Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Examining the Self in Spinal Cord Injury Patients :: Biology Essays Research Papers
Examining the 'Self' in Spinal Cord Injury Patients A man leaves home to go horseback riding. The horse goes out of control. In the hospital, he learns that he his paralyzed and will probably never walk again. He never thought it would happen to him ... For several unsuspecting Americans each year, this scenario represents something all too real. The man in the abstract I was referring to was the actor Christopher Reeve and it is his paralysis that I will be examining in relation to the 'self'. We will be looking at the role of the spinal cord injury in various types of paralysis, while focusing primarily on quadriplegia. This essay is not trying to give a concrete answer to whether there is a self, ego or I-function but to analyze the self as a possible separate entity from the central nervous system. The spinal cord plays a major role in the individual's ability to receive and respond to information from the periphery. It takes in sensory information from the environment and relays that information to the brain. After the information has been processed in the brain, the brain sends motor information via the spinal cord (which has nerves that innervate muscles) to produce a contraction. A spinal cord injury occurs when the vertebral column is crushed or bent. Extreme pressure on the spinal cord makes the inside severely bruised and compressed; causing localized injury to nerve fibers (1). and cell death. A picture of the spinal cord shows that it is comprised of four sets of nerves: cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral nerves (2). Each section sends and receives information from certain parts of the body. For example, the cervical nerves (3) which are located at the most rostral end of the vertebral column, correspond with the hands and the diaphragm. On the other hand, the sacral nerves (4) located at the caudal end of the spinal cord connects for example, to the bowel and bladder. Injury to any point along the spine can result in a loss of functional ability to the corresponding body part and parts associated with lower vertebrae. The locality of the damage determines the level of functioning left to an injured person (1) and the type of paralysis. Damage to the lumbar nerves, located in the lower back, will inhibit sensory information from the legs to the brain. Therefore, motor information can not be sent from the brain (which makes the person aware of the sensory information) directly to the spinal cord to initiate motor activity in the legs.