Meet: Your Brain.

OCTOBER 28, 2007

Everyone is fascinated with the brain. I spent the majority of my childhood obsessed with neurosurgery. The brain truly is one of those last frontiers in medicine where we still don't understand much about why it does the things it does. As my preceptor said the other day... "don't believe anything they tell you in your classes. everything between your ears is a black box."

This week we took a bone saw to the skulls of our bodies and took out the brain. Anatomy has had its fair share of awe inspiring moments. Taking out the heart. Looking in the knee. Dissecting out the sciatic nerve (its as thick as your thumb!) But the brain definitely takes the cake.

The first thing that really struck me was just how heavy it was. They say your brain weighs around 4 pounds. That doesn't sound like much, but when you hold it in your hands in has some real heft to it. Maybe its the philosopher in me, but I found it really fascinating to hold the organ that has allowed the great mind's over the course of history to make some of the incredible revelations they have. Those 4 pounds have produced Plato's Republic, Shakespeare's Macbeth, Bentham's Utilitarianism. Really cool to think about.

So what does your brain actually look like? Really, about what you would expect it to. I think that was really fascinating. The brain always seems like one of those magical mystical things but it really is just as you expect it to be.

It's also amazing the things you find out about your cadaver as you work on them. The death certificate said our person died of a heart attack but we noticed he had a massive brain bleed which wiped out the whole left half of his cerebrum. Basically, he most likely died of a stroke and not a heart attack. All in all in doesn't matter, but its interesting to think of how many people out there whose cause of death was incorrectly pronounced.

Anyways, enough procrastinating for one night. Back to the grind.