I have been meaning to publish an atlas of neuroradiologic cranio-encephalic anatomy for at least the last decade. Normal anatomy has always been of great and charming interest to me. Over the years, while preparing lectures for my students, I have always enjoyed lingering on anatomical details that today are rendered with astonishing realism by routine diagnostic imaging-
To the allure of the images we should add the necessary teamwork with our colleagues and associates, and as I finally found a go-ahead and open-minded publisher in Guido Gnocchi, I decided to pursue this idea.
The project was fulfilled thanks to the constant, friendly willingness of Silvia Capoccia and Alessia Catalucci, without whom the idea would have remained an idea, Mr Gnocchi, whom I had alerted about the idea of an anatomical atlas at least four years ago, would have been disappointed, the atlas would have been shelved, and I would have been credited with something I did not do.
I am, therefore, grateful to Alessia and Silvia (in inverse alphabetical order of surname on the front cover) for carrying out much of the work. I am equally grateful to Massimo Caulo for providing a number of the images of functional studies, and to architect and graphic wizard Mauro Trappolino for solving problems we had with the more complex images.
To myself, besides my own share of this work, remained the most difficult and challenging part: writing the preface and the dedication.
The preface, the following pages contain images but no text, as is fitting for an atlas. We specifically chose not to focus on technical notes or physiological explanations because we believe that the atlas can be referred to for comparison, checking, or for the location of pathologies, and not for an understanding of their functional meaning or clinical expression. This atlas, therefore, is not intended for those who are already experienced in navigating the anatomy and physiopathology of the nervous system. Rather, it is hoped the less experienced will benefit from it. Should this not be the case, we will not return their money, which in any case will be donated to health projects in the Third World.
The dedication: you may have noticed that, in recent years, medical books have appeared without a bibliography, index, or even whole chapters, and yet one element is always present: a dedication. I gather it represents a crucial element and, thus, I must do my best to provide one. Upon perusing available dedications, I noticed that they nearly always involve family members or professional masters. To whom, then, should I dedicate this work? To a great master of mine, Professor Agnoli, who passed away over a decade ago, I have already dedicated a previous work. As for my family, I am not sure that a dedication would be appropriate. They, too, were the recipients of a previous dedication and, to be honest, this kind of gift might not seem totally unselfish: it is less an authentic dedication than an attempt to quench feelings of guilt for depriving one's family of quality time in order to achieve a "higher" goal. Yet at other times, when the goal is not that high, a dedication is an awkward attempt to involve the neglected family in a form of narcissistic care which, as such, does not leave any room for others.
Therefore, if my daughters should someday ask me: "Why on earth did you dedicate to us a book on skulls?" I would be hard-pressed to find an answer. The best reply would be "because I never wrote a book of poetry". That is why, in the hope of succeeding in writing a book of poetry within the next half century to dedicate to my dearest ones, I do not think it is out of place if I dedicate this work to the job of artisans like myself, Alessia, Silvia, and most of those who will consult it.
Tibetans do not eat meat. Only rarely do they do so, when forced by famine. Folco Maraini wrote (Segreto Tibet, Leonardo da Vinci Publisher, Bari, 1951) that in this case, before they kill the animal, they explain to it the necessity of its sacrifice, and that this will benefit its soul. The animal is also told that the body of its killer will in turn become a meal for other creatures, after its death.
C'é qualcuno sulla cui pelle ho imparato C'e qualcuno per la cui pelle non ho dormito. A questo gioco inevitabile di dare e avere Che caratterizza il nostro mestiere E la nostra vita
(There are some on whose skin I learnt There are some for whose skin I did not sleep. To this unavoidable game of give and take That characterizes our job And our lives)
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