On June 4th, 2022, Sam and I went to the Louvre, an experience I was looking forward to since we arrived in Paris. We were able to explore the beautiful building and appreciate various works of art, including the Mona Lisa (after her birthday cake scare). As a child, I took art classes at the Philadelphia Museum of Art every Saturday and in high school I worked at a pottery studio, causing me to become interested in the idea of art therapy, which I reflected upon during my visit to the Louvre. Art therapy is when a therapist uses art materials and directives to activate sensory responses and generate imagery that is directly connected to emotions, allowing their patient to re-experience emotions in a way that allows them to organize their feelings and form a narrative around an overwhelming experience. Studies have shown that art therapy measurably changes the body and brain.
By Ally Grubman
On June 10, we visited the museum of the history of medicine to see the evolution of medical and health tools used for medical practice over the years. As seen above, one of the tools for neurosurgery used is a drill for creating holes- burr holes- in the skull as part of the initial process of neurosurgery. The name contains “Trépan” which translates to “drill” and the previous part means head. Today, after years of tool development we have electric drills to make burr holes making it much easier and safer because of stainless steel, high precision, and lesser chance of infection.
When I think of Paris, the first thing that comes to mind is the Eiffel Tower. This photo shows me and Rachel on the lawn of the Eiffel Tower while we had a picnic and photoshoot with some of our classmates, sharing a baguette, cheese, and wine to celebrate our budding friendship. Although I was not sure how much I enjoyed the architecture at first, spending time in the city has allowed the tower to grow on me. The Eiffel Tower was built by Gustave Eiffel for the Paris World Fair in 1889 and features featuring the names of 72 scientists on the borders of the sides of the tower as a homage to the men of science. Despite its fame, the Parisians have not always been thrilled by its appearance, regarding the tower as an eyesore and calling for its removal until the addition of a radio tower at the top in 1909.
On Monday, June 13th, the class took a visit to Musee de l’Homme, an anthropology museum. This museum focused on what makes humans unique from other species and how we evolved. There was a display showing brains of different species emphasizing the size differences. One of the brains on display was rhesus macaques, the type of monkey I work with in my lab. Even though I have worked with the monkeys and seen how small their heads are, I didn’t realize how small their brains are because on my computer they look so big! Something else I really enjoyed about the museum is how much of hominin evolution was familiar to me from NBB 201. For example, pictured in this post are skulls of a Homo erectus and Homo ergaster, both species I learned about. It was really nice to actually see what I have learned.
Last week, we visited the Musée d’Histoire de la Médecine at Université Paris Cité. The museum was very beautiful with lots of wood paneling and skylights. There were also quite a few paintings that depicted how medicine was conducted in the earlier centuries. The main part of the museum, however, was the medical equipment. A case of tools used for drilling burr holes in the skull can be seen in the picture above. Burr holes have been used for centuries to treat intracranial diseases and release pressure. In the past, it was believed that burr holes could rid people of evil spirits. Today, drilling burr holes is much more precise and requires MRI and CT imaging to ensure it is being done in the correct place. The technology is also much more advanced, so the drills only cut through bone and spare the brain tissue.