I’m excited to announce my first guest blogger for Mindless Science: My Mom! Sammi King is a freelance writer for the Daily Herald, my hometown newspaper. She usually writes about people and events within the community so we agreed that she would make a perfect guest blogger as a neuro novice. Here’s my mom with a mother’s take on neuroscience:
My only contact with the brain was years ago when I tried in vain to excise the tiny body part with metal probes from the poor man in the game, “Operation.” I now have a son at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who is a neuroscience major, so when given the opportunity I decided to check out a brain at a recent trip to a museum.
The brain before me was real, not a plastic model, like the ones we studied in my high school biology class. Unlike the tiny hard brain that I tried to extract from “Operation” this one was big and wormlike. Although I couldn’t touch this brain, to see if it felt like the ground meat used as simulations for Halloween, I knew it was real. It formerly belonged to a Chinese man from the traveling exhibit called “Bodies, the Exhibition” at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois.
It is amazing how the red mass of mush can be such an amazing circuitry. Think about it. This extraordinary machine works 24 hours a day without a coffee break, a paid vacation or 10 paid holidays. it doesn’t get any sick days, not even any mental health days. It is a working machine of enormous magnitude, in constant operation, from the moment we take our first breath till the time the last breath leaves our body.
Unlike a machine, the brain doesn’t get a lot of oil, unless the its caretaker is heavily committed to the Mediterranean diet. Grease? Not happening in this day and age.
In fact, the brain gets very low maintenance. How many machines can do that? Even robotic brains need a battery recharge every now and then.
Having just finished a story for the Daily Herald (a Chicago/ suburban newspaper with a circulation of 750,000) on the benefits of laughter yoga, I was interested in the part of the brain that produces laughter—the comedy circuit. is it a smoke filled area where one liners fly as high as the bar tabs? Is it a sit-com type of circuitry that runs in short half hour stints with limited commercial breaks? Is it a humor haven filled with jokes, jests and sarcasm?
And where in the brain is the parental lobe, that portion of the brain in your offspring that emits guilt when the drinks flow too freely and the party goes too long on on your son’s college campus. Is that part of the brain always working? Even late into the night?
Why isn’t there a switch that flips on automatically and conveys the message, “Mama says” or “Have you called your mother today?” rather than the all familiar “This is the captain speaking, please fasten your seat belt you are in for life’s bumpy ride.”
There may be a place in the brain for laughter but I am pretty sure that there is no “motherlobe” That undoubtedly is saved for the heart.
And while science is still working on discovering areas of the brain associated with ‘sarcasm’ or ‘guilt’, I know that my brain has Brodmann’s Area PS always active (Proud Son).
Great blog, mom!