Human Brain Essays and Research Papers

Instructions for Human Brain College Essay Examples

Title: human brain

  • Total Pages: 4
  • Words: 1378
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  • Citation Style: MLA
  • Document Type: Essay
Essay Instructions: Paper must include funtion, parts and characteristics of the human brain. How human brains differ from other creatures. The abilities the brain can acheive mathematically and scientifically. Memory and dreaming. A minimum of 4 sources and quotes for bibliography. please use online sources for bibliography page.

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Works Cited

Discovery Channel (September, 2007). "Development >> How Does the brain develop?" http://dsc.discovery.com/video/player.html?bctid=16927418,Retrieved12 Apr 2008.

Enchanted Learning. (2008). "The Brain." http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/anatomy/brain/index.shtml. Retrieved10 Apr 2008.

Gloria Lau. "Keep Your Brain Active." Media News and Journal (2007). Investor's Business

Daily, 05 June 2007. http://www.bookrags.com/news/keep-your-brain-active-moc/.Retrieved10 Apr 2008.

Obringer, Lee Ann. (2005). "How Dreams Work." 27 January 2005. HowStuffWorks.com. http://health.howstuffworks.com/dream.htm

06 April 2008. Retrieved 07 Apr. 2008.

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Title: Human developement

  • Total Pages: 2
  • Words: 823
  • References:2
  • Citation Style: MLA
  • Document Type: Research Paper
Essay Instructions: The required reading for this Forum is Chapter 13, Marian Diamond, Introduction and Chapter 1 in her book Magic Trees of the Mind. What is the neurological basis of Diamond's concept of brain enrichment? What specific components of the brain and nervous system are involved - what is its cellular basis, in terms of the structure of the neuron itself? What is the relationship between brain enrichment and the organism fortunate enough to live in an enriched environment? What are some of the lines of evidence she cites in favor of this point of view? Is the concept of brain enrichment important only for infants and young children? What are some of its implications for our educational system? For family life?

For this forum, each student is asked to write a Viewpoint contribution that deals with Diamond’s article, AND relates its themes to one of the enrichment readings in Chapter 14 (Linn, Healy, Kamii and DeVries on Children with Rollers, Borish on NCLB and public education). Or, you may relate Diamond’s work on brain enrichment and the crucial nature of the enriched environment to any of the previous articles discussed in Units One or Two.

Form and requirements:
1) It must be at least 3 paragraphs long (it can be more, but not less)
2) Each paragraph must be at least 8 substantial sentences - full sentences, not sentence fragments.
3 There must be an empty, blank line between paragraphs.
4) You must check your spelling and grammar. Please use spellcheck, which means writing your essay in a word processing format and then posting it in Blackboard - an essay filled with spelling errors will not gain credit.
5) Your essay must contain DETAILED discussion, analysis and response to the reading in question. This means that I need to see at least two actual citations (more are even better) from the article - with page numbers from each citation (not from the same page). Actually citing a few words or a sentence from the article in quotes is REQUIRED as is the page number.
6) Writing a Viewpoint Essay for a particular reading must choose their citations from different pages. In other words, if you are writing on an author, you cannot use the same page numbers for your citations as those who have posted before you have done.


Example of a viewpoint essay: Use this as an example :


David S. Ludwig identifies four phases of the childhood obesity epidemic. He claims that the first phase began in the 1970s. The epidemic crosses cultural and economic classes as far as increase in average weight(s) overall. Ludwig asserts, â€A"Today, about one in three children and adolescents is overweight and the proportions approaches one in two in certain minority groups”. One in three is a huge number if we look at the American population of kids. (pg 2325) He points out that many of these kids remain and appear healthy for years, thus have no (apparent) influence on public health. Ludwig describes phase two is the phase he defines us being at presently. He states that this phase is distinguished by considerable weight related problems. Fatty liver related to being over weight, previously unrecognized in pediatric literature before 1980 has been reported as one in three- among the obese children population at the time of his article. He states, â€A"The incidence of type 2 diabetes among adolescents, though still not high, has increased by a factor of ten in the past two decades and may now that of type 1 diabetes among African American and Hispanic adolescents”. (pg 2325)

