One of the challenges of having a chronic illness, such as epilepsy, is that the…
Studying neuroscience is challenging. While scientists can take a hands-on approach to discover how other organs function in the body, the brain is more of a mystery. It took most of human history for scientists to discover which parts of the brain controlled different aspects of involuntary movements, voluntary movements, thoughts, emotions, and behavior. In fact, many conclusions were the result of accidents that scientists could discover, rather than replicable studies. As a result, much of the brain remains a mystery.
However, it is a mystery worth unraveling. We do know that the nervous system controls behavior, emotions, thoughts, voluntary movements, involuntary movements, and bodily functions. The more we learn about how the brain and nervous system influence the rest of the body, the better prepared we will be to conquer physical and mental diseases.
One of the most important reasons to study neuroscience is simply to increase understanding of the human body. Our map of the brain still needs details. We also know information about neurotransmitters and how they influence behaviors, but we do not fully understand the science underlying those reactions. The more we understand things, the easier it will be to diagnose or recognize conditions.
For people who are struggling with disease or impairment, increased understanding offers hope for a remedy. There are many common neurological problems that today’s neurologists can treat but may not fully understand. For example, people go to neurologists to treat migraines and epilepsy. However, a treatment that can be very effective in one person may have no effect on another person, or even make symptoms worse in yet another person. For many years, neurologists have had to take a trial-and-error approach to medicating patients.
However, there has to be an underlying reason behind these different reactions. The more neuroscientists study the brain, the better neurologists will be at recognizing and treating neurological diseases and disorders. That could be the key to relief for millions of people.
Of course, neuroscience is also deeply intertwined with psychology. We have an evolving understanding of human behavior, but some of this understanding is based on observations of a few isolated sources. For example, it is commonly understood that head injuries can lead to problems controlling impulsive behavior. Popular culture focuses on this in a criminal aspect; you may hear about head injuries and killers. However, it is a phenomenon that can impact all sorts of everyday people, who may never commit any type of crime. There are similar links to damages or dysfunction in parts of the brain and other cognitive functions, such as memory, reasoning, and language. The greater our understanding of the brain, the more capable we are of helping people address issues that result from injuries or damage to the brain.