Brain Game
Last April, after the final Dunlop House beer garden
Dwayne had drunk too many beers. Riding his bicycle
home to Esquimalt he was getting too hot and decided to
dive off the Selkirk Bridge for a dip in the Gorge.
Unfortunately for Dwayne the tide was out and he struck a
big log on the bottom. Fortunately for him there were
some rowers out on the water and they were able to pull
him out of the water avoiding certain death. It was
apparent to one of the rowers who had taken this class last
year who said “he’s damaged his ____” since he could not
move his limbs but he could feel the cold water on his
face, and he complained about getting pulled out.
What happened to poor Dwayne?
His spinal cord was damaged.
It was a very dark night as Carol walked home from the
library. She heard heavy breathing and felt a strong hand on
her shoulder. She turned around and looked into the eyes of
a huge man. Without thinking, she swung her book bag, hit
the enormous man in his head, and knocked him out. Carol
ran home faster than she ever had before.
Which part of Carol’s nervous system gave her the strength
to knock out the man and run home faster than she ever had
Her sympathetic nervous system.
Big Mike was in a pie eating contest. He ate
6 apple pies and 3 Pumpkin pies. After the
thrill of winning the competition, he went
home and could help but laying out on the
couch, and fell asleep.
Which part of Big Mike’s nervous system
calmed him down and left him out for hours?
The parasympathetic nervous system.
Susan woke up yesterday morning and things
weren’t the same. She didn’t feel a bug that
was crawling on her arm and had troubles
coordinating her voluntary muscles to turn off
her bedroom light. She immediately went to
the doctor and he said that her brain was
functioning properly but there was a problem.
What part of Susan’ nervous system was
Her somatic nervous system.
Jose is an internationally ranked cliff diver.
He loves the accelerated feeling he gets
standing on the end of the cliff right before a
big dive and then the calmness he feels
sitting at the edge of the water by himself at
the end of the competition.
What one nervous system is responsible for
both of these feelings?
The autonomic nervous system.
Susie was a very healthy, happy baby except that she was
born deaf. She had no other sensory or motor problems.
When she was 18 years old, a neurosurgeon implanted
tiny wires into a certain part of her brain. When different
wires were activated, different brain cells were
stimulated, and for the first time in her entire life, Susie
heard sounds.
In which lobe of Susie’s brain were the tiny wires
The temporal lobe.
This is Tom’s first semester in college and first day on campus.
Tom parks his car illegally and decides to go first to registration.
When he gets to the first building, he picks out the shortest line.
When it’s his turn, he discovers that he’s in the line for the band.
The person tells Tom exactly what to do to register. Tom tries to
follow the new directions but after trying several buildings, he gets
all confused. He walks into a big, quiet, building and decides that it
is the perfect place to practice cartwheels. Tom knows that he
should follow a plan to get registered but somehow he always gets
distracted. The reason for Tom’s problems is that when he was a
child, his best friend pretending to be a doctor attempted to remove
a part of Tom’s brain.
Which lobe of Tom’s brain had his best friend damaged?
The frontal lobe.
Harry was always one to accept a dare and this dare seemed
like fun. All he had to do was put on a pair of rollerblades
and skate backwards for 100 feet. He put on the skates,
stood up, and took the first tentative steps. He tried to turn
his body and feet but everything got tangled up and he fell
over backwards with his head hitting the concrete with a
loud thud. When Harry slowly sat up, he rubbed his head
and wondered why he was seeing stars.
Which lobe was impacted when his head hit the concrete
causing Harry to see stars?
The occipital lobe.
Just before Jean was to perform, she had a stroke in her dressing
room. Although she recovered from the stroke, she could never
dance again because she could not feel where her left foot was.
In order to walk, she had to watch her left foot, which had lost all
its feeling, and guide the foot by watching it.
She had no trouble moving the foot. The only difficulty the stroke
caused was a loss of all feeling and all sensations in the foot.
Which lobe of the Jean’s brain did the stroke damage?
The right parietal lobe.
Madge suffered a stroke which has left her
unable to speak fluently. She is able to
understand simple commands such as
“point to the blue square” but when she
speaks, it is very effortful and disjointed.
