Research Placement First Week

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So this is the end of the beginning! The first week of my 8-week long placement is about to finish and I am still motivated (phew). According to these blog guidelines, I should be talking about stuff I have learnt, what I enjoyed and found challenging. As this is my first blog, don’t expect to much.

The aim of this research project is to look at facial width-height ratio and how this relates to general health in older adults (50+, no offence!). So far, we are still in the planning phase and there are indeed some tricky issue. First problem: what is health anyway? There seems to be much debate about this to begin with. Then: how do we measure health (and this obviously does not eliminate the definition problem)?

Robin and I decided on some basic measurements, as we are no biologists and cannot take blood samples to measure cholesterol levels, haemoglobin or inflammatory markers. However, we found out that lung capacity testers (spirometry!) are actually quite cheap (£10) and so are blood pressure monitors. That’s done!

Another tricky thing: I would have never imagined that literally every single point on your face has its own name – get prepared! So reading through all those face papers was like reading a medical dictionary without the dictionary bit. At least, I know some really fancy words now, such as glabella, nasion, gonion, menton, tragion, or zygion… The down side to this is that apparently they still do not really refer to exactly the same points, e.g. when talking about the zygion it could be “the most lateral point of the zygiomatic arch” or simpler: “a craniometric point at either end of the bizygomatic diameter”. Nice and easy!

Another interesting point is the fact that sitting all day in a chair is actually really hard. I really don’t know how people manage to do this. Anyway, I  encourage you to take office exercises more seriously – if everybody did them, we’d look less weird!

Last but not least, academia seems quite fun so far (not if you do a phd obviously, that’s just really stressful!). We will see what next week brings! I don’t expect anybody to read this, but leave a comment, picture, or what have you, in case you do read it because it means it is actually worth writing these blogs. Thanks!

Best and auf Wiedersehen,

Anna B.



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