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  Topic: The Material Brain - observing, a malfunctioning brain from the inside< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
bfish



Posts: 267
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 02 2007,02:17   

I've had three adventures with neurology over the past two months. The latest was just a few days ago, and I'm still thinking about what happened and what it means. I don't know if there are any neuroscientists plying these waters, but surely there are folks who know more about this stuff than I do, and maybe there are people who have had similar experiences.

My experiences fall into two categories: concussion and "aura of migraine." Each raises different issues about the mechanics of brain function. It is an odd thing to be on the inside of a brain that is not working properly, and to know that it is not working properly.

The concussion: A few weeks ago I crashed my bike riding down a mountain road. It was perhaps a 5% grade, and my guess is that I was going 20-25 mph. I am told that a motorcycle crashed in front of me, and in seeking to avoid a collision, I slammed on my brakes, flew off my bike, and impacted on the right side of my face/temple. I have to accept that explanation because I have no memory of the event. My memory stops five minutes prior to the crash, and my first post-crash memory is roughly 25 minutes post-crash. Imagine my surprise when I learned that I had been unconscious only a short while, and in fact had conversed with both police and ambulance crew. I have no memory of any of that.
Clearly my brain was not writing my experiences to long term memory. The crash even wiped out five minutes of brain flight recorder data, which apparently was also not written into long term memory. Can anyone explain to me how that works? I was a actually a neurobiology major, but that was a long time ago, and I believe a lot has been teased out about short term versus long term memory since then.

The aura of migraine: Seven years ago I had a suite of neurological symptoms which were ultimately diagnosed as an "aura of migraine." This despite the fact that I did not have a headache, and in fact have never had a migraine headache. Two months ago I repeated this experience, with a new symptom - aphasia. Or more specifically, paraphasia, i.e. "speech disturbance in which words are jumbled and sentences meaningless." At least that's my interpretation of this e-mail, which I was composing to several work colleagues: "This then seem the seems some come again." Those eight words were the product of several minutes diligent effort on my part. I was in the hospital for three days and was again diagnosed with an aura of migraine without headache.
   A few days ago I had another episode. There were initial symptoms which I did not recognize at the time, until I was engaged in conversation and found that I could not speak three coherent words in succession. While this was happening, I understood everything that was said to me, and (this is what intrigues me most), I knew exactly what I wanted to say, but could not find the words. The block was not with my mouth or vocal cords. I could not find the words inside my brain. They were floating around in there but I had no access to them.
   This period of acute aphasia lasted perhaps two minutes. Gradually, I could come up with the words I needed (with significant effort). I was pretty well normal within a half hour, but didn't feel fully normal until perhaps five hours later.
   So now I am wondering what it means to "know what I want to say," but have no words with which to say it. Did I REALLY know what I wanted to say, or was my thought like a dream, a projection on fog that dissipates the more intently you examine it? If I did know what I wanted to say (and I believe I did), in what language did I know it? Is it possible that I both understood the English that was spoken to me and could think in English, but could not transfer the words I was thinking to the part of the brain that speaks?
    Does anyone here know anything about the intersections of speech, language, thought, brain anatomy and function?

  
Annyday



Posts: 583
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 02 2007,04:22   

I know a little. In being entirely concrete, I think the absolute-certainty version regarding the concussion is that concussions (and brains) are weird and do weird things sometimes. We don't really, y'know, understand them. We understand them a little bit better than we used to, but not a whole lot.

Into the land of speculation, the mechanism that writes into long-term memory probably took a nap when you hit the pavement, before those five minutes could be written more permanently. The data from your memory gap, thus, vanished, like an unsaved word document during a power surge. On a mostly peripheral note, there is some data indicating that anything you're thinking of is temporarily brought into short-term memory before being re-stored in long-term memory. Anything you're thinking about could, hypothetically, be messed up by a disruption to the mechanism of storage.

I'm sure an enterprising enough soul could better pinpoint the areas, chemicals, and possibly neuron firing patterns identified as involved in memory. I am not that person, although I do recall it's an awful lot of your brain.

