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Episode 55 Preview | SCRIPT

by Kevin Patton

Episode 55 Introduction


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.

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Preview of Episode 55

Episode 55 Intro Transcript

TAPP Radio Preview

Kevin Patton: Hi there. This is Kevin Patton with a brief audio introduction to episode number 55 of The A&P Professor podcast, also known as TAPP Radio, an audio world fair and exposition for teachers of human anatomy & physiology.

Kevin Patton: In the upcoming full episode number 55 I’m going to be talking about some topics related to communication and clarity in the context of reducing medical errors after all, many of our students in the A&P course are future health professionals and medical errors are a big deal and I believe we have a role in helping to prevent them and you’ll see what I mean by that when you get to the full episode and listen to it. And among the topics that I’m going to discuss is, well my answer to the question is spelling important. Should we be focusing on correct spelling and the A&P course? And that’s going to lead to a discussion of alternate spellings. And I’m also going to talk about the use of proper letter case. What I mean is upper case, lower case, capital letters, not capital letters. And another topic that’s going to be woven in there is how we approach professionalism and professional communication, especially in terms of our core structure and whether we address it in our syllabus or in our other course materials. So that’s all coming up on the full episode number 55.

Kevin Patton: The free distribution of this podcast is sponsored by the Master of Science And Human Anatomy & 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 that’s H-A-P-I or click the link in the show notes or episode page.

Kevin Patton: It’s time, once again for-

Kevin Patton: Word Dissection.

Kevin Patton: And as always I have a few terms from the full episode that I’m going to pull out of context here and we’re going to dive into them a little more deeply by breaking them down into their word parts the same way we do in our own classes with our own students in order to help introduce the terminology to our students. So it’s good practice for that and it’s also helpful to get our minds into these terms so that when they show up in the full episode, we’ve already had a little refresher in them. All the terms on the list I have for us today are all terms that we use a lot and we’re very familiar with, but I think it’s going to be helpful to do a little review of them.

Kevin Patton: The first one on our list is perineum. And that can mean different things depending on how you use it. One of the common definitions of perineum is that soft tissue area between the anus and the genitals. But perineum can also refer to a diamond shaped area formed by considering both the anal triangle and the urogenital triangle together. When you put those two triangles together, they form a diamond shape and that’s the perineum. And if we break down the word parts, we have peri as the first word part and peri, P-E-R-I means around. I-N-E, that’s the next word part and that can be translated as excrete or evacuate or empty. And then the U-M ending, which we’ve seen a lot, is a noun ending. So that makes it a thing. It makes it something. So we put all those word parts together and literally we can come up with a definition or translation that is something around a thing that it excretes or evacuated our empties.

Kevin Patton: And so that makes sense, considering its position. It’s one of those words that with a Latin ending that we pluralize using a Latin ending. So we change the UM of the singular form of perineum to an A. So it’s perineum. So that’s the plural form. You can’t a perineums, and I’ve seen that, but I don’t think most folks would accept that as the correct plural form. The adjective form is the usual swapping out of the UM ending for AL means relating to it makes it into an adjective. So perennial means relating to the perineum or in perineum the area.

Kevin Patton: The next word that we’re going to dissect is peritoneum. And peritononeum sounds a lot like perineum. And it’s spelled almost exactly the same. There’s two little extra letters in the middle, but other than that, they look quite a bit alike, but they’re very different in terms of their meaning. Of course. Let’s break them down and translate them first and then we’ll talk about that. And I’ll give you an example of how they can be easily mixed up by student. First word, part peri. We just saw that that means around T-O-N-E, tone. It means stretch or stretched. And the U-M ending again is something, it’s a noun ending. So it’s something stretched around and it refers to the serous membrane that is wrapped around the viscera. And then of course it folds on itself and lines the inner lining of the abdominal cavity. So peritoneum is a membrane in the abdomen and perineum down by the genitals and anus. Well, that’s very different. And, oh, by the way, they do their pluralization the same way you change the U-M to an A and so it’s peritoneum for plural. And if you’re using it as an adjective, then it would be a peritoneal with the A-L ending instead of the U-M ending.

