(A glimpse into my life as a Vanderbilt medical student)

Friday, August 27, 2004

Autoantibodies and American Football

Crippling deformity, premature mortality, excruciating pain: Autoimmune diseases aren’t for wimps – Dr. McCurley. Basically, when you have one of these diseases there is a civil war going on inside of you and you are powerless to stop it. It was sobering to sit in class today and think about the thousands of people afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma. As a student, I desire to relate to my patients and understand their conditions, but I can’t imagine what it must be like to experience terrible pain with every minute movement of your tiniest joint.

Judging by our lectures this morning it seemed like there isn’t much modern medicine can do for these patients. However, just recently, the NEJM (basically the “Bible” of medical research) published some encouraging articles concerning new drugs for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

I think it is so amazing how much medicine has progressed in the last fifty years. Just yesterday Dr. Norden (my neuro prof) was telling us how all the information we know about communications in the brain (synapses for all you budding MDs) was less than fifty years old. How awesome that science has grown at such a tremendous rate. I am involved in some research here at Vandy and uniquely driven to learn more because I know that, ultimately, my findings may actually contribute positively to the quality of someone’s life.

So the NEJM article was a bright spot in a somewhat sad day, but tonight a group of us (meaning med students) are going to the John Mayer concert in Nashville. Should be fun, but since I didn’t have any pics for you yet of our auditory adventure, I wanted to post a pic collage I made of our VMSI vs. VMSII Annual Football Game. Vandy is full of traditions; this being one of the more violent ones. At the beginning of each year we all get together on one of the intramural fields and the girls of each class cheerlead while the guys pummel each other (Don’t get all worked up about gender stereotypes, a role reversal game is planned for next week). Good clean American fun!

Check back later tonight to find out about the concert. Surprise…some of us med students actually do go out.


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