Phase three is defined as life threatening. Coronary heart disease, high risk for limb amputation, kidney failure requiring dialysis, and premature death are some of the consequences of childhood obesity at this juncture. He further points out, â€A"Fatty liver will progress to hepatitis and cirrhosis, which may remain asymptomatic until irreversible organ damage has occurred”. (pg 2325)Ludwig believes that stage four has irreversible possibilities and outcomes. Children that are obese as children will most likely be obese into and throughout adulthood. He asserts, â€A"Carrying excessive weight in early in life may elicit irreversible biologic changes in hormonal pathways, fat cells, and the brain increase hunger and adversely affect metabolism”. Ludwig goes as far as to say that a parent’s obesity can affect the Body Mass Index (BMI) of their newborn. In short, he terms this phenomenon perinatal programming. (pg 2326)

According to Ludwig, if childhood obesity is not prevented- the following consequences are eminent. He found that obese children tend to isolate and introvert in their childhood and into adulthood. Furthermore, he found that they are prone to live in poverty and not to complete education beyond high school. This is apparently an outcome of high anxiety and depression. He and his colleagues predict, â€A"Pediatric obesity may shorten life expectancy in the United States by 2-5 years by mid-century- and affect equal to that of all cancers combined”. (pg 2325) This article on childhood has direct implications on our communities. Wherever we live and whatever our economic status, we are all related to and/or have people that we love, care about, and are close to. Ludwig’s findings and reports can and will affect each and every one of us somehow. When he stated that he and his colleagues predict childhood obesity to equal the affect to that of all cancers combined, I had to do a double take. I have had two aunties in my immediate family and my grandmother battle with cancer. My grandmother actually died from stomach cancer partly because she didn’t like hospitals and failed to report her condition. That is three people close to just me. For every â€A"me” there is a â€A"you”. Me and you makes a â€A"we”. We need to take heed of this article and others like it in order to live and share a full- healthy life for ourselves and with others.




Marian Diamond is an internationally known brain researcher who has been at UC Berkeley and she's been one of a number of people who've done groundbreaking research in the relationship between the brain, growth of the brain, or decline of the brain, and the kind of environment that organisms are in. Her work not only has implications for humans, but in fact I believe she did most of her work with rats. But as you'll see in her reading this concept of the enriched environment has implications for the relationship between the environment and brain enrichment or brain impoverishment. It is not only humans that this theory applies to.


She begins, I'm going to start with the introduction, Experience is the Best Sculptor, and she says that we "once viewed the child's brain as static and unchangeable" but we understand today it's a "dynamic organ that feeds on stimulation and experience." And what's different here about looking at the brain development is we actually look at the brain as an organ. We look and see that, in her language, "the flourishing of branched intertwined neural forests is what can be seen as the result of the proper relationship between the organism and environment at different stages of the life cycle."


She asks a number of questions on page three which are appropriate for you to look at and on the top of page three, "when it comes to the brain, experience does it." So this is not something that is merely an unfolding of genetic patterns. The genes make possible the growth and development of the brain but it is the environment and experience which channel it and which stimulate it, or do not stimulate it. She writes a little bit about this concept of the enriched environment. If you go to page five she says that one of her reasons for wanting to tell the enrichment story is how applicable it is to American education and American children. She says on page five, "the typical American child does not experience an enriched environment." I would like you to read her description in that paragraph and see if that corresponds to your own experience. And so we do not provide an enriched environment for most of our children. There are a few fortunate ones that do get it and maybe many fortunate ones do get it but perhaps even many more do not and so we hear about teen pregnancy, children living in poverty, delinquency, dropout rates, drug abuse, crime, failed teaching methods, the growth of prisons, and so on. And so this is her claim that, in fact, brain enrichment when we're talking about human development we needed a certain point to focus on what's known about the growth of the brain itself.