Kevin Patton: I’m often reminded when I’m considering these two terms together and how similar they are … I shouldn’t say often reminded, I always reminded of an incident that happened very early in my teaching career. I was teaching a college level A&P lab course and I had a student in that particular group who was very enthusiastic, had some experience in training in some health career, I’m not sure which. And really wanted to contribute to discussions a lot. And so on until it was the very first lab of A&P one and we were talking about anatomical terminology and we were talking about directional terms and planes of the body in sections and a body cavities and then regional areas of the body. And as part of this discussion, people were sharing different things and I was asking them, throwing out questions to get them to think about clinical usages, maybe of some of these terms and so on.

Kevin Patton: And this very enthusiastic student was waving their hand and said, “Oh this reminds me of the surgery I had where the surgeon who was … It was a big massive surgery. There was all kinds of things that they had to do and they took my perineum and moved it all the way up here and they were pointing to their chest like right above their stomach. And when the surgery was over, they put the perineum back down again and sewed everything up. I’m just trying to visualize how a surgeon could pull the perineum all the way up to the rib cage. It must’ve shown on my face, I am not a good poker player. And so I must’ve looked amazed and I just stammered something like, “Well thank you for sharing that.” And a little while later I could see the same student trying to get my attention and I called on them and they said somewhat red faced, “I made a mistake before.” And I said, “What?” And I was hesitant to even engage this student again because I don’t know what other thing they were going to describe. And they says, “I didn’t mean perineum, I meant peritoneum.” And now it made sense.

Kevin Patton: What was probably happening was the greater omentum was being moved out of the way. So some surgery could happen without having to cut through the greater omentum thus increase risk of infection and damage and things like that. So it if you’re doing a big abdominal surgery, not a laparoscopic surgery but a big abdominal surgery, you might move the greater omentum up out of the way and then that position makes sense. So I’m glad that clarification was made for two reasons. Number one, I wouldn’t have been able to get that image out of my head. And number two, it gave us an opportunity to talk about how important it was to really get the terminology right and that’s going to be one of the topics we’re going to get into in the full episode.

Kevin Patton: Another term I want to dissect here, we don’t really have to pull apart to understand its meeting its femur. This is one of those words we use in anatomy where we just translate it and it just means the same thing in Latin as we use it for in anatomy and femur means thigh in Latin. So normally when you hear the term of femur you think of the bone, which has the name femur and that is the large bone, large, long bone of the thigh. Sure, but I think a lot of us don’t fully appreciate that femur means thigh. It doesn’t mean thighbone. It can mean that. So when we use the adjective form of the word, which is femoral, where we change the, U-R ending to O-R-A-L, femoral. If something is femoral, it is relating to the thigh, not necessarily to the thigh bone. It could, but not necessarily.

Kevin Patton: I’ve heard a lot of A&P teachers define femoral as relating to the femur. Well yeah, if they’re using femur in the sense of thigh, but I think most of us don’t use femur in the sense of thigh. We use femur in the sense of thigh bone. So just a little bit of a clarification there. And since we’re on bone names, it start with an F that can be translated directly without having to break them down. We get to fibula. Fibula literally means a clasp or bolt or pin of a claps. It actually ultimately goes back to a term that can mean any instrument to fix something in place. So if you think of a broach, for example, that little pin on the back that clasps it onto a piece of clothing, for example, that is sort of what the fibula looks like in terms of it’s anatomical relationship to the tibia. So it’s no wonder that early anatomists when they saw it structure, it reminded them of the clasp or the pin of a broach. And that’s what fibula means literally.

Kevin Patton: This is another one of those terms that when we make them plural, we use a typically the Latin form. So we change the A to A-E. so it’s fibulae if we’re talking about more than one fibula. But I’ve seen fibulas as listed as a correct form, a correct plural form for fibula. So go figure. I don’t know why that one got into such common usage, whereas some others stick with the Latin. But there you go.

Kevin Patton: Now the last term that I have in our word dissection segment for this preview episode is the phrase letter case or alternatively font case. And this is not an anatomical term. This is a term related to language or more specifically to typography in language and it’s going to come up in the next episode. So I wanted to take a little time to give us a little background so we can appreciate better where the terms came from. Not that we absolutely need that to understand the next episode, but having the backstory always helps us.

Kevin Patton: So letter case is referring to the fact that there are some alphabets, including the Roman alphabet that we use in English that has two parallel sets of letters. In other words, there’s a one set of letters that are large in size and another set of letters that are small in size depending on the font. The smaller ones sometimes even have a different shape than the larger ones. And we usually call the larger set of letters in the alphabet, the upper case letters, and we call the smaller set of letters, the lower case alphabet, the lower case part of the alphabet. So upper case can also be called the big letters are called the capital letters and they’re in typography, they have all kinds of other names for it that I’m not going to get into. Same thing with lowercase, we just call those the small letters, but often we call them lower case.

