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Alzarakh
07-10-2014, 08:52 AM
Hi all, I'm on a role in the brainstorming department and want to try and firgure this one out so I can write it down.

Character A gets into a fight with Character B.
Character B causes Character A to have head trauma. Could be a bullet graze, could be from crashing, haven't figured out that one yet.

What type of brain injury would allow a person to retain full motor control but loose memories and personality? What part of the brain would be damaged?

shadowwalker
07-10-2014, 10:33 AM
Might want to peruse this site:

http://www.neuroskills.com/brain-injury/brain-injury-overview.php

Wilde_at_heart
07-10-2014, 03:44 PM
I'd suggest picking up some books by Oliver Sacks, who writes about various odd cases resulting from head trauma, etc.

Are you looking for someone who's fully amnesic? I've read cases where someone under those circumstances takes on a 'new personality' but I'm not sure how much of it was embellished by the author. Some people lose all memories, but only temporarily, while others lose short-term memories but can recall nearly everything from childhood or early adult hood.

I've read other cases where brain damage seemed to cause severe personality changes (look up Phineas Gage) which was believed to have been due to damage to the frontal lobes.

Also, how fast are you hoping they'd recover from their injuries?

Alzarakh
07-10-2014, 04:50 PM
Thanks Ill check out those sites after work.

I need it to be pretty instantaneous. The character is driving a mech that gets sabotaged by his old friend. Ideally recovery would be within minutes but I wanted him to revert to a childlike state. Sort of amnesic in the sense of him thinking he's only about 6 or 8 years old.

There won't really be a recovery period though, he dies shortly after when he wanders into a radiated zone.

The only problem I could see with that though is a child is more likely to be frightened and seek safety before wandering off..

MDSchafer
07-10-2014, 08:12 PM
So I work with Acquired Brain Injury patients, and I don't think I have good news.

Every brain injury is different, but I'm pretty sure what your asking about isn't technically possible. Memories are spread out throughout cerebral cortex, Hippocampus and the Amygdala. The Hippocampus and the Amygdala are buried deep in your brain and I can't imagine a force strong enough to damage those two structures and leave the motor context intact.

What is fairly common is to experience short term memory loss with damage to your temporal lobes. Basically they're above your ears on either side of the head and a strong enough hit to that area can erase your short term memory, but with that patients tend to lose language capacity. You'll see a lot of people who are aphasic.

As far as the age reversion that's not something I typically see. I work with a lot of guys in their teens and 20s, and they seem to know what their age is. What I do see is sometimes with stroke or aneurysm who are in their 50s, but believe they're in their 30s, but it's not as big of a leap from 50 to 30 mentally as it is from 25 to 6.

I have heard that ischemia from cerebral emboli, or mild head injuries can result in transient global amnesia. I'd suggest researching transient global amnesia and seeing if you can't adapt it to your story.

Alzarakh
07-11-2014, 03:12 AM
Looked into transient global amnesia it might work but still seems to have the same issue of the person not reverting to childhood. I may have to scrap the idea after all. After looking into the physical trauma side of it it seems that the first thing to go would be motor functions, even if it's just from shock.
Do you know if an electric pulse would affect memory in this way? I know it's fantasy and all but I want it to be somewhat believable.

Otherwise it's back to brainstorming.

MDSchafer
07-11-2014, 04:42 AM
There's nothing physiological that will get you where you want to go, as far as I'm aware. Psychologically speaking is an whole different world though.

J.Emerson
07-11-2014, 04:49 AM
The frontal lobe is where most of our 'personality' as we tend to think of it resides. As most people have already said, every brain injury is different, and everyone responds differently to them (and as the brain starts to heal, the resulting symptoms can change, getting better or worse depending).

For the most part though, someone who has suffered trauma to the frontal lobe will often show personality changes. When I was in undergraduate, the first psych class I ever took described the case of Phinneas Gage, a railroad worker in the early 1900s I think. He had a railroad spike impailed in his head, causing major frontal lobe damage. He survived, but as the story goes he became a completely different person afterward.

I'm doing my doctorate in clinical psychology, so at this point I know more than I've ever wanted to know about the brain and what happens when we suffer brain trauma. But Phin Gage is still what I first think of when I hear about someone suffering intense personality change. Look him up, it's an interesting account.

frimble3
07-11-2014, 06:25 AM
I wanted him to revert to a childlike state. Sort of amnesic in the sense of him thinking he's only about 6 or 8 years old.

There won't really be a recovery period though, he dies shortly after when he wanders into a radiated zone.

The only problem I could see with that though is a child is more likely to be frightened and seek safety before wandering off..
Perhaps it would be useful if you could describe what you want in the way of actions and behavior? Maybe it would be easier for the people who know this stuff to suggest an injury or condition.
If he's locked into a mech, and dies shortly after the incident, how much would we or the characters going to see of his behavior that would be particularly child-like, rather than just the after-effects of shock?
A 6-8 year old who is accustomed to playing video-games, and finds himself at the controls of a mech might be able to fake appropriate actions for a while, seeming 'normal' to an outside observer.
As to whether a child seeks shelter or wanders off depends on the child. Some are timid and some are curious.
Do you just want him to forget his best friend, and that they're on a battlefield?

