|Elizabeth Lehner – YSP 2015
Maybe not all rest and relaxation but certainly radiology and rheumatology! Here is a great example of why collaboration between disciplines is so important in medicine. Elizabeth recently graduated from Iroquois Ridge High School and will be a new University of Toronto student this fall. See her post below.
Great job Elizabeth!!!
Many people are familiar with the word arthritis. This is probably because one in six Canadians aged 15 years and older report having arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis is a specific form of arthritis that unfortunately can lead to severe disability and joint replacement.
Over the past several weeks, I participated in the 2015 YSP research program with the Division of Teaching Laboratories within the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto and had the opportunity to look more closely at Rheumatoid Arthritis and ways to better diagnose this debilitating disease.
Under the supervision of Prof. Pascal Tyrrell and the Department of Medical Imaging at U of T, I was introduced to various imaging modalities including MRI machines, CT scanners and ultrasound machines. The work by Dr. Tyrrell was of particular interest given his studies on inflammation and the use of the various imaging modalities.
As part of this program I also participated in specific lab tasks including dissections and micropipetting and was exposed to clinical work such as suturing and operating an ultrasound machine. In addition, the program provided me with the opportunity to participate in daily workshops led by two instructors from the Division of Teaching Laboratories, Jastaran Singh and Jabir Mohamed. These workshops provided important overviews on a variety of topics relating to research that were very interesting.
The things I learned in this program provided me with a much better understanding of various research and medical issues that I think will be of use to me as I begin my studies at the University of Toronto this fall.
I would very much like to thank Prof. Pascal Tyrrell, Jastaran Singh and Jabir Mohamed for allowing me to be exposed to the various projects and for answering the many questions that I had during the program. Thank you!
|The Moody Tree
Ok, so I may have taken a longer break than I should have. Where was I you ask? I was enjoying some R&R with my family. My kids are at great ages – 15, 11, and 6. Then, of course, when I got back to my desk – whammo! The deluge of work. This morning, as I sat on the GoTrain on the way into Toronto, I thought of you and happily sat down to write my first post of 2015.
First, a thank you for your readership. We are soon approaching our first anniversary (next month) and my programs (MiVIP and MiB) and this blog are chugging along famously… all because of you!
Next, a funny story to explain the picture above. When I attended the RSNA last December (see my post here on this event) I brought along my old film camera for fun as I enjoy photography and decided to reminisce a little. To your right is a picture of the Chicago skyline reflected on the “Bean“. See me?
I hadn’t developed film in so long that I almost ruined it – in my laundry room between all of my family’s clothes, the ironing board, buckets, detergents… Anyway, I also had with me my trusted digital for snaps and one evening I was invited to a function at my boss’ hotel and he said to me:”Let me know what you think of the Christmas lights on the trees in front the hotel on your way in”. Alan Moody is an uber-radiologist, the chair of our department, and loves imaging the carotid arteries. As our minds often operate on the same wave lengths, I took the picture and voila – the Moody Tree was born!
There is no end to the fun we have here in the Department of Medical Imaging…
Even though this is not a “MiWORD” post how about you wish a belated Happy New Year to someone you have not been in touch with yet? Send them a quick text or better yet, send them the link to this post and tell them to visit the Moody Tree next time they are in Chicago during the holidays…
See you in the blogosphere,
MiWord, a post on Sunday?!!! Well, I have been very busy lately and fell behind on my blog so I am now playing a little catch-up…
I was waiting in Logan airport for my flight back from a presentation in Boston – what unbelievably crazy traffic in that city – and I was texting my kids with my laptop open and my tablet next to me on the seat when I thought: I feel a little like Jimmy Neutron! I enjoyed watching that show with my kids. Lots of fun. Anyway, that idea of crazy science and the internal structure of the atom as displayed on Jimmy’s t-shirt may be the premise for a great kids show but it also led to the development of MRI. What?!!! You say.