Kevin Patton: So we have upper case, lower case. And where that came from is the fact that when you’re doing the style of printing where you’re using movable type, like it was invented by Gutenberg way back in the day, you will use little pieces of led that have one or more letters engraved on them or molded into them and there’ll be a tray full of them and that tray is called a case. It’s a shallow tray so that they don’t stack on top of one another. You can see all of the letters there and you can pull the ones you need and set it in the frame that you’re going to use for printing.

Kevin Patton: You generally would keep the large set of letters in a separate case from the small set of letters from that alphabet or that font that you’re using. And so in a print shop you would typically have one or more big sort of chests that had all these very shallow drawers in them. And those were the cases. And so you’d pull out a case of large letters and set it up on this sort of two tiered workspace where it’s a split level and in the back and a raised area would go the big letters and then you’d pull out the case of small letter type and you’d put that closer to you, the user. And that would be on a slightly lower level on that work surface. And so the large letters would be a little bit higher than the case where the small letters were.

Kevin Patton: So you had an upper case and a lower case set out for you. And because that was the way it was typically done in all print shops, then it just became commonly known as uppercase letters, lowercase letters. I mean why say big and little because that’s plain English. And what profession do you know of that uses plain English for everything? They have their own jargon, their own terminology. For everything, so we inherited that uppercase and lowercase. Now what does that have to do with anatomy? Practically nothing, but it does have to do with professional communication because we communicate using terms that have upper and lower case and that upper and lower case can have meaning and we’re going to talk about that aspect of it in the upcoming full episode.

Kevin Patton: This podcast is sponsored by HAPS, The Human Anatomy And Physiology Society, promoting excellence in the teaching of Human Anatomy & Physiology for over 30 years. I’ve been a member that whole time and I still get great value from my membership. Go visit HAPS at, theAProfessor.org/haps that’s H-A-P-S.

Kevin Patton: Yes, I have another recommendation for you from The A&P Professor Book Club or more accurately, I should say, a friend of mine has a recommendation for all of us from The A&P Professor Book Club. My friend Elizabeth Granier may be your friend too. She’s very active in HAPS and other organizations, so you may have seen her around. You may have been to one of the workshops that she gives on space physiology. Elizabeth has a background in the air force and specifically in a space physiology and space medicine. And so this is a particular interest of her. So when she recommended this book, which is about space physiology, I became very interested in it. In this book by the astronaut Scott Kelly is called Endurance: My Year in Space, A Lifetime Of Discovery.

Kevin Patton: Now you may remember that Scott Kelly and his twin brother were involved in a whole set of experiments comparing their physiologies while one stayed on earth and the other one was in space for a year. And having a identical twin brother to be able to make comparisons with is a unique experimental situation. And of course just doing space physiology experiments on a living person is unique experimental situation as well. And as you can imagine, what led up to that year in space and what happened during that year in space is going to be the source of a lot of interesting stories. And I know from listening to Elisabeth’s description of the kinds of changes that happen in our body and the kinds of things that our body has to adapt to when it’s in a microgravity environment are very interesting and very useful for understanding how our body works.

Kevin Patton: For example, you know the, the effect of gravity on our sense of balance on our bone, growth on muscle growth, muscle health, maintenance of strength and muscle mass and so on. All of those things you don’t really think about until you get into an environment with little or no gravity. It helps us understand normal gravity environments a little bit better and the influence that gravity is having when we’re living our lives here on earth. And so it is a good lesson by looking at an odd situation, we can better understand the normal situation. Just like when we look at diseases, it helps us understand normal anatomy and physiology a little bit better by seeing what can go wrong when things are different. So Elizabeth has recommended this, book, which has also gotten a lot of really good reviews and has been on the New York times best seller list and so on. There’s a link in the show notes and the episode page, or you can just go to theAPprofessor.org/book club and click on the link if you want to check out this book yourself.

Kevin Patton: A searchable transcript and a caption audio gram of this preview episode are funded by AAA, The American Association For Anatomy at anatomy.org I just renewed my annual membership because the benefits I receive far outweigh the cost of my dues.

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 (833)-546-6336 or visit us at theAPprofessor.org. I’ll see you down the road.

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