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The Prerequisite Problem | Wi-Fi Effects | Transplant Genomes | Episode 61

by Kevin Patton

The Prerequisite Problem in the A&P Course

TAPP Radio Episode 61

Preview Episode

Preview | Quick Take

A brief preview of the upcoming full episode, featuring upcoming topics—Wi-Fi effects, transplant genome issues, & course prerequisites— plus word dissections, a book club recommendation (To Sell Is Human), and more!

00:20 | Topics
02:02 | Sponsored by ADInstruments
03:05 | Word Dissection
11:58 | Sponsored by HAPS
12:38 | Book Club
16:39 | Sponsored by HAPI Online Graduate Program
17:17 | Survey Says…
17:46 | Sponsored by AAA
18:21 | Staying Connected

Preview | Listen Now

Preview | Show Notes

Upcoming Topics

1.5 minutes

  • Bone marrow transplants can change our genetic make up. Sort of.
  • Watch out for Wi-Fi!
  • The perennial conversation about required prerequisites for the anatomy & physiology course
    • All your questions answered!

Episode 61

 

Sponsored by ADInstruments (NEW SPONSOR)

1 minute

Please support our  NEWEST sponsor!

ADInstruments provides the PowerLab data acquisition systems, Lt online learning platform, and content for laboratory solutions in physiology, anatomy, and biology. They support engaging, hands-on learning with simple set-up and high quality data.

🡲 From now to March 2020, ADInstruments is offering 10% off select solutions for our podcast listeners. Go to the URL below and use the lab solution builder and remember to mention this podcast on any webform to get the discount.

ADInstruments logo

 

Word Dissection

9 minutes

  • Chimera
  • Wi-Fi
  • forensic
  • apoptosis

Chimera

 

Sponsored by HAPS

0.5 minute

The Human Anatomy & Physiology Society (HAPS) is a sponsor of this podcast.  You can help appreciate their support by clicking the link below and checking out the many resources and benefits found there. Don’t forget the early-bird discount for the HAPS Annual Conference expires on February 21, 2020—the same deadline for submitting workshops and posters.

HAPS logo

 

Book Club

2.5 minutes

  • To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others
  • Special opportunity
    • Contribute YOUR book recommendation for A&P teachers!
      • Be sure include your reasons for recommending it
    • Any contribution used will receive a $25 gift certificate
    • The best contribution is one that you have recorded in your own voice (or in a voicemail at 1-833-LION-DEN)
    • Check out The A&P Professor Book Club

Book cover: To Sell Is Human

 

Sponsored by HAPI Online Graduate Program

0.5 minute

The Master of Science in Human Anatomy & Physiology Instruction—the MS-HAPI—is a graduate program for A&P teachers. A combination of science courses (enough to qualify you to teach at the college level) and courses in contemporary instructional practice, this program helps you power up  your teaching. Kevin Patton is a faculty member in this program. Check it out!

NYCC Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction

 

Survey Says…

0.5 minute

survey

 

Sponsored by AAA

0.5 minutes

AAA logo

Preview | Transcript

The A&P Professor podcast (TAPP radio) episodes are made for listening, not reading. This transcript is provided for your convenience, but hey, it’s just not possible to capture the emphasis and dramatic delivery of the audio version. Or the cool theme music.  Or laughs and snorts. And because it’s generated by a combo of machine and human transcription, it may not be exactly right. So I strongly recommend listening by clicking the audio player provided.

AAA logoThis searchable transcript is supported by the
American Association for Anatomy.
I'm a member—maybe you should be one, too!


Kevin Patton: Hi there. This is Kevin Patton with a brief audio introduction to episode number 61 of the A&P Professor podcast, also known as TAPP Radio, an audio extravaganza for teachers of human anatomy and physiology.

Kevin Patton: One of the reasons I do these preview episodes is to give you a heads up on what kind of topics will be coming up in the full episode. In this case, full episode number 61. One of the topics will be bone marrow transplants and specifically, how they can alter the genetic makeup of the recipient. Well, they kind of sort of change the genetic makeup of the recipient. We’re going to explore that based on a specific, somewhat extreme case. In another segment, we’re going to talk about Wi-Fi and you might think, ‘Wait a minute, this is the wrong podcast. I’m not turning into a technology podcast right now.’ But it’s not about the technology, but the effect of the electromagnetic field that’s used in Wi-Fi, the effect of that on the biological processes of the human body. So what do I mean by that? You’re going to have to stay tuned and wait for the full episode.

Kevin Patton: Then the featured topic is going to be…

Read More

a series of short segments on the perennial conversations that we always have about course prerequisites. What kinds of prerequisites should we require for the A&P course? Should we have required prerequisites? If students have required prerequisites, then why don’t they know anything when they come to me in my class? Well, I’m going to address all those questions. Maybe not very satisfactorily, but I’m going to address them in the next full episode that is episode number 61.

Kevin Patton: Support for this episode comes from ADInstruments, providers of power lab data acquisition systems, the LT online learning platform and content for laboratory solutions in anatomy and physiology. If you’re looking for a simple setup and high quality data, you need to check out ADInstruments and don’t forget, ADInstruments is offering 10% off select solutions for listeners to the A&P Professor Podcast. Yeah, that’s right, 10% off and this offer goes through March. Just go to their website at go.ADInstruments.com/podcast and then use their lab solution builder. Remember to mention this podcast on any web form in order to get your 10% off. That’s go.ADInstruments.com/podcast.

Kevin Patton: Well, it’s time, once again, for-

Speaker 2: Word dissection.

