“The Vapours” was an archaic medical term which was basically the female analog to “melancholia" in men. It referred to a variety of acute and chronic mental illnesses, especially "hysteria”, but encompassing anxiety to chronic depression.
When it’s used in modern media in reference to early Victorian society, it generally refers to acute anxiety (or the sudden debilitation of a panic attack), which was one of the many uses of the term back when it was still in medical use.
It was believed to be caused by an excess of black bile (the “humour” created by the spleen). Today we know that these problems are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, not humour imbalances. It’s also probably not a good idea to solve your problems by sticking leeches all over yourself…
Do you know any medical blogs that focus on reproductive science? I'm interested in being a midwife, but I'm not sure where to learn about it.
Followers? Any suggestions?
I’m actually looking for some good ones, too (though more gyno/obst-centric than midwife-centric), so if you have any suggestions, reply to this post!
EtA: I know a lot of good midwife programs, but are there any good blogs that cover either that or gynecology/obstetrics really well? Even off-tumblr is fine.
For reference, off of here I tend to follow people like SkepticOB (though I frequently disagree with her ways of presenting an argument) and Dr. Jen Gunter, and non-OB/GYN specialists such as Drs. Harriet Hall, Vincent Ranicello, and Mark Crislip.
Hello! First of all, I want to congratulate you for our blog. I have found several enlightening posts here from time to time. Unfortunately, I have a question that will make me sound lazy; do I have to have a high GPA in order to get an M.D. Scholarship in another country? I live in Brazil and have just started my Biomedical Sciences Bachelor's degree in UFF (Universidade Federal Fluminense, my university). However, even if I study a lot, I have been having trouble with some subjects...
Sometimes, laziness is a matter of not finding something that you have a passion for, or putting yourself into a lifestyle that doesn’t suit the way your brain works - and, as I know all too well, mental illness can also greatly hinder potential, but that’s beside the point.
Anyway, I can only speak for what I know of the US, but I know that for most medical schools here, you need a very good GPA (and certain courses - all of which should be covered in a Biomedical Sciences degree) to even get into an out-of-state university, let alone get a scholarship, and I would have to assume that out-of-country applicants are subjected to similar standards.
That said, I’m not a doctor, I never went to medical school, and I only have the experience of friends and news reports to go off of, not any academic study or survey. I have a friend who started out quite poorly his freshman year, but who improved so drastically over his second and third years in college that the general upward trend, combined with overall evidence that he was actually taking life seriously and buckling down, let him get into med school.
There are lots of careers out there in medicine, and a ton of them don’t require med school. In general though, a high GPA is always better than a low one, and an upward trend is better than a downward one.
Or you could stay in the biomedical field and find drugs that make us less dead! You are in Brazil, one of the best places in the world for bioprospecting and pharmaceutical anthropology! Of course, there are many laboratory and hospital jobs around the world which care more about your experience than your GPA - if you truly think you’re “too far gone” to get a good bachelor’s GPA, I’d work on getting contacts and experience in the lab, because that looks good on any application - medical school or not. :)
Yay! Me too. And I hope to actually get around to some stuff I’ve intended for quite a while, but I do start a new job soon, so I’m trying to keep myself not-burned-out/not-totally-crazy, as I don’t want to just go caput for that long again.
Sorta-Related Recent inquiries:
- Yes, I did complete the first giveaway! Unfortunately, after I got confirmation that my package got to its destination, I never heard back from the guy. You know who you are! Send me pics!
- Yes, I do have more to give away! I wasn’t lying when I said I had WAY too much of this stuff lying around. I’m not gonna burn myself out and not get to it this time…but I might forget. So don’t feel bad if you poke me in a few weeks to ask about it.
- The Zarkster is…well, he’s okay. He’s good. We paid off our CareCredit account with the funds raised, so we’ll be able to put his surgery on there (no, his tooth isn’t out yet). Thank you again for all of the support <3
Anyway, Zarky is currently dealing with a very stubborn sebaceous cyst that was, for a time, getting recurring infections, but is now just healing…very, very slowly. We don’t want to have him get his tooth out and his maxilla ablated while he’s still healing. Hopefully that will be all closed up by the end of November. Hopefully. *shakes fists at nefarious skin conditions* Zarky disapproves of his skin.
Take the time to read the instructions – both the general help/tips page given by the Transcription Centre as well as any instructions given for a particular project. It saves time and your fellow #volunpeers won’t get so frustrated when they come to review your work.
Even if you DON’T read the instructions
Have a look at a “completed” page or two of the project.
Especially if you want to start editing. Sometimes projects are not transcribed in the standard format and there’s normally a very good reason for this! Check it before changing it.
