An Aid to Memory

Generations of biology and medical students have relied on mnemonic (memory-aiding) phrases and ditties, ranging from the sublimely silly to the unprintably ribald, to help them remember the cranial nerves and other anatomy. An old classic began, "On old Olympus' towering tops ... ," with the first letter of each word matching the first letter of each cranial nerve (olfactory, optic, oculomotor, etc.). Some cranial nerves have changed names, however, since that passage was devised. One of the author's former students* devised a better mnemonic that can remind you of the first two to four letters of most cranial nerves:

Old olfactory (I) feels

Opie optic (II) very occasionally oculomotor (III) gloomy, tries trochlear (IV) vague, trigonometry trigeminal (V) and and abducens (VI) hypoactive facial (VII)

vestibulocochlear (VIII) glossopharyngeal (IX) vagus (X) accessory (XI) hypoglossal (XII)

Another mnemonic, but using only the first letter of each nerve's name, is "Oh, once one takes the anatomy final, very good vacation ahead" (author unknown). The first two letters of ahead represent nerves XI and XII.

"Courtesy of Marti Haykin, M.D.

Saladin: Anatomy & Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function, Third Edition

548 Part Three Integration and Control

Frontal lobe

Olfactory bulb Olfactory tract Optic chiasma Temporal lobe Infundibulum

Medulla

Cerebellum

Medulla

Cerebellum

Niii Anatomie

Cranial nerves

Fibers of olfactory nerve (I)

Optic nerve (II)

Oculomotor nerve (III)

Trochlear nerve (IV)

Trigeminal nerve (V) Abducens nerve (VI) Facial nerve (VII) Vestibulocochlear nerve (VIII)

Glossopharyngeal nerve (IX) Vagus nerve (X) Accessory nerve (XI) Hypoglossal nerve (XII)

Longitudinal fissure

Frontal lobe

Olfactory tract

Optic chiasma Optic tract Temporal lobe Pons Medulla oblongata

Cerebellum

Spinal cord

Longitudinal fissure

Frontal lobe

Cranial Nerves Longitudinal Fissure

Cranial nerves

Olfactory bulb (from olfactory n., I)

Figure 14.27 The Cranial Nerves. (a) Base of the brain, showing the 12 cranial nerves. (b) Photograph of the cranial nerves.

Cranial nerves

Olfactory bulb (from olfactory n., I)

Oculomotor n. (III)

Trochlear n. (IV) Trigeminal n. (V) Abducens n. (VI) Facial n. (VII)

Vestibulocochlear n. (VIII)

Glossopharyngeal n. (IX)

Vagus n. (X) Accessory n. (XI) Hypoglossal n. (XII)

Figure 14.27 The Cranial Nerves. (a) Base of the brain, showing the 12 cranial nerves. (b) Photograph of the cranial nerves.

Saladin: Anatomy & I 14. The Brain and Cranial I Text I © The McGraw-Hill

Physiology: The Unity of Nerves Companies, 2003 Form and Function, Third Edition

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