Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Please help Darwin's medical students URGENTLY! #2

This week for the second time (see earlier posting) I have been supervising a student-selected activity entitled "The Darwins, Evolution and Medicine". The rationale for these SSAs is to stimulate curiosity and critical thinking among medical students, who are otherwise burdened with a great deal of rote learning. There are fourteen students on the course and I offered them a selection of topics, which ranged from the matter-of-fact to the highly controversial. Here are the topics they chose:
  • The illness of Charles Darwin: a retrospective diagnosis
  • Charles and Emma- Benefits and Hazards of First Cousin Marriages
  • The Pleistocene diet: a recipe for diet and health?
  • Why do Europeans, North Asians and Native American have pale skins
  • How can we explain the course of the recurrent laryngeal nerve
  • Tay-Sachs disease in Ashkenazi Jews: Origins and Prevention
  • Darwin and slavery
The students have been given the option of delivering a conventional powerpoint presentation tomorrow morning or posting on a purpose-built blog Darwin's students, by 7 pm tonight. I offered this latter option as an incentive for them to explore and evaluate the blogosphere as a tool for academic research. 

Please feel free to look at what they have written and provide constructive comments on their postings, links to other postings or literature etc etc just as if they were regular bloggers! As I explained to them, in a real sense, blogging is more peer-reviewed than the regular scientific literature, as dozens or even hundreds of people can comment. BUT be gentle with them—this is their first foray into the blogosphere!

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