Fetal Medicine @ Brown
WARREN ALPERT MEDICAL SCHOOL OF BROWN UNIVERSITY

 

BIOL 6505 - Introduction to Fetal Medicine

BIOL 6505 (CRN 21361) is a preclinical elective course seminar in fetal medicine, aimed at first and second year medical students, as well as PLME students and biology graduate students. It is given during the Spring semester and consists of twice-a-week series of lectures and exercises. (see also Brown On-line Course Announcement and the Preclinical Electives page)
Course number: BIOL 6505
Dates: Spring semester
Time: Fridays 3:00-4:30 PM*
Place: Alpert Medical School (220 Richmond Street)
Open to: 1st, 2nd year med students; PLM, biology graduate students
Credits: 0.5

*Times may vary slightly by week - consult schedule for updates

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK - please email your answer by the next class.

(click here to read the answers to last week's questions)

QUESTION 1:

In “The doctor’s visit,” a painting by Frans van Mieris (ca 1650), what is the doctor looking at? Which single test, almost certainly performed by this doctor, would have indicated that this woman’s unborn baby had an increased risk of macrosomia, caudal regression, spina bifida or anencephaly?

(Click on the paintings to enlarge)

QUESTION 2:

Who first coined the term “Spina bifida?” What else is he (very well) known for?

 

 

 

 

ANSWERS TO LAST WEEK'S QUESTIONS

 

QUESTION 1:

Normal hemoglobin is composed of 2 alpha globin chains and 2 beta globin chains. Complete absence of alpha globins (Hemoglobin Barts) causes hydrops and fetal death unless treated with intrauterine transfusions. Fetuses with complete absence of beta globins (beta thalassemia major) are completely asymptomatic. Why?

QUESTION 2:

The “Manchester Madonna,” an unfinished painting by Michelangelo (c. 1497) depicts the Virgin Mary, the Christ child (left) and St. John the Baptist (traditionally represented wearing an animal skin, right). Obviously, nobody knows what John the Baptist would have looked like as a child – but in Michelangelo’s depiction, he appears to be suffering from which genetic condition? Michelangelo’s Mediterranean heritage may offer a clue…

 

 

ANSWERS:

1. Adult (i.e., postnatal) hemoglobin consists of two alpha globins and two beta globins. A decrease or absence of either of the two globin chains can lead to severe hematological anomalies. Fetal hemoglobin consists of two alpha chains and two gamma chains. Decrease or absence of either of these two chains can lead to severe anemia and fetal hydrops. The “hemoglobin switch,” where fetal hemoglobin is replaced by adult hemoglobin, occurs around birth. Since beta chains don’t normally appear until 36-38 weeks gestation anyway, an absence of beta chains will not cause any fetal pathology. Absence of alpha chains, however, results in abnormal fetal and adult hemoglobin.

2. In their article entitled “Michelangelo’s John the Baptist and thalassemia (Ann Hematol 2013;92:1293), Mark Tan et al argue that the frontal bossing of John (especially when compared to the normal forehead of Christ) suggests a typical feature of thalassemia, whereby increased extramedullary hematopoiesis (to compensate for the underlying anemia) causes the medulla of some bones (including the frontal bone) to hypertrophy.

 


Find out more about the course's faculty, objectives and schedule. Click on the menu to see how the course fits within the framework of the MD-2000 blueprint, how students will be evaluated, and where to find additional reading material and relevant medical images. The syllabus is available on line (in pdf format) (as are the lecture slides). Several years ago, a survey was conducted regarding the value of this course in the overall medical education and a career in medicine. Click here to see a Powerpoint presentation of the survey results. Finally, don't hesitate to evaluate us; feed-back is important if we want to improve the course...
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Introduction

Objectives

MD-2000

 Schedule

Faculty

Syllabus

Slides

References

Evaluation

 Image Bank

Fetal Program

Fetal Treatment

M.A.D.A.M.

 Links