In any medical sciences, the doctors have historically tried to gain more information about the cause of his or her patient’s illness to prescribe them some form of medication. But when it came to illness like mental and behavioral disorders, the doctors could not find any strong cause for the disorder. Therefor they classified these as just “Mental problems”. But with the advent of the modern biology, neuroscience and genomics, much of the century -old perception of these as psychological disorders is coming to a new turn.
Advancements in the field of neuroscience have shown that all these otherwise called mental problems have a strong biological cause. For example, autism is related to the disordered connections between the neurons in the brain. In recent years huge amount of investments have been put into the field of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease. Even though more and more information are generated about these disorders worldwide, the public and scientific community could not tell much on disorders like depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder,and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The biological connection or cause of these disorders were hard to pin point because there were no physical destruction of cells visible in the brain of these patients.
Neuroimaging has helped a lot to reveal the biological cause of these disorders. Brian is like an electrical circuit with innumerable connections. The nerve cells, with which the brain is made fires upon its stimulation. These are tightly controlled and too much or too low or too fast ot too slow firing can lead to serious medical conditions, The above mentioned disorders are now considered to be caused because of the inappropriate functioning of parts of this electric circuit that normally are well synchronized.
Each disorder has a characteristic “electrical circuit” or connections. This picture is slowly emerging now, thanks to the great works of neurobiologists,geneticist and modern biologists.
(For detailed information please see the Scientific American-India April 2010)