We move from the introduction to Chapter One (which is the only chapter I've reproduced in this book), "Trees That Grow So Fair: Neural Forests of the Mind." She talks about herself and her interesting childhood and the fact that she became very interested in the hypothalamus, described on page 11 what its function is. She then describes her own life, her marriage to a nuclear chemist, and her arrival at Cornell University, and talks about events in her own life and her interest, on page 12, in the work of Krech, Rosenzweig, and Bennett, and for the first time seeing the link between what was physically there in the animal's brain and its ability to learn. She went down to see them, she’d moved to Berkeley by this time, and talked about the work of a man named Donald Head. Head had made observations of rats who had been free-ranging and played with his own children versus laboratory rats and found that the free-ranging rodents ran a much better maze than the locked-up rats. And so from Head's observation his Berkeley team decided to raise baby rats in two kinds of cages: a large enrichment cage (this is on page 13) filled with toys; and a small impoverishment cage. The important thing there is that actually, when these behavioral differences in the groups on the basis of being put in different environments became clear, she then did research that involved removing the brain of a deceased laboratory rat, and she says from both groups, carefully measuring the thickness of the cerebral cortex. The enriched rats had a thicker cerebral cortex than the impoverished rats. It was only 6% thicker but it was highly significant: 9 out of 9 cases showed this. She repeated the experiment and she says this is about 1963. Then in 1964 she was coauthor of a paper called "Effects of Enriched Environments on the Histology of the Cerebral Cortex. She then talks about giving a paper at the American Association of Anatomists in Washington, DC, and showing this evidence. At that time people were less receptive to women scientists than today and a man said, in a loud voice, "Young lady, that brain cannot change." This is a point of view that's still with us today even though it is contradicted by an enormous amount of experimental evidence. So then this idea of brain enhancement, brain enrichment, she talks about the fact that this really involved the shattering of some dogmas that perhaps many of you have heard about as well, that, you know, the brains can't get thicker, they're fixed, that we are loosing 100,000 brain cells every day, and the brain has an intelligence level fixed at birth and it can't change, except to go down after whatever age you pick (8, 10, 12, 14) and she points out that neurologists have measured the dwindling of brain cells in rats and humans over the typical lifespan. But she argues that her group's theory of enriched and impoverished environments could explain this by looking to the source of the experimental brains. Before 1964 she says, the researchers didn't pay much attention to where a brain came from. Researchers got (human) brains from coroners: indigents, alcoholics, and bedridden soldiers. Animal researchers housed mice, rats, and other lab animals in small sterile cages. So she says, "the neurologist's standard model was based on starving brains." And she says, "when researchers collect brain tissue from enriched research animals or from people who have lived healthy, mentally active lives, they do not find a thinning of the cortex or a relentless loss of neurons with age."


After this, the next section is called, "A Rodent's Brain Revealed." I would like you to look at that and to study that picture of the rat's brain on page 18.


I'm going to jump ahead to page 20 to, "The Heart of Enrichment, Nerve Cell Branching." I want you to look on page 21 at the diagram of a typical neuron, or nerve cell. Isn't it extraordinary that the egg and sperm which unite, two cells, contain the potentiality for cell differentiation for all of the thousands and thousands of different cell types that we find in an organism at different stages of its lifecycle development. One of these types is the neuron, of course, very critical, the cells that comprise the basis of the nervous system. The heart of enrichment, she says, is nerve cell branching. So take a look there: the cell body in the middle, the long thin axon going down with branches, and then at the top of the picture the dendrites, which, she describes them, the "luxuriantly branching dendrites, and its thorn-like spines that grow, change shape, or shrink." So look at the dendrites and notice the spines on the dendrites.


Down at the bottom of page 22 she says some interesting descriptions of the brain and I'd like you to pay attention to the bottom of page 22, "surface areas," and the fact that this concept of surface areas is necessary to understand how plant leaves collect solar energy and they are necessary to understand how our lungs absorb oxygen and liberate carbon dioxide or our small intestines liberate food. But nothing, she says, holds a candle to the human brain. So please do look at that concept of surface areas.


Holloway's work on page 23, the branching in part was causing the cortex to grow thicker. Diamond had speculated that the branching of dendrites might explain this additional 6% thickness of the enriched cerebral cortex. And she suggests the term "little trees" on page 23 and this is well worth reading.


Go to page 25, "Nubbins, Umbrellas, and Lollipop Trees." These are her colloquial terms for what can happen to the dendritic spines. But first it is necessary to understand the term "synapse." I would expect many of you had this in elementary biology courses but it is good to review it. When the electrical signal traveling down the axon reaches the button-like ending at the wire's terminus, a chemical message crosses the gap in the synapse and we get the neurotransmitters.


