I know I’ll get bashed for this, but before beginning the next block (head and neck), I’d like to take a moment to write about why I think the brain is the singlemost important organ in the body.
First of all, let’s define “death.” It varies from state to state, but in most cases, it’s defined in terms of the heart and/or brain no longer being functional without assistance. What about the liver? And pancreas? Or your big toe? Apparently, legislation has already placed the heart and brain above all others. 😛
So why is the brain more important than the heart? Heh, that’s an easy one – the heart is just a boring ‘ol muscle and the brain is three pounds of inconceivable perfection. 😉 But honestly, who’s heard of a brain transplant? Thanks to pioneers like the late Dr. DeBakey, cardiologists/cardiothoracic surgeons have countless techniques to alleviate (and cure) heart problems. Blocked coronary artery… oh, just get a bypass surgery (or two, or three, or four). Your heart doesn’t work?! Fear not, you’re on a transplant list and we’ll be able to keep you alive on a bypass machine. Abnormal rhythm? Psh, take this handy-dandy pacemaker! 🙂 Now don’t get me wrong. With the high prevalence of heart disease, it’s a blessing that we have so many ways to combat such a terrible foe.
But how many times have you heard of a brain transplant or brain bypass? There are plenty of heart medications which people use for years without any noticeable side effects (essentially a “cure”). How many curative agents are there for Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s? It’s such a mysterious organ which a tremendous amount of variability. It holds our cognitive skills, our memory, and our consciousness. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to read this. 😛
If you’re a specialist in any of the not-so-neuro-related-fields, and I’ve offended you in any way, I do apologize and wish to remind you that the above is simply a testament to my 5 month old medical school mentality. 😀