Over the Christmas holidays our BIMS faculty got many email greetings from former students. One, however, included a phrase that completely went over my head. Salvador Prieto is a recent McMurry graduate who is going to physician’s assistant school in Virginia. In his holiday greeting to Dr. Larry Sharp (and shared with the rest of us) he made a special effort to thank him for SAME DAVE. Seems that phrase was greatly appreciated by Sal and his classmates in their studies.
I had to ask Larry what that was about, and here’s his response:
Sal is referring to mnemonics that are used to help keep some basic neurological concepts straight.
Sensory information from the periphery, to the brain is afferent; while motor information from the brain to the periphery is efferent…this is confusing and is easily kept straight by the mnemonic SAME, representing sensory, afferent, motor, efferent information.
When talking about spinal nerve roots exiting the front or ventral horn of the spinal cord; and spinal nerve roots exiting the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, there is some confusion as to their actual function. Ventral nerve roots are for motor or efferent information; while dorsal nerve roots are for sensory or afferent information. This is always confusing to students, so an easy way to keep this straight is the mnemonic DAVE. Now, linking them both together, you have SAME DAVE, which will let you know function based on location: Sensory or Afferent information is always carried by the Dorsal nerve roots and Motor or Efferent information is always carried by the Ventral nerve roots.
You can now take this one step further when analyzing the pre- and post-synaptic neurons and recognize that the dorsal root ganglia are a collection of cell bodies outside the central nervous system, whose function is to transmit afferent or sensory information and thus are sensory neurons.
There you have it – SAME DAVE and its importance to students eager to learn about how the nervous system works. Just another example of how Larry’s Human Physiology course is preparing students for health professions schools.