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

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Cuckoos and Lewy Bodies

Lewy Body Disorder: The fear that small silent people are living on your furniture (I paraphrase).

Just one of the fascinating facts that I learned today in our first psychiatry class. I hesitate to write about this subject because it forces me to make a somewhat embarrassing confession. I have always thought that psychiatry was a bunch of bunk (Insert Scientology joke here). I know that sounds horrible as someone going into the medical profession, but I have seen one too many criminals duck jail time by citing their extreme craziness. That, and my love of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest have instilled in me a inherent and, yes, irrational dislike of this subset of medicine.

It doesn’t help that I am constantly reminded of lesser nature of this specialty by every resdient who isn’t in psychiatry. Citing a defintion I heard recently: Psychiatry, the care of the id by the odd. I apologize to all the budding psychiatrists out there for my ignorance, but honestly, when our first reading contains the phrase “psychic energy,” I start thinking crystals, Stonehenge, and Enya. While this meditative state is enlightening, it doesn’t explain why these people are crazy.

I guess that has always been my hang-up with psychiatry, I never thought these doctors knew why any of it happened, they just shocked and drugged people until something worked. However, shrinks everywhere rejoice, my beautiful mind has reached a higher plane (sadly Enyaless) and I am learning a lot, even on my first day. Turns out, neuroscience is good for something after all and our textbook covers, in explicit detail, the proposed pathological changes in the brain leading to Schizophrenia. (For those who don’t already know, it has to do with functional hyperactivity in the dopamine system of the brain).

So science has once succeeded in elucidating an explanation for the seemingly inexplicable…now if only they could do something with the new Bjork album.


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