Making neuroanatomy easy
Do you know your grey from your white matter? How about procencephalon from diencephalons? Oluseye Abimbola and Adelola Adeloye offer help in learning neuroanatomy
Neuroscience is fascinating but unfortunately notorious for being a difficult subject. The most common reasons are “poor teaching” followed closely by “problems related to neuroanatomy” and “the difficulty of the clinical examination.”1 Better teaching is one way to solve the problem.
Every first lecture in neuroscience should introduce neuroanatomical terms. Latin and Greek terms can sometimes make learning difficult.2 Students should be encouraged to develop an interest in classical languages and to regularly look at medical glossaries and dictionaries to understand the etymologies.
Reflecting on the origin and original meaning of terms may help to demystify terms such as aqueduct (canal), cauda equina (horse tail), sella turcica (high arched Turkish saddle, which describes the pituitary fossa), and so on. Neuroanatomical terms also make more sense if teachers use anglicised versions-for example, medial mammillary nucleus rather than nucleus mamillaris medialis.3 This allows easy correlation of names with the structures that bear