Brenton Faber studies medical writing and the human factors that influence medical diagnosis, treatment, and patient care. He is a practicing paramedic who volunteers with a rural ambulance squad and at a free urban clinic.
I am currently interested in the concept of "allostasis" and "allostatic load." The terms have been used to describe a continued activation of the body’s neural, neuroendocrine, and immune systems as an adaptive response to prolonged stress. Unlike homeostasis, which describes an ongoing physiological balance, the term allostasis has been used to describe conditions in which a patient's adaptive systems can become perpetually activated. For example, an allostatic state could perpetuate chronic hypertension, hyperglycemia, tachycardia, or elevated stress hormones. Allostasis has been used to identify conditions in which patients experience otherwise pathological states as normal or in which an anticipatory state predominates.
I maintain a small undergraduate research team. We are currently working with a free urban medical clinic to create an electronic database of epidemiological and medical outcomes data from their paper charts.
A great project we've started is a "Medical Mystery" series in the WPI student newspaper. Archived medical mysteries can be found on WPI's pre-health page at https://www.facebook.com/musigmadelta/