Monday, February 7, 2011

"This website is the brainchild of my brainchild, Ryan. It is my brain-grandchild."- Michael Scott, The Office

This semester I am working in a lab that studies Alzheimer's disease. This lab is WAY better than the last one I was in. There are no cranky, pregnant, French, wenches that take delight in making my life miserable. My boss is really cool- President Obama thinks so too- he gave her a citizen's award because she started a program that gets minority, high school students involved in scientific research.

I am taking a systems physiology class; we are currently talking about the nervous system. The professor brought some human cadaver brains for us to see.

I'm sorry if this grosses you out. (Well, not that sorry because, hey, I took pictures and posted them online). I've recently been learning to dissect mouse brains. There is a "mouse model" that parallels Alzheimer's disease in humans, so basically the mice get Alzheimer's and we learn about the disease (and hopefully develop treatments for it) by studying them. Taking the brains "out" is really creepy and gross at first. I feel guilty and like I'm going straight to hell every time I dissect out a brain.

Once the brain is out you don't really associate it with the animal that died- you run your experiments and do cool stuff with it...
... Cool stuff like fluorescently labeling a 10 micron section of brain to look for specific molecules and their interactions with other molecules within a cell.

When I held the cadaver brain in the pictures above, it was really fascinating and cool, not creepy. It would be totally different if I would have had to remove it from the cadaver- actually seeing the person it came from. I bet more people would be vegetarian if they had to butcher their own cows and chickens- it's a whole different feeling when you see the animal die. Then again, maybe it's not. A lot of people go deer and duck hunting. I'm not opposed to hunting- let me clarify- I'm not opposed to other people hunting.

I like to eat meat, but I don't want to see where it came from. I like to do cool experiments but I don't want to be the one to kill the mouse (I'll do it, I just don't want to). Maybe this makes me hypocritical, maybe not. If it does, I guess I'm okay with being a hypocrite.

What are your thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. Um...just that I love you! There those are my thoughts. thanks for posting brain pictures SO fascinating!