Turn to page 26. Again I'd like you to be familiar with the diagram there:

• the sending nerve cell,

• the axon

• notice the little circle where the axon is adjacent to the dendritic spine and then the big circle that magnifies that

• electrical input from the sending nerve cell

• the release of neurotransmitters

• the electrical output from the dendritic spine


As you read this right now, probably hundreds of thousands of such electrical inputs are simultaneously being transmitted along the neurons of your brain at every level from the peripheral nervous system, through the spinal cord, through the brain stem, the medulla, through all of the different structures such as the thalamus, hypothalamus (that regulate thirst, hunger, and so on), through the limbic system and its amygdala (that is primarily connected with feelings), and through all of the different parts of the cerebral cortex (which regulate fine movement, perception, thought, and so on). All of this, this is the mechanism through which this text plays, the neurotransmitter. You begin to understand then what Parkinson's disease is a disease where dopamine, one of the main transmitters, is not being produced and this leads to failure, in particular, of motor neurons. So it is very important to understand what this simple but correct model of neurons and how they interconnect.


On page 26 and 27, the Diamond group and other researchers found that bees' dendritic spines themselves grow, change shape, or shrink as an animal experiences the world. The work of James Connor is important, how social isolation could affect a rat's brain, especially in an elderly rat. Two groups of advanced-age rodents, some housed with their aged friends, others alone. When the animals died he found that spines resembled either three-dimensional lollipops with the ball on the stalk like Tootsie-Pops or they were short squat nubbins with no stalk. And the older rats alone had a lot of these nubbin spines, so could there be various lollipop shapes depending on experience in a lonely deprived animal? Could the lollipop spines go unused and eventually collapse into gnarled old nubbins? This is her statement of what the primary mechanism is of either brain enrichment or brain impoverishment, that it has to do with changes that are produced in the dendritic spines which affect the process of neural communication and pathways in the brain. She then cites the work of Richard Coss on page 27. Bees that made one single flight out into the meadows were very different in what had happened to their dendritic spines than bees that had remained in the hive permanently. The Coss team found that a number of spine shapes, not just lollipops and nubbins, depending on the bees' level of stimulation from the outside world. I would like you to look at this. This is very important. Experience, even an hour or two of flying through the meadow, had a dramatic enlarging effect on a bee's dendritic spines. Coss found similar changes in the dendrites of socially enriched and deprived jewelfish. Another team found changes in young Myna birds, and so on. So this is really important.


On page 29 there is a marvelous quote from Richard Coss, who says, "an animal is only as smart as it needs to be." And Diamond goes on to add that a nurse bee inside the hive just apparently doesn't need to be as smart as the worker buzzing through the meadows and orchards. So, "just as the muscles are programmed to grow smaller and weaker with disuse, the dendritic trees and spines will shrivel and the cortex grow thinner with lack of mental activity," she tells us also on page 29. So the implications of this are clear, I believe, that we really need throughout the lifecycle to think about this question of the enrichment environment because it is the environment and our relationship with the environment which is the key overriding factor in determining what kinds of changes will or will not happen in our dendritic spines, which in turn affect neural pathways, which in turn affect every aspect of our human life experience from the maintenance of our intelligence, to our motor coordination, to our interest in life, to our interaction with others, and so on.


In page 30 under the heading "Rats Revisited," she gives on the next two pages quite a good summary of the work of the Diamond lab group at UC Berkeley. They studied enrichment and impoverishment with great intensity. They wanted to learn everything. So they split animals into three groups:

1) A standard intermediate condition with three rats in a small cage with no toys,

2) Impoverishment conditions with a solitary rat in a small cage without toys, and

3) An enrichment condition in which 12 rats inhabit a much larger cage with a rotating array of toys such as exercise wheels, platforms, and ladders.


