Lecture_Notes-The_Brain_and_Neuropsychology.docx

Optic nerves that leave the back of our eyes travel

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optic nerves that leave the back of our eyes travel all the way through the center of our brain to the back where the Occipital Lobe is. Here the Occipital Lobe makes sense of all the visual information. Most people who experience blindness or vision problems don’t have Occipital Lobe damage. Instead, its usually related to retinal damage in the eye itself or optic nerve
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damage. However, if someone experiences a traumatic brain injury to or a tumor in the very back of the brain, they are likely to experience vision difficulties even though their eyes are fine. In this latter case, the eyes and nerves are bringing in and transporting good nueral signals, but when those signals get to the Occipital Lobe, the damaged lobe can’t process the signals and make sense of them. Brain Plasticity Ok, so we have the Neuron as the basic cell of the nervous system. You know it’s parts and their functions. We also covered the basic parts and functions of the Brain and Spinal Cord. You know the basics of the old brain, midbrain, and new brain (cortex) including the hemispheric functions and the lobes. Now we cover one last concept called Brain Plasticity. Not too long ago, the conventional wisdom among doctors and psychologists was that brain tissue can be regenerate and cannot repair. Well, to date, the first part is still thought to be true. That is, we haven’t figured out a way to re-generate new brain tissue, and the brain doesn’t automatically do that like a lot of other tissues we have (think skin tissue). But we have discovered that those neurons are very creative, and if they detect brain injury or damage, they will try to form new connections (not new cells), with neurons around the damage and adopt lost functions. This ability to reorganize around injury is call Brain Plasticity. The idea behind the concept is that our Brain, like plastic, can be molded and shaped by neurons re-working and re-organizing connections. In the old days, if someone had a stroke and lost their ability to walk and speak, we told them and their family they would have to accept this as it was. Today, with our new understanding, we encourage physical therapy and speech therapy, knowing that will new stimulation and intervention, we can stimulate those neurons to re-organize around the damaged tissue. In many, many cases, folks will recover some or most functioning. This is especially true the younger we are. I hope you have enjoyed the brain information. I know it’s a lot. If this topic interests you, you may want to consider taking a Neuropsychology Course in the future! *These notes are “lecture notes” only and are intended as a resource for this class only. They were written from memory after many years of teaching this material and are the likely product of many sources consumed over the years. As such, they are only meant to be used as a reference for this class and are not intended for nor should they be used for citation, publication, reproduction, or official reference in any way.
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  • Spring '18
  • Steven E Wampler
  • left hemisphere

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