Saturday, November 5, 2011

About That Big Hunk Of Brain

I focused so much on the motor cortex in the last post, I completely left out any discussion of the the part of the brain that will definitely be left out when they close up Spike - the right frontal lobe. So what goes on in there? More importantly, what won't go on when it goes walkabout?

My incomplete understanding is that this area involves attention control and "executive" functions such as planning. As an executive myself, I'm not sure how much would be lost to the world if that zone was resected from a lot of brains. In Spike's case, we are told that any loss of function from that area has already occurred. This is important. That area has experienced dysplasia, which is Latin for "messed up."

Since the doctors were quite focused on concerns about loss of motor function, I had to keep insisting on answers about the big hunk of tissue they KNOW they will take out. For various reasons, including the "seizure smile" I have previously mentioned, I was concerned about personality changes. Separate doctors have assured me that the damage is done and will not get worse with resection. More importantly, a lot of the function of the right frontal lobe can transfer to other areas in young children.

I speculate (and hope) that Spike will actually be clearer headed without all of that extraneous electrical activity going on. Eventually getting off the drugs should help tremendously as well.

While I am glad to hear that Spike should not experience further attention difficulties as a result of the surgery, I find it troubling that he will now have a ready excuse for ignoring me. On the other hand, that could serve him well in marriage 30 years from now. "I DO concentrate on what you say, honey. I use every bit of brain I can to listen to you but ... what did you say again?"

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