Kevin Patton: … where we practice what we all do in our teaching and take apart words and translate their parts to deepen our understanding. Sometimes they’re old and familiar terms and sometimes they’re terms new to us, or maybe they’re so fresh, that they’re new to everyone because they were just made up last week. The first term on our list today for word dissection is, “Chimera,” sometimes pronounced ki-meer-uh. It’s spelled capital C-H-I-M-E-R-A. The reason why it’s usually capitalized is it’s the proper name of a mythical, fire-breathing monster, which is usually represented by lion’s head, the body of a goat and the tail of a serpent. It’s kind of usually visualized where it’s three animals smooshed together rather than a single creature that just has parts of animals. So it’s just really weird.

Kevin Patton: The character of Chimera originated in ancient Greek mythology. But over time, the word Chimera has taken on broader meanings and it can refer to any kind of grotesque monster or it could even be used even more broadly to mean an illusion or something imaginary. Over time, the image of a Chimera has often been used to represent various concepts illustrated by the dramatic and grotesque image of the mythical Chimera being made up of other creatures all smooshed together. I’m sure you’ve seen someone resembling a fire-breathing monster at a faculty meeting, for example. But I suggest you not use the term this way though, at least not at a faculty meeting, just for your own safety when you’re around a fire-breathing grotesque monster.

Kevin Patton: The term Chimera is going to come up in the full episode number 61 because it’s used when describing the genome of an organism that includes genetic code that originated in two or more different zygotes. So in this case, the term Chimera is not pejorative. It’s just descriptive of being made up of two or more different kinds of things genetically. Looking at the word origin, we see that it’s Latin, but it’s borrowed from the Greek word for she-goat, but even in Greek it was then borrowed to be used as the proper name of this mythological being called Chimera. The next term on our list is forensic.

Kevin Patton: When we break the word down, we get four ends, which means public or really more literally belonging to the forum, which is where public discussions occurred in ancient times in Western civilization. And then the IC ending means relating to which we know already. So forensic means relating to the public forum. Now, dictionary.com defines forensic as pertaining to, connected with, or used in courts of law or public discussion and debate. In science, the term forensic is often used to refer to anything used to support the conclusion of some sort of scientific examination or debate that’s used in the criminal justice system, for example. So that’s forensic. Our next term is apoptosis. And when we break down apoptosis, we get APO, A-P-O, that’s a prefixed that implies a falling apart or a falling away. And then the second part of the word ptosis, which is P-T-O-S-I-S ptosis, that also means a falling.

Kevin Patton: So this is sort of a redundant term in a way. It’s like a falling, a falling away, you know, we really mean falling or breaking apart. And so you can translate apoptosis literally as a falling or falling off or falling away. But in biology it’s usually defined as or described as programmed cell death. That is, it’s not death due to injury or aging necessarily, it’s a programmed thing as when different biochemical signals are going to trigger the breaking down and death of a cell and it’s removal from that area. So it can be a part of a natural process. For example, the remodeling of the body that occurs during embryonic development and even postnatal development where we’re removing tissues that are cells that we don’t need anymore. And we call that apoptosis. But you know what? You can also call it apoptosis.

Kevin Patton: Yep. A lot of people fight about this and I don’t have enough time to spend on fights like this and honestly I don’t really care. But I will mention the fact that a lot of people get really, really mad about this if you don’t use the pronunciation that they use because, there’s really strong feelings on both sides of this, but most medical dictionaries and other dictionaries do accept both pronunciations or do publish both pronunciations. And that is apoptosis where the second P is silent or apoptosis where both P’s are pronounced. So, it’s up to you and I don’t really care. So go ahead and call in to the podcast hotline and argue with me about it if you want. And maybe I’ll play some of those on a later episode, but a call into the podcast online anyway, I don’t care why you call, just call in and it hasn’t been ringing much lately.

Kevin Patton: So I want to hear from you and, and if you want to throw the word apoptosis in there or even apoptosis, go right ahead. Our next term on our word dissection list is the term Wi-Fi. And I mentioned that when I was talking about topics we’re going to be talking about in our full episode. So there’s some kind of weirdness with that term Wi-Fi that I wasn’t aware of until fairly recently. You and I both know what Wi-Fi is, right? It’s a kind of wireless system that allows computers and other devices to communicate without being physically wired into a network. But something I didn’t realize until recently, it’s actually a registered trademark and it should be written as capital W, small I hyphen, capital F small I. So Wi-Fi where both parts are capitalized and there’s a hyphen in between them. Now I’ve seen about three other different, at least three other different variations of how Wi-Fi is written, but if we’re going to use proper communication, we’re going to use proper formatting and grammar and so on.

Kevin Patton: Then it should be capital Wi, capital Fi. It’s a trademark that’s owned by the nonprofit Wi-Fi Alliance and I guess it needs to be protected by trademark so that systems can be certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, certified to work properly. So it’s a matter of really keeping things official. So that different Wi-Fi devices and Wi-Fi systems really can work well with each other. And we don’t have a whole bunch of different variations of it. Now breaking down the term Wi-Fi, the Wi part comes from wireless. The Fi part is a shortened form of fidelity. Now here fidelity refers to adherence to a standard to promote the reliability, a function. So Wi-Fi is really a shortened form of wireless fidelity and it is a standardized kind of system.

Kevin Patton: You know there are probably a lot of words that I use that I think are common nouns like Wi-Fi, but turn out to really be like Wi-Fi by a registered trademark. I mean there’s things like aspirin, zipper, fiberglass, bubble wrap, memory stick, dry ice escalator, taser. Okay. I never used the word taser. Okay, well I did just now. Right, but I don’t usually use that word.