On the other: I'm sort of an expert in the subjective experience of defective neurology and long-familiar with migraines. Migraines ... do weird shit sometimes, and are sometimes disconnected with the actual headaches. For me, the "weird shit" is manifested in strange visual phenomenon, which I put up to my brain inadequately filtering out "noise" stimulus coming through the optic nerve. This gets worse for me when I have actual headaches, so it actually does seem to fit the migraine pattern.

Thing is, I don't know any particular reason that attacks of aphasia would be put up to migraine-type phenomenon if there's no other sign of migraine. The best reason I could think of would be if there's little else known to cause acute aphasia without other signs as well, so aphasia by itself is probably migraine. It could also just be that any weird neurological thing with no evident cause or eminent danger is called a migraine. I am not, however, a doctor.

Regarding the partitioning of language: yes, different parts of the brain are generally thought to do different things with language, even if no one's sure what. It's very complicated and boring. My eyes glaze over when I read and hear about it. I am a terrible, terrible student of neuroanatomy. A majority of the really fruitful study in this respect is the use of fMRI to examine the brain when performing different language tasks, and the study of people with brain damage to specific parts of their brains who lose one or another facet of language.

It is, I stress, very, very boring. However, I happen to have a bookmarked page that I am planning to read (in the far, distant future, when I cease to be so easily bored) about Broca's aphasia, Broca's area, and data in language processing in general, which you might find interesting. If you don't recognize yourself in there, a little google-fu might be able to turn up definitions of all the varying and fascinating varieties of aphasia now known to modern medicine, and hints of the many debates about whether and why they're different.

Hope this helps.

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"ALL eight of the "nature" miracles of Jesus could have been accomplished via the electroweak quantum tunneling mechanism. For example, walking on water could be accomplished by directing a neutrino beam created just below Jesus' feet downward." - Frank Tipler, ISCID fellow

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 02 2007,06:09   

Apparently, anesthesiologists these days have amnesiac agents to deploy. I know that for my second major surgery, I was told that since intubation had been "challenging" for the first surgery, when they had put me out before doing it, that they would be doing a waking intubation with my sedated assistance. I don't remember any of that actually happening, and I think it is just as well.

Whatever they gave me the first time apparently did the same trick, since my last memory before that one was being cold and in pain strapped down to the gurney, with nobody actually near me.

This sort of thing does rather make hash of the plot elements in "Kill Bill" that required Beatrice to recall everything about her near-fatal encounter with Bill and crew. Trauma of the sort depicted is pretty unlikely to permit storage of those experiences in long-term memory.

Another interesting phenomena: the evanescence of dreams. I know that I can have an interesting dream, and if I don't make a concerted effort to recall it immediately upon waking, it takes just a minute or two for the details to fade away. The emotional content, though, seems to be more persistent, and can set my mood for the day.

There has been some work done on memory in animals like flies, and what they've determined so far points to a rate of forgetting that is close to optimal. That is, since flies tend to forage time-limited resources, their memory retention seems to have the same time-scale as the typical time that a resource of interest remains exploitable, IIRC.

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"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Reciprocating Bill



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Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 02 2007,09:57   

Good replies, so I'll add just a bit more.

Most head injuries sufficient to cause unconsciousness typically result in varying degrees of retrograde and anterograde amnesia. The interval of retrograde amnesia tends to correlate with the severity of the injury - you lost just the five minutes preceding your accident; more severe injuries can result in the loss of days, months, and even years.

Concussion results from the sheer forces exerted upon axons by rapid coup-contracoup (i.e., your brain slamming into the inside-front of your skull, then rebounding and striking the back) and torsional (twisting) acceleration and deceleration, resulting in momentary loss of neural transmission and coherent brain functioning.

Memory storage remains somewhat of a mystery, but hippocampal function is essential to converting the contents of working memory into medium and long-term storage. Retention of declarative information in immediate working memory (recalling/reciting a phone number I just gave you) is mediated by the frontal lobes. Conversion of working memory contents into longer term storage is mediated by the hippocampus, which has very interesting "reentrant" wiring that enables it to maintain a pattern of input absent that input. Eventually, storage of long term memories becomes independent of that hippocampal "reverberation." When head injury results in global disruption of brain functioning the frontal and hippocampal contents are dropped as a result of the disruption of these active memory processes. Older memories have completed more of the transition to hippocampal independence than newer memories, accounting for varying degrees of retrograde amnesia. Various components take varying degrees of time to come back online following injury, accounting for the anterograde amnesia. (Did I mention that it varies?)

