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Were you all great at neuroscience/neuroanatomy in medschool?

Discussion in 'Neurology' started by surftheiop, 05.06.12.

  1. surftheiop

    surftheiop

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    So I finished up my first year of medschool and figured its a reasonable time to at least think a tiny bit about what sorts of careers may interest me so I could get more involved with research or interest groups or whatever.

    Looking back on first year, I think neurology related things seem the most interesting to me and I like the idea that as a neurology is such a broad field. Its appealing that I could be doing something related to stroke, movement disorders, epilepsy,etc. or I could be doing more behavioral things (psych was/is my primary interest coming into medschool).

    But on the other hand, I found the neuro related classes to be by far the hardest for me. I always felt pretty hopeless trying to learn neuroanatomy and memorizing various brain pathways. I made the worst grades in neuroscience/anatomy of any area, but probably found it the most interesting.

    So did neuroscience come easy for you all or does it come along over time?

    Quick Edit: Its not like I was failing neuroscience, in general I make good grades, neuro was just the lowest and seemed the hardest compared to a lot of people who seemed to find it easier.
    Last edited: 05.06.12
  2. typhoonegator

    typhoonegator Neurointensivist Moderator

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    Dude, you're fine. I barely even remember neuroscience in med school.

    I do recall that we cut brains in the anatomy lab. And I had no clinical correlate to understand why I should care about the mammillary bodies, so of course I made off-color jokes about them. Sigh.

    Neuro is hard. The brain is unbelievably complicated. And it's not like you can just innately understand it -- everyone has to learn a ton of details to even start to conceptualize it.

    I'd be happier doing what I found interesting rather than what I'm good at any day of the week. Then again, all I appear to be truly good at is sitting on the couch and ordering take-out, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

    If you like neuro, then seriously consider it. Ace-ing your MS1 neuroscience class is not at all a prereq.
  3. neurologist

    neurologist En garde Moderator

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    I loved neuroanatomy in med skool (one of the few in my class who did). It seemed nice and logical -- kind of like circuit diagrams. I did reasonably well at it. It put me on the path toward being a neurologist.

    Now that I'm a neurologist, I realize that the vast majority of real-life clinical neurology has very little relevance to neuroanatomy to the degree it's pushed in med school. You don't need much neuroanatomy to put a migraine patient on topamax and a triptan, or send someone with back pain to PT or surgery.

    The only time I really fall back on detailed neuroanatomy is when there is some patient in your office with totally whack symptoms and you have to ask yourself -- "Wait a minute -- is this even physically possible?"
  4. Mattchiavelli

    Mattchiavelli

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    :laugh: agree totally... although we do 2 months of neuroanatomy/neuropathology in residency, it's kind of fun and one of the perks of the job (I think path and dissection are cool)
  5. judasreznor

    judasreznor

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    How much of a Neurologist's practice does this make up? I'm very interested in Neuroanatomy and the brain, but from this post it seems like that doesn't factor too much into practice.
  6. neurologist

    neurologist En garde Moderator

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    Well, I'm exaggerating a bit. It does figure into practice, but honestly, you're never going to be sitting around all day thinking about obscure neural pathways. The vast majority of your patients are going to have completely normal neuro exams. So it's mostly helpful in the example I gave in my other post above, or when you truly do find some exam abnormality and have to figure out the "peripheral vs central" issue, and also when trying to explain a patient's symptoms to them.
  7. danielmd06

    danielmd06 Neurosomnologist

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    I for one was actually a rockstar at neuroanatomy (was otherwise only a slightly above average medical student). Virtually everyone else in my entire class hated it with a passion. It was one of the very few medical school classes in the first two years that I actually liked (the others being gross anatomy, medical physiology, and introduction to clinical medicine).

    I think part of this is due to my own natural likes and dislikes. I am truly a displaced liberal arts/non-math and science type at heart with a couple of random exceptions. In college, I would devour classes on music, theology, philosophy, history, literature, astronomy, zoology, mythology, and classical studies but was bored out of my skull with biochemistry, calculus, pharmacology, histology, genetics, molecular and cell biology, inorganic chemistry and the like. For some strange reason I really liked organic chemistry and physics.

