Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Neurophysiology, PBL, and Clinical Skills

Dr. Najm was leading our neurophysiology seminar today. I really like him. He gets so excited about anything to do with the brain, and his seminars are always fun. He's one of the directors of our basic science curriculum. The first part of the seminar was pretty basic and a review about ion channels and action potentials. But in the second part, he showed us a video of a patient having an epileptic seizure and we looked at an electroencephalogram (EEG). The takehome lesson about reading an EEG is that seeing repetitive, organized waves is a bad sign. It's too bad that he spent so much time going over the basic stuff on ion channels, because the second half of his seminar was a lot more interesting.

Our PBL case is still good. We spent some time trying to figure out which sensory pathways were affected for each patient, and we got the diagnoses right for both of them. My learning objective is to look up the lab values for one of the patients and explain what they all show. I also have a paper due tomorrow for my class, so it's going to be a busy night without much sleep.

Clinical skills class today went well. We covered the musculoskeletal exam (mainly neck, shoulders, back, and knees) and then reviewed parts of the neuro exam. It's a lot easier to do the neuro exam now that we've actually learned some neuro! Plus, our standardized patient today had great reflexes.

Our communications skill for this week was about counseling patients who are smokers. They gave us cards to use that show a ladder with five levels of readiness to quit. I can't imagine actually using the card with a real patient, but the idea is good. I think if people are resistant to even discuss quitting, there isn't much point in arguing with them about it. But if they're willing to listen and think about it, then it's worth making the effort to help them do it. One thing I hadn't realized is that most people take multiple tries to quit, but they do quit eventually if they keep trying. I also hadn't realized that there are free quit lines nationwide that smokers can call for help. If any of you readers are smokers and are thinking about quitting, you can call 800-QUIT-NOW to get the number for your state. This is the Ohio quitting website, and other states have them too. If you smoke, quitting is the number one thing you can do to improve your health.


Alex Pine said...

I talked one recalcitrant fellow with 40+ year smoking history into cessation program by telling him that smoking isn't only bad for his heart, it was also bad for his penis. That made him interested -- who cares about the heart.

CCLCM Student said...

Men with young children often do, because they want to see their little girls get married and their little boys become men. But if they don't have kids, well, yeah, you gotta do what you gotta do to get to a man's seat of self-interest. ;-)