To all the biology players/editors out there...

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To all the biology players/editors out there...

Post by suds1000 » Tue May 05, 2009 7:56 pm

So, I was trying to write a tossup on "glomerular filtration rate" the other day, so I could remember some specific things about it. I started off with a lead-in involving ACE inhibitors and how they can lead to decreased quantities of GFR, and then I started to wonder whether or not the lead-in was any good because it was very clinical.

That being said, I suppose my question to all of you is as follows: do you think that (in general) potentially clinical tossups should have their lead-ins be more clinical or more scientific (e.g. molecular)? From what I've seen, medical students don't play that much quizbowl after undergrad due to time constraints, so it's primarily pre-meds, undergraduate biology majors, and biology graduate students who constitute the strong biology players on the circuit. That said, these individuals often have little to no knowledge of clinical applications (since they're not often taught in the undergraduate curriculum and since grad students tend to specialize rather quickly within their respective subfields), so would a clue detailing molecular mechanisms as opposed to clinical use be "easier" for most players on the circuit? By extension, would a clinical clue thus be more difficult, and should it thus be generally placed earlier in a tossup?

It's obvious that a medical student or physician would greatly benefit from clinical lead-ins, but the flipside is that this might also benefit the non-science players who just happen to know that a certain drug is used for a certain condition because they have, say, a grandparent who takes Aricept (aka donepezil, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor) for Alzheimer's, for instance. I suppose this circles back to the problem of how knowledge should best be rewarded in quizbowl, whether it be that learned in the classroom or learned generally from life experiences, but I won't seek to rehash that debate. I guess I'm just asking for a general consensus among the people who bill themselves as "biology players" (and all you other strong players out there) as to what you think about the clinical vs. non-clinical clues as a whole and where they fit in the pyramid.
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Re: To all the biology players/editors out there...

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird » Fri May 08, 2009 9:45 am

I just took my physio final, and over 1/4 of it was renal. :sad: I can go back through my notes, but I can't name specific drugs for GFR. I would stay away from name the effect of the drug.
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Re: To all the biology players/editors out there...

Post by First Chairman » Mon May 18, 2009 12:26 pm

First, I'll caveat by saying I haven't written biology tossups for the current college circuit in a long time, and there are times when my own immersion in research is now so long ago it's hard to know what should be in the answer space. So take this for what you will.

I think if you have a specific illness, mechanism, or intervention that you can relate to the answer you desire, I don't think I'd mind a clinical-related lead-in. Of course, you need to be careful as many drugs do have multiple effects on different systems, so a pharmacological lead-in has great potential to throw people off. I suppose an alternative is to go into detailed micro/macro-anatomy and physio. It may be interesting to have a comparative lead-in with an analogous structure or illness in a different animal (or organism) if you wish to reward the "pure" biologists and make some of the ecological biologists (however few there are on the circuit) happy.
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