A Slice of Life?

Have you ever been to a brain slicing? 

I have and I must say it is as gruesome as it sounds.  I attended brain slicing one summer in college at UNC Medical School.  The chief slicer was a pathologist with the bushiest eyebrows I have ever seen.  He would waggle them at me just before he put the person next to me on the spot with a question.  Often he would waggled those wooly worms at a student and hand over the knife.  That poor med student had to cut the brain of someone whose pulse they had taken the day before. 

Needless to say, brain slicing was one reason I decided not to go to medical school.  However I digress.

The reason I’m going into all this is because of the recent study on strokes, in the journal Stroke.  Apparently, the shuffling gait that we have associated with “old age” may not actually be a phenomenon of age but of cardiovascular disease.  Tiny strokes in the brain may be the cause of a loss of balance, rigidity and loss of mobility.   These changes can’t be seen at the macroscopic level of a brain slicing session.  These changes are microscopic but significant.  So how does this study forward health or our existence?  Well, according to Aaron Buchman, the lead author of the study, what we thought was an inevitable result of getting old may not be inevitable but may be preventable and could be treated. 

In the meantime, the one thing I learned from my experience in brain slicing was to stay away from men with bushy eyebrows…they creep me out.

See the NPR story here.