Brain Awareness Week, March 10-16 2014

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One day a friend shared with me about her dad having a minor car accident, where other than a slight dent in the car but thankfully no one was injured. However she also said that since the accident, her dad had difficulty walking normally, often lost his balance, was uncharacteristically forgetful and becoming very emotional. The family could not figure out the sudden decline.

The bells went off in my head when she mentioned ‘balance’ and ‘memory’, and after double-checking apparently her dad did experience somewhat a jolt or bump in the head, but since there was no obvious signs of injury nobody thought of checking. I was apprehensive when I told her that I suspected an internal injury to his head, and strongly suggest that he got a brain scan the next day. The next I knew about this, she had consulted her friend-doctor, who after hearing the same description, ordered to immediately send him to the hospital A&E. Turned out, he had a blood clot about the size of a palm at the back of his head. It was a miracle he had survived with so little symptoms.

All that makes us humans, make us realize we’re humans and have allowed us to build the world we live in today, is up there. Yet we barely understand the blob of tissue mass that runs our lives, let alone know what’s wrong when something’s down. For instance, besides our ears the next best guess for a sudden wonky sense of balance would be abnormalities to our cerebellum. Another no-brainer for the informed, would be the memory alarm. You wouldn’t feel any pain or see any swells because it’s all ‘up in your head’ under the skull-armour. It scares me to think how much my friend’s dad’s condition would have been too-late had not someone realized the direful situation.

Which makes it perfect sense why the upcoming Brain Awareness Movement and the education component is important, that it is essential we have scientific knowledge about our brains in order to know ourselves as a person, better. In my last post is also National Geography’s recent feature on the brain by Carl Zimmer. Time to bin Descartes’ mind-body duality and face some realities. I think, does not necessarily mean I am what I think I am. Image

For more info and educational feeds:

Society for Neuroscience http://www.sfn.org/baw/

The DANA Foundation http://www.dana.org/BAW/

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