27 September 2007

Spinal Innervation

We did the entire spinal cord in one night in neuroanatomy lab. Granted, from a gross dissection point of view, a lone spinal cord is not much to look at. But when you consider the rather extensive innervation it becomes quite a daunting task.

Which organs, muscles, and body parts are innervated by which nerve tracts? How many interneurons for this system and what kinds of reflexes are involved? What will sympathetic or parasympathetic activation lead to? Which lamina of the vertebrae are receiving this type of input?

For those of you with some bio/neuro, recall that activation must also involve some reciprocal inhibition, so even a basic (monosynaptic) stretch reflex stimulates a cascade of firing.

I think next week we move up the brainstem to the medulla (mylencephalon). And we'll get our exams back. Ick.

26 September 2007

Defending the men

Apparently there is a happiness gap between men and women: the women are less happy. When economists and readers of the New York Times were asked to explain the gap, the usual suspects were brought up: women are expected to do more (paid work and house work) and suffer under the societal standard of being and looking perfect. This whole problem was then laid squarely at the feet of the men and their apparent expectations and laziness.

This is totally unfair.

First, a huge percentage of what we do is to impress other women, not men. A decent proportion of these "standards" come from women's magazines - one big reason I don't read them. It's time to accept that you cannot and will not be perfect at everything and that the only person annoyed by that is you, not your husband/boyfriend/father.

Second, men do no expect us to look like supermodels all the time. In fact, there a lots of men who prefer a girl in jeans who will eat a burger and go for a hike than one who is in 3 inch heels, a mask of make-up, and refuses to eat non-lettuce items. And this cuts both ways, the perfect male physique is shown in movies (Brad Pitt) and on magazine covers, they have the same pressure we do.

Third, when was the last time you asked a guy to help with the housework? I am willing to bet if you sat down and divided the duties, you would be pleasantly surprised with how much they're willing to help out. In fact, I know plenty of men who are quite happy to stay at home more while the wife builds a career.

It's time we stop blaming men for our lot as women and shoulder some of the responsibility ourselves. Why are young girls unhappy? Because other girls are so mean (remember the book on sororities... girls can be vicious). Who is creating this pressure to be the perfect everything all at once? We are.

24 September 2007


The first neuroanatomy exam is Wednesday so I am, of course, furiously trying to cram names like sulcus limitans and stria habenularis into my brain. I labeled photographs, I have made lists of key terms, I have flipped through slide sets and I have read the textbook and somehow this subject flummoxes me. Well, not the material itself, but rather, what is the best and most efficient way to study it?

It is great practice for medical school, where will have to learn more than just neuroanatomy. If I can figure out a strategy for this class then maybe I'll be a step ahead in general anatomy. If.

19 September 2007

Medical school admissions update

# applications initiated: 27
# secondaries received: 25
# secondaries completed: 22
# confirmed complete apps: 20

# interviews offered: 6
# acceptances: 0
# rejections: 1

07 September 2007

I deserve a cookie.

A moment of victorious immodesty: I just cranked out a 115 page IRB protocol for constraint-induced movement therapy in 4.5 days.

update: It was pushed to the October 3rd review. : (