Neurosciences 371: The Beginning

Today was my second day of class for the year. I have not yet received my results from Friday’s exam – which was horrible, by the way – but I can’t very well not attend classes.

We are doing Neurosciences 371 now. I have not yet learnt terribly much, but I think it will be interesting.

Useless bit of information: A single neuron can be up to one metre long! (Apparently it is usually the one from your big toe to your spinal cord.)

Also – I don’t know if I am the only stupid one who didn’t know this – but a nerve and a neuron are not the same thing.

Nerve: A cordlike structure made up of a collection of fibres that convey impulses between a part of the [CNS] and some other region of the body.

[Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, 31st Edition]

The “collection of fibres” is basically the nerves.

There is also a very good reason why a lack of sunlight may precipitate depression, and it is not as simple as “You don’t have enough Vitamin D.”

Neurons are insulated by myelin sheaths and 80% of their constituents are lipids. For efficient lipid synthesis, we need Vitamin D. So when we don’t have that, neurons are more poorly insulated, giving rise to a myriad of neurological disorders, including depression. I suppose that same fact is the reason a completely fat-free diet is not good.

The rest that I have learnt I still need to revise, as they seem quite complicated. A lot of anatomy, electricity and chemistry. I refuse to have a repeat of last year. Remember how I said I would be a better student? Well, I am going to.

I have been attending classes, but it is a huge struggle to stay awake. I am hoping that if I attend all my classes this week, it will become a habit.

The lecturers we have are rather boring, but our very last hour today was the best. The professor is really funny and rather eccentric. He wore this little black bow tie, and he has this odd silver patch in his hair. He is very lively and might be the reason I end up enjoying this module.

When explaining the different modalities to test for sensation (temperature, pressure, pain, etc) he asked himself why, if sensation is pretty much the same all over (whatever that means, my attention must have drifted), we use so many different modalities? His answer:

Doctors are pretty conservative, they don’t like changing things. You pay a lot of money studying to be a doctor; you don’t really want to hear that what you learnt is rubbish.

My friend says that liking him won’t last very long, especially not once we have had our test and exam. But… one can hope.

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