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Med School for Writers: Color blindness

Med School for Writers: Color blindness

Color blindness—it’s all about the genes, baby. Recently, a writer asked me about color blindness. Color blindness is usually congenital (actually hereditary) and much more common in boys, since it is usually X linked. Women have two X chromosomes and usually only one is defective (a gene that codes for color vision). We all have two genes for each of thousands of traits, one from mom, one from dad. If a man has a defective gene on the X chromosome,…

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Med School 101 for writers: A Gunshot Wound to the Spine

Med School 101 for writers: A Gunshot Wound to the Spine

In a photo only the visible foreground information is used to generate the image. By contrast, in an x-ray, all of the information in the frame (hidden or not to the naked eye) is used to generate the image…

How I get into your head—with both pen & scalpel

How I get into your head—with both pen & scalpel

Med School 101 for writers: the mentality of surgeons and writers My day job is a fairly severe mistress, consuming my time with a vengeance matched only by the concentration required to complete many of my daily tasks. That may not sound like much, until I tell you that what I do between 9 and 5—well, more like 7 and 7 most days—is crack skulls.  No, I am not a bouncer at some hellishly belligerent bar, though I do have…

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Med School 101: Shock for writers

Med School 101: Shock for writers

A simple conception of shock is this. Think of the body as nothing more than a self contained hydraulic system, with the heart as the pump at the center of it all. The arteries and veins are the tubes and pipes through which the hydraulic fluid passes…