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Medical TEDx Talks Worth Watching #5

Did you know that 70% of Americans take at least one prescription drug? Or that 20% take five or more? This statistic is truly frightening, but illuminates a glaring problem within medicine and our healthcare industry. While we may think that taking prescription pills helps us, do they really make us better?       5. Is Medicine Killing You? – Dr. Lissa Rankin   Though pills may alleviate some of our symptoms, maybe it is time that both doctors and patients try to find the source of the problem. As Dr. Lissa Rankin points out in her Talk, “Instead of solely medicating and operating, maybe it’s time to address the issues that might be predisposing people to illness or exacerbating the illness.”   Stress plays a major role in our well-being and can be the source of many health issues. Our bodies are equipped to handle stress through the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), helping us to return to homeostasis. The typical purpose of the SNS goes back to a time when humans lived out in nature, with more basic living conditions, it was essential to their survival.   The SNS is not designed to cope with stress that we endure for long periods of time, the kind of stress modern society has become accustomed to. It seems as though most people are in a constant state of worry—whether...

Medical TEDx Talks Worth Watching #4

Can 3D printing really be the rebirth of current medical practice? Although it sounds like a futuristic pipedream, 3D printing is actually more within reach than you’d think. Technology has come