Instructions don’t cover EVERY situation
Realise the Transcription Centre has kept the general help section short. It doesn’t cover all the situations you’ll come across in all the projects they give to us. That’s part of the fun of being a #volunpeer - YOU are creating the content.
Notations and Methods that work for me
The following is how I transcribe for the Transcription Centre. If there is any doubt/issues ask the Transcription Centre as they have the final word on how a project should be transcribed.
Underlined, Strikethrough, Can’t read, good guess
[[underlined]] text [[/underlined]] for underlined text.
[[strikethrough]] text [[/strikethrough] for text that has been struck out by writer.
Main aim is to be searchable so put a space between the [[text]] and the actual transcription.
If you can’t work out what a word is write [[?]]. If you are not sure of several words write [[?]] for each word. For example:
This [[?]] [[?]] sentence I’m not [[?]] of.
If you think you can guess the word, write your best guess inside those double brackets and keep the question mark. For example you THINK the writer has written “Smithsonian” but you are not sure. Transcribe as [[Smithsonian?]]
You can combine ALL of the above. So if the word is struck out & underlined, you can’t read it but you think its “Smithsonian” I would transcribe as:
I know it can be a bit ugly looking but it IS accurate!
You ONLY need to put these notations in if you are transcribing a project that has two pages per image. You don’t need either of these at the very top or very bottom of a page.
I use the notation [[Blank page]]. If there are two blank pages in the image I use
Often in handwritten projects the writer will have forgotten words or gone back and corrected by adding in insertions. They might use the ^ symbol to indicate this. I transcribe this as
^ [[insertion]] text [[/insertion]]
Where there is an insertion without the ^ I transcribe as
[[insertion]] text [[/insertion]]
I DON’T normally transcribe the [[insertion]] notation where a person has struck out the word and replaced it while writing. In that instance, I use the [[strikethrough]] notation.
BUT you will get the case where a writer has later come along, struck out some writing and added in more information with a ^. In that case I DO use the above notation. Use your own judgement and try and be consistent.
In typed text projects insertions are easier - the ^[[text]] notation is used to show handwritten additions to typed text.
I often come across projects where writers have made notes in the margin. I usually transcribe as
[[margin]] note [[/margin]].
If the writer has made notes in both the left and right margins I’ll transcribe as
[[left margin]] note [[/margin]]
[[right margin]] note [[/margin]]
As to WHERE to put the margin note, that it depends on the project and your judgement. Sometimes it makes sense to put all margin notes at the top of the transcription page, sometimes it makes better sense to put the margin note above the appropriate section. Use your judgement, check other completed pages of the project for a guide and ensure consistency.
If there is preprinted or stamped text in a document I transcribe as
[[preprinted]] text [[/preprinted]]
[[stamped]] text [[/stamped]]
This clarifies to any reader or researcher what the writer ACTUALLY wrote.
Sometimes page numbers are handwritten in circles or text has been circled for emphasis. I’ll transcribe as
[[circled]] text [[/circled]]
I think whether to note that the text is in superscript depends on your judgement. If I do note text as superscript, I transcribe as
1[[superscript]] st [[/superscript]]
However this maybe unnecessary and 1st may do.
Lines in text
This is another example of where you should use your own judgement. I use a variety of methods to transcribe lines drawn in text. Examples of the methods I’ve used in various projects are as follows:
[[line across page]]
[[vertical line]] or [[horizontal line]]
Latin names/place names
Where the writer is using scientific names, terms or place names I’m not familiar with I Google it. I find Google, Wikipedia and www.geonames.org invaluable. Once I think I’ve found the appropriate information I make a note in the “Notes on Transcribing this page (optional)” box so that other transcribers can benefit from the knowledge gained.
If I’m concentrating on one particular project I’ll often keep a piece of paper beside the computer listing the Googled terms so that I don’t have to keep looking them up.
Symbols/accents on letters
Often projects will have symbols/accents on letters etc. I use the Character Map on my desktop computer for these. If I’m unable to find the appropriate symbol, I transcribe it as
I may even describe the symbol. For example:
[[degree symbol]] etc.
Transcribing ” “, Do or Ditto’s
One of the main aims of the Transcription Centre is to ensure any document transcribed is searchable. The Transcription Centre would therefore like any ” marks, Do, or Ditto to be transcribed. For example
Two little red hens
" " " foxes
Should be transcribed as
Two little red hens
" " " [[Dittos for: Two little red]] foxes
Symbols in Botany, Entomology Projects etc
If you come across a symbol here, it is REALLY important to accurately transcribe it. For example in the Bee projects there is often a hand drawn symbol which indicates whether the bee is male, female, neuter, virgin female etc. This is very important information for researchers.
