A teacher

“A teacher is never a giver of truth – he is a guide, a pointer to the truth that each student must find for himself. A good teacher is merely a catalyst.”
– Bruce Lee

Medical students get iPod tutors

That title sounded familiar, so I clicked on the link on the BBC News website.
“University students are being given iPods loaded with useful tutorials.
“The University of Derby has given 35 devices – costing £99 each – to radiography students, to provide them with “different ways to learn”. They contain pre-loaded video lessons about how to position patients for X-rays.”
I guess the new(s) part about that is that the University loaned the students the iPods.
BBC article.

Work gyms ‘lift mood and stress’

The BBC are reporting on a Bristol University study suggesting that exercising employees are happy, productive employees.
“Two hundred people took part in the Bristol University experiment to test the impact of workplace keep fit facilities like gyms or classes.
“Exercise re-energised staff, improved their concentration and problem solving and made them feel calmer.”
It certainly makes me feel better if I’ve done a training session of whatever type some time during the day. It makes me organise my time better too, because if I’m disorganised I won’t be able to run, swim or bike that day.
“If people try to fit an active break into their working day, they might also experience the added bonus of their whole day feeling much more productive. And that always feels good in our busy lives.
“The study also begs the question whether employers can afford not to be encouraging active breaks.”
Encourage me, encourage me!
BBC article.


Gasp! He’s writing about the exams! No, not really. I was just going to comment on how knackered Jo and I are after setting up, running and marking (yes, it’s marked already) an anatomy spotter exam. I really hate the marking – it’s tedious but instantly rewarding when someone does very well.
Anyway, one more exam tomorrow and the first years will be all done. Forget about the exams, forget about the results and enjoy Christmas. I’ll certainly be enjoying my main two week break of the year. (Especially if this bruised calf eases up and I can get out running again).
Merry Christmas!

Hip & Thigh Links

I’m adding some links to the “muscles of the hip joint” entry below, so will stick them here too.
How Stuff Works: Why do humans walk on two legs? – an article exploring some of the thoughts of why we walk on two legs.
BBC Science & Nature: Mother of man – 3.2 million years ago – part of a series of human evolution articles, this one about the discovery of “Lucy” and the importance of “bipedalism” in differentiating between apes and man.
Running Planet: Leg blasting circuit – strengthen, tone and sculpt your leg muscles with this cross training workout. There’s some good anatomy in there too.


The BBC reports of warnings of “nut allergy ‘hysteria'”.
“Measures to protect children with nut allergies are becoming increasingly absurd and hysterical, say experts.
“A peanut on the floor of a US school bus recently led to evacuation and decontamination for fear it might have affected the 10-year-old passengers.”
Did that really happen? That’s crazy. Also, “the number of US schools declaring themselves to be entirely “nut free” – banning staples like peanut butter, homemade baked goods and any foods without detailed ingredient labels – was rising, despite clear evidence that such restrictions were unnecessary.
“School entrances have signs admonishing visitors to wash their hands before entry to avoid [nut] contamination.”
“He said these responses were extreme and had many of the hallmarks of mass psychogenic illness (MPI), previously known as epidemic hysteria.”
Read the BBC article.
Has this come about from education by the media and/or the internet? Or has a simple idea become mythical and monstrous within communities? It’s very strange.
Sorry about the title; I couldn’t resist it.

