out how to exploit formerly inaccessible or poisonous food sources in just one or two generations—instead of the hundreds or thousands of generations such adaptations would have taken to accomplish through genetic evolution. Thus culture became a significant new source of evolutionary pressure, which helped select brains that had even better mirror-neuron systems and the imitative learning associated with them. The result was one of the many self-amplifying snowball effects that culminated in Homo sapiens, the ape that looked into its own mind and saw the whole cosmos reflected inside.
V.S. Ramachandran (The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human)
At those critical junctures, the question is not simply whether to live or die but what kind of life is worth living. Would you trade your ability--or your mother's--to talk for a few extra months of mute life? The expansion of your visual blind spot in exchange for the small possibility of a fatal brain hemorrhage? Your right hand's function to stop seizures? How much neurological suffering would you let your child endure before saying that death is preferable? Because the brain mediates our experience of the world, any neurosurgical problem forces a patient, and family, ideally with a doctor as a guide, to answer this question: What makes life meaningful enough to go on living?
Paul Kalanithi (When Breath Becomes Air)
Asperger's Syndrome is a neurological condition, not a mental illness. Some parts of your brain are over-wired, and work more than other people's, and other parts are under-wired. They don't function the same way as in a typical person. In your case, you have to learn social conventions; you don't pick up on them instinctively. Logic and reason dictate your actions more than emotion or instinct.
Carol Shay Hornung (Asperger Sunset)
Individuality is deeply imbued in us from the very start, at the neuronal level. Even at a motor level, researchers have shown, an infant does not follow a set pattern of learning to walk or how to reach for something. Each baby experiments with different ways of reaching for objects and over the course of several months discovers or selects his own motor solutions. When we try to envisage the neural basis of such individual learning, we might imagine a "population" of movements (and their neural correlates) being strengthened or pruned away by experience. Similar considerations arise with regard to recover and rehabilitation after strokes and other injuries. There are no rules; there is no prescribed path of recovery; every patient must discover or create his own motor and perceptual patterns, his own solutions to the challenges that face him; and it is the function of a sensitive therapist to help him in this. And in its broadest sense, neural Darwinism implies that we are destined, whether we wish it or not, to a life of particularity and self-development, to make our own individual paths through life.
Oliver Sacks (On the Move: A Life)
Having DID is, for many people, a very lonely thing. If this book reaches some people whose experiences resonate with mine and gives them a sense that they aren't alone, that there is hope, then I will have achieved one of my goals. A sad fact is that people with DID spend an average of almost seven years in the mental health system before being properly diagnosed and receiving the specific help they need. During that repeatedly misdiagnosed and incorrectly treated, simply because clinicians fail to recognize the symptoms. If this book provides practicing and future clinicians certain insight into DID, then I will have accomplished another goal. Clinicians, and all others whose lives are touched by DID, need to grasp the fundamentally illusive nature of memory, because memory, or the lack of it, is an integral component of this condition. Our minds are stock pots which are continuously fed ingredients from many cooks: parents, siblings, relatives, neighbors, teachers, schoolmates, strangers, acquaintances, radio, television, movies, and books. These are the fixings of learning and memory, which are stirred with a spoon that changes form over time as it is shaped by our experiences. In this incredibly amorphous neurological stew, it is impossible for all memories to be exact. But even as we accept the complex of impressionistic nature of memory, it is equally essential to recognize that people who experience persistent and intrusive memories that disrupt their sense of well-being and ability to function, have some real basis distress, regardless of the degree of clarity or feasibility of their recollections. We must understand that those who experience abuse as children, and particularly those who experience incest, almost invariably suffer from a profound sense of guilt and shame that is not meliorated merely by unearthing memories or focusing on the content of traumatic material. It is not enough to just remember. Nor is achieving a sense of wholeness and peace necessarily accomplished by either placing blame on others or by forgiving those we perceive as having wronged us. It is achieved through understanding, acceptance, and reinvention of the self.
Cameron West (First Person Plural: My Life as a Multiple)
Cognitive reality of an individual solely arises from the make-up of that individual’s brain structure. Any kind of damage, like stroke can alter this reality without the awareness of the individual.
Abhijit Naskar (Time to Save Medicine)
We’ve clearly placed form over function when it comes to choosing dogs for the home. Maybe this is because we are such a visual species ourselves, but I think it’s a shame, and some breeds are being ruined because of this tendency to stress how they look over what they can do. Bulldogs, more commonly known as English bulldogs, are a prime example of this overemphasis on physical appearance, particularly within so-called purebred dogs. Among the laundry list of physical ailments that English bulldogs suffer from—eye and ear problems, skin infections, respiratory ailments, immune system and neurological disorders, and problems with moving, eating/digesting, copulating, and bearing puppies—many are attributable to breeding practices to produce dogs with what are considered desirable physical traits.