Hippocampal structures are much more vulnerable to disruption and damage than most other brain structures, particularly in response to oxygen deprivation. And some very strange experiences can accompany loss of hippocampal function. For example, the veterinary anesthesia ketamine blockades NMDA receptor functioning in the hippocampus, a result of which can be the faithful reproduction of virtually all the phenomena typically reported during near death experiences. Which yields some obvious hypotheses regarding what those experiences actually represent.

Vis migraine aura, IIRC the neural basis of a migraine headache is somewhat akin to the neural disorganization that results in a seizure or convulsion in epilepsy. However, instead of the entire cortex being rapidly consumed in a storm of disinhibited and disorganized cortical firing, the "storm" is much more local, beginning at a microscopic lesion or defect and then propagating slowly across the surface of the cortex. The experiences one has reflect the area of cortex across which the "front" of the storm is currently passing. Oftentimes, that first involves areas of the brain concerned with visual processing rather than somatic experience (a huge percentage of cortex is given to visual processing in human beings), resulting in strange visual phenomena during that period. As the front progresses into somatic cortex disabling migraine headache ensues. Should that front of disorganization encounter Broca's area, which is important to the production of speech, you will experience aphasia. The comprehension of speech is mediated separately, primarily in Wernicke's area, so speech comprehension is maintained. The two areas are interconnected by a MASSIVE bundle of cabling called the arcuate fasciculus. Interesting the speculate what is going on within that bundle when one is "thinking," both generating and comprehending one's inner speech.

TIA's (transient ischemic attacks) can do the same thing, depending upon the area of the brain.

I actually believe, given your recent head injury and your recent episode of speech disorganization, that you should consult your physician about this IMMEDIATELY. Speech disorganization in particular is NOT a common phenomenon and is one of the cardinal symptoms of stroke that demand immediate medical evaluation.

OK, so that was a bit more than a bit more.

[edits for clarity]

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 02 2007,11:18   

The arcuate fasciculus:



--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
keiths



Posts: 2041
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 02 2007,11:47   

Quote (bfish @ Dec. 02 2007,02:17)

So now I am wondering what it means to "know what I want to say," but have no words with which to say it. Did I REALLY know what I wanted to say, or was my thought like a dream, a projection on fog that dissipates the more intently you examine it? If I did know what I wanted to say (and I believe I did), in what language did I know it? Is it possible that I both understood the English that was spoken to me and could think in English, but could not transfer the words I was thinking to the part of the brain that speaks?


Hi bfish,

Your question assumes that we think in language, but there is abundant evidence that we do not.

Consider:

1. Research shows that animals are capable of abstract thought, despite not posessing language.

2. Ditto for very young children.

3. We think visually without using words. As an engineer, I find that much of my thought is nonverbal, particularly when I am designing or debugging.

4. If thought were language-based, then ambiguous linguistic constructs would necessarily correspond to ambiguous thoughts. But we can be sure that the newspaper editor who wrote "Miners Refuse to Work after Death" knew exactly what he or she meant, but just didn't manage to select the right words for it.

5. Your own example of having a clear sense of what you wanted to say, but being unable to express it in language.

It is tempting to regard the fact that we can "hear" ourselves think as evidence that the thinking itself is being carried out using words, but the evidence suggests that this is really a "translation" from thought to language that happens after the fact.

--------------
And the set of natural numbers is also the set that starts at 0 and goes to the largest number.  -- Joe G

Please stop putting words into my mouth that don't belong there and thoughts into my mind that don't belong there. -- KF

  
bfish



Posts: 267
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 02 2007,11:51   

Just a brief response until I have more time....

Yes, I did contact my neurologist as soon as my acute aphasia had diminished. Interestingly, when I talked to him (roughly one hour after the worst, due to the realities of doctor scheduling) I could not come up with the term "TIA," even though I've used that term A LOT in the past two months.

