We started our neuro block today, and so far I have to say that it is way better than the past three weeks have been. Well, anatomy lab is always the best seminar every week anyway. Today we had one station that was for learning about the human skull. They were real skulls. I hadn't realized how many different holes, grooves, and ridges there are in a skull, and every one of them has a name. There were also two cadaver stations. One was for the spinal cord, and we saw the membranes around the cord and talked about the vertebrae. But the most riveting cadaver was the brain prosection. The resident had removed the top of the cadaver's skull and scooped out half of the brain so that he could show us the structures on the other half. Since our cadavers are not preserved, the brain winds up kind of collapsing under its own weight. I touched it, and it has the consistency of jello. The other impressive thing about the brain was the network of veins running all over the surface of it. We had a radiology station like normal, and a fifth station where we played with these rubber brain models that come apart. Those models are awesome. I wish I had one at home.
Our new PBL case is about the embryology and histology of the nervous system. These are not my favorite subjects, but I know they are important ones. My learning objective for Wednesday is about early embryology, pre-formation of the nervous system. That covers about the first three weeks of embryonic development. It amazes me that by the end of the first month of embryonic development, the rudimentary nervous system is already in place, and by the end of the third month, the nervous system is mainly established and thereafter is mostly getting pruned. It's like sculpting a topiary, the neurosurgeon said.