Mike Ritland (Team Dog: How to Train Your Dog--the Navy SEAL Way)
The impulse to form group identities and favor in-group members has a neurological basis. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), scientists have scanned people’s brains while conducting experiments similar to the one just described. Their findings, as one writer puts it, suggest that: “group identification is both innate and almost immediate.
Amy Chua (Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations)
I have seen mood stabilization, reduced or eliminated depression, reduced or eliminated anxiety, improved cognitive functioning, greatly enhanced and evened-out energy levels, cessation of seizures, improved overall neurological stability, cessation of migraines, improved sleep, improvement in autistic symptoms, improvements with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), improved gastrointestinal functioning, healthy weight loss, cancer remissions and tumor shrinkage, much better management of underlying previous health issues, improved symptoms and quality of life in those struggling with various forms of autoimmunity (including many with type 1 and 1.5 diabetes), fewer colds and flus, total reversal of chronic fatigue, improved memory, sharpened cognitive functioning, and significantly stabilized temperament. And there is quality evidence to support the beneficial impact of a fat-based ketogenic approach in all these types of issues. – Nora Gedgaudas
Jimmy Moore (Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet)
The Brits call this sort of thing Functional Neurological Symptoms, or FNS, the psychiatrists call it conversion disorder, and almost everyone else just calls it hysteria. There are three generally acknowledged, albeit uncodified, strategies for dealing with it. The Irish strategy is the most emphatic, and is epitomized by Matt O’Keefe, with whom I rounded a few years back on a stint in Ireland. “What are you going to do?” I asked him about a young woman with pseudoseizures. “What am I going to do?” he said. “I’ll tell you what I’m goin’ to do. I’m going to get her, and her family, and her husband, and the children, and even the feckin’ dog in a room, and tell ’em that they’re wasting my feckin’ time. I want ’em all to hear it so that there is enough feckin’ shame and guilt there that it’ll keep her the feck away from me. It might not cure her, but so what? As long as I get rid of them.” This approach has its adherents even on these shores. It is an approach that Elliott aspires to, as he often tells me, but can never quite marshal the umbrage, the nerve, or a sufficiently convincing accent, to pull off. The English strategy is less caustic, and can best be summarized by a popular slogan of World War II vintage currently enjoying a revival: “Keep Calm and Carry On.” It is dry, not overly explanatory, not psychological, and does not blame the patient: “Yes, you have something,” it says. “This is what it is [insert technical term here], but we will not be expending our time or a psychiatrist’s time on it. You will have to deal with it.” Predictably, the American strategy holds no one accountable, involves a brain-centered euphemistic explanation coupled with some touchy-feely stuff, and ends with a recommendation for a therapeutic program that, very often, the patient will ignore. In its abdication of responsibility, motivated by the fear of a lawsuit, it closely mirrors the beginning of the end of a doomed relationship: “It’s not you, it’s … no wait, it’s not me, either. It just is what it is.” Not surprisingly, estimates of recurrence of symptoms range from a half to two-thirds of all cases, making this one of the most common conditions that a neurologist will face, again and again. *   *   *
Allan H. Ropper (Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole: A Renowned Neurologist Explains the Mystery and Drama of Brain Disease)
Characteristics of CFS/ME include persistent mental and physical fatigue accompanied by a range of neurological, autonomic, neuroendocrine, immune and sleep difficulties (Carruthers et al., 2003). In turn, these manifestations produce a range of functional limitations including severe cognitive impairments (e.g. problems with attention, problem-solving, concentration, memory and verbal communication) and debilitating physical difficulties such as problems with general mobility and self-care, shopping, food-preparation and housekeeping (Taylor & Kielhofner, 2005). These impairments are often acute and enduring, impacting upon an individual’s personal, occupational and social lives.
Megan A. Arroll
ME/CFS has a greater negative impact on functional status and well-being than other chronic diseases, e.g., cancer or lung diseases[8], and is associated with a drastic decrement in physical functioning[9]. In a comparison study[10] ME/CFS patients scored significantly lower than patients with hypertension, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, and multiple sclerosis (MS), on all of the eight Short Form Health Survey (SF-36)[11] subscales. As compared to patients with depression, ME/CFS patients scored significantly lower on all the scales, except for scales measuring mental health and role disability due to emotional problems, on which they scored significantly higher.
Frank Twisk
At those critical junctures, the question is not simply whether to live or die but what kind of life is worth living. Would you trade your ability—or your mother’s—to talk for a few extra months of mute life? The expansion of your visual blind spot in exchange for eliminating the small possibility of a fatal brain hemorrhage? Your right hand’s function to stop seizures? How much neurologic suffering would you let your child endure before saying that death is preferable? Because the brain mediates our experience of the world, any neurosurgical problem forces a patient and family, ideally with a doctor as a guide, to answer this question: What makes life meaningful enough to go on living?
