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Insight On Brain Functioning

Georgia Jeter, Journalist

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This past week, CdM welcomed on campus representatives from UCI, to inform CdM Anatomy students about the human brain and some prevalent brain diseases that have become extremely common in recent decades. Tricia Place, a UCI psychometrist, and Chad Caraway, former CdM 2011 alum, gave a presentation on common brain diseases, including Dementia, Huntington’s disease, and Alzheimer’s. Anatomy students were able to gain valuable insight into the functionings of the human brain by listening to UCI representatives speak on the topic.
Dementia is commonly defined as a brain malfunction that leads to a decline in intellectual ability, ultimately impacting the memory. There are multiple different types of dementia, such as vascular dementia, which is usually the result of a stroke and leads to memory loss. Frontotemporal dementia affects the executive functioning of the brain, leading to personality changes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common and well known form of dementia on a global scale. Place shared some sweeping statistics on the widespread commonality of this disease, informing students that there is a new case of dementia every 66 seconds, and 1 in 3 seniors will die from Alzheimer’s.
With the diagnosis of these diseases being so high, the United States has spent billions of dollars on these diseases throughout the years. Last year, the U.S. contributed $236 billion to help care for people with Alzheimer’s. Last year alone, $800 billion was spent on dementia worldwide. With the widespread diagnosis of dementia becoming only more common, the cost spent on aid is sure to rise. Currently, 1 in 9 people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s, but it is estimated that by 2030 it will be 1 in every 5. As Place said, “it knows no boundaries.”
Despite the horrific effects of these brain diseases, there are many researchers that are contributing time and effort to search for potential cures. Leslie Thompson is a professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at UCI, and is known for her world renowned breakthroughs in Huntington’s disease. Carl Cotman is also a member of the UCI community, and is a professor at the Neurology School of Medicine. Some of his past research was based off the theory that stretching and aerobic exercise may lead to better functioning within the brain.
Whether it be your grandparents, relatives, or a close family friend, almost everyone knows someone who has been affected by dementia. With the disease being so common, it’s important to make sure that we are knowledgeable on its harmful effects on the brain. As the days tick by, we strive to become one step closer in discovering cures for these diseases.

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Insight On Brain Functioning