Monday, November 13, 2006

Anatomy, PBL, and Research Seminar

Today was a very long, busy day, but it was a good one. In the morning, we had anatomy lab. We are still working on the neck, but this is the last week of it. Next week we will be reviewing the chest, and then we will begin studying the abdomen in December. We have also begun doing some embryology. So far we have gone over the first three weeks of embryonic development. Dr. Drake has some online modules that cover embryology, and there is also an optional textbook. I wound up getting the book, and I've been reading that. I don't know---I just can't get into doing those online modules. A lot of my classmates really like them, but I don't somehow. Maybe I will try looking at them again at some point, but I think that I just don't learn very well by reading things over a computer compared to reading them from an actual book.

Our new PBL case is a good one. We actually don't know for sure what the problem that the patient has is, although we have some ideas. One thing that I've been noticing is that the cases are getting more complex. At the beginning of the block, they were all pretty easy, and we'd figure the diagnoses out pretty quickly. I think today was the first time where we still weren't sure by the end of the Monday session. I am the group leader this week, and it is not a fun job. We are getting close to the end of the block, and everyone is feeling kind of tired and cranky, including me. We spent too much time today arguing over stupid things like how many learning objectives we were going to have for Wednesday. On the bright side, we are doing a lot better with not talking over one another, and we did manage to get everything done on time. But all in all, this was not the best PBL day we've ever had.

In the afternoon, I went to a Clinical Grand Rounds seminar. The talk was about exercise in zero-gravity conditions, and it was pretty neat. The speaker was explaining how astronauts in space lose bone mass, and what NASA is trying to do to combat that. Unfortunately, NASA's exercise protocol is not working very well, so he is conducting experiments here at the Cleveland Clinic to try to combat this problem. The experiments involve having subjects stay in bed literally 24-7 for 84 straight days. They cannot even get up to go to the bathroom or shower. Everything has to be done while they are lying with their heads down at a 6-degree angle. The experimental group exercises horizontally on a special vertical treadmill, while the control group does not exercise. The research team monitors the forces on their legs along with how much bone mass they lose. At the end of the 84 days, the patients have to undergo mandatory rehabilitation so that they can walk again. It's kind of insane that anyone would even agree to participate in these experiments, but it is really neat, too.

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