Friday, November 30, 2007

More Bad Pregnancy Outcomes

Yesterday I had my MS class in the morning. We're getting close to the end now: only two more weeks to go. Not that I'm counting the days until I won't have to get up for a 7 AM class any more or anything. ;-)

Today we finished the PBL case about the HIV positive woman who wants to have a baby. The story has a partially positive ending. The baby isn't HIV-positive, but he does have a genetic abnormality. What really got people fired up though are the ethical issues, particularly one of this week's CAPPs that revolves around the issue of a pregnant patient who refuses care. That's a sticky issue, because you can't force a competent adult woman to receive needed medical care, but most people would also feel a desire to intervene to protect the fetus.

The seminars were about pre-eclampsia (a type of hypertension that pregnant women can get) and ectopic pregnancies (where the fetus doesn't implant in the uterus like it's supposed to). Not exactly the cheeriest subjects. Our POD/ARM talk was supposed to be about pregnancy related disorders, but instead it wound up being about a particular transcription factor (protein) that is expressed by cells that are "destined" to become parathyroid hormone cells. The researchers discovered that if they knocked this protein out in mice, some of the thymus cells became parathyroid type cells and started secreting parathyroid hormone. However, this does not happen in humans. Well, on the bright side, at least I'll know what to do in case I ever get a mouse that is deficient in this transcription factor coming into my office for help some day. And I also wrote my second essay for MS credit based on this talk, so it forced me to pay attention. Now I only have to do one more essay in January.

Tomorrow is Doc Opera already. I really enjoyed it last year, and I have been looking forward to this year's show.

No comments: