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Posted: September 26th, 2023

Brain Disorders and Their Implications for Behavior

Task 3

Title: Brain disorders and their implications for behavior

Objective: Evaluate the causes and effects of various brain conditions and evaluate the scientific methods used to study these conditions.

Length: 3-4 pages (APA format)

Instructions: Write a research paper that examines the relationship between brain disorders and human behavior. Select two common brain disorders (e.g. Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease p Dementia etc.) and discuss their causes, symptoms and impact on behavior. Evaluate the scientific methods used in the research of these disorders and their implications for our understanding of human behavior.

Title: Brain Disorders and Their Implications for Behavior
The human brain is an incredibly complex organ that controls nearly every function of the body and mind. When the brain is damaged or diseased, it can have profound effects on behavior, cognition, emotions, and motor skills. In this paper, I will examine two common brain disorders—Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease—and discuss how they impact behavior. Specifically, I will explore the causes and symptoms of each disorder and evaluate the scientific research methods used to study these conditions. Understanding the relationship between brain disorders and behavior can provide insight into the neurological underpinnings of human behavior more broadly.
Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects movement (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 2022). It occurs when dopamine-producing neurons in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra gradually die or become impaired. The exact cause of Parkinson’s is unknown in most cases, though some genetic and environmental factors may play a role (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 2022). Symptoms of Parkinson’s typically emerge in mid-life and include tremors, stiffness, slow movement, impaired balance and coordination, and changes in speech and handwriting (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 2022).
These motor symptoms have significant implications for behavior. For example, Parkinson’s patients often exhibit a stooped, shuffling gait that can make walking difficult and increase the risk of falls (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 2022). Their slow, rigid movements may also interfere with activities of daily living like getting dressed, eating, or using the bathroom independently. Fine motor skills are impaired as well, affecting tasks that require dexterity like writing, buttoning clothes, or using utensils (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 2022). Changes in facial expression can diminish nonverbal communication behaviors. Speech may become soft, slurred, or monotonous due to difficulties with articulation (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 2022). All of these symptoms have the potential to negatively impact social interactions and quality of life.
Parkinson’s disease has been studied extensively through both animal models and clinical research with human patients. Animal models allow researchers to induce Parkinson’s-like symptoms in rodents and non-human primates through toxins that selectively damage dopamine neurons (Blesa et al., 2012). This provides opportunities to study the progression of motor and non-motor symptoms over time in a controlled experimental setting (Blesa et al., 2012). Clinical studies involve longitudinal observation and assessment of Parkinson’s patients, often using rating scales to measure changes in motor function, cognition, mood, and activities of daily living (Emre, 2003). Neuroimaging techniques like positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have also provided insights into the neurodegenerative process in living patients (Emre, 2003). Together, animal and clinical research methods have advanced our understanding of Parkinson’s disease pathogenesis and potential therapeutic targets.
Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia—a syndrome characterized by significant cognitive decline and impaired daily functioning (Alzheimer’s Association, 2022). The hallmark pathological features of Alzheimer’s are amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain that are believed to disrupt communication between neurons and lead to their death (Alzheimer’s Association, 2022). Risk factors for Alzheimer’s include increasing age, family history of the disease, and certain genetic mutations (Alzheimer’s Association, 2022). The earliest symptoms are typically subtle and may include memory loss, difficulty planning or solving problems, withdrawal from social activities, and changes in mood and personality (Alzheimer’s Association, 2022).
As Alzheimer’s progresses, cognitive and functional impairments intensify, profoundly impacting behavior. Advanced stages are characterized by severe memory loss, confusion about time and place, problems recognizing family and friends, challenges performing simple tasks, and changes in physical abilities (Alzheimer’s Association, 2022). Individuals may become anxious, depressed, suspicious, or delusional as the disease takes its course (Alzheimer’s Association, 2022). Eventually, patients require total care for basic needs as motor and cognitive skills deteriorate (Alzheimer’s Association, 2022). The degenerative nature of Alzheimer’s means that behavioral changes tend to worsen over many years until the individual passes away.
Much of our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis comes from post-mortem examination of brain tissue from deceased patients (Nelson et al., 2012). This has allowed neuropathologists to observe the distribution and progression of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles firsthand. Animal models that induce Alzheimer’s-like pathology through genetic manipulation or toxins have also provided insights into disease mechanisms (Webster et al., 2014). In humans, neuroimaging techniques like computed tomography (CT), MRI, and PET scans are used to detect structural brain changes and the accumulation of amyloid and tau proteins in living patients (Nelson et al., 2012). Longitudinal clinical studies involving cognitive testing, biomarker analysis, and neuropsychological assessments have characterized the typical progression and behavioral manifestations of Alzheimer’s study bay at different stages as well (Nelson et al., 2012). Together, these research approaches have advanced our knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease tremendously.
The research examined in this paper demonstrates that brain disorders can profoundly impact behavior through their effects on motor function, cognition, mood, and other domains. Parkinson’s disease causes characteristic movement impairments that influence mobility, self-care skills, communication behaviors, and social interactions. Alzheimer’s disease gradually erodes cognitive abilities and functional status, leading to more severe behavioral changes as the disease progresses from mild memory issues to advanced dementia. Both conditions exemplify how localized neurological damage or degeneration can manifest systemically as behavioral changes.
Animal models and clinical studies have been invaluable for advancing scientific understanding of these brain disorders. Post-mortem examination, neuroimaging, biomarker analysis, and longitudinal observation of patients have mapped the neuropathological progression of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases over time. Rating scales, cognitive tests, and neuropsychological assessments have characterized associated behavioral changes. While more research is still needed, these methods have provided crucial insights into disease mechanisms, risk factors, and potential therapeutic targets. Continued multidisciplinary investigation incorporating neuroscience, genetics, and behavioral science will likely yield further discoveries with implications for diagnosis, treatment and quality of life for those affected.
In conclusion, this paper examined how Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease impact behavior through their effects on motor function, cognition, mood, activities of daily living, social interactions, and more. Animal models and clinical research methods have been instrumental in advancing scientific understanding of the neurological underpinnings and behavioral manifestations of these common brain disorders. Further research utilizing diverse approaches holds promise for continued progress in managing and treating these conditions.
Alzheimer’s Association. (2022). 2022 Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 18(4), 700-789.
Blesa, J., Phani, S., Jackson-Lewis, V., & Przedborski, S. (2012). Classic and new animal models of Parkinson’s disease. Journal of biomedicine & biotechnology, 2012, 845618.
Emre, M. (2003). What causes mental dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease?. Movement disorders : official journal of the Movement Disorder Society, 18 Suppl 6, S63–S71.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2022, February 23). Parkinson’s disease information page. National Institutes of Health.
Nelson, P. T., Schmitt, F. A., Lin, Y., Abner, E. L., Jicha, G. A., Patel, E., Thomason, P. C., Neltner, J. H., Smith, C. D., Santacruz, K. S., Sonnen, J. A., Poon, L. W., Gearing, M., Green, R. C., Woodard, J. L., Van Eldik, L. J., & Kryscio, R. J. (2011). Hippocampal sclerosis in advanced age: clinical and pathological features. Brain : a journal of neurology, 134(Pt 5), 1506–1518.
Webster, S. J., Bachstetter, A. D., Nelson, P. T., Schmitt, F. A., & Van Eldik, L. J. (2014). Using mice to model Alzheimer’s dementia: an overview of the clinical disease and the preclinical behavioral changes in 10 mouse models. Frontiers in genetics, 5, 88.

