A window inside life at Augustana College

Class Connections- Woohoo!!!

I’m at work and not really supposed to be blogging, but I just HAD to write about what I just did because it was SO cool!

On the MD Anderson employee homepage this morning, I saw an article about a speaker that was coming to the hospital today to talk about Neurofibromatosis (NF). This is a disease where children develop many little tumors all over their skin, and it sometimes affects the brain as well. I just recently did a research project and presentation on this disease for my audiology class, so of course I had to go! I showed up to the presentation and was completely surrounded by doctors, med students, and researchers, and I’m pretty sure I was the only undergraduate there, so that was kind of intimidating, but not much scares me, so I stayed. I thought the presentation was going to be pretty medical and oncology-based and I expected it to be about treatments for the disease and other things I wouldn’t really understand.

Boy, was I wrong. The researcher (who by the way is from Sydney, Australia and is a world leader in NF research) specialized in researching the psychological difficulties of children with NF and I actually completely understood the vast majority of what she was talking about. What I didn’t know was that kids with NF often have intellectual, academic, and social difficulties as part of their disease. We talked about a lot of things that were familiar to me from my child psychopathology class (Thanks, Dr. McCallum!) like IQ, mental retardation, learning disabilities, ADHD, depression, and how these things were manifested in kids with NF. The researcher also briefly touched on expressive and receptive language deficits in this population, which was interesting from the CSD side of things. I even understood when she was describing the structural differences in the brains of children with NF compared with other children because of my neuroanatomy class (Thanks, Dr. Tallitsch!). Did you know that in a normal person, a larger corpus callosum is related to increased cognitive functioning, but in children with NF, a larger CC is related to decreased cognitive functioning??? Crazy! I was fascinated by the lecture and might be interested in looking into pursuing this topic for my senior research project.

Augustana education at its finest, ladies and gentlemen : )

Anyway, just had to share some of my nerdy excitement with y’all for the day! YAY LEARNING!

Love,
Katrina

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