To say that the human brain is complex is a massive understatement. This organ, despite weighing just 3 pounds (1.36 kg), contains over 100 billion neurons, or signaling units. These neurons are responsible for receiving messages and making sense out of them. The messages are sent to various parts of the brain, which in turn control everything we do. When you think of all the tiny actions that make up just one day of your life, it's clear that this hardworking organ is underappreciated.
In fact, we may not appreciate just how much the brain can do for a person until something happens to it. When diseases and injuries occur elsewhere in the body, it's somewhat easier to accept and deal with them. A cut requires a Band-Aid, a broken leg requires a cast and crutches, and bad eyesight requires glasses. A neurological condition, however, involves confronting an array of frustrating and bewildering symptoms that affect our most basic functions, including thought, behavior, memory and speech. Some of these conditions force us to realize just how little we know about this complex organ and its workings.
Neurological conditions can be misunderstood for a variety of reasons. Some of the symptoms are off-putting or upsetting to observers, which creates a stigma of the condition and isolates the person suffering from it. Persons experiencing some of these symptoms may have a hard time identifying that there is indeed a disorder causing the odd effects in the body. In other cases, doctors simply don't yet know what causes the disorder or what they can do about it.
A list of just five misunderstood neurological conditions may seem too short; after all, even with mountains of research on the brain we'll probably never unravel all its mysteries. Yet these five conditions illuminate some of the most interesting things that we don't understand about this complex organ. Go to the next page to find out about a neurological condition that doesn't even seem to have anything to do with the brain upon first glance.