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Episode 56 Preview | SCRIPT

by Kevin Patton

Episode 56 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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Episode 56 Preview

Episode 56 Intro Transcript

TAPP Radio Preview

Kevin Patton: Hi, there. This is Kevin Patton with a brief audio introduction to episode number 56 of The A&P Professor podcast, also known as TAPP Radio, an audio triathlon for teachers of human anatomy and physiology.

Kevin Patton: Well, this is a preview episode, so let’s do some previewing. In the upcoming full episode, Episode 56, well, it’s going to be kind of a long one. We have a lot to cover. One of the segments is going to be on a new kind of RNA that’s been discovered called the glycoRNA. Then we’ll have another segment on a new kind of macrophage that’s been discovered called a barrier macrophage found in our joints, and we’ll have a segment on how to safely label those expensive anatomy models that we use for lab practicals. The featured segment is going to stem out of the discussion from the previous episode, that is episode 55, where we were discussing spelling, case and grammar. This time we’re going to talk about what that has to do with desirable difficulty and retrieval practice. So that’s all coming up on the full episode number 56.

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, so I know the incredible value it is for A&P teachers. 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 word dissection. It’s that opportunity we have to break down some of the terms that we’re going to be hearing in the full episode. Not only does that give us practice in doing that because we do that all the time in our A&P course, right? But it also helps give us a deeper understanding of those terms and sort of primes the pump so that when we hear them in the full episode, we’re fully prepared to hear the message. We have quite a few of them, so I better get going here. The first is a set of two that have to do with teaching rather than science. These two terms are formative and summative. I’ve used these before in prior episodes. For example, episodes 1, 2 and 7, these ideas came up and I used some of these terms. So let’s break them down to help us understand them better.

Kevin Patton: First one is formative. So that relates to formative assessments or formative exams or quizzes or something like that. If we break it down, the first word part, form, means form. That’s what it means. It means form or shape or mold. Then when we add the A-T to it, which is really a shortened form of A-T-E, and we’ve seen that word part before in these word dissections. That’s a verb form, so it changes something into a verb. So with those two word parts, we have so far, form and ate, we could translate that formate to be like to make or something like that. Then there’s another part, that I-V-E ending, and so it makes it formative. Now, the I-V-E ending is an adjective suffix, so it makes the word an adjective. It means relating to. So formative means relating to the making of something, the shaping of something, the molding of something. So that’s formative.

Kevin Patton: Then we have summative. We break that down, the first word part, sum, S-U-M, of course we’re going to add another M to it as that kind of a combining continent there, but the basic word part is S-U-M, and a sum is an aggregate, especially if you aggregate different quantities and put them together into a single quantity. In other words, you’re summing something, you’re summing quantities, you’re adding them together. Then the A-T part is the same as it was in formative. It’s the verb form, and so it makes it into a verb, so when you summate something, you’re doing the process of aggregating things, aggregating quantities, especially, into a single thing, a single quantity. Then we have the I-V-E ending. Once again, it’s the adjective suffix, so it means relating to. So putting it all together, summative means relating to the process of putting quantities together, relating to summation, the summing of things.

Kevin Patton: How does that relate to teaching? Well, formative assessments, what they do is they measure how a student is learning as the course progresses. In other words, it’s a way to measure the formation, the shaping of the knowledge of that student as they progress through the course. Summative tests or assessments or quizzes, on the other hand, measure how much a student has learned in that course. So formative is sort of a process of learning to kind of keep an eye on, “Well, how much do I know? This much? Okay, I want to know more.” Or, “This much. Okay, that’s good enough, I’m going to move on to the next thing.” So that’s the formative part of it. The summative part is maybe at a midterm or a final where we say, “Well, how much did that student learn? How much did I learn in that course? So I’ll take a summative assessment that I would take after I’ve done maybe several formative assessments. So that’s oversimplifying the whole thing, but we’re going to talk a little bit about, at least, the formative part in the upcoming full episode.

Kevin Patton: Another term that we want to break down in our word dissection is practical. Now, that’s an ordinary English word, I know, but it’s used in a extraordinary way in teaching anatomy and physiology. Because if I refer to the practical, what that means is a practical lab test. Usually that’s what that means. It could be a clinical thing, but we’re talking about basic sciences here. So we’re talking about a test where we’re going to maybe have students identifying structures in a dissected specimen or identify structures in anatomy model or in a prepared skeleton or skull, or maybe under a microscope. We’re going to have them identify tissues or parts of tissues under a microscope. So these are all called practicals or practical lab tests or lab practicals. If you’re not used to teaching science in general, and anatomy and physiology in particular, and you’re new to this, you may hear your colleagues talking about the practical and not really understand what that is if you’ve never heard it used as a student. Now, you may already be used to that, I don’t know, but …

