• Question: If someone has a disability that is based in the brain, how can you locate the area of the brain it affects the most?

    Asked by autumnleaves to Patrick on 26 Sep 2017.
    • Photo: Patrick Esser

      Patrick Esser answered on 26 Sep 2017:

      Hi Autumnleaves!

      This is a very good question but also very hard to answer. I have to give you browniepoints for asking such an interesting question!

      As you know, the brain is a terribly complex organ that hosts 95% of all the things our body does. Whilst many people believe that there are very precise maps in existence that link function to a specific area, this is not always the case. For example there is a part called the Motor Cortex, which is located on the outside of your brain when you point to the tips of your ears. Indeed starting at the ears you’ll touch the area which should be responsible for swallowing. Slightly higher you get towards the hand functions and in the middle (deep inside) you’ll find the areas that move the legs.

      In reality however, these maps are very rough and general. People who, for example, have suffered a brain injury, will undergo something called neurogenesis (creation of new brain cells) and plasticity (moving of functions lost to other parts of the brain). Sometimes these two processes happen very successfully, although be it sometimes less successfully. Therefore each brain and human is unique in their own right. There isn’t a set-standard of brain mapping and injuries can cause different functions to get disturbed.

      In order to find out which processes are disturbed, there are general neurological tests which a neurologist can quickly conduct to get a rough idea if, for example, the motor function, visual or thinking processes are affected.

      I hope this answers the question in part!?