Olfactory Illusions, Dissections, #Vitalsignsmooc #neuromooc

WARNING: Dissection images/videos may not be suitable for younger folks, and/or those with sensitive dispositions. Fair warning, I’m not buying folks new keyboards as they lost their lunch.

Yesterday I went full bore into virtual dissection mode. The first thing I rolled on was the sheep brain dissection in #neuromooc. It was fascinating to see the similarities between the sheep brain and the human brain.  So much so, I must say I’m tempted to go order one as Carolina has them for under $20. Alas, I’m only tempted lol, I’ve got so many irons in the fire, dissecting a sheep brain would end up pretty low on the priority list, and it could sit in a box for ages.

Then again, I’ve explored a human one in the past, albeit it was a short course put on my med students and sadly I’ve forgotten a ton of it. Alas, a few things really did really stick with me,  one item especially. Perhaps it might be better said, stuck on me, and through me. Namely formaldehyde. I could smell it for days after leaving cadaver lab… its like there was this cloud of vapor, and it embedded itself in your being. No amount of cleaning, showering, shaving etc would get rid of it. Even my car smelled like formaldehyde.

And there in lies the rest of the story, but stand by for just a second while I fill in yesterdays background.

My cardiac anatomical knowledge is really shakey, I can go ok, so the left ventrical is here, and oh yes, this is the mitral valve, and left atria, there is the aorta…. but its not bing bing bing automatic. Thus, after the sheep brain dissection, I went searching on youtube for a heart dissection.

Alas, unlike my memories of a human heart where great pains were taken to keep the valves intact… the youtuber sliced right through them… which was not what I was hoping to see. Thus a little more digging, a few more videos, and I ended up here.

All in all, I spent about 3 hours viewing heart dissections from a multitude of places… and it does help. I’m still not 100%, but I’m not crashing and burning if the heart is presented in other than a coronal frame of reference.

However, about 2 hours in, I started smelling formaldehyde. I do not have any formaldehyde here… and then the odor got stronger and stronger, to the point it was like egads. Now the interesting thing was, when I got up to go look outside to see if there was a formaldehyde truck crash or something, the smell went away in a flash. Apparently my brain was playing tricks on me and somehow transporting me back to cadaver lab.

Yep, cadaver lab is intense… I mean the dude whose brain you are holding was alive less than 6 months ago. There are all sorts of crazy emotional stuff that goes on in day 1. I didn’t remember the names… but I sure remembered that the dura was like an armor. I remember the horse tail (cauda equina) comes across as nearly an alien life form, and nothing like what I’d seen in the text books. Alas, despite the intensity of all the human body bits, the formaldyhyde was what played a game with my brain.

A couple links on olfactory illusions:


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