too much press?

15 Nov

A thought: anatomy gets an unfair amount of attention in the first year of medical school…by the students, by the faculty, by the innocent bystanders who have to put up with us talking about anatomy until the cows come home.  Just a thought and, though not one with which I ultimately agree, one I’d like to explore just a little.

First of all, I feel I should apologize to my family and friends for the outpouring of detail I give you about the anatomy experience.  In my own excitement, I think it often takes me a minute or two to remember that people might not want to talk about discovered inguinal hernias or inches of deep fat flaking off into the palm of my hand…over dinner, for example.  Perhaps being married to a man I can fart in front of, who sees so so much in his own line of work that there is quite possibly nothing I could do that would disgust him, I’ve become…well…a bit lazy when it comes to social tact.  This is all to say, I don’t want to filter too much of what I write in this space, but if I ever get too informative in “real life,” please let me know if it’s not appreciated.

So, what is the fixation on anatomy?  Okay, maybe a stupid question.  Yes, there are cadavers, we get to use scalpels, we get to see the human body up close and personal in a way not many do.  But you could argue that the other classes we’re taking now are just as exciting.  Immunology, for example: the study of how our immune system works, how our bodies stay healthy, fend off diseases, and heal themselves.  Or epidemiology: the study of patterns of health and illness in the population, the cornerstone for creating evidence-based medicine.

Still, it’s hard to get away from the difference a body makes, and I’m not only referring to the cadavers.  We are learning about the human body, and not at all in the abstract.  This last block was on the upper and lower limbs and the back.  We could actually pull on a tendon and observe it’s action.  Did you know that there are eight muscles acting on the thumb alone–eight! And there’s one long nerve that starts in the lower spine, runs down the thigh and leg, and innervates a small webbed patch between the big and second toe at the top of the foot.  I mean, who came up with that?

Another thing that’s truly great about anatomy is that it never changes.  Well, I think someone mentioned that we might have potentially discovered an extra thymus…anyone have anything to add on that topic?  And so we’re learning clinically relevant information that almost certainly will not be obsolete before we finish residency.  No wonder my peers are putting three times the man-hours into studying for anatomy.

Finally, and simply put: it’s just really cool shit.  I think this point is pretty much just an extension of the last, but I like to talk about stuff in sets of threes.  For anyone who’s ever been pre-med or took a college-level bio class, you understand the neat-factor in being able to understand why something works the way it does and why certain symptoms correlate with particular conditions.  Who could go through a few weeks of genetics, for instance, and not spot like a dozen tall people with long fingers in the crowd who you’ll swear must have Marfan’s Syndrome?  I walked out of the practical (and second) portion of my second anatomy test at 11:30 this morning and–I kid you not–if the next man I saw walking out of university hospital did not suffer a lesion to the superior gluteal nerve (that innervates the gluteus medius and minimus; a lesion would cause a pelvic sag while walking on the opposite side from the lesion), I would be shocked.

I would love to share with you a little more tomorrow about the second anatomy exam…but for now, here’s a teaser:

I hope you’re having a fabulous day.  Thanks so much for checking in!

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3 Responses to “too much press?”

  1. eric November 25, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    Famous people with Marfan’s Syndrome:
    Abraham Lincoln
    Niccolo Paganini
    Osama bin Laden

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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