Friday, November 09, 2007

Last Day of Neuro Block!

So amazingly, I have survived this entire NMS block, and sometimes I actually even liked it. All three of our PBL "caselets" for this week ended happily, including the noncompliant patient, who suddenly saw the light and became compliant. Obviously, this PBL case is not totally true to life! The seminar was about vision. Although the speaker was good, I had a hard time focusing. I just wasn't very mentally with it today, and it didn't help that I hadn't been able to get any of today's reading assignment done ahead of time.

Our POD speaker was FANTASTIC. His talk was supposed to be about pain, but instead he was discussing the relationship between depression and cardiovascular disease. Apparently in both cases, there are cytokines (inflammatory immune system proteins) that get upregulated. It isn't known if that is a cause or an effect, but in either case, people who are depressed tend to have more cardiovascular disease, and people who have cardiovascular disease have worse prognoses if they are depressed. I was thinking about this idea of inflammatory cytokines being related to cardiovascular disease and depression, and it hit me that if this hypothesis is true, then people with autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis ought to have a greater risk of depression and cardiovascular disease. I looked it up, and sure enough, they do. I wound up designing an experiment and writing an essay around this idea. I am required to write three of these essays (just 1-2 pages each) in order to get MS credit for the POD course, so now I only have two left to do.

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