Kevin Patton: This podcast is sponsored by HAPS, the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society promoting excellence in the teaching of human anatomy and physiology, for over 30 years. Go visit HAPS at theAPprofessor.org/haps. And don’t forget that the early bird special for the HAPS annual conference in Ottawa, Ontario is coming up soon. Is February 21st and that same date is the deadline for submitting to do a workshop or a poster at the 2020 HAPS annual conference in Ottawa, Ontario.

Kevin Patton: According to the U S Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in nine Americans works in sales. But according to the author of our new pick for the amp professor book club, so do the other eight. The book is called To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, and it was written by Daniel Pink. Now you might ask, and rightly so, why did I even read a book about selling? Well, partly it was because I’ve learned a lot from another book by Daniel Pink, which I’ll save for a different day. But mainly it was because of the subtitle of this book, that is The Surprising Truth About Moving Others. I had heard Pink talking about that aspect of the book and I was really interested in learning as much as I could about motivating my students. And this book did not disappoint. In fact, the idea of motivating students came up as an example in the book of the many ways that we are sellers, in this case, sellers of ideas and of mastery of concepts.

Kevin Patton: In other words, I know why putting a lot of effort into learning as much as possible about the human body while taking an A&P course will help a student be well prepared for later courses and for a career in health professions. But I have to sell that idea to incoming students and if they buy into that, then keeping them motivated, it’s not so hard. Sure, I may have to keep servicing that sale and reminding them of the benefits of hard work and mastery of concepts, but that’s all part of this selling I have to do as a teacher. But as I read it, I realized that I’m not just selling mastery of anatomy and physiology to my students. I’m also selling the course and any other course that I developed to my colleagues and administrators, especially those on the curriculum committee. I sell ideas and my proposals to granting agencies.

Kevin Patton: I sell my expertise and experience when I apply for, then present workshops and seminars. I’m doing the same thing in every episode of this podcast. I sell myself when I run for a seat on a committee or a board or in a professional organization. When I submit a manuscript or pitch a book or article idea, I’ve got to sell it. Yikes! My job is mostly about sales that turns out. To Sell Is Human, offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling. Pink draws on a rich trove of social science for his counter intuitive insights. He reveals the new ABCs of moving others. It’s no longer always be closing and explains why extroverts don’t make the best sales people. It shows how giving people an off ramp for their actions can matter more than actually changing their minds.

Kevin Patton: Along the way, Pink describes the six successors to the elevator pitch, the three rules for understanding another’s perspective, the five frames that can make your message clearer and more persuasive, and all just a whole bunch more in that book. The result is a perceptive and practical book, one that will change how you see the world and transform what you do at work, at school and at home. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, by Daniel Pink is an enjoyable alternative to the kinds of books you’ve probably been reading lately. And I know you’ll gain a lot of insights about teaching and your other professional activities.

Kevin Patton: The free distribution of this podcast is sponsored by the Master of Science in Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction. The HAPI degree. I’m on the faculty of this program so I know the incredible value it is for A&P teachers. When’s the last time you had a thorough review of all the core concepts of both anatomy and physiology or comprehensive training and contemporary teaching practice? Check out this online graduate program at nycc.edu/hapi or click the link in the show notes or episode page.

Kevin Patton: Hey, you probably forgot about that survey that I’ve been taking. That’s part of my end of season debriefing. I’m asking you now to please take just a few minutes of your time to respond to that anonymous survey because it’s your experience as an individual listener that’s important to me. Just go to theAPprofessor.org/survey and as always, thanks for your support.

Kevin Patton: A searchable transcript and a captioned audio gram of this preview episode are funded by AAA, the American Association for Anatomy at anatomy.org. Take a moment now to explore the new easy to navigate website at anatomy.org. Whether you’re a seasoned AAA enthusiasts like me or just now learning about this organization, you’re going to find a lot of interesting resources to explore at anatomy.org.

Kevin Patton: Well, this is Kevin Patton signing off for now and reminding you to keep your questions and comments coming. Why not call the podcast hotline right now at 1-833-LION-DEN? That’s one eight, three, three, five, four, six, six, three, three, six and remember, I’m not going to judge you on how you pronounced apoptosis or apoptosis. Or you can visit us at theAPprofessor.org. I’ll see you down the road.

Kevin Patton: Support for this preview episode comes from the American Association for Anatomy, ADInstruments, the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society, and the Master of Science and Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction.

Preview | Captioned Audiogram

Regular Episode

Episode | Quick Take

Host Kevin Patton discusses issues caused by our expectations of anatomy & physiology course prerequisites and answers the question: which prerequisites work best? Recent reports of a bone-marrow recipient with donor DNA in his semen prompts a brief review of what happened. Wi-Fi fields can produce biological effects. What are they and how does Wi-Fi produce them?

00:46 | Bone Marrow Genome
07:45 | Sponsored by AAA
08:27 | Watch Out for Wi-Fi
15:19 | Sponsored by ADInstruments
16:23 | Prereqs: The Perrennial Conversation
25:03 | Sponsored by HAPI
25:50 |  Prereqs: The Good News
31:55 | Sponsored by HAPS
33:42 | Prereqs: Should We Even Have Them?
37:46 | Survey Says…
38:32 | Staying Connected

survey

Episode | Listen Now

Episode | Show Notes

Bone Marrow Genome in Transplant Recipients

7 minutes

Recently, the case of a bone marrow transplant recipient made the rounds. Reports mentioned that his semen contained only DNA from his donor, with none of his own DNA, which sounds weird—and perhaps not really possible. We explore what really happened—and how we might use this story to teach A&P.

  • Thanks to Leslie Walker for the tip!
  • After bone marrow transplant, man’s semen contains only donor’s DNA—His strange situation could affect the future of forensic science. (news item) my-ap.us/37or3wp
  • When a DNA Test Says You’re a Younger Man, Who Lives 5,000 Miles Away (more thorough news item) my-ap.us/37mKLJ1
  • The Case of a Man With Two Sets of DNA Raises More Questions (follow-up to the previous news item) my-ap.us/37lrOWZ
  • What Is Chimerism? (more than you wanted to know about this term) my-ap.us/2RmlRnq

Surgical technician places bone marrow from donor into sterile bag for transplant

 

Sponsored by AAA

0.5 minutes

AAA logo

 

Watch Out for Wi-Fi

7 minutes

Wi-Fi forms an EMF (electromagnetic field) that can produce unwanted biological effects in  humans. In this segment, we explore them, as well as the proposed mechanism. That mechanisms is based on a core concept of physiology that we can leverage for showing students how “all that detail” can help them understand contemporary health issues.

Outdoor advertising including internet kiosk and public Wi-Fi

 

Sponsored by ADInstruments (NEW SPONSOR)

1 minute

ADInstruments provides the PowerLab data acquisition systems, Lt online learning platform, and content for laboratory solutions in physiology, anatomy, and biology. They support engaging, hands-on learning with simple set-up and high quality data.

🡲 From now to March 2020, ADInstruments is offering 10% off select solutions for our podcast listeners. Go to the URL below and use the lab solution builder and remember to mention this podcast on any webform to get the discount.

ADInstruments logo

 

Prerequisites | The Perennial Conversation

8.5 minutes

Since the dawn of time, anatomy & physiology faculty have pondered the best required prerequisites for their course. Kevin relates his surprising take on those conversations.

brass figurine depicting two smiling faces of Buddha

 

Sponsored by HAPI Online Graduate Program

0.5 minute

The Master of Science in Human Anatomy & Physiology Instruction—the MS-HAPI—is a graduate program for A&P teachers. A combination of science courses (enough to qualify you to teach at the college level) and courses in contemporary instructional practice, this program helps you power up  your teaching. Kevin Patton is a faculty member in this program. Check it out!

NYCC Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction

 

Prerequisites | The Good News

6 minutes

If we know the secret (revealed only to the truly enlightened 😉), prerequisites (no matter what they are) can be a key part to the big picture of learning in our courses. Listen to this segment to learn how.

green spiral

 

Sponsored by HAPS

2 minutes

The Human Anatomy & Physiology Society (HAPS) is a sponsor of this podcast.  You can help appreciate their support by clicking the link below and checking out the many resources and benefits found there. Don’t forget the HAPS Awards, which provide assistance for participating in the HAPS Annual Conference.

HAPS logo

 

Prerequisites | Should We Even Have Them?

4 minutes

Umm… yes. But why? And how? And what, exactly? Listen and find out where Kevin lands on these questions!

 two speech balloons, one with an a questionmark and one with an exclamationmark,

 

Survey Says…

0.5 minute

  • Please take about 5 minutes to answer some questions—it will really help improve this podcast!

survey

Need help accessing resources locked behind a paywall?
Check out this advice from Episode 32 to get what you need!

Episode | Transcript

The A&P Professor podcast (TAPP radio) episodes are made for listening, not reading. This transcript is provided for your convenience, but hey, it’s just not possible to capture the emphasis and dramatic delivery of the audio version. Or the cool theme music.  Or laughs and snorts. And because it’s generated by a combo of machine and human transcription, it may not be exactly right. So I strongly recommend listening by clicking the audio player provided.

AAA logoThis searchable transcript is supported by the
American Association for Anatomy.
I'm a member—maybe you should be one, too!


Kevin Patton: Conceptual artist and educator John Baldessari once said, “When I think I’m teaching, I’m probably not. And when I don’t think I’m teaching, I probably am.”

Aileen: Welcome to The A&P Professor, a few minutes to focus on teaching human anatomy and physiology with a veteran educator and teaching mentor, your host, Kevin Patton.

Kevin Patton: In this episode, I discuss whether bone marrow transplants can change our genetic makeup, the biological effects of Wi-Fi, and I address our expectations of A&P course prerequisites.

Kevin Patton: Not long ago, listener Leslie Walker mentioned to me a recent story you may have seen or heard by now. Or maybe you’ve just seen some version of the headline that there’s this guy whose DNA has changed to that of his bone marrow donor. Not just that…

Read More

even the DNA in his semen has changed to that of his tissue donor who happens to live on a different continent. Yikes! What kind of world do we live in now? I go to the clinic, get what’s by now a somewhat routine medical procedure, and I walk out a changed man, a changed man with a change genetic makeup. I can see my Ancestry.com DNA story updating with another bizarre shift to right now in my mind’s eye.

Kevin Patton: The thing is, how much of these headlines actually holds up when we read the article, or in this case go beyond the briefer articles to the more substantively documented reports? Well, what happens is that the headlines are true, sort of. Yeah, they’re kind of true, but true in the way that headlines often are, that is by exaggerating the hook to get you to stop and read the article and maybe click on some ads, right?

Kevin Patton: I have links to a set of articles in the show notes in the episode page at theAPprofessor.org/61. When you sort through them, you may eventually realize that, well, yeah, we already know that because bone marrow transplants introduce stem cells that proliferate new blood cells of various sorts that end up all over the body, and so we should expect to see a mix of recipient’s DNA and the donor’s DNA in the many places that blood travels. Whenever we have an organism that has DNA derived from two or more distinct zygotes, that makes DNA organism, in this case a human, is called chimera, and this condition can be called chimerism. We discussed the background of this term in the word dissection section segment of the preview episode that precedes this full episode. So you might want to go back to preview 61 to check that out.