Paul Kalanithi (When Breath Becomes Air)
So, what's the story?" "No story. Just a nightmare.” “Meaning?” “Meaning, heavy compression lines in his cartilage, severe bruising on his kidneys, liver and lower intestines. Fracture marks on his collar bone, tibia, radius, humerus, scapular, femur and every single one of his ribs have been broken. Don't even get me started on the concussive damage to his skull and brain tissue. Twenty-three percent of this boys body is scared for life. And yet, every organ is functioning normally and his neurological activity is above average. He's eighteen years old and he weights about two bills but remove the scar tissue and he'd weigh about a buck-ten. All in all, I say he lived inside a hydraulic car press, went through the Napoleonic wars and was on board the Hindenburg when it went down in flame and yet he's okay...this boy just refuses to die.
S.L.J. Shortt (Revelations (Blood Heavy, #3))
Every part of the brain plays a crucial role in the construction of something magnificent which we call ”mind”. But if we observe closely, the mind doesn’t exactly exist as one distinct process or entity or system. It’s rather an illusion. We can understand this better if we see the mind as a nation. Think of the nation you live in. Is there really any such thing as a ”nation”! A nation is simply the collection of activities of a group of people inside an imaginary border. Likewise, mind is the collection of activities of a group of neurons inside the skull. And just like in a nation, when a few neurons malfunction, others can slowly learn to take their place. But when an entire group of neurons in a specific brain region malfunctions, it can impede in the proper functioning of the mind, just like when a huge number of people in an entire state or district stop working, it can affect the functioning of the entire nation.
Abhijit Naskar (Mission Reality)
HISTORICAL NOTE There are no nuclear power stations in Belarus. Of the functioning stations in the territory of the former USSR, the ones closest to Belarus are of the old Soviet-designed RBMK type. To the north, the Ignalinsk station, to the east, the Smolensk station, and to the south, Chernobyl. On April 26, 1986, at 1:23:58, a series of explosions destroyed the reactor in the building that housed Energy Block #4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station. The catastrophe at Chernobyl became the largest technological disaster of the twentieth century. For tiny Belarus (population: 10 million), it was a national disaster. During the Second World War, the Nazis destroyed 619 Belarussian villages along with their inhabitants. As a result of Chernobyl, the country lost 485 villages and settlements. Of these, 70 have been forever buried underground. During the war, one out of every four Belarussians was killed; today, one out of every five Belarussians lives on contaminated land. This amounts to 2.1 million people, of whom 700,000 are children. Among the demographic factors responsible for the depopulation of Belarus, radiation is number one. In the Gomel and Mogilev regions, which suffered the most from Chernobyl, mortality rates exceed birth rates by 20%. As a result of the accident, 50 million Ci of radionuclides were released into the atmosphere. Seventy percent of these descended on Belarus; fully 23% of its territory is contaminated by cesium-137 radionuclides with a density of over 1 Ci/km2. Ukraine on the other hand has 4.8% of its territory contaminated, and Russia, 0.5%. The area of arable land with a density of more than 1 Ci/km2 is over 18 million hectares; 2.4 thousand hectares have been taken out of the agricultural economy. Belarus is a land of forests. But 26% of all forests and a large part of all marshes near the rivers Pripyat, Dniepr, and Sozh are considered part of the radioactive zone. As a result of the perpetual presence of small doses of radiation, the number of people with cancer, mental retardation, neurological disorders, and genetic mutations increases with each year. —“Chernobyl.” Belaruskaya entsiklopedia On April 29, 1986, instruments recorded high levels of radiation in Poland, Germany, Austria, and Romania. On April 30, in Switzerland and northern Italy. On May 1 and 2, in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and northern Greece. On May 3, in Israel, Kuwait, and Turkey. . . . Gaseous airborne particles traveled around the globe: on May 2 they were registered in Japan, on May 5 in India, on May 5 and 6 in the U.S. and Canada. It took less than a week for Chernobyl to become a problem for the entire world. —“The Consequences of the Chernobyl Accident in Belarus.” Minsk, Sakharov International College on Radioecology The fourth reactor, now known as the Cover, still holds about twenty tons of nuclear fuel in its lead-and-metal core. No one knows what is happening with it. The sarcophagus was well made, uniquely constructed, and the design engineers from St. Petersburg should probably be proud. But it was constructed in absentia, the plates were put together with the aid of robots and helicopters, and as a result there are fissures. According to some figures, there are now over 200 square meters of spaces and cracks, and radioactive particles continue to escape through them . . . Might the sarcophagus collapse? No one can answer that question, since it’s still impossible to reach many of the connections and constructions in order to see if they’re sturdy. But everyone knows that if the Cover were to collapse, the consequences would be even more dire than they were in 1986. —Ogonyok magazine, No. 17, April 1996
Svetlana Alexievich (Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster)