When I was hospitalized after the first aphasia incident, I underwent an extensive battery of tests to determine if I had experienced a TIA and to see if my body showed any signs of making blood clots. So far all signs point to aura of migraine. The possibility that it was a TIA can not be eliminated, unfortunately, but there is no particular reason to suspect it was.

I did some googling last night to see what I could find out about aphasia and migraines. It seems to be a fairly common symptom, the third or fourth most common type of aura. There is even an official migraine description by a headache organization that fits me pretty well. I pulled up several recent papers on the subject, but, unfortunately, although my institution has a lot of subscriptions to genetics and molecular biology journals, they don't get much in the way of neuroscience journals. For the most part I could read only abstracts.

Anyway, my health seems to be OK. I should have mentiond in the original post that I didn't have much fallout from the bike crash either. Just a few small scars and a root canal.

Thanks for the responses. I'll read them in more detail later.

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 02 2007,12:43   

Quote (keiths @ Dec. 02 2007,12:47)
 
Quote (bfish @ Dec. 02 2007,02:17)

So now I am wondering what it means to "know what I want to say," but have no words with which to say it. Did I REALLY know what I wanted to say, or was my thought like a dream, a projection on fog that dissipates the more intently you examine it? If I did know what I wanted to say (and I believe I did), in what language did I know it? Is it possible that I both understood the English that was spoken to me and could think in English, but could not transfer the words I was thinking to the part of the brain that speaks?


Hi bfish,

Your question assumes that we think in language, but there is abundant evidence that we do not...

5. Your own example of having a clear sense of what you wanted to say, but being unable to express it in language.

It is tempting to regard the fact that we can "hear" ourselves think as evidence that the thinking itself is being carried out using words, but the evidence suggests that this is really a "translation" from thought to language that happens after the fact.

Yes. I think it is absolutely fascinating that one can conceive in an instant a novel, complex notion that may require a minute of discursive speech to express. This raises questions: how are such complex, nonverbal, intentional representations encoded? How are they unfurled in expressive speech? What is the physical basis of such encoding and decoding? In what sense do these meanings interact causally, and how is that physically instantiated? Fodor has written for years on mentalese and its possible implementation; Putnam doubts these problems will ever have a physical solution at all (because, he asserts, "meaning isn't in the head," and he is no purveyor of woo.)

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Richardthughes



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 02 2007,13:18   

More science of one page than the whole of the IDC movement. I am in awe.

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
Annyday



Posts: 583
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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 02 2007,13:46   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Dec. 02 2007,06:09)
Apparently, anesthesiologists these days have amnesiac agents to deploy. I know that for my second major surgery, I was told that since intubation had been "challenging" for the first surgery, when they had put me out before doing it, that they would be doing a waking intubation with my sedated assistance. I don't remember any of that actually happening, and I think it is just as well.

I've always wondered if anesthesiologists actually put you out, or just paralyze and memory-block you successfully. When having an endoscopy I hear I fought quite a lot against being intubated while more or less unconscious and had to be hit with a higher-than-usual dose of sedative, which I found very disturbing to hear about. On the plus side, they used so much sedative I couldn't stand by myself for 9-10 hours, and remained sky high for over thirty hours.

The thing is, though; what if the memories of events like that aren't written out of memory, but are retained in the background, like a dream? I've always found the prospect very creepy, myself. Screw endoscopies, what about people who have real, invasive surgery?

--------------
"ALL eight of the "nature" miracles of Jesus could have been accomplished via the electroweak quantum tunneling mechanism. For example, walking on water could be accomplished by directing a neutrino beam created just below Jesus' feet downward." - Frank Tipler, ISCID fellow

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4807
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 02 2007,15:20   

I had two major abdominal surgeries requiring general anesthesia. The first was emergency surgery for a perforated colon, the second a J-pouch procedure. If I have any bits of memory lurking from within either surgery, I haven't been able to identify them.

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
steve_h



Posts: 533
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 02 2007,17:23   

This materialistic version of what's going on is clearly getting us nowhere. Other scientists have produced much better models. For example, O'Leary and Beauregard have established that memories are not stored in the brain but in the mind. We know this because no one has been able to pinpoint exactly where individual memories are stored within the brain.

