just one

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I am taking a method of human dissection/prosection course and at the end of the course (tomorrow) we have to speculate on cause of death. This is my second semester as an anatomy TA, and one thing I have learned through my last three semesters of studying cadavers is that many people have some anatomical abnormality. A double sciatic nerve, kidneys encapsulated in a dense layer of adipose, heart bypasses, varicocele, appendix 3X normal size, gall bladder 2X normal size, etc, etc. So I was researching the fatty kidneys with a google and journal search (academic premier) left me with nothing.

I became curious, how do medical students typically research items such as these? Is the standard format to first google, journal search, then library? Or do they just not care enough unless it is required for a case study or a grade?

I am not looking for answers to the above anatomical abnormalities or "homework help", strictly curious about the research of such during medical school.

I wasn't sure whether to post in pre-med or medical student forum, so I played it safe and stuck it here. If a mod thinks it is more appropriate in the medical student forum, would you please move.
 
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auburnO5

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That's a good question.

Would asking a professor be out of the question? After all they are there to teach.
 
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235009

wouldn't a kidney surrounded by fat just be because the person was fat? doesn't sound like an anomaly

anyway, as DrBowtie said, Uptodate is a good resource that quickly summarizes current knowledge about a topic. you could also do a journal search on pubmed but that is a lot more difficult.

as for your question about whether people do this in med school...the answer is probably not because it seems like a waste of time...there is already plenty to do for your classes, you don't have time to search random things like that...if it's important you'll learn about it soon enough. however in med school you have very easy access to professors and it is very easy to just ask any questions on the spot
 

tremulousNeedle

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Electronic sources are the buzz (though your school needs to have a subscription):
-UpToDate (previously mentioned)
-AccessSurgery, AccessMedicine, AccessEmergencyMedicine
-Pubmeb (more for articles than background info)
-Ovid

Google can be helpful, but often provides too much non peer-reviewed junk. Even google scholar isn't the best because many of the sites ask for some fee when you get to the paper or source you are interested in.

Medical students and doctors are always using resources and looking things up. Less so during the first 2 years because your curriculum is more or less defined and as mentioned earlier, you have more than enough things already to read and learn.

On another note, looking things up for the sake of looking things up is a waste of time if you are busy as most medical students. If you make it to the clinical years of medical school, you'll realize that there is too much information out there for you to be randomly looking things up without a purpose or context. Medicine is learned through clinical experience and researching about your patient's problem(s) as you are caring for them. I would argue that reading about a topic in the context of a case study is more beneficial than simply reading about a topic for the sake of doing so. Learning medicine isn't simply about memorizing millions of facts; it is also about making the billions of connections between all of those facts (amongst other things).

Let me use your situation as an example. Consider that your body donor is your patient. Reading about the implications of a varicocele or an abnormally large appendix is much more beneficial right after you discovered it in your body donor and actually observed the pathology, than if you just randomly decided to read about it.

Lastly, I agree with the other med student. Excessive perinephric fat doesn't sound terribly impressive or ring any bells with me. If the donor was obese, I would contribute it to that. Otherwise, my anatomy proctors would probably say it is a normal variant (not sure if they meant that or were just saying it because they didn’t know).

-senior medical student (1 call night left in medical school)

I welcome any other questions regarding the learning process that physicians must endure.
 
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just one

just one

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wouldn't a kidney surrounded by fat just be because the person was fat? doesn't sound like an anomaly

anyway, as DrBowtie said, Uptodate is a good resource that quickly summarizes current knowledge about a topic. you could also do a journal search on pubmed but that is a lot more difficult.

as for your question about whether people do this in med school...the answer is probably not because it seems like a waste of time...there is already plenty to do for your classes, you don't have time to search random things like that...if it's important you'll learn about it soon enough. however in med school you have very easy access to professors and it is very easy to just ask any questions on the spot
Our professor has never seen it before (been doing it a long time, used to teach at the state medical school, also another anatomy professor that currently teaches at the state medical school has never seen it) and the kidneys are abnormal in appearance after removing the fat, lumpy with granules. Just fyi. I figured cases that are just curious to the reader were dismissed due to lack of time.
 
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