Monday, 28 September 2009

What questions would you ask to teach yourself medicine

To say that "Medicine is a large subject" is perhaps my grandest understatement yet. How would you teach yourself medicine?

I am wondering how best to teach medicine to make it easy.

For example, to diagnose a stomach problem - you need to know where the stomach is, what it is, what it does, how it works normally and what can go wrong. The stomach is also one of the most complex and least understood organs in the body.

More about the stomach! How does it control us? because there is an argument that says we are a large stomach

Above is a planaria which is largely a digestive tube. It has gram for gram more brain cells than a person. Below is a person, with their stomach showing.

The Gut Instinct takes that approach. Pierre Pallady describes some of the power of the stomach

Humans will eat anything and our ability to survive on Cola and MacDonalds is a credit to the resilience of our species. Given the complexity of the stomach and digestive processes, eating that stuff is like pouring battery acid on your computer.

From another point of view, an alien, observing planet earth and seeing vast quantities of human waste, would be forgiven for thinking Evolution's "success" was nothing more than a gigantic collective digestive process and that eventually an immense human mouth will appear which will eat the planet itself.

To return from that intergalactic flight of fantasy, I believe that anything I can do, you can do better. My friends have taken the "Lizzie Miller" approach to writing a book, if she can do it, anyone can and have started their own their own books. Watch out Liz Gough, they are queueing up for introductions.

To return to my original question - How best to present this vast and fascinating topic, so that it is easy to understand and provides every day help in making healthy decisions, without being patronising or talking down to people.

All ideas and contributions gratefully recieved. Should I teach medicine, the traditional way starting with anatomy, physiology and biochemistry, should I teach medicine the modern way, system by system, the lungs then the heart and so on? or perhaps take a symptoms based approach?

Instinctively, I prefer to teach medicine in a way that describes how the body works, and how illness departs from a health, rather than focusing on disease in isolation. I also like the autonomic nervous system, which controls the housekeeping of the body, and is like the electrical wiring system of a house, or modern car.

Perhaps I need to take lessons from Captain Kirk of the Star Ship Enterprise and begin on the Bridge - the physical equivalent of starting deep in the brain, in amongst the autonomic nervous system nuclei, somewhere around the limbic system - which is where the Mind meets the Body because that, in my book, is the key to understanding ourselves!

Copyright (c) Dr. Liz Miller

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