Ouvre le Chien by Matthew Holahan

Ouvre le Chien by Matthew Holahan

This image represents a collage of a number of drawings I used to disentangle the numerous and varied factors that may lead to neurodegeneration in an otherwise beautiful, perfectly functioning organ (i.e., the brain). The simplest explanation concerning the inspiration for this artwork comes from a course I taught on Neurodegeneration and Aging. I made videos of myself drawing these “pathways to neurodegeneration” and showed them in class as a teaching tool. The second level of inspiration stems from what results from vital brain cells being destroyed by the processes depicted here. That outcome is dementia. Dementia is a syndrome due to a disease of the brain, usually chronic. Dementia refers to a group of diseases characterized by a progressive and generally irreversible loss in mental capabilities. Symptoms can include memory loss, confusion and inappropriate social behavior. Dementia syndrome is linked to a large number of underlying brain pathologies some of which are depicted here. Those brain pathologies can arise from the nonlinear confluence of the images depicted in this neural graffiti. As these processes run amuck in the brain, the outcomes can vary from an inability to control our motor functions to a complete disintegration of our social interactions and disappearance of our personal identities. The goal of this artwork is to inspire, rather than terrify, those with all of their mental faculties intact to develop treatments aimed at staving off these neurodegenerative processes. Providing a therapeutic compound to reduce the thermodynamic build-up of these pathways is hypothesized to be a key strategy in slowing the neurodegenerative process and mental decline.

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