Human Anatomy at Colby

Mayra Arroyo: A Healthier and Happier Me

February 24th, 2015 · Comments Off on Mayra Arroyo: A Healthier and Happier Me


During the 4 weeks of class I learned so much. Not only anatomy, but I also learned a lot about my lifestyle choices and my study habits. Before taking this class, I had never really thought about how the choices I made affected my learning and my health. One clear example is the number of hours I sleep. I was used to sleeping at 12 am or later and snoozing for an hour every morning. After sleeping at 10 or 11 pm every night and waking up 6 or 7 am, I was able to see a difference in my energy levels through out the day. I did not have to take naps during the day and I also did not have to drink coffee to stay awake during the day. This allowed me to be extremely productive and be fully concentrated on what I was doing.

Another example is eating breakfast. I was used to waking up too late and not having enough time to go to breakfast. With my new sleeping habit I was able to go to breakfast every morning. I was the most proud of this new eating habit, not because I started it, but because I was able to continue it the whole month without quitting.

The last lifestyle change I made occurred the last week of class after watching “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”. I started to remove all juice from my meals. I have always known that soda is extremely bad for a person’s health, but I wrongly assumed that juice was not as bad. After watching this video I learned that juice is equally as harmful, and have stopped drinking it. Although I have not been prefect and have had juice, I am much more conscious about drinking water instead of juice at every meal. I also learned from this video that many of the things that we eat today contain fructose, even things that most people would not even think, such as baby formula. This was absolutely shocking and horrifying. I have started to look at the labels of food in hopes to reduce my consumption of fructose. I know these small changes will make a huge difference to health.

This class not only helped me become a healthier individual, but it has helped me become a better student. One way is that I am now a more organized. I have started to make lists in ranking of importance of things I need to accomplish each day. This has not only helped me be more organized, but it has also helped me to prioritize. This was significant for this class, because there was a lot of material. I had to focus on the most important ideas concepts, because it was impossible to study every single topic thoroughly. Although these changes may seem minor, they are not because this is the start I needed in order to become better and healthier student. I plan to continue these new habits during the spring semester and beyond.



Tags: Bi265j · Human Health

Mayra Arroyo: The Heart Dissection

February 22nd, 2015 · Comments Off on Mayra Arroyo: The Heart Dissection


The activity I enjoyed the most during this class was the pig’s heart dissection. As a student, I, sometimes forget that the diagrams and figures in textbooks are only a close resemblance to what things actually look like. This is especially true when dealing with the human body. Diagrams are usually different colors and are embellished to in order for students to learn them more easily. At first it was a challenge to find the parts of the heart I had only previously learned via diagrams. There were many times I could not find the correct anatomy for examples the pulmonary vein and the aorta looked very similar on the real heart, so it was hard to distinguish between them. Another thing I did not realize is the strength and thickness of the heart’s wall. At the start of the dissection I was extremely cautious of how deep I cut into, but I started to realize that the heart was very thick and strong. This activity showed me that the heart is truly amazing part of the body, which the diagrams did not do justice.

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One of my big triumphs during this activity was locating the coronary arteries on the pig heart. Although by just looking at the outside of the heart it is possible to see where they are, but we were able to see where they connected to the aorta and where they extend away. We were able to stick a probe and follow them. We removed some of the fatty tissue to see a clearer view of the arteries. It was amazing to see these arteries, because at that point I knew my presentation was going to be about coronary artery disease and its possible treatments.

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Dr. Klepach told that class that you do not really know and understand material until you teach it to another person. I had the great pleasure to put this idea to the test with the heart dissection. We showed high school students how to dissect the pig’s heart. This was a great learning experience for me, because I was able to solidify the anatomy I already knew, and it also taught me what I had missed the first time. This was by far the most useful part of this activity for me, and the most valuable. I became a full believer in this idea, and will continue to use this strategy in my future studies.

Before this unit I knew only very basic concepts of the heart’s function and its anatomy, but after this activity and lecture my knowledge increased greatly. I am biology major with a concentration of neurobiology and I thought I wanted to go into the neuroscience field, but after this unit I am seriously considering going into the field of cardiology. This is a very challenging topic, but it can potentially be a very rewarding subject for me. There is still a lot I do not know about the cardiovascular system, but I am eager to learn much more about the heart and it’s importance to the human body.


Tags: Bi265j · Lab

Grand Rounds: CABG v. PCI Stenting

January 28th, 2015 · Comments Off on Grand Rounds: CABG v. PCI Stenting

CABG vs. Stenting in Multi-vessel Procedures: A Synopsis

Mayra Arroyo, Chris Lee, Ivan Yang

Coronary artery disease is caused by atherosclerosis, or the accumulation of fatty deposits, known as plaque, along the innermost layer of the coronary arteries. There are three main coronary arteries: the right coronary artery, circumflex artery, and the left anterior descending artery.  Atherosclerosis causes the afflicted coronary artery’s wall to thicken and lose elasticity, ultimately narrowing or blocking the artery. This can reduce the oxygen flow to the myocardium. Treatment of coronary artery disease is complex and depends on several factors, but typically comprises of risk factor management, medication, and interventional techniques, such as coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) and stenting.

Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) or Stenting is a minimally invasive process in which a doctor inflates a stent (mesh steel tube) with a balloon to open up a clogged artery. This restores normal blood flow. A catheter is inserted through the groin, neck, or arm to move the stent to the affected area.  In recent years, newer types of stents such as drug-eluting stents and biodegradable ones have been developed. Before choosing stenting as a treatment option, one should consider risks involved with stenting such as damage to the vessels or arteries.

CABG is a surgical procedure where a vein or artery (usually from the inner thigh) is used to form a path around a blocked coronary artery. Over the years, there have been changes to the techniques used to carry out CABG. One such example is Totally Endoscopic CABG, which uses a robot equipped with a camera and surgical instruments in its arms. It is important to note that this procedure is highly invasive and risky, which is why it is usually used after more conservative treatments have been attempted.

In the three studies discussed, we compared long-term outcomes of CABG and stenting in multi-vessel disease in diabetics and in combined subgroups by looking at death rates, adverse event rates, and repeat revascularization rates.  Multi-vessel disease is defined as the occlusion of two or more of the three main coronary arteries, and revascularization is a procedure that returns blood flow to a low-oxygen area.

In diabetics, we found that CABG ultimately has better long-term outcomes in multi-vessel treatment.  Primary outcome (death, heart attack, or stroke) rates and all-cause mortality rates were lower in CABG diabetic patients than in diabetic patients who underwent drug-eluting stent procedures.

A study published in 2001 observed the effects that CABG and stent had on patients one year after treatment. The patients’ quality of life (survival and freedom from stroke, heart attack, or repeat revascularization) was examined after one year. It was found that there were no significant differences between the number of CABG and stent patients who did not die or have heart attacks or strokes. However, CABG patients had lower rates of repeat revascularizations than stent patients. In light of this study, it is important to remember that it was conducted in a time before drug-eluting stents and other newer treatment options.

Another study published in January of 2013 found that, compared to CABG patients, a greater percentage of people who underwent PCI with drug-eluting stents underwent repeat revascularization. The study concluded that in people with less complex disease, it is acceptable to undergo PCI. On the other hand, people with multi-vessel problems should choose CABG.

In conclusion, though CABG has proven to have better long-term outcomes than stenting in multi-vessel disease treatment, better studies should be conducted to verify this.   Future studies should include more patients, cover modern CABG and stent techniques, and be extended for several years after revascularization.  For now, it appears that CABG does have an advantage over stenting and drug-eluting stents, mostly due to reduced rates of repeat revascularization.


Tags: Grand Rounds