Archive | May, 2012

Tags: , ,

Getting to know Alzheimer’s patients

Posted on 23 May 2012 by Sofia Nastis (Meds 2015)

Never underestimate the value of companionship and support, because it helps those whom you least expect. For three of my four years that I spent at Western in undergrad, I had the pleasure of becoming involved with the Alzheimer’s Society of London. My interest in the club was mainly due to the fact that I was extremely curious about neurodegenerative disorders, and I thought being able to interact with these types of patients in a volunteer setting would be a good stepping-stone in finding out if this is an area of medicine that I enjoyed. In the beginning, my main goal was to immerse myself in an area of the health care field that I was not very familiar with. In the end, the experiences that I had and the interactions that I was exposed to made it a much more enlightening learning experience. Continue Reading

Comments Off on Getting to know Alzheimer’s patients

Tags: ,

Our Medoutreach experience

Posted on 23 May 2012 by Marc Lipkus (Meds 2014)

Nkoaranga Lutheran Hospital is a rural hospital in Tanzania about 45 minutes outside the city of Arusha. For one of our medical observerships, the MedOutreach 2011 team stayed on the hospital campus and did clinical officer shadowing in the operating room and wards of the hospital. After the first minute walking through you could list about 10 striking differences between our hospitals here and this rural African hospital. Before even stepping foot inside the building, roosters clucking around the grass surrounding the open environment hospital, or a dog roaming around begging for food were the first obvious differences. Once into the halls, you could see that the best option for air circulation was a bed in close proximity to an open window. Patient privacy consisted of rolling drapes. Also, it is hard to maintain a sterile environment in the OR when in some cases there isn’t even running water – very different to the luxuries of North American hospitals. Continue Reading

Comments Off on Our Medoutreach experience

Tags: ,

Ghost in the Machine

Posted on 23 May 2012 by Jason Chan (Meds 2014)

The heart is a pump. If it fails, an artificial heart can pump in its place. The lungs are balloons. When breathing is insufficient, a ventilator can inflate them. Mechanical models provide simple ways to understand organs and organ systems. They are also the basis of interventions that can be used when organs stop working. Is there a model for the brain?

Neurons and the nervous system function with inputs, processing and outputs. Neurons connect with each other to form circuits. They generate electric currents through action potential propagation. Myelinated axons can be likened to insulated wires. With all these characteristics, the brain can be thought of as a computer. Continue Reading

Comments Off on Ghost in the Machine

Tags: ,

The Quandary of Chronic Pain

Posted on 03 May 2012 by Stephanie Gottheil (Meds 2014)

How can we handle a patient in chronic pain? It’s a difficult dilemma. On the one hand, all of our effective analgesics come with long lists of side effects, from constipation to addiction to life-threatening GI bleeds. On the other, we have individuals mired in anger, depression, and hopelessness due to a debilitating symptom.

I spent this past summer studying the medications used by older adults with osteoarthritis, one of the most common conditions that affect us as we age. The average patient was taking 10 medications, which obviously raises concerns about drug interactions and over-prescription. What struck me most, however, was the number of people reporting severe daily pain that were not being treated for it in any capacity. Continue Reading

Comments Off on The Quandary of Chronic Pain

Tags: , , ,

My Summer Experience- Ingersoll and Tillsonburg MedQUEST

Posted on 01 May 2012 by Caitlin VanDeCappelle (Meds 2014)

It took me 11 minutes. Only 11 minutes to drive from my front door to Alexandra hospital in Ingersoll, and yet I had never been there before. At first glance the hospital seemed small and very different from the hospitals I’d been to in London (the free parking may have had something to do with that!). Over the course of my next six weeks in the MedQUEST program, the small town and its people became friendly, warm and welcoming.

Ingersoll and Tillsonburg were looking for physicians, like many other areas in Southwestern Ontario. It wasn’t until my experience in MedQUEST though, that I came to know the strength in a small, tight-knit community when it came to getting something they needed. I had dinner with the mayor, was given a tour of the local CAMI automotive plant, and even got a free library card. Continue Reading

Comments Off on My Summer Experience- Ingersoll and Tillsonburg MedQUEST