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Brain Functions

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Imagine you are a neurologist and you have a rather perplexing case. A friend informed you by way of e-mail that she has no sensation of touch in her left hand. Further, she claimed she couldn't speak normally. Unfortunately, this is all the information she provided. Using your now extensive knowledge of how the various components of the brain control sensation and speech production, which components of the brain are likely involved in these two dysfunctions and why? Don't be afraid to give this a bit of thought and get specific.

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The fact that the person is experiencing a lack of sensation to touch specifically in her left hand is actually fairly troublesome. This implies that the rest of normal function is intact: she can move her left hand, and the rest of her left arm is fine. This seems to argue for peripheral nerve damage more than anything, although it is possible for central areas in the sensorimotor cortex to be affected.

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Solution Summary

Brain function components are examined. Which components of the brain are likely involved in these two dysfunctions are determined.

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Techniques for Mapping and Exploring Brain Function

To further understand the different lobes of the cerebral cortex as well as the various neuroimaging techniques such as the fMRI that are available for mapping and exploring brain function, consider the following two case studies:

1. Over the last few weeks, Mr. Roberts has been bothered by nausea, frequent fainting spells, and severe headaches. Describe at least two different ways such as neuroimaging techniques for example, which a physician might seek to determine whether Mr. Roberts' symptoms are a result of brain injury or disorder. Include a rationale for the choice of techniques.

2. After a mild stroke, Mrs. Smith has been showing signs of aphasia. What pattern of symptoms would lead you to believe the damage occurred primarily in (a) Wernicke's area (b) Broca's area?

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