The Awakenings

Block 3

Movie Assignment: The Awakenings


How does encephalitis affect the brain? What does this mean for a person’s behavior?

I am not sure how it affects the brain directly because in the movie the people were alive inside it was just they had an extreme muscular weakness so some of them were not able to move. Patients with encephalitis (not encephalitis lethargica) suffer from fever, headache, vomiting, confusion, drowsiness and photophobia. The symptoms of encephalitis are caused by brain\'s defense mechanisms being activated to get rid of infection (brain swelling, small bleedings and cell death). Neurologic examination usually reveals a stiff neck due to the irritation of the meninges covering the brain. There behavior would be plain and they would show no emotions or facial expressions at all. It would be like a constant blank stare for ever. The behavior changed only when they were given the drug and then they went back to normal but only for a month or 2 but then they slowly progressed back into their original state of frozen people.

When then people regressed into their “condition,” did they feel all the pain was worth the short-lived improvement? What did the doctors feel about the costs and benefits?

Yes they did think that it was worth it because they were able to enjoy life again even though it was only temporary. They were able to go dancing, to the museum, movies, and eat out. The people were very happy to move around without the help of the doctors and nurses. Some of the doctors thought that it was to expensive and that the hospital could not afford to pay for it. But some of the staff at the hospital gave their checks in and the families paid for some of it to. I am pretty sure they felt that the benefits would be worth it because they would be able to talk and spend time with their family. They hadn’t been able to do that in years-up to 30 years for some- they could find out what had happened. Like the one lady who asked if the prohibition was still going on because when she “left” it was still in affect.

If you were in the same situation as the patients, would you want to undergo a treatment like this if you knew the improvements would only be short-term? Please explain why or why not, by citing specific examples.

If I was in that same situation I would want to undergo a treatment like that even if the improvements were one year or one week or one day. I would get to spend time with my family and friends and see what has been happening. It would be a chance to tell them what kind of things that I like-that they are doing- if its reading books and magazines to me or hanging out, I could tell them if I like that. Also if I can understand them when they talk to me even though I cannot respond. I would also like to go somewhere. I don’t care where I go just go driving around to different places like sight-seeing. Do things like that where I could get out and walk around maybe go on a roller-coaster eat some hot-dogs and pig out.