Today was a shorter day at the College today as I was asked to come in a little later because there would be some items in the room I work. This meant I came in an hour later and to be honest it was nice having the extra time in bed! I know I don’t have much time left until I can stop for Christmas but it’s taking some effort to keep going at the moment!
Once I came in to the College I started work photographing and recording the set of specimens that were put out for me. Some of the specimens didn’t have any pathology identified but apparently there are some of the original notes made by the collector in the archives. I think the plan is to look for these notes once all the specimens have been recorded.
Out of the specimens I examined today there were two particular conditions that were particularly interesting. The first of these was iniencephaly. This is a neutral tube defect which causes a malformation of the occipital bone, spina bifida of the vertebrae and a backward bending of the proximal spine. There can also be a malformation and even absence of some cervical vertebrae. Due to this backing bending, or retroflexion, of the vertebrae the specimens appeared to be looking straight up.
The second of the conditions was hydrocephacly that causes a build up of fluid, and is therefore also known as ‘water on the brain’. The result of this causes a large expansion of the cranial vault bones producing a large and bulbous head. Which each specimen who had the condition there was a significant difference in head size and I was struck by how large the skulls were.
This are amazing specimens which are extremely fragile. I am looking forward to possibly going through the additional notes and information associated with these specimens in the future – I hope to learn a lot more about them!