What's that word?

As a medical student it keeps happening. Whatever subject we are studying, whatever new word or disease I decide to Wikipedia, it shows up in my every day life. Or something like that. I think there is a theory or word to describe this phenomenon but my search of the exact title of this definition seems lacking. Synchronicity? Maybe but it is not as magical or dispersed as that. Confirmation bias, selective recall? Perhaps, but I do not really refute or notice a bias AGAINST anything else, just a heightened awareness of the thing, theory, idea, subject, etc. And I guess that is all that it is, a coincidence though I don't attribute any meaning to it. But I would like to know what to properly call it. If you know, please do comment and enlighten me.

Okay, let me illustrate. Last week we were studying psychiatric disorders and health care systems including policies in different countries. What do I read in the New York Times but this piece: The Americanization of Mental Illness.

I remember last term during my super short two week parasit course I came across this lovely picture of vericose veins caused by Schistosomiasis

Another example. During the last two weeks of immunology I read a blog and stumbled across a newish cytokine: IL-33 and then found this in my inbox: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/444383_3

Of note, I have not come across any other immuno or parasitology links, info, etc. SINCE I finished those classes, but maybe I just unconsciously stopped looking for them? Anyhow, this week we are studying biostatistics so I guess my next project is to calculate the p value for all of these occurrences being random chance versus statistically significant. So, if I read the NYT everyday and scan an average of 28 articles and read 50 blog entries a week and I am studying 4 given medical subjects at any one time....  (Study design and results will be forthcoming.)


  1. I've heard it called "precedented apperception," but I have no idea if that's correct. I know exactly what you're talking about, though!

  2. I think there is something going on with the Parasitology course in particular. I just finished it and then NEJM runs an article on Cutaneous Larva Migrans that pops up in my google reader. Discussed with a friend and his physician dad had patient with rare parasite from the course (mm can't remember which)...

    And now for something completely different: I've been making my way around the SGU Med blogs recently and am enjoying yours and its links! You can check mine out at http://emergingseamonster.blogspot.com ;)