Kevin Patton: Chimerism is not a big deal as far as your health, or identity, or body structure and function, other than hopefully therapeutic effects of now having some healthy blood cells inside you taking over for those that had been causing you the problems that made you a candidate for the bone marrow transplant in the first place. Now, some people have questions about what happens if the donor is a different sex, or a different skin color, or whatever they feel might threaten their identity. The answer is it doesn’t really matter, usually. I guess if you had a skin graft that’s a different color than the rest of your skin, yeah, that’s a big deal, or it could be a big deal. But these are not core changes to a person, just a helpful addition.

Kevin Patton: What happened in this case, though, progressed over time to the point where the donor’s DNA wasn’t just in the blood, it was showing up all over the place. And in some places only the donor’s DNA was the DNA that was showing up. In other words, the recipient’s DNA was not detectable in some places. Now that’s kind of odd, but not totally unexpected.

Kevin Patton: Now, one of the really weird things is that the guy’s semen had only DNA from the donor. So one might think maybe this recipient could father children who inherit the donors genetic makeup. Talk about playing games with your DNA story of Ancestry.com. Yikes! But looking at the case further, we see that’s not likely to happen because the guy got a vasectomy and has no plans to father children. You see, the DNA in the semen isn’t from sperm in the semen. It’s from the white blood cells normally found in semen. This guy doesn’t have any sperm in his semen because he made sure of that. And they checked, no sperm. But even if this guy hadn’t had a vasectomy and had sperm in his semen, they would have his DNA, not the donor’s DNA.

Kevin Patton: Besides the fact that this story is good reading because it both messes with your head and reinforces some important principles about our genome, this case is important in another way. It has the potential for messing up your favorite TV shows. You know, all those crime shows where DNA evidence is all important, and of course it arrives on the detective’s desk within hours of having collected it. Just like in real life, not.

Kevin Patton: Okay, your favorite TV show is not really all that important, but forensic analysis is. It’s important for finding and convicting criminals. It’s important for exonerating innocent people. It’s important in identifying crime victims and other deceased people, for identifying children separated from parents. It’s important in getting your DNA story right when exploring your ancestry. It’s important for a lot of reasons. So yeah, this case could open up a new path of understanding of all that stuff. And maybe in doing so help us figure out how to avoid being too simplistic and maybe sometimes making the wrong assumptions.

Kevin Patton: I think if the opportunity presented itself, this story could be the basis of a great case study in an A&P course where you can ask students these questions of, oh, you know, could this donor father children through the recipient? And we know the answer to that because we just went through that, but maybe let the students figure that out, that what are the possibilities here and what are the mechanisms happening. Or maybe it would make a good class discussion, not necessarily a case study where they’re given the situation, they have to come up with the answers. Maybe they can do that in a form of a discussion as a big group or maybe in small groups. And no matter how you handle it, I think it could help a student better understand the human genome in this age of tissue transplants.

Kevin Patton: A searchable transcript and a captioned audiogram of this episode are funded by AAA, the American Association for Anatomy at anatomy.org. Did you know that AAA publishes a highly-ranked journal called Anatomical Sciences Education? And it features evidence-based exchanges of ideas, opinions, innovations and research on topics related to education in the anatomical sciences. Undergrad, graduate, and professional levels are all included, really. Just go to anatomy.org and check it out.

Kevin Patton: Okay, just a brief heads up on the effects of Wi-Fi in the human body. The bottom line is, well, living a life immersed in fields of Wi-Fi signals has its hazards. I hesitate to mention them because, well, you’re probably going to spend many of your waking hours moving through Wi-Fi coverage areas today. Even if you’re commuting right now, that person a few feet from you on the street or on that train carriage might have their hotspot cranked up and you’re within their electromagnetic field, or EMF. And so I almost feel like I’m about to tell you that the air you’re breathing is going to kill you. I mean, because Wi-Fi is all around us all the time in the culture that most of us live in. Now, hopefully it’s not really that bad, but it could be bad.

Kevin Patton: In science, we know that we often run across some preliminary report about some discovery and then need to decide how much confidence we should have in the findings. First, was it a well-designed set of experiments? Second, has anyone else been able to replicate it? Has it been checked from different angles, for example, using other experimental approaches or technologies that confirm the original findings? Well, my friend, what I’m going to summarize for you right now is from a review article, meaning it’s combining a lot of different studies and looking at them critically in terms of their value in supporting a valid conclusion. Actually, it’s more of a review of reviews. So in my mind, I’m thinking this may not pan out in the long run, but it looks like I’m going to get a pretty well-informed perspective on this. It’s published in the peer review journal called Environmental Research. Now, I’m not going to summarize the whole thing. It’s a pretty long article, but here’s some highlights worth mentioning in a calm voice to reduce any alarm you may have while listening.

Kevin Patton: There are multiple effects that Wi-Fi and other EMFs have been repeatedly demonstrated to have in the human body. These are oxidative stress, sperm or testicular damage resulting in infertility, neural effects, including changes to the EEG, changes in prenatal neural development, decreases in certain types of learning and thinking, and changes in certain types of synaptic transmission, abnormal postnatal development, increased apoptosis and elevated apoptosis signaling, DNA damage, endocrine changes, including shifts in catecholamine activity, pancreatic endocrine dysfunction, issues with prolactin, progesterone, and estrogen, decreased melatonin and sleep disruption, changes in microRNA expression, especially in the brain, calcium overload, disruption of tooth development, cardiovascular changes, including blood pressure effects and damage to red blood cells, stimulation of adipose stem cells.

Kevin Patton: Wait a minute, stimulation of adipose stem cells? So now I’m wondering if that fat gain that I’ve noticed in myself starting around the time I added a Wi-Fi extender to my network is really just a coincidence. Okay, it’s probably just a coincidence. Because that’s a demonstrated effect of Wi-Fi, though, I guess I can’t completely rule out any impact whatsoever, right? Yeah. I probably can rule it out. It’s probably the french fries.

Kevin Patton: By the way, the authors did find a study that claimed there were no effects caused by Wi-Fi, but they found this study to be deeply flawed. Darn it. I was kind of pinning my hopes on that one. But, this review is pretty comprehensive and it does explore the proposed mechanisms of how Wi-Fi fields can induce the observed changes. There’s a link to the full paper in the show notes in the episode page at theAPprofessor.org/61. But I will tell you that the authors give a lot of weight to the idea that the theory that all these effects trace back to the activation of voltage-gated calcium channels in some membranes throughout the body. Now, think about that for a minute. Isn’t calcium signaling something we see working within many different mechanisms of the body from endocrine and neural signaling to muscle contraction to, yikes, all kinds of things, right?

Kevin Patton: I mentioned this review because I think it’s fascinating, even if a bit worrisome. But also, I think this is something that could really motivate students. When I’m trying to get them to appreciate the role of calcium ions in signal transduction, their go-to stance sometimes is, why do we need this level of detail?” Which always puzzles me because I don’t really make them memorize the detailed pathways. So what they think is detail is really just kind of a surface description. I just point out some of the key principles of how they operate, including how often we see calcium ions and calcium channels being involved. This is one of those core concepts that I want them to keep track of in those running concept lists that I first mentioned back in episode eight and in that online seminar that is available as a bonus in the free TAPP app.

Kevin Patton: So I’m thinking this might make for a very productive discussion to bring up the idea of Wi-Fi disrupting calcium channels and ask students what mechanisms they’ve learned about that could be affected and ask them what effects that might produce in the body. Or maybe give them a list of known or proposed effects of Wi-Fi and see if they can explain those based on what they’ve learned about calcium channels and calcium ions. Even if we don’t do any of that, this is a nice thing to keep in our back pocket and pull out the next time students complain that what we’re expecting of them isn’t relevant to them or to a current understanding of ordinary human health concerns.

Kevin Patton: Support for this episode comes from ADInstruments, providers of PowerLab data acquisition systems, the Lt online learning platform, and content for laboratory solutions in anatomy and physiology. If you’re looking for a simple setup and high-quality data, you need to check out AdInstruments. and don’t forget AdInstruments is offering 10% off select solutions for listeners to The A&P Professor podcast. Yeah, that’s right, 10% off, and this offer goes through March. Just go to their website at go.ADInstruments.com/podcast , and then use their lamp solution builder. And remember to mention this podcast on any web form in order to get your 10% off. That’s go.ADInstruments.com/podcast .

Kevin Patton: A common and perennial conversation among A&P faculty is what prerequisites, if any, should be required for the A&P course. That is, should students have to pass a biology course or some other course, maybe chemistry or maybe even some flavor of English or algebra, before they can be expected to succeed in our anatomy and physiology course? Heck, I’ve thought about requiring a solid study skills course before a student gets into my A&P class. I think I’d rather they be able to make and use flashcards and make concept maps than to be able to solve quadratic equations, for example.

Kevin Patton: The AP course guidelines from the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society, HAPS suggest a whole list of required and recommended courses with a minimum grade of C. HAPS members can access the course guidelines at theAPprofessor.org/haps, that’s H-A-P-S. But the HAPS guidelines are, well, intended as recommendations for programs that want to align, well, with the HAPS learning outcomes, which I’ve mentioned before in this podcast, specifically in episode 54, and for courses that want to have a high level of rigor in their program.

Kevin Patton: In my mind at least, these recommendations are not absolute requirements, and that’s helpful. But when things are not strictly definitive or when we have obstacles at our school for implementing anyone’s list of recommended prerequisites, then we, meaning I, tend to still fret about things a bit, or sometimes fret a lot. Sure, any answer to the prerequisite question is going to depend on factors unique to that institution, or to that program, or department, or course. Actually, there are even more considerations than those I just listed, but I’ll circle back to some of those a little later.

Kevin Patton: Even after we account for all those factors, the answer never seems to satisfy us, does it? At least not over the long term. We seem to always want to come back to it because no matter what our prerequisites are or our previous decision not to have required prerequisites, we never seem to be fully satisfied that things are just right. Why? Because not all our students seem to transition easily into our course and not all of them succeed, at least not at first. So a solution that always seems obvious to us is maybe we should reconsider our prerequisite requirements. And it seems to me that this is a wheel that is continually reinvented over generations. And remember, I’m as old as an oak tree, and I’ve actually been around for generations, all that time paying attention to what we’re doing with prerequisites. Because that’s what we A&P teachers do, right? We ask each other about prerequisites, and we theorize about what’s ideal. And it seems that no matter how much or how often we fiddle with our course prerequisites, that prerequisite situation we have just, well, never really works.

Kevin Patton: I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not that prerequisite courses don’t work, it’s just that prerequisites never truly fulfill the expectations that we have for them. So that begs the question, how much should we expect students to remember from their prerequisites? My answer to what we should expect from prerequisites is this: Nothing. Really, we should not expect anything. I know. I know that seems like a negative, cynical answer, but I don’t see it that way. I think it’s realistic, and it’s, well, kind of freeing in a way. If I’m not really expecting my students to really own the concept of ions, or protein synthesis, or chemical equilibria, or what ATP is and what it does, then I’m free of expectations. And because of that, I won’t fret about it, really.

Kevin Patton: Now I smile the smile of a buddha when I hear my colleagues fretting about the A&P prerequisite requirements, or at least I like to think I’m doing that. Not only that, now I’m far less likely to be tempted to judge my colleagues teaching those prerequisite courses badly, and I’m less likely to be tempted to judge my students badly, too. By not having any expectations of prior learning, we’re all starting with a clean, fresh slate. What a great feeling.

