Saturday, October 9, 2010

Undead Origin Part 1: Eating A Zombie's Brain

We all saw it in the movies and we all killed it in the games but does one really know exactly how does a person turn into a living undead a.k.a a zombie?
(Note: the zombies I'm going to discuss about in this post are those decayed cannibalistic mobile corpses, not the type of mindless zombies who stare at computer or TV screen whole day long)

There are several origins as to how a zombie comes to be. Cultures and folklore are some of the factors for the existence of this walking dead. Science fiction is to be blamed as well for human imagination has gone wild. Likewise, one must acknowledge the fact that the rising of the dead contains some biblical aspects.

But for this post, I will talk about the scientific characteristics of a zombie. (Those who despise science, you may skip this post and wait for the next one)
When a human being turns into the living undead, the brain is the main organ affected. The decaying skin and rotting odor are the aftermath. As all neurologists know, the brain is categorized into several parts, each with its own specific functions.
1) Frontal lobe
First off, we have the frontal lobe. As you can see, it's the blue area above of the brain. This part of the brain mostly deals with attention, planning and long term memory. In order words, this part of the brain influences our sense and the way we come up solutions to solve our problems. That's for breathing human beings. For a zombie, the frontal lobe proves to be dysfunctional. However, according to my source, Dr. Steven C. Schlozman explained that zombies can still see and hear us. Also, the frontal lobe may relate to zombies' behavior - their impulsiveness. Once they are alert that there are preys around them, the usual slow movement and limping will turn into an aggressive movement so they may seize their prey. Normally, when someone pisses you off, you will have the tendency to punch them in the face but our frontal lobe intervenes. Stopping our impulsiveness to punch the person even if that person is an asshole. Hence, the frontal lobe of a zombie is partially affected, rendering them losing their control over their impulsiveness while still able to sense meat.
2) Amygdala
I love this word. This is a pair of almond-shaped group of nuclei, reciting in the temporal lobe of the brain. Amygdala controls human emotions. Clearly, the amygdala of zombies are affected as zombies can only feel rage as they will attack on sight.
Gray727 anterior cingulate cortex.png
3) Anterior Cingulate Cortex
The balance between the frontal lobe and the amygdala is maintained by the anterior cingulate cortex.This section of the brain modulates our anger, lust and among other messed up feelings that we have. Without this part of the brain, a person cannot maintain their feelings and they may cause unnecessary outburst.
4) Cerebellum and Basal Ganglia
As for these two lovelies, they make the fluidity of motion possible. Regarding zombies' gait, they are always seen limping or shuffling, never do they walk properly with every single stride. Hence, the cerebellum and basal ganglia are deeply affected
Illu diencephalon .jpg
5) Hypothalamus
The hypothalamus is located just above the brain stem. Essentially, this particular part of the brain maintains our meals. We know that we are hungry when the hypothalamus senses that it is time to eat. For zombies, it is obviously that this part the brain of theirs are damaged. Their hungers are insatiable and they tend to eat, chow, stuff themselves till there are no food left on the planet.

The above informations are derived from here. Those who are interested to find out more may read this.

So that's the end of the Undead Origin Part 1. Stay tune for more if you want to stay alive and fend off zombies in the impending zombie apocalypse

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