01 August 2011

Can you answer the questions from a 1914 Neurology Exam?

Among the fascinating personal papers collections in the important archives of the University of Minnesota are the John Black Johnston papers. Johnston (1868-1939), for whom a building is named on the Minneapolis campus, was a professor of comparative neurology and Dean of the College of Science, Literature and the Arts. (A biographical sketch of his life can be found in the finding aid to his papers.)

The most important portion of the collection are a series of letters between Johnston and C. Judson Herrick, who was editor of the Journal of Comparative Neurology. The letters are from 1898 to 1917. I judge that an enterprising graduate student could use elements from that correspondence to write a fascinating and highly original dissertation that focused on the relationship between comparative zoology and neurology as it was taught in the University of Minnesota Medical School (and likely in other institutions across America). I have never seen a collection like this anywhere before. It draws out the remarkable, but often largely ignored, relationship between zoology and neurology. That is a story that someone should tell.

Below is Johnston's exam. If you can answer the questions, then send me your responses, and The Neuro Times will publish them for the world to see! Your answers are exactly why I think academics should blog!

Photograph of a 1914 Neurology Exam.
 Neurology Examination, Dec. 5, 1914

Note: In describing impulse pathways, use diagrams wherever possible. In every case they should show clearly where each relay occurs, the exact location of each conduction path, together with the direction of the impulse.

1. (a) From your Golgi preparations, reconstruct the various nervous elements of the retina, showing the nature of the relays. (b) Map out the course of an optic reflex that causes you to dodge from an approaching auto. (c) Follow an optic impulse to the cerebral cortex.

2. Diagram a reflex that causes you to turn your eyes in the direction from whence a sudden sound comes, elaborating over the various possible paths in the medulla. (b) Make a sketch of a section through the organ of Corti, and tell how a sound wave is possible transmitted from the middle ear to the hair cells.

3. Trace a direct muscle sense route from a muscle in the leg to the cerebellum and return, showing both types of peripheral endings, and including three different routes that may be taken the medulla.

4. What is the course of an impulse from (a) visceral effective area of the spinal cord to a peripheral blood vessel in the back? (b) Semi-circular canal ampula to an eye muscle. (c) Ampulla to a trunk muscle.

5. Describe in detail the nature of the first relay of the receptive fibers of the 5th nerve and give course of an ascending and secondary tract.

6. Enumerate the various sensory fibers that enter the cerebellum. State its probable function and diagram the various modes a Pukinje cell may receive an impulse.

7. Classify the effective nuclei of the 3, 4, 5, 6,7,10, 11, and 12 cranial nerves as to visceral and somatic, and account for the difference in the nerve components of the tongue muscles and those of the jaws.


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