Friday, April 20, 2012

April aardvarks

If you came here looking to read about aardvarks, sorry to disappoint you. I needed a gimmicky title. Just so you don't leave angry at me and at life, here's a picture of everyone's favorite aardvark Arthur, sporting one of my favorite outfits:

Moving on. Currently we are three weeks into the third and final block of first year. Neuroscience is the flavor of the month (or rather, the block).

First day of neuroanatomy lab, we were handed a bucket with a brain sloshing in formaldehyde, a rusty set of dissection tools, and a giant-ass steak knife. What a beautiful knife. I couldn't stop staring at it. So when the time came to chop the mushy brain into half, I wielded the beastly looking thing and went to work. The first thing I realized is the brain is disturbingly soft and food-like. Brain slices look like banana bread from a distance and one of my classmates even went as far as comparing it to a steak.

Having never taken neuroscience before, this is mostly uncharted territory for me. But I have found I get easily excited by G-protein coupled receptors, signaling cascades and ascending somatosensory tracts, so this has been a very fun journey. Nothing like a good view of lateral geniculate nucleus to brighten the day.

Enough about academics. In the past four weeks, I read five books - a pace I have not been able to match since my senior year of high school. To take up more space and give this blog post some more substance, here are capsule reviews of each: