Posts tagged learning

I'm not a smart guy, and sometimes I can't even understand what some of the words are on your posts mean, unless I google it, but following you gives me hope of becoming a more intelligent person. Thank you for educating me. — Asked by Anonymous

And I’m not a naturally smart lady, but I love to learn!

I try to make things understandable around here, but you already have the biggest key to getting smarter - knowing what resources to utilize. I don’t know almost anything I post about off the top of my head, and the things I do know, I don’t trust myself to remember accurately, so I search Google before almost every post I write, if only to double-check things…or see if more research has been done recently!

Learn broadly, and with passion. Being “smart” only gets you so far, and can sometimes hinder more than help. For as much as I’d love to pick new concepts up more quickly, I know that the subjects I always felt “smart” in are the ones I neglected to study or care about.

By the way - the best way to learn is to teach others. I have ulterior motives for running this blog and 7/10 of them are directly related to wanting to learn more, myself, and my friends wanting me to shut up about nephrons and syphilis and koala STDs once in a while. :P

Hey! How do you know so much about this stuff? College or...? — Asked by Anonymous

If you know how to use it, the internet is an amazing tool. It can also be amazingly misleading if you don’t know how to discern nonsense from truth.

I started this blog in college, but it didn’t teach me most of these things. I learned most of them on my own. I learn more every time I post, because I almost always verify and double-check my facts when I write, and I get distracted really easily, so I tend to wander off and end up reading about the genetic history of measles, when I meant to be posting about a skin condition…

What did you major/minor in ? — Asked by Anonymous


Also biology. General biology. The most boring kind.

I have a FAQ that says things like “I did the study with cowkin and mitochondria”

Besides having an interest in the subject, what helps you learn? What keeps you focused when working? Do you have any tips for students on how to better absorb new information? — Asked by Anonymous

If I’m being 100% honest here, I do most of my “light reading” (the overviews of stuff I’m interested in) as I have a beer or two. I write most of my posts after drinking a bit, too. Never “smashed” or “super drunk” or whatever it’s called, because 1. I can’t think like that, and 2. I hate feeling like that so I avoid it.

That said, I almost always read scientific papers and do my editing when I have nothing in my system but my normal medications. I try to do everything I can in the morning - I may have more interest in writing at night, which is fine, but I’m only well-focused until about noon, and no matter whether I go for a walk, eat, or take a quick nap, the afternoon is never as productive for me.

When I was in school, I would always make a point to wake up early, haul my butt out of bed, and go to the library (or student center, if the library wasn’t open yet), and study *before* class. I tried studying at night, or doing papers at night, but I never was able to do them without getting completely distracted and not caring…and the kicker was that I’d stayed up so late trying to do them that I wasn’t able to wake up early!

Anyway, not everyone works the same way, but what I’ve found helps me personally is trying to learn and work in an environment where I’m away from most distractions, but that I know enough that I’m not confused/nervous about my surroundings, and to do things in the morning as much as possible.

UI Chicago has a great compendium of resources for various study/learning tips, and they cover many different study styles.

And Prof. Rapaport at UNY-Buffalo has a good rundown of general study tips, with a different viewpoint than the UIC website.

hah! gotta love people who correct without knowing anything. at least I know i'm not smarter than you. keep doing your thing! <3 — Asked by Anonymous

Thanks, though I don’t think the person who thought I was wrong doesn’t know anything.

[half-coherent diatribe]

After all, I don’t claim to be an expert in any field, and there are almost certainly topics where you know far more than me. No one can know everything…that’s the price of existing on this massive (tiny) and fascinating planet, and having such limited time here.

The most critical skill to learn (and somehow manage to maintain in today’s school systems and societal structure) is how to work with others - how to learn from others, how to collaborate, how to teach others, how to build off of others’ knowledge, everything.

We are all so tiny. We can’t learn everything about existence. We need to listen to others, and learn how to disregard biases against gender, nationality, “race”, and religion. There are brilliant Kenyan Muslim women, and intelligent white Canadian Lutheran men, and wise agnostic Indian hijras. Disregarding input from any of them because of some preconceived bias makes us miss out on a chance to learn.

