For those of you who will become physicians and general practitioners, cranial nerves are important. Undergraduate anatomy is probably the last time you will study their anatomy, so you need to get the hang of it first time round. This book was written with you in mind. It assumes that you will have some understanding of the functional anatomy of the spinal cord, spinal nerves, trunk and limbs.
If you want to jump straight to the main business of cranial nerves, skip Part I which deals with their organization. I advise you to try reading it sometime, though, because it covers topics that students find troublesome but which aid understanding if properly appreciated. If you persevere with Part I you might be rewarded with, at the very least, a warm inward glow when the light finally dawns on some previously murky corner.
Parts II-V deal with the functional anatomy of the nerves. Rather than work through them from first to twelfth, the book considers them according to function. You will encounter them much as would an ingested morsel of food. This is unorthodox: it does, though, lend spice and relevance.
There are several approaches to cranial nerves: the embryological and evolutionary, the analytical, and that which numbs the senses with topographical detail. Although a little of all these is desirable, none alone is adequate. The principal emphasis of this book is on clinically useful information, but because understanding is aided by some analysis and embryology, the book is more than just a list of points for cramming. I hope that the inclusion of some explanatory material will stimulate you whilst not obscuring the basics. It is by no means the last word on the subject, and I expect that research neuroanatomists will throw up their hands in horror at some of the generalizations it contains. It is unavoidable that some material appears more than once, but I hope that this repetition will reinforce rather than bore.
ORGANIZATION OF THE CRANIAL NERVES
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