Course Correction and some Hints

19 Jan

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


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