shreypete

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What is the best way to learn the ascending and descending pathways for the spinal tracts?

What is the best way to learn all the different pathways (of the cerebrum, cerebellum, pons, etc).....they seem to be too confusing.

Why is neuro so horribly confusing?...ugh.....and to think I was gonna like neurosurgery......
 

MSHell

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Write, re-write, re-write and re-write. Much like biochem. Brute force.
 

PenguinHead

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Write, re-write, re-write and re-write. Much like biochem. Brute force.
Yep.

I don't know if it's the best way, but it's the only way I found that worked. I read every chapter we covered in text book (which I would recommend b/c it helps to understand what you're drawing), but still had to draw everything over and over.
 

myry

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I agree with above. Drawing them out over and over to memorize them seemed to help me the most. I also made a summary sheet for each pathway with the pathway drawn out and at the bottom wrote what happens if you interrupt at a certain point (ex. contralateral loss of sense). Making a table so you can compare the locations of CB for primary, secondary, etc. neurons also worked for a lot of people.
 

MSHell

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Yep.

I don't know if it's the best way, but it's the only way I found that worked. I read every chapter we covered in text book (which I would recommend b/c it helps to understand what you're drawing), but still had to draw everything over and over.
That is so true. It seems so time consuming, but nothing else seemed to work.
 

SnowTown

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neuro pathways seem to come easier for me... psych and associated drugs on the other hand can kiss my :p
 

HEADintheCLOUDS

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just finished neuro today!! Hurray!! Pathways are easy read it once and remember it. simple.

Drugs however are crappy:thumbdown:
 

PharmDstudent

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psych and associated drugs on the other hand can kiss my :p
For the most part, it's all about hyperpolarization and GABA. If you let the chloride ions in, then you can't get an action potential.

If you would like a copy of drug-related stuff, let me know.
 

HEADintheCLOUDS

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For the most part, it's all about hyperpolarization and GABA. If you let the chloride ions in, then you can't get an action potential.

If you would like a copy of drug-related stuff, let me know.
Really? so anti-depressants use a depressant mechanism to un-depress?:sleep:
 

PharmDstudent

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Really? so anti-depressants use a depressant mechanism to un-depress?:sleep:
I wasn't specific on purpose, hence, I didn't say anything about anti-depressants... Snowtown's phrase was "psych and associated drugs".

Benzos, which lead to hyperpolarization due to chloride ion influx, are not anti-depressants. They act as hypnotics, anticonvulsants, sedatives, and they can be used for general anesthetic purposes. Barbiturates work the same way too. Flumazenil is an anti-dote for Benzo overdose (just to drive it home a little further). Guess what??? Flumazenil is a GABA receptor antagonist! Who would have thought that an antagonist of the GABA receptor could reverse the affects of a GABA agonist overdose???

If you want to talk about Serotonin and Norepi, then I'd love to discuss anti-depressants.
 

PBandJ

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I definitely recommend working out pathways on scrap paper or on whiteboards whenever possible.

Start with the big 3 (corticospinal tract, dorsal column - medial lemniscal tract, and spinothalamic tract), and know those cold. Start with the basics, such as these three questions:
1. Where is the tract located in the spinal cord, brainstem, subcortex and cortex?
2. Where does decussation (crossover) occur?
3. What modalities are carried in each pathway? (e.g. motor for CST)

Using an atlas should help for visualizing the whole pathway of each tract individually. Once you hammer home those three pathways, add in the trigeminal-thalamic system (pain and temperature sensation for the face) and the spinal trigeminal system (vibration, position sense, and touch for the face). You'll notice many similarities to their spinal counterparts (STT and DCMLS, respectively).

For the cerebellum, which is a little more difficult, start out by remembering that each hemisphere of the cerebellum is responsible for movement on the ipsilateral side of the body. Thus, major connections from the cerebellum to the body either remain ipsilateral (no decussation) or crosses twice (double decussation).

Finally, if you reference an atlas for visualizing the long pathways, see if you can find some well-labeled representative cross-sections of the spinal cord (various levels) and brainstem. Redraw these with the major tracts outlined. This will help you to learn which tracts are close to which other tracts at various levels (remember, not everything stays in the same place at every level!!). Work on the big picture here (medial vs. lateral; dorsal vs. ventral). Incorporate blood supply to each level when you feel ready, and you will begin to develop a better sense of which tracts are likely to be affected by a lesion at a given level.

Sorry this is long-winded, but I really like neuro and I've found that all of the above has worked well for me this semester.
 

cpants

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Check out the Netter's plates on the Cranial Nerve nuclei in the brain stem. Money.
 
OP
S

shreypete

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Thanks guys......and especially thanks to samenewme for the awesome link and thank you very much for the detailed desrciption PBandJ, I'm going to follow that pattern.
 

HEADintheCLOUDS

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I wasn't specific on purpose, hence, I didn't say anything about anti-depressants... Snowtown's phrase was "psych and associated drugs".

Benzos, which lead to hyperpolarization due to chloride ion influx, are not anti-depressants. They act as hypnotics, anticonvulsants, sedatives, and they can be used for general anesthetic purposes. Barbiturates work the same way too. Flumazenil is an anti-dote for Benzo overdose (just to drive it home a little further). Guess what??? Flumazenil is a GABA receptor antagonist! Who would have thought that an antagonist of the GABA receptor could reverse the affects of a GABA agonist overdose???

If you want to talk about Serotonin and Norepi, then I'd love to discuss anti-depressants.
No need to explain it to me. I am a medical student not a pharm student.

You implied most drugs (psych) were using hyperpolaization GABA and I proved you wrong. Just accept it and move on.
 