MRI is an imaging technique. Maybe so, but it is particular in that it does not use any classic photographic equipment (film or lenses) or use x-rays as Roentgen did. It simply numerically measures how hydrogen nuclei absorb and release energy in response to particular frequencies. Need a refresher on the structure of an atom? See this post.
Don’t get it? OK, how about you think of this process as a crazy huge tuning fork. If you were to flick a tuning fork of a certain frequency (pitch) other tuning forks of the same frequency close by will pick up energy from the humming tuning fork and emit a sound in turn. Cool.
The nucleus of an atom can absorb energy and then relax by emitting energy in a similar way. Different atoms (or the same atom in different environments) will have different relaxation rates allowing for the identification of the composition of molecules. Ya, maybe a little complicated.
MRI measures how hydrogen nuclei absorb and release energy. Dependent on the location and the environment of the hydrogen atoms the MRI process is able to provide knowledge about the placement of hydrogen atoms in the body and in turn knowledge about the anatomy.
Now for the fun part (see the rules here), using Atom in a sentence by the end of the day:
Serious: Hey Bob, did you know that the atom is the smallest unit that defines the chemical elements and their isotopes?
Less serious: I thought that splitting atoms would produce a large explosion but when I tried using my mom’s perfume “atomizer” it just produced a fine spray and nice smell…
Ok that was a little intense for a Sunday. Watch and listen to Symphony of Science (very cool BBC production) to decompress and I’ll see you in the blogosphere…
Do you ever hear a good song on the radio, catch some of the lyrics, and try to type in those lyrics into Google or Youtube to find that particular song you rocked out to on the way home? When that happens and you Google it, do you ever count how many options you need to pass until you hit the right song?
Yes, you are not the only one, many people use Google to further explore some of the things they have come across throughout daily encounters. For each instance google is used, whether it be for a song or for neuroscience research and analysis, one thing remains in common: keywords.
Keywords are essential when searching for various types of information, and the options appearing on any search engine are dependent on the keywords given. How does one establish appropriate keywords for a search engine entry?
For instance, if one wants to find out more about medical imaging, perhaps using those exact words would give one a head start in finding information. If one wants to find out about the modalities of medical imaging, typing in ‘modalities of medical imaging’ may also be helpful as well. The tricky part becomes when searching for specific uses and studies of the use of those modalities, in medical papers. In any medical search engine, like PubMed, keywords can make or break a search, and are very specific, as the many sections of medical imaging involve many specific factors and details that differ from each study. So next time you decide to search something, whether it be as general as ‘medical imaging’ or specific as ‘cost effective analysis of CT scans,’ just remember that those keywords may give you what you need, or lead you to a place you don’t want.
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What happens when you put a famous pop superstar with various Billboard number one hit singles as an endorser for a medical field involving teeth, mouth and gum surgeries?
A Katy Perry-odontist!
And no, I am not insinuating the likelihood of Ms. Perry giving up her “Hard Candy” tour and making her way down to Harvard Med for a doctor of dental surgery specializing in periodontistry, but in reality, when researching, there are a lot of weird combinations of research that actually lead to a plausible conclusion!
Take cost effectiveness of MRIs, CT scans and ultrasounds. There are many variables pertaining to which machine is more cost effective, but in order to find that out, the research being done with regards to the cost involves stepping OUTSIDE THE BOX and figuring out unique key factors that all contribute to the cost, timing, and effectiveness. One must observe not only the actual cost of the machine, but also the condition the patient is in and the situation of the effected area. In order to look at that, maybe some family history must be dug up. And there you go! A whole research perspective on family history of certain patients, just to figure out cost effectiveness of a certain machine. Weird combination of research if you think about it, but in the end, very effective in reaching somewhat of a conclusion to the research question, just like the medical imaging equipment should be doing in the first place! Do not underestimate the lengths in research it takes to solve the question at hand, and always think outside the box, because you never know what you will find, and someday, maybe Katy Perry will open up her own clinic, and sooth patients with her very own soundtrack!
