Dr. Philip Yazbak, Neuroscience Group, discussed how the brain is complex and contains a key cell called neurons that are important in processing and communicating information within the brain. The brain is sensitive to oxygen and blood supply. The brain also contains clear fluid that occupies the space between the skull and the cerebral cortex that provides insulation. Too much fluid can be problematic causing difficulty with cognition, bladder control and walking. The brain can be divided into three main parts: forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain. The forebrain consists of the cerebrum, thalamus and hypothalamus which controls motor skills, sensory relay autonomics and makes us human. The midbrain consists of the tectum and tegmentum and controls pupils, eye movement, hearing and motor functions. The hindbrain is made up of the cerebellum, pons and medulla and controls coordination, equilibrium, heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. The cerebrum or cortex is the largest part of the brain and is associated with higher brain function such as thought and action. The cerebral cortex is divided into 4 lobes: the frontal lobe (reasoning, planning, speech, movement, emotions and problem solving), parietal lobe (movement, orientation, recognition and perception of stimuli), occipital lobe (visual processing) and temporal lobe (perception and recognition of auditory stimuli, memory and speech). The brain can be divided into left and right cerebral hemispheres. Dominant functions of the left brain include: analytical thought, logic, language, math and science. Dominant functions on the right brain include: holistic thought, music, spatial abilities, visual imagery and face recognition. About 80% of people are right handed, 97% of right handed people are left hemisphere dominant and 70% of non right handed people are left hemisphere dominant. So, 3% plus 6% of people are right hemisphere dominant or split dominance.
History of neurosurgery:
Neurosurgery has been done since 5000 BC. Trephinations were performed by putting wholes in the skull to release evil spirits.
400 BC - Hippocrates thought the brain was the center of intelligence and that it did not control thoughts, ideas and feelings.
1895 - Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered an image cast from a cathode ray generator. A week later, he took an x-ray of his wife’s hand. “X” stood for unknown.
1918 - Walter E. Dandy introduces the ventriculography (injecting air into the ventricular system prior to x-ray).
1920’s – William Bovie invented the Monopolar Cautery (regulated electric current that heats up adjacent tissue to prevent blood loss).
1920’s – Walter Dandy began translating endoscopy to neurosurgery.
1869-1939 - Harvey Williams Cushing, the Father of Modern Neurosurgery, developed electrocautery, used x-rays to diagnose brain tumors, increased the survival of tumor patients, taught neurosurgeons and used electrical cortical stimulation.
1928 – Alexander Fleming discovers mold that kills steph bacteria.
1950’s – Herman Carr reports the creation of ID MRI image.
1960’s – Operating microscope developed. It was first used in neurosurgery since it had the ability to focus intense light on areas of interest with 1.5-10x magnification.
1974 – Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield and Allan McLeod Cormack developed the CT Scan or computerized tomography scan.
1974 - Raymond Damadian creates and patents the first MRI machine.
1990 – Seiji Ogawa discovered the functional magnetic resonance imaging or functional MRI to measure brain activity by detecting associated changes in blood flow.
In another 50 years – Minimally invasive surgery, robotics and targeted therapy?
To keep the brain healthy, you should exercise it, give it intellectual challenges, use helmets and be careful of your environment (limit alcohol consumption).