Publicity Alex
21 year old gay guy, currently studying Biological Sciences. I am also the Publicist of my University's Pride society and have an avid interest in graphic design.

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nirjadesai:

Working on the pelvis

The vast disparity between a well observed diagram and my frenzied scrawls

nirjadesai:

Working on the pelvis

The vast disparity between a well observed diagram and my frenzied scrawls

You know how I mentioned that the brain sample got folded? Yeah. This is where it was folded. On the other bit of the brain that we were supposed to be scoping out. Ugh. 

This is (part of) the hippocampus. The name means coiled horse because hippocampus is the Latin name for seahorse and back when people were poking around in the brain they apparently decided to name things after what they kinda looked like. The names have stuck so unfortunately you cannot work out from the name what the hippocampus does. As it turns out you cannot easily work out what it does anyway - it might inhibit behaviour (hippocampus damage = hyper animals) but that theory fell out of favour in the sixties, it apparently has something to do with memory (someone decided to muss with the hippocampus to try and cure epilepsy and instead gave their patient retrograde amenesia and an inability to form new episodic memories #bioethics - episodic memory means memory of things e.g. biographical details, rather than processes e.g. making a cup of tea) and it also seems to have something to do with spatial awareness. Details are “widely debated” and I do not feel like reading all the papers about these debates, so let us just skip over that bit.

The hippocampus is divided into different regions with imaginative named like “CA1” and “CA3”. CA is short for “cornu ammonis” which translates as “the horns of Amun”, Amun being an Egyptian God. Great. Thanks, old timey anatomists, you called part of the hippocampus the horns of Amun because they are horn shaped. A+. Ugh idk the different parts do different things but the energy drink is wearing off and all I am really interested in right now is the layers. So from what I can work out the dark border is granular but unlike in the cerebellum everything in the hippocampus has fancy names like “stratum oriens”. The outer layer is molecular again, because it has basket cells in. The inbetweeny bit is… nobody seems to have made an easy to understand diagram of the hippocampus strata.

I think the horny thing is the dentate gyrus, important for memories and maybe also depression. The inside-y bit is the polymorphic layer which is light because it is mainly interneurones. The dark bit is the stratum granulosum which is full of granular cells. Outside that is the stratum moleculare which is also relatively empty and mainly consists of dendrites. Bam! I think that is a relatively ok answer!

PS my diagram is upside down

OK, so what we have here is the cerebellum. Cerebellum is Latin for “little brain” because it looks like a bulgy out mini brain on the actual brain. This is a whack slide btw, because we let it dry out too much so it is kinda cracked and also it has a bubble on it. Ffs. I also attatched a slide I found on the internet which is either in Portuguese or Galician but gets the point across well.

Anyway, the sample does actually allow you to see the important structures in the cerebellum, just about. Ironically the drying of the sample made it sort of rip along the borders, making it kinda easier to see the different layers. So if you look at my shoddy diagram there are several distinct layers to the cerebellum:

White matter: Kinda pinky with the stain (pink matter hahaha frank ocean) but still the whitest tissue. White matter is mainly comprised of glial cells. Their name comes from the Greek for glue and basically they hang out in the brain, keeping the neurones fed and watered, holding them in place and isolating them from other neurones (in case the electricity gets all messed up and confused). They form myelin (the protective layer that goes around nerve, uh, cables and allows for saltatory conduction which speeds signalling up) and also do their best to keep nasties out of the brain and remove dead neurones. OH and they also take part in neurosignalling, which surprised a bunch of people when this was discovered because everyone thought they were just like caretakers… nobody really gets how they help, but they help. The other thing in white matter is myelinated axons which are basically the telegraph wires going from neurones to all over the body.

Granule cell layer: The inside border of the sort of Y shape you see. These are made of granule cells, or more accurately cerebellar granule cells since there are other types of granule cells elsewhere in the brain. Anyway they are itty bitty neurones and because they are so tiny and densely packed they are the most common neurone in the human brain - there are 50 billion! That is like three quarters of neurones in human brains. I do not have the figure for rat brains but I am guessing it is quite similar, ratio-wise. Anyway so out of the white matter comes these things called “Mossy fibres” which are just a weird name for the axons coming out in the cerebellum (apparently they make moss shaped rosettes or something). These are the things that innervate the granule cells. Because there are so many densely packed granule cells, they outnumber those mossy fibres like 200 to 1, so although they record the input those mossy fibres provide they are like a super high resolution version. So they might be providing detail about combinations of mossy fibres - if each granule cell records input from several different mossy fibres, it might not switch on for just one but could switch on for multiple ones. This allows more detail to be transmitted… so like

1 2 3 4 

can only tell you a few things.

