Week 17: When The Storm Hit

          Last week was the calm before the storm. As predicted, this week the storm hit, and it hit hard. Between an unexpected pop-quiz (I guess that’s what they are intended to be) and four new courses beginning in the time span of two days, it’s needless to say that my head is slightly spinning at the moment. However, this overload was completely expected and I’ll likely (hopefully) recover from the backup over the weekend. 

          Four new courses began this week: Informatics in Medicine, Cardiology, Epidemiology, and Clinical Lab Medicine. Informatics in Medicine seems like it will be an interesting course; it’s all about the technology and information databases available to clinicians, from current iPhone applications to electronic health records. This week in Informatics, we focused on the evolution of technology in the medical field from the mid-1900s to present day (mainly computer development). Being that this class is sandwiched between Pharmacology and Cardiology on Wednesdays, it’s like a breath of fresh air, much needed to lighten up my ten hour day. Speaking of Cardiology, this week, we reviewed the structure and function of the heart, various lab tests (EKGs, stress tests, echocardiograms) ordered for analyzing the heart’s functioning, and then began our crash course on EKG interpretation, which will last about two weeks, culminating in an EKG reading exam. I’ve looked at hundreds of EKGs to date, and I intend to review many more before this exam.

          Along with these new courses, Pharmacology, Endocrinology, and Clinical Skills continued. In Pharmacology, we studied the route that a typical drug takes once it’s absorbed into the body, and how this will ultimately affect the dose and frequency of the drug we administer. In Endocrinology, for the first time in a specialty course, an entire lecture was dedicated to a single diagnosis: diabetes mellitus. The prevalence of this condition is unbelievable and there is so much importance in the details, from its initial diagnosis through its treatment and long-term management. In Clinical Skills, we continued to focus on patient communication skills, in addition to the critical thinking skills utilized throughout the diagnostic process. We were also instructed to bring our stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs to next week’s class. Finally, the physical exams begin!

Question of the week: Type 1 diabetes mellitus is an autoimmune disease in which the insulin-secreting cells of this organ are negatively affected. What is this organ?

Last week’s answer: You would expect a hormone called anti-diuretic hormone to decrease one’s urine output and thereby promote water retention. 

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