I spend the last few days isolating and drawing the regions of the brain. The earlier studies I work last winter, the beautiful bones of the cranium, lay out for me basic information connecting to the brain. Knowing I will eventually focus on the organ, I certainly don’t know I’ll be focusing on dementia and Alzheimer’s this summer. I also don’t know, as I begin this study, June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.
I don’t have an outline for how to move through all this. I learn, I draw – I draw, I learn. I begin with basic groundwork. I work out neurons and glia and now I look at the cerebrum and limbic system. I am looking for the hippocampus as it relates to Alzheimer’s.
I pause here to tell you the brain is beautiful and so full of complexity (form and pattern). I am lost in the labyrinth now.
I start by laying out regions of the cerebrum, using a slightly different color of blue for each area.
Do you see the hippocampus (the center c-like ↑ structure) buried deep in the center of the image? It’s not highlighted yet.
Note the white areas atop ↑ the brain identifying the motor and sensory strips. I leave them color free only to know where they are as I work – eventually I outline them in blue.
As I draw I try to understand something about each area – so much to learn.
In general, the hippocampus processes declarative memories and spatial relationships. This is one of the first areas affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Patients begin to lose short-term memory and may also find it a challenge to follow directions.
Called the hippocampus, the organ is said to resemble a seahorse (from the Greek hippos is horse and campus is sea monster). Living in the desert my whole life, I decide it resembles a Devil’s Claw seed pod.
A side note:
This morning I talk to Ryan, a roofer who is doing some work for us. He tells me about the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona. Apparently sometime back he sustained a brain injury from a biking accident. He informs me the average helmet lasts about 4 to 5 years and most people don’t think to replace their own. He explains with time the lining hardens.
The conversation is interesting because as I research dementia, I also learn the same defective Tau protein found in Alzheimer’s disease is identifiable in the neurons of athletes who have in earlier years sustained serious concussions.
This week I hear the brain being described as a gelatinous organ protected by a rigid bony skull. It does needs protection from impact and jarring.
I mention I didn’t know June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. I know it and now you know it too.