Chemical Senses, Central Visual System and Their Connection to My Little Grey Cells

The topics of this week were chemical senses, gustation and olfaction, and the central visual system. This week we had only one lecture but that lecture was all the more intensive. Having three chapters for one week and a single lecture was a lot of content. Our own schedule did not permit us to prepare properly for the topic, but it was also simply too much for one lecture. The whole lecture was just running from slide to slide without proper explanations and the whole picture of the topic and lecture was very messy. We would have wanted clear emphasis on the most important parts and a more detailed explanation on those parts, instead of having all the pictures from the book without understandable explanations. The quiz was also a lot harder this week compared to previous weeks.

The topics themselves were interesting and very practical in our everyday life. The functioning of our chemical senses was completely new to us and it was interesting to learn new details about the processes such as the fact that the process of smelling does not actually happen in our nose, but high up in the nasal cavity in the olfactory epithelium. Also, we always thought that the taste buds are the ones you can clearly see on your tongue, but turns out that they are papillae and that the taste buds are actually much smaller. We were also surprised to learn that their lifespan is only two weeks. Although this information was all new to us, it was quite easily understandable due to our background in chemistry.

We already knew the structure of the eye, the physics behind vision and how light is refracted, but it was interesting to learn also more about the cell biology and chemistry of the retina and how the messages are delivered to the brain. The message delivery would have been very interesting and probably also important to understand thoroughly, but we had not learned the whole anatomy of the brain and all the latin names for the parts yet, so it was hard to understand and internalize the system in such a short period of time. It would have required much more time, and with that being the last chapter of the three, there was not enough time to concentrate on that chapter and topic in our own preparation nor in the lecture. This week threw us straight to the deep end with a massive amount of new content like we suspected last week, but the shift from previous weeks was still a surprise.

Posted by Maaria Malkamäki

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