A laboratory introduction to the human brain

It was quite striking to me how many students in the 2014 NeuroMOOC class of Understanding the Brain appeared to really enjoy the laboratory videos that were included in the class. So I will post versions of those videos here on my blog. I will add more from time to time. But let’s start with those that that were part of NeuroMOOC 2014. I want to emphasize the respect and gratitude that I feel every time I look at tissue from a dead person. The decision to offer up one’s body for scientific study or training is the epitome of generosity and selflessness. I am in awe of those individuals who did so. Please take a moment to be grateful to tissue donors: To start with, we are going to look at the central nervous system which is comprised of the brain and the spinal cord. Now let’s look at the meninges that surround the central nervous system. Now that we know about the meninges, we can talk about “brain tumors” and “brain cancer”. The important point is that none of these are tumors where neurons multiply out of control. Intracranial tumors arise from either glial cells (mostly astrocytomas from astrocytes or Schwannomas from Schwann cells) or from glandular cells (pinealomas in the case of the pineal gland or pituitary adenomas in the case of the pituitary gland). Importantly, neurons are NOT the source of tumors. I should mention that there are […]

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