Saturday, August 11, 2007

Study, study, study

Quick one just to say hi, no I haven't dropped off the planet (at least not that I've noticed) - neurobiology finished up with the last two lectures this week and I have the final exam on it all at 6:15 on Monday night. Gulp.

Lectures were both, as ever, detailed, engaging, and really dense with information. Monday was the whole visual system, and Wednesday we did the autonomic nervous system. Now that we're all experts (cough, cough) on neurotransmitter action, the information that the sympathetic nervous system's postganglionic transmitter is norepinephrine and the parasympathetic system's is acetylcholine is supposed to generate much "aha"-ness and understanding of all sorts of drug interactions and such. Ahem. Personally, I'm just pleased I remember what the hell any of them are. Synthesizing the pieces of information is just past the limit of what I can do right now. But I'm getting there.

Monday feels like a month ago, and Wednesday feels like a week ago. But it was all this week. We gave the professor a round of applause at the end, much deserved. And then shook hands and quietly went off to have our own private nervous breakdowns over how much fricking material we need to be in command of.

The lectures are on streaming video, thank god, so I can watch the professor explain things as many times as I like. At the moment I've paused the motor system lecture, because I simply MUST share with you all the entertaining etymological tidbit I found.

Which is: (background first) Muscle cells have bits called sarcolemma (the equivalent of the plasma membrane we all know and love in neurons), sarcoplasmic reticulum, sarcomere - and I really really need to understand the words generally or I'm screwed. So I looked up what the hell the "sarco-" part means. Turns out it's Greek for "flesh." AND - this is the cool thing - a sarcophagus is called that because to the Greeks and Romans, it was indeed a "flesh-swallower," ("sarco-" = flesh, "-phagus" = swallow) because it was made of limestone, and the limestone reacted with the flesh of the dead body placed inside it. Isn't that amazing? Who knew?

Okay, back to the lecture and the ever-so-patient explanations of five hundred thousand very simple things that make perfect sense only I just can't seem to hold all five hundred thousand in my head at once just yet. I keep feeling like, well HE knows all this like the back of his hand; I should, too.

See you after the exam!


Anonymous Suzanne said...

Your etymological find is *fantastic*! Exactly my kind of thing. Good luck on the exam. Break a pencil! (Maybe we don't really say that. Ah well.)

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Kat said...

Good luck on the final! As for the etymology, cool. I remember being told on a trip to Bermuda when I was a kid something about everyone being buried in limestone so that cemetery space could be recycled.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Jena the yarn harpy said...

I love etymology. :)

Good luck tonight, not that you'll need it! See you Wednesday?

2:30 PM  

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