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Pham 1

Thao Pham AW Project 1



Project 1 Draft 1

Word count: 1050

On one hot summer day of 2016, I was on my way to the airport to go to Phu Quoc, an island

located southwest of Vietnam. I was so thrilled to go on my first charity hospital trip to a rural area to

examine and prescribe medicine free of charge for the people. Going with me was a team of doctors and

nurses from The National Hospital II of Vietnam.

Flashback to my childhood, my cousins and I usually spent our time in that hospital, hanging

around, not because we were having any mental problems as our friends often tease us, its for the reason

that my uncles and aunts were working there. They also had clinics at home so we got to watch them

seeing patients every day. One of my uncle is the department head in forensic science, and one is the

leader of the mentoring new doctors team, thus, I and my cousins always wanted to be like our role

models and help people. It feels like its in our blood.

Its tough to be a citizen of a third world country. Medicine is a noble profession, yet, not being

appreciated enough. Doctors mission is to help people, save their lives, without judging what they do,

even if they are criminals, saving someone from critical conditions always comes first. My uncles always

mention to us the Hippocratic Oath, in which mostly anyone who wishes to practice medical have to take,

usually in their medical school graduation ceremonies.1 The Oath requires the new physician/doctors to

swear to the Gods regarding the ethical standards theyll hold during practice.1 The Hippocratic Oath is

one of the most popular and well-known medical texts of Greek. It contains the medical ethics that first

and early expressed in the Western World, where Hippocrates was known as the father of medicine. The

odd thing is as popular as it is, theres no evidence proving the Hippocratic Oaths was composed and

written by Hippocrates.1
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During my stay in Phu Quoc island, I learnt how to apply the materials I studied in the clinical

neuroscience course into real life. I took the course earlier that summer, learning about clinical treatments

of neurological disorders such as generalized anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, substance

dependence disorder and psychopathology in children, etc. This course was interesting considering that it

showed how doctors listen to the patients and furthermore, using their clinical knowledge to give out

medicine accordingly. I find it really compelling clinical neuroscience is a branch of neuroscience that

focuses on the underlying mechanisms of diseases and disorders of the brain and the central nervous

system.2 Its ongoing determination to seek new ways of diagnosing disorders and eventually developing

medicine and treatments is admirable.

For thirty-three years (1965-1998). the American Medical Electroencephalographic Association

(AMEEGA) took a leading position in the field of electroencephalography (EEG) in the United States and

abroad.- Khoshbin, S.4 The AMEEGAs first president was Frederic A. Gibbs, a pioneer in

electroencephalography, he was recognized as one of the foremost electroencephalographers and

epileptologists in the United States as well as the Western medical world. Frederic A. Gibbs, M.D. was

one of the founding member of the association, in addition to its official journal Clinical

Electroencephalography and the American Board of Electroencephalography and Neurophysiology, Inc.

(ABEN).4 Recently, AMEEGA was divided into two organizations known as the Electroencephalography

and Clinical Neuroscience Society (ECNS) under the management of Frank Duffy and Norman Moore.4

Credit to my first exposure to handling and processing specimens including blood plasma, serum

and others is to my first Co-op experience at Brigham and Womens Hospital in the spring. The working

hours were hectic, I worked day shifts, night shifts, sometimes evening shifts, within one week span.

However, Ive learnt a lot, from laboratory skills to clinical studies and their characteristics. As a

laboratory technician in a clinical research lab, I received a large amount of samples a day, as some

studies are ongoing for days or weeks, the lab technicians are working 24/7. Its fascinating to me how

testing blood plasma and serum can tell all about ones proteins and hormones level, such as insulin,

cortisol, glucose, etc. as well as toxins in urine. The study of blood intrigued me.
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Before World War II, whole blood was used for the soldiers in battle but the storage and

transportation of them were not optimal. During WWII was the bloom of blood transfusion. Dr. Edwin J.

Cohn discovered that plasma proteins could be separated and partially purified in a medium with

controlled factors.6 The plasma was breaking down in to albumin, gamma globulin and fibrinogen

separately and can be used clinically.6 Around the same time in 1940, John Elliott invented the first blood

container. Storage for plasma then was easier and the U.S government established a blood collection

program nationally. A dramatic national effort for blood transfusion escalated. On account of Dr. Karl

Landsteiners discovery of the ABO blood type in 1901, transfused plasma no longer carried a risk of

blood group incompatibility 6. He also established general recognitions of the blood types to ensure blood

group compatibility. Dried plasma in WWII 1944 was largely used to treat wounded soldiers.6

In the laboratory nowadays, we use centrifuges to spin down and separate the red blood cells and

the plasma. Depends on the tests that are going to be performed, each tube of blood is spinned differently,

considering the temperatures, speed, time length. Its funny how centrifuge today was based on an idea of

Antonin Prandlt, who wanted to separate cream from milk in 1864. In 1869, Friedrich Miescher

performed an isolation of a cell organelle using a crude centrifuge system, which sparked the potential of

the usage of the centrifuge in the laboratory setting.

Im also interested in genetics and in the work of Mendel, clich, and fascinated about how a little

miscoding can change a human physiological. As well as Darwins theory of natural selection in

evolution. I love biology, as well as psychology, and now those two connect. Ive always been fascinated

with the underlying mechanisms of the brains, the blood and how it affects your behavior and being a

Behavioral Neuroscience student shows me that I can learn about everything.

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1. Miles, Steven H., and ProQuest. The Hippocratic Oath and the Ethics of Medicine. Oxford,

Oxford University Press, 2004.

2. Lambert, Kelly G. The Clinical Neuroscience Course: Viewing Mental Health from

Neurobiological Perspectives. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education 3.2 (2005):

A42A52. Print.

3. Brain, W. Russell Brain, and Walton, John Nicholas. Brain&Apos;s Diseases of the Nervous

System. 8th ed. / rev. by John N. Walton. ed., Oxford [Eng.] ; New York, Oxford University

Press, 1977.

4. Khoshbin, S. The History of the Electroencephalography and Clinical Neuroscience Society

(ECNS). Part I: A Brief History of the American Medical Electroencephalographic Association

(AMEEGA). Clinical EEG (Electroencephalography), vol. 31, no. 2, 2000, pp. 636.

5. Harris, James R. Blood Separation and Plasma Fractionation. New York, Wiley-Liss, 1991.

6. History of Blood Transfusions. American Red Cross, American Red Cross,