Today we started out by going to an electrophysiology lab at the LRI. We were divided into two groups of eight (the other sixteen people in my class were doing the pharm seminar that my half of the class had on Tuesday). First my group used a computer program that shows the currents due to ion channels. You can vary the ion concentrations of sodium, calcium, and potassium inside the cell and outside, and then see how it affects the action potentials. We had a worksheet we were supposed to be doing, but we wound up just playing around with the program as a group instead. Afterward, we went into the lab and saw some experiments with rabbit hearts where the current was moving around in a circle instead of spreading out through the ventricles like it was supposed to do. The computer was able to model the current in colors, and we could actually watch it swirl around in circles. It was pretty neat.
Afterward, we finished our PBL case, and my group got into an interesting discussion about whether the treatment the patient in the case got was appropriate. She was a teenager, and they implanted a defibrillator in her chest. Some of the group members felt that she was too young to have to have the defibrillator, while others thought it was important to give her since if she had another episode she could die. I can see it from both sides. You want to be conservative on one hand and avoid overtreating the patient. But on the other side, she has a serious illness and she could literally just drop dead with little warning. Maybe next time there wouldn't be someone around to revive her like there was when she collapsed during the case.
Our POD talk was by a researcher who works on the same illness (long QT syndrome) that our hypothetical PBL patient had. It was a good talk. He was involved with figuring out the genetic causes of long QT syndrome, and he also went into the possibilities of personalized medicine. This is a neat idea, where the doctor will figure out what to prescribe to you based upon your specific subtype of illness.
In the afternoon, I started working on the SAQs, and I also figured out how to download my portfolio evidence into RefWorks. You would think it would be pretty straightforward to do, but you would think wrong. I had to go to the tech support office to get them to help me. Now all I have left to do is write the essay itself. I can cite the evidence that I downloaded to RefWorks. I'm hoping to get some work done on the essay this weekend, but we'll see whether that actually happens.