Against all odds, I was able to travel home for Christmas.
I had many flights canceled, since most European countries, terrified by the rapid spread of the new variant discovered in the UK, closed borders and restricted air travelling. But as we usually say in Valencia: “third time lucky”. My third flight was not cancelled and I arrived in Alacant on December 22nd, where my personal drivers (my parents) were waiting to take me home.
Since I was staying for a few days I was just carrying an empty 10-Kg-cabine bag, which I was hoping to fill with lots of winter clothes to cope with the cold weather in the UK. At this point I must say that when I first came in Oxford, I brought with me almost 30 Kg (two bags) of summer clothes, as if the weather in Oxford was the same as in Valencia. Not a smart move, I acknowledge. So, this time I had to bring with me at least 10 Kg of winter cloths, to make up for my first mistake.
For my surprise, my father had other plans for me. As usual at home, my father was planning to give me books for Christmas (best present without doubt, although my mother gave me an Italian coffee machine that is serving its purpose every morning). I told him that I could not carry lots of books, that I had 10Kg-weight-limitation. So, he told me that the 10-Kg-cabine bag I brought empty should be filled with books, at least up to 3 Kg. I was a bit doubtful (did not want to die frozen in the UK), but agreed when he told me:
“The great academics read at least six books per month: Two about their topics of research, to be always up to date; and four – FOUR! – about other fields of expertise, to broaden their knowledge in every possible ambit”
I (as my other 14 colleagues within the personalizeAF network) spend most of the day reading about atrial fibrillation (AF), my topic of research. And what do I do when I want to have a break from reading about AF? More reading. Reading about anything else. Not because my father told me, but because the more I read, the more I enjoy this activity.
So, I welcome everybody who does not know anything about AF, because it is not their field of expertise, to think about broaden their knowledge and read about this fascinating disease.
There are several reviews which I highly recommend. I remember when I started and knew close to nothing about AF. My supervisor, Prof. Blanca Rodriguez, recommended me the Compendium on Atrial Fibrillation, a compendium of reviews that perfectly recapitulates every important issue:
Compendium on Atrial Fibrillation: https://www.ahajournals.org/toc/res/127/1
For further reading (reviews, not too specific), I recommend anything written by Jordi Heijman or Stanley Nattel. Those names always guarantee accurate and extremely easy-to-understand explanations about extremely difficult topics.
After four months of working on AF, I still read reviews which talk about the basics of AF. I believe you never get to know perfectly a topic and there are always new things to discover. I specially enjoy reading reviews and going through the basic mechanisms when I have simulations running. Last month I started a collaborative project with the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, leaded by my co-supervisor Prof. Barbara Casadei. I was appointed to test in-silico (i.e., through mathematical and computational models) a hypothesis observed in-vitro (i.e., real atrial cells cultured in the laboratory).
That’s how I was introduced into 3D bi-atrial modelling (Figure 1). Needless to say, 3D simulations are computationally expensive, so there are times of waiting between one simulation and the following one. Sometimes even hours or days. So, can anyone think of a better way of spending the time between consecutive AF simulations than reading about AF?
So next time you have some time and don’t know how to spend it, especially in this “we-end-one-lockdown-just-to-be-put-under-another-lockdown” situation (we are currently in our third lockdown in the UK), read about something new for you.
And why not about AF?
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