Which lobe was damaged when Madge had
her stroke?
The (left) frontal lobe.
Sharon has never told anyone her most secret fear. She thinks that
she is part werewolf because that is the only possible explanation for
all her strange feelings and behaviors. For example, sometimes she
has terrible sexual desires that she can just barely restrain and other
times she has no sexual desires at all. Sometimes she has outrageous
desires to eat and drink everything in sight and at other times she
has no appetite at all. Sometimes she has enormous emotional
changes, feeling love, hate, happiness and sadness, all within a few
minutes. Finally, she must always carry a winter coat because even
on the hottest days she has cold flashes. There is only one brain area
that is involved in all of these various functions.
Which part of Sharon’s brain is somehow malfunctioning and
causing all her symptoms?
The hypothalamus
For the last six months, ever since Sam was accidentally hit on the
side of the head by a baseball, he has rented the same video: Batman.
When the salespeople ask him if he has seen the video before, Sam
always shakes his head and replies, “No, it’s the first time. I can’t
wait to see it. Is it any good?” The salespeople always reply, “It’s
really great. You’ll love it.” The salespeople smile to themselves
because they know that Sam has seen Batman at least 20 times.
Besides his memory problem, Sam has no other sensory or motor
difficulties. He just can’t remember what happened one hour, one
day, or one week before.
Which part of Sam’s brain was damaged?
The hippocampus.
Although Michelle is usually smiley and happy, some very weird
things have caused her to be a little concerned. On Monday, as she
sat in her Art class, she suddenly went blind. On Tuesday, as she sat
in her Music class, she went totally deaf. On Wednesday, now blind
and deaf, she was eating a pizza with extra cheese when she realized
that she could not taste the pizza and had lost all sense of taste. But
Thursday she was a little worried so she pinched herself to make
sure that she was all right but she couldn’t feel a thing. In just four
days, she had lost her seeing, hearing, feeling, and tasting, but NOT
her sense of smell. She had some really bad weeks before but
nothing like this one.
What part of Michelle’s brain was being destroyed by a tumor?
The thalamus
Lisa has been suffering from bouts of extreme
anger for no reason. Her neurologist ordered a
brain scan to investigate what could be causing
these unprovoked feelings of aggression. A
tumor was found pressing against two parts of
her brain. The tumor was removed and Lisa
returned to her normal life.
What is one part of her brain that the tumor was
pressing on?
The amygdala or hypothalamus
A part of Mika’s brain does not function
properly. Since birth, she has suffered
from a number of hormone problems
affecting her growth, thyroid and sex
organs. Her “master gland” sometimes
sends messages to release hormones when
it shouldn’t and at other times it fails to
relay these messages.
What is the name of this “master gland”?
The pituitary gland.
The last time there was Friday the 13th and Janice was being
especially careful as she walked down Pandora street. While she
was stepping out on the street to avoid a construction ladder,
leaping over a large crack in the pavement, and shielding her eyes
from a big black stray cat, she was hit by a double-decker bus.
One of the ladies who had just come from tea at the Empress tried
to give her CPR as she lay there unconscious not breathing. The
bus driver tried to give her mouth to mouth resuscitation, but she
did not recover. Another passenger on the bus stood up and said
“I bet her ________ was damaged and that’s why she stopped
Which part of Janice’s brain regulates breathing and was
The medulla.
John must have at least eight hours of sleep every night. If he
doesn’t, he gets cranky and irritable. However, during the last
month, John has gone from eight hours a night to only three. His
girlfriend bought him a litre of his favorite ice cream to eat before
bed but that didn’t help. He got worried and went to a
psychotherapist who interpreted his dreams but that didn’t help.
Finally, John was so worried that he went to a neurologist who did a
brain scan. The neurologist told poor John that he has a brain tumor
and it is destroying a part of his brain, called the __________,
which is involved in the regulation of sleep.
Which part of John’s brain is being affected by the tumor and
interfering with his sleep?
The pons.
From the time that she was a little girl, Marci had epileptic seizures.