She tells us on page 30 the findings are potentially valid for students in dormitories, prisoners in solitary confinement, senior citizens living together in comfort or in poverty, for children treated well or abused. And so with the three cage types they formulated the basic principles of brain enrichment and these are on page 31. I would like you to study these and think about them and use them as a basis perhaps for your viewpoints and responses. Remember also that the Wiki project, which I have asked you all to start thinking about during the past weekend this week, the Wiki project asks you in some way, whatever your chosen topic and problem formulation is, in relation to human development, asks you in some way to relate it to the concept of the enriched environment. So what she says on page 31, "the impact of a stimulating or boring environment is wide-spread throughout the regions involved in learning and remembering." How interesting, a stimulating environment or a boring environment. I ask myself, is this the limit of the different kinds of environments that one could have? I ask, for instance, what about the type of environment that prisoners at Abu Ghraib had where they were subjected to many forms of humiliation and torture? They were certainly being stimulated in many cases, it certainly wasn't boring, and so we could certainly have a broader discussion of environments. But stimulating or boring is probably a good place to begin. Neurons in other parts of the brain besides the cerebral cortex can also respond. I should tell you that there has been peer-reviewed work showing that actually new neurons can be generated in the adult phase of the lifecycle even though Diamond's model focuses primarily on the dendritic spines and this seems to be the key area. The paradigm shift has been so great in brain research, the older view that the brain with no more neurons growing after a very early age and development and then the death of 100,000 cells a day. You might hear this in the popular press. You might hear this by people with different kinds of theoretical or social axes to grind, but in fact even at the level of new neuron production it is clear now that, not only in humans but also in other organisms, entirely new neurons can be produced in the adult phase of the lifecycle. I'll try to put up an electron micrograph picture of one of these for you.


Enriching the environment of a pregnant female rat can result in newborn pups with a thicker cerebral cortex. Now that's interesting, isn't it? Nursing rat pups show the effects of enrichment on the brain and the impact of boredom in young and adolescent rats, a boring environment had a more powerful thinning effect on the cortex than an exciting environment had on cortex thickening. Now what are the implications of this for the kinds of education that we are giving our children? One of the mathematics teachers, a third grade math teacher with 22 years experience, complained about the kind of impoverished environment for teaching mathematics that is now mandated because of the dominance of the standardized testing and she said, in her words, "what we do now is drill and kill." In her school, pardon my small diversion here but some of you might want to talk about this in your viewpoints and responses, that in effect for these third graders school has become an experience where they are tested and the testing becomes much more important than the learning process to the despair of good teachers and to the confusion of new teachers who may begin to wonder what they got themselves into. In this third grade school not only do they have the week or more of standardized tests but they have trimester tests given three times a year, each one of which takes a week to prepare the students for the standardized tests. They have pre-testing and post-testing and they also have individual teachers' tests. So this is a situation, widespread in American education, where assessment has replaced learning. Assessment is the goal, learning becomes secondary. I wonder about the effect of the boredom that I would imagine that this is having for the students who have to adapt to something in these classrooms that is presenting itself to them as education. Of course, what about adolescence? I would be interested to have some of your views on this, speaking from your own experience.


And the last one, brain changes were found in young adult rats, middle-aged rats, and even in rats the equivalent of 90-year-old humans. Use it or lose it. The question remained, does a thicker cortex mean a smarter animal? The answer the Berkeley group says according to its data, "Yes!" And she gives examples of that.


That really sums up the essence of this argument that Diamond makes about brain enrichment. I would like you to read and study her article carefully. Think about this in relationship to the other parts of Unit One and Unit Two, the importance of birth bonding, the nature of attachment bonding, all of these kinds of questions. Now we have a third perspective on human development based on the concept of brain enrichment or brain impoverishment and that is really all that I will talk about today. Thank you.

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Diamond, M.C., and Hopson, J., 1998: Magic Trees of the Mind: How to Nurture Your Child's

Intelligence, Creativity, and Healthy Emotions from Birth Through Adolescence, Dutton,

New York.

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Title: Brain Scans as Evidence Brain

  • Total Pages: 10
  • Words: 2688
  • Works Cited:10
  • Citation Style: APA
  • Document Type: Essay
Essay Instructions: We will pay $180.00 for this order!!

