Monday, 19 March 2012

The split brain: left brain vs. right brain

Level 3

When I was in high school I read the first edition of "Left brain right brain" which is now in its 5th edition. This is one of the books that kindled my interest in neuroscience and was a fascinating read. Last week's Nature has a news feature on this topic, which I recommend you read:

David Wolman. The split brain: A tale of two halves. Nature 2012;483:260-263.

The article discusses the seminal observations made on studying patients who had their corpus callosums cut to control epilepsy. This procedure has now been abandoned and the patients who had this procedure done are now old; research on this cohort is coming to an end.  However, the insights from studying these patients have been seminal; for example blind-sight, responding to stimuli that are are not conciosuly perceived and a large number of the disconnection syndromes. 

The following is a figure that summarises the experimental paradigm that is used to study the split brain patients.


Similalry, you may want to catch the last weeks Horizon, "Out of control", on the BBC iPlayer. A lot of what is discussed in this episode is relevant to the split brain; for example blind-sight is discussed in detail. 

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed the Horizon episode. Ramachandran's written about blind sight, and something about the "ah hah!" signal in his most recent book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tell-Tale-Brain-Unlocking-Mystery-Nature/dp/0434020230/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_2

    Incidentally, the paperback comes out in a few weeks (only on kindle/hardback at the moment)

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