Poisons and toxicity- A toxicology course review!

Hello all!

Today’s blog is about the toxicology part of the current course for Biomedicine Bachelors in their second year. This course is tied with Pharmacology but I will do a review blog for Pharmacology later on.

How was the toxicology course different to other courses?

Like all other courses there were lectures and project work but this time the project work was based on another teaching method! Problem-based learning was introduced to us where we were divided into groups and presented with a problem related to toxicology.

8 of us worked on solving the problem, and in a step by step manner we analysed the question and came up with theories. The next day we researched probable theories and met again to establish which theory applied to the question.

We always had a mentor present but they were mostly observing the group dynamics and our brainstorming process to ensure we were on the right track. I personally think PBL is great way of learning as it made us think in a step by step manner and not just google the answer or find it in a book. We had the chance to evaluate and think about various solutions before forming a conclusion.

At the end of the project we had a 2-3 Page group report submission and a presentation. Unfortunately the toxicology part of the course is only 2 weeks long but I definitely think it should be extended!

What was our PBL question?

We had a very interesting question regarding liver diseases. We had a case study where certain group of men showed signs of liver damage and it was stated they consumed acidic beer brewed in rusty barrels and also worked in a factory where carbon tetrachloride was produced. Interestingly, even women worked in the same factory but showed no symptoms of liver damage.

This led us to brainstorm whether it was liver damage due to excess alcohol consumption, or due to it being brewed in rusty barrels or working in a factory where potent hepatotoxins are produced that lead to liver damage. We also compared why women showed no symptoms and the men did. We concluded that the iron in the beer and excess consumption of it which is popular among men (as per the case study) could have led to liver damage that is further enhanced by the hepatotoxin. Also maybe the women did not drink as much and worked in the factory but maybe the exposure was limited.

As this question has no solid answer we had a discussion with other groups answering the same question as well and it seemed we all had the same general answer! I truly enjoyed this PBL session and wish there were a few more of these.

That’s all for now!

See you around.



Cover photo: CC 0. Wikimedia commons.


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