The traditional hospital practice of excluding parents ignored the importance of attachment relationships as regulators of the child’s emotions, behaviour and physiology. The child’s biological status would be vastly different under the circumstances of parental presence or absence. Her neurochemical output, the electrical activity in her brain’s emotional centres, her heart rate, blood pressure and the serum levels of the various hormones related to stress would all vary significantly. Life is possible only within certain well-defined limits, internal or external. We can no more survive, say, high sugar levels in our bloodstream than we can withstand high levels of radiation emanating from a nuclear explosion. The role of self-regulation, whether emotional or physical, may be likened to that of a thermostat ensuring that the temperature in a home remains constant despite the extremes of weather conditions outside. When the environment becomes too cold, the heating system is switched on. If the air becomes overheated, the air conditioner begins to work. In the animal kingdom, self-regulation is illustrated by the capacity of the warm-blooded creature to exist in a broad range of environments. It can survive more extreme variations of hot and cold without either chilling or overheating than can a coldblooded species. The latter is restricted to a much narrower range of habitats because it does not have the capacity to self-regulate the internal environment. Children and infant animals have virtually no capacity for biological self-regulation; their internal biological states—heart rates, hormone levels, nervous system activity — depend completely on their relationships with caregiving grown-ups. Emotions such as love, fear or anger serve the needs of protecting the self while maintaining essential relationships with parents and other caregivers. Psychological stress is whatever threatens the young creature’s perception of a safe relationship with the adults, because any disruption in the relationship will cause turbulence in the internal milieu. Emotional and social relationships remain important biological influences beyond childhood. “Independent self-regulation may not exist even in adulthood,” Dr. Myron Hofer, then of the Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, wrote in 1984. “Social interactions may continue to play an important role in the everyday regulation of internal biologic systems throughout life.” Our biological response to environmental challenge is profoundly influenced by the context and by the set of relationships that connect us with other human beings. As one prominent researcher has expressed it most aptly, “Adaptation does not occur wholly within the individual.” Human beings as a species did not evolve as solitary creatures but as social animals whose survival was contingent on powerful emotional connections with family and tribe. Social and emotional connections are an integral part of our neurological and chemical makeup. We all know this from the daily experience of dramatic physiological shifts in our bodies as we interact with others. “You’ve burnt the toast again,” evokes markedly different bodily responses from us, depending on whether it is shouted in anger or said with a smile. When one considers our evolutionary history and the scientific evidence at hand, it is absurd even to imagine that health and disease could ever be understood in isolation from our psychoemotional networks. “The basic premise is that, like other social animals, human physiologic homeostasis and ultimate health status are influenced not only by the physical environment but also by the social environment.” From such a biopsychosocial perspective, individual biology, psychological functioning and interpersonal and social relationships work together, each influencing the other.
Gabor Maté (When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress)
At the present, a plausible nominee for the neural substrate of consciousness is one of the most important neurological discoveries of our time. T h is is that tangle of tiny internuncial neurons called the reticular formation, which has long lain hidden and unsuspected in the brainstem. It extends f rom the top of the spinal cord through the brainstem on up into the thalamus and hypothalamus, attracting collaterals from sensory and motor nerves, almost like a system of wire-tabs on the communication lines that pass near it. But this is not all. It also has direct lines of command to half a dozen major areas of the cortex and probably all the nuclei of the brainstem, as we ll as sending fibers down the spinal cord where it influences the peripheral sensory and motor systems. Its function is to sensitize or “awaken” selected nervous circuits and desensitize others, such that those who pioneered in this work christened it “ t he waking b r a i n
Anonymous
timelines register the pain of her loss for the first time. “I’m sorry, honey.” He remembers the day she died, eight weeks ago. She had become almost childlike by that point, her mind gone. He had to feed her, dress her, bathe her. But this was better than the time right before, when she had enough cognitive function left to be aware of her complete confusion. In her lucid moments, she described the feeling as being lost in a dreamlike forest—no identity, no sense of when or where she was. Or alternatively, being absolutely certain she was fifteen years old and still living with her parents in Boulder, and trying to square her foreign surroundings with her sense of place and time and self. She often wondered if this was what her mother felt in her final year. “This timeline—before my mind started to fracture—was the best of them all. Of my very long life. Do you remember that trip we took—I think it was during our first life together—to see the emperor penguins migrate? Remember how we fell in love with this continent? The way it makes you feel like you’re the only people in the