Friday, January 12, 2007

Bone Remodeling, PBL, and POD

Our seminar this morning was about bone remodeling. The first half was a general overview on the subject, and then the second half was a journal club. The articles for today were decent, and I think it's an interesting subject even if there is a little too much molecular bio for my taste. The seminar speaker was different than the one we had the last couple of times, but he was also good. I had no idea before this week just how complex bone biology really is. I think I had this impression that bone is mostly just some kind of scaffold to hang your muscles on so that you can move, but actually, bone is constantly changing and remodeling itself throughout your life.

The PBL case today was non-existent. It's like they gave us everything on Monday and then we had nothing left for the rest of the week. I was talking to our tutor afterward, and he was saying that we could have started next week's case today. Everyone's presentations were really good though. I enjoyed preparing my learning objective for today. Some of the nutrients required for bones are obvious ones that everyone knows, like calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus. But it turns out that some other kind of bizarre things are needed too, including protein and silicon. People who eat Western diets primarily get silicon from grain products, and men have a higher dietary silicon intake than women do on average. Why? Well, apparently it's because men drink more beer than women do!

The POD talk was pretty interesting. Our speaker was a researcher in sports injuries, specifically the ligaments in the knee. He is studying how to prevent injuries in athletes who do a lot of turning and jumping, like basketball players or skiers. His research team does computer modeling of men and women making motions like they would make in sports, and seeing what variables lead to them injuring their knees. It has been known for a long time that women have more knee injuries than men do, but no one is sure why. People have all kinds of hypotheses about this, and it is probably a combination of things including different anatomy, different movement patterns, and different levels of strength and training. One really neat thing we found out about this speaker was that he won an Academy Award for his computer software, which was used to do the animation for Lord of the Rings.

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