    I think all this actually did influence me in my selection of residency. I think that because of my reading background there was something romantic (to my mind) about studying the brain and neuroscience that appealed to me far above and beyond say the gastrointestinal tract or kidney. To this day, I still read case reports and journal articles with pleasure so long as neuro is at least partially included.

    My enjoyment of neuroanatomy definitely played a role in my selection of and attention to neurosurgery and neurology rotations in subsequent years of medical school.

    As people above have pointed out, you simply don't utilize neuroanatomy much in day to day clinical neurology. Even stroke medicine has degraded a bit to simply identifying the white spots on the DWI sequence of the MRI as opposed to localizing with the cortex (one of my favorite parts of the neuro course). This doesn't mean that you wouldn't still enjoy neurology.

    Obviously (hopefully), I am also not trying to imply that one must have been very good at neuroscience or neuroanatomy to be a good fit for neurology.
  8. surftheiop

    surftheiop

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    Thanks for the insight everyone, it seems to align with what I've heard from other people. I was talking to a classmate a little while ago about neuroscience and he told me his clinical medicine preceptor is a neurologist, so he asked him about this set of "clinical scenarios" to practice localizing lesions from our neuroscience professor. Apparently the neurologist was just like "Dang, I forgot how obscure basic science is, this stuff is tricky even for a neurologist."
  9. HarveyCushing

    HarveyCushing

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    Wow Daniel, your story sounds freakishly just like me. Just like you I am also just an average medical student but our neuroanatomy section captivated me and I actually enjoyed studying and spending time in the anatomy lab. Was by far the most interesting and mentally stimulating. I went to a liberal arts college and like you enjoyed the humanities (ethics, philosophy, history, religion...etc.). There is just something about neuro patients, the most "boring" run of the mill patient is still more interesting to me than any DKA/pneumonia/renal failure/CHF/COPD/cellulitis/...etc. patient that I have worked up. Obviously not everyone feels that way, but there is something about neuro that just speaks to me.

    While I agree that much of neuro has now utilized technology in replacement of the neuro exam, my attending on consults did a great job to teach the fun of a proper neuro exam work up to localize the lesion/stroke, and then after that look at the MRI DWI sequence to see if we were correct. I thought that was fun, especially in medicine where we rely heavily upon expensive tests. Was cool to diagnose the patient and their lesion with a simple H&P and 30-40min of my time as a medical student. Neuro was very satisfying and didn't make me feel like I was a lab rat checking off standard orders to work up shortness of air like I did on medicine. Basically neuro rules even more so in 3rd year. :thumb up:
  10. judasreznor

    judasreznor

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    Harvey, I already told Dan this, but apparently the three of us are exactly the same. It's weird. I'm only a first year, but I'm EXACTLY like you guys.
  11. Chocolateagar04

    Chocolateagar04

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    Sounds like me too minus the liberal arts college. I was an accounting major and my favorite classes were the required history and social
    Science classes.

    This part literally summarizes me: "I think all this actually did influence me in my selection of residency. I think that because of my reading background there was something romantic (to my mind) about studying the brain and neuroscience that appealed to me far above and beyond say the gastrointestinal tract or kidney. To this day, I still read case reports and journal articles with pleasure so long as neuro is at least partially included. "

    I wasnt especially strong a neuro anatomy but i liked it and thought it was cool localizing. All TE scientific research about neurology was fascinating. If intake the journal of neurology and compare It to the journal of GI, Cards, endo whatever I'd much rather read the neurology one.

    I could see myself mastering it and also be very good at it even though during he busy schedule of a med student i did have a a difficult time.

    Idk about you but the though of becoming a medicine doc, even if you specialize later, and have to know all this nitty gritty about the kidney, liver, GI, endo etc sounds way more painful to just having to master neuro ...

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