A Knitted Brain
Art is popular. There are many people that enjoy, support, or make a living off of art. It has the power to evoke emotion and also to allow one to express emotion through shapes, color, and patterns. Brains are popular too, but in a different sense. Everyone has a brain. Some may use it more than others, but it is something that all humans possess. This is, of course, excluding the various other life forms on earth that make use of a brain. What is not so popular is brain art. Especially brain art that is anatomically correct. The Museum of Scientifically Accurate Fabric Brain Art claims to be the largest collection of anatomically accurate representations of the brain made entirely from fabric. How exciting! The inspiration for each piece comes from dissections of the brain, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), neuroscience research, and positron emission tomography or PET (another medical imaging technique). These self-deemed “neuroartists” employ traditional art techniques such as quilting, knitting, and rug hooking to create their cranial masterpieces. Although extremely talented, these artists do warn not to use the accuracy of their art as a guide for any kind of surgical medical endeavor. More
Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Book Review
If you were asked to describe the consistency of the human brain, how would you describe it? Like jelly? Cottage cheese? Dr. Katrina Firlik would say tofu—the “soft variety.” In her book, Another Day in the Frontal Lobe (Random House, 2006) Dr. Firlik, a practicing neurosurgeon, offers an insider’s perspective on the world of neurosurgery and recounts the journey that got her where she is today. Through her biting wit and the compassionate nature with which she describes her many patients, Firlik paints a vivid and engaging picture of a field about which many know only a little. More
Tumors on the Brain
August 25, 2009 marked the day that America, and most importantly Massachusetts, lost one of its greatest senators, Ted Kennedy. Kennedy was diagnosed with a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in May 2008 after suffering from a seizure. GBM is a tumor formed in the glial, or supportive, brain cells; there is no current evidence for a genetic predisposition to this type of cancer. The American Cancer Society believes that 21,000 Americans are diagnosed with brain tumors, and about 10,000 are GBMs. They are the most aggressive and common type of brain tumor, which are resistant to many types of treatments. Only 3% of patients diagnosed with these tumors generally survive five years after diagnosis.
Almost two years after Kennedy’s death, doctors are using the drug Avastin to treat GMBs. Avastin blocks the growth of new blood vessels, a necessary component for the survival of tumors. More