Kevin Patton: Now you might ask, why don’t I expect students to remember anything useful from what they may have been exposed to in their prerequisite course or courses? Well, first off, I don’t mean to imply that none of them know anything. I’m just saying that I’ve come to believe that it’s just not realistic to assume that most of them remember everything. And that’s kind of what we do, right? Expect them to know everything from their prerequisite courses. Why don’t I expect that? Well, partly because we don’t typically teach for the long term.

Kevin Patton: Think about it. The classic way of teaching, an approach that I used at myself for many years, is to prepare students for the next test and hope they all pass. For those that pass, they’ve learned at least 60% of what I wanted them to learn. Now think about that for a minute. That’s just a little over half of what they ought to have mastered, and that’s just for those who actually passed. For those who didn’t pass that test, all is not lost. They can learn about two-thirds or so of what they ought to on the next test. And it might average out to a passing course grade, right? But let’s say they’re learning a solid 70% or so on average, a C grade. That means they’ve mastered or at least become familiar with a bit over two-thirds of the material for their unit test. But because they’re not asked about it again until the end of the semester, it’s going to disappear until the week before the exam when it’s going to be relearned, at least in part, for another week or two and then lost again. That is unless we excuse them for the exam because they’ve been doing well on the unit tests that measures short-term learning. Even those with solid long-term learning need refreshing

Kevin Patton: But let’s say they were in a course that really did promote long-term learning. Let’s say they had to master 85 to 90% of the concepts and that they were continually expected to retrieve that knowledge and demonstrate mastery on a test. Okay, they’re still going to forget some of it. Even if they mastered 100% of the concepts and then taught the prerequisite course or maybe they taught all the prerequisite courses, they’re still going to forget some of it. Maybe not all of it, but some of it. But of course, the more typical case is they’re not that competent when they reach us. So again, isn’t it more practical, that is more useful, to just assume that they forgot all of it?

Kevin Patton: The free distribution of this podcast is sponsored by the Master of Science in Human Anatomy & Physiology Instruction, the HAPI degree. I’m on the faculty of this program, and it’s a lot like this podcast. For example, you hear a bit too much of my voice and my opinions, but you also get to interact with many other experienced and talented mentors and peer learners. You get to process what you learn about science and what you learn about teaching practice together as a cohort of supportive colleagues. Check out this online graduate program at nycc.edu/hapi, that’s H-A-P-I, or click the link in the show notes or episode page.

Kevin Patton: The topic of required prerequisites got me on kind of a rant about how we can’t really expect students to remember much of anything from a prereq course. I hope you stayed with me anyway because now I’m ready to tell you the really good news about A&P prerequisites. Perhaps you remember that I mentioned layering or interleaving in the previous episode, that is episode 60. One way that can work is when you keep bringing back concepts that were learned in earlier experiences. That could be earlier experiences from that course or it could be from learning experiences from a prerequisite course. And every time we re-encounter previously learned concepts, concepts that were likely to have forgotten, we relearn it, probably more quickly this time. And in doing so, that strengthens our knowledge and it also promotes our long-term retention of it.

Kevin Patton: Each time we do that, encounter the need to retrieve that knowledge again, we strengthen our mastery. I really think that to learn A&P deeply we need to go over it again, and again, and again, then again. That’s four agains, which is about as high as it gets on my scale. So for me, that means that it’s good for me to accept that my students probably don’t remember much from their prerequisite course or courses, but I also know that this is how we learn. That is we learn, we forget, we relearn, we forget again, although probably not as much as we forgot the first time, and we relearn and we forget in a cycle that brings us closer and closer to full mastery.

Kevin Patton: I’m not really sure when that cycle ends for A&P because I’ve been at it for decades and I’m still not finished. I’m a lot further along than I was 10, or 20, or 30 years ago, but I’m still a student, not a master. And that’s how I look at learners coming into my A&P course with their prerequisites. They’re still in the process of mastering what they need. I’m meeting them at an early stage in their learning process, and I accept that being novices, they’ve not really mastered anything yet, at least not much for many of them.

Kevin Patton: Then the next question is this: If we can’t expect many of our incoming A&P students to know much about those foundational concepts we really wanted them to know, what do we do? The first step, I think, is that we need to review foundational concepts whether we have prerequisites or not. I’m not saying we need to do it all at the beginning of the course, but I do a lot of it at the beginning of the course, at least some of it. The first thing I do is give them a self-paced online test at the beginning of the course that reviews all those foundational concepts they should have learned in the prerequisite course. I call that test zero, which I introduced way back in episode 24, which I’m now thinking I should have made a required prerequisite to listening to this episode, but you would have forgotten about it.

Kevin Patton: So here it is. I’m reviewing something that maybe you learned about before, Kevin’s test zero and what that does. If they really have mastered all that they were supposed to learn in the prerequisites, then test zero will take them hardly anytime or mental effort and they’ll have had some retrieval practice to refresh their knowledge right at the start of A&P 1. But for those who forgot, probably most of my incoming students, they have time to get back up to speed. And if there are any concepts they never really did learn, they have time to get at least a little bit acquainted with them. And you know what? If they get stuck, I and their classmates can help them.

Kevin Patton: But it’s not just that independent review in the form of a test that they can attempt several times. I also quickly review some of those core ideas in the course, thus further refreshing and reinforcing knowledge. I admit, I’ve gotten a bit of pushback from students when I do that. For example, I’ll never forget a student talking to me at the end of the first week and he asked if this was ongoing to be a repeat of general biology. Maybe he was in the wrong course, he wondered. I explained my strategy and the student understood what I was doing and he was okay with that.

