In our daily education, we study many vague subjects such as math, language arts, and science, but this world does not just have mathematicians, writers, and scientists. We need people with a deeper understanding of these core topics to keep us healthy, to keep us safe, to study climate change, or to become the next world leaders. For example, science encompasses biology, biology encompasses anatomy, neurology is a specialty in anatomy, and neurosurgery is a profession in this specialty. Most people have their interests fall into these core learnings, which get deeper and more advanced the further they proceed in their education.
I have been an avid science-lover ever since I knew the subject. Everything from exploring the mysteries of life to learning about our bodies and how they function fascinated me and helped me discover my passions. In the fourth grade, I learned about Khan Academy, and that is when I first started to learn about what would become my dream profession, neurosurgery. I started by learning biology and basic knowledge about cell division and slowly expanded into human anatomy, genetics, neurology, neurological diseases, and other diverse topics regarding the brain.
I completed many neuroscience courses throughout middle school that boosted my knowledge, confidence, and motivation to continue medicine research. From Johns Hopkins courses on Radiation Technologies, and Harvard’s Fundamentals of Neuroscience and Neuroelectricity to University of Chicago’s Behavioral Neuroscience Course, I was learning about how professionals deal with complex situations or how researchers conduct experiments to learn more about the cognition, comprehension, behavior, and other fascinating aspects that the brain has to offer.
Over the course of my middle school, I have learned a lot about Neuroanatomy and Neuroimaging, as those are the areas that I explored in my courses. 1968, Dr. Raymond Vahan Damadian came up with the idea that would become one of the greatest medical inventions, a way to look into the human body, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (the MRI). The functionality of this technology is quite similar to the x-ray because both machines are stimulating the body, either with radiation or electromagnetic frequencies, for the camera or the computer to interpret those signals and use mathematical formulas to generate an image. The key differentiating factor is what each machine looks for in the human body, and how it accomplishes that task. The reason why x-rays only can show the bones or other compact structures in your body is that the radiation emitted from an x-ray gets absorbed in the soft tissue of the muscle, making it difficult for the radiation to get reflected onto the photographic plate, leading them to appear invisible. MRIs, on the other hand, use a strong magnetic field to align the protons in the human body, and then a radiofrequency wave is emitted into that field, causing the protons to rotate against the force of the magnetic field. Once the radiofrequency has stopped, the protons in the different muscle masses snap back at different speeds, and the computer instantly captures this information to show a much more descriptive and high-resolution image of all of the organs and body structures to provide a better analysis of the human body.
Another fascinating thing I learned was during a course on Neuroanatomy. While researching the specific areas in the brain and how each cranial structure plays an essential role in our minute-to-minute or even second-to-second lives, I learned of two fascinating parts of the brain located in the lower region of the inferior frontal gyrus, as well as the lateral section of the superior temporal gyrus; the Broca's and Wernicke's areas, respectively. Despite being unnoticeable when observed on the surface of the gyri, these areas are what we believe are the key to human language and symbolic comprehension and production. Key human traits such as understanding symbols and familiar language are controlled by these structures. The Wernicke's area is so complex that through many experiments, it has been found that through a passage underneath the eyes, known as the Temporal Processing Stream, this area is also responsible for remembering familiar faces and also the information on how to differentiate between two distinct faces.
Although I have done my research and expanded my interests and passion throughout the years, I have a long way to go to reach my goal as a neurosurgeon. I must keep on researching and learning for as long as possible to become more familiar with the subject if I want to pursue this field in my post-secondary studies. Neurology is a topic with so many unknowns, which is why it continues to inspire me to become the best person I can be.