When the previous question asker tried to correct me, I reminded him that I don’t appreciate being told that I “regurgitate” things, and showed him why I believed my opinion to be correct. Sometimes people believe that they really know something, and aren’t aware that the scientific literature contradicts what they were taught. That’s okay. I just don’t like being talked down to, when someone thinks I’m wrong.

[/half-coherent diatribe]


Medical Terminology: Latin and Greek Roots - Descriptive

So you can tell if something is in the liver, if it’s around something else, if you’re talking about a disease or an expert on a disease…but what about those weird color roots that turn up so often, and what about other descriptive prefixes and suffixes? When you study syndromes (a collection of symptoms that is not a fully understood disease), descriptors are fairly common. Here are some of them that you’ll probably come across:

**If you go to my page tagged #Medical Terminology and use the search function on your computer [Ctrl + F on PCs], you can type part of a medical word you’ve seen, and you just might find the term that corresponds with it. :D


Polio-: Grey (ex: Poliomyelitis - inflammation of the grey matter of the spinal cord)

Nigr-/Melano-: Black (Nigr- is almost exclusively used in Latin species names, such as Pinus negra, the Austrian pine, Melanoma - a black tumor - a dark-colored skin cancer that often forms from moles)

Leuk(o)-/Leuc-/Alb(o)-: White (Albinism - the state of being white - commonly known as a lack of pigmentation, Leukemia - derived from the term “leucocytemia” - a lack of white blood cells)

Xanth(o)-/Jaun-/Flav-: Yellow (ex: xanthoma - a yellow tumor - formed by cholesterol-rich fatty deposits building up under the skin, jaundice, flavenoids)

Cyano-: Blue (ex: cyanosis - a production or increase of blue - generally caused by low oxygen availability)

Chlor(o)-: Green (ex: chlorine: a green chemical - chlorine gas is a distinct green color)

Cirrh(o)-: Reddish-yellow (ex: cirrhosis - an increase or production of reddish-yellow coloring - refers to the coloration and appearance of the liver when it’s damaged)

Poryphyr(o)-/Purpur-/Purpureo-: Purple (ex: poryphyria - purple pigment - a set of genetic conditions that affects heme production - causes purple urine and faeces when attacks occur)

Erythr(o)-/Rhod(o)-/Rub-/Rubeo-: Red (ex: erythrocyte - literally, red cell - refers to red blood cells)


Tachy-/Celer-: Fast

Brady-/Tard(i)-: Slow

Ortho-/Rect(i)-: Straight, normal, correct

Ankylo-/Prav(i)-: Bent, crooked

Neo-/Nov(i)-: New

Paleo-/Veter-: Old

Oxy-/Ac-: Sharp

Platy-/Plan(i)-: Flat

Cac(o)-/Dys-/Mal(e)- Bad, incorrect

Sten(o)-/Anguist(i)-: Narrow

Eury-/Lat(i)-: Wide, broad

Further Reading/Sources: 

Des Moines University Medical Terminology


Online Etymology Dictionary

Medical Etymology of Herpes

And, of course, Antiquus Morbis

1913. Dr. Philips&#8217; gross anatomy class, Army Medical School. 

1913. Dr. Philips’ gross anatomy class, Army Medical School. 

Medical students at Minnesota Medical School, working on a cadaver. 1890.

Medical students at Minnesota Medical School, working on a cadaver. 1890.

Sources Page v0.8 up and running

Still under construction, but as I’m going to be busy for good long while and most of the links are there, thought I’d throw it out there. I don’t use every single one of those sources on this specific page, but they’ve all been useful at one time or another while researching historical medicine/science.

So yeah. Go wild. Back later; hope the queue shoots some zoology pics at you today.

An earlier variation on the &#8220;Student&#8217;s Dream&#8221; macabre photography theme. Illustrations of similar scenes known as the &#8220;Anatomist&#8217;s Nightmare&#8221; or (less common) &#8220;Anatomist&#8217;s Dream&#8221; were painted and drawn even before formal medical schools were around, and anatomists were no more than curious men cutting up bodies they bought off of grave robbers.

An earlier variation on the “Student’s Dream” macabre photography theme. Illustrations of similar scenes known as the “Anatomist’s Nightmare” or (less common) “Anatomist’s Dream” were painted and drawn even before formal medical schools were around, and anatomists were no more than curious men cutting up bodies they bought off of grave robbers.