Study Bay Notes:
Brain Disorders and Their Implications for Behavior

The brain is the most complex organ in the human body, responsible for controlling our thoughts, emotions, sensations, and actions. The brain is also vulnerable to various disorders that can affect its structure, function, and chemistry. These disorders can have profound impacts on the behavior of individuals and groups, as well as on their quality of life and well-being.

In this blog post, we will explore some of the major types of brain disorders, their causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. We will also discuss how these disorders influence the behavior of people who suffer from them, as well as the challenges and opportunities for prevention and intervention.

Types of Brain Disorders

Brain disorders can be classified into different categories based on their origin, nature, and severity. Some of the main types of brain disorders are:

– Brain injuries: These are caused by physical trauma to the brain, such as a blow to the head, a stroke, or a lack of oxygen. Brain injuries can damage the brain tissue, neurons, and nerves, affecting the communication between different parts of the brain and the rest of the body. Brain injuries can result in various symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, speech difficulties, memory loss, paralysis, personality changes, and cognitive impairments. Depending on the type and extent of the injury, treatment may include medication, surgery, and rehabilitation.

– Brain tumors: These are abnormal growths of cells in the brain that can be either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Brain tumors can be primary (originating in the brain) or secondary (spreading from another part of the body). Brain tumors can cause pressure on the surrounding brain tissue and interfere with its function. Symptoms of brain tumors may include seizures, numbness, tingling, vision problems, hearing problems, balance problems, nausea, vomiting, and personality changes. Treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy.

– Neurodegenerative diseases: These are progressive disorders that cause the loss of neurons and their connections in the brain. Neurodegenerative diseases include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and multiple sclerosis (MS). These diseases affect different parts of the brain and cause different symptoms. For example, Alzheimer’s disease affects the memory and cognitive functions; Parkinson’s disease affects the movement and coordination; Huntington’s disease affects the mood and behavior; ALS affects the muscle control and breathing; and MS affects the nerve insulation and communication. There is no cure for these diseases, but treatments may help slow down their progression and manage their symptoms.

– Psychiatric disorders: These are mental health conditions that affect the mood, thoughts, feelings,

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