Mitosis, Meiosis, and weird alien cells

First day of embryology today. I once participated in a Visceral Manipulation III (of V) class, and my teacher spent a lot of time going through the embryology, SO FASCINATING. (Consider yourself 1 cm high, standing between layers of tissue, and walk. What’s in front of you? Behind? What do you run into? Where can you go? etc.) So today I was expecting something similar. Well, actually that is a lie. Last week I was expecting something similar. Then my physiology professor told us not to. Because we are students of osteopathy, and because he is a professor of physiology, and because osteopaths primarily need this to be knowledgable in treating pregnant women and newborn babies, and because (according to him) the visceral theories of organ motility aren’t scientifically proven, this class will be reproductive physiology, with a few relevant bits thrown in. Umm…. no formation of the nervous system, or the digestive system, or the vascular system?? What a let-down!

Not saying he’s a bad teacher, he’s quite good at what he does! But if he’s not an anatomist/embryologist and doesn’t want to be, why is he teaching embryology? Since I’ve had a brief introduction to the study of the way humans form in utero, I know what we’re missing, and I’m sad about that! I found it very useful to hear the way organs form, and to try to track my way through the body in 3D! I can sympathize with the students who feel like there’s already so much to learn and remember, who find it daunting to think of adding more in, but if it’s not presented, how will they even know what they don’t know? If this is one of the more “alternative-curriculumed” schools, why aren’t we getting this “more alternative” information? How is it better to present fewer options? And if some of us really want it, where can we go to get the whole story? Do I have to start signing up for more courses from other institutions? This sort of thing is discouraging to me, knowing already that I’m quite inclined to pursue visceral and cranial methodology.

Aside from all that, I’m satisfied with today’s lecture, learning the male anatomy and reproductive system. Obviously not a practical class, just another reason why I’m anxiously awaiting my partner here. ;) Seriously, how do single people do it? Next week is female anatomy, then I believe the remaining 3 weeks are spent studying pregnancy and the way the embryo develops.

Interestingly, I’ve also been presented a few interesting opportunities for extracurricular pediatric education  over the past week or two: a workshop by Caroline Stone, osteopath specialist in obstetrics, pregnancy, fertility, and visceral techniques; a doula certification course in London with Dr. Michel Odent, a retired MD known for his work in in midwifery, with natural and water child birth, author of 11 books and dozens of scientific papers. While I haven’t seriously considered specializing in pediatrics, I have witnessed how rewarding working cranially with newborns can be, and my general rule of thumb with education is the more the merrier. If the tool presents itself…

Funny enough, my horoscope for January was talking about conception and family planning. Not even on my radar at the moment, having just started a 4-year course! These  education opportunities presenting to me without effort give me a sigh of relief.

So [1] mitosis: chromatids pairing, duplicating, and dividing again, essentially making a photocopy of the cell. This video is an actual cell in real time! :)

[2] Meiosis: chromatids pairing, pairing again (4 now, instead of 2), sharing bits of information/recombining, breaking off into 2’s again, and then dividing, leaving 4 chromatids. And [3] spermiogenesis: maturation of the cell into an alien-like “creature”, which is actually (who knew?) a crystalized nucleus, like a bit of coal, and technically non-living, with an energy-operated machine (without energy source), and a tail for mobilization. Weird!

So much fun stuff I learn in physiology. I’m so happy to be studying it again. The human body is so full of complexity, processes we have hardly begun to even visualize, much less understand, and so much variation from what I was taught only 6 years ago. Totally loving it.

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