Monday, March 12, 2007

Anatomy, PBL, Class Meeting, and Collins Seminar

Our anatomy lab today covered the pancreas, liver, and gall bladder. There were two normal stations with cadavers and a third one for pathology. We also had radiology like usual, except that today we looked at ultrasounds. (Wow, you can't see anything but blurriness on ultrasound.) But the best station was the laparoscopic cholecystectomy one. I ended up getting quite a lot of time on the instruments, and I realize that although laparoscopy is incredibly cool, I majorly suck at it. Basically the way it works is that a camera and the instruments are inserted into a small cut in the patient's abdomen. Another person operates the camera while you're cutting, and you are watching what you're doing on a screen. But figuring out how to move your hands to make things move on the screen the way you want them to takes some practice. I was just starting to get the hang of it when we had to stop.

Our PBL case this week is pretty interesting for several reasons, one of which is because our patient is himself a doctor with a twin. So of course this is going to get into issues of genetics and privacy as well as with the actual disease. My learning objective is about the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. We're going to be covering that already in seminar, so I'm making my presentation into a quiz.

We had another class meeting after PBL. I wasn't sure why we needed to have another one after we just had one a few weeks ago. But it turns out that the administration just wanted to talk to us about summer research preceptors and our next portfolios, which are going to be due a few weeks after we get back from break. Fantastic, that gives me yet something else to work on during my break. I did find out about an interesting elective class being offered on research ethics though. I may try to take that during my research year since I need to take an elective for my masters degree anyway.

In the evening, there was a talk by Francis Collins, who is the head of the National Human Genome Research Institute. He was the leader of the Human Genome Project, which you probably heard was completed a few years ago. (They sequenced the entire human genome.) His talk was really excellent. There was a little something for everyone. At the beginning, he was going into some hardcore genetics stuff, but then toward the end, he began discussing the future of genetics in medicine. He suggested that eventually (maybe in about a decade), we will all be able to have our own genomes sequenced for approximately $1000. This naturally led into a discussion about the need to protect people from genetic discrimination by insurance companies and employers. There is currently a bill in Congress about this that has been proposed for the past few years but has not yet been able to go up for a vote in the House. Maybe it will this year.

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