MadSci Network: Neuroscience

Re: Why do we study the brain?

Date: Wed Oct 24 10:53:21 2007
Posted By: Mitchell Maltenfort, Staff, Neurosurgery, Thomas Jefferson University
Area of science: Neuroscience
ID: 1193186811.Ns

Dear Emma,

There's more than one reason to study the brain. Brain researchers might be motivated by any or all of them.

The functions of the human brain make humans unique in the animal kingdom. The memories and talents kept in our brain help make you different from other people. If we lose a limb, or a sense, or any other organ, we're still us - -damage the brain, and we become a different person, or if the damage is severe enough (brain death), not a person at all.

Doctors -- neurologists, neurosurgeons, or psychiatrists -- want to study how the brain works so they can help when disease or damage interferes with brain function.

Basic researchers study the brain because the problems are interesting and challenging. Physicists and mathematicians are drawn to brain research for those reasons -- I had a professor in college who left aerospace engineering to study the electric fields of the brain. Studying the brain brings together math, chemistry, biology (of course!) and the physics of electrical circuits.

You want to study the brain? Pick a reason, any reason. Best of them all is "I want to know."



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