Tuesday, October 31, 2006

FCM, Lung Mechanics Seminar, and Anatomy Office Hours

Ok, so after all of these weeks that I've been complaining about FCM, today's class was actually pretty good. The speaker was an environmental health professor from Case, and he started out by showing us a The Medical Detectives episode that starred himself (of course!). It was about a sudden break-out of lung problems among infants here in Cleveland. These babies were having serious bleeding in their lungs, and a few of them died. At first, no one could figure out what was wrong with them. They all lived within a few miles' radius of Case, so that suggested that it was probably an environmental problem, because similar babies in other areas were not affected. But no one could find anything that could be the cause. And in another weird twist, whatever was causing their lungs to bleed predominantly affected baby boys. Eventually the Case physician and a CDC physician whom he consulted figured out that it was because of mold growing in the basement of the affected babies' homes. The mold produced a toxin that interfered with protein synthesis in the babies' lungs. Apparently there are published reports of this phenomenon from other countries in Europe and South America, but it hadn't been recognized here in the United States before. The physicians never did figure out why the boys were more seriously affected than the girls were.

The lung mechanics seminar that we had afterward was also really good, if a little bit graphic. We watched a volunteer undergo several lung capacity tests. Some just involved him having to blow into a tube, but one required him to stick a small tube down his nose, and it was actually making him gag. It was interesting to see the tests being performed, but wow, that was pretty rough on him. On the bright side, it certainly made an impression on all of us, and I doubt we'll ever forget his demonstrations. Apparently he actually volunteers to do this for the medical students every year, and he'll be doing it again tomorrow for the other half of my class that didn't see it today. After we saw the lung capacity tests, we went into an exercise room and watched another lung capacity test for one of my classmates who was riding a bicycle. They kept raising the resistance he was peddling against, and we could watch not only his breathing rate and the size of his breaths increase, but also his heart rate, blood pressure, and other parameters. It was pretty neat to see all of the tests, and I have to say that overall I really enjoyed all of my classes today.

Unlike yesterday, the weather was not particularly nice today, and after lunch I went to the Walker gym and then to anatomy office hours. Anatomy office hours were awesome as usual. When I first got there, three of my classmates were already reviewing the cadavers, so I just joined in with them and went through two of the cadavers along with them. They had gotten there half an hour before me, so they left after we were done, and I was there by myself with the anatomy professor for the last cadaver. Like I said, it's really private tutoring, and I learn a ton when I'm there. I love anatomy office hours.

Happy Halloween to all of my blog readers. :-)

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