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Recent items - Pathology Student

INR: extrinsic, PTT: intrinsic – is it really that simple?
30/07/2014 13:58
Janarthan sent in a great question on one of our posts about the two coagulation paths: the intrinsic and extrinsic pathways. He writes: Great explanation… As a corollary, does this mean INR/PT test for Extrinsic Pathway (EP), Intrinsic pat [...]
T-shirt auction!
26/07/2014 03:40
We only have two of our Pathology Student “Somniem Vivens” t-shirts left, both larges, and while I love the design, we won’t be making any more (our next design is already underway). I think they should go to whoever wants [...]
Can you solve this case?
25/07/2014 08:25
This is the 20th case in our series of “Can you solve this case?” posts. These cases are a nice low-stress way to test your path knowledge. Take a look at the question and photo, and then see if you can answer before scrolling d [...]
Can you solve this case?
14/07/2014 09:22
Ah…soft tissue tumors. Such fun! Take a look at the photo and the question, then scroll down for the answer.  A 20-year-old male presents with a large mass deep in his right thigh. At surgical resection, the mass is 7 cm in diameter, [...]
Making sense out of the RDW
07/07/2014 21:37
Q. About the red cell distribution width (RDW), I don’t understand it! The formula is: RDW= (MCV standard deviation/ MCV) x 100. So now if the standard deviation is a fixed number, why does the RDW increase whether MCV is increased or [...]
Can you solve this case?
30/06/2014 21:41
Here’s a case involving a brain biopsy. Take a look at the photo and the question, then scroll down for the answer.  A 44-year-old male presents with a several-week history of progressive weakness, and visual changes. His partner has [...]
Lymphocyte-rich vs. lymphocyte predominance Hodgkin lymphoma
17/06/2014 09:49
  Q. I’m working on getting all of these lymphomas straight in my head.I was wondering if you could elaborate on the differences between nodular lymphocyte predominance and the “classical” Hodgkin lymphomas. Specifica [...]
Boards help! Advice from real students
06/06/2014 02:03
For the third and final part of our series on how to study for boards (see part 1 and part 2) we’ll take a look at advice from students who recently took the boards. The students who just took the exam are probably your best source fo [...]
Boards help! A strategy for answering boards questions
31/05/2014 02:03
Here is the second in our series of three posts on boards (check out the last one, which covered how to choose resources and set up a study plan). In this post, we’ll discuss a strategy for how to answer the multiple choice questions you’ll [..
Boards help! Books, resources, and making a plan
26/05/2014 21:02
I know a lot of you are studying for boards (USMLE, NBDE or other horrid acronyms), or worrying about studying. I posted this strategy for studying for boards a couple years ago – but it is now buried pretty deep, and those of you stu [...]
Normal PTT but abnormal bleeding time: does this make sense?
16/05/2014 22:05
Here’s a great question from a reader: Is it normal to have a prolonged bleeding time but a normal PTT? This is a very good question because it makes you really think about what these tests measure. It also is one of my favorite types [...]
How does the Schilling test work?
29/04/2014 07:53
Q. I don’t think I have a good understanding of the Schilling test. If a patient has B12 in their urine does that mean they are absorbing it? If it isn’t in the urine does that indicate that they aren’t absorbing it and ma [...]
Can you solve this case?
07/04/2014 18:48
How good are you at the histologic appearance of bugs? Take a look at the photo and the question, then scroll down for the answer.  A 52-year-old male with HIV presents with profuse, watery diarrhea of 5 days’ duration. A biopsy of the smal [...]
Can you solve this case?
27/03/2014 04:45
Here’s a case with a classic, almost unmistakeable histologic appearance. I love that. Take a look at the photos and the question, then scroll down for the answer.  A 42-year-old female presents with tinnitus and hearing loss, and is [...]
Flower Power
17/03/2014 10:20
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! In celebration of the lovely cloverleaf, we have a guest post from our esteemed medical student and frequent contributor, Richard Huang. Take it away, Richard. The image above shows a number of flowe [...]
Huntington disease
04/03/2014 18:11
Huntington disease is a neurodegenerative disease that belongs to a category of genetic diseases known as trinucleotide repeat diseases. It’s a devastating disease clinically (patients develop relentlessly progressive motor and cognit [...]
How can an embolism cause a hemorrhagic infarct?
24/02/2014 20:53
Q. I am confused as to how an embolism can cause a haemorrhagic infarct. To me, emboli are little chunks of clot that float around and get stuck in vessels. Shouldn’t this cause an ischemic infarct? Also, a hemorrhagic infarct is name [...]
Dying of a broken heart
14/02/2014 19:00
Valentine’s day can be a happy, candy-and-flowers day – but it can also be a day of loneliness and melancholy. Today’s post, written by our medical student correspondent Richard Huang, addresses the darker side of this Day [...]
