Muddle-headed Kay (mhw) wrote,
Muddle-headed Kay

This journal has been placed in memorial status. New entries cannot be posted to it.

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You know, I'm beginning to worry about me.

I have just trudged through possibly the most tedious neuroanatomy paper in existence. Why? because it happens to contain two little gems that will be perfect (when turned into reasonable language) for The Book. But it's no wonder that normal people like you, me and your average Occupational Therapist go very quiet and start wobbling when confronted by this kind of guff and fail to benefit from the really useful stuff it may contain.

So it hit me that what The Book needs is a chapter called "The Five-Minute Neuroanatomist", so that normal people can read it and then not feel at all intimidated by the paper whose authors' names I won't mention as long as the usual envelope is left behind the hot water pipe in the Gents at Victoria.

The first trick of Five-Minute Neuroanatomy is to say everything in Latin or Greek. It's not difficult; all you need is a couple of good dictionaries or a half-used Classics student. You know all those impressive-sounding bits of the brain? they don't seem half so magical when you translate them. Hippocampus. That means 'seahorse'. I kid you not. Locus coeruleus? 'The blue place'. Substantia nigra? 'Black stuff'. And so on. Pons, amygdala, fornix... Yep. Neuroanatomy, at least the naming of parts, is no more than the Hamlet and Polonius game of 'Very like a whale', only in Dead Tongues.

"See? that lumpy bit under there? don't you think it looks like an olive?"

"Yes, but we already called another bit the 'olives' last week. How about an almond? It does look a bit like one, if you squint and ignore the blood."

"Very like an almond. OK, amygdala it is, then."

I'm so tempted to finish this entry, and to start the chapter, with a snippet of Monty Python:

Doctor: Yes. Yes, I know what you mean. I'm afraid he's suffering from what we doctors call 'whooping cough'. That is, the failure of the autonomic nervous section of the brain to deal with the nerve impulses that enable you and I to retain some facts and eliminate others. The human brain is like an enormous fish. It's flat and slimy, and has gills through which it can see. Should one of these gills fail to open the messages transmitted by the lungs don't reach the brain. It's as simple as that.

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