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In the last week of the program we visited the Musee de Fumeur. This museum was more of a smoke shop but was still interesting. Smoking has become a cultural norm in Paris which is interesting because smoking is kind of looked down upon in the states. Cigarette addiction is thus extremely common in France which results from chemical changes in the brain that occur during repetitive use of them. This dependence on cigarettes is very difficult to overcome. This was quite the experience!

Ruhee and I at the smoke museum

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Our very first field trip was to the Veterinarian School. There we went to the Musee Fragonard, which was on the campus of the school. In the museum there was a large historic collection of animal models that were all hand painted. Every detail of animal anatomy had to be made and were used to teach future vets as there were no photos or other ways to teach. In the museum there were also all documented diseases an animal could get. One in particular was a disorder called cyclopia which resulted in the animal only developing one eye. The genetic disorder impacts brain growth and there are other neural deficiencies seen in these animals. It was interesting to me knowing back then they didn’t have the technology to figure out the mechanics of how a disorder was impacting the body, but they didn’t need that knowledge to figure out how it was created.

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In the last week of the program we visited the Musee Service de Sante des Armees. I thought this museum was so interesting. There were so many paintings of soldiers being treated after the war and of tools that were utilized to treat soldiers. Physical injuries are not the only thing a soldier comes home with but also mental injuries as well. PTSD affects many soldiers because of the intense environment and psychological distress experienced during war. Now a days, there is therapy that can reduce the effects of PTSD and medicine but regardless, PTSD takes months if not years to recover from.

A box containing samples of Atropine which was used as a muscle relaxer in the war.

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The assortment of cheeses at the tasting!

During the second week of class we visited the Frommagerie for a cheese tasting. We were able to taste six different cheeses and an assortment of juices. In class we were reading about how fermented foods can benefit cognition. Foods, such as cheese, fermented with P. Candidum have anti-inflammatory effects (Ano et al. 2015). With life-expectancy increasing, it is important to find substances that have neuroprotective effects. Camembert cheese was noted to have the most anti-inflammatory effects and it was surprisingly my favorite cheese there!


Ano, Y., Kutsukake, T., Hoshi, A., Yoshida, A., & Nakayama, H. (2015). Identification of a Novel Dehydroergosterol Enhancing Microglial Anti-Inflammatory Activity in a Dairy Product Fermented with Penicillium candidum. PLOS ONE10(3), e0116598. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116598

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While in Paris I think we were living in one of the best neighborhoods. It was quiet without too many tourists with good places to get food nearby, but my favorite part was that it was only about 1.5 miles from the Eiffel tour. Because it was so close me and Genevieve took advantage and would go on runs to the tower. Every time we ran there we would always stop and admire the tower because of its grandiosity. Even though we ran to the tower multiple times we still haven’t gone to the top! My last day I will plan a final trip to the tower. I will miss being able to run there because it always made my day – seeing something so grand on top of the running endorphins elevated my mood, and made the stress of all our work decrease.

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In our first full week of Paris one of the first few excursions we took was to a cemetery: Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise. The cemetery was massive, and had many famous people buried there, including one of my favorite playwrights Oscar Wilde. After wandering around the cemetery we went on a hunt to find his grave. Looking at it made me think about how he’s influenced my taste in plays and literature, and I reflected on one of his famous quotes is “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken”. In Neuroethics we discussed what it truly means to be yourself and whether the human identity is based solely on the brain, or other factors such as culture, people’s perception, and memory. One case we talked about was the potential of having a head transplant surgery – in which case you really can become someone else!

The Dangers of Rugby

Coco, Janet, Ruhee and I at the rugby game
The stadium where the rugby match was

On June 2nd, we had the privilege of attending a professional rugby match. The teams playing were Montpellier and Upstarts Castres and was held at the Stade de France. This was my first rugby match and it was quite the experience. I had never realized how prominent rugby was in Europe. When people said that rugby was Europe’s version of football, I thought it was an overstatement, but I was wrong. The stands were packed wild fans, passionately cheering for their respective teams. It was difficult to not get swept up in all of the craziness. I knew rugby was dangerous but I never realized how dangerous it was until 15 minutes into the game when medics were rushed to the field to attend to a player who got hit. Continue reading “The Dangers of Rugby”

Photo Post 4 – Musee d’Histoire de la Medicine


Earlier on in the program, we visited the Musee d’Histoire de la Medicine, which is the Museum of the History of Medicine. We got to see many different tools that were previously used in medicine. We saw an electrostatic machine that was used to treat neuralgia in the past. Neuralgia is when patients experience pain along their nerves, especially in their face. It was interesting to see how different medical tools are now compared to what they looked like previously.

Photo Post 3 – Musee des Moulages

Last week, we visited the Musee des Moulages, or the Museum of Dermatology. We explored the museum at our own pace and got to see how many different dermatological diseases would look like. I was definitely surprised by how the same condition could manifest itself in so many different ways. Neurosyphillis was displayed at the museum and sometimes can have dermatologic signs. We read a paper that tested the effectiveness of PCR in detecting neurosyphillis. Investigators found that it was more effective in detection than the VDRL test which is currently used. Even though PCR was found to be more effective, further research needs to be conducted to find even more accurate methods.

Photo Post 2 – Musee de Fumeur

In the last week of the program, we took a trip to the Musee de Fumeur, a museum that displayed smoking devices. We discussed in class how society in France views smoking differently than we do in the United States. I was curious about what contributes to addiction and how it can be overcome. In previous neuroscience classes, we learned that environmental cues associated with smoking contribute to dependency on cigarettes. I found that more research is going into how addiction can be treated effectively. I found a study conducted by Modino et al. (2018) that tested the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on smoking. Investigators found no difference between active tDCS and a placebo on cigarette consumption, but there was a significant effect of tDCS on craving for cigarettes. Further research would be beneficial to be able to help more people who are addicted to smoking.


Mondino, M., Luck, D., Grot, S., Januel, D., Suaud-Chagny, M., Poulet, E., & Brunelin, J. (2018). Effects of repeated transcranial direct current stimulation on smoking, craving and brain reactivity to smoking cues. Scientific Reports., 8(1), 8724.