How much do you know about the brain? The brain plays duties that are essential to life; it plays roles that are vital in growth and development. It could have some anomalies in its functionality too. We`ll discuss some of these anomalies, conditions referred to as neurological disorders. But first, we will discuss some brain basics. You may call this Neurology 101 if you like. *Smiles*
What is about the Brain?
Call the brain the boss of the central nervous system. It is responsible for loads of the activities you do daily. Did you just blink? The brain was involved. What about the wishful dreams? The brain wasn`t left out. We can say that the brain practically marshals and controls the entire body. So there various parts of this organ you should get familiar with, one we can all the “Team Brain”. They are the cerebrum, brainstem, and cerebellum. They are major stakeholders in the affairs of the brain. The cerebrum takes up about 85% of the brain’s weight; it is the largest part of the brain. This is because it is responsible for activities such as thinking, visual memory, language production, movement (voluntary and involuntary), behavior, perception, and reasoning. It is split into two halves known as hemispheres (right and left) which help to carry out its functions by specializing in various areas. The right hemisphere is involved in abstractions such as music, color, and shapes, while the left hemisphere is concerned with analytical actions such as speech, statistics, and logic.
The cerebellum, which is a lot smaller than the cerebrum, is located at the back of the brain. It is a significant part of the brain that is necessary for balancing and coordinating muscles in order to ensure movement. Activities such as riding a motorcycle, driving a car, surfing the ocean, and even walking steadily can be done because the cerebellum functions.
The brainstem is an essential part of the brain that helps to sustain life by regulating important processes such as breathing, controlling involuntary muscles, directing the heart to pump more blood when needed, mandating the stomach to digest meals, and even organizing the millions of messages that goes back and forth between the brain and other parts of your body.
Your Brain Has a Partner
You must really appreciate your brain more now. However, the brain is not alone in all of these. It performs all of its duties because some nerves exist, and hey, a lot of nerves! All of those stuff aforementioned aren`t done in a fixed spot. The brain has links to many other parts of the body, and the nerves do the job of passing along necessary information and directives to and fro for the brain. The nerves are like wires that the brain connects to different parts in order to establish connection and control. Hence, together with the brain, they form the nervous system. Bottom line is that the nerves and brain work together, and no one of them can function effectively without the other.
Let’s Talk about Brain Disorders
Also called Neurological Disorders, brain disorders are malfunctions in the working of the brain. These include diseases and disabilities that affect the brain. Did you know that conditions such as Alzheimer`s disease, stroke, and epilepsy affect up to one billion people in the world? Some other examples of these conditions involve:
- Brain injuries
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Mental Disorders
- Brain tumors
Brain injuries are caused by trauma which damages brain tissues, neurons, and nerves. Such injuries affect the ability of the brain to freely communicate with other parts of the body. Examples of brain injuries are:
- Cerebral Edema
Here are some of the symptoms of a brain injury:
- Memory loss
- Bleeding from the ear
- Speech difficulty
- Inability to concentrate
- Low heart rate
- Pupil dilation
- High blood pressure
- Irregular breathing
Neurodegenerative diseases refer to conditions that occur as a result of a loss in structure or the death of neurons. The effect of such conditions is a difficulty in some body functions such as balance, talking, breathing, movement, and heart-related functions. In addition, they are life-threatening and may be terminal such that no cure exists.
The cause of many degenerative nerve diseases are genetic, but sometimes they stem from other conditions such as alcoholism, a tumor, virus or stroke. At other times, the cause is unknown.
Neurodegenerative diseases include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Lewy body disease
- Friedreich’s ataxia
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Spinal muscular atrophy
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Meanwhile, some of the common symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases include:
- Memory loss
- Mood changes
Tumors in the brain can be really dangerous, even though their causes are mostly unknown. Brain tumors are said to be cancerous or malignant when they have the ability to spread to other tissues and, while they are benign when the tumor cells do not grow back or invade neighboring tissues. Symptoms of brain tumors vary based on size and where they are located. However, the most common symptoms are:
- Difficulty with movement
- Problems with vision and hearing
- Mental changes
These mental illnesses that affect one’s behavioral patterns. They cause mild to severe disturbances in thoughts and/or behavior, resulting in an inability to cope with basic demands and routines.
Frequently diagnosed mental disorders include:
- Bipolar disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Anxiety disorder
- Clinical depression
The symptoms of mental disorders are relative to different conditions. Moreover, it is also relative to the different people who experience them, even though they may have the same condition.
Similarly, the cause of mental disorders are said to be relative to both condition and individual, and as such is regarded as complex. However, researchers have identified the combination of a range of psychological, biological and environmental factors that can influence the development of mental disorders. Such factors include the following:
- Consumption of psychoactive substances such as caffeine, cannabis, and alcohol
- Social influences such as abuse, bullying, neglect and general traumatic events
- Socioeconomic problems
What can be Done?
There are a number of healthy activities that enhance the functionality of the brain. Some of them are:
- Eating healthy foods
- Wear a helmet while playing sports that require head protection
- Not abusing substances such as alcohol, tobacco or drugs
- Engaging in activities such as reading, answering puzzles.
However, if you already have these conditions, follow up on treatments that are prescribed by your doctor even if they have no cure. Treatments required such as surgery, medication, and therapy can help to control the condition.
As much as the brain is capable of overseeing virtually everything regarding the body, it is similarly vulnerable to disease and damage. The brain is central to life, hence any slight impediment to its operating system may prove precarious and sideline you from the regular normal activities you do voluntarily and involuntarily, and of course, this is not cool.
Just as it is responsible for you, be responsible for it. What else, as much as you may not be able to help with some brain conditions, there are ways to manage them, so they don`t get worse.