Since memories are stored in the mind and/or in the soul, the brain does nothing when you try to access memories except open a channel to the mind to advise it to access a memory and experience it. Except the mind is in control and doesn't take instructions from the brain. So, when your mind tries to remember something it must access a memory that is stored non-materially in the mind, but if the brain isn't working properly the mind can not access those memories. You'll have to buy the book to find out why. I'd like to tell you more but there's been so much talk of plagiarism lately.

When you had your accident, the informationary pipe connecting your brain to your mind became non-operational. Therefore your mind was not receiving the information it needed from your brain to store as memories, although it was receiving the same information on a different channel in order to maintain some semblence of lucidity in the forgotten conservation your body had with the people around you - but your mind wouldn't have permanently stored it because it was a "nosave" channel. However, your mind was able to access memories it already had and send them to you brain so that it could order your vocal cords to talk about them.

Words are stored in the language areas of the brain. Words are not memories - they are facts which are remembered differently. When you had your aphasia, er, thingummy, your mind was forming thoughts as per normal and then accessing your damaged brain for the words so that your mind could then remember thinking about them and then instruct your brain to order your vocal cords to voice them. However the materialistic part let the side down once again. We see that all too often. Material stuff is crap.


I'm not sure how memory blocking works. I expect the medicine has a non-material-mind-acting part somewhat akin to homeopathy which possibly makes use of quantum effects.

HTH

(I recently had root-canel work and a rather horrible tooth scraping session which I remember all too well. Do I win?)

edited: for (cough)clarity

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 02 2007,18:18   

Quote (steve_h @ Dec. 02 2007,18:23)
This materialistic version of what's going on is clearly getting us nowhere. Other scientists have produced much better models. For example, O'Leary and Beauregard have established that memories are not stored in the brain but in the mind. We know this because no one has been able to pinpoint exactly where individual memories are stored within the brain...

My soul told my mind to tell my brain to tell my eyes to read what you've written. My eyes conveyed information to my brain, which passed it to my mind and up the pipe to my soul. My soul nodded approval, and told my mind to tell my brain to tell my fingers to type this, to let you know.

So much becomes so simpler when your brain tells your mind to tell your soul to let go of unrealistic materialistic assumptions...wait...when your soul tells your mind to tell your brain...wait...which one decides these things?

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,04:01   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Dec. 03 2007,00:18)
Quote (steve_h @ Dec. 02 2007,18:23)
This materialistic version of what's going on is clearly getting us nowhere. Other scientists have produced much better models. For example, O'Leary and Beauregard have established that memories are not stored in the brain but in the mind. We know this because no one has been able to pinpoint exactly where individual memories are stored within the brain...

My soul told my mind to tell my brain to tell my eyes to read what you've written. My eyes conveyed information to my brain, which passed it to my mind and up the pipe to my soul. My soul nodded approval, and told my mind to tell my brain to tell my fingers to type this, to let you know.

So much becomes so simpler when your brain tells your mind to tell your soul to let go of unrealistic materialistic assumptions...wait...when your soul tells your mind to tell your brain...wait...which one decides these things?

ARGH! DUALISM!!! PLATONISM!!!

{falls over}

Please don't stop the sciencey stuff I was a-learnin'.

Louis

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Bye.

  
steve_h



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 04 2007,19:02   

Chimps can outperform humans in some memory tests. Memories are not stored in the brain, therefore they must be stored by the soul. According to conventional wisdom, animals don't have souls, but chimps, apparently do after all, which means they deserve to go to monkey hell. Hurrah!

edit: reverted last edit. Hah!

  
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 04 2007,19:23   

Quote (Richardthughes @ Dec. 02 2007,14:18)
More science of one page than the whole of the IDC movement. I am in awe.

I was just having that sort of thought. I've watched Uncommonly Dense for close to three years, and in those three years there has never been a single post or comment there as informative as the one by RB above.

edited to add the word 'there'.

