USMLE and COMLEX Prep: Glossopharyngeal Nerve Innervation

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BR 46: USMLE and COMLEX Prep: Glossopharyngeal Nerve Innervation

Session 46

More glossopharyngeal neuroanatomy! This gland is innervated by the efferent autonomic fibers of the glossopharyngeal nerve. Name that gland!

Joining me for another round is Dr. Mike Natter from BoardVitals. If you want help with your Step 1/ Level 1 exams and Shelf exams, check out BoardVitals and use the promo code BOARDROUNDS to save 15% off their QBanks, Shelf exams and more!)

Please check out all our other podcasts on Meded Media for more premed and medical resources. Also, follow us on Instagram @mike.natter and @medicalschoolhq.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[02:22] Question of the Week

Which of the following glands is innervated by the efferent autonomic fibers of the glossopharyngeal nerve. Is it

(A) the nasal gland

(B) submandibular

(C) sublingual

(D) parotid

(E) lacrimal

[03:27] Thought Process Behind the Right Answer

Glossopharyngeal so obviously, lots of tongue and pharynx stuff going on. So lacrimal doesn’t make sense. So the eyeball doesn’t really make sense. The same thing with nasal even though it’s kind of closer to the pharynx. So A and E are out.

Now, we’re left with submandibular, sublingual, and parotid are mouth-related and related to the tongue and pharynx.

Usually, the facial nerve comes right out of that parotid right next to it. So the facial nerve must do that. The face is such a small space and there are so many nerves.

It’s like opening up the back of a CPU or a computer and there are just wires everywhere. The facial nerve that’s branching off in five different directions and you’ve got these different branches of the trigeminal and all its craziness. This boils down again to this memorization unfortunately.

“Tying the glossopharyngeal to the parotid is something that's good to do in your mind because that is correct.”Click To Tweet

[05:58] Understanding the Other Answer Choices

With A, the nasal gland are actually innervated by fibers that are carried in the facial nerve until they join the V2 branch of the trigeminal nerve. They innervate the nasal and palatine glands.

The facial nerve also innervates the sublingual gland that you were talking about and facial nerve is going to have a branch over to the submandibular gland as well.

Then E, the greater petrosal nerve is a branch of the facial nerve that innervates the lacrimal glands.

So it’s really the parotid that you want to tie together with the autonomic fibers of the glossopharyngeal CN IX nerve.

There’s a good mnemonic, I feel like you take your hand cause your hand has the five fingers, which would be the five branches and you kind of put it up with the base of your hand by your ear, kind of where it all branches out.

[07:18] Make Your Own Learning Style

You can make your own so you can better remember it. Making it on your own is 1000% much better. Dr. Mike Natter made it through medical school through his illustrations.

“Just the process of making these comics illustrations, cartoons, or really any type of creative process to make them your own is going to be beneficial.”Click To Tweet

There’s one study in particular that looked at a list of words and they asked some participants to memorize a list of words. And half of the participants were asked to write, rewrite the words down, and the other half was asked to draw some sort of pictorial that the words represent. And it was by far a large margin of those that would draw the words who were able to remember them much better.

Interestingly, the artistic ability of the individuals who were drawing did not factor in whatsoever. They could be drawing crappy stick figures and they still outperform their counterparts who were writing the words.

Alright, there you have it. Another great episode for you with dr Mike natter. Hopefully you enjoyed this episode. Hopefully you learned something from it. As you learned with me as dr Mike natter was teaching me through this journey, uh, don’t forget, you can check out dr Mike natter at Mike dot. Natter on Instagram. I’m medical school HQ on Instagram. If you want to follow me there, go check out everything that he’s doing some amazing stuff with his artwork. And don’t forget to go check out board and use the promo code board rounds to save 15% off their queue banks or their shelf exams or whatever you need to help prepare you for your next step in this journey. Again, board use the promo code board rounds to say 15% off.


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Follow us on Instagram @mike.natter and @medicalschoolhq.