I cut through a brain today!

What an exciting day! I entered uni expecting a boring two-hour micro-anatomy practical, but it couldn’t have been more different: macro-anatomy instead! I’m currently in the Neurology course, so that meant: brains! Yet more exciting: deciphering brains!

The first part of the practical was to look at preserved sick brains and attach a diagnosis. That was fun and illustrative, and some of the preparations were almost a hundred years old. Together with a classmate, I diagnosed bleedings, infarctions, cysts, and a wide range of tumors. It’s unbelievable how some tumors can be incredibly large without really causing any symptoms, while other small ones can be extremely destructive…

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And then the part that got me so excited: holding and cutting through real brains..! It was a little spongy, and more heavy than I’d expected. We were talked through the major and minor anatomy of the brain that could be seen from the outside, like the lobes, brainstem nerves, and the vasculature. Nothing new, of course, but still good to practice again. And then… I was allowed to cut through the brain. I was the first to go, and after everyone had had their turn, I could go another time. Each slice was about 1cm, and it gave a weird yet exciting feeling to cut through the brain. I guess we’re so numb from all this theoretical academics we’ve been getting the past two years, that any practical thing really blows our minds..

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And wow, how beautiful a brain can be. It’s unbelievable that this spongy lump of tissue is what makes us move, think, talk, feel.. There are so many connections and specialized brain centers, and with a close look you can actually make out different nuclei and “highways”. It’s beautiful and mesmerizing, really..

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