(12)(123)(234)(34)

can tell you a lot about what combinations of things are going on. These cells generally release glutamate which acts in a stimulatory capacity on the…

Purkinje cell layer: That is a fun name! But it does not really tell you anything about those cells - they are named after Czech anatomist Jan Evangelista Purkyně. These make up that little border around the granule cell layer. As a contrast to the granule cells, these cells are some of the biggest neurones. They are also only one cell thick - they are flattened out “trees” of dendrites. Most of them release GABA which is inhibitory. So these cells can inhibit neurones, reducing nervous transmission and therefore fine tuning motor responses.

Molecular layer: This is that speckly bit. It is mainly made of interneurones which act as a connection between other neurones and in the cerebellum consist of stellate cells and basket cells. They both synapse with the Purkinje cells and can act in an inhibitory manner on them (in other words, telling those cells to stop inhibiting).

More in a bit.

Aight time for some brain shit. Listening to “Instrumenals” by Clams Casino and swigging energy drink.

Had a lab recently to do with brains and the lab report is doing my head in. So basically, the typical way you prep slides for histology (fancy word for “looking at tissues under a microscope”) is with a stain of both haematoxylin and eosin. Haematoxylin is basic and so stains basophilic (acidic) structures - i.e. the nuclei of cells (nucleic acid). Eosin is acid and stains eosinophilic (basic) structures, mainly proteins, so really the rest of the tissue. These words piss me off when it comes to granulocytes:

Basophil = a cell stained with a basic dye. In other words, an acidic granulocyte. Baso -> Basic.

Neutrophil = a neutral cell. Neutro -> Neutral.

What do you suppose they call a granulocyte stained with an acidic dye?   Acidophil? Something meaning acid? Nope. They went for eosinophil, which essentially means stained by eosin (or, technically, “eosin loving”) but if you trace the root back to Greek effectively means “it got stained the colour of the sunrise” which is very poetic but also kinda unhelpful!

Rant over. Anyway, so you stain it like this so you can spot the nuclei out of the cell tissues. We were given a sagittal sample of rat brain (if you can see on my shoddy diagram, sagittal means basically cut down the middle, front of head -> back. Cut ear -> ear is coronal, and cut front -> back but off to one side rather than down the middle is parasagittal, which literally means “besides sagittal”. Sagittal unhelpfully comes from the word for arrow in Latin, and coronal comes from the Latin for crown, because it goes from the crown down, I guess) and stained it with a fairly simple procedure. First we flooded the sample with haematoxylin and left it to stain for 20 minutes, then washed it with water and destained it with acidic alcohol (we did not want the whole thing purple) and then dropped alkaline alcohol on it (to make the going-to-be-purple bits go purple). Following that we flooded the sample with eosin (as previously stated, the counterstain that makes things go pink) and had a butchers at it under the microscope.

The resulting overview is pic 2. The darker the colour, the denser the cells - and you can see where the haematoxylin has really been taken up in the cerebellum. Pic 3 is my attempt to delineate the different sections of the brain according to some very faint colour graduations. This was roughly when I decided that I was ill suited to a career in histology. I think I fucked up the staining procedure and also we later discovered that we had folded the sample a little bit which made finding the hippocampus a nightmare

More in a minute

blackfashion:

Top & Watch from Express
flylifeismylife.tumblr.com

blackfashion:

Top & Watch from Express

flylifeismylife.tumblr.com

(Source: cubanocomoyo)

mangonow:

ManGo

I love that cardigan

mangonow:

ManGo

I love that cardigan

beatpie:

Cherry blossoms in full bloom at Mount Yoshino, Nara, Japan

beatpie:

Cherry blossoms in full bloom at Mount Yoshino, Nara, Japan

timeshaiku:

A haiku from the article: In Her Iron Grip

timeshaiku:

A haiku from the article: In Her Iron Grip

(Source: tempuros)

(Source: nearart)