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The Secret Life of the Brain

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The Secret life of the Brain

The PBS special "The Secret Life of the Brain" took us through all different aspects of the brain and its formation through life. These five movies taught us that the brain is plastic and is always changing, cutting unused neurons and filling with different ideas and thoughts that you learn from your environment. The five videos go through the five stages of life; baby, child, teenager, adult and finally the aging brain.

The Baby's Brain: Wider than the Sky

When you are born your brain is in taking all the different sounds and figures around you. Your brain was developing before you even arrived in the world that you are now aware of. After conception your brain starts to grow at a rapid rate; neural tubes begin to for and they give way to the production of the hindbrain, forebrain, and the midbrain. During the peak periods of life there were 500,000 neurons producing a minute. In the movie we see that there is a newborn child that was three months premature, looking at her she was smaller than her brain was not fully developed to enter the world. Medical researches used her as a subject for "experiments." They wanted to see if the fact she was early she would suffer later in life. To form their research they did a study where they had her in a quiet soothing environment, with little light to form the idea that she was still inside of her mother. From this she was able to grow healthy and live her life with her mother and father. I thought that this was quite a remarkable thing, not knowing if this premature baby would be able to survive without the nutrients that she receives from her mother. I found that with the new advances in technology and will power of the parents that anything the medial doctors can do to help will result in a change for the child's life.

As the video moved on there was a child that was born on time but had difficulty seeing out of one of his eyes. The family decided to do something about this. In learning from the movie your vision is the last to develop. From the book: "Psychology" we see that the human visual system is developed through a series of light transactions. First the light waves reflect from the center of your eye, passing through the cornea , pupil , and the lens . The lens is surrounded by the iris , which contracts or expands to let in the appropriate amount of light. From this we can see that if the surgery hadn't been done on the little boy he wouldn't be able to see at this present time. To resolve this issue the doctors covered the good eye forcing him to use only the bad eye. Also from the baby's brain video you learn that your vision keeps improving until a year of age. I find this to be amazing that the brain is able to gather the information needed to be able to train the bad eye to see.

The Child's Brain: From syllable to sound

In viewing the baby's brain video we learned that the brain is sensitive and always open to new experiences. Now moving through life we become children and our brain is still being altered by our surroundings. The movie talked about the first six years of life we are in types of a hypnotic state, our brain is producing delta and theta brain waves. By the time you hit the age of 11 your brain is producing Beta brain waves . The movie also talks about the different hemispheres of the brain. During our childhood we learn many different things, such as language , how to think, and how to treat others. When you are of a young age you learn your own language and in school you learn how to use the symbols to form words, and follow the rules of your language. As you lean to speak you also learn to write what you are thinking. From the movie we see that to read there are many steps, you must first see the word, know the sounds of the symbol and the meaning then finally you are able to articulate the words that you see. As you grow up you must take many tests, they involve reading and being able to articulate what you read. These tests are called intelligence tests. I believe that this section I could relate to due to the fact that I am always babysitting young kids that are just learning to read and write. I find it interesting is that it is so simple to read yet there are so many steps that are needed to just read one word.

The Teen Brain: A World of their Own

Your brain has fully developed and you are emerging as a teen into a world of pressures. There are many addictions and disorders that begin at this stage in life. There are addictions to cocaine, pot, and alcohol. The main disorder that is discussed in the video is schizophrenia. Looking back to the pressure of teens to use psychoactive drugs such as cocaine , amphetamines , and even caffeine , it is seen that they are easily abused and have negative effects on the brain. The film taught us about a group of teens that had experimented with different substances and have become addicted to them. As many of the teens explained their addiction had taken over their lives, and they didn't want to do it anymore but because they had been doing it so long they were unable to function without it. I personally can't relate to this strong of an addiction, I have gone through phases in life where I really want something but never to the point of not being able to function. There are people that I personally know that are caffeine addicts where their days don't start until they have had there cup or two of coffee from Starbucks. What many people may not realize is that when you start taking a drug you get an immediate high, but after a prolonged period of time it takes more to get you high; this is due to the fact that the receptors in the brain have been killed. The killing of the receptors causes you to lose joy in every aspect of your life. There was a boy in the movie that had become an alcoholic, with alcohol many think that it is a stimulant which in fact is not the case. In reading the book I found out that it is actually a depressant; the alcohol lessens inhibitions causing the self-control and judgment centers of the brain to be shut down. I thought that this was interesting due to the fact that I have been one of the people to think that it is a stimulant just because of the light-heartedness that people get at parties.

Although some may become addicted to drugs other teens have mental disorders



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