Putting the Logical in Neurological

Ask anyone who knows me and you'll get the same two bits of advice over and over again: 1) Don't stand between Bob and a controlled substance; 2) Don't get Bob started on the subject of neuroanatomy

Ask anyone who knows me and you'll get the same two bits of advice over and over again: 1) Don't stand between Bob and a controlled substance; 2) Don't get Bob started on the subject of neuroanatomy. I plead guilty on both counts. But since my guilty plea on the controlled substance issue is still being reviewed by the courts, let us move quickly to my more lawful passion.

I first became interested in the field of neuroanatomy after being dropped on my head as a baby. (Admittedly, not after the first time, but somewhere around the eighth or 10th.) My interest was ratcheted up as a young adult when my chronic depression was diagnosed as a physiological brain function that could be controlled by taking 30 mg of Prozac (psychiatrist-prescribed) for every 10 mg of Percodan (self-prescribed). I became totally hooked on the subject when, just a few years ago, I discovered that my habit of inappropriately shouting out obscenities in public places, had it been involuntary, would likely have been diagnosed as Tourette's syndrome, a disorder not without neuroanatomical associations.

Over the years, I've become intensely focused on one particularly fascinating branch of neuroanatomy: "brain mapping." Brain mapping is the identification and charting of those specific areas of the brain that are responsible for specific voluntary and involuntary, mental, sensory and physical functions. Like music appreciation residing in the temporal lobes or blood pressure being regulated by the hypothalamus.

But those are dated, comparatively broad examples. Below, I've summarized the most recent discoveries of "brain mappers," as they refine and perfect our view of what some refer to as the "lumpy, squishy laptop that sits atop our neck."

Hypermnesia Concavity: This small hollow, found in the occipital lobe, determines our ability to differentiate between a sub and a hero, a double-blade and a triple-blade shave, John Grisham novels, and one ayatollah from another.

Flatus Receptor: Olfactory function within the parietal lobe which perceives your own farts as agreeably intriguing but other people's as a foul stench from hell that must be fanned at, fled from and loudly complained about.

Hudson's nodule: Increasingly common anomaly found on the medulla oblongata of adults who give their children a noun for a first name (Rock, Stone, Forest, Jazz, Sunshine, Tiger, Dado, etc.). A related but more serious anomaly, Hudson's knodyule, has been linked to giving children a misspelled noun as a first name (Tempestt, Krystal, Skye, Rayn, china, Aja, Phorceps, etc.)

Pachydermic sulcus: Exceptionally specialized area of the cerebral cortex responsible solely for remembering the Maine, the Alamo and Mama.

Janandean gyrus: Center of higher intellectual functions such as the analysis of all appurtenant data connoting a causal relationship between Dead Man's Curve and a significant diminution in probability of returning to one's initial point of origin.

Pap aegis: Self-preservation region located at the rear of the frontal lobe preventing us from plunking down $8 to see any movie featuring a character from a Saturday Night Live sketch.

Spectraglossic ganglia: Occurring in 83.3 percent of the population, these ganglia, located in the medulla, permit the acceptance of "blue" as a "flavor" of Popsicle.

Crushopec meridian: A fibrous barrier permitting the cognitive dichotomy necessary for a person to carp and whine about high fuel prices while driving a 10-mpg behemoth.

Calcularuis Vectorum: Controls all higher math functions, including, "Last year, the teacher let us use calculators on the final," "How can there be a negative number of something? I mean, there's either some of a thing or none of a thing, but there's no such thing as less than none of a thing," and "Is it too late to transfer out of this class?"

Antebellum cerebellumus: High neuron activity in this region is directly linked to intelligence and critical reasoning. Conversely, a lack of activity indicates a high probability of being a U.S. Senator from one of the Carolinas.

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