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Histology of Bone, Bone Structure, Anatomy, and Career Development

Posted Oct 23 2008 2:04pm
Our seminar this morning had two parts: one hour of histology of bone and one hour about bone structure. Histology of bones is kind of neat. The osteons, which are the basic structural unit of bone, are quite pretty. Here is a picture of one. Plus, there are only four types of cells that we have to know, and they are fairly easy to distinguish from one another. Osteoclasts have several nuclei and are enormous compared to the other cell types. Osteocytes are in between layers of bone, have projections on them, and very little rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) or Golgi apparatus. The osteocytes come from osteoblasts, which look similar but have a lot of RER and Golgi since they're still actively synthesizing protein. Osteoprogenitor cells are kind of flat-shaped (as opposed to the more cuboidal-shaped osteoblasts) and have a lot of mitochondria in them.

The bone structure seminar was given by a biomedical engineer. I hadn't appreciated before today how much analogy there is between bone and concrete. There are two components of bone: organic collagen fibers (which he said were like reinforcement bars), and the inorganic mineral hydroxyapatite (which is like the concrete itself). I don't have any prior experience with engineering, so it's a new way of approaching the subject conceptually. But it's pretty interesting. And for those of you who are pre-meds and wondering if you'll ever have to use all of that physics you're learning: you will. Today we discussed Young's modulus, density, moments of inertia, and torque in the span of one hour.

Anatomy lab today made yesterday look like a warm-up. Well, it didn't help that I haven't had a chance to read the sections of the book about the hands yet, but it also didn't help that I'd already sat through two hours of seminars before I got to anatomy, either. I came in kind of fried mentally. My classmates and I also couldn't help but notice how the cadavers' hands were all bloated and snow-white. Plus, the skin was peeling off their fingers where the cuts for the dissections had been made. It's really not very pleasant to see. Even so, I desparately need more review of the hands and arms, so I went back to anatomy office hours today, and I'm probably going to go on Thursday, too.

Besides going to office hours, I also did some of the reading for tomorrow this afternoon, and then I went to the Career Development seminar. This was put on by Dean Franco (she's the Dean of Students as well as the Dean of Admissions) and Wilma Doyle, our program administrator. The seminar itself was kind of silly, and I wasn't really in the mood to play the games. But we got access to an AAMC website that has tools to help us pick specialties, learn about the USMLE, and prepare for the residency match. I tried to log into it last weekend, but I couldn't get my access code to work. I'm going to contact the AAMC about getting it fixed. I'll let you know more about what's on the site once I manage to get access.
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