world? Kind of appropriate, no?” She looks off camera, says, “What? Don’t be jealous. You’ll be watching this one day. You’ll carry the knowledge of every moment we spent together, all one hundred and forty-four years.” She looks back at the camera. “I need to tell you, Barry, that I couldn’t have made it this long without you. I couldn’t have kept trying to stop the inevitable. But we’re stopping today. As you know by now, I’ve lost the ability to map memory. Like Slade, I used the chair too many times. So I won’t be going back. And even if you returned to a point on the timeline where my consciousness was young and untraveled, there’s no guarantee you could convince me to build the chair. And to what end? We’ve tried everything. Physics, pharmacology, neurology. We even struck out with Slade. It’s time to admit we failed and let the world get on with destroying itself, which it seems so keen on doing.” Barry sees himself step into the frame and take a seat beside Helena. He puts his arm around her. She snuggles into him, her head on his chest. Such a surreal sensation to now remember that day when she decided to record a message for the Barry who would one day merge into his consciousness. “We have four years until doomsday.” “Four years, five months, eight days,” Barry-on-the-screen says. “But who’s counting?” “We’re going to spend that time together. You have those memories now. I hope they’re beautiful.” They are. Before her mind broke completely, they had two good years, which they lived free from the burden of trying to stop the world from remembering. They lived those years simply and quietly. Walks on the icecap to see the Aurora Australis. Games, movies, and cooking down here on the main level. The occasional trip to New Zealand’s South Island or Patagonia. Just being together. A thousand small moments, but enough to have made life worth living. Helena was right. They were the best years of his lives too. “It’s odd,” she says. “You’re watching this right now, presumably four years from this moment, although I’m sure you’ll watch it before then to see my face and hear my voice after I’m gone.” It’s true. He did. “But my moment feels just as real to me as yours does to you. Are they both real? Is it only our consciousness that makes it so? I can imagine you sitting there in four years, even though you’re right beside me in this moment, in my moment, and I feel like I can reach through the camera and touch you. I wish I could. I’ve experienced over two hundred years, and at the end of it all, I think Slade was right. It’s just a product of our evolution the way we experience reality and time from moment to moment. How we differentiate between past, present, and future. But we’re intelligent enough to be aware of the illusion, even as we live by it, and so,
Blake Crouch (Recursion)
If the left prefrontal lobe is damaged, the patient may withdraw from the social world and show a marked reluctance to do anything at all. This is euphemistically called pseudodepression—“pseudo” because none of the standard criteria for identifying depression, such as feelings of bleakness and chronic negative thought patterns, are revealed by psychological or neurological probing. Conversely, if the right prefrontal lobe is damaged, a patient will seem euphoric even though, once again he really won’t be. Cases of prefrontal damage are especially distressing to relatives. Such a patient seems to lose all interest in his own future and he shows no moral compunctions of any kind. He may laugh at a funeral or urinate in public. The great paradox is that he seems normal in most respects: his language, his memory, and even his IQ are unaffected. Yet he has lost many of the most quintessential attributes that define human nature: ambition, empathy, foresight, a complex personality, a sense of morality, and a sense of dignity as a human being. For these reasons the prefrontal cortex has long been regarded as the “seat of humanity.” As for the question of how such a relatively small patch of the brain manages to orchestrate such a sophisticated and elusive suite of functions, we are still very much at a loss.
V.S. Ramachandran (The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human)
to the patient and family, the brain surgery is usually the most dramatic event they have ever faced and, as such, has the impact of any major life event. At those critical junctures, the question is not simply whether to live or die but what kind of life is worth living. Would you trade your ability—or your mother’s—to talk for a few extra months of mute life? The expansion of your visual blind spot in exchange for eliminating the small possibility of a fatal brain hemorrhage? Your right hand’s function to stop seizures? How much neurologic suffering would you let your child endure before saying that death is preferable? Because the brain mediates our experience of the world, any neurosurgical problem forces a patient and family, ideally with a doctor as a guide, to answer this question: What makes life meaningful enough to go on living?
Paul Kalanithi (When Breath Becomes Air)
Planning. Short-term memory. Attention. At first glance, these three frontal lobe functions can seem like diverse activities that just happen to be packed into the same brain region. But on closer inspection it turns out that they are facets of the same basic phenomenon of 'restraint'. Planning restrains our brains from wandering from a chosen path of activity. Short-term memory retrains sensory cortex from moving on to different imagery. Attention constrains the kind of sensory data admitted to sensory cortex.
Robert Jourdain
The finding that ME and CFS group had more functional limitations and more serious symptoms than those with MS [multiple sclerosis] provides additional evidence to the seriousness of ME and CFS.