Kevin Patton: So how did we get that name though? I mean we all accept that that’s what we call them, but why do we call them that? What does practical mean here? So practical comes from the first word part, practic, where we get our word practice, and that simply means do, D-O, do. The A-L ending, that’s an adjective ending so it means relating to. So a practicum, anything that is practical relates to doing something. So that makes sense, right, because we want to distinguish a regular written quiz or test where you’re answering questions on paper, or these days, on a keyboard, we want to distinguish those from actually doing something in the lab. In this case, we’re not necessarily performing an operation, although practicals can have a station where you perform an operation to get to the answer, to do the assessment part of it. But a lot of times it’s the doing of the identification. You’re doing what you were doing when you were doing your original dissection or doing your original microscopic studies. Then you go in and you identified based on that doing, so we ended up calling them practical tests because we want to see what you can do in practice in real identification of structures and real identification of tissues, for example, or cells within a tissue. So that’s practical.

Kevin Patton: Another term I want to break down is rheumatoid arthritis or RA for short. So the first part of rheumatoid is rheuma, R-H-E-U-M-A, and that literally means a flow or discharge, usually referring to that flow or discharge of excess mucous that we see when mucous membranes are inflamed. That has taken on some broader meaning referring to not only the inflammatory process in general, but immune processes in general. So we can take rheum literally to mean flow or discharge of excess mucous, but we can also take it in a broader sense to refer to something related to inflammation or to immunity. Then we have oid, that word part, we’ve seen that numerous times. It means like or similar to and then arthr, A-R-T-H-R, and that means joint, and then itis is an ending that refers to a condition involving inflammation. So itis is inflammation.

Kevin Patton: So rheumatoid means related to or like in the inflammatory process or immune process, and then arthritis means joint inflammation. So it’s joint inflammation that is characterized by an immune process that involves inflammation. So it’s somewhat redundant, yes, but it does distinguish rheumatoid arthritis from other kinds of arthritis, which are not necessarily associated with a high degree of inflammation such as arthritis due to an injury or osteoarthritis or gouty arthritis and others that have some slightly different characteristics and are not necessarily involving the same immune functions as rheumatoid arthritis.

Kevin Patton: Another term I want to break down is a type of RNA, and one of the things, one of the many things I love about RNA is there’s all kinds of different types of RNA. We talk a lot about some of the basic types involved in protein coding and translation and so on, such as mRNA, messenger RNA; tRNA, transfer RNA; rRNA, ribosomal RNA. Yet we’re discovering more and more other kinds of RNA. One kind of RNA that is going to be mentioned in the upcoming full episode is a kind of RNA called Y RNA? It’s usually written as a capital Y, then a space, then capital R, capital N, capital A, so it’s Y RNA. So it’s a little bit different use of case there in that abbreviation than we ordinarily see with RNA abbreviations. But, yeah, well, that keeps it interesting.

Kevin Patton: So you know that the RNA part means ribonucleic acid, so I’m not going to go any further with that part. But the Y part, where does that come from? My answer to that is why not? Why ask why? I’m being cagey here because Y doesn’t really mean anything here. It’s called Y RNA and you think, “Okay, what is the Y stand for?” It’s just arbitrary. They picked it to distinguish it from another kind of small non-coding RNA. Y RNA is a small non-coding RNA. But there was another one called U RNA written with the same style, capital U space capital R, capital N, capital A. So here they found another one that wasn’t U RNA and they needed another name so somebody decided Y, and so they called it that. Maybe it was a question. Maybe it was facetious, some things, and why do we need another name? Yeah, a good name. Y, Y RNA. I don’t know, but that’s how we got the name. So it’s a short non-coding RNA, and a non-coding RNA is one that is not directly involved in transcription translation. It has some other function often involved with the genetic code, but not involved in those real direct roles like messenger RNA in terms of the coding part of it.

Kevin Patton: Y RNA is a short non-coding RNA that’s a known to be involved in DNA replication. Probably has some other functions in humans as well. We know that humans have four, at least there are four that we know of, and they’re designated as one, three, four and five.

Kevin Patton: Another word that I want to break down is glycan, G-L-Y-C-A-N, glycan. Some people say glycam. So breaking that down, the G-L-Y part or the G-L-Y-C part, “gl-is” or “gl-ays,” means sweet, but, of course, when we apply that to biochemistry, we’re usually referring to a sugar or something related to a sugar. So that’s the glyc part. Then the A-N ending is an adjective ending that can also really be a noun. In other words, oh, I don’t know, part of my ancestry is German, so that A-N ending means that it can be a characteristic like German chocolate cake, but I’m a German and so I’m a noun, right? That’s how the A-N ending can be used. It’s an adjective ending, but it can also refer to whatever is being referred to by that adjective. So now it’s a noun. If we put glycan, we put those two things together. It literally means something or someone sweet. So I don’t know, if somebody calls me a glycan, I would take that as a compliment. They’re saying I’m sweet.