If you can’t find the symbol on Google, transcribe it as [[symbol]] and make a note in the “Notes on Transcribing this page (optional)” box. Hopefully another volunpeer or the Smithsonian staff can add the information.
Other issues in Botany, Entomology Projects
One recent issue that has arisen in the Bee projects is the difference between “collector” and “collection”. “Collector” is the person who actually went out in the field and collected the bug, plant etc. If the specimen label just says “collection of” you can’t put the owner of that collection down as the collector of that specimen. They may have acquired the specimen by various different methods including swapping with other collectors, purchasing it or being given it.
Titles of people (esp. Collectors).
This mainly comes up when transcribing botany or entomology collections. It is REALLY important to transcribe the title of women collectors – be it Miss or Mrs.
We are transcribing old documents and these women are frequently collecting with their fathers, brothers or husbands. Without their title being noted, their work is attributed to these men.
Often married women collectors are using their husbands’ full names. For example I’ve previously transcribed a collector as Mrs D. D. Gaillard (she was the wife of Colonel D.D. Gaillard). If you don’t transcribe her title, her scientific work will be credited to her husband.
This is another example of where you should use your own judgment. Sometimes the image is as simple as an arrow drawing on the text. Some examples are:
[[image – arrow pointing to line above]]
At other times it is a complex drawing of the anatomy of an animal.
[[image – pencil sketch of a bee]]
Or it could be a photograph
[[image – black and white photograph of landscape with three men standing in the foreground]]
I normally do my best to transcribe within [[image - ]] what the image actually is or looks like, as well as how the image is made.
I will also transcribe any written information, labels or key on the diagram in the transcription.
Tables of information in text
This is another example of where you should use your own judgment. There is a lot of variety in the type and size of tables used in different projects. So there is no best way to transcribe them. I often put descriptions of the table inside the [[text]] box and use the | symbol to indicate going from one column to another. For example
[[Table title]] Wallpaper samples [[/title]]
[[Table with four columns with headers Lot Number, Pattern, colour, size]]
Lot Number | Pattern | Colour | Size
1 | Tudor | cream | s
2 | Victorian | red | xl
3 | Edwardian | blue | m
Transcribe the written work as actually written. I’m sure there will be language experts out there keen to research the spelling mistakes!
Other helpful hints.
If in doubt, transcribe as best you can and put a note in the “Notes on Transcribing this page (optional)” box describing the issue. Check back on that page later as a fellow volunpeer may leave some helpful guidance for you.
Contacting the Transcription Centre
You can ask the transcription staff if you have any issues with the Transcription Centre or any projects there. Personally I find the best way is to tweet to @transcribeSI. The staff are wonderfully helpful and friendly. They want to know what you need help with and are keen to get answers out to you.
Another way to contact the Transcription Centre is to fill in the feedback form obtained by pressing the “feedback” tab to the right of the transcription box. The Transcription Centre is also on Facebook so you could also leave your query there.
Contact other #volunpeers
You can always ask for help from other volunpeers via Twitter. Use #volunpeers or follow other volunpeers who have posted to @transcribeSI. Everyone I’ve come across so far has been friendly and keen to help.
If you find something of interest, TELL someone. Don’t assume that they will already know. We are transcribing documents that very few people have seen or read. They’d have to go to the Smithsonian, make an appointment and physically be there to read the whole document.
So email that institute explaining you’ve found mentions of their founder in a diary. Contact that institution with corrections to their database. Tweet links to the bee projects to that conservation group concerned about pollinators. Create or edit that Wikipedia page on that important collector you’ve discovered. Add the name of that scientist to the Smithsonian Wikipedia “to do” list.
And don’t forget to Tweet or Facebook the Transcription Centre with interesting finds. They don’t get to have the fun of REALLY getting to know these projects by transcribing them. Let them share in the delight of the finds we make.
Could you post some stuff about migraine auras? I used to get an aura before a migraine (this sort of sparkly streak in the vision of my left eye). For the last few years though I only get the aura, and maybe a very mild migrane (or no migrane at all). What's up with that? (And I am just realising the aura is always on the left, so that's got to mean something too, right?) Thanks!
And the way that migraines work, it’s common to both “grow out of them” (if they started before 30, and especially before 25) and for aura-only migraines to be common before that point.
While it’s clearly a relief for most people to not have the debilitating headache, it’s still important to pay attention to the aura, because in addition to (possibly) signalling an oncoming headache, it also distorts the senses, and you don’t want to keep driving or operating heavy machinery as if nothing’s happening while you deal with it.
