Indo German Convention of Lindau Alumni: Day 2

The second day of IGCLA comprised more of the same with eminent personalities and maestros of their field imparting invaluable wisdom to all present. After tea, Dr. Saumya K. Patel, Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioinformatics at Gujarat University and a leading figure in Cancer research shed some light on the effect of Imatinib in targeted Cancer therapy. In his insightful talk, the renowned researcher gave the description of a study and the results analyzed from it and the part played by the OTC- 1 gene. The session concluded with a question round for the audience to ask their doubts about the topic succinctly explained by Dr. Patel.

Following the talk by Dr. Saumya K. Patel, Nishchal R. Dwivedi, a physicist from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, gave a talk titled the Story of 4 forces which was revelationary for many. Starting off with the most important question, ‘what does a physicist do?’ He explained how physics was not just an extension of Mathematics or the dreaded H.C. Verma as students may point out but were the tangible science to explain the seemingly mysterious universe. Explaining about the 4 forces that comprise all of physics, he explained how the works of Newton and Kepler influenced Stephen Hawking and Einstein, and how the Maxwell equations explained the apparent indescribable Electromagnetic radiation and how the Solvay Conference shaped our understanding of quantum mechanics. The talk which concluded with an interactive Q&A made everyone take notice of the vastness of the cosmos before being absorbed again in the mundanities of life.

Will Robots one day replace surgeons? A question a lot of professionals have, with science progressing leaps and bounds every day a future where this may happen is not that imperceptible.  Dr. Ashok Pillai, from Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi and one of the leading neurosurgeons in the country was one of the keynote speakers of the day. Being one of those at the forefront of Robotic Surgery in the country he described how being a traditionalist himself, he has embraced the new techniques and taken them to the next levels pioneering many uses and surgeries. On tackling the question stated before he said that though they can assist in guiding and increase the precision exponentially, the robots can never have the intraoperative decision making that is critical when performing surgeries, and how it should be seen as an aid rather than a replacement for humans. Dr. Pillai also shed light about how their pioneering work with robotics has helped people who might not have been able to be operated by conventional methods. Concluding with his talk he opened the floor to questions, and answered questions not just related to the topic but also about the difference between the medical fraternity here and abroad. The session ended to thunderous applause and dispelled the illusion of knife-wielding robot surgeons at least in the near future.

Congenital Heart Surgery- Is it Child’s Play? (Presented by Dr.Suresh Rao)

Dream, Dream, Dream…dreams transform into thoughts. And thoughts into action.”

With these words uttered by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Dr. Suresh delved into the intricacies of choosing the right path while becoming a doctor and ensuring that you are happy with your specialty. Choosing a specialty is no meager task. It requires reading about and talking to various people from the chosen specialty as well as being confident enough to discuss all your doubts as well as taking your time.

His mentors, from various universities and countries all, had a group of core value as a common tie which he recommends us as young soon-to-be professionals to develop such as action, confidence, common sense, and a razor-sharp view when dealing with a problem. He urges us to come up with a game plan and selecting an appropriate and accomplished role model.

Now that you’ve ascertained that a surgeon is what you want to be the next step is to chose from the various specialties of that field you would like to excel in. Dr.Suresh Rao stresses mainly on Congenital Heart Surgery. In order to become a surgeon in that particular field, you must be ready to undergo numerous years of study and practice at your art.

Congenital Heart Surgery is a cerebral specialty which includes a deep understanding of the depth of study, imagination, intuitive brain and motor skills that translate into reality. And of course, a quest for perfection.

Dr. Suresh Rao is a chief consultant of Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgeon, Director of the Children’s Health Centre at the Kokilaben Dhirubai Ambani Hospital. This man has proven his worth by the amount of dedication and work he has rendered our society. The organizers of the IGCLA could not have chosen a better man to introduce us to his field of specialty: Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery. CVTS is one of the most demanding of the surgical specialties. It encroaches upon all areas of your life and demands passion and drive to excel against all odds and uncertainties. CVTS, in particular, can be categorized into Adults Cardiac Surgery which deals with aortic surgery, Pediatric, and Congenital Heart Surgery and Thoracic Surgery which deals with a lung transplant.

This particular branch of Surgery is most fulfilling of any medical specialty simply because you touch the lives of children and families like no other specialty or vocation. No regrets. No trade.



Nobel Laureates in Physics and their influences on Society (Presented by Vinamrita Singh)

Vinamrita Singh has spoken at IGCLA conferences since it first started. She is currently working as an Assistant Professor at AIACT&R in Delhi. She has published more than 14 papers in international journals as well as being a member of societies such as Material Research Society of India (MRSI) and Electron Microscopy Society of India(EMSI). She spoke about the type of inventions that have deserved the highest honor in the subject of Physics, that is, the Nobel Prize.

The Nobel Prize was first started by Alfred Bernhard Nobel, who devoted 94 percent of his earnings to the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences. He did so due to his infamous invention of the dynamite in 1895. So far, 111 Nobel Prizes have been won. The number of Laureates is almost twice that number, 207 out of which only 2 have been won by women ( The SHEroes) namely, Maria Goeppert Mayer and Marie Curie. Marie Currie actually belonged to a family of Nobel Prize winners. The Curie family have amassed a total of 5 prizes spanning 3 generations. Maria Mayer won her prize for her game-changing nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus in 1963, a model still seen in science textbooks and learned by science students in India till date.

The very first Nobel Prize was won by Wilhelm in 1901 from Germany, in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by the discovery of the remarkable rays subsequently named after him. He chanced upon the invention of X-rays while experimenting with light from a cathode ray tube. In 1956, the era of transformation began with the discovery of the transistor effect by William Shockley, John Bardeen, Walder Brattain. Their research on semiconductors is used in MRI/NMR machines, Mass spectrometer, particle accelerators and plasma confining magnet in some tokamaks.