Kevin Patton: When we see it in biochemistry, of course, we’re referring to a molecule. We’re referring to a compound that is sweet, typically an oligosaccharide. So there’s a word that we need to break down. Oligo means few; sacchar, that’s S-A-C-C-H-A-R, word part means sugar; and then the I-D-E is a chemical ending. So an oligosaccharide is a chemical that’s made up of a few sugars, specifically little units called monosaccharides. Sometimes they’re called single sugar. So we know that mono means one. So monosaccharide has a single saccharide group and an oligosaccharide would be made up of several of those monosaccharides all bound together into one molecule. Some oligosaccharides are called glycans. One category of glycan, and one that we will mention in the upcoming episode, is called N-glycan. So it’s capital N-glycan, glycan all in small case. So an N-glycan is what we call that category of glycans when the glycan is attached to a molecule, to another molecule, by way of that molecule’s nitrogen atom. So when it binds to a nitrogen atom, and that’s the method of attachment, then that glycan that is now attached is called an N-glycan.

Kevin Patton: You may also sometimes see O-glycans referred to, so it’s capital O-glycan and that’s where the glycan is attached to another molecule by way of its oxygen atom. A related term that we’ll mention now because it is going to come up in the full episode. That is glycosylation. We just take that glyco part from glycan and add the ation ending, which we know is a process. So glycosylation is when you add glycans to lipids or proteins. We know a lot about that process. That isn’t anything new, but we’re always learning new things and I’m going to mention one of those new things in the full episode. When you glycosylate a molecule, a lipid or a protein, it, of course, is going to change the structure and therefore, change, the function of that molecule that it’s attaching to. So glycosylation is an important functional process because it’s a way that our body has to regulate; that is, effect of the function of various other molecules in the cell of the human body, cells of the human body.

Kevin Patton: An example would be if you glycosylate a lipid molecule and turn it into a glycolipid. That molecule can then act as a signal recognized by the immune system, like the little markers that are on red blood cells that identify blood types; or it can also have the glycolipid that is involved in the junctions between cells. Those are two sets of very important kinds of functions that we see operating in the human body and that we talk about in our A&P course. Now, of course, the glycosylation process is something that is going a little bit deeper than most of us go into our A&P class. But, of course, this podcast is about helping us understand some of the background stories that we’re not necessarily telling in our own class, but are helping to give us as instructors a little bit deeper understanding of the basic stories that we are telling our students.

Kevin Patton: So all of these terms are going to show up in one way or another in the upcoming full episode, Episode 56, so stay tuned. It’ll be available soon.

Kevin Patton: This podcast is sponsored 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. That’s H-A-P-S.

Kevin Patton: Each preview episode usually has a book club recommendation, and this is no exception. I have another recommendation from the A&P Professor Book Club. This time, it’s a book called The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools. It’s part of the Thinker’s Guide Library and this is the new eighth edition written by Richard Paul and Linda Elder. Now these two authors have been central figures in the understanding of critical thinking and how to teach it to students. In fact, they’re credited with getting the whole critical thinking movement off the ground and into our heads. This is a brand new edition of a tiny little book, and so the word miniature in the title, that I think every A&P teacher needs to keep handy, like a little devotional that you pick up regularly and meditate on a different page.

Kevin Patton: Now, like a devotional that you might use for mindfulness or religious practice, this little book has all kinds of truths and mysteries revealed in a simple, easy to grasp way, different ways of looking at how we and our students think and learn; things that help shape how we look at our theory and practice of teaching; things we already know that we need to be reminded of; and things we need to meditate on a bit to appreciate more deeply, and some things we don’t know or have never seen presented in quite that way. I’m serious. I’m challenging you to get this book and make it a practice to start every week with 10 minutes of reading and thinking about just one page out of this book. When you do, let me know what insights and inspirations come to you.

Kevin Patton: A searchable transcript and a captioned audiogram of this preview episode are funded by AAA, the American Association For Anatomy, at anatomy.org.

Kevin Patton: 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 1-83-546-6336, or visit us at theAPprofessor.org. I’ll see you down the road.

Kevin Patton: Paid sponsorships and affiliate links help defray podcast expenses. I sometimes receive compensation for teaching courses, consulting, speaking, training wild animals, writing educational content, and other activities mentioned in this podcast.

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