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Medical webwatch.

The Medical Schools page of the Association of American Medical Colleges at offers a wealth of information for applicants to medical degree courses. The first item on the menu is Medical College Admission Tests (MCAT). Almost all US medical schools require applicants to submit MCAT scores, and medical college admission committees consider MCAT scores as part of their admission decision process. The American Medical College Application Service is a nonprofit, centralized application processing service for applicants to first year classes at participating US medical schools. Other useful items are "Combined Degree Programs" listed by category or school, "Premedical Programs," "Admission Offices," "Careers in Medicine," and "Financing Your Medical Education." These subcategories have their own menus addressing the issues in depth. To the left of the home page is a menu for trained professionals presenting such fare as: "Professional Development Groups," "Surveys," and "Focus on Issues." There are also three large icons on the front page that connect to "Education," "Research," and "Patient Care," and the top menu completes the fare with "Publications," "Government Affairs," and a "News Room." By bifurcating into serving both trained doctors, and those just about to embark on their careers, this web site cultivates a balanced perspective for both ends of the medical education spectrum.

For a fascinating insight into Hyperbaric Medicine visit The Hyperbaric Medicine Unit is based at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Scotland, and provides recompression treatment for decompression illness and hyperbaric oxygen therapy for carbon monoxide poisoning, osteoradionecrosis, and other wounds and infections. On the gauge are: "Gas Laws," which is a very basic revision of the physical gas laws; and "Scuba Diving" that offers an insight into the presenting histories of some of their patients. But of more interest to the physician will be: "Decompression Illness" that covers the classification of decompression sickness, signs and symptoms, cerebral arterial gas embolism, first aid, predisposing factors, flying after diving, referral, and recompression therapy. If you consider this precis too claustrophobic for comfort then I suggest that you take the virtual tour of the decompression chamber!

High Altitude Medicine Guide at opens with a general overview under the title "Altitude Illness Explained" and this elucidates on how to avoid acute mountain sickness with reference to causes and treatment. It also offers some useful "Golden Rules." The "Physicians Clinical Guide" considers normal physiology, acute altitude sickness, cerebral edema, pulmonary edema, and diagnosis and treatment. There is also a chapter on the use of portable hyperbaric chambers. This scenic ascent was written by Thomas E. Dietz, MD, a physician practicing Emergency Medicine in Hood River, Oregon, and concludes with "Case Reports," a section that uses seven fascinating and illuminating cases to educate using typical clinical scenarios, followed by a discussion of each case. Phew, time to descend!

Human Physiology in Space at comes from the National Space Biomedical Research Institute and was converted to web form at the College of Education, Texas A & M University, by Dr. George Jessup, Arlen Strader, and Alice Gatlin. There are seven focus areas available on the home page that are also mapped under "Contents." The focus areas are: "Space as a Laboratory for the Life Sciences," "Effects of Space Flight on the Heart, Lungs, and Blood Vessels," "Examining the Effects of Space Flight on the Blood and its Components." "Examining the Effects of Space Flight on the Fluid Regulating Systems of the Body," "Examining the Effects of Space Flight on the Muscles," "Examining the Effects of Space Flight on the Skeletal System," and "Examining the Effects of Space Flight on the Human Sensory and Balance System." In each focus chapter the menu offers a logical progression from "Earth Physiology" to "Space Physiology" and goes on to consider possible student investigations that may be contrasted with the results of "Space Flight Investigations."

The fascination of space physiology engendered by this web site would be an exciting driver for the student to pursue a more in-depth study of human physiology.

The (Not So Brief) History of electrocardiogram at travels the timeline from 1600 to 1993 and was written by Dr. Dean Jenkins, who at the time of authorship was a Specialist Registrar at Llandough Hospital, Cardiff, Wales. It displays an interesting overview of the slow academic climb to full knowledge and eventual application of what is now an indispensable medical tool. The humanity of medicine is surely borne on the shoulders of those who have gone before.

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Title Annotation:Special Section; Web sites
Author:Young, Jim
Publication:Southern Medical Journal
Date:Dec 1, 2005
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