PharmDstudent

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No need to explain it to me. I am a medical student not a pharm student.

You implied most drugs (psych) were using hyperpolaization GABA and I proved you wrong. Just accept it and move on.
Ehhh... no big deal. When they start begging for Xanax, Ativan, and Valium, let me know how that goes. K?
 

HEADintheCLOUDS

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Ehhh... no big deal. When they start begging for Xanax, Ativan, and Valium, let me know how that goes. K?
I do not understand what you were getting at? They can beg for whatever they want to. They get what I prescribe/give them.
 

PharmDstudent

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I do not understand what you were getting at? They can beg for whatever they want to. They get what I prescribe/give them.
The point that I was making earlier in this thread is that Benzodiazepines are highly prescribed, and I justified my claim by stating what they're used for after you brought up anti-depressants. I wasn't making an all-or-nothing assertation. I said "for the most part".

Does patient-centered care ring a bell?
 

HEADintheCLOUDS

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The point that I was making earlier in this thread is that Benzodiazepines are highly prescribed, and I justified my claim by stating what they're used for after you brought up anti-depressants. I wasn't making an all-or-nothing assertation. I said "for the most part".

Does patient-centered care ring a bell?
Should it ring a bell? (slightly confused still what u imply)
 

PharmDstudent

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Should it ring a bell? (slightly confused still what u imply)
Yes.
Health Care Evolves Toward a Patient-Centered Model

Health care has been evolving away from a "disease-centered model" and toward a "patient-centered model." In the older, disease-centered model, physicians make almost all treatment decisions based largely on clinical experience and data from various medical tests. In a patient-centered model, patients become active participants in their own care and receive services designed to focus on their individual needs and preferences, in addition to advice and counsel from health professionals.
When patients and providers have a choice among treatment plans, a patient-centered approach has much to recommend it. This can happen when physicians do not agree on the optimal management for the condition or when different non-life-threatening outcomes may result from the different treatments available for a condition. Examples of such "preference-driven" conditions are benign enlargement of the prostate and visual problems resulting from cataracts. In such cases, the best treatment strategy depends on the strength of patients' preferences for the different health outcomes that may result from a treatment decision. (http://www.ahrq.gov/QUAL/ptcareria.htm#ref1)

Now, it's time for a nice Sunday afternoon nap. :sleep:
 

MSHell

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I don't think this applies to prescribing controlled substances.
 

GAdoc

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I definitely recommend working out pathways on scrap paper or on whiteboards whenever possible.

Start with the big 3 (corticospinal tract, dorsal column - medial lemniscal tract, and spinothalamic tract), and know those cold. Start with the basics, such as these three questions:
1. Where is the tract located in the spinal cord, brainstem, subcortex and cortex?
2. Where does decussation (crossover) occur?
3. What modalities are carried in each pathway? (e.g. motor for CST)

Using an atlas should help for visualizing the whole pathway of each tract individually. Once you hammer home those three pathways, add in the trigeminal-thalamic system (pain and temperature sensation for the face) and the spinal trigeminal system (vibration, position sense, and touch for the face). You'll notice many similarities to their spinal counterparts (STT and DCMLS, respectively).

For the cerebellum, which is a little more difficult, start out by remembering that each hemisphere of the cerebellum is responsible for movement on the ipsilateral side of the body. Thus, major connections from the cerebellum to the body either remain ipsilateral (no decussation) or crosses twice (double decussation).

Finally, if you reference an atlas for visualizing the long pathways, see if you can find some well-labeled representative cross-sections of the spinal cord (various levels) and brainstem. Redraw these with the major tracts outlined. This will help you to learn which tracts are close to which other tracts at various levels (remember, not everything stays in the same place at every level!!). Work on the big picture here (medial vs. lateral; dorsal vs. ventral). Incorporate blood supply to each level when you feel ready, and you will begin to develop a better sense of which tracts are likely to be affected by a lesion at a given level.

Sorry this is long-winded, but I really like neuro and I've found that all of the above has worked well for me this semester.


We just finished our big Neuro phase and I'm quite thankful to be done! It's actually some of the most useful and practical information we've learned, but it is difficult and can be confusing.

For me, seeing plenty of cross sections was key. You can learn the gross appearance fairly quickly, but knowing where each of the major tracts run in cross section from the big toe to the neocortex is crucial. For this, I used the Neuroanatomy book by Haines. It is an EXCELLENT resource in that it has diagrams with corresponding MRI/CT images from the saccral spinal cord all the way to the cortex. It also gives examples of common pathology at each level.

After memorizing the tracts, the best thing you can do is quiz youself with "find the lesion" questions. Answering these questions requires integrated knowledge which will indicate how well you actually know the material. A good place to turn for this type of help is "Neuroanatomy Made Rediculously Simple".
 

alphaholic06

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We just finished our big Neuro phase and I'm quite thankful to be done! It's actually some of the most useful and practical information we've learned, but it is difficult and can be confusing.

For me, seeing plenty of cross sections was key. You can learn the gross appearance fairly quickly, but knowing where each of the major tracts run in cross section from the big toe to the neocortex is crucial. For this, I used the Neuroanatomy book by Haines. It is an EXCELLENT resource in that it has diagrams with corresponding MRI/CT images from the saccral spinal cord all the way to the cortex. It also gives examples of common pathology at each level.

After memorizing the tracts, the best thing you can do is quiz youself with "find the lesion" questions. Answering these questions requires integrated knowledge which will indicate how well you actually know the material. A good place to turn for this type of help is "Neuroanatomy Made Rediculously Simple".
I strongly agree with the bold.