Leonard A. Jason
ME, a neurological disease[20,21], has been described in the medical literature since 1934 under various names[22], e.g., epidemic neuromyasthenia and atypical poliomyelitis, often on account of outbreaks[23-25]. Characteristic symptoms of ME, classified as a disease of the nervous system by the WHO since 1969[26], are: muscle weakness, neurological dysfunction, especially of cognitive, autonomic and neurosensory functions; variable involvement of the cardiac and other systems; a prolonged relapsing course; but above all general or local muscular fatigue after minimal exertion with prolonged recovery times (post-exertional “malaise”)[20].
Frank Twisk
Like any other part of the human body, activity makes the brain healthy.
Abhijit Naskar (All For Acceptance)
The neurological disorder of oversensitivity to touch, which Nietzsche posited to account for Jesus' hate of reality, seems far-fetched. As a diagnosis of Jesus, these quotes are not very convincing; yet as an admission of Nietzsche's problems in intimacy, these words are suggestive. In fact, Nietzsche describes himself almost in the same way. The themes of depersonalization and derealization appear in other places too. Zarathustra said, 'To men, I am still the mean between a fool and a corpse' and as was mentioned before 'as my own father I am already dead'. Nietzsche wrote in similar terms about Jesus himself as living outside of reality, which brings up back to the dissociative phenomena in PTSD. Dissociation is the most direct defense against overwhelming traumatic experiences, consisting in symptoms of derealization (feeling as if the world is not real), and depersonalization (feeling as if one self is not real). Experiencing the world and the self from afar, enables victims of abuse, torture, and war, to escape from an unbearable and unavoidable external reality, on the one hand; and the internal distress and arousal, on the other hand. It somehow allows them to continue to live and function. In the follow comment, Nietzsche connected his disassociation, his being 'beyond life', with cryptic reference to his father: 'I regard it as a great privilege to have had such a father: it even seems to me that this exhausts all that I can claim in the matter of privileges-life, the great yea to life, excepted. What I owe to him above all is this, that I do not need any special intention, but merely patience, in order to enter involuntarily into a world of higher and finer things. There I am at home, there alone does my profoundest passion have free play. The fact that I almost paid for this privilege with my life, certainly does not make it a bad bargain. In order to understand even a little of my Zarathustra, perhaps a man must be situated much as I am myself with one foot beyond life.' Mind you, in fact, thanking his father for almost losing or ruining his life! We arrived at a secret again and have only hints that Nietzsche dropped such as 'What was silent in the father speaks in the son, and often I found in the son the unveiled secret of the father'.
Uri Wernik
He has repeatedly shown that by explaining neurological “oddities,” he can shed light on the functioning of normal brains. “I hate crowds in science,” he tells me. He doesn’t fancy large scientific meetings either. “I tell my students, when you go to these meetings, see what direction everyone is headed, so you can go in the opposite direction. Don’t polish the brass on the bandwagon.” Beginning
Norman Doidge (The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science)
The will, it was becoming clear, has the power to change the brain—in OCD, in stroke, in Tourette’s, and now in depression—by activating adaptive circuitry. That a mental process alters circuits involved in these disorders offers dramatic examples of how the ways someone thinks about thoughts can effect plastic changes in the brain. Jordan Grafman, chief of cognitive neuroscience at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, calls this top-down plasticity, because it originates in the brain’s higher-order functions. “Bottom-up” plasticity, in contrast, is induced by changes in sensory stimuli such as the loss of input after amputation. Merzenich’s and Tallal’s work shows the power of this bottom-up plasticity to resculpt the brain. The OCD work hints at the power of top-down plasticity, the power of the mind to alter brain circuitry.
Jeffrey M. Schwartz (The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force)
I do not subscribe to functioning labels because functioning labels are inaccurate and dehumanizing, because functioning labels fail to capture the breadth and complexity and highly contextual interrelations of one's neurology and environment, both of which are plastic and malleable and dynamic. Functioning is the corporeal gone capitalistic -- it is an assumption that one's body and being can be quantitatively measured, that one's bodily outputs and bodily actions are neither outputs nor actions unless commodifiable.
Melanie Yergeau (Authoring Autism: On Rhetoric and Neurological Queerness)
Abusive experiences, mental illnesses and neurological deficits interplayed to produce the tragedies reported in the newspapers. The most vicious criminals have also been, overwhelmingly, people who have been grotesquely abused as children and have paranoid patterns of thinking,” said Pincus in his book, adding that childhood traumas can impact the developmental anatomy and functioning of the brain.
