Friday, August 21, 2009

Radiation, oh my!

In our radiology lecture today, we were discussing how x-ray machines work, from traditional film x-rays to angiograms and radioactive dyes. There was a chart I thought was interesting that compared the chances of getting cancer from a typical dose of radiation to the chances of other life-endangering conditions:

So basically, getting a chest x-ray is about as risky as spending 3 days in the US, or eating several spoonfuls of peanut butter. I definitely did not think peanut butter was so dangerous... Apparently there is a mold that grows on plants such as corn and peanuts, and it produces a toxin that can be highly carcinogenic. The bacterium is named Aspergillus flavus, A. flavus, and thus its toxin was named Aflatoxin. There is another species in the same genus that also produces the toxin, but A. flavus was discovered first so its name was used. I'm not saying we shouldn't eat peanut butter, I'm just surprised that there was such a risk.

Sunday is the white coat ceremony, and in the meantime I'll be hanging out with Kit - he's visiting for the weekend. We have been going over a lot of biochemistry, but most people in class are having some trouble with our professor's lecture style. I imagine it would be very difficult to understand the jumps from one cycle to another and the brevity of his explanations if one had never taken biochemistry. Lucky for me, most of this is old hat. I'll spend most of next week working on those objectives, and hopefully the first exam (August 31) will go well. I also got my approval to take the Medical Spanish elective, which doesn't start until September 31. On Monday I'll be finding the professor who is teaching the advanced nutrition course so I can take that, and also I'll make an appointment to get another tuberculosis test - the physician who did my physical doesn't think the stuff I sent from Kaiser is official enough, and I can't get the records unless I go to San Diego in person, so screw it - I don't mind getting a bubble in my arm if it'll finally end this ordeal. Besides, if I don't have all my immunization stuff in, then my grades won't be disclosed and I'll be left out of clinical activities.

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