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Tag Archives: neuroscience

While I attended the Summer Medical & Dental Education Program at UVA I wanted to do something to give the program more publicity. It is an excellent program for anyone hoping to enter med or dental school, but very few people know about it. Many of the applicants, including myself, only found out about it by searching the net. The program has more than high enough quality to be recommended by advisors and publicized through schools. I tried to get the local news channel to do a short piece about the program, but that fell through. I should have also tried the newspaper, but I didn’t get around to it. However, I recently realized that a blog entry might possibly reach as many people as any other method I had considered:

There is a committment to the medical field and a service to the health of people, in the present and in the future that constitutes duty beyond expectation. The Directors of the Summer Medical & Dental Education Program (SMDEP) at the University of Virginia have devoted many years, in some cases 2 decades, to the education of future doctors.  The attending undergraduate students have sacrificed six-weeks of the summer to gain knowledge for the benefit of others. They come from all around the country and all over the world to join for a shared cause. Every weekday a minimum of nine hours, and often more, are devoted for learning different subjects, preparing for medical school, experiencing different career opportunities, and focusing on serving people. But the story does not end there. Even though the students originate from aound the world, they were prepared to dedicate their time and energy to Charlottesville and the surrounding community. The feat performed by the students, the directors, the speakers, and other particpants deserve recognition.

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Research is a slow moving process. Dr. Robert B. Herberman has taken the initiative to voice concerns based on early research. His actions in making a warning about the use of cell phones is plausible and respectable considering their wide use and the true nature of their uncertain effects. The Electromagnetic fields created around cell phones have recently become a big concern, especially for children who tend to use cells more and more every year. What kind of long-term effects do electromagnetic fields actually have? Are their any other items or technologies, such as laptops, that could be of concern as well? There are many questions that fit within the issue, and almost no answers. If cell phones do cause problems, the problems may not be small issues. The brain uses electrical charges on a regular basis, and electromagnetic fields could alter the function of the brain resulting in tumors. Headaches will not be the concern here (citation: AP).

The benefits of exercise are innumerable. Reseachers have discovered that, in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease, exercise helped minimize the progression of the disease. I was not surprised by the findings since exercise seems to keep the mind clear and sharp, but for physically fit Alzheimer’s patients to actually have less brain shrinkage is interesting. It appears that the increased flow of blood to the brain during exercise allows for a healthier brain by delivering more oxygen & nutrients. The connection between exercise and the function of the brain may also point to a future increase of dementia that corresponds with an increase in obesity (citation: WebMD, BBC)

What I Learned From My First Reading Session about Seizures

  • More than 2 million people in the U.S. have had seizures and/or been diagnosed with epilepsy
  • The term seizure is a symptom
  • If a seizure is not epileptic, or if a diagnosis is uncertain, it should be described as paroxysmal
  • There are about 32 types of seizures
  • aprox. 50% of seizures never have an identified cause; the other 50% are usually due to underlying diseases or injury of the brain
  • Seizures limited to one portion of the brain are called partial seizures
  • Most seizures last from 30 seconds to 2 minutes

For a fairly common ‘symptom’ very little is known about seizures. Understanding seizures better could improve the lifestyle of thousands of people. Equally important, it could decrease the amount of fear in people who suffer a seizure and are unsure of why it happened, if it will happen again, or when it could happen. Tests to search for underlying causes can also be quite time consuming and expensive, often including an EEG, CT scan, and an MRI. Each test can be very important in indentifying problems, but the quality of the tests do not seem to meet the needs of epilepsy/seizure patients since only 50% of the time a cause is identified.