The human brain is the most complex piece of machinery on the planet. With more than 100 billion neurons processing and storing information, it has a greater processing capacity, in a smaller space, than even modern supercomputers, including the worlds fastest the IBM Roadrunner located at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The brain is composed of four major parts, the cerebrum (cerebral cortex, or cortex), cerebellum, hypothalamus (pituitary gland), and brain stem. Spatially, these comprise the frontal lobe, parietal lobe (at the top rear of the head), temporal lobe (above and behind the ears), and occipital lobe (at the back of the head), with the brain stem below the occipital lobe.
Brain traumas or tumors are among the most complex problems a surgeon has to deal with. Many areas of the brain behind the hypothalamus, for example are difficult to access, even with modern surgical equipment like the gamma knife (used for tumor treatment) and endoscopes (lighted tubes with surgical equipment options) for clipping aneurysms.
A neurosurgeon introducing the idea of brain surgery to a nervous patient will be aided in his explanations by an anatomical model. These come as two part, four part, 8-part and deluxe models showing arteries and brain sections, as well as transparent models and models showing the entire nervous system.
While transparent models, showing the brain inside a human skull, or simple two part and four part models are sufficient for demonstrating minor problems like a skull fracture, most neurosurgeon offices benefit from more complex models which can be disassembled to show patients how parts of the brain fit together, and the difficulty represented by a tumor beneath or behind the occipital lobe.
An ideal example would be the classic four-part model, which consists of a medially divided brain, with each part hand painted, numbered and (and separately identified in a manual which patients can read). The right half breaks down into two parts: frontal and parietal lobes, and the brain stem with temporal and occipital lobes. The left half is a transverse cut showing all the parts of the brain.
Even more effective, in terms of patient education, would be any one of three models which are divided into eight or more parts. The first, an eight part, color-coded model, is a life size model in which the parts of the left side of the brain are colored to show the sensory and motor areas of the brain, whose functions might be slightly or temporarily altered by surgical intervention for a tumor or bleeding artery. Also shown are the 12 cranial nerve roots and several major arteries.
The deluxe eight part model is an amplification of the four part model, with both halves of the brain disassembling into their component architecture (frontal with parietal lobes, and brain stem with temporal and occipital lobes). In addition, this model is highly detailed and shows the brain stem more extensively.
The deluxe brain model, which breaks down into nine parts, depicts the arterial network of vessels inside the brain in intense detail, enabling vascular surgeons to identify to their patients the precise part of the brain where bleeding or other problems have arisen.
All models are made of durable plastic or a similar ingredient, painted in exquisite detail and with surfaces sealed against moisture and body oils to provide years of trouble free demonstration. Many also come mounted and labeled. Also available is a complete nervous system model showing how brain activity leads to limb and organ function.
Area 47 in the Ötztal Valley, Tyrol
Image by Harald Felgner
Brodmann area 47, or BA47, is part of the frontal cortex in the human brain. Curving from the lateral surface of the frontal lobe into the ventral (orbital) frontal cortex. It is below areas BA10 and BA45, and beside BA11.
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