That Organ Within our Noggins

“Altogether, the human brain is estimated to hold something on the order of two hundred exabytes of information, roughly equal to ‘the entire digital content of today’s world,’ according to Nature Neuroscience.*1 If that is not the most extraordinary thing in the universe, then we certainly have some wonders yet to find.” Bryson, Bill. The Body (p. 55). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Interesting, whatever exabytes are.

When I was a medical student I was intrigued by neurology. I appreciated, for instance, that, there was an individual neuro-examination that even an adolescent might find, at least, partially, doable. Other physical examines like palpating livers through the skin or hearing subtle, cardiac sounds went beyond my grasp as a young adult. However, the neuro-exam was within my capabilities. For example, one asked the question, was there a reflex when a particular area about the knee was lightly hammered? Even I could do that.

In keeping with that interest, I did sleep research through medical school and investigated aging of the brain in my residency.  The result was one new discovery in two years of work. In my sleep research we studied patients with nocturnal angina pectoris (per Webster “…a disease marked by brief sudden attacks of chest pain or discomfort caused by deficient oxygenation of the heart muscles”). In all of our patients prone to attacks of angina pectoris awakening them from sleep, they awoke every morning easily. That was no surprise given how frightening chest pain can be.

So much for my research career. Neither, was I ever found haunting the neurology wards again. On the other hand my entire medical career was filled with diversity, either, because I am odd, or, curious, or both.

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