Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Whereas several of my classmates were clearly emotionally affected by the stories, my already plentiful experiences around the dying and grieving have given me great practice feeling sincere empathy without becoming distraught.
My first clinical experience over 5 years ago (is that all?) was in an ICU, the unit where it's said patients go to die. Watching a child die and the parents grieve in the PICU was one of the most impactful experiences of my life. Then during treatment for cancer and while subsequently volunteering in an oncology office, I saw another side of death. I watched a friend's personality slip slowly away while their significant other had to grieve far before the funeral. Death can be both tragic and a relief.
I don't look forward to having to deal with patients inevitably dying under my care, but I take solace in the knowledge that I won't be going into that situation blind to the emotional impact.
The other topic of the day was cognitive and behavioral psychology. We spend much of our time discussing old researchers, their theories, and the dubious ways they tested them. The most interesting (and horrifying) was the story of Little Albert. That was the name of a baby boy who was conditioned to have generalized phobias.
Essentially, they showed him a whole slew of animals and objects, none of which he was fearful of initially. They then made a scary noise whenever he was shown a white rat. The kid then became fearful of not just rats but other animals and animal-like masks as well. Needless to say, this experimental setup would never EVER be approved nowadays.
TIL: A lateral cerebellar lesion can cause an intentional tremor. Intentional tremors differ from the non-intentional tremors seen in Parkinson's, because they are associated with the planning and coordination of movements rather than the initiation of said movements.
The habenular nucleus of the epithalamus is located between the pineal gland and posterior commissure.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Friday, April 25, 2014
"Then I've lost you already..."
"Well, it only gets worse."
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Friday, April 11, 2014
After an excruciating week of twiddling our fingers and faking productivity, we have finally made it to spring break! I'm looking forward to sleep, relaxation, my significant other, and sleep. I probably won't be posting for the next week or so, but I'll be back for the rest of the third block. Now I'm going to get started on that aforementioned sleep...
TIL: Allodynia is a symptom where normally innocuous sensation causes pain.
Anesthesia dolorosa is a really quirky term. It means painful numbness. So... you can't feel it but it hurts? As counterintuitive as it sounds it totally makes sense biologically. Pain and touch are transmitted by parallel but separate nerves from the peripheral body to the brain, so it's possible to pinch off the nerves for touch (causing numbness) while only irritating the nerves that transmit pain.
Blobs and interblobs are apparently actual scientific terms for structures in the visual sensory cortex. I'd tell you more about them but I was not paying attention in lecture and have no desire to research anything right now. When I find out, I will make sure to share that blob-tastic info with you!
- Give cancer awareness club presentation at local middle school
- Attend captains' meeting for a spring kickball league
- Sit on lunch panel for interviewees to our med school
- Don white coat and take part in a small group patient interview at the nearby behavioral health center
- with a real life patient!
- Play touch football for half an hour
- Play ultimate frisbee for two hours
- Volunteer at the juvenile detention facility
- which today turned out to be playing basketball
- Work on neuroscience presentation for tomorrow
Knowing that we were playing basketball this week and that the kids are far better than our usual crew of med students, we brought in some ringers. We invited the best basketball players in our class and a good 6-7 of them actually came.
The kids were waiting in the gym for us with their basketball gear on. As the regular from the club stream in, they look very cocky - as they should be. But then the ringers come in. The looks on the kids' faces were priceless. And the last person through the door is a 6'5 tall guy who was a good foot taller than everyone on the home team.
The game was first to 21, win by two and it was a brutal. Fouls went uncalled and boy were there fouls. Med students barely won 22-20. Everyone had so much fun that, for the first time ever, the guards extended the kids' free time so that we could play a second game. The second game was a little less intense which meant we got some of the girls to play. Everyone had a blast, including our players from the med school. Several of them were interested in coming back to play basketball on their own with the kids.
I love that we get to make the kids' day a little more exciting and that they get to see role models as great as my colleagues.
TIL: A Chiari malformation is a defect of the brain whereby the cerebellum and brain stem are squished through the foramen magnum (literally: great hole) at the bottom of the skull. This can cause all sorts of problems including hydrocephalus and syringomyelia (increased cerebral spinal fluid around the brain or in the spinal cord, respectively).
Thursday, April 10, 2014
So why don't you see blurry blue things all the time? To attempt to counteract its shoddy focussing, the retina messes with the distribution of the different color detecting cones. Whereas rods are all over the place, cones are almost entirely in the center of the eye, called the fovea. But blue cones are both less prevalent throughout the retina and not present at all in the center of the fovea. Your brain does some photoshop magic to make sure you think blue things are blue even though you don't directly see blue in the center of your vision.
So when lighting is dim and cones are strained, blue gets the shortest end of the stick. And that is why blue lights look fuzzier than other colored lights.
*There is actually a fourth human cone that can detect yellow wavelengths. It's absolutely fascinating but frustrating to talk about because we don't have words to describe what these people see. There's a great Radiolab podcast on it. Also, human eyes have nothing on the mantis shrimp.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
- 3 hours of lecture
- Behavioral science on childhood development
- Neuroanatomy lab
- Poking brains and reading MRIs
- Pick-up soccer game
- Playing with upperclassmen and a surgeon from the medical center
- Surgery interest club
- Literature review (and free food) in the surgery lab at the hospital
TIL: Sigmund Freud never actually studied any children when coming up with his theories on child development. Take from this what you will...
Object permanence and object constancy are slightly different concepts. Permanence is the acknowledgement that objects exist even when unobserved (i.e. "Where'd the ball go?" gets much less interesting). Object permanence usually develops between 8 months and 1 year of age.* Constancy is the maintenance of a consistent mental idea of an object or person (e.g. Mom is Mom not some random lady).
* Amusingly, object permanence was debatable in my college-level intro to philosophy class. How can you be certain that all of existence doesn't disappear when you aren't sensing it?
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Friday, April 4, 2014
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
|Freud's iceberg metaphor for the mind|
TIL: While denial, distortion, and projection are considered narcissistic defenses, neurotic defenses include dissociation, displacement, repression, rationalization, isolation, and intellectualization.