Studying Can be Fun - Microbiology and Pokemon


Eventually at one point, memorizing large amounts of information becomes tedious. In my current case, studying dozens of infectious diseases can be quite boring. Learning about different bugs and their structural make-up, virulence mechanisms, mode of transmission, clinical presentations, diagnostic methods, treatment and prevention can soon become mindless.

A few weeks ago I browsing around in a bookstore when I stumbled upon a Pokemon picture book in the children’s section. Having been an avid player back in the day, I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the book that I could still identify most of the creatures. Not only that, I could also recall their characteristics, special attacks, locations of capture and weaknesses. This got my brain thinking. Learning and memorizing doesn’t have to be boring, it can be fun.  If you have the interest and time commitment, recognizing bacteria can be very much like recognizing pokemon. So I have created a table below (strictly for academic reasons of course!) contrasting a bacteria and a pokemon, to show that studying can sometimes be fun and silly too.

Shigella Pikachu
Species Invasive Gut Bacteria Mouse Pokemon
Picture
Type Gram-negative, Non-spore forming, Rod shaped Electric
Physical Description No distinct nucleus, lacks internal structures Short, chubby, ground dwelling rodent. Yellow fur with brown stripes on back and black-tipped ears. A tail resembling a lightning bolt.
Related Species / Strains S. Dysenteriae

S. flexneri

S. boydii

S. sonnei

Pichu

Raichu

Endemic Locations Confined populations

Refugee camps

Developing countries

Viridian Forest

Power Plants

Habitat Found in unhygienic environments, fecal contaminated areas Found mostly in forests, though due to of attraction to electricity, seen in civilized areas too
Risk Factors / Groups Contaminated food, immunocompromised, HIV/AIDS, weak gut Flying and Water Type Pokemon are high risk groups
Mode of Transmission Oral-fecal Pokeball, herd movement
Pathogenesis Stationary growth phase to avoid stomach acid, Entry into M cells and lamina propria of intestine Evolves from Pichu. Can invade homes, harmful pests around wires and electronics
Toxins / Abilities / Virulence Factors IcsA (intracellular spread protein)

Shiga Toxin

Tail Whip

Quick Attack

Thunderbolt

Slam

Thunder

Clinical Symptoms Bloody diarrhea with mucus & pus, fever, nausea, vomiting, cramps, bowel movement, seizures, coma, reactive arthiritis Most common symptom, lightning has a chance of causing paralysis.

Burnt grass and objects, as result of electric discharge.

Diagnosis WBC in Stool

Stool Culture for Shigella

Pokedex
Treatment Amoxicillin. Fluoroquinolones (cipro), TMP / SMX, rehydration Ground based attacks are super effective (eg Earthquake, Dig, Fissure)
Resistance Some antibiotic resistance with genetic mutations. Resistant to electric, flying and steel attacks.
Prevention Hand washing, proper cooking of food Proper use of pokeballs, frequent discharge of electric cheeks

I’m sure you can see how these two areas of study can overlap significantly. The possibilities are up to you. Make learning and studying fun. Always try to look at old things in a new way.

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  1. #1 by Ramblings on December 2, 2023 - 9:18 pm

    classic!

  2. #2 by Joshua on December 4, 2023 - 3:48 pm

    Even with this nice comparison, I’d still find it very hard to memorize the bacteria info. and anything else like this!

    One of the reasons why Pokemon stuff is so easy to remember was because it was all part of a vivid storyline, that you essentially “lived” while playing the game. It is much easier to remember ideas, facts or concepts you can associate with vivid images and experiences. I can remember Pokemon stuff just as easily as I can remember many of my elementary school memories.

    I’m not sure how I can do anything similar while learning about bacteria or other dryish sort of information…

  3. #3 by medaholic on December 8, 2023 - 9:52 pm

    Luckily, there’s clinical years. Where all the bacteria (like pokemon) finally become part of a story, the patient’s story. Without clinical years, doctors would know nothing.

  4. #4 by Maya Brooks on June 30, 2023 - 11:14 am

    Pokemons are so cute, i kind of love all of them.-:’

  5. #5 by Payton Butler on July 9, 2023 - 1:08 pm

    Pikachu is the cutest and my favortie among the Pokemons.`”

  6. #6 by Sofia Singh on July 27, 2023 - 10:17 am

    Pikachu is really the cutest pokemon.`..

  7. #7 by Austin Cook on September 14, 2023 - 1:09 am

    pikachu is the most adobrable of all the pokemons-~;

  8. #8 by Glass Coffee Table  on October 13, 2023 - 2:21 am

    the Pokemons are very cute! i love all the cute pocket monsters;~”

  9. #9 by Acne Treatments : on October 24, 2023 - 1:05 pm

    when i hear the word Pokemon, Pikachu always comes up to my mind-’-

  10. #10 by Chrome Towel Radiator on December 21, 2023 - 11:39 am

    Pokemons are very very cute, i would really love to keep one of them in our home *’,

  11. #11 by Just a traveler on April 30, 2023 - 7:41 pm

    Maybe someone should make a Microbiology version of the Pokémon game ahah
    Although it would be somewhat disturbing fighting bacteria with the sole purpose of wanting to catch them all…

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