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  • Tim Djedilbaev

Brain Lesions and Freedom of Movement

Updated: Sep 6, 2020

Voluntary movement is a phenomenon of the conscious will of an individual. Planning, control, and execution of voluntary movements is the responsibility of the motor cortex of the brain. The sensory cortex is responsible for receiving and interpreting sensory information from different parts of the body.

Historically, location of the sensory and motor cortices has been identified thanks to the brain operations called "awake craniotomy" - when a brain surgery for treating epilepsy is performed on a fully conscious patient. The neurons which produce seizures have to be surgically destroyed. To find the faulty ones, a surgeon stimulates the brain electrically and observes the reactions.

Wilder Penfield was the first to employ electric mapping in 1930s. The information gained during his surgeries helped him create functional maps of the brain. A great deal of knowledge we have about the brain now have been accumulated this way - when dealing with injuries or other brain conditions. With a broad range of neuroimaging techniques available today, the lesion method still allows new inferences about the brain functions.

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