Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7
Time, it keeps on a tickin’, eh? At least we are no longer in a nursing home Shawshank lockdown. It could be worse…
I have an interesting topic to briefly discuss and to offer to you as a target for self-study today. This will further prove what you already know: I am NOT a brain scientist (although I play one here.) However, I have learned a lot about the brain over the last 5 or 6 years, for better or worse. My topic for your consideration: The Circle of Willis. I have never had a brain class nor an anatomy class, so this one will be obvious to the brain educated of you out there…but it wasn’t to me.
The Circle of Willis has nothing to do with this:
The Circle of Willis has nothing to do with The Lion King (The Circle of Life), the batting circle and/or the dozens of baseball players named Willis, nor does it reference a Joni Mitchell song. The Circle of Willis is merely the blood intake system that is required for brain life. Every drop of blood, directly or otherwise, that hits your brain passes through this circle of arteries. It is truly amazing:
At the 1:20 mark, are you as amazed as I am about the transverse foramina of the cervical vertebrae? This is a ridiculously cool little artery pathway that directs these critical arteries to their destination not unlike my gutter clips hold on my Christmas lights! Amazing.
Here are some more articles about the Circle of Willis:
“Conclusions— Our study reveals an association between severe circle of Willis atherosclerosis and sporadic AD that should be considered a risk factor for this dementia. These observations strongly suggest that atherosclerosis-induced brain hypoperfusion –Reduced blood flow— contributes to the clinical and pathological manifestations of AD.” It was once thought that all dementia can be explained as “hardening of the arteries”. It was even called that outright in the medical and lay community. We bristle now at the thought now with all of the amazing imaging and other diagnostic tools at our disposal…but this part still has to function right or it can cause issues in brain blood flow.
Does this piece make us any closer to finding a cure or making the disease less cruddy? No. However, it is very interesting information and it further underscores just how complex the brain is. The cure will be equally complex!
Update: We have been fortunate to have been able to see mom every day and we have taken advantage of it for sure. I didn’t get to go today because of staffing issues, but I hope to tomorrow. She is about the same as she has been the last few months. Sleepy, little if any pain, and still eating. It could always be worse….