There was also the Nobel Prize for the discovery of Neutrinos in 2015 by Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B McDonald that shocked the world by proving that the Earth would definitely in icy death thousands of years from now. The discovery of the blue LED light by Hiroshi Amano, Shuji Nakamura and Isamu Akasaki in 2014 which proved to be a vital component of white light which powers LED devices such as computers and phone screens.

All being said and done, Vinamrata Singh has shown us the power of the human intellect and that our desire to use the past to improve the present to ensure our survival in the future is something that time has no power against.


Berlin to Bombay- A Neurosurgeon Trainee’s Experience (Presented by Dr. Amrit Roy)

At first look, Dr. Amrit Roy seems like a typical medical student, completely indiscernible among the delegates that attend the conference. But in fact, this young man is a resident neurosurgeon from Germany who has the privilege of doing a rotation in Bombay.

He hails from Hellos Hospital Berin-Buch where he resides as a fifth-year surgeon on a beautiful campus when he decided to move to India last in October of 2017 to do a rotation at the PD Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre. He describes his motivation to chose India mainly with the aim of increasing his years of experience, to expose himself to a different work culture as the perks of moving from country to country as well as continent to continent is that the overall experience enriches you in ways you cannot fathom. He strived to step out of the comfort zone to study and learn something new and to gain a new perspective.

He notes that while in Germany he dealt with more of spine cases, in India cranial cases are much more prevalent. The reason for this, he explains, is the demographic difference, that being the average age in Germany is 48 while in India it’s just 26. Hence German surgeons face more chronic spine cases. Another difference was in the OPD. In Germany, doctors spend only 20 minutes per patient in a department that functions till noon. However in India, the OPD runs into the late hours of the night with doctors still examining patients, might I say, patiently. It is a very strenuous work environment for Indian doctors due to the vast population of our country. Another thing he mentions is the shifts. In Germany and the EU, there are guidelines that do not allow more than 24-hour shifts in order not to compromise on patient safety. Whereas in a country like India, such a luxury cannot be afforded and doctors work for over 48-hour shifts at a time. Last but not least, the culture differences showcased family-like behavior among colleagues while in Germany a much more professional and formal relationship is maintained.

The residency criteria to work in Germany is highly similar to the ones set in India. It works for about 5-6 years. There is no fee-system excluding the nominal fee for the entrance exam. He along with the other residents are paid during their residency by the hospital. However, during your residency in India, you spend your time in one hospital working in one specialty whereas in Germany you are given the freedom to switch specialties, hospitals, departments, and cities in the EU during the course of your residency. The reason for that is to experience new work cultures and methods of practice.  The one common thing between Indian and German residencies include a log book that checks in your required about of hours doing different surgeries and examination and that have to be completed during your residency. These are overlooked by a senior consultant to ensure every resident at the end of their term has a minimum experience of all procedures in hospitals. One thing to note is in Germany hospitals are not responsible for fulfilling your required hours.

Dr. Amrit very cleverly paints a clear picture of the similarities and differences between the 2 countries by using a metaphor of the 2 halves of the human brain. He states that India is like the right side of the brain, all emotion, and creative intuition. Germany, on the other hand, is the left side of the brain which is responsible for speech and advanced cognitive functioning. But both hemispheres complement each other much like Berlin in Germany and Bombay in India.

Workshops, Day 2:

‘Brainwaves’ was a workshop conducted on the Day-2 of the Indo German Convection Lindau of Alumni in the Anatomy Department. The workshop was conducted by Prof. Dr.Vijay Chandran a renowned Neurologist in Kasturba Medical Hospital. The interactive session was fun and imparted knowledge at the same time. The workshop focused mainly on EEG (Electroencephalography) and Nerve Conduction mechanism. Dr. Vijay took it a step further by actually how an EEG works by demonstrating it on students. He also showed the difference between normal and abnormal EEG’s making it crystal clear for all the learning medicos out there. In and out it was extremely informational and Dr. Vijay did an exceptional job while at it.

The Laser Physics workshop was conducted at the physics research lab at Manipal Institute of Technological Sciences in the afternoon of Day-2 of the Indo German Convection Lindau of Alumni. It was a combined talk by the professors from the Department of Physics-Dr.Pramod Shetty on Medical Applications of Radiation where he emphasized how different radiations can help in diagnosing various disorders of the human body. Followed by Dr.Pramod, Dr.Mohak K Rao threw light on Nanoscience and its Application which was intriguing and interesting as he correlated the fields of medicine and nanoscience. The last talk was by Dr. Ravi Prakash who discussed the importance of Film and Laser and their application in areas such as medical procedures, devices and other specialties like cancer diagnoses, medical imaging, and many such others. In spite of having a non-medical background, all the three speakers didn’t fail to surprise the medical audience. It was interactive, fun and highly informative.

The post-lunch session day 2 of IGCLA saw delegates making their way through the winding passages of Kasturba Hospital to the most exciting event yet: the cardiology OT. Unlike simulation workshops, this involved watching doctors work in their real-life environment and operate on real patients.

The participants were made to wear scrubs and masks before entering the room. They watched 2 procedures being carried out: pacemaker implantation and balloon angioplasty. The doctors explained the procedure as well as the anatomy, pathology and all other aspects that go along with it as they operated. This session was interactive and awe-inspiring. The participants were then taken to an ECHO room where they were taught how to do and examine an echocardiogram, and an electrocardiogram.

This workshop made for an unforgettable afternoon full of new and eye-opening experiences.

Written by- Vinay Reddy, Shrey S. Srivastava, Andrea Xavier Gonsalves, Rupa Neelakantan, R. Suhita, and Sriya Peri

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