The Complexities of the Brain
Weighing about three pounds, the human brain serves as the command center for our nervous system. Every second, the neurons in our brain are making 500 trillion connections allowing us to have mental processes that affect our thinking, reasoning, perception, emotions, sensations, learning, and memory. Everything we literally think, feel, and do depends on our brain activity. Even our appetite, self-esteem, creativity, personality, decision-making, and morality is formed within our brain. The essence of who we are as individuals and how we respond to every situation in life, big or small, can be broken down into various parts of our brain. This is why brain research is so necessary. Not only do we need to understand the function of the brain in even greater detail, but we need to be able to solve the various problems that develop in the brain.
One of the most common causes of dementia, Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease that affects a person’s memory and mental function. Five and a half million Americans suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in 2017 and unfortunately, there is not a cure. While there is currently medication that may help reduce the speed at which the brain cells die, more research is needed in order to prevent the inevitable fatal outcome for those diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Alzheimer’s disease may begin to reveal itself through mild confusion with an inability to organize your thoughts and remember things clearly. Typically family members and friends are the first to recognize that something isn’t quite right. Those with Alzheimer’s disease have difficulty participating in a conversation because they are unable to fully comprehend what’s being said by others or because they cannot decide how to share their own thoughts. They also regularly misplace their possessions, get lost in a familiar place, forget appointments, or repeat statements and questions in the same conversation without recalling the response that was given just moments ago. Alzheimer’s also affects someone’s ability to reason and think clearly, make plans, or even remember to do seemingly simple tasks. Alzheimer’s is a very serious, devastating disease for loved ones to observe in another family member or friend because eventually the disease causes the brain to shrink resulting in extreme personality changes and a loss of elementary skills and motor functions. Since 2000, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have risen by 89%. Alzheimer’s disease is one major issue that requires more extensive research in order for a cure, and prevention strategies, to be discovered.
Another degenerative brain disease is Parkinson’s disease. When the neurons in the brain begin to die, a chemical called dopamine is not released. As the loss of dopamine increases, the brain function begins to decrease often leading to symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s is associated with hand tremors but other symptoms include slower movements, shorter steps, rigid muscles, impaired balance, and changes in writing and speech. Inflection may be difficult, as well as forming words which results in slowed or slurred speech. Parkinson’s disease affects 60,000 Americans each year and more than 10 million people in the world are living with Parkinson’s. The exact cause, as well as the cure, has yet to be discovered.
Accounts of mental illness are growing in the United States. Each year, one in five adults will be diagnosed with a mental illness. Alarmingly, 20% of children have experienced, or are currently experiencing, some form or mental illness. These mental disorders include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and anxiety disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Across the globe these mental and mood disorders are causing a debilitating quality of life for those affected. Research is needed in order to better determine what causes mental illnesses and how to best treat them. Recently, scientists have discovered the link between mental illness and brain chemistry and structure. This blurs the lines significantly between other, once separated, neurological disorders and mental illness.
In each of these issues, the common thread is a need for awareness and future research. We need to be aware of the power our brains have on affecting our livelihood as well as our relationships. We can certainly celebrate the complexity of our brain, but we also need to better understand the problems that can arise within it. While NS2 does not treat the above diseases, the conditions we do treat also fall under the umbrella of the brain and nervous system. Understanding better the function of the system helps everyone.
If you are in need of our services, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with a trusted physician of NewSouth NeuroSpine, Mississippi’s Spine Center in Jackson, Mississippi. Contact NewSouth NeuroSpine today.