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Currated by 174,000 medical professionals.
#41
Foo20151013 2023 e2a8vo?1444774258
6
247

Monkey See, Monkey Do.

So you're sitting in a bus when you see a baby smile sunnily and gurgle at his mother. Your automatic response? You smile too. You're jogging in the park, when you see a guy trip over his shoelaces and fall while running. Your knee jerk reaction? You wince. Even though you're completely fine and unscathed yourself. Or, to give a more dramatic example; you're watching Titanic for the umpteenth time and as you witness Jack and Rose's final moments together, you automatically reach for a tissue and wipe your tears in whole hearted sympathy ( and maybe blow your nose loudly, if you're an unattractive crier like yours truly). And here the question arises- why? Why do we experience the above mentioned responses to situations that have nothing to do with us directly? As mere passive observers, what makes us respond at gut level to someone else's happiness or pain, delight or excitement, disgust or fear? In other words, where is this instinctive response to other people's feelings and actions that we call empathy coming from? Science believes it may have discovered the answer- mirror neurons. In the early 1990s, a group of scientists (I won't bore you with the details of who, when and where) were performing experiments on a bunch of macaque monkeys, using electrodes attached to their brains. Quite by accident, it was discovered that when the monkey saw a scientist holding up a peanut, it fired off the same motor neurons in its brain that would fire when the monkey held up a peanut itself. And that wasn't all. Interestingly, they also found that these motor neurons were very specific in their actions. A mirror neuron that fired when the monkey grasped a peanut would also fire only when the experimenter grasped a peanut, while a neuron that fired when the monkey put a peanut in its mouth would also fire only when the experimenter put a peanut in his own mouth. These motor neurons came to be dubbed as 'mirror neurons'. It was a small leap from monkeys to humans. And with the discovery of a similar, if not identical mirror neuron system in humans, the studies, hypotheses and theories continue to build. The strange thing is that mirror neurons seem specially designed to respond to actions with clear goals- whether these actions reach us through sight, sound, smell etc, it doesn't matter. A quick example- the same mirror neurons will fire when we hop on one leg, see someone hopping, hear someone hopping or hear or read the word 'hop'. But they will NOT respond to meaningless gestures, random or pointless sounds etc. Instead they may well be understanding the intentions behind the related action. This has led to a very important hypothesis- the 'action understanding' ability of mirror neurons. Before the discovery of mirror neurons, scientists believed our ability to understand each other, to interpret and respond to another's feeling or actions was the result of a logical thought process and deduction. However, if this 'action understanding' hypothesis is proved right, then it would mean that we respond to each other by feeling, instead of thinking. For instance, if someone smiles at you, it automatically fires up your mirror neurons for smiling. They 'understand the action' and induce the same sensation within you that is associated with smiling. You don't have to think about what the other person intends by this gesture. Your smile flows thoughtlessly and effortlessly in return. Which brings us to yet another important curve- if mirror neurons are helping us to decode facial expressions and actions, then it stands to reason that those gifted people who are better at such complex social interpretations must be having a more active mirror neuron system.(Imagine your mom's strained smile coupled with the glint in her eye after you've just thrown a temper tantrum in front of a roomful of people...it promises dire retribution my friends. Trust me.) Then does this mean that people suffering from disorders such as autism (where social interactions are difficult) have a dysfunctional or less than perfect mirror neuron system in some way? Some scientists believe it to be so. They call it the 'broken mirror hypothesis', where they claim that malfunctioning mirror neurons may be responsible for an autistic individual's inability to understand the intention behind other people's gestures or expressions. Such people may be able to correctly identify an emotion on someone's face, but they wouldn't understand it's significance. From observing other people, they don't know what it feels like to be sad, angry, surprised or scared. However, the jury is still out on this one folks. The broken mirror hypothesis has been questioned by others who are still skeptical about the very existence of these wonder neurons, or just how it is that these neurons alone suffered such a developmental hit when the rest of the autistic brain is working just dandy? Other scientists argue that while mirror neurons may help your brain to understand a concept, they may not necessarily ENCODE that concept. For instance, babies understand the meaning behind many actions without having the motor ability to perform them. If this is true, then an autistic person's mirror neurons are perfectly fine...they were just never responsible for his lack of empathy in the first place. Slightly confused? Curious to find out more about these wunderkinds of the human brain? Join the club. Whether you're an passionate believer in these little fellas with their seemingly magical properties or still skeptical, let me add to your growing interest with one parting shot- since imitation appears to be the primary function of mirror neurons, they might well be partly responsible for our cultural evolution! How, you ask? Well, since culture is passed down from one generation to another through sharing, observation followed by imitation, these neurons are at the forefront of our lifelong learning from those around us. Research has found that mirror neurons kick in at birth, with infants just a few minutes old sticking their tongues out at adults doing the same thing. So do these mirror neurons embody our humanity? Are they responsible for our ability to put ourselves in another person's shoes, to empathize and communicate our fellow human beings? That has yet to be determined. But after decades of research, one thing is for sure-these strange cells haven't yet ceased to amaze and we definitely haven't seen the last of them. To quote Alice in Wonderland, the tale keeps getting "curiouser and curiouser"!  
Huda Qadir
about 5 years ago
#42
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Do medics need to get over themselves?

