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INa'll Be There For There

This parody (written by Greg Crowther) is sung to the tune of "I'll Be There For You" (written by Phil Solem, Danny Wilde, David Crane, Marta Kauffman, Michael Skloff, and Allee Willis and performed by The Rembrandts).


Context

A silly song that briefly covers two very different aspects of neurophysiology: the inward Na+ currents that lead to action potentials of neurons, and the discovery of "Jennifer Aniston neurons" as reported by R.Q. Quiroga et al. (Nature 435: 1102-1107, 2005).


Lyrics

So no one told us that our neurons work this way,
But if I means "current," let's discuss INa!
When this cortical neuron's checked for inward sodium waves,
Well, they will not flow for Matt or Courteney,
Matthew, Lisa, or Dave,

But INa'll be there for you
(Says our extracellular probe).
INa'll be there for you
(In the medial temporal lobe).
INa'll be there for you;
No one else's face will do.


Lesson Plan

Songs like this one can be used during class meetings and/or in homework assignments. Either way, the song will be most impactful if students DO something with it, as opposed to just listening.

An initial, simple follow-up activity could be to answer the study questions below. A more extensive interaction with the song might entail (A) learning to sing it, using an audio file and/or sheet music as a guide, and/or (B) illustrating it with pictures, bodily poses, and/or bodily movements. The latter activity could begin with students identifying the most important or most challenging content of the song, and deciding how to illustrate that particular content.


Study Questions

(1) If a sodium current through a cell membrane can be designated as INa, what would be the symbol for a potassium current?

(2) Compare this song about "Jennifer Aniston neurons" to a poem on the same topic. What information do the two have in common, and what is unique to each?

(3) Who are Matt, Courteney, Matthew, Lisa, and Dave?

(4) Where in the brain are "Jennifer Aniston" neurons located?

(5) Have neurons specific to other celebrities also been discovered, or is this phenomenon unique to Jennifer Aniston?

(6) The narrator sings this song to "you." Who is "you"?

(Answers may be found on the answers page.)