Topics: Ancient Egypt, Brain, Ancient history Pages: 5 (1207 words) Published: April 14, 2015

Understanding the Brain

Topic: Understanding the Brain

Specific Purpose: After listening to my speech, my audience will know how our view of the brain has transformed and the possible results of these advances.

Central Idea: Advances in neuroscience have changed our understanding of the brain over time and created endless possibilities for the future.


Please take a minute to think about what your brain in doing right now. How do we even begin to contemplate our own thoughts? Thinking about the brain creates a paradox. We need to use our brain to think about our brain. My name isToday, I want to talk about our journey throughout time toward understanding the human brain. I have personally been interested in neuroscience and the way the brain works since my mother suffered from the neurological effects of brain cancer. Working as a caregiver at an inpatient facility for individuals with traumatic brain injuries contributed to my interest in the brain as well. I was able to observe physical, cognitive, and behavioral similarities and differences among patients. For me, this is a fun and interesting topic. Understanding the brain not only helps to treat people with disorders, it also helps us to understand ourselves, our thoughts and our behaviors.


First, I want to talk to you about what people previously thought about the brain. Then, I will discuss our current understanding of the brain. Last, I want to explore the possibilities in the future of neuroscience.

(So let’s begin with what people used to think about the brain.)


I.The history of our journey in understanding the human brain is as long as human history itself. A.Ancient history shows several misconceptions of the function of the brain. 1. The first written account of brain anatomy came from ancient Egypt. “Even with the emphasis on head injuries described in the Edwin Smith Papyrus, the ancient Egyptians still believed that it was the heart, not the brain, that was the seat of intellect and sensation,” ("Ancient Egypt and Neuroscience", 2014). 2.“The great Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle believed that our consciousness, imagination and memory was rooted in the human heart,” (Hunter, 2009) B.Evidence from the ancient times shows that there was at least some understanding of the brain. 1. People “practiced trepanation — a surgical procedure that involves removing a section of the cranial vault using a hand drill or a scraping tool — more than 1,000 years ago to treat a variety of ailments, from head injuries to heartsickness,” ("Ancient Cranial Surgery", 2013). 2. An ancient Egyptian text, “The Edwin Smith Papyrus, dating back to 1700 BC, is the earliest known medical text in history. The papyrus discusses the brain, the meninges, the spinal cord and cerebrospinal fluid,” (Hunter, 2009).

(Now that we have a brief background on the early history of neuroscience, let’s talk about more recent developments and current understanding of the brain.)

II.Our journey in understanding the brain has come a long way since the ancient times and we now have a much better understanding of the brain. A. The brain is in the background of everything we do.

1.“This three-pound organ is the seat of intelligence, interpreter of the senses, initiator of body movement, and controller of behavior,” (“Brain Basics”, 2014). 2. “We now know the parts of the brain responsible for many of its functions; we can operate successfully on the brain, and use medication to effectively treat many neurological disorders,” (Hunter, 2009). B. Once the brain’s true purpose was established, scientists found new ways to observe it and its functions. 1.The MRI and fMRI “help localize areas associated with certain brain functions,” (Sweeney, 2009, p. 30). 2. “In the past decade scientists have learned to read the brain’s functioning to the...

Bibliography: Ancient Cranial Surgery. (2013, December 19). Retrieved April 2, 2015, from
Ancient Egypt and Neuroscience. (2014, July 2). Retrieved April 3, 2015, from
Brain Basics: Know Your Brain. (2014, April 28). Retrieved April 3, 2015, from
Hunter, A. (2009). A (Very) Brief History of Neuroscience. Retrieved April 2, 2015, from
Sweeney, M. (2009). Brain: The complete mind: How it develops, how it works, and how to keep it sharp. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic.
A Summary of 'The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind ' by Michio Kaku. (2014, March 11). Retrieved April 3, 2015, from
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