Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Histology, PBL, and Dean's Dinner

Today was another really long day, but it was absolutely fabulous from start to finish. We had a histology seminar this morning, and it was pretty helpful. I'm still not great at identifying histological structures, but sometimes I get lucky. And there are definitely a few structures that I can usually pick out, one of which is gap junctions, apparently. I'm also finally able to tell cardiac muscle cells from skeletal muscle cells, but sometimes the blood vessels still mix me up. Those muscular veins in particular always get me. I think that I need to spend some more time looking through the histology atlas. I ordered mine by mail and it came damaged, which didn't hurt the book much, but the CD that comes with it was broken in half. The company is sending me a new CD, so hopefully that will arrive soon. I think that histology is like anatomy in that you just have to keep looking at pictures of structures, and you have to keep going over them again and again so that you can get enough experience to recognize them.

We had a lot of objectives to go over for PBL, so we didn't get through all of them today. But we don't have as many objectives to go over for Friday, so I think it won't be too bad. It turns out that we were right about our case patient's diagnosis. My new objective for Friday is about V/Q tests. Our patient had to have one. Basically, to do the tests, two radioisotopes are needed. One is used to test how well the blood perfuses the patient's lungs, and the other is used to see where the air goes during ventilation of the lungs. (V is for ventilation, and Q is for perfusion aka blood flow.) Ideally, you want the blood flow in the capillaries and the air flow in the alveoli of the lungs to overlap, because it isn't very useful to have ventilation with no blood flow (which happens when a pulmonary blood vessel gets blocked), and it is also isn't very useful to have perfusion with no ventilation (which happens when an airway gets blocked, like when someone chokes).

Tonight's Dean's Dinner was just as good as last time. I wish we could have these things more often. The food was great, the speaker was fantastic, and even though we were all exhausted, it was definitely worth going. One of the most interesting things that we found out is that the traditional information that we had learned in college about how the hemoglobin proteins in blood bind to oxygen is not correct. It turns out that nitric oxide is responsible for the behavior of the hemoglobin molecules, and not oxygen. We looked up the paper from JBC where this was published, and I plan to read it when I have a chance. We'll probably use it as the next paper for Journal Cult. I haven't told you about Journal Cult yet, but the next meeting is Monday, so I'll post more about it then. There was a prospective student interviewing here tomorrow, and she came to the Dean's Dinner too. We were joking with her that she shouldn't expect to get this kind of catered dinner at all of the rest of her interviews.

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