Technological innovations have led to greatly valuable and fascinating yet still unreliable methods of detecting and recording brain functionality as it relates to concepts such as pain, lying, and other sensations and behaviors relevant to factual issues in the courtroom that should not be allowed to be admitted as evidence during a trial any more than a polygraph test should.

Recent developments in fields of Neuroscience and the medical/biomedical technology industry in general have brought about interesting applications of existing and new technologies. Two of these technologies, the Functional MRI (fMRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET), because of their often dazzling visual display, cause undue prejudice during a trial when sought by either party to be admitted as evidence. An fMRI is able to observe brain functionality in real-time by measuring neurological activity based on the depletion of oxygen from red blood cells. A PET scan is also able to produce a three dimensional brain scan image that shows brain activity, but not in real-time.

While these technologies are new and exciting and their medical uses are undoubtedly proven, whether the visual output from these scanning method are to be used in court is less clear. Mapping the human brain precisely and reliably seems like a lofty goal in the near future. While scientists have been able to study and surmise across many human brains, areas supposedly related to certain behaviors or sensations, this practice is far from perfect and subject to the interpreter’s subjective observations. Because of this, such a method to determine whether or not a person is experiencing or has experienced a certain sensation lacks the precision necessary to be admitted as evidence during a trial.

Although the technologies behind the modern tools the medical industry uses to scan brains and analyze brain activity may be much more advanced than the polygraph machine, the visual data, just as with the output of a polygraph, when used to predict behaviors or sensations rely on the same error-prone method of interpretation: the judgment and experiences of the examiner. Our current understanding of the human brain prevents us from accurately interpreting the data so as to provide a consistent and reliable source of information with regards to matters relevant to a court case such as intent, deception, or pain. Although it is a distinct possibility that these hurdles will eventually be overcome, perhaps even in the near future, they currently impede our ability to predict and analyze behavior and sensations based on data collected directly from the human brain and rendered into images through fMRI and PET technology. Because of this understandable yet fatal shortcoming, such evidence should not be admitted.

***Use reputable sources such as medical journals and especially court opinions if available. Research papers from SSRN.com are also acceptable. Cites should follow Blue Book format. Footnotes are required but should not be overused. The relevant Federal Rules of Evidence should be noted whenever evidentiary or legal discussions appear in the paper.

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Abram S. Barth. A Double-Edged Sword: The Role of Neuroimaging in Federal Capital Sentencing, American Journal of Law and Medicine, (2007); available at HighBeam Research: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-1436644761.html

Alan Felthous & Henning Sass. International Handbook on Psychopathic Disorders and the Law, Volume 1 of the International Handbook of Psychopathic Disorders and the Law, John Wiley and Sons, (2008).

Henry T. Greely & Judy Illes. Neuroscience-Based Lie Detection: The Urgent Need for Regulation, American Journal of Law and Medicine, (2007); available at HighBeam Research: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-1436644721.html

Ishani Ganguli. Watching the Brain Lie, the Scientist, (2007); available at HighBeam Research: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-1269077571.html

John R. Richert. Picture it: Why researchers need better imaging techniques, Momentum, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, (2009); available at HighBeam Research: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-197666158.html

Joseph R. Simpson. Functional MRI Lie Detection: Too Good to be True?, American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, Volume 36, No. 4, pp. 91-498, (2008); available at http://www.jaapl.org/cgi/content/full/36/4/491

Laurence R. Tancredi & Jonathan D. Brodie. The Brain and Behavior: Limitations in the Legal Use of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, American Journal of Law and Medicine, (2007), available at HighBeam Research: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-1436644671.html

Mark Pettit Jr. FMRI and BF Meet FRE: Brain Imaging and the Federal Rules of Evidence, American Journal of Law and Medicine, (2007); available at HighBeam Research: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-1436644681.html

Stacey a. Tovino. Imaging Body Structure and Mapping Brain Function: A Historical Approach. American, Journal of Law and Medicine, (2007); available at HighBeam Research: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-1436644641.html

Wiliam P. Cheshire Jr. Can Grey Voxels Resolve Neuroethical Dilemmas?, Ethics & Medicine, Bioethics Press Highland Park, IL., (2007); available at HighBeam Research: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-1350089161.html

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Title: A teenagers brain

  • Total Pages: 8
  • Words: 2246
  • Bibliography:4
  • Citation Style: MLA
  • Document Type: Research Paper
Essay Instructions: Below is my paper proposal. I have included a bibliography with references that you can look up as they apply to my topic. This paper needs a thesis statement. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you very much!





