Monday, February 13, 2012

"Ridiculously Simple"

Still studying microbiology for tomorrow's exam.  I must say, this course had a slow start, as my interest in this topic is tiny (hahaha - pun intended!).  However, in recent days, probably mostly due to the fact that there is an exam coming, my interested in it has multiplied exponentially. (OK, no more bacteria-related puns, I promise.)

Seriously, I am getting quite interested in this subject.  A good friend of mine lent me some of her books from medical school, and among them is one entitled, "Clinical Microbiology made ridiculously simple" (2nd edition, by Mark Gladwin and Bill Trattler)

And you know what, even though it is not 'ridiculously simple', given that much time still has to be devoted to learning it all, the approach is great.  The book is full of simple cartoons, which help the student memorize easier (and I am a very visual learner, so this is perfect!).

For example, Chapter 5 of this book presents staphylococci bacteria.  For one specific type, Staphylococcus aureus, we have to know that it is a catalase-positive bacteria, that can be differentiated from the other beta-hemolytic cocci by their formation of a golden pigment when cultured on blood agar. 

So what the textbook does, is present a drawing of a hospital STAFF (staph!), grouped together in a cluster for the photo (staph bacteria grow in clusters), all proudly wearing gold medals around their necks (golden pigment), and two black cats hissing at the group (catalase positive - all staphylococci have the enzyme catalase, streptococci do not).  So basically remembering one simply, silly drawing helps trigger the various key components we need to know for that particular type of bacteria.

Now, if it were only a few bacteria we had to know for Tuesday, then that would truly be 'ridiculously simple'.  Alas, it is more complicated that that!

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