Studying the Human Brain and the Neurobiology of Human Behavior
Thanks for visiting my website!
I created MyBrainNotes.com to organize what I know about the brain, support my fiction writing efforts, and share what I have learned about the neurobiology of human behavior, especially perplexing obsessions, compulsions, and tics in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette syndrome. MyBrainNotes.com—Parts 1, 2, and 3—are organized via the hyperlinked navigation bar to the left. An arrow will always indicate your current position in the menu.
Part 1 of MyBrainNotes.com focuses on brain anatomy. Part 2 focuses on neurocircuitry and Part 3 focuses on innate behavior. Throughout the site, however, you will find discussions related to OCD symptoms including grooming compulsions such as trichotillomania and skin picking (also called dermatillomania), Tourette syndrome, tics, perseveration, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Discussions also address depression, Parkinson's Disease, hypervigilance, panic attacks, as well as a few other neurological conditions. Schizophrenia is discussed only in brief at this stage of development. I do include discussion of the neurotransmitter dopamine and the innate brain system powered by this neurotransmitter. Dopamine is thought to play a role in psychosis and schizophrenia. Dopamine is most certainly involved in generating some difficult-to-treat obsessions and compulsions. For greater detail regarding the topics each part covers, click on the Explore Site Outline link.
Animal Instincts, Symptoms, Family Systems, Depression, and Attachment
I have read a wide range of books and articles to develop an understanding of how ancient parts of our ancestral brain, also called our animal brain, can sometimes dictate automated or instinctual behavior without the influence of neocortical reason and logic. Such behavior is often construed as psychiatric symptoms. Certain criminal behaviors can also be labeled as "automated," especially when the brain has been damaged. To understand any kind of automated or instinctual behavior, you must first develop an understanding of the neurobiology of human behavior in general. The function and interaction of different structures within the brain is most important, especially when structures and systems have been damaged or stressed. Regarding stress, one must consider environmental influences such as family systems, culture, and socioeconomic status. By studying both brain anatomy, innate brain systems, and environmental factors that influence brain function, we can begin to understand complex concepts such as depression and attachment deficits.
I take notes on the books I read. At some point, I began organizing my notes into web pages and MyBrainNotes.com was born. You can find complete citations for featured books on the
Browse Books page.
MyBrainNotes.com web pages include quotations from the work of outstanding scientists and writers along with fascinating images to support discussions. All borrowed images link to their source. Whenever possible, MyBrainNotes.com includes links to relevant research and material about the brain and mental illnesses. Remember to use the BACK arrow on your browser to return to MyBrainNotes.com.
The information presented in MyBrainNotes.com is hierarchical in nature. Since I am not a scientist, I had to first build my knowledge about basic brain anatomy before I was able to deal with concepts such as OCD neurocircuitry. So if you are not familiar with neurological concepts, by beginning at the top of the MyBrainNotes.com menu and working your way through the material in a top-down fashion, you will build enough knowledge as you go along to enable a basic understanding of the complexities involved in many mental illnesses.
Regarding my background, I have worked as a writer, editor, and project director in several fields. I have a bachelor's degree in media arts and a master's degree in mass communications. I have taken a variety of writing courses through the Smithsonian's Resident Associates Program and website development courses through my local Community College. Currently, I live in Virginia with my wonderful husband and a pack of dogs.
Take this link if you are interested in my unoriginal views on intelligent design.
Again, thanks for visiting! If you would like be informed about new features and improvements as they are added to MyBrainNotes.com, please send me an e-mail.
Many thanks to my friend, the British artist known as Birdie, for the line drawing above.