Pre-Dissection

Searching for “brains for dissection”, I discovered the NKU Cognitive Neuroscience blog post of September 24, 2006, and this enticing blurb:

Check out this fascinating video of brain dissection (Dissection 15), which I first learned about from Mind Hacks. The video is used for an anatomy class, not neuroscience, so the level of detail is rather course, but for those of us who never had the opportunity to saw off the top of someone’s skull and run our fingers through a human brain, this is a real eye-opener.

From there it was an easy hop to the University of Wisconsin Medical School’s Department of Anatomy. The Department has an extensive set of Anatomy Dissections, 27 at last count, consisting of videos ranging in length from 5.5 minutes to 35 minutes. The video quality is excellent, providing bird’s eye views of the dissections of parts of the human anatomy, coupled with technical explanation by the person doing the dissection.

I was fascinated and disappointed by Dissection 15, the 26 minute dissection of the Brain. Fascinated to see the dissection, plain and simple. Disappointed because it focused on the blood supply and surrounding structures, and did not highlight the actual brain parts. I wanted to see the corpus callosum, the hypothalamus, the amygdala, the cerebellum in greater detail, and more of the inner workings of this magnificent and amazing body part. Nonetheless, for a first time view, amazing!

I also found a number of online stores that sell sheep brains, and have purchased a sheep brain for dissection from Home Science Tools. I also purchased their Brain Mammal Dissection Guide. There are a number of sites with directions and information about sheep brain dissections:

I am quite looking forward to the arrival of my sheep brain (it shipped this past Wednesday) and am hoping it arrives in time for a weekend dissection. (It did! More on that in future posts.) At any rate, my plan is to take pictures of the brain parts and post them here coupled with explanations about the parts. Think of this as the next step in my Brain 101 posts. {This post was written prior to the dissection but posted after the dissection, which is why the dating is out of sequence.}

By the way, in early May I will be giving a talk to a high school Frontiers In Science class. This is a one semester elective that covers the latest discoveries and advances in science. The topics include stem cells, twenty first century spy technology, chemistry of love, teleportation, germ warfare, robotics, synthetic organs, invisibility, the nuclear age, SETI, the brain, and ongoing technology talks. I am giving the talk on the brain, and as part of the first day’s Introduction to the Brain, we will be dissecting sheep brains. I’ll keep you posted!

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