Friday, April 29, 2011

Med Student Stereotypes #2

Stereotype #2: Med Students (and Professors) Are Obsessed with Acronyms

This has been obvious from the get-go. Just look at our first-year course names: MGM, ACE, Physio (fine, not really an acronym - but it was formerly known as IHF when histo was part of the course), and MBB.

To me though, something doesn't become a stereotype that I'm ready to mock until it's been carried to an extreme level. This has finally happened. The med school version of Inception. An acronym within an acronym within an acronym.

The other day we were introduced to something called a SNARE protein.
The definition of a SNARE protein: a SNAP Receptor protein.

Ok, well that means nothing unless you know what SNAP is.
The definition of SNAP? Soluble NSF Attachment Protein

Again, means nothing until you know what NSF stands for.
So what is NSF? N-ethylmaleimide Sensitive Fusion protein.

And just like Inception, when you finally get to see all the levels - it still makes no sense!

(No, seriously, I really don't get limbo...)

see stereotype #1 here

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We Now Return to Our Normal Posting Schedule

Back to med school and our new class: Mind, Brain, and Behavior. We med students have been completely hoodwinked by the administration regarding this class. "Hoodwinked?" you ask. "How so?"

Well, for the first time since we started school, we are actually taking only one class at a time. No Physician's Core, and no Preceptor - hooray! While this class isn't easy, we've heard from the second-years that it's easiER (read: more manageable) because of the fact that we don't have another class hanging over our heads, or any other obligations. An end-of-the-year present to the med students from the people who make our curriculum.

Well, my response to that is: LIES.

They make us believe they are doing us a favor by giving us only "one" class to focus on. Why is that in quotes? Because Mind, Brain, and Behavior is 100% two classes hiding under the guise of one misleading title.

The first class is neuroscience (encompassing neuro-anatomy and neuro-physiology), and the second is psychology. Let me present to you the evidence that these are in fact two completely separate courses.

Exhibit A: We now have 5-6 hours of lecture a day, up from 2-3 during physiology. Double the lectures because of double the courses? You decide.

Exhibit B: Two completely different sets of professors for the two classes.

And, Exhibit C, the most damning piece of evidence: They are color-coded differently on the master schedule - neuroscience yellow, psychology green. Different colors = different courses. Any Type-A, obsessive-compulsive schedule-maker knows that.

Exhibit C

So while it is definitely nice to be done for the year with all the fun doctor-y classes, I would just like all our med school administrators to know that you're not fooling anyone - we see right through you, and we know that we are still taking two classes right now. Hoodwinked, my butt. We know what's up.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I know what you're all thinking: WHERE ARE YOUR BLOG POSTS FROM LAST WEEK? It's in caps because I imagine that all of my loyal readers have been hysterical and frantic all week looking for them.

I have no excuse for abandoning you for a week, except that I was completely and totally (yes, both completely AND totally) lacking in inspiration. I didn't know what to write about, and I didn't have the energy to write about it.

Anyway, please forgive me, those who actually noticed that I didn't update all week. And those that didn't notice, please be better about checking the blog every Tuesday and Friday in the future - your assumed apology for not keeping up is accepted, although somewhat grudgingly.

forgive me?

(Idea totally stolen from my aunt and cousin who used to always make this face at each other, and it was so cute, even cuter than Puss-in-Boots himself)

Friday, April 15, 2011


image from "Piled Higher and Deeper" by Jorge Cham

In lieu of a post, let me give you our exam schedule of the past 10 days:

Renal and Endocrine Physiology Exam - last Friday
Physical Exam OSCE - this Wednesday
Physiology Final - today
Physical Exam Written Final - Monday

New class (Mind, Brain, and Behavior) - starts Tuesday at 10 am.