Week 112 – Muscles of the hip joint

In week 112 we talked about the movements of the hip joints and the muscles that cause and control those movements, trying to link them to our upright, bipedal locomotion. We started off by looking at the joint itself: the acetabulum (socket) of the pelvis and the head of the femur (ball). It’s helpful to be aware that each half of the pelvis was originally three, separate bones: the ilium, the ischium and the pubis. In the adult those bones have fused together, but when we talk about the muscles of the hip we can talk about the ilium, ischium and pubis as the bones to which they attach. You are probably already aware of some of the surface anatomy of these bones.
The femur also has some notable lumpy bits. You must be able to recognise the greater trochanter, the lesser trochanter, the intertrochanteric crest linking them, and the linea aspera. Look also for the pectineal line and maybe the gluteal tuberosity. These ridges and lumps are formed by the attachments of muscle to bone, and the greater trochanter is so large because many muscles attach here. So if you are comfortable with where these bony bits are, and if you know which muscles attach to them it is then clear for you to work out the actions of those muscles.
Helpfully, the muscles of the hip and thigh are well grouped together. They are physically grouped by fascia bounding them (great for remembering which nerve and artery supplies a compartment and thus all the muscles therein) and also grouped by function. Around the hip there are groups of muscles that will flex the hip, extend it, abduct the lower limb and adduct it. There are also muscles that will specifically laterally rotate the hip, and many of the other muscles will medially rotate it.
In the anterior thigh we have the quadriceps femoris muscle. The term “quadriceps” suggests it has four heads, and only one of those heads crosses the hip joint from the ilium: rectus femoris. The other three heads (vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and vastus intermedius) pass from the femur, and all parts of the muscle come together to form the patellar tendon and insert into the tibial tuberosity. The functions of the “quads” are to flex the hip and extend the knee.
However, when we looked at the posterior abdominal wall we saw the iliopsoas group. Iliacus passes from the iliac bone and the psoas muscles pass from vertebrae T12-LV. They insert into the lesser trochanter, and these muscles are the powerful hip flexors. Also take a look as the sartorius muscle (the tailor’s muscle, think of moving your leg to a position for sitting cross-legged).
The muscles in the posterior thigh cross both the hip and knee joints, and as such are usually limited to acting on one or the other at a time. The hamstrings are made up of the biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus, and can extend the hip and flex the knee. They all pass from the ischial tuberosity (the bony bits you’re sitting on) to either the tibia or the fibula. The semimembranosus and semitendinosus muscles are both medial (passing to the tibia) and biceps femoris is lateral (passing to the fibula). These muscles are very important in walking and running.
The gluteus maximus muscle is a large, powerful hip extensor. It is important in keeping the trunk erect, and also when climbing stairs or straightening up after bending over. It is attached to the ilium and most of its fibres insert into the iliotibial band (a lateral thickening of the fasica lata). Other fibres insert into the gluteal tuberosity. It’s association with the iliotibial band suggests that it has a role in stabilising the knee when standing.
Deep to the gluteus maximus muscle we have the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus muscles. Again, they arise from the ilium but pass to the greater trochanter. These muscles abduct the thigh, which is a vital function of efficient bipedal locomotion, keeping the pelvis level when the opposite foot is lifted off the ground. Mine are rather weak on one side and cause me problems when I run for 80-90 minutes or longer. My pelvis starts to dip to the other side and the hamstrings and calf muscles on that side get very tired having to raise my dipped weight with each stride.
Deep to those muscles are a group of smaller muscles that pretty much all work together to laterally rotate the femur at the hip. Investigate these muscles (piriformis, superior gemellus, inferior gemellus, obturator internus, etc) yourselves. They pass from parts of the pelvis to the greater trochanter. The movement of lateral rotation here is probably one that you’ve not really thought about before. Think of this: look down as you walk and notice how your pelvis twists forward as you walk. The hip joint on the side of your leading leg is moved anteriorly, and your pelvis is now “open” to the left (assuming you’ve stepped forward with your right foot). But your foot points forward. Why doesn’t it point to the left, like your pelvis? Because of the lateral rotation of the femur at the hip joint. And what about the other foot? Why is that still pointing forward?
The final group of muscles is the adductor group. These muscles are in the medial compartment of the thigh and pass from the pubis to the femur, inserting into the linea aspera. Their action is clear, and their site of origin should remind you of an athlete’s groin strain – these are the muscles involved in those strains. Also look at the gracilis muscle.
OK, as you can see this is an area of the body with some serious musculoskeletal anatomy. The rest of the leg is just as good. It’s an area that you have to spend time with yourselves and get to know in layers and compartments. My teaching session was just an introduction and I’d be happy to think about it in more detail with you in tutorials if you’d need them.
How Stuff Works: Why do humans walk on two legs? – an article exploring some of the thoughts of why we walk on two legs.
BBC Science & Nature: Mother of man – 3.2 million years ago – part of a series of human evolution articles, this one about the discovery of “Lucy” and the importance of “bipedalism” in differentiating between apes and man.
Running Planet: Leg blasting circuit – strengthen, tone and sculpt your leg muscles with this cross training workout. There’s some good anatomy in there too.

Reindeer Run data

2008-12-07--Reindeer Run Data
The first lap is slightly longer than the second, and I ran the second stronger than I thought. My watch measured about 300m short, which is normal. The faster I run, the more likely it is to underestimate my distance covered (and therefore speed also). Note how my heart rate was above 90% of maximum for about 37 minutes of the total 39:28. That’s racing!

Reindeer Run 10km

Reindeer Run 10km Finish Line, originally uploaded by samwebster.

I ran the RNLI’s Reindeer Run 10k at Margam Park today. It was a beautiful morning; sunny but icy. Look at that time! I finished 6th with a new PB. I don’t think my second lap was as strong as I wanted it to be, but I’ll look at the data this afternoon.

I wonder what I can do in 2009…