Thursday, January 29, 2015

Things I've Learned: Ice On Whyte, Anamnesis, & Writing

Today is a groggy post-call day that involved a 5-hour nap and lots of sitting in bed with coffee, peanut butter cookies, and Modern Family. As my brain is in zombie mode, I'll get straight to the things I've learned in the past week:

  1. Ice On Whyte -- This past week Edmonton has hosted the Ice On Whyte ice carving festival, unfortunately in uncharacteristically warm weather. Sculptors convene from around the world for this annual competition, which I had planned to attend last Sunday, but unfortunately ended up feeling just too sick to leave the house. First prize went to Team Sakha for their sculpture, Girl Archer. In addition to ice sculptures, Ice On Whyte features a giant ice slide (not just for kids!) and entertainment -- sounding a bit like a tiny scale Quebec Winter Carnival, which seemed like the best thing ever when recreated each winter by my elementary school French teacher. I've have to try to make it next year!
    ice on whyte awards 2015
    Girl Archer by Team Sakha
  2. anamnesis -- I saw this word for the first time in a USMLE QBank question prompt. In medicine it means "a patient's account of a medical history" basically, a more eloquent way to say HPI!
  3. the benefits of writing -- A recent New York Times article cites several studies that demonstrate benefits of reflective (or expressive) writing. From a medicine perspective, I was interested in an RCT from MD Anderson that examined the quality of life benefits of expressive writing in renal cell carcinoma patients. 277 patients were randomized to writing four times about either "their deepest thoughts and feelings regarding their cancer" or "neutral topics". It was found that expressive writing reduced cancer-related symptoms and improved physical functioning, possibly through short-term improvements in cognitive processing. I'd be interested in learning more about how patients can derive most benefit through writing -- and how blogging through one's treatment (such as Jay Lake did) might alter the experience.
    reflective writing cancer
What is something you learned this week?

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