Why can't we have oneeeee weekend, even one dayyyy to relax!!?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Eponyms Part II

I am one of the biggest complainers I know. It generally takes a LOT of effort to avoid making this blog a cry-fest-woe-is-me-pity-part (I put so much effort into making it positiveeeee, feel bad for me for all the work I put innnnn). Just kidding :)

But seriously, I do recognize that I complain a lot - even if they are usually legitimate complaints, no one really wants to hear them, I totally get it.

So when something POSITIVE happens in my study world, I feel like I should share it with you. Remember this post where I told you how much I hate eponyms? I still hate them, don't worry. But I've finally found it - the anti-eponym. The. Best. Disease. Name. Ever.

Before revealing the name of this disease, let me first describe it to you:

It is a syndrome in which ADH (Anti-Diuretic Hormone) is secreted from your body at inappropriate times, leading to various symptoms due to too much ADH released when it shouldn't be.

Ready for the name?


Are you sure?


Really ready?


Drumroll please....

Syndrome of Inappropriate ADH Secretion

Could that be any more descriptive? A syndrome where ADH is secreted inappropriately - it's the name AND the description!

Compare that to a disease like Bartlett Syndrome - without using the internet, I'll give you 500 guesses to figure out what the problem is (med students who just took the renal exam, you don't get to guess). It's impossible, right? Not so with the Syndrome of Inappropriate ADH Secretion - I bet you could guess it on your first try!

And so I repeat: best disease name ever. Other diseases, you could learn a lot.

[note: in no way do I want to make light of the disease itself - it's just that I want to find whoever named it and give them a big hug]

Friday, April 8, 2011

spelling errors?

This is what popped up on my screen yesterday when I opened my typed outline of our lectures.

No, I am not an exceptionally awful typist. Microsoft Word just doesn't recognize any of the words from our lectures. Come onnnnn, hyperphosphaturia is totally a real word!!

Here are some screen shots from another document (also an outline of lectures) that I guess was (probably just barely) under the limit for number of spelling errors to display.

If cortisol is wrong, I don't want to be right.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Quotes from a Physiology Professor

First, some background info:
-Anatomy is the study of the STRUCTURE of organs
-Physiology is the study of the FUNCTION of organs

The setting:
In a physiology lecture last week, immediately after the professor finished explaining each different type of cell in the pituitary gland and which hormone each type of cell releases.

Now, imagine the quote being spoken in a bitter English accent:

"Did the anatomists try to tell you all that already? Yeah, they like to tell you about function because the anatomy is so boring ...[pause]... Don't tell them I said that, especially Dr. DeFouw."

Whoops, sorry, but this is the internet age. Let the inter-departmental battle between anatomy and physiology begin!

Friday, April 1, 2011


Yesterday in the middle of our third physiology lecture of the day, a man in an orange safety vest came in, spoke to the professor briefly and left. The professor confusedly announced to the class something to the effect of, "I have no idea what that was about, but apparently we don't have to leave." Everyone was like whatttttt is she talking about?

Now fast forward about five minutes, and the fire alarm starts going off. Because we're all such smart med students, we figured out what happened - the man was warning her that a fire alarm was about to go off, but that we did not have to respond to it.

I'm sure you all remember Austin Powers, and this scene in particular (and if you don't, I'm sorry, why are we friends?)

Because that is what lecture felt like for about 15 minutes.

This is what our fire alarms sound like:

So at every pause, the professor would start lecturing again, and about five words in, the alarm would go off again:

"So if you follow the pathway-" MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE

"If you follow the pathway to the-" WeeeeeeOOOOOWeeeeeOOOOO

"Follow the pathway to the hypothal-" MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE

Finally she gave up on trying to fit the lecture into the pauses, and just decided to continue with it OVER the fire alarm.
  • It's hard to pay attention to even a single lecture about steroid hormone synthesis
  • It's even harder to pay attention to the third lecture in a row about hormones
  • It's that much harder to pay attention when the lecture is given in a tough accent to understand (although this was not even close to the toughest accent we've had - more on that another time)
  • And then you add in a background fire alarm....
Well, all I can say is I did my best.