March 25, 2010

learn a foreign language

Some advice for future med students? Take some classes in Greek and/or Latin. Much of med school is learning the new language and if you know the derivatives of the word, it makes it a lot easier. Otherwise you're just memorizing strange words. Let's take presbyopia, for example. Presbys is Greek for "elder". Growing up the son of a Presbyterian minister, I knew that the Presbytery was governed by a council of elders. Opia refers to eye. So put them to together and you have "old man's eye". It's when some getting up there in years has to hold the restaurant menu farther and farther away in order to be able to read it. The reason is that with age, the lens of our eye loses its ability to curve. That increase in curvature is what allows us to see things up close. Consequently, our eye can't focus well on things up close but can on things farther away.

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