Monthly Archives: January 2015

Bicentennial Baseball Film



It’s probably been thirty years since I last saw The Bad News Bears. Amazingly, this film holds up really well – in a way. It’s unlike anything you’ll see today, but it comes across as well made and engaging throughout. There are some peculiarities about it though that I just had to comment on. Best to talk about it on my film blog.

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Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Uncategorized


A Pointer for Microbiology

Today, in microbiology, we talked a bit about protein translation in Eukaryotes and how this may involve the Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) and Golgi Apparatus. I saw some blank faces and promised to point to a place where I discussed it before on this blog and had a video as well. You can find that here.

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Posted by on January 27, 2015 in Uncategorized


The New Measles

leadApropos of class discussion about vaccine compliance and public policy, check out Adrienne LaFrance’s article from The Atlantic on how Measles is re-emerging in many countries – including the United States –  that have considered it eradicated for decades.

Click here to visit the article

The numbers in recent years are nothing like the devastation that Measles used to visit in the US, however, it is the trend that is disturbing. Prior to the introduction of the vaccine, cases numbered in the hundreds of thousands per year in the US. Globally, in 2013, there were 145 700 measles deaths compared to an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year prior to widespread immunization. (data from the WHO)

Measles cases in the US prior to and after the introduction of vaccine

Measles cases in the US prior to and after the introduction of vaccine Langmuir AD. Medical importance of measles. Am J Dis Child 1962;103:54-56

Some Data


Measles Cases in the US 2001 – 2014

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Posted by on January 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Course Correction and some Hints

OxbowLakeKeselI’ve spent most of this week re-organizing the Pathophysiology course after a long discussion on the matter with my wife – who is an invaluable resource for all things, but especially so for this sort of a course where our experience gap extends the length of a additional graduate degree and a career in medicine.

She advised me that my focus was all wrong. As a cell and molecular biologist, I naturally wanted to spend time building up slowly from sub cellular functions to tissues, organs, and finally organ systems. Rather, she proposed, I should skip quickly into the major organ systems (see below) with only a short time spent skimming the first several units. Furthermore, I keep forgetting the ‘path’ prefix and spend far too much attention on building systems, rather than examining how they fail.

Of course, she’s right (and not just because she reads this blog). My students have already had general biology, microbiology, and anatomy and physiology. They only need reminders of this previous material – not valuable class time spend there.

To recalibrate our course, I’ve decided to take her advice entirely. The only change I will make is to talk about Neoplasms (Chapter 7), which I think are extraordinarily important and fun to talk about. I won’t spend much time there, but I will use it as a mechanism to buffer some time before going into systems, where I will be introducing each system followed by student presentations of diseases associated with each.


First Weeks of Semester:          Chapters 1, 2, and 7 (Cells&Tissue, Cell response to Injury, Neoplasia)

Systems:      (intro & pathology)

  1.              Circulatory / Cardiovascular System
  2.              Respiratory System
  3.              Kidney and Urinary Tract
  4.              GI and Hepatobiliary Systems
  5.              Endocrine System
  6.              Nervous System
  7.              Muscularskeletal System
  8.              Integumentary System

Pathological conditions to be presented by students:

  1. Hypertrophic Cardiac Myopathy
  2. Dilative Cardiac Myopathy
  3. Mytral and Aortic Valve Disease
  4. Septal Defects
  5. Heart Failure (Pick a subset)
  6. Stroke
  7. Atherosclerosis
  8. Hypertension
  9. Cardiovascular shock
  10. COPD
  11. Cystic Fibrosis
  12. Asthma
  13. Kidney Stones
  14. Hypertensive Glomerular Disease
  15. Chronic Kidney Disease
  16. GI Reflux
  17. Irritable bowl syndrome
  18. Celiac Disease
  19. Diverticulitis
  20. Hepatobiliary Disease
  21. Portal Hypertension
  22. Gall Stones
  23. Hyper / Hypo- thyroidism
  24. Cushings Disease
  25. Headaches / Migraines
  26. Parkinson’s Disease
  27. ALS
  28. MS
  29. Dementia
  30. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Students will be able to work alone in or a group, however, each presentation results in one grade for one individual.

Presentations must include / will be graded on:

  • Defining the disease
  • Explain Etiology
  • Define Clinical Signs
  • What is currentTreatment
  • Definition of the drugs used and mechanism (not all therapies, but present one example of each mechanism)
  • Write one exam question for your topic

Presentations should be ten minutes with no more than ten slides.

And I almost forgot about the hints for the quiz tomorrow…

The first hint is that it is good to know what ion is important in triggering muscle contraction.

The second is that there is something about the way muscle cells come together to form tissue that is important.

And lastly…

There’s an old children’s verse about a certain double homicide committed many years ago in the city of Fall River, Massachusetts. I’ll probably ask about it.

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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in Uncategorized


It’s been a real doozie of a day

that about covers it.

You see, here I was, just minding my own business and trying to maybe teach a couple of classes – when all of a sudden kids started showing up wanting me to teach them something about Pathophysiology. I don’t know how much experience you have with this…

Seriously, I’m teaching a new pair of classes this semester and I’ve been struggling with how to make one into a class at all (Medical Terminology) and what narrative to abstract for the other (Pathophysiology).

This has left Medical Terminology as a pretty boring class so far that needs to be transformed into a game or something if we’re ever to survive it.

As for Patho…

What’s to be done? I originally imagined this class to come together as a project for all students to contributing towards create the materials, jointly lead class through the content, and even come together in building examinations. However, I quickly changed tack when the class overfilled and I balked at the idea of so many people working together (or even independently) in an effective manner. My knee-jerk reaction: bounce right back to a standard lecture format.

It went over like a lead balloon.

The decision now is how to go forward.


Posted by on January 16, 2015 in Uncategorized