Why do the INR and PTT measure different pathways?
10/02/2014 18:36
Coagulation questions seem to come up all the time! Here’s a good one from one of our readers. Q. In both the PT and PTT we add thromboplastin, right? So how come the PT measures the extrinsic pathway and the PTT measures the intrinsi [...]
Intrinsic vs. extrinsic pathways
04/02/2014 11:53
One of the most confusing things about coagulation (until someone explains it to you) is the idea of the intrinsic and extrinsic arms of the coagulation cascade, and the way they interact during coagulation in the body. How come you have tw [...]
Neuropathology Mini-Course is here (finally!)
19/01/2014 05:55
I’m happy to say that I’m finally done putting together our first Pathology Student Mini-Course. Wow, it took a lot longer than I thought it would! But it turned out great, and I think it will be really useful for anyone who wan [...]
The 10 best posts of 2013
09/01/2014 22:56
Happy New Year everybody! I hope everyone enjoyed the Holiday season. Now back to work! I like to put together a list of the most-viewed posts of the year at the end of the year. It’s fun to see what people want to read about. It̵ [...]
Anti-TSH receptor antibodies
30/12/2013 18:15
We just had our final exam in our pathology course, and someone had a good question on the following exam question: Which of the following is an autoimmune disease in which patients commonly make anti-TSH-receptor antibodies? A.  Hashimoto [...]
Christmas disease: an unwelcome gift
24/12/2013 23:44
In honor of tomorrow’s holiday, we have a special guest post from our medical student in the trenches, Richard Huang. Thanks, Richard! Many of you may already know Christmas Disease as Hemophilia B, but did you know that the condition [...]
Can you solve this case?
03/12/2013 02:06
Perhaps it’s appropriate to have a GI case since we just finished our big Thanksgiving meals (in the states, that is). Take a look at the photos and the question, then scroll down for the answer. A 52-year-old male presents with abdom [...]
Leiomyoma vs. leiomyosarcoma
18/11/2013 20:49
Here’s a great question from a reader: “Is there a fixed number of mitotic figures that implies a diagnosis of leiomyosarcoma instead of leiomyoma?” Everyone who has been in a pathology gross room (where we cut specimens o [...]
Can you solve this case?
14/11/2013 00:17
Here’s a gyn case for a change. Take a look at the photos and the question, then scroll down for the answer. A 58-year-old female with a several-year history of pelvic pain and menometrorrhagia undergoes hysterectomy. Gross examinatio [...]
Can you solve this case?
05/11/2013 23:55
Here’s an interesting case involving a painless skin nodule. Take a look at the photos and the question, then scroll down for the answer. A 36-year-old female presents with this painless nodule on her lower leg. She notes that its siz [...]
A terrifying tale: the evil within.
30/10/2013 15:23
Halloween is nearly upon us, so I thought I’d tell you a scary (but true) story. It’s creepier if you read it with a Transylvanian accent (starting now). Gather around, my dear ones, to hear the true story of vicious monsters an [...]
Can you solve this case?
23/10/2013 20:07
Here’s an interesting blood smear unknown to test your knowledge. Take a look at the photo and the question, then scroll down for the answer.   A 6-month-old male infant presents with failure to thrive. His mother notes that he h [...]
What causes fever of unknown origin?
13/10/2013 20:38
That might sound like “Who’s buried in Grant’s tomb?” or “When was the war of 1812?” but it’s actually a really good question. First, a definition. Before you can officially “diagnose” s [...]
The four hereditary platelet disorders
09/10/2013 07:50
There are four hereditary platelet disorders you should know a few things about. They really aren’t that complicated – there are just a few key concepts to remember for each. Yes, they are rare – I know. But to the patient [...]
Differentiation vs. dysplasia
01/10/2013 06:52
Here are two words that can cause some serious headaches for pathology students: differentiation and dysplasia. Both terms are graded on a scale. Cells can be anywhere from well-differentiated (pretty normal looking, and resembling the cell [...]
Reticulin vs. collagen fibrosis
20/09/2013 20:44
Q.  What is the difference between reticulin fibrosis and collagen fibrosis (the two terms used in the WHO criteria for grading myelofibrosis)? A. Reticulin fibrosis and collagen fibrosis are indeed two different things, with different impl [...]
Shortness of breath after gunshot wound: can you make the diagnosis?
12/09/2013 21:02
Today’s post is a very good case presented by Richard Huang, a third-year medical student at St. George’s University. Reading through this case and thinking about it as you go along is a great way to test your clinical knowledge [...]
