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Zoe Fuller-Young's picture

I also wonder?

I have also seen the movie Awakenings, and although I do not have an answer to the end result of the movie, I have some more questions and comments. I immediatly thought of the movie today in class when we were discussing injury to the motor cortex. For those individuals who could not, that is with the I-Function, move their left arm, they would move their arm if a ball was thrown in their direction. In Awakenings, the seemingly catatonic patients could catch a ball if it was thrown at them. Does this mean that it was their motor cortex that was disrupted?

Ok I am going to give away the ending to the movie now, so do not read on if you do not want to know. I believe Lindsey is wondering the same thing that I am, which is why did the drug L Dopa stop working on the patients?Whatever the problem was within the patients nervous systems, it stopped being influenced by L Dopa. This leads me to question their central pattern generator, in that is it possible that the patients retreated to their "catatonic" CPG because their bodies did not become accustomed to the new, higher functioning CPG? Wikipedia's page on L Dopa, explains that the drug manipulates dopamine levels and is often used for Parkinsons patients. Perhaps dopamine levels can only temporarily cure the disease in Awakenings, but what I still do not understand is why it stopped working permanently, instead of maybe stopping but then working again after a few months.

Does anyone who has seen the film remember if Rober DeNiro's character maintained thought processes when he was catatonic? If perhaps his mental process were maintained at any level, this raises new questions for the I Function and its possibilities without other Nervous System processes.


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