Ventriculus Quartus and the Steel Industry


This is a really clever cover image for this week’s Pittsburgh City Paper. The image is an enhancment of some type of brain imagery (not sure if it is supposed to be PET, CT or MRI) with the Steelers Logo overlaid. What makes it so clever is that the blue hypocycloid corresponds to Ventriculus Quartus, aka the fourth ventricle, in the brain. If you were to remove the other two hypcycloids, the image would pretty much look just like an anatomically correct slice of the brain.

The fourth ventricle is a cavity in the hind-brain located in front of the cerebellum and behind the medulla oblongata. When studying anatomy, regardless of the body part or cavity, it is helpful to think of each structure or cavity as a room. The roof of the fourth ventricle is formed by the superior peduncle (pleural) a part of the cerebellum, the walls are formed by the clava, the fasciculus cuneatus, and the inferior peduncle. The cavity communicates with the third ventricle above by means of the cerebral aquaduct of sylvius, and below becomes continuous with the central canal of the brainstem, continuing all the way down the spinal cord.

The blue hypocycloid (diamond) of the steelers logo, on the other hand, represents scrap metal used by the steel industry to create new steel. The other two hypocycloids represent coal and ore, the other two materials used to creat new steel. THe logo was created as a marketing campaign by US Steel with the following meaning attached to it:

Steel lightens your work, brightens your leisure and widens your world.

Helmet logos became popular in the 1950s, and the “Steelmark” logo was applied to only one side of the helmet as a test. When the Steelers became the winningest franchise in NFL history in the early 60s, the one sided logo stuck and to this day, the Steelers are the only team with a logo on only one side of the helmet.

TO read more about the fourth ventricle, check out this page from Gray’s Anatomy (the original book, not the TV show). For more about the Steelers logo, check the Steelers website.

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