A_Very_General_Overview_of_Neuroanatomy - A Very General...

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A Very General Overview of Neuroanatomy (based on “A User’s Guide to the Brain” by John Ratey, MD) The brain contains an estimated 100 billion neurons that intercommunicate via 100 trillion constantly changing connections. It is said that there are more possible ways to interconnect the brain’s neurons than there are atoms in the universe. Each person’s brain is a unique network of neurons that is created by the interaction between their genes and environment. Although most of the important neuronal connections are made before a person is ten years old, the brain never loses its plasticity. Daily events and thoughts influence the weave of the web of neurons. The idiom “Use or lose it” definitely applies to the networks of neurons that have been formed. In addition, networks are created in a manner that can be described by the statement, “Neurons that fire together, wire together”. The basic components of the brain include: 1) the hindbrain at the top of the spinal cord that controls the sensation and movement of the muscles of the face and throat; 2) the midbrain that controls the movement of the eyes; and 3) the forebrain that contains the cerebral cortex which comprises 80% of the human brain. Consciousness is an ambiguous concept that involves awareness and attention, two important assessments of the patient that are made at the beginning of the mini mental status exam. Consciousness may be compared to a conductor leading a symphony. In an unconscious state, the subcortical structures are randomly active or maintaining autonomic function much like a symphony that is warming up. Consciousness is like the conductor tapping their baton to synchronize the various members of the orchestra. During the conscious state and in REM sleep, there is a 40 hertz electrical activity that serves as a unifying background vibration. The best candidate for the conductor is the thalamus since it has the capacity to synchronize the
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This note was uploaded on 02/17/2012 for the course MPAS PA 602 taught by Professor Dr.laird during the Fall '10 term at Chatham University.

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A_Very_General_Overview_of_Neuroanatomy - A Very General...

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