Jack Rosewood (William Bonin: The True Story of The Freeway Killer (True Crime by Evil Killers #10))
Morphological analysis of the brains from humans with different sexual orientations and identities ... may lead to further deductions concerning the possible influences of sex hormones on the structure and function of the human brain" (Allen
Elizabeth A. Wilson (Psychosomatic: Feminism and the Neurological Body)
As currently understood in neuroscience, emotions are singularly pivotal. Neurologists Hanna and Antonio Damasio, for example, demonstrated in their studies of neurological damage that the emotions are essential elements in reasoning and decision-making. People who lose the ability to feel specific emotions as a result of strokes, head injuries, or tumors also lose the ability to make certain kinds of rational decisions. Thus reason or rationality is not the categorical opposite of emotion or feeling; reason depends on emotion for its functioning.
Lynn Hunt (Writing History in the Global Era)
fully fifty-five diseases are known to be caused by gluten (Farrell and Kelly 2002). Among these are heart disease, cancer, nearly all autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal disorders, gallbladder disease, Hashimoto’s disease (an autoimmune thyroid disorder responsible for up to 90 percent of all low-functioning thyroid issues), migraines, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), neuropathies (having normal EMG readings), and most other degenerative neurological disorders as well as autism, which is technically an autoimmune brain disorder.
Nora T. Gedgaudas (Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life)
We are biological beings, shaped by genetic inheritance and the organization and health of our neurological structures. We have rich inner lives of diverse dispositions, motivations, cognitive abilities and processes, intrapsychic dynamics, and reinforcement histories. We are also social creatures, affected by our social and cultural environments. Together these elements help us understand normal phenomena (like memory construction, neurological function, and social attraction) and abnormal psychological occurrences (such as pseudo-memories, Alzheimer’s disease, and dysfunctional relationships). Unfortunately, much of the work on the
David N. Entwistle (Integrative Approaches to Psychology and Christianity: An Introduction to Worldview Issues, Philosophical Foundations, and Models of Integration)
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder marked by the gradual degeneration of nerve cells in the portion of the midbrain called the basal ganglia, which controls body movements. The brains of those who have this heartbreaking disease don’t produce enough of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which the basal ganglia needs for proper functioning. Early symptoms of Parkinson’s, which is currently considered incurable, include motor issues such as muscle rigidity, tremors, and changes in gait and speech patterns that override voluntary control. In
Joe Dispenza (You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter)
In the newly sighted, learning to see demands a radical change in neurological functioning and, with it, a radical change in psychological functioning, in self, in identity. The change may be experienced in literally life-and-death terms. Valvo quotes a patient of his as saying, 'One must die as a sighted person to be bom again as a blind person,' and the opposite is equally true: one must die as a blind person to be born again as a seeing person.
Oliver Sacks (An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales)
It has the ability to repair and regenerate neurons in your body, resulting in improved overall cognitive function, and lion’s mane has been known to reverse and mitigate the effects of such neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia, among others.
Tero Isokauppila (Healing Mushrooms: A Practical and Culinary Guide to Using Mushrooms for Whole Body Health)
For some writers mental phenomena become intelligible only when related to the organism. This view is of course inescapable when we study the elementary functions (perception, motor functions, etc.) in which intelligence originates. But we can hardly see neurology explaining why 2 and 2 make 4, or why the laws of deduction are forced on the mind of necessity.
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence (Routledge Classics))
There is no simple way to determine when and where to get help. Many factors come into play, including the child’s age, family’s financial status, insurance, knowledge of resources, religious affiliation, availability of services in community, and so on. Parents may seek outside assistance for their adopted child when other factors such as a divorce, job loss, or other stresses compound the family needs. Parents are generally in the best position to determine when to get help, but advice from relatives, family physicians, teachers, and others in a position to know the family should be carefully considered. Services for children with special needs are provided by a variety of professionals. A physician—pediatrician or the family practitioner—is usually the place to begin. Families may be referred to a neurologist for a thorough assessment and diagnosis of neurological functioning (related to cognitive or learning disabilities, seizure disorders or other central nervous system problems). For specific communication difficulties, families may consult with a speech and language therapist, while a physical therapist would develop a treatment plan to enhance motor development. A rehabilitation technologist or an occupational therapist prescribes adaptive aids or activities of daily living. Early childhood educators specializing in working with children with special needs may be called a variety of titles, including Head Start teachers, early childhood special education teacher, or early childhood specialist.
Mary Hopkins-Best (Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft Revised Edition)
Soul is nothing but the functional expression of protoplasmic activity in the brain.
Abhijit Naskar (What is Mind?)
