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Medical Detectives: Inside the Mind of Great Physicians

MLL14002Winter 2014

Wednesday evenings, February 12 – March 19
7-8:30pm, Parnassus
Course Number:  MLL14012


Ever want to be a detective and solve mysteries, conundrums, and enigmas?  This course will teach you how physicians at UCSF function as detectives, solving strange illnesses, rare diseases, new infections and unexpected poisonings using their knowledge, deductive reasoning, and data gathering. Climb inside the mind of a medical detective and see how it works – how they obtain clues, synthesize data to formulate a hypothesis, and select and interpret their tests based on these hypotheses.



Course Chairs         

Jeffrey A Tabas, MD, Professor of Emergency Medicine; Director of Outcomes and Innovations, Office of Continuing Medical Education

Malini K. Singh, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine; Medical Director, San Francisco General Hospital Emergency

Download the WINTER 2014 registration form here

Register online here

(You will be prompted to login to your account. If you have registered for an Osher Mini Medical course in the past, you are already in our system and your login is your email address.  If this is your first course, please create a new account.)


To register for individual lectures, please use the following link:

Medical Detectives: Inside The Mind Of Great Physicians



Course Schedule


2/12 Parnassus Campus
Alan Wu, PhD | BIO | Book Postcard | Handout
Professor, Lab Medicine
Laboratory Medicine


2/19 Parnassus Campus
Erin Mathes, MD | BIO
Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Pediatrics
Dermatologic Detectives


2/26 Parnassus Campus
Gregory M. Marcus, MD, MAS | BIO | Handout
Director of Clinical Research, Division of Cardiology
The Health eHeart Study: How You and Just About Everyone You Know Can Help Solve the Mysteries Underlying America’s Number 1 Killer.

Overview:  Although previous cohort studies have identified some important risk factors for cardiovascular disease, why does the 32 year old marathon runner with a normal cholesterol and perfect blood pressure drop dead while walking to work? How can the longtime smoker with poorly controlled blood pressure eat bacon and French fries and yet live to 100? We don’t know, but we will solve these mysteries with the help of technology, 999,999 dedicated participants, and you! But isn’t such a study going to be terribly inconvenient for all involved? No—in fact, using technology you likely already have (essentially any computer), this study can be performed from the convenience of your home, your work, or, if you have a smart phone or tablet, anywhere you have an internet connection. But isn’t this study going to be terribly expensive and therefore untenable in the currently dismal research funding environment? No—by using technology that is already pervasive in our everyday lives and by moving clinical research away from traditional “brick and mortar” facilities, this nimble and easily scalable new infrastructure will be particularly efficient and inexpensive. Learn about the Health eHeart study, the gadgets and smartphone “apps” we will employ, our progress thus far, our goal to enroll 1 million participants, our plan to really personalize prediction for a given individual, and how you and everyone you know can make a meaningful difference in the fight against heart disease.


3/5 Parnassus Campus
Richard S. Breiman, MD | BIO | Handout
Professor, Radiology
The Radiology Detective: Utilizing Clues Within High-tech Imaging Exams to Solve Medical Mysteries

Overview: Since Roentgen discovered x-rays in 1896, Radiologists have had access to extremely powerful tools used to peer into a patient. Although x-rays are still used today, computers and other technological advancements have contributed to the development of extremely sophisticated medical imaging devices, such as CT, ultrasound, MR and PET scans. The application of computer graphics, interactivity and virtual reality to computer based imaging examinations can enhance the medical detective’s recognition and understanding of the often-subtle clues available.

In this presentation, attendees will learn how several medical imaging examinations work and begin to understand how they are interpreted, as well as the beneficial clues they provide, which may help solve medical mysteries and contribute to patient management.



3/12 Health Sciences West, Room 302 – Parnassus Campus
Brian S. Schwartz, MD | BIO | Handout
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine
Program Director, Infectious Diseases Fellowship
Director of Clinical Services
UCSF, Division of Infectious Diseases
Detecting Infections from Abroad



3/19 – Health Sciences West, Room 302 – Parnassus Campus (Rescheduled from 2/5)
Judy Melinek, MD | BIO | Handout Warning: some of the images are graphic 
Associate Clinical Professor, UCSF Dept. of Pathology and Forensic Pathologist, Alameda County Coroner’s Office
The Real CSI: Forensic Pathology & Death Investigation

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