breakthThe human brain---just writing the words brings up aspects of memory, illness, healing and all from tissue that is inside a bone skull.
Breakthrough: Episode Three - Decoding The Brain
Director: Brett Ratner
Narrator: Adrien Brody
Interviews with Dr. John Schenck, Dr. Mohamad Koubeissi and Dr. Steve Ramirez
Running Length: 45 Minutes
No rating given, but could be PG
The human brain---just writing the words brings up aspects of memory, illness, healing and all from tissue that is inside a bone skull.  Who would have thought? This episode of "Breakthrough" shows research going on to help people with diseases of the brain, and yes, it can get sick, too. Each brain is different and operates like a complex Swiss watch. The brain has no pain receptors and doesn't feel pain. It is 75% water and uses 20% of the blood circulating in the body.
Dr. Mohamad Koubeissi is doing work on epilepsy and how to reduce seizures. He implants a wire into the brain and in the case of the patient here, the seizures are reduced over 92%.
The process involves threading a metal that is thinner than a human hair, through the brain to find the spot that is the culprit. This work could, also, be helpful in patients with Alzheimer's Disease or forms of dementia. Precision is the key here.
Dr. John Schenck, who was a pioneer in MRI work, was one of the first people to have an MRI scan and then reviews his scan with a current one years later. Yes, there are differences. You find that brain ventricles grow larger with age.
Dr. Steve Ramirez works on memory and implanting or erasing them, using mice. Implanted cells help the the mice remember paths in a maze or when to get food. This type of work could be useful in helping patients with PTSD.
What I found fascinating is a statement that memory is sand. It shifts and with time, even though the person says they definitively saw or heard something, it may not be 100% accurate. There was an experiment with actors who spoke about experiences during 9/11 and years later, 40-60% of their information about their experiences was different that in 9/11.
The brain allows us to function, breathe and exist. What a wonderful life it is.
Photography, soundtrack and production values are first rate.
"Breakthrough" is a six-part weekly series on The National Geographic Channel, Sunday evenings, beginning November 1, 2015.  This will be shown in 440 million homes, 171 countries and in 45 languages.  Each episode is on a separate breakthrough in the science and health community. The first episode was "Fighting Pandemics," and the second, "More Than Human" on robotics. This episode is "Decoding The Brain" (Nov. 15). Future episodes will be "The Age of Aging" (November 29), "Energy From The Edge" (December 6) and "Water Apocalypse" (December 13) which features California.  Each episode is either narrated or directed and narrated by a media personality including Peter Berg, Paul Giamatti, Adrien Brody, Ron Howard, Jason Bateman and Angela Bassett. No ratings, but some episodes could be PG 13 for visual effects such as hospital scenes.
Copyright 2015 Marie Asner