MyBrainNotes.com discusses brain anatomy, innate neurocircuitry, OCD, Tourette's syndrome, ADHD, and PTSD.

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Part 1.
Brain Anatomy

Brain Structure and Neurons

DNA, the Brain, and Human Behavior

Human Brain Development

Brain Anatomy Diagram

Broca's Limbic Lobe, Papez's Circuit, and MacLean's Limbic System

Brain Evolution—The Triune Brain Theory

Brain Anatomy—Early Structures and Systems

Subcortical Brain Structures, Stress, Emotions, and Mental Illness

The Brain's Two Hemispheres

The Brain's Cerebral Cortex (Neocortex)

- - - coming soon - - -

The Brain as a Whole: Separate But Interacting Perceptual Systems

The Brain as a Whole: Multiple Memory Systems

Part 2:
Neurotransmitters
and Emotional Systems

Brain Neurotransmitters—an Introduction

Brain Neurotransmitters and Illness

Emotions are Hard-Wired in the Brain: Introduction to Ancestral Brain Systems

The SEEKING-VIGILANCE Construct

The Brain's SEEKING System

Attention, Learning, and Memory: The VIGILANCE System

Rage: an Innate Brain System

Fear: an Innate Brain system

PANIC/LOSS: an Innate Brain System

PLAY: an Innate Brain System

The MATING System, the Brain, and Gender Determination

CARE: an Innate Brain System Important to Motherhood

Part 3:
Innate Behavior, Grooming, OCD, and Tourette Syndrome

Depression, Obsessions, and Compulsions: Concepts in Ethology and Attachment Theory

Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Trichotillomania, and Skin Picking

OCD and Tourette Syndrome: Causes and Symptoms

OCD, Dopamine, and the Nucleus Accumbens

OCD Treatments Including Antipsychotic Medications

Dopamine neurons in the brain.


Studying the Human Brain and the Neurobiology of Human Behavior

Thanks for visiting my website! I created MyBrainNotes.com to organize what I know about the brain, support my fiction writing efforts, and share what I have learned about the neurobiology of human behavior, especially perplexing obsessions, compulsions, and tics in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette syndrome. MyBrainNotes.com—Parts 1, 2, and 3—are organized via the hyperlinked navigation bar to the left. An arrow will always indicate your current position in the menu.

Part 1 of MyBrainNotes.com focuses on brain anatomy. Part 2 focuses on neurocircuitry and Part 3 focuses on innate behavior. Throughout the site, however, you will find discussions related to OCD symptoms including grooming compulsions such as trichotillomania and skin picking (also called dermatillomania), Tourette syndrome, tics, perseveration, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Discussions also address depression, Parkinson's Disease, hypervigilance, panic attacks, as well as a few other neurological conditions. Schizophrenia is discussed only in brief at this stage of development. I do include discussion of the neurotransmitter dopamine and the innate brain system powered by this neurotransmitter. Dopamine is thought to play a role in psychosis and schizophrenia. Dopamine is most certainly involved in generating some difficult-to-treat obsessions and compulsions. For greater detail regarding the topics each part covers, click on the Explore Site Outline link.

Animal Instincts, Symptoms, Family Systems, Depression, and Attachment

I have read a wide range of books and articles to develop an understanding of how ancient parts of our ancestral brain, also called our animal brain, can sometimes dictate automated or instinctual behavior without the influence of neocortical reason and logic. Such behavior is often construed as psychiatric symptoms. Certain criminal behaviors can also be labeled as "automated," especially when the brain has been damaged. To understand any kind of automated or instinctual behavior, you must first develop an understanding of the neurobiology of human behavior in general. The function and interaction of different structures within the brain is most important, especially when structures and systems have been damaged or stressed. Regarding stress, one must consider environmental influences such as family systems, culture, and socioeconomic status. By studying both brain anatomy, innate brain systems, and environmental factors that influence brain function, we can begin to understand complex concepts such as depression and attachment deficits.

I take notes on the books I read. At some point, I began organizing my notes into web pages and MyBrainNotes.com was born. You can find complete citations for featured books on the Browse Books page.

MyBrainNotes.com web pages include quotations from the work of outstanding scientists and writers along with fascinating images to support discussions. All borrowed images link to their source. Whenever possible, MyBrainNotes.com includes links to relevant research and material about the brain and mental illnesses. Remember to use the BACK arrow on your browser to return to MyBrainNotes.com.

The information presented in MyBrainNotes.com is hierarchical in nature. Since I am not a scientist, I had to first build my knowledge about basic brain anatomy before I was able to deal with concepts such as OCD neurocircuitry. So if you are not familiar with neurological concepts, by beginning at the top of the MyBrainNotes.com menu and working your way through the material in a top-down fashion, you will build enough knowledge as you go along to enable a basic understanding of the complexities involved in many mental illnesses.

Regarding my background, I have worked as a writer, editor, and project director in several fields. I have a bachelor's degree in media arts and a master's degree in mass communications. I have taken a variety of writing courses through the Smithsonian's Resident Associates Program and website development courses through my local Community College. Currently, I live in Virginia with my wonderful husband and a pack of dogs.

Take this link if you are interested in my unoriginal views on intelligent design.

Again, thanks for visiting! If you would like be informed about new features and improvements as they are added to MyBrainNotes.com, please send me an e-mail.


Many thanks to my friend, the British artist known as Birdie, for the line drawing above.