Edited by stevestory on Dec. 04 2007,21:47

   
Lou FCD



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 04 2007,20:40   

Quote (steve_h @ Dec. 04 2007,20:02)
Chimps can outperform humans in some memory tests. Memories are not stored in the brain, therefore they must be stored by the soul.  According to conventional wisdom, animals don't have souls, but chimps, apparently do after all, which means they deserve to go to monkey hell.  Hurrah!

edit: reverted last edit. Hah!

Well that's just gonna play hell with that whole 144,000 thing.

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
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bfish



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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 05 2007,02:53   

[quote=keiths,Dec. 02 2007,09:47]
Quote (bfish @ Dec. 02 2007,02:17)


Your question assumes that we think in language, but there is abundant evidence that we do not.
.....
It is tempting to regard the fact that we can "hear" ourselves think as evidence that the thinking itself is being carried out using words, but the evidence suggests that this is really a "translation" from thought to language that happens after the fact.

I did and do assume that thinking requires some sort of language, but I didn't necessarily mean a spoken language. (Is that the best term?) In one of my college application essays I speculated on whether humans had a "machine language" that was faster and more efficient than spoken languages.

You give good examples. I have a little girl, and, yes, it was clear that she could think like nobody's business long before she knew any outward language.

And upon further reflection, I can say that without question I had many quite specific thoughts during the acute phase of my aphasia. It must be noted that some of this is not what you are supposed to be thinking during a potential medical emergency (do as I say, not as I do), but an honest inventory of my thoughts would look something like this:

"Jeeesus Christ, I can't believe this is happening again! It's not supposed to happen for another seven years! I do not want to spend the night in the ER again. Hmmm..... Ann took me to the ER last time. She must have noticed that I can't fucking talk all of a sudden. Maybe I can fool her. If I can just say a little bit of what I was going to say...
[tries to speak intelligently, says something like, "if.......um........that...........yeah."]
Brilliant. She doesn't suspect a thing now! She's following me into my office. Why's she looking at me so expectantly? You know, it's not really like last time. It's not that bad. Let's try again:
["um.......that..........it..........." Smiles and sits down in chair, giving up.]

In another half a minute or minute I was able to acknowledge in English that I was having a problem, and that I should call my wife.

Anyway, I wonder if I had those thoughts in English or in brain machine language. If this happens again, I'm really going to pay attention to that. It's a kind of a gift to be cast into an Oliver Sacks book, however briefly, and I'd like to try to explore the situation should it come again.

I should also say that I'm a little more skeptical of the machine language idea than when I was 18. At that time, I wondered if representational language (is that a better term than "spoken"?) was actually a hindrance to clear, efficient thinking. Since then I've experienced too many instances when I've been quite sure of my understanding of something, only to find that when I had to put it into words, I actually didn't understand at all. Maybe representational language is actually a tool that allows us to leverage our thinking.

  
bfish



Posts: 267
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 05 2007,03:07   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Dec. 02 2007,07:57)
The interval of retrograde amnesia tends to correlate with the severity of the injury - you lost just the five minutes preceding your accident; more severe injuries can result in the loss of days, months, and even years.

And here I was thinking that the five minutes lost told something about the length of time that elapsed before memories were consolidated. But it's more a function of how hard my head was hit, eh? I'm certainly grateful that I didn't lose years of memory. Can you imagine not remembering one's own daughter?

Quote
Various components take varying degrees of time to come back online following injury, accounting for the anterograde amnesia. (Did I mention that it varies?)


I find it interesting that I have no visual memory of the ambulance. I remember talking to the EMTs, but everything is black. Maybe it is as simple as my having my eyes shut, but I don't think that's it. It must have taken about ten minutes to get to the hospital. I have visual memories soon after my arrival there.

  
bfish



Posts: 267
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 05 2007,03:22   

Quote (Annyday @ Dec. 02 2007,02:22)
I happen to have a bookmarked page that I am planning to read (in the far, distant future, when I cease to be so easily bored) about Broca's aphasia, Broca's area, and data in language processing in general, which you might find interesting.

Thanks for the comment and for this reference. It is pretty dense, but it looks interesting. I'll see if I can wrestle my way through it.

  
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