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BIO403H5 Lecture Notes - Pineal Gland, Andreas Vesalius, Fourth Ventricle

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NROB60 Study Package: Week 1
Homira Osman
Week 1: Lecture
May 6, 2008
Lecture Topics
Lecture I
Readings: Chapter 7: Pages 168 170; Chapter 1: pages 1 - 18
Lecture Summaries [L1]
- 7000 years ago, people were doing brain surgery
o Evidence suggests that even our prehistoric ancestors appreciated that the brain was
vital to life
o The archaeological record is rife with examples of hominid skulls, dating back a million
years and more, bearing signs of fatal cranial damage, presumably inflicted by other
o As early as 7000 years ago, people were boring holes in
each other‟s skulls with the aim not to kill but to cure
A process called trepanation
This procedure may have been used to treat
headaches or mental disorders, perhaps by
giving the evil spirits an escape route
o Recovered writings from the physicians of ancient Egypt,
dating back almost 5000 years, indicate that they were well
aware of many symptoms of brain damage
- Ancient Greeks: The organ of sensation but debate on if it is the
seat of intelligence
o If you consider the brain as the organ of sensation, then you have reached the same
conclusion as several Greek scholars of the fourth century B.C.
o The most influential scholar was Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, who stated
his belief that the brain not only was involved in sensation but also was the seat of
However, this view was not universally accepted
o The famous Greek philosopher Aristotle clung to the belief that ht eheart was the center
of intellect
o Aristotle reserved the brain as a radiator for the cooling of blood that was overheated by
the seething heart
o The rational temperament of humans was thus explained by the large cooling capacity of
our brain
- Roman Empire: Separate functions for cerebrum and cerebellum
o The most important figure in Roman medicine was the Greek physician and writer Galen
who embraced the Hippocratic view of brain function
o As physician to the gladiators, he must have witnessed the unfortunate consequences of
spinal and brain injury
o However, Galen‟s opinions about the brain probably were influenced more by his many
careful animal dissections
o Cerebrum
In the front
Rather soft
Recipient of sensations
Largely concerned with sensation and perception
Repository of memory
o Cerebellum
In the back
Rather hard
Command the muscles
Primarily a movement control center

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NROB60 Study Package: Week 1
Homira Osman
o Galen recognized to form memories, sensations must be imprinted onto
the brain this occurs in the doughy cerebrum
o Galen cut open the brain and found that it is hollow
In these hollow spaces, called ventricles, there is fluid
According to Galen, the body functions as a balance of four vital
fluid, or humors
Sensations were registered and movements initiated by the
movement of humors to or from the brain ventricles via the nerves,
which were believed to be hollow tubes, like blood vessels
- Renaissance to 19th century: Mechanistic view and the pineal gland
o Galen‟s view of the brain prevailed for almost 1500 years
o More details was added to the structure of the brain by the great anatomist
Andreas Vesalius during the Renaissance
o Ventricular localization of brain function
Devices supported the notion that the brain
could be machine-like in its function
Fluid forced out of the ventricles through
the nerves might literally “pump you up” and
cause the movement of the limbs
o Rene Descartes proposed that brain mechanisms
control human behavior only to the extent that the
behavior resembles that of the beasts
o Human mental capacities exist outside the brain
in the “mind”
o Descartes believed that the mind is a spiritual entity
that receives sensations and commands
movements by communicating with the machinery
of the brain via the pineal gland
The pineal gland was the conduit
- 17-18th century: Distinct grey and white matter with
functional interpretations
o White matter, because it was continuous with the
nerves of the body, was correctly believed to
contain the fibers that bring information to and from
the gray matter
- End of 18th century: Complete dissection of the brain
lead to CNS and PNS
o The nervous system consists of two divisions:
o Nervous system has a central division,
consisting of the brain and spinal cord
Two parts of the CNS are the brain and
the spinal column
The brain consists of the cerebellum, the
cerebrum, and the brain stem
o Nervous system has a peripheral division,
consisting of the network of nerves that course
through the body
The PNS consists of the nerves and
nerve cells that lie outside the CNS
31 pairs of nerves leave the spinal cord
Each nerve consists of incoming sensory fibers and outgoing motor fibers
Fibers divide into spinal roots where they attach to the cord
o The same general pattern of bumps (called gyri) and grooves (called sulci and fissures)
could be identified on the surface of the brain in every individual

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NROB60 Study Package: Week 1
Homira Osman
o This pattern, which enables the parceling of the cerebrum into lobes, was the basis for
speculation that different functions might be localized to the different bumps on the brain
- The Lobes of the Cerebrum
o Everyone has the same general pattern:
o Bumps: gyri
o Grooves: sulci & fissures
o Used to separate portions of the brain into lobes
o Set the stage for Cerebral Localization
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