However, when she was young, the seizures occurred infrequently
because they were controlled by drugs. As she grew older, the
seizures became worse and the drugs no longer worked. When the
seizures got really bad and occurred five or six times a day, she
chose to have a radical brain surgery, called a split-brain operation.
After the split-brain operation, Marci’s seizures were greatly
What part of Marci’s brain did the neurosurgeon cut that resulted in
her having a split-brain?
The corpus callosum.
Bruno was fast and strong and earned a reputation as being the next
heavy-weight boxing champion. In the first two rounds, his punches
matched his reputation. In the middle of the third round, Bruno
caught an unexpected vicious punch that snapped back his head.
Before he knew what hit him, Bruno was lying on the mat,
unconscious. Bruno never regained consciousness and remained in
a coma. Now, many months later, Bruno’s chances of coming out of
the coma are very small because on part of his brain was damaged
by the knockout punch.
What part of Bruno’s Brain did the knockout punch damage?
The reticular activating system (RAS).
Doc Brown invented a time machine. He
was fascinated by the brain and decided to
go back in time 500 million years. He
dissected the brain’s of a number of
species. He was very perplexed because
the brains only had the most basic parts.
What is this grouping of brain parts
The brain stem.
There is a tiny bug that lives under beds and comes out at night when
a person is sound asleep. The bug crawls into the person’s ear and
keeps on going until it reaches the brain. Very quietly so as not to
wake the person, the bug begins to eat away its favorite part of the
person’s brain. The next morning, as the person gets up, he walks to
the bathroom in a very clumsy way. He has no trouble holding his
toothbrush but has great difficulty making smooth, circular brushing
strokes. Throughout the day, the person has no trouble starting
movements but has difficulty making smooth movements and walks
as if he were drunk.
Which part of the person’s brain did the tiny bug eat away?
The cerebellum.
Here is a sad but funny story. One day, Charles walked over to where
his wife was sitting and he reached down and grabbed her head. He
began to pull and tug and try to pick up his wife’s head. After some
seconds of pulling and tugging, Charles’ wife said, “Charles, what
the hell are you doing?” Charles looked very puzzled and replied, “I
was just trying to pick up my hat and it seemed to be stuck on
something.” His wife was getting a little perturbed and snapped
back, “You’re not pulling on your hat, your tugging on my head!”
Charles was now totally amazed and puzzled and replied, “I’m very
sorry dear, I must have mistook your head for my hat.” Charles
problem was that he could still see objects but he couldn’t always
perceive or tell what the objects were.
What area of Charles’ brain was damages due to a stroke?
The association cortex
(of occipital lobe or temporal
Each time Dave talked, people laughed and said that he had one of
the best comedy routines that they had ever heard. Dave would begin
with what seemed like a normal sentence but after a few words he
would start talking about an entirely different topic, and after a few
more words he would go off on another area. For example, Dave
might sound like this: Like, it’s all sunny cause books cost a lot, and
there’s no reason for a car, and don’t buy shoes and I like
hamburgers on sale except in bad times.”
Which area of Dave’s brain was damaged and caused him to speak in
a seemingly fluent way but make very little sense?
The Wernicke’s area.
Fred’s grandmother, who is 83 years old, was sitting and
talking to him when she suddenly stopped talking and had
a stroke. From that day forward granny’s speech was
never the same. She is able to understand what is spoken
to her but she is not able to speak in a fluent fashion.
Instead, her speech pattern is very broken.
Which part of her brain was damaged and caused her to
speak in a broken, halting manner but did not interfere
with her understanding what she hears or reads?
Broca’s area.
Patti was practicing a spectacular triple-lutz when she fell down in
the path of an oncoming speed skater. As the speed skater’s skate
passed over Patti’s skull, it cut a deep gash into the upper right side
and damaged the underlying brain. When Patti tried to get up, she
discovered the right side of her body moved normally but she could
not move her left arm. However, when someone touched her left
arm, she could feel the touch. So part of Patti’s left side was
paralyzed, but there was no loss of feeling.
What is the name of the area of Patti’s brain that was damaged?
The motor cortex.
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