As for it occurring on the left side…maybe? But probably not something significant. If it gets worse or more frequent, you obviously want to see a doctor, because some migraine symptoms are also shared with more serious conditions, and people who have migraines are at the same risk as others of having other serious brain conditions, such as aneurysm and tumors. Not that it’s likely, but you always want to make sure to rule things like that out.
do you have any health tips? how to stay healthey/get healthy/mistakes people make etc?
Uhhhh 1. Not a doctor, and 2. nothing I say here should be taken seriously, but sure!
ARALLYN GIVES HEALTH TIPS
Make sure it’s water! H2O is much more satisfying than H2O2.
Don’t pet platypodes, at least if they’re male. They’ll venom-spike your butt.
Heavy water will kill you if you drink it exclusively.
Don’t offend the giraffes.
Eat your kale! I don’t know why but people keep telling me that it’s “good for you”, so do that.
Mostly don’t listen to people who tell you what’s “good for you”, cause humans are mostly dumb. If they’re a doctor they might not be as stupid, but if they’re trying to sell you something, you still might not want to listen to them.
Try to keep the alcohol content in your blood under half of your total volume. I hear it’s essential to life.
Don’t be an asshole. It can lead to being punched in the face. THAT’S not healthy.
In the words of my grade 9 health teacher, “THE ANUS DOES NOT SELF-LUBRICATE” (no, really, that was her one consistent line throughout the semester)
Remember that you need to eat and bathe when you get engrossed in video games. Also move! Moving is good for you.
DON’T TRY TO LIVE ON PIZZA HUT FOOD. IT WILL MAKE YOU DEAD.
Hey, just began reading your blog and I absolutely love it. I just wanted to ask about what qualifications you have (university degree wise), due to your obvious extensive knowledge, or if its just research you've done on the internet?
I have 4.5 out of 5 years finished on a dual Dairy Science and Microbiology degree. However, most of the stuff I post on here comes from a lot of research online, and knowing how to find *accurate* sources with reliable information.
Not to say everything I post here is totally correct (as always, corrections are welcome, so long as you’re civil), but most of the time, mistakes are on stuff I mis-typed or didn’t have the most recent research on.
Friendly reminder that I am not a doctor, and even if I were, nothing I say on here constitutes medical advice or opinion. It’s for fun. Can’t you just have fun for an hour, without trying to diagnose that mystery boil? I think you’ve earned it! So sit back, relax, and enjoy the posts.*
Hi, I saw your recent post that had to do with the renal connections to the urinary system. I have Orthostatic Proteinuria-normal amounts of protein in a persons urine through the night, but an increase through the day. I was wondering if you could post about this semi-normal condition. Some questions like what are the causes, what does this mean for the future, or of any other effects. As far as I know, a good percent of the population has this, but for me, I am interested in more information.
Well, due to activity/standing/walking about during the day (leading to more muscle activity/breakdown), everyone’s urine protein content increases during the day, but in orthostatic proteinuria, it just increases more than what’s considered “normal”. Since there are no clinical signs of disease in this condition, most people who have it don’t know it, so it’s hard to say what exactly the long-term effects of it are, since we don’t really know the true percentage of healthy people who have it.
While someone who has this for their entire life is unusual, many people going through growth spurts or who have bodies still adjusting to adulthood end up showing increased albumin excretion (the primary protein excreted in urine) until their late 20s or early 30s.
If it persists beyond then, it appears to have a strong correlation with an increased risk of kidney stones (mitigated by never getting dehydrated) and may have an association with an increase in kidney disease/failure at 60+ years, but that is weaker with its correlation, and is not thought to be directly causative.
All in all, it seems to just be a variation on “normal” - most people who have it never experience any kidney problems or symptoms, and it often goes away in time.
Do you know anything about how chronic fatigue syndrome is caused by viruses such as Epstein Barr? And in your opinion what sort of direction should research be going in to help treat people with the illness? Thanks your blog is spot on!
Well, from the most recent studies, while there’s a post-viral syndrome occasionally associated with EBV, it seems that EBV in and of itself is not a causative or strongly associated organism when it comes to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). The fact of the matter is, most people get exposed to Epstein-Barr during their childhood, and while it doesn’t always cause disease, the presence of antibodies to the virus doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
It’s been a while since I’ve looked deeply into virology, and for as much as I love it, I have no idea where it stands right now when it comes to CFS. I know that there are various autoimmune conditions and other viral infections being investigated to see if they have any correlation (or causative mechanism) related to CFS.
I do know that there’s been a recent emergence of fatigue-specialized doctors in my area - while it’s not a board-certified specialty yet, hopefully it’s still good news for those with fibromyalgia, CFS, and infectious causes of fatigue.