Wednesday, September 9, 2009

3. Human Brain Abnormalities

This post is an addendum to my earlier post on the book Your Brain by Tabitha M. Powledge.

Anencephaly and spina bifida.
These abnormalities develop because the ends of the neural tube in the embryo are not closed properly. The result may be a miscarriage. These abnormalities are as a result of not having folic acid, one of B vitamins. Folic acid is essential in pregnancy.


Caused because of a blockage of cerebrospinal fluid flowing freely in the brain. The cerebrum gets compressed causing the skull expand; making the head very big. Could be corrected by draining the fluid.

Kallmann Syndrome.
Because of the lack of the special tropic factor that guides fetal neurons to two particular areas of the brain. Genitals of these children are much smaller than usual and they have no sense of smell. Could be treated by hormone therapy.

The basic design of all mammalian fetuses is female. If we want male fetus, the neural system has to switch on and off genes to produce right amount of male fetal hormones at the right time. That type of hormonal control is not achieved yet by external means.

Parkinson's Disease
It is a brain disease affecting parts of the motor control system in the body.
It produces special kind of involuntary movements: rhythmic tremors, slow twitching hand movements, jerking movements of the arms, legs, and face muscles, and distorted posture. Usually affects over forty people. The basal ganglia neurons which regulate movement in the body and produce neurotransmitter dopamine slowly die in case of this disease. Basal ganglia neurons surround thalamus. Taking drugs that increase dopamine may improve in some cases.

Alzheimer's disease
In this disease the neurons degenerate. This may not be because of aging. One theory is a kind of amyloid protein opens up ion channels in the neural cell membranes allowing excessive amounts of calcium ions causing damage to the cell.

It is not a disease but occurs because of a physical disease that affects brain. some causes are drug intoxication, overactive thyroid, bleeding in the brain, and non malignant tumors; can be treated successfully and dementia disappears.

Motion Sickness
This happens because of brain receiving contradictory signals from its sensors. Suppose you are reading a book while travelling, your body says you are moving but your eyes say that you are reading a stationary book. The result is dizziness, sweating, and sometimes severe nausea. Only way to avoid the contradictory signals is to unify the signals. Stop reading the book and look at the moving scenery.

Brain Tumors
Neurons can not multiply after they are matured but the glial cells, which are neuron supportive cells can divide and cause tumors.

Blood flow to the brain is interrupted in a stroke and neurons die because of the lack of oxygen.
Since neurons can not be regenerated, partial recovery may occur because of the functional take our by the nearby neurons.

There are two prominent brain related crippling abnormalities.
(The Brain Trust Program ---- By Larry McCleary M.D. (2007)Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014, USA)

For the women at the beginning of menopause, inadequate estrogen leads to fewer sugar shuttles for energy conversion in the brain cells. This leads to an energy crisis which leads to a surge of norepinephtine(NE) in the hypothalamus. This is the cause of hot flashes, which is a simple body reaction to raise the low sugar level and brain starvation. This results in an accumulation of the brain chemical glutamate. This brain chemical excites the cells, putting an added energy demand on an already strained system.

The way to avoid this problem is to get the estrogen to optimal level or bypass this system and provide energy alternate means with ketogenic diet providing ketone bodies (which do not require shuttles) as an alternate fuel source to blood sugar.

Ketone bodies, or simply ketones, are the natural by-products of fat burning; they are basically partially burned fats. They are produced if we go without eating for a prolonged period or when we restrict dietary carbohydrates.

Migraine Headaches: A migraine originates entirely within the brain itself, painlessly, with a burst of unusual firing from one or more small clusters of brain cells. This is caused by the buildup of calcium and sodium within the cells. The cause of this buildup is found out to be an energy-production deficit. (The calcium and sodium ions movement is crucial in the case of synaptic message transportation.)

This abnormal firing activity releases an array of compounds which may cause inflammation or a cause of opening or narrowing arteries. The current thinking is the irritation of the pain sensors on the surface of the blood vessels and brain coverings by these compounds causes migraine headache pain.

A low magnesium levels were found in brains of migraine patients. Supplementing with magnesium can help prevent migraines and can make them less painful and of shorter duration.

Finally the book is very interesting to read and easy to follow the guidelines for optimum brain health. There are exercises for the brain. There are recommended recipes for cocktails to follow and eliminate the uncomfort of Hot Flashes and Migraine Headaches, Ketogenic Cocktail, Anti-Excitatory Cocktail and Antimigraine Cocktail.

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