Codebreakers and Editors: Not So Different

grandmap2Some of you may recall that my paternal grandmother was a codebreaker at Bletchley Park during World War II. Well, today would have been her 95th birthday, and I’ve written a little something in her honour. One thing we had in common was a love of the theatre. Continue reading

Christmas Came Early!

My dear readers, I got an early Christmas present that I’d like to share with all of you. Last night, I reached 1000 followers on my blog! I would like to say a humongous thank you to each and every one of you. I am honoured and thrilled that you find my writing interesting enough to keep coming back.

In return for all your awesomeness, I’d like to share a tongue-in-cheek Christmas poem with you that’s never been published before today. I wrote this several years ago when I was taking a class in Behavioural Neuroscience. Not only did we need to know the functions of various brain structures, we also had to be able to label them on different cross-sectional diagrams. My final exam was on December 21st. Needless to say, I had brains on my mind that Christmas. So, without further ado, I give you my neuroscience-themed Christmas poem:

Brain Cross-section

Orbitofrontal Christmas Poem

Twas the night before finals, when all through my brain
all the neurons were stirring and firing again.
The cerebellum was hung by the pons with such care,
in hopes that basal ganglia soon would be there.

The colliculi were nestled all snug in their tectum,
while visions of hippocampi danced with tegmentum.
The lobes in the cortex, serotonin in their lap,
were settling my brain for a long winter’s nap.

When out of the hypothalamus there arose such a clatter,
Dopamine rushed down the mesostriatal pathway to see what was the matter.
Away to the medulla it flew like a flash,
tore open the amygdala, and gave me a rash.

The action potentials glowed like the new-fallen snow
and rushed to the suprachiasmatic nucleus below,
when, what to my wondering optic nerve should appear,
but a synaptic junction that didn’t used to be there.

With a bunch of new dendrites, too much to dismiss,
I knew in a moment it must be synaptogenesis.
More rapid than eagles, my neurons they fired,
until my HPA-axis had the whole endocrine system wired.

Now Acetylcholine! Now GABA!
Now, Dopamine and Glutamate!
On, Epinephrine! On, Serotonin!
On, Glycine and Aspartate!
To the top of the cortex!
To the back of the skull!
Now dash away! Dash away!
Dash away all!

As flavours that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they first touch the tongue’s tiny microvilli
so up to the cortex the neurotransmitters flew,
led by action potentials and some stimulus too.

And as much as I’d like to go on to the roof
my reticular formation is urging me to cut short my spoof.
So I’ll leave you with this note from my cingulate gyrus:
may the holidays bring you joy, and warmth that is endogenous!


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