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Alex Hansen's picture

Concussion and light?

Earlier today I was having a discussion with someone about concussions and how we are affected by them.  A concussion, also known as a mild traumatic brain injury occurs as a result of physical trama that alters neuronal metabolism and excitability causing the brain to enter into a state of "hypermetabolism."  A concussion is usually marked by unconsciousness, confusion, vomiting and visual disturbances.  Other qualities include anmesia, headaches, drowsiness, ringing sensations in the ear, unbalanced pupil size, and disorientation.  The damage that occurs leading to these symptoms and qualities of a concussion most often is located in specific areas of the brain.  These areas include the cerebral cortex, or the reticular formation of the brain, and the cranial nerves.  However, there do exist arguments that state that the damage occurs to all consisting parts of the brain.

First off, the fact that when a concussion occurs, the idea of reality is altered, is a very interesting phenomena, especially in regards to our study of the brain and the behavior associated with the brain.  This mild traumatic brain injury leads to further questioning of what exactly is reality?  Is it a construction?  To the patient, the world that he or she is living in seems perfectly normal and most often they feel fine, while those around them do not agree as they experience the patient's inability to recall basic information and perform basic calculation or answer basic questions.  How is it that the brain can all of a sudden lose this information that a five year old would be able to know.  How is it that we appear normal to ourselves after experiencing this trama, but damage has occured to our brains?  Yes, you can become light headed, vomit, and experience wierd sensations, but still we often deny that we have lost brain power unless we are asked a question and acknowledge that we have trouble solving the simpliest of problems.  Does society play any role in this situation, for basically, we are admitting stupidity if we admit we are unable to answer the question, and at least in my opinion, no one wants to feel that they are stupid and cannot answer a simple question such as two plus two.  However, it is very interesting to interpret all of this and the ability to lose this information so rapidly.  If the brain can almost enter two different worlds in a sense, what else is it capable of?  What truly is reality?  What is the brain's true capacity?

Moreover, I began thinking about this all for I began to relate concussions to our discussion of light.  We discussed how perception can be different for different people, and thus, which is correct.  Well who is to say then what occurs when experiencing a concussion is not correct, and the images are not real.  The brain is known to float within the skull which is surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid which protects the brain from normal light trauma.  Thus, when the brain trauma occurs, how exactly is the brain affected by light in the aftermath?  Does color mixing occur in the same manner?  Are there any changes in absorbances and observed colors as color is a function of the brain.  How exactly is depth perception altered?  Monitering the brain of a patient experiencing this mild traumatic brain injury would provide interesting information in exploration of these questions of the brain and its varying functions. 

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