Humans are organisms, subject to physical laws, including, alas, the one that says entropy always increases. Diseases are molecules misbehaving; the basic requirement of life is metabolism, and death its cessation. While all doctors treat diseases, neurosurgeons work in the crucible of identity: every operation on the brain is, by necessity, a manipulation of the substance of our selves, and every conversation with a patient undergoing brain surgery cannot help but confront this fact. In addition, to the patient and family, the brain surgery is usually the most dramatic event they have ever faced and, as such, has the impact of any major life event. At those critical junctures, the question is not simply whether to live or die but what kind of life is worth living. Would you trade your ability—or your mother’s—to talk for a few extra months of mute life? The expansion of your visual blind spot in exchange for eliminating the small possibility of a fatal brain hemorrhage? Your right hand’s function to stop seizures? How much neurologic suffering would you let your child endure before saying that death is preferable? Because the brain mediates our experience of the world, any neurosurgical problem forces a patient and family, ideally with a doctor as a guide, to answer this question: What makes life meaningful enough to go on living?
Paul Kalanithi (When Breath Becomes Air)
Humans are organisms, subject to physical laws, including, alas, the one that says entropy always increases. Diseases are molecules misbehaving; the basic requirement of life is metabolism, and death its cessation. While all doctors treat diseases, neurosurgeons work in the crucible of identity: every operation on the brain is, by necessity, a manipulation of the substance of our selves, and every conversation with a patient undergoing brain surgery cannot help but confront this fact. In addition, to the patient and family, the brain surgery is usually the most dramatic event they have ever faced and, as such, has the impact of any major life event. At those critical junctures, the question is not simply whether to live or die but what kind of life is worth living. Would you trade your ability—or your mother’s—to talk for a few extra months of mute life? “he expansion of your visual blind spot in exchange for eliminating the small possibility of a fatal brain hemorrhage? Your right hand’s function to stop seizures? How much neurologic suffering would you let your child endure before saying that death is preferable? Because the brain mediates our experience of the world, any neurosurgical problem forces a patient and family, ideally with a doctor as a guide, to answer this question: What makes life meaningful enough to go on living?
Paul Kalanithi (When Breath Becomes Air)
Humans are organisms, subject to physical laws, including, alas, the one that says entropy always increases. Diseases are molecules misbehaving; the basic requirement of life is metabolism, and death its cessation. While all doctors treat diseases, neurosurgeons work in the crucible of identity: every operation on the brain is, by necessity, a manipulation of the substance of our selves, and every conversation with a patient undergoing brain surgery cannot help but confront this fact. In addition, to the patient and family, the brain surgery is usually the most dramatic event they have ever faced and, as such, has the impact of any major life event. At those critical junctures, the question is not simply whether to live or die but what kind of life is worth living. Would you trade your ability—or your mother’s—to talk for a few extra months of mute life? “he expansion of your visual blind spot in exchange for eliminating the small possibility of a fatal brain hemorrhage? Your right hand’s function to stop seizures? How much neurologic suffering would you let your child endure before saying that death is preferable? “Because the brain mediates our experience of the world, any neurosurgical problem forces a patient and family, ideally with a doctor as a guide, to answer this question: What makes life meaningful enough to go on living?
Paul Kalanithi
The study of how injuries in different areas of the brain result in different verbal behaviour patterns has been fundamental to relating cognitive functional models of language, informed by linguistics and cognitive psychology, with neural correlates.
Albert Costa (The Bilingual Brain: And What It Tells Us about the Science of Language)
Sexual Excitation System (SES). This is the accelerator of your sexual response. It receives information about sexually relevant stimuli in the environment—things you see, hear, smell, touch, taste, or imagine—and sends signals from the brain to the genitals to tell them, “Turn on!” SES is constantly scanning your context (including your own thoughts and feelings) for things that are sexually relevant. It is always at work, far below the level of consciousness. You aren’t aware that it’s there until you find yourself turned on and pursuing sexual pleasure. Sexual Inhibition System (SIS). This is your sexual brake. “Inhibition” here doesn’t mean “shyness” but rather neurological “off” signals. Research has found that there are actually two brakes, reflecting the different functions of an inhibitory system. One brake works in much the same way as the accelerator. It notices all the potential threats in the environment—everything you see, hear, smell, touch, taste, or imagine—and sends signals saying, “Turn off!” It’s like the foot brake in a car, responding to stimuli in the moment. Just as the accelerator scans the environment for turn-ons, the brake scans for anything your brain interprets as a good reason not to be aroused right now—risk of STI transmission, unwanted pregnancy, social consequences, etc. And all day long it sends a steady stream of “Turn off!” messages. This brake is responsible for preventing us from getting inappropriately aroused in the middle of a business meeting or at dinner with our family. It’s also the system that throws the Off switch if, say, in the middle of some nookie, your grandmother walks in the room. The second brake is a little different. It’s more like the hand brake in a car, a chronic, low-level “No thank you” signal. If you try to drive with the hand brake on, you might be able to get where you want to go, but it’ll take longer and use a lot more gas. Where the foot brake is associated with “fear of performance consequences,” the hand brake is associated with “fear of performance failure,” like worry about not having an orgasm.
Emily Nagoski (Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life)