Sunday, August 1, 2010

Summer Immersion Week 7

It is sad that immersion term is ending; it has certainly been an enlightening and inspiring experience. This week I primarily spent my time wrapping up my summer project, but I have had many very interesting clinical experiences over the last few weeks.

Over the last few weeks I have been able to see how doctors use technology to improve healthcare for their patients. Biomedical engineers do research in technology that has direct applications in the medical field and this experience is not only important for gaining an appreciation and sense of where future developments will be needed, but it also helps to foster collaborations between physicians and students like me. My summer project for example was very applicable to what I will be continuing to study in future research; where I am facing many similar mathematical problems and using many of the same tools. I feel very fortunate that over the summer I was able to observe how technology works with medicine in modern healthcare. I was able to see many aspects of healthcare from seeing patients with Dr. Gauthier, reading neurological images with Dr. Comunale to observing how this kind of information was used in the OR with Dr. Greenfield and Dr. Kaplitt in neurosurgery. Beyond neurology I also saw the importance of imaging modalities in other departments of the hospital; primarily in pathology, urology, the intensive care unit and cardiothoracic surgery. These experiences helped me to understand how doctors in other departments use technology including imaging in their clinical cases. To observe these complicated procedures and clinical activities was no easy task; it required some study on the problems that these doctors face and the vocabulary that these doctors use to communicate their activities and situations. This was probably the most difficult task over the summer. It took some effort to study and ask enough questions about the situations in order to understand enough about the clinical situation to be able to understand the doctors’ point of view and the challenges that they face during their procedures. Once I could understand these challenges I could really see the synergy between the science of medicine and the aid that current technology provides.

My project in a way helps with this goal. My project will help Dr. Gauthier in the research that her group is doing to understand what happens in MS lesions during the progression of the disease; and I may be a contributing author on a paper the group is currently writing on T2 relaxometry. Earlier in the week I was able to present what I was able to accomplish over the summer in a meeting to all of the immersion students and advisors for the program. I was able to show how the fitting algorithms that I was working with work with some of the data that I have in both the mouse scans that were taken earlier in the summer and with some human data.

I am very grateful for the unique opportunity that I was able to have over the summer I have learned so much about a field I otherwise would never have been able to observe. This experience has taught me so much and I am grateful for the generosity and patience that the nurses, surgeons and doctors showed me, Thank you.

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