Full course description
In this practical students will deepen their knowledge of the neuroanatomy of and the spatial relationship between brain structures discussed in the education group meetings of the course ‘Functional Neuroanatomy’ (IPN2029). In these practical meetings, students will literally put their hands on the brain. They will get the chance to acquire hands-on experience in making sheep brain preparations. Studying real neurons in microscope preparations of the rat brain is a unique experience in which students will compare brain cells in different brain structures and directly observe details such as the dendritic spines - the basis of neuronal connections and brain plasticity. Finally, the experience and insights acquired with animal brains will be applied to improve our understanding of the complex structure of the human brain, with the help of brain models, brain preparations (plastinates) and MRI image visualization tools.
After studying the 3-dimensional, macroscopic (i.e., visible to the eye) organisation of the sheep brain students proceed to preparing 2-dimensional sections through the sheep brain, and study microscopic preparations of sections through the rat brain, in which individual neurons can be studied at high magnification. Throughout the practical meetings they will study a range of important structures, such as the ventricle system, the basal ganglia, hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus, hypothalamus, midbrain nuclei, cerebellum and the lobes and major sulci and gyri of the human cerebral cortex. Students will also learn about the functional relevance of these structures: perception, different forms of retention, emotion and motivation, etc. They will work through assignments using brain preparations, brain models, atlases and hand books. In addition they will use internet sites, MRI images and Brain Tutor software (Brain Voyager), to acquire familiarity with the 3-dimensional organization of the human brain
Students are able
- to use neuroanatomical terminology;
- to explain the 3-dimensional macroscopic organisation of the brain, the organisation of functional brain systems and compare the brain of a rat, a sheep and a human (similarities and differences in functional brain systems);
- to identify and describe the microscopic building blocks of the brain (neurons, nuclei, fibres);
- to explain the functional relevance of a range of important structures of the brain (including hippocampal structures, basal ganglia, brain stem, thalamus and hypothalamus, midbrain, cerebral cortex and cerebellum).