Friday, January 20, 2012

Whipple Part I

Unlike those lucky people who only need to hear things once to learn them, I need time to digest material before it enters my brain.  In med school, that means listening to a lecture, going home and typing up all my notes I took during the lecture, and then organizing my typed notes into a way that makes sense for me - categorizing, or making charts, or combining info from related lectures, just something that makes the information my own.  That, as you might imagine, takes a fair bit of time.

Because of our schedule, there's not a whole lot of extra time outside of listening to lectures and going to mandatory labs and discussions to study extra.  That's fine, it is what it is - med school's supposed to be busy, right?  But for me that means that I'm not going to have a really good grasp on most of the material until the weekend before the exam when we have full days (or at least half-days) to really study.  And I don't think I'm alone in this.

George Hoyt Whipple is...

But I don't think professors really understand that some of us need actual time to learn the information.  So when we learn about something called Whipple Disease at the beginning of the week, and then later in the week we learn about something called Whipple Procedure, chances are most of us are not going to realize that we just learned about Whipple twice.

...not the same as Allen Oldfather Whipple

During the second lecture, when we learned about the procedure, the professor pointed out that it was actually named for a different Whipple than the disease.  Rather than thinking, "My, what an interesting fact" or "There are two people named Whipple who were good enough doctors to get something named after them?!" all I could think was, "That's cute that he thinks we remember a disease that we learned three whole days ago."

Fun fact: the non-eponymous name for the Whipple procedure is pancreaticoduodenectomy - maybe the only time the eponym is actually easier to remember than the real name?


  1. If you watched House more often, you would know that Whipple disease is a very common potential diagnosis. Along with autoimmune diseases, Wilson's disease, and heavy metal poisoning...

  2. A little scary how you can learn more about medicine from House than you can from med school... considering I still don't remember what Whipple's Disease is

  3. When he said that, the first thing I thought was "what the F is Whipple Disease? Did we lear about that in MGM?" Now that Wikipedia is back, I know that Whipple Disease is a systemic infection caused by the bacterium Tropheryma wipplei. It primarily causes malabsorption but can affect and part of the body.