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Page history last edited by shap.luke@yahoo.com 4 years, 3 months ago

Lucas Shapiro

Mrs. Tenly

Independent Research

14 April 2016

The closer we get to the end of the school year, the more I become excited for college. I am excited for college because I have not experienced true change in about twelve years. I have been surrounded by the same people every day for years and half of them are becoming intolerable. Meeting new people was always one of my favorite things to do back in the day, so I am excited to break out the ole middle school charm. Something that interests me even more is who will drop off when we all come back for breaks. Will I keep in touch with nearly as many people as I do now? Who will change, and for the better or the worse? I have experienced first hand this year how much circumstances can change in short periods of time, so there is really no telling what anyone will be like come next winter break. It sounds rude, but I am actually excited for my circle of friends to get smaller because those are the people who truly care about me. I would much rather have a small group of close friends than a huge group of acquaintances. 

I guess the more important part of college that I should be addressing is the academics. For some reason, I will set on going to Tulane and thought it was the greatest place in the world. I never even visited. Maybe it was my brothers telling me it was cool, or maybe it was that the girl I want to marry goes there, I really don’t know. Regardless, fate chose Maryland loud and clear with my rejection from both Tulane and Vanderbilt. All of the signs began pointing at Maryland and I have come to realize that I will be much happier there. UMD’s location is packed with job opportunities in comparison to the destitute streets of New Orleans. I am also very interested in NIH and UMD Medical School as possible places I could intern so that I can get a better idea of what path I wish to take. I am at a three way toss up between medical school, bioengineering, or getting my MBA in a 3 year-2 year program, so I am pretty much all over the place. Medical school will be a four year commitment that leads to another 3-6 year commitment as a resident which will most likely lead to another 3-5 year commitment as a fellow. That is a total of at least 12 years including undergraduate before I am practicing on my own and beginning to accumulate a salary. I understand that money is not everything, but being comfortable does have its benefits and I am interested in entering a growing field where a large salary is obtainable. More so than I want a large pay out, I want to contribute something to the working world that is actually valuable. Being a physician is by far the most rewarding of my choices, but I can provide help for tons of people by working on the technical side of medicine, or even the business side. I have confidence in my ability to lead people, so I would be very interested in health administration and ideally commandeering a chain of hospitals or something of the like.

My additional research paper included elements of my literature review because a portion of my entire research project focuses on the introduction of new technology to improve the concussion crisis. Research on the effects of concussions and actual technology to prevent concussions are both very important in the effort to end this problem. The research being done right now is mostly animal based because it is unethical to deliberately concuss humans. The researchers typically induce concussions in rats and evaluate brain activity. In addition to monitoring brain activity, researchers will inject chemical markers to view the afflicted areas. It seems like chemical markers have a variety of uses for researchers, and it is interesting that scientists can tag certain substances with this technology to figure out how to prevent brain injury. The biggest focus in recent research is on the build up of the protein tau in the brain which results in CTE. Scientists chemically tag tau and are beginning to come up with ways to prevent or stunt its growth based on its size and location in the brain. Another interesting experiment is the use of woodpeckers in concussion research because they sustain hundreds of rapid repeated blows to the head without being concussed. Scientists are curious if there is some mechanism in the woodpeckers' skull the prevents concussions and jarring of the brain. I hope this study leads to some conclusions because the woodpecker anatomy could be an important key to preventing MTBIs. If the woodpecker skull does hold the secret to a safety improvement then engineers will have to construct the technology to be tested. Two types of technology already being used are MIPS and HITS. These two systems are ways for doctors to monitor brain activity while the player is in the field. The program is installed into the helmet and provides readings regarding pressure and injury to the different parts of the brain. Upon impact, the system can recognize the severity and location of a concussion so the trainer immediately knows how to address the problem. This technology will eliminate any confusion as to the degree of injury, thus expediting the rehabilitation process. 

Other than the technology and research on brain injuries, efforts are also being made to improve the mindsets of the players and the current safety regulations. NFL players have been cited saying that they would mask an injury in order to stay in the game. It is unfortunate that players feel the need to jeopardize their health to keep their position on the team. Since football is their livelihood, it is imperative that they perform at their best to keep their job. The issue remains that the players wish to always be in the game, so they play injured despite the fact that continuing to play actually places them in worse condition. The NFL needs to encourage a more open atmosphere where players feel comfortable reporting an injury. Although it is a setback for game play, the health of the player is far more important and their athletic career will be longer as a result of observing proper safety precautions. Additionally, the NFL has created a MTBI committee to address the concussion crisis directly. This organization is meant to ensure the safety of players and support efforts by teams to prevent concussions. NFL doctors also do independent research on the topic to help improve conditions. Initially the NFL denied the existence of any problem and the prevalence of CTE, but eventually the organization chose to recognize and respect the magnitude of the issue. 

The next step is to create my presentation for the symposium. I am thinking I will do a PowerPoint or Prezi so it will be very simple and straight forward. I want to have mostly headings and big picture ideas on my slides because that will force me to explain everything thoroughly to the audience from memory. As the date come nearer, I want to become very comfortable with my topic to the extent that I can speak about it with a high degree of familiarity. The audience should be convinced that I am an expert on my topic, and I wish to be ready to answer any questions people may have. Practicing in front of Barret and Jaleh will be very helpful, and I believe I will be able to give them many helpful tips because I enjoy speaking in front of people. Jaleh does not like to speak to crowds so this may be a difficult task for her, but I have confidence she will rise to the occasion. Barret is a very poised and emphatic speaker for topics he is passionate about, so his main task will be to find motivation for speaking on his topic. I am very interested in my topic and wish for my research to have a lasting impact on the audience, so it will be easy for me to express such enthusiasm. It would be exciting if I could speak to an athletic director or even someone on the Board of Education about concussion protocol and prevention so that I can feel a sense of purpose for my work. Additionally, I have been lazy and continuously forget to get back into contact with my desired mentor. I think it will be more helpful to show him all of my finished work rather than rough drafts because he can then give me broad-based feedback on all of my work. I am prepared for criticism and understand that I have much room for improvement regarding any and all of the papers we have written this year. I am very happy to have been exposed to these assignments because I will most likely run into very similar tasks in college. My primary goal as a student is to form relationships with my professors that will turn into research positions. Having a research position is impeccable hands on experience, and is looked upon very favorably by graduate programs and employers. I wish to find internships both in medicine and business because my ideal job is an interdisciplinary position involving both of these fields.

So we essentially have two weeks left of school. This coming week is a full week and then no school Tuesday of next week and Thursday is the senior assembly so basically no school. After April is AP Tests and finals and we really do not have to come to school. I am extremely excited, but also incredibly scared because the more quickly these weeks end, the more quickly AP Tests arrive. I feel mostly prepared for Calculus, Biology, and English, but Physics is very up in the air. I have a review book and hopefully will convince myself to begin looking at it soon. I would feel idiotic and wasteful if I had my parents pay $92 for me to perform poorly on the test, so I have confidence that I will find motivation to study and succeed. My only final is EPI which will be very simple and essentially does not even matter, and I am extremely excited for our final reflective lunch in May. The clock is ticking and the end is near. Time to make the most of it. 


Comments (1)

Suhaila Tenly said

at 11:16 am on Apr 18, 2016

You're on the right track, Luke. Keep up the good work--be diligent and responsible, too. And kind. It never hurts to be kind. :) I'm very excited for your presentation. Good reflection. 50/50

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