New neuroscience podcast!

Phil Newton (henceforth to be known as Dr Phil) and I have begun a new podcast series to help medical students and others in similar need learn about neuroscience. Phil intends the series to be complementary to the lecture series in Swansea, but it should be useful and maybe even interesting to students anywhere.
In the first episode Dr Phil teaches me about action potentials and how neurons signal other neurons. Its about 35 minutes long and you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or download the MP3s from this blog or Dr Phil’s.
MP3: Neuroscience podcast – No.1 Action potentials and synapses.
iTunes: Neuroscience podcast – No.1 Action potentials and synapses (iTunes).

Counting the days

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I’m back into fracture clinic tomorrow morning. The foot feels pretty good and is well supported by the cast.
As you can see from the image above, I’ve got counters running that count the days of healing and count down towards my major races this year. I won’t be that fit for Windsor but I might be going well by Bala.

Going nuts

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It’s almost two weeks since I fractured the bone in my foot and I’m starting to go nuts. Kim’s surprised I’ve not gone mad already. I’m trying not to think about it.
Six weeks in plaster and six weeks out of training is the least of it. As I can’t put any weight on my foot I’ve no idea if it’s getting better, and there’s no change in the pain on that side of my foot. Healing bones is a fairly slow process. If I saw repair in an x-ray I’d be happier. Six weeks in a cast will be followed by around six weeks of limited run/walking, and that’s if all goes well. It could be worse. When the cast comes off at least I’ll be able to get in the pool, so maybe my swimming will become awesome. That’s something I’m looking forward to, and I think five days a week in the pool or sea is a real possibility.
If I can at least get a cycling shoe on and spin on the bike I’ll be a very happy cyclist. Having cycling replacing much of the running this year helped my running. I wasn’t sure if this would happen but in January I was running easy at 7:15 min/mi pace, and 7 min/mi pace was at the upper end of zone 2. I only reached that pace for effort as I was approaching the marathon last year, so that’s an excellent sign for under 50km of running per week. If I can get on the bike I’ll be ok. There will be a lot of rehab for my left leg though so I’ve no idea how I’ll perform.
So all the races I’d planned this summer will be for fun and experience. I enjoy the complexity of multisport and I love to compete. If I can complete the early races I’ll be doing well. A couple of weeks after the cast comes off I think I’ll start my training all over again, starting the long endurance building period from scratch before I add real intensity. My long term goals require endurance, and that takes years to build so I don’t want to short change this one. At least my high mileage weeks should be in the summer rather than March!
Trying to plan the months ahead is a little depressing, particularly when I think about the uncertainty of it all. I need to find something to focus on to take my mind off it all.

Podcast episode 23

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A new podcast is up on iTunes and the medicine page of my blog. Rhi and I finish talking about our list of things med students really should know about the anatomy of the pelvis. We include the vas deferens and the urethra, the os, the organs of the female pelvis and their ligaments, and sensory innervation from external genitalia.
Subscribe in iTunes
– Download the MP3: Episode 23: 10 things you should know about the anatomy of the pelvis (part 2).

Spiral fracture of the distal shaft of the fifth metatarsal bone of my left foot

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After a very brief assessment in fracture clinic this morning (and all that was needed) I had a load bearing cast wrapped around my leg, ankle and foot to replace the weekend’s temporary backslap plaster cast.
The verdict: 6 weeks in a cast, no load bearing for 2 weeks, expect 8-12 weeks before walking with little pain. That rather dulls the 2010 racing season for me.
It is what it is and there’s no point crying about it. I’ll sit down and look at the year I had planned. I’ll probably add a half-marathon to the end of the year (Cardiff maybe) to extend it and try to get under 80 minutes, and remember my long term goals. Races up to July will have new goals of “finish the race” and “learn”. Training to that point and from July to October is unplannable at this stage. I’ll get into the gym & work on the rest of my body, although walking on crutches is already helping that. I think I may be able to come up with some lightweight elastic band exercises but I can’t exercise my left calf muscles at all, and I have to be careful of damaging the cast.
It is what it is.


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Oh dear. I broke my foot this morning. I foolishly left too much crap in the hall downstairs, and when I ran downstairs to answer the door I was looking at the stuff instead of where I was placing my feet. I missed the bottom step, landed heavily and inverted my left foot. I couldn’t walk it off and a rather nice haematoma had appeared by the time I took my sock off a little later, so I spent the afternoon in A&E/X-ray/fracture clinic. I have a spiral fracture of the shaft of my 5th metatarsal.
I’ve got plaster on for the weekend & will get reassessed on Monday. I’ll probably get a walking cast put on then.
Bugger. I guess I’ll level all my World of Warcraft characters to level 80 then.