Have you ever wondered which cranial nerves are most important? Our brains are only so big, how do you know which nerves are worth learning about. Well, Gomerblog is here to help. We’ve compiled the first ever ranking system for cranial nerves, but before we jump in to the rankings, let’s take a moment to see who missed the cut.
The accessory nerve (XI) never really stood a chance. It’s called an accessory nerve for a reason. It’s about as important as cuff links or a stethoscope in an ophthalmology clinic. The fact that I had to look it up on Wikipedia tells you everything you need to know about this nerve.
The glossopharyngeal nerve (IX) also fails to make the cut. Just like the accessory nerve, the glossopharyngeal nerve exits the skull through the jugular foramen, known by neurologists as the skull’s a**hole. Nobody cares what comes out of an a**hole, unless you are a gastroenterologist or a confused urologist.
Alright, now that we have addressed the loser cranial nerves, let’s get into the rankings:
10. Trochlear Nerve (IV): Do we really need a cranial nerve that innervates one lousy muscle? The trochlear nerve doesn’t even exit from the same side of the brainstem as everybody else. The central nervous system is a team sport. There’s no “IV” in “Team.”
09. Olfactory Nerve (I): The only saving grace for the olfactory nerve is its status as one of the five senses. Otherwise, this nerve is worthless. Hospitals stink. A recent study shows that most people wish they didn’t even have this nerve. Smell you later #9.
08. Facial Nerve (VII): The facial nerve has been riding the vestibulocochlear nerve’s coattails for years. Seriously dude, get your own internal auditory canal. This nerve gets a few extra points from making people look funny when it decides to stop working. Then again, people don’t really look at each other’s faces anymore, so who really cares.
07. Abducens Nerve (VI): The abducens nerve is another nerve that only innervates one muscle, but it at least plays better with others compared to the trochlear loner. The only reason it ranks this high is because Ryu from Street Fighter inexplicably yells “ABDUCENS!!” when he fires off his signature move.
06. Hypoglossal Nerve (XII): As the primary mover of the tongue, this is an underappreciated nerve. It is known to suddenly give out at critical moments, especially when a med student is asked a question by an attending. Unfortunately, the hypoglossal nerve doesn’t rank higher, because for the most part nobody wants to hear anybody else talk.
05. Trigeminal Nerve (V): This nerve is a 3-in-1 dynamo like a commode. You know when you’re having a fun night out with friends, laughing and drinking, then by the end of you night, you realize you can’t feel your face. You can thank the trigeminal nerve for that.
04. Oculomotor Nerve (III): If it weren’t for the oculomotor nerve, we’d be blowing aneurysms left and right. Cranial nerve III is personally responsible for about a million CT scans every year.
03. Vestibulocochlear Nerve (VIII) and Optic Nerve (II) (tie): You might say, “This is stupid, people would much rather be deaf than blind! Optic nerve should be ranked higher!” I’m not so sure. If you’re blind, you still have to listen to annoying people. If you’re deaf, you still have to look at ugly people. If you think about it, Helen Keller really didn’t have it all that bad. It’s ok to laugh at that, she can’t hear you.
02. Alabama Crimson Tide: Alabama is so good year in and year out thanks to Nick Saban, they are officially the second best cranial nerve. Roll Tide!
01. Vagus Nerve (X): This nerve has it all. Not only does the vagus nerve allow you to breathe, it has a badass name. You try to live without it. That’s right, you can’t. Vagus is king.