The nervous system controls all behavior... the nervous system IS behavior. An interruption of the connection neurons that communicate between the spinal chord and the brain leads to some confusing results. The communication between all parts of the nervous system is essential for "typical" behavior as we think we know it. We discussed the idea of an "I-function" in the brain as being the "person". And that we did not know if there was a similar function elsewhere.

I am still questioning the idea of a person with a broken neck being able to run. I feel as though he or she may be capable of firing all of the correct neurons, but they do not lead to the desired result. In a sense, I would think that this would be one of the more frustrating parts of paralyzation to overcome. The only ways to know that the initial neuron firings were not going anywhere would be through visual observation and lack of any responses from the spinal chord. If you tell someone to move their foot, they cannot because the message cannot get delivered from the ear to the motor neurons of the foot. But does that mean that in their "mind", in their brain, or within their I-function of the brain, there is no sensation of accomplishing a particular goal? Or that there is no capability of performing a particular action?

In the same way, is it possible to stimulate the neurons right above the base of the brain, where there is the sever, in order to make the brain think (or convince the brain) that it has actually performed an action that it has not physically accomplished? These are my questions... are they just hypothetical, or do we actually think we know the answers (not that they are "right" answers because that would be no fun!)? There is only one person who I know who has a severed spinal chord right near the back of the neck. Abram is aware of his ventilator, but not of any other part of his body. He has no control of his spasms and movements. I have never thought that his brain asks his body to do certain things, but I realize that that may not be true. Since the brain can respond to verbal stimuli and then transfer that to motor neurons, the cut off in the nervous system must be known. But known to him? to his brain? to his mind, although that is part of the brain? I wonder.

Worthwhile things to wonder about. And maybe to ask Abram about too. There are some missing steps to file in in your considerations (and in the course). It isn't actually the brain that tells the motoneurons how to fire to run. Its the spinal cord. The brain tells the spinal cord it would like to see running, the spinal cord tells the motor neurons what to do. Question is what is Abram's experience when his brain tries to tell the spinal cord to cause running ... or anything else. Will talk more about this general set of problems, but to foreshadow: can you imaginea situation in which the brain requests running, nothing moves, but the brain DOES get information indicating that running has occurred? When and how could THAT happen? PG