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Students get firsthand look at brains

Posted: March 21, 2012 - 12:08am  |  Updated: March 21, 2012 - 6:30pm
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Lakeside Health Science students put on the brain caps they designed for judging by visiting Georgia Health Sciences University graduate students.  Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jim Blaylock/Staff
Lakeside Health Science students put on the brain caps they designed for judging by visiting Georgia Health Sciences University graduate students.

Twitter @DonnieFetter

Standing around a display table, a group of health science and anatomy students at Lakeside High School timidly poked at a human brain.

“It was really cool,” Lakeside High senior Taylor Aune said of the experience. “It’s rubbery, almost like Silly Putty.”

The 17-year-old and his classmates took part Friday in a special program organized by Georgia Health Science University neuroscience students to showcase the complexities of the brain.

Erin Scott, a fourth- year neurology student at GHSU, organized the event to cap off Brain Awareness Week.

Lakeside students visited “Brain Booths” manned by GHSU students to handle cadaver specimens of brains and spinal cords, view slides of neurological tissue and discuss the various functions of the brain.

The students also discussed careers, including teaching, academic research and industry research, said second-year neuroscience student Caitlin Madigan.

“The complexities of the human brain are endlessly fascinating and leave so much room for study,” she said.

Aune never considered a career in neuroscience before Friday. He said he envisioned one day becoming a radiologist.

“This kind of opened my eyes a bit to the possibilities,” he said.

Scott said she, too, once considered a career in radiology.

“But it’s a job looking at film and slides all day,” she said. “With neuroscience, it’s more hands-on, with more human interaction.”

Madigan said she never saw, in person, a human brain until she started medical school.

“The best we could do in high school was studying a pig brain, which is so small,” she said. “I would have loved an opportunity like this to see a human brain while still in high school.”

For Lakeside anatomy teacher David Arrington, the showcase reinforced lessons that consume much of his class time.

“There are three chapters devoted to the brain and nervous system in our textbooks,” Arrington said. “We spend a lot of time talking about it.

“For the kids to see and touch a human brain is a great learning experience they otherwise would never get.”

Madigan said students interested in learning more about the brain and brain-related careers can contact the GHSU admissions office to set up a tour and meetings with neuroscience students.

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