Keep Researching and Singing,
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Comment on what you think are weird research combinations if you dare!
Why do we need to find out things, shouldn’t we be content with what we have already, why does research matter? Well, simply put, we conduct research because we are eager human beings looking to seek further knowledge into any task or question presented to us. Human beings in general are inquisitive beings that become fulfilled when they accomplish something and the information spectrum is broadened. To accomplish almost any goal, whether it be recreational or academic, information through research is required. Research essentially helps humans, be human. We question, research and come up with an answer, and that in itself is a true accomplishment.
Research, like any other entity, has its ups and downs. You can follow the processes, look in the right books, but come up with the wrong information. When that happens, do not give up your search, rather organize it another way. Even if that seems to be time wasted, it was not, because the amazing thing about seeking knowledge is even if it’s the wrong knowledge found, one still learns from ANY obtained information. Research is a definite experience, and something valuable is ALWAYS learned when conducting research, whether it be the information being searched for, or a bit of self growth. And the best part? There is no time limit to knowledge. So get started. Just remember your keywords.
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How in the world does someone actually get to researching something, it seems too complicated! Well, fear not my friends, research comes in all letter shapes and information sizes! For a beginner researcher, an easy and effective start would be to go to a library. The library holds a haven of information, from fictional stories for experience to non fictional magazines, dictionaries and novels. The library is a great place to start looking for answers, the librarians are able to guide anyone to the right factual source of data that will provide good information, and no, they aren’t from the dinosaur era (even though you may think you’re in that era while searching through books)..
Many educational researchers use books and even textbooks to help with research projects, papers and various journals. I know I can always trust my school librarian, she always gave me the best books and information, even if she didn’t remember my name.
Even though libraries are ‘so 90s,’ it wouldn’t kill you to walk into one, you definitely will learn something.
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With every step taken toward the den of knowledge, there has to be that one click that doesn’t really bring you to where you wanted to go. I’ve had my fair share of research-gone-wrongs, as I like to call them. For instance, I learned the valuable lesson of not to use Twitter as the most accurate research hub, the hard way. Sure, a tweet here or there seems harmless, but birds sometimes do bite. As I innocently went on twitter’s homepage, looking at various tweets from people I follow, a tweet, “OBAMA HAS BEEN KILLED,” caught my attention. Shocked, I immediately text my dad, who then reassures me this catastrophe has not happened, and to check if I put my eye contacts in for that day, because Obama is fine in the oval office, but Osama Bin Laden has been captured and killed by the United States, the headlining news of the hour. Moral of the story? Read the news, from the news, and do not trust any ‘.com’ website that gets into your reach. The difference a letter makes….
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Research. A powerful word used for recreational purposes, such as finding the right place to eat, and in academic context, to gather information for a doctoral thesis. Such a word that can be used in various conversational contexts must not be taken just at its face value, but rather should be further investigated, because a word with so many uses must have so many purposes. When it comes to this one action, to research, one must wonder what the actual purpose of performing research is, and more importantly, how and why research is conducted.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the noun research is defined as “careful or diligent search, studious inquiry or examination; especially: investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts” (Merriam-Webster). The purpose of research is to gather any type of information and knowledge, fulfilling any unknown facts to become more educated on a topic at hand. A purpose like such is very calculated, intelligent and knowledgable, as someone who conducts research, whether it be a small google search or a large university library search, is someone seeking knowledge to better themselves in the situation they are in. Let me tell you all a little story. Girl walks into clothing store, wants to get the latest designer jeans that are on sale for $299.00. Huge problem: she can’t decide to get them in topaz or caramel! “Such different colours!” she remarks. What does she do to solve this dilemma? Of course, she hits up her iPhone 5 google app, researching which colour is more ‘in style.’ Problem solved, but to this day I don’t think anyone is able to tell the difference, that is only her. See how research is an aspect of practically any goal, task or situation?
Talk about brains, and beauty!
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Next post, I’ll reveal my own experience with research – gone wrong!