Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Day of Lectures, Discussions, and Panels

I woke up a bit early today because I had to pick up my laundry from the basement. I did laundry last night, but I couldn't pick it up until this morning. Breakfast went on as usual. At 8:45, our T.A. was waiting for us to guide us to our class. I finally know the how to reach my class now.

We had a couple of guest speakers in our class today. The first speaker was a epidemiologist who studied the effects and patterns of diseases. She told us some very interesting disease cases that were a result of bad food and drinks. I was surprised to learn that many people were adamant about selling raw milk even though they knew the illnesses it caused.
This is us during class.
Our next guest speaker was a doctor who was specialized in lung cancer. I learned some very interesting facts about lung cancer. For instance, smoking causes the airways in the lungs to become blocked- which is the reason why many smokers have difficulty breathing. I also was able to see MRI scans of healthy and damaged lungs; it was easy to distinguish between the healthy and non-healthy lungs because the structure was greatly distorted. One thing that extremely surprised me was how addicted smokers can become; I had not realized that the addiction was so great. For example, the doctor told us that a patient who had received a lung transplant started smoking again right after the surgery. It really upset me to hear this because someone else could have used that lung.

The third guest speaker worked for an environmental agency. He showed us pictures of areas before and after environmental clean-ups; there was clearly a huge difference, but it is very costly. He also played a game with us in which we had to solve a true case after receiving clues. There was a forty-four year old married man who started showing symptoms of illness after eating dinner; this had happened to him sixteen times before. The environmental agency discovered that he had large amounts of barium in his body, but they could not figure out or why. It turned out that the case had an unexpected twist in it: The man's wife had attempted multiple times to kill him through rat poisoning; however, she failed every time and decided to shoot him in the back of the neck. She was, however, caught and the case was solved.

In addition to guest speakers, we also had small group discussions. We discussed two articles. The first article argued whether employers should have the right to deny a job to smokers. I found it to be a very controversial topic, and I couldn't decide which side I supported. I believe that smokers should not be denied a job because that would create discrimination. Plus, employers should choose employees based on their skills and not their personal lives. Another question that came up in the article was whether or not it would be okay for medical professionals to smoke alongside their patients. I disagreed with this idea because if doctors- especially lung cancer doctors- smoke, then are being hypocrites. They cannot effectively promote healthy habits if they themselves do not follow the health habits.
 The other article debated whether or not it was right to place a limit on the amount of trans-fat in food in New York City. One of the questions that my group addressed was whether or not it violates individual autonomy. We decided that it did not because the customers were still receiving the same food with the same taste. We also decided that this ban would be very beneficial because it is one step towards towards lowering the risk of heart diseases.
After we ended the class with these great discussions, I went to my Arete class. I actually put henna on my hand today instead of putting it on paper. However, it was a bit of a struggle because the cone I was using did not function properly.
The final event of the day was college night. The two panels that I attended were called, "The Application and Selection Process" and "The Post Freshmen Experience". In the first panel, I was able gain advice about applying to college from three of the proctors. I already knew most of what they told us. However, they did remind me to keep an open mind, and they emphasized the importance of choosing a college that is right for me. In the second panel, I was able to learn more about medical school. I had no idea that the MCAT is changing- the length of the test is going to double and there are going to be more logic-based questions. I will have quite a bit of studying to do in the upcoming years. I was also able to discover the difference between a MD and a DO. Before a medical doctor was considered superior to a doctor of osteopathy, but they both are given equal prominence now. Usually, though, a MD is more common. The second panel scared me a bit about medical school, but I think the experience and hard work will be worth it!

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