Hematopathology quiz 3
31/08/2013 23:11
Here is the final installment of a really nice quiz one of our readers sent (check out the first and second installments). This is a quiz recently given to medicine, pediatrics and pathology residents rotating through hematopathology. Give [...]
Germline vs. somatic mutations
22/08/2013 18:48
Q. I don’t understand gene mutations. Are mutations like the Philadelphia chromosome present from birth? If so how do people ever survive? Wouldn’t the mutation cause a crisis much sooner than adulthood? A. That’s a great [...]
Hematopathology quiz 2
14/08/2013 03:47
Here is the second of three installments of a really nice quiz one of our readers sent (the first installment is here, and the third one is coming up). This is a quiz he recently gave to his residents (from medicine, pediatrics and patholog [...]
WBC counts and units
07/08/2013 23:14
Here’s an excellent question that comes up from time to time in class. It has to do with units of measurement, which sounds like a boring and unimportant topic – but it can be very confusing if you’re not aware of the diff [...]
Hematopathology quiz
30/07/2013 01:21
One of our readers sent in a nice quiz that he recently gave to his residents (from medicine, pediatrics and pathology) rotating through hematopathology. It will be posted in three installments so you can get through each part pretty quickl [...]
More information on the last unknown case
24/07/2013 20:20
Q. I was reading your post about hypereosinophilic syndrome – can you please explain why the other answers are incorrect? A. Sure! A. In a blood smear from a patient with myeloma, the main thing you see is rouleaux (red cell stacking [...]
Can you solve this case?
18/07/2013 01:13
This unknown case tests your ability to interpret cells on a blood smear.If you want to test yourself with other unknown cases, here are some to try: Case 1: 20-year-old male who died suddenly Case 2: 72-year-old male with right calf mass C [...]
Multipotent vs. pluripotent stem cells
08/07/2013 20:14
Q. I’m in doubt regarding myelodysplasia – is it multipotent or pluripotent? A. That’s a great question because it lets us talk about hematopathology (yay!) and also stem cells (which can be confusing unless someone explai [...]
The story of the traveling t-shirt
04/07/2013 21:43
People have been sending in photos of themselves in their Pathology Student t-shirts – and it’s so cool to see the shirt (and the people!) in such different places, doing different things. Pathology geeks are a good looking bunc [...]
A short list of CD markers
01/07/2013 21:44
  Sometimes, you just can’t tell what kind of tumor you’re looking at under the microscope. In acute leukemia, for example, some cases have distinctive features (like Auer rods) that tell you what kind of leukemia it is  [...]
Can you solve this case?
26/06/2013 22:12
Here’s a case that involves a very pretty cell. Once you know what this cell is, you won’t forget it – it’s that unusual and memorable!  If you want to test yourself with other unknown cases, here are some to try: Ca [...]
More student questions about multiple myeloma
19/06/2013 22:26
Here is a good multi-part question from a student trying to understand some things about myeloma. Q. First, when you talk about monoclonal immunoglobulin, is it always exactly the same antibody for only one antigen? Or is it just the same t [...]
Studying for boards: a strategy for answering boards questions
13/06/2013 08:48
Here is the second in our series of three posts on boards (check out the last one, which covered how to choose resources and set up a study plan). In this post, we’ll discuss a strategy for how to answer the multiple choice questions you’ll [..
A crash course in how to tell apart leukemia and lymphoma
13/06/2013 08:48
Q.  Can you please simplify for me how to pick if the case is leukemia or lymphoma ? A. Great question! The big difference between leukemias and lymphomas is that leukemias start in the bone marrow (and blood), whereas lymphomas start in ly [...]
Studying for boards: advice from students
13/06/2013 08:48
For the third and final part of our series on how to study for boards (see part 1 and part 2) we’ll take a look at advice from students who recently took the boards. The students who just took the exam are probably your best source fo [...]
New Pathology Student t-shirt available for pre-order
22/04/2013 23:02
I’m really excited about our new t-shirt! It was a long time in the making – with lots of help, advice, and voting from medical students, dental students and our Facebook community. The design Our final product is what you see here: our l
Fluorescent antinuclear antibody (FANA) testing
22/04/2013 18:21
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multisystem, autoimmune disease. It’s characterized by the formation of many different autoantibodies, the most notable of which are antinuclear antibodies. These antibodies are useful for diagnosis, and
Parvovirus infection in pregnancy
17/04/2013 20:03
Q. While doing some reproductive medicine practice questions in a boards question bank I came across one I couldn’t reason through and was hoping you could help: A 32 year-old schoolteacher in her first trimester of pregnancy is concered about
Four years!
11/04/2013 20:36
I just realized that it’s been four years (and one day) since I started this blog! I feel so lucky to be able to connect with so many smart people from so many different countries on our website and through our email lists (check them out over