Episode 20 – Sara Whiteman

Sara is a recent college graduate working as a Neuroscientist doing research in alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. She is currently applying to MD/PhD programs and is planning to study traumatic brain injuries. She recently moved from Minnesota to Boston – right before COVID – making for some challenges in being able to experience a new city.

Episode Notes

Music used in the podcast: Higher Up, Silverman Sound Studio

Acronyms, Definitions, and Fact Check

MD/PhD Programs – The MD/PhD is a dual doctorate degree program for students who are interested in careers as “physician-scientists.” By graduation, they’ll have fulfilled requirements for both the MD and PhD degrees. … After graduation, MD/PhD students usually work as researchers or as faculty members at medical schools and universities. (www.princetonreview.com)

Freedom Walk (Actually called The Freedom Trail) – The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long path through downtown Boston, Massachusetts, that passes by 16 locations significant to the history of the United States. Marked largely with brick, it winds between Boston Common to the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown. (wikipedia)

Neurochemistry – the study of chemicals, including neurotransmitters and other molecules such as psychopharmaceuticals and neuropeptides, that control and influence the physiology of the nervous system. (wikipedia)

Traumatic Brain Injury – CDC defines a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury. Everyone is at risk for a TBI, especially children and older adults. (www.cdc.gov)

Amyloid beta (Aβ or Abeta) denotes peptides of 36–43 amino acids that are crucially involved in Alzheimer’s disease as the main component of the amyloid plaques found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. (wikipedia)

Tau Tangles – Neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) are aggregates of hyperphosphorylated tau protein that are most commonly known as a primary markerof Alzheimer’s disease. Their presence is also found in numerous other diseases known as tauopathies. Little is known about their exact relationship to the different pathologies. (wikipedia)

Dementia becomes more common with age. About 3% of people between the ages of 65–74 have dementia, 19% between 75 and 84, and nearly half of those over 85 years of age. In 2013 dementia resulted in about 1.7 million deaths, up from 0.8 million in 1990. As more people are living longer, dementia is becoming more common. (wikipedia)

St. Bens (The College of St. Benedict) – The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University are two closely related private, Roman Catholic higher education institutions in Minnesota. The College of Saint Benedict is in St. Joseph and is a women’s college; Saint John’s University is in Collegeville and is a men’s college. (wikipedia)

Concordia College is a private college in Moorhead, Minnesota. Founded by Norwegian settlers in 1891, the school is associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and practices the liberal arts. Concordia is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and has a total student enrollment of 2,531. (wikipedia)

AP (Advanced Placement) Classes – a program in the United States and Canada created by the College Board which offers college-level curricula and examinations to high school students. American colleges and universities may grant placement and course credit to students who obtain high scores on the examinations. (wikipedia)

Physician Scientist – a holder of a degree in medicine and science who invests significant time and professional effort in scientific research and spends correspondingly less time in direct clinical practice compared to other physicians. (wikipedia)

NIH (National Institute of Health) – The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s medical research agency — making important discoveries that improve health and save lives. (www.nih.gov)

Mayo Clinic – an American nonprofit academic medical center currently based in three major locations: Rochester, Minnesota; Jacksonville, Florida; and Scottsdale, Arizona, focused on integrated patient care, education, and research. (wikipedia)

IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) – a common disorder that affects the large intestine. Signs and symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both. (wikipedia)

IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease) – a term for two conditions (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) that are characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. (wikipedia)

Why We Sleep – Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams. Matthew Walker, PhD.

Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT) Disease – a group of inherited disorders that cause nerve damage. This damage is mostly in your arms and legs (peripheral nerves). Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is also called hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease results in smaller, weaker muscles. You may also experience loss of sensation and muscle contractions, and difficulty walking. Foot deformities such as hammertoes and high arches also are common. Symptoms usually begin in your feet and legs, but they may eventually affect your hands and arms. Symptoms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease typically appear in adolescence or early adulthood, but may also develop in midlife. (www.mayoclinic.org)

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