Subject of my paper:
The Teenager’s Brain: The Science Behind the Exercise of Poor Judgment.


Reasons for researching this topic:
I have always been fascinated by the human brain and its abilities. The teenager today is an entirely different subject, however, as an at risk teenager myself, as I got older I often wondered how much of my actions were a part of my genetic make-up and how much of my actions were a product of the environmental influences in my life. I am a Human Development major and through my studies, I’m beginning to realize a teenagers actions can be attributed to the interplay between both biology and environment.

Outline:
1. I will discuss that years ago scientist thought that that brain development ceased in ? childhood. However, it has been discovered that the human brain doesn’t stop ? developing well in to a person’s late 20s.

2.I will discuss cutting-edge technology that has assisted in proving the above-mentioned theory wrong. In the late 20th century technology had evolved with the use of the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), which utilizes powerful magnetization to visualize internal structures. MRIs have enabled us to understand the underdeveloped teenage brain. ?

3.Ten years ago researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health and the University of California Los Angeles revealed that the specific brain centers, such as the prefrontal cortex do not fully develop until young adult hood because the grey matter gradually decreases as the brain matures and neural connections are cut short.?
I will explain the function of grey matter in the brain, and how it routes sensory and motor stimulus to interneurons of the Central Nervous System, and how this interrelates to the decision making teen.

4.I will discuss “hot cognition”, and decision -making. In peaceful ?situations, a teenager has the ability to use common sense as well as an adult. However, when a teenager experiences stress while decisions are to be made, it could have a negative influence on the out-come of their decision because their frontal lobes are not fully developed, which are directly responsible for reward, attention, drive, planning and thrill-seeking.?

5.I will also address the teenagers relationship to their environment that can ? negatively influence their decision-making.



Bibiliography

Begley, Sharon. (February 28, 2000). Getting inside a teen brain. Newsweek, 135 (9), 58-


Brown, A., Tapert, S., Granholm, E., and Delis, D. (2000). Neurocognitive functioning of
adolescents: Effects of protracted alcohol use. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Re-
search, 24, 164-171. ?

Giedd, J., Blumenthal, J., Jeffries, N., Castellanos, F., Liu, H., Zijdenbos, A., Paus, T., Evans,
A., and Rapoport, J. (1999). Brain development during childhood and adolescence: A lon-
gitudinal MRI study. Nature Neuroscience, 2 (10), 861-863. ?

National Institutes of Health (2000). Adolescent Alcohol Dependence May Damage Brain
Function. NIH News Release, available on line at www.hih/gov/news/pr/feb2000/niaaa-
14.htm.




?

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References

Edmonds, M. (2010) Are Teenage Brains Really Different From Adult Brains? Discovery Health. Brain and Central Nervous System. Retrieved from: http://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/systems/nervous-system/teenage-brain2.htm

Adolescent Brain Development (2002) ACT for Youth -- Upstate Center of Excellence. Cornell University, University of Rochester and the NYS Center for School Safety. May 2002. Research Facts and Findings. Retrieved from: http://www.actforyouth.net/documents/may02factsheetadolbraindev.pdf

Sohn, Emily (2005) Teen Brains, Under Construction. Science News. 28 Sept 2005. Retrieved from: http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/articles/20050928/Feature1.asp

Winters, KC and McLellan, AT (2008) Adolescent Brain Development and Drug Abuse. Jan 2008. TRI Science Addiction (Treatment Research Institute) Philadelphia PA Retrieved from: http://www.tresearch.org/archives/2008Jan_TeenBrain.pdf

National Institutes of Health (2000). Adolescent Alcohol Dependence May Damage Brain Function. NIH News Release, available online at www.hih/gov/news/pr/feb2000/niaaa-14.htm.

Gill, S. (2009) SalsAmigos Dancing and Teen Brain Development. Retrieved from: http://salsamigos.org/PDF/SA%20Brain%206.pdf

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