Studying for the final

I just wanted to let you know that it looks like I may not be able to make a second Kahoot for you – my husband is not feeling well and I am anticipating the rest of the weekend will be like today. I will continue to check email, and answer questions, though – so if you’ve emailed, please know that I will get to your email (it might not be until late night, but I will get to it!).



Path Exam 4 Review Kahoot, part 1

Hi everyone –

I am SO sorry that I got the time wrong for our exam review yesterday. It sounds like maybe it allowed for some extra study time – but still. I apologize. Old habits die hard. 44 days (wow) starting at 10:10 is a hard habit to break.

So here is part one of what I had planned to do in class. This first Kahoot covers three of the systems covered on exam 4: CNS, Male Reproductive, and Female Reproductive. I am working on a second Kahoot that will cover the remaining topics that I taught you (Endocrine and Skin). I’ll post that here as soon as it’s finished.

For the material that I didn’t teach, remember that we have summary documents (one for Bone, Joint, and Muscle, and one for Developmental Pathology). I’d study for those topics by using the summary documents, and supplementing with the lecture ppts and/or Mediasite recordings to fill in areas you need help with. If you know the stuff on those summary documents, you will be well-prepared for the exam questions on that material.

Thanks for your continued patience and support! Although we didn’t get to do the Kahoot together, it was fun having milk and cookies and chatting about the course a bit. I learn so much from our conversations.

I know you’re busy with Perio tomorrow, and then next week you get slammed again…and our exam is the last one. But whenever you get to our material, please let me know if you have any questions on this Kahoot or the next one, or on anything else.


How to do a breast self-exam

We talked about how to do testicular self-exams, but I didn’t talk much about how to do breast self-exams. Thank you to the kind student who requested a little more info! It’s so important, because as we talked about in class, if you find a breast cancer while it’s still small, the chances of metastasis are much lower.

Before we talk about the procedure itself, I want to stress that self-exams should be done at least once a month. That way, you’ll become familiar with how your breasts look and feel, and you’ll be better able to tell if something has changed.

Breast cancer most commonly presents as a lump, so that’s the main thing you’re looking for. But sometimes, instead of a lump, there are other signs, as we talked about in class, like dimpling/puckering of the skin (if the cancer has attached itself to the skin or to the chest wall), or peau d’orange (thickening of the skin that resembles an orange peel). This procedure (below) involves examining your breasts in different positions, so you can detect all of these potential signs.

The National Breast Cancer foundation has a great step-by-step guide with detailed descriptions (good idea to check it out). Here’s a quick synopsis. There are three parts to the exam, each in a different place: in the shower, in front of a mirror, and lying down.

In the shower

Using the pads of your fingers, make small circular motions starting at the outer portion of your breast and moving in towards the center. Don’t forget the armpit!  Feel for lumps, thickening, or anything that feels different.

In front of a mirror

Look at your breasts first with your arms at your sides, then with your arms raised overhead, then with your hands on your hips as you flex your chest muscles. Look for dimpling, puckering, or any other changes. It’s normal for the breasts to not match exactly.

Lying down

Put a pillow under your right shoulder and put your right arm behind your head. Use the same procedure you used in the shower to examine the entire breast and the armpit. Also, squeeze the nipple and check for discharge (some cancers present with crusty lesions and nipple discharge). Repeat on the other side.

That’s it! Once you get used to how your breasts feel and look, it goes quickly.

Pemphigus vulgaris vs. bullous pemphigoid


Here are two disease names that are maddeningly similar: pemphigus vulgaris and bullous pemphigoid. Both diseases have bullae (big blisters), and both are mediated by antibodies – but they are different diseases that you have to learn separately. Here’s a post I wrote on the main differences between these two disorders. There is actually some logic behind the naming of each disease, and once you learn that little trick, the rest of the disease features fall into place. We’ll talk about this tomorrow in class!

An easy way to improve exam performance

As we enter the last few weeks of the semester, with finals looming, I thought I’d remind you of a small action that might help you perform better on exams.

We’ve talked about how oxytocin promotes trust, connection, and monogamy – all the good relationship stuff. But as we talked about in class this week, it may also have another, unexpected effect: improved problem-solving ability.

A New York Times article entitled “Evidence That Little Touches Do Mean So Much” talks about the positive effects of small, physical interactions (a touch on the arm, a high-five, etc.). Some of the positive effects are what you’d expect: small touches have been shown to ease pain, soothe depression, deepen a relationship. But here’s something interesting: small touches can also improve mental performance!

How could oxytocin (a “relationship” hormone) have anything to do with personal performance? The article offers an interesting suggestion:

A warm touch seems to set off the release of oxytocin, a hormone that helps create a sensation of trust, and to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In the brain, prefrontal areas, which help regulate emotion, can relax, freeing them for another of their primary purposes: problem solving. In effect, the body interprets a supportive touch as “I’ll share the load.”

So: let’s see more high-fives, more touches on the arm, more secret handshakes. It can’t hurt – especially around exam time!

Sultan Kosen: World’s Tallest Man at 8′ 3″

The tallest man in the world for the past 8 years has been Sultan Kosen of Ankara, Turkey. At 8 feet 3 inches, he is one of only 10 known people in history who have passed the 8 foot mark! He also holds the record for the largest hands (11 inches from wrist to tip of middle finger), and previously held the record for largest feet (1 foot 2 inches long).

Sultan’s incredible growth was caused by a growth-hormone-producing pituitary adenoma, a disease we’ll be talking about tomorrow in class.