 
Lucas Brammar
about 5 years ago
#43
Sacral plexus tibial nerve common fibular nerve1333654508571
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sacral-plexus-tibial-nerve-common-fibular-nerve1333654508571.jpg

 
classconnection.s3.amazonaws.com
over 4 years ago
#44
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Funky Anatomy EXAM ANSWERS Median Nerve

Get the entire Funky Professor collection here: http://www.thefunkyprofessor.com The Funky Professor introduces our new series of podcasts, designed to help ...  
YouTube
almost 5 years ago
#45
65c83078c8cfd0806669161f3a2904fd69d65f618328381375920135
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Illustrated Anatomy of Upper-limb

An illustrated overview of the nerve supply ,muscles and important landmarks of the upper-limb  
Sarosh Kamal
about 3 years ago
#46
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Atrial Fibrillation Symptoms & Treatments

NorthShore University HealthSystem Cardiac Electrophysiologists Wes Fisher, M.D., Jose Nazari, M.D. and Alex Ro, M.D. discuss atrial fibrillation.  
YouTube
about 5 years ago
#47
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Antibiotics Summary

During our antibiotics teaching at medical school we were told that a recent survey of junior doctors had revealed that a significant proportion didn't realise that augmentin, tazocin, and carbopenems were penicillins and as such should not be given to those with known allergies. I devised a "mind-map" summarising the main antibiotics in use using information from the BNF and my own lecture notes. For me, seeing the information laid out in this manner, pinned above my desk as I work, helps me remember the major classes, their relationships with one another, and their major side-effects.  
bethan goulden
almost 8 years ago
#48
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5
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Funky Anatomy EXAM ANSWERS Brachial Plexus for Beginners

http://www.thefunkyprofessor.com The Funky Professor introduces our new series of podcasts, designed to help you ace your exams. In conjunction with our 3 St...  
YouTube
almost 5 years ago
#49
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Anatomy Of The Adductor Magnus Muscle - Everything You Need To Know - Dr. Nabil Ebraheim

Educational video describing the anatomy of the adductor magnus muscle. Become a friend on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/drebraheim Follow me on twitter:...  
YouTube
about 4 years ago
#50
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Immune System Flowchart

This has been designed to show how the different components of the immune system develop individually and work together. I realised that a flowchart would be an excellent way to demonstrate this and was surprised to find that there wasn’t anything suitable on the internet that linked both the innate and adaptive systems. I know the diagram looks a bit dry but if you spend 5 minutes reading through it, I hope you'll find it useful. I'll hopefully add some images to make it more appealing at a later date. The flowchart is based on information from lectures and several textbooks and has proven to be an excellent tool for revision and in developing a foundational understanding of the immune system for many students.  
Jon Curtis
almost 7 years ago
#51
9dc5c3d9738ee44f38f66c505bbab6 gallery
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24 hour ambulatory impedance pH test | Radiology Case | Radiopaedia.org

There is an esophageal pH impedance probe in situ.  
radiopaedia.org
3 months ago
#52
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4
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11 pairs of ribs and lumbosacral transitional vertebra | Radiology Case | Radiopaedia.org

Since 11 rib pairs can be counted on the upright frontal chest film, one can confidently determine that the lumbosacral transitional vertebra is, in fact, a sacralised L5 vertebra.  
radiopaedia.org
3 months ago
#53
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Diagnosis of Right Ventricular Strain with Transthoracic Echocardiography - R.E.B.E.L. EM - Emergency Medicine Blog

Right ventricular strain with transthoracic echocardiography has been well documented as a predictor for pending shock and significant in-hospital mortality  
rebelem.com
almost 4 years ago
#54
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Pediatric Cardiology-Fetal Echocardiography Basic Views

Pediatric Cardiology Teaching, lectures conducted by Dr Sejal Shah. The topic is - Fetal Echocardiography Basic Views .  
YouTube
over 4 years ago
#55
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2
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Meet stock market trader turned neuroscientist John Coates (Wired UK)

How do hormones such as testosterone and cortisol affect our ability to work, rest and play? Coates has the answer  
Wired UK
about 5 years ago
#56
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Heart Anatomy Part 2

Heart Anatomy Part 2 by Dr. Fabian  
YouTube
over 4 years ago
#57
Foo20151013 2023 t9y30l?1444774036
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2161

Gawande-ism

Good morning all, Being new to blogging, it's surprisingly interesting how difficult it is to start! I recently read Atul Gawande's three best selling books and they were an inspiration. I am sure most medic's will be aware of Mr Gawande (http://gawande.com/), the man behind the WHO safe surgery checklist. If you are not, and you want to read something that will really enthuse you about modern medicine, then please do get his books out from the library. I would recommend starting with "Better". The last chapter of "Better" is what prompted me to write this. Gawande has come up with 5 principles for being a "positive deviant" and 1 of them is - Just Write! He believes that to make our lives as doctors/medical students and the world a better place, we should all write down what we have been thinking about, because we may just come up with something that other people can use or just find others who have similar thoughts and will help us build a sense of community together. Although I have made many previous New Years resolutions to start keeping diaries and to keep journals of thoughts. They have always ended fairly quickly. This time may be different. Hopefully I will come up with some more thoughts that are vaguely worth sharing soon. Final thought for now - "Gawande-ism" = the belief that we can all make self-improvements and improve the world around us, little by little.  
jacob matthews
almost 6 years ago