Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What's on your mind?

Since December 2011, I have been working at a psychiatric research clinic as a patient care technician.  It all started with a conversation I had last semester with my Biology lab partner.  His explanation of the facility and all characters he encounters got me thinking that maybe I could get some valuable experience by signing myself up.  My experiences at this clinic have really opened my eyes to the work of psychiatry!  

Today, I started my day by learning more about the Central Nervous System in Biology.  The brain is incredible and should be treated with the utmost deference.  It's ability to integrate sensory information in mili-seconds is just astonishing!  With a plethora of neurons and receptors, however, you better believe that something is bound to go wrong from time to time.  When this happens, cognitive dissonance often occurs and the doors of psychiatry are flung open.  After examining a sheep brain in lab, I made my way to the psych clinic.

This job has been great, not only because I am getting valuable work experience that will serve me well when it comes time to apply to graduate school, but also because I have been lucky enough to shadow the Physician Assistant (PA).  The last two days shadowing have corroborated my thoughts of possibly becoming a PA at a psychiatric facility someday.  I know it may be a depressing and often  hopeless field to work in, but the thought of helping someone fight the demons, angels, government spies or torpor that plague their mind fills me with zeal.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Blood Brain Barrier

For the purposes of this blog, my name is Erika Erikovna.  Two years ago, I documented my travels around the world via the The Trans-Siberian Railway.  I come to you now with a new, but definitely no less exciting, subject matter.  After spending time traveling and volunteering abroad I realized that I am destined for more in life - I want to help those stigmatized by our society, in every form they come.  My passion to help the world around me will be done by learning about a field that I have been immersed in my entire life - medicine.  

The title of this blog is inspired by a structure I learned about in Anatomy.  The blood brain barrier (BBB) is the vital gate keeper that protects the delicate neurons found in the Central Nervous System (CNS).  The tight junctions of the capillaries around the entire perimeter of the CNS make those capillaries the least permeable capillaries in the body.  All essential nutrients needed by the brain's neurons, including oxygen, simply flow in, while most toxins are prohibited entrance.  Although the BBB seems impregnable, it does allow some entrance of fat-soluble molecules, such as alcohol, nicotine, and anesthetic agents.  I feel like the BBB accurately represents how I feel about own current aspirations. 

My best friend recently told me, 
"You follow your dreams and it's intoxicating!"  
My dreams may seem impossible at times, but with enough hard work and dedication, I am convinced I can cross the blood brain barrier.  After all, my dreams are intoxicating, so I must have a pretty good shot, right?  

By reading this blog, you will learn the difference between "a flesh wound" and a serious gash, see graphic pictures of anatomical structures I dissect in class and track my pursuits in medicine.  I sincerely hope you enjoy my blog as much as you enjoyed the last!