Why does the human brain make mistakes

Psychiatry, Psychosomatics & Psychotherapy

Common causes

The most common cause of damage to the brain and nervous system is poor blood flow. Due to its great activity, the brain has the greatest energy requirement of all organs. It requires about 20% of the total amount of blood that is pumped from the heart into the body's circulation and through which oxygen and nutrients get to the nerve cells in the brain. An interruption of this supply, e.g. by stopping the heart, suffocation or hypoglycaemia, leads to damage or even death of the nerve cells. Brain tumors, pathological changes in blood vessels, mechanical injuries from accidents, bleeding into the brain and inflammation can also be the cause of functional disorders. Further reasons for diseases of the brain and the nervous system are disturbances in the transmission of signals from one nerve cell to the next and irregularities in the metabolism of the nerve cells. Brain function disorders can also originate from glial cells. These cells are involved in the nutrition of the nerve cells and serve as supporting tissue for them. If the glial cells are destroyed by infections or a tumor, this leads to a severe impairment of brain activity.

Genetic factors

Genetic factors play an important role in numerous disorders of the brain and nervous system. Studies in schizophrenic and manic-depressive patients have shown that at least a predisposition to these diseases can be inherited. However, an outbreak of these diseases seems to be favored by environmental influences. Hereditary factors and the patient's environment apparently work together here. Pure hereditary diseases often show defects in the metabolism of nerve cells. If certain substances that are involved in important chemical processes in the cells are missing, toxins, for example, can accumulate in the brain, which lead to mental underdevelopment.

Bacteria, viruses and toxins

Disturbances of the brain function can also be caused by external influences. An example of this are infections caused by bacteria and viruses. For example, they can lead to inflammation of the meninges in the patient. Such inflammation damages the brain and can even be fatal. The virus that causes polio attacks nerve cells, primarily in the spinal cord, which are involved in controlling body movement. Other viruses, such as the herpes zoster virus of shingles, can go unnoticed for years before they cause damage. Toxins can also lead to severe impairment of the brain and nervous system. The consequences of mercury poisoning are memory loss and muscle tremors. Lead can cause behavior disorders and learning difficulties. In diabetics, there is a risk that the excess sugar can damage the brain and nervous system.

immune system

Neural dysfunction can also be triggered by the body's own immune system. Certain cells in the brain and nervous system are paradoxically classified as foreign and damaged by the immune cells. Such processes play an important role in multiple sclerosis, for example.