Kevin Patton: Now, even though that rarely happens, I mean very rarely happens, it still looms large in my mind, like any pushback to us, disproportionately large in my mind. Isn’t that weird how I do that, not give much thought to when my students are onboard with my course design but fret over the rare student who may not get what I’m doing, at least not right away? I don’t know. Maybe you do that too sometimes.

Kevin Patton: But wait, that’s not all. Remember that layering I was talking about. I’m going to keep on doing that, bringing back concepts again and again throughout A&P 1 and continuing on into A&P 2. And you know what? When I start A&P 2 I’m not going to assume they remember everything from A&P 1. So I’m going to have that test zero again and I’m going to keep on just layering stuff throughout A&P 2.

Kevin Patton: Marketing support for this podcast is provided by HAPS, the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society, promoting excellence in the teaching of human anatomy and physiology for over 30 years. Go visit HAPS at theAPprofessor.org/haps. And speaking of HAPS, I want to give a shout-out to listener Kevin Flaherty who mentioned this podcast in a recent post from the HAPS blog. He mentioned the annual episode that I do called Kevin’s Unofficial Guide to the HAPS Annual Conference. The last one I did was episode 42 in anticipation of the 2019 conference in Portland. He mentioned that because he was going to be a first timer there that episode really helped him get the most out of the meeting. Not that one needs a guide to the HAPS conference, but it can kind of prime the pump a little bit and get you in the mood for a great meeting. Well, thanks a lot for that testimonial, Kevin.

Kevin Patton: And you know what? I’m planning the next edition of my unofficial guide to the HAPS annual conference as we approached the 2020 conference in Ottawa, Ontario, and I’d love to include your questions, your advice or tips, and any of your stories from HAPS conferences that you might have and that you want to share. Any kind of story, really, even if it’s silly, especially if it’s silly. Just call the podcast hotline or send me an audio recording or written message. And remember, you can always find out details about the upcoming conferences at theAPprofessor.org/haps, that’s H-A-P-S.

Kevin Patton: I’ve been chatting about required prerequisites in the A&P course, and I proposed that we shouldn’t expect students to remember anything from any prerequisite courses they’ve taken. And that’s okay because that’s how learning works. And when we know that, we just start there and make it all work for them. I’m saying that by laying aside that frustration with prerequisites we can be both happier with our task and more effective. And now the question remains, what good are prerequisites? Should we even have them? And if so, what exactly should they be? Okay, that’s more than one remaining question I realize, but they are kind of all wrapped together. At least in my mind they’re a logical bundle of questions.

Kevin Patton: So here’s what I’ve come to believe. I think prerequisites are valuable. I don’t think they have the magical qualities that we often believe they have, that is they really don’t give us any expectation that students coming into A&P will know any particular concept or at least know it particularly well. Yeah, okay, there will always be that group of students in the front row who will, but I’m kind of thinking they know it all whether they met the prerequisite requirement or not.

Kevin Patton: I’ve also come to believe that what prerequisites do give us are those initial layers of learning. Yeah, the learning is mostly forgotten, but it’s mostly still there somewhere and just needs some more layers of refreshing and retrieval practice to bring it to full fruition.

Kevin Patton: So, what is the perfect prerequisite for A&P? I don’t think there’s an answer for that. I think the HAPS guidelines offer some great help, but it really does depend on what you want to accomplish in your course. What kind of pre-learning will best support that? I think it also depends on some practical things. For example, is there room in your institution’s curriculum to add a course or two without requiring that two-year degree program to become a two-and-a-half or three-year degree program or to extend that four-year degree out to four and a half or five years? Not just that, but can they really squeeze that prerequisite in before A&P in their semester by semester schedule? I think some sort of introduction of biological principles is useful, even if not absolutely necessary. But having a prior experience of them as much better than not having them, right? What I don’t think is all that critical is exactly what form those prior experiences take.

Kevin Patton: I have a feeling that each new generation of A&P teachers will continue to want to reinvent the A&P prerequisites in the earnest hope that we’ll finally get this right. That’s okay. Let them. You can’t see me, but I’m smiling with that buddha-like smile right now. While they’re all fighting that fight, I think it far more productive for us to use our time and effort to learn how to make what prerequisite we do have work to its full capacity, that is to spend our time on taking our students just where they are when they reach us and design learning experiences for them that will bring them closer, and closer, and closer to mastery before they leave us.

Kevin Patton: As I’ve been mentioning recently, as we wind up the second full year of The A&P Professor podcast, it’s a good time for reflection. So I’m asking you for about five minutes of your time to fill out a survey. It’s put together by a team of podcast analysts at Podtrac to see who is listening and to help figure out what’s working and what’s not. I’m asking you now to please take just a few minutes of your time to respond to the anonymous survey because it’s your experience as an individual listener that’s important to me. Just go to theAPprofessor.org/survey. And as always, thanks for your support.

Kevin Patton: If you’re a regular listener, you already know that I always put links in the show notes and at the episode page at theAPprofessor.org/61 in case you want to further explore any ideas mentioned in this podcast or if you want to visit our sponsors. And you’re always encouraged to call in with your questions, comments, and ideas at the podcast hotline. That’s 1-833-LION-DEN or 1-833-546-6336. Or send a recording or written message to podcast@theAPprofessor.org. I’ll see you down the road.

Aileen: The A&P Professor is hosted by Dr. Kevin Patton, an award-winning professor and textbook author in human anatomy and physiology.

Kevin Patton: If the seal on this episode is broken, please get immediate help from a veterinarian who specializes in marine mammal medicine. Support for this episode comes from the American Association for Anatomy, ADInstruments, the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society, and the Master of Science and Human Anatomy & Physiology Instruction.

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Last updated: January 28, 2020 at 20:23 pm

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