Looked into transient global amnesia it might work but still seems to have the same issue of the person not reverting to childhood. I may have to scrap the idea after all. After looking into the physical trauma side of it it seems that the first thing to go would be motor functions, even if it's just from shock.
Do you know if an electric pulse would affect memory in this way? I know it's fantasy and all but I want it to be somewhat believable.

Otherwise it's back to brainstorming.
If there was an electric pulse in your universe that would make the opposition act like 6-8 year olds instead of trained fighters, why wouldn't both sides be pulsing each other constantly? :D

Alzarakh
07-11-2014, 09:00 AM
If there was an electric pulse in your universe that would make the opposition act like 6-8 year olds instead of trained fighters, why wouldn't both sides be pulsing each other constantly? :D

:P

Here's the scene, it's the last one before the big finale of the entire series so I want it to be super sad/dramatic. This is still brainstorming but the more I hammer out the better.

In the story the main character (Ajax) gets the ability to control electricity and slowly looses his humanity. (Think kinda like the air bender series) This causes the other character (Ezra) to have to fight him because he's pretty much given up on everything and wants to become god.

At this point Ezra sees that he has to stop him, and fails. He's a techie so he has a mech but Ajax crashes it in the fight. This brought up the idea for the brain injury. The initial scene in my head was that Ezra runs after Ajax into the irradiated zone and dies of radiation poisoning. But that idea was quickly shot down when someone pointed out that no matter how desperate he is, he wouldn't do that. He's just too smart. (Ajax is immune to the radiation because he just brushes it off with his powers)

Now the child like state came from the idea of how terrible and sad this scene could be. I was bored at work and it came to me, I just pictured him getting out of his mech in this sort of dazed state and chasing after him like a child would out of desperation. But this could lead into Ajax not thinking anything of it initially until Ezra comes up to him babbling about their childhood and basically barfs all over him. This causes Ajax snap to his senses and realize that his friend is going to die no matter what now, and he mercy kills him.

This is a bit of a simplification but I think it's all there for some suggestions or ideas. Basically, how do you get a super smart techie to run to his death? (He knows the area is irradiated and he will die in there)

I really hope that didn't go off topic :)

frimble3
07-11-2014, 11:39 AM
If Ezra's super-smart and he knows the other guy will become god-like and use his super-powers to hurt people/destroy stuff maybe stopping him is the only option, regardless of the cost?

People have basically killed themselves to save others before. People running into burning buildings because they can see that someone's trapped. Guys charging machine gun nests, people who ask to be traded for other hostages, knowing they will be killed. People who give someone else the seat in the life-boat, the last life-jacket or parachute. The person who knows the supplies are running out, so leaves the shelter so there's enough to keep the survivors going 'til help arrives.
Heck, in TV science-fiction terms, a very close analogy: Spock closing the radiation container in that Star Trek movie. He was smart, he knew he was going to die, but he knew it had to be done, and he was the only person near enough and strong enough to do it.

Ezra could still come up to Ajax babbling about their childhood, and how Ajax should stop what he's doing and come back with him, crying because he knows that he's going to have to kill his best friend, and he doesn't want to, but he's going to do it, because it's that or let his friend turn into this rampaging thing.

(This part is just my thought, don't let it influence your plans)
After his best friend tries to kill him, (this realization stuns him as much as the actual attack) Ezra knows that Ajax has to be stopped, and that Ezra is the only mech close enough to do it. He sees Ajax headed into the radiation zone. Ezra's smart, he knows it won't kill the newly empowered Ajax, but it will kill him. But, he's got a pretty good idea that if Ajax isn't killed while he still can be killed, it will be a very, very bad thing. So, Ezra makes up his mind and goes charging after him, knowing that, barring a miracle, it's going to end up killing him.

He isn't thinking so much about 'I'm going to die', as 'I'm going to kill my best friend'. But between the old 'life passing before his eyes' thing, and the horror of having to kill his buddy, he starts to recall childhood memories, trying to rekindle his friend's humanity. And the sicker he gets from the radiation, the more he's into the past, but always, always trying to get his buddy to stop, to turn back so he won't have to kill him. Because he knows he can and he will kill Ajax. He just has to get close enough, correct angle, a good grip, whatever, for the only one chance he's going to get. That's why he's chasing him, not just standing back and shooting, right?

Depends on what you're trying to portray, but a brain-damaged guy who wanders into a radiation zone unawares and dies, is just sad. But a smart guy, who sees that something has to be done, who goes into a radiation zone deliberately, to save everyone else, maybe even his foe, is heroic.

Alzarakh
07-13-2014, 08:52 AM
Sad in a bad way? I figured the brain damage would be the icing on the poop cake when it came to this character. He gets all the bad stuff but keeps on trucking, I want everyone to be like, "Why you so mean to Ezra?" and I'll be all like "Because I can!" :P

On a side note though, at no point does Ezra want to kill Ajax, they are enemies but Ajax isn't trying to destoy the world. He wants to become god to reverse the war. I can see where you're going with that one though, and it could work as a backup. Ajax gives up, this is the turning point for him, when Ezra dies he sees why he shouldn't.