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Neuroscience and Higher Brain Function: From Myth to Public Responsibility

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Abstract

The sections in this article are:

1 Prescientific Beginnings: Brain Succeeds Heart as Organ of Mind; Dualism Arises and Prevails
2 Early Neuroscience and Associated Speculations About Higher Brain Function
3 Antilocalizationist: Unitary View of Cerebral Function
4 Rise of Clinical Neuroscience and its Movement Toward Mental Materialism
5 Growth of Neuroanatomy Affirms a Materialist Position
6 Experimental Approaches Linking Clinical and Anatomic Studies to Neurophysiology
7 Jackson: Leading Clinical Neuroscientist of Nineteenth Century
8 Beginnings of Modern Evidence for Material Mind
9 The Present: Acceptance of Material Basis of Mind and Resulting Philosophical‐Social Effects
10 Future Goals of Neuroscience of Higher Brain Function
Figure 1. Figure 1.

Glyphs from Edwin Smith Papyrus depicting observations of an ancient physician or physicians. Arrow, case 8.

From Breasted .
Figure 2. Figure 2.

Enduring concepts in neurobiology. Leonardo da Vinci's drawing (ca. A.D. 1400) depicts a tripartite ventricular system (upper left). Reisch's wood cut (from 16th century manuscript) describes a tripartite mind almost certainly influenced by Plato's concept (upper right). MacLean's cartoon (20th century) of the “triune” brain reflects his thoughtful conclusions about limbic system (bottom) .

Figure 3. Figure 3.

Giotto's pre‐Renaissance (early 14th century), tradition‐breaking paintings showing human behavior reflecting vulgar emotion. Left: anger; right: malicious envy.

Figure 4. Figure 4.

Progress in neuroanatomy ranging from Leonardo da Vinci (15th century) (left) to Gall (19th century) (right).

Figure 5. Figure 5.

Cerebral localization from Gall and Spurzheim to some of Gall's enthusiastic disciples. Left: from Gall and Spurzheim's 1817 atlas with numerical identification of prominent anatomic landmarks. Right: symbolic head depicting putative functional topography of brain, as reflected by palpable changes in the overlying skull.

Left from Gall and Spurzheim ; right from Wells .
Figure 6. Figure 6.

Leborgne's brain described by Broca , later illustrated directly (left) and diagrammatically (right) by Marie . In addition to area described by Broca in third inferior frontal convolution, ischemic softening extends back along anterior superior temporal gyrus to affect underlying cortex, including lower part of supramarginal gyrus. Wernicke designated the latter region as critical for language formation.

Figure 7. Figure 7.

Individual values for2‐fluorodeoxyglucose uptake measured by positron emission tomography in 1 locked‐in and 4 clinically vegetative patients compared with 18 subjects with normal hemispheric functions. Note that locked‐in patient, who had a large lesion in basis pontis, has reduced pontine uptake but normal rates of metabolism elsewhere. By contrast, uptake in vegetative brains is uniformly reduced in all areas by half or more compared with normal. [Data from Levy et al. .]

18F
Figure 8. Figure 8.

Positron emission tomography scans of2‐fluorodeoxyglucose uptake in single normal (upper left), locked‐in (upper right), and vegetative state patients (lower left). Color on scale at right indicates degree of glucose uptake: red, high; blue, low. Horizontal section was taken through hemispheres at level where temporal and occipital horns of ventricles converge, as reflected by low‐uptake parieto‐occipital areas in both scans. (Frontal lobes are toward top.) [Data from Levy et al. .]

18F


Figure 1.

Glyphs from Edwin Smith Papyrus depicting observations of an ancient physician or physicians. Arrow, case 8.

From Breasted .


Figure 2.

Enduring concepts in neurobiology. Leonardo da Vinci's drawing (ca. A.D. 1400) depicts a tripartite ventricular system (upper left). Reisch's wood cut (from 16th century manuscript) describes a tripartite mind almost certainly influenced by Plato's concept (upper right). MacLean's cartoon (20th century) of the “triune” brain reflects his thoughtful conclusions about limbic system (bottom) .



Figure 3.

Giotto's pre‐Renaissance (early 14th century), tradition‐breaking paintings showing human behavior reflecting vulgar emotion. Left: anger; right: malicious envy.



Figure 4.

Progress in neuroanatomy ranging from Leonardo da Vinci (15th century) (left) to Gall (19th century) (right).



Figure 5.

Cerebral localization from Gall and Spurzheim to some of Gall's enthusiastic disciples. Left: from Gall and Spurzheim's 1817 atlas with numerical identification of prominent anatomic landmarks. Right: symbolic head depicting putative functional topography of brain, as reflected by palpable changes in the overlying skull.

Left from Gall and Spurzheim ; right from Wells .


Figure 6.

Leborgne's brain described by Broca , later illustrated directly (left) and diagrammatically (right) by Marie . In addition to area described by Broca in third inferior frontal convolution, ischemic softening extends back along anterior superior temporal gyrus to affect underlying cortex, including lower part of supramarginal gyrus. Wernicke designated the latter region as critical for language formation.



Figure 7.

Individual values for2‐fluorodeoxyglucose uptake measured by positron emission tomography in 1 locked‐in and 4 clinically vegetative patients compared with 18 subjects with normal hemispheric functions. Note that locked‐in patient, who had a large lesion in basis pontis, has reduced pontine uptake but normal rates of metabolism elsewhere. By contrast, uptake in vegetative brains is uniformly reduced in all areas by half or more compared with normal. [Data from Levy et al. .]

18F


Figure 8.

Positron emission tomography scans of2‐fluorodeoxyglucose uptake in single normal (upper left), locked‐in (upper right), and vegetative state patients (lower left). Color on scale at right indicates degree of glucose uptake: red, high; blue, low. Horizontal section was taken through hemispheres at level where temporal and occipital horns of ventricles converge, as reflected by low‐uptake parieto‐occipital areas in both scans. (Frontal lobes are toward top.) [Data from Levy et al. .]

18F
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Fred Plum, Bruce T. Volpe. Neuroscience and Higher Brain Function: From Myth to Public Responsibility. Compr Physiol 2011, Supplement 5: Handbook of Physiology, The Nervous System, Higher Functions of the Brain: 1-23. First published in print 1987. doi: 10.1002/cphy.cp010501