Substance use disorder questions

Here’s a link (below) to the questions I mentioned in my post yesterday. Your answers don’t need to be long or perfect – I’m just interested to hear what you think after today’s talk. I’ll read through them and add 10 points to your total course score for thoughtfully going through this exercise (if you miss something big I’ll let you know). This will be open until Sunday (I’ll nag you if you haven’t finished the questions by then).

I hope you came away from today’s lecture with a little deeper understanding about what substance use disorder is (and isn’t). I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for this area of the course.

Click here to read and answer the questions.

Speaking of sleep…

Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it over and over: sleep is important. But here are a couple things I ran across recently that really made me stop and think.

1. This podcast

Here are the podcast notes if you’re interested but don’t want to watch the whole thing. His most recent book, “Why We Sleep,” goes into more depth but is still a really easy read (or listen – the audiobook is good).

Lots of interesting facts, way beyond the typical “turn your phone off an hour before bed” stuff. For example: the World Health Organization has classified shift work as a probable carcinogen, based on the overwhelming research evidence that insufficient sleep is linked to significantly increased risk of certain types of cancer (colon, prostate, and breast). Yikes.

Here’s a short video he put together that sort of summarizes all the bad things that happen if you don’t get enough sleep:

2. This Ted talk

I think I may have mentioned this Ted talk (or maybe just the discovery itself) in Histology last year when we talked about the brain. I ran across it again recently and it’s just so flipping cool. Also scary, because it’s become almost a badge of honor to get by with little sleep. You got 5 hours of sleep? Yeah, well I only got 3.


Exam 3 scores posted

The scores for today’s exam (for those of you who took the exam in our classroom) have been posted on Canvas.  You did really well (again)! The mean was 36 (out of 40). A couple notes about the scores:

  1. Canvas doesn’t have a way to list extra credit points (weird) – so I just included those in your final score for today’s exam. This means that if you got all of the questions right, including the two extra credit points, your score will be listed as a 42. When grading time comes, those two extra credit points will be truly extra (the total number of possible points in the course will remain the same). Not that it matters too much, but just so you know.
  2. There was one question that most people got wrong – so I gave everyone an extra point. As there are a handful of people who have not yet taken the exam, I don’t want to list which question it was here – but I will do so once everyone’s done.

Finally – speaking of extra credit points, if you’d like to enter your comment on the Newsweek article on Meghan and Harry’s baby (see the post below from November 14), the Google form for that is still open. I’m going to close it Wednesday night so I can get those points entered – so just wanted to let you know about that.

Tomorrow’s lecture is important

I usually don’t make statements like this. I think all our lectures (in any class) better be important – or we shouldn’t have them. But I feel pretty strongly about tomorrow’s lecture, which is about addiction and substance use disorder.

We’ve had some great talks about the opioid crisis over the past couple years – and I really liked the Naloxone training session you hosted earlier this month. It’s so important to develop a sense of how to safely prescribe opioids – and I think the sessions I’ve sat in on have done a great job of describing the crisis and laying out appropriate guidelines for healthcare professionals.

I also think that we should talk about addiction itself – and that’s where this lecture comes in. To my knowledge, there aren’t many places in our curriculum where we address what substance use disorder is.

For example, what happens in the brain as an addiction develops? A common misperception about addiction is that the addict simply lacks willpower – but that isn’t true. The part of the brain that mediates logical thought (the prefrontal cortex) actually “goes offline” (becomes disconnected) over time as an addiction becomes entrenched – and willpower/logical thought/all the consequences in the world eventually are no match for the power of the reward circuit in the brain. You may have experienced a mild version of this if you’ve overindulged in something sugary, then felt like crap and said “never again” (and meant it!) – only to find yourself staring at an empty pint of Ben and Jerry’s while stressed out studying for an exam. What happened?!

Anyway…I want to be sure that we talk about addiction from the patient’s point of view so you understand a bit about what the disease is like. The person giving the lecture (Dustin Chapman) is a great speaker with years of experience as a drug and alcohol counselor – and he’ll talk about a bunch of important stuff including:

  • how the brain changes during (and after) addiction
  • the most important risk factor for developing substance use disorder
  • myths (and truths) about addiction
  • signs and symptoms of mild to severe substance use disorder
  • treatment options
  • things to consider when you’re out in practice

We won’t have test questions on this lecture because the material doesn’t really lend itself to multiple choice questions. But I’ll post a few short-answer questions for you to work through, and you’ll get 10 points if you complete them.

We’ve had a lot of great feedback on this lecture, and a few students have even found it profoundly useful in their own lives – so I hope to see you tomorrow if you’re around! And if not, I’d encourage you to watch the Mediasite presentation when you get a chance.


Exam question breakdown and pre-exam cookies

Hi everyone –

I got a question just now about the breakdown for the test questions – sorry I didn’t think about posting this earlier, but maybe it will still be helpful. Here it is:

Anemia: 7 questions
Benign leukocytoses: 3
Acute leukemia: 5
Chronic leukemia: 4
Lymphoma/myeloma: 6
Hemostasis: 8
Bleeding and thrombotic disorders: 7

Also: according to the classroom schedule, no one is scheduled in 2-690 from 9-10 tomorrow (our exam is from 10-12). So I thought I’d show up at around 9:15 with cookies. If you want to come a little early and have cookies and/or ask any last minute questions, feel free to do so. Otherwise, I’m sure there will be some left and you can just grab one after the exam.

Will Meghan and Harry’s baby have hemophilia?

Love this Newsweek article:

Hemophilia: Could Meghan Markle’s Children Have This “Royal” Disease?

Thank you to the student who shared this! It’s such sensationalism…the title makes it sound like the baby could be in danger, but then the article admits that since Harry doesn’t have the disease, it’s kind of a moot point.

Someone mentioned extra credit today in class, and it occurred to me that this is a good opportunity for an extra point. Most of the stuff about hemophilia in the article is accurate – but there is an error in the last paragraph of the article. I’ll give you an extra point if you find it…just enter your answer in this Google form.