Thursday, 21 April 2011

Sports science vs medicine.

So what does sports science involve then? This was pretty much what I wondered during my first week of lectures. Turn out the answer is very simple: The science of sport. Oh.

I haven't brushed up on my anatomy to the extent I was hoping because it turns out that is first and second year sports science and so they are expected to know it already, have however covered a much broader spectrum of subjects than I anticipated ranging from module in sports medicine itself to physiology of health to the sociology of sports deviance.

The actual sports medicine module was awesome and we had some fantastic lecturers who taught us about issues such as eating disorders in sport or drug cheating amongst athletes. As mentioned in a blog last year ( following doing a student selected module on eating disorders this is an area of medicine that has fascinated me. Last year I met a patient with chronic anorexia nervosa who did ballet and now was a ballet teacher. It was her ambition to be great at ballet which caused the development of her eating disorder in the first place (ballet is a sport where your body is very on show to the public causing self consiousness and in addition ballet dancers are encouraged to be light for lifts etc) but her eating disorder was now impeding her career as it had caused physical symptoms such as brittle bones that broke easily even when she was performing relatively low impact dance moves. Having met a patient who had AN for this reason it was very interesting to learn more about the science of the disease and why athletes may be prone to the disease. I'm not sure I learnt that much that I hadn't already been taught last year, but it remains my favorite lecture of the year and it was interesting to have my information refreshed by someone who was very knowledgeable on the topic.

Another lecturer told us all about how different types of drugs that athletes use work and the side effects that they may have. This was a very useful lecture for my future clinic
al practice because I may well come across patients in the future who are using illicit medication for enhancing reasons and it will be good to have a firm knowledge of the possible health consquences so that I can warn the patient about these in the hope that increased knowledge will persuade them against taking them. However seeing as one study showed that of those questioned 50% of elite american athletes said that they would take a pill that would guarrantee them a gold olympic medal even if they would die 12 months later, I suppose being warned of the consquences by a doctor is unlikely to have much impact. The mindset of an elite athlete is an interesting thing.

The mindset of athletes is something we learnt more about during our sociology of sport module. A lot of the students at loughborough are extreme athletes themselves. Case example: During the introductory lecture the module leader asked why two students weren't present and was told they were competing in the commonwealth games. :O. Wow. I have never felt so unsporty as I do this year! In other module I was sitting feeling quite proud of myself for having woken up early enough to go for a pre lecture swim only to hear someone behind me describe themselves as first of "Alright" at swimming and then express their hope to get on the olympic team.... So bearing this in mind debates in this module about aspects such as cheating, sports violence and drug taking, were interesting to listen to from a relatively outside of sports world perspective. I was frankly shocked by the number of my classmates who viewed drug cheating or violence as ok and part of doing your best to win. One classmate expressed "Being a sportsman is about being the best you can be, training isn't natural, so what different about taking enhancing drugs - thats truely being the best you can be"... :O . Personally I found this viewpoint shocking and I was surprised how many people seemed to agree with it. I hope the viewpoints were to an extent just playing devils advocate, otherwise you can guarrantee drugs cheating in sport is not going away anytime soon..

<---- My personal opinion

We have also had quite a lot of lab sessions testing things like markers of cardiovascular fitness. Fun undoubtably, but some of them quite embarrassing to carry out in the company of hardcore athletes.... I blame my faster resting heart beat on my morning caffiene fix ;)

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Why I am not doing my dissertation

So the draft of my intercalated dissertation is due 12 hours left on it then :/. So why am I blogging and not doing it, am I super organised have already sent it? No. Is it virtually finished? No. The cartoon to the left shows very effectively why I am not doing it. If you haven't worked out by now...I'm a pretty skilled procrastinator.

Also I am currently on that statistical analysis section.. and maths is not my strong point... plus SPSS the statistics programme we have to us is evil. In fact in yet another moment of procrastination I made the following graph to show my dislike of SPSS (but I used excel to make said graph thanks ;D ). Degree students feel free to steal my graph and spread the hatred of SPSS, just remember to reference me vancouver style ;).

(Nb, the Y axis shows sanity, it won't let me make the graph bigger) (And Yes, I didn't presume to start at 100% ;D)

Figure 1. a graph to show blah blah blah ;)

That is all for now. Next post should be more information and less about my hatred of dissertation :P. Back to it now, unfortuanately the dissertaton fairies haven't completed it in my absence, lazy beggars.

A-sleepy-confused-bored-halfadoc xx

Friday, 15 April 2011

Its not PE

When I came to loughborough I wasn't quite sure what to expect from sports science, I had a vague idea that I might brush up on my anatomy which has been increasingly forgotten since my pre clinical years and learn a bit about sports injuries which would hopefully be helpful whatever future speciality I pick.

When I tell everyone Im intercalating in sports science everyone assumes that means I want to be a sports doctor, to be honest, I really don't. I want to do paediatrics but there is only one intercalated course really relevant for this at the moment and this year is the first year they are running it so sadly there was only 1/2 external places making it very competative and I didn't get on it. So I was left choosing from 3 other intercalated places - I could have stayed at my home university and studied psychology, gone to london and studied maternal/foetal health or come here to loughborough. I really wanted to experience somewhere different for a year so that ruled my own uni out. The london course looked interesting in aspects but contained a bit too much embryology for me which I'm not really a fan of. I was seriously tempted to go to london though because I thought it would be a really cool place to live and experience for a year plus a lot of my friends from medical school had got places to intercalate there so I would not be leaving everyone behind. In the end though the prospect of doing a course I prefered the look of (I thought it looked much less dry and dull) and the chance to not be a sheep and to do something completely different swayed me.

So here I am, in loughborough, the only student here from my medical school not only this year but ever - maybe I will be a trend setter ;). Despite my initial fears about living in Falk Egg it only took me a few days of freshers week to realise I was going to have fantastic year. And when I say freshers week, I mean freshers TWO weeks, they really don't call it the loughborough experience for nothing! I have to say it put my orginal freshers week to shame, for example my freshers ball was in a club with some allegedly famous dj who really I had never heard of...Loughborough freshers ball was held at the MASSIVE students union with free fair ground rides outside, Max and Ob from Hollyoaks (which used to be a guilty pleasure of mine during my first few years of med school) hosting it throughout, live music from the Vengaboys and Eliza dolittle, fire displays...and so much more! It was amazing!

My flatmates are all female and lovely so I feel I have been very lucky. By pure coincedence one of them is a third year sports science student which has certainly been useful as lecturers still aren't that used to intercalating students (the intercalating course has only been run a few years) and sometimes assume everyone knows how to do something (for example how to use SPSS - a statistics analysing programme) but we really don't. The rest are freshers on a wide variety of courses and I'm really enjoying being out of the med student bubble for a year (as much as I in many ways love it!)

I will talk more about what my actual course involves later (need to get back to dissertation now!) but I will just counter a common misconception by saying: Its not pe!

Halfadoc xx

Friday, 8 April 2011

A year off? Maybe not..

Well I haven't posted in almost a year now, and this isn't gonna be a very long one (as why I have decided to post when I have a wedding to pack for and a dissertation to write I have no idea!) but I will try and catch you up in small chunks. I finished my third year, it,was,hard. No doubt about it. The posts stopped because I was struggling to keep on top of both my ongoing rotation whilst at the same time trying to cram like crazy for the mass of exams at the end of the year that came rapidly one after the other. It was a shame because my very last rotation was paediatrics/ obgynae which was the rotation I had most been looking forward to all year. I really want to do paediatrics so it was a shame that I could not dedicate all of my time during this rotation to seeing as much as possible, however I had to find a balance because I needed to revise hard for my exams. I will try and retrospectively fill in on this rotation later... I made it through my exams somehow on first attempt which was a massive relief because I have no idea where I would have found the strength to do a retake after such an exhausting year. Those who had to and made it through have my absolute respect because I hate to imagine how stressful and exhausting that must have been. So where am I now? Well between my third and fourth medical years we have the option to do what is called an "intercalated degree" . This is effectively where you enter the 3rd year of a normal degree and end up with a BSc on the basis of just this year (your first two years are thought of as being your pre clinical medical year in order to make up the credits but these don't actually count to what grade you get). I choose to do this extra year as did a lot of the undergraduates in my year. However whilst most of my year went of to do (in my opinion) quite dry, very sciency subjects such as immunology or physiology and mostly stay at our home university or go to london, I decided to buck the trend and head to loughborough university to study Sports Science and test out this whole renowned "Loughborough Experience" .

So slightly daunted about leaving all my friends behind (I was literally the only medical student from my year heading to lufbra) last September I headed to a different area of the country to live back in halls with a bunch of 18 year olds. The halls I had picked were the cheapest (my debt is mounting up quite nicely by now, wasting money seems a tad silly) , but known as being the "council flats". Its fair to say that as I drove myself to lufbra, and unpacked my room by myself (whilst my fresher housemates parents ran about giving them roughly a years supply of food and even making their beds) I did wonder slightly what I had let myself in for.. But, thats a reasonable start on filling you in for now, more later!

<- My Halls. Doesn't look so bad right??

Thanks if you stuck with me despite my massive gap, I will try to fill in my intercalated year as quick as possible so that I will be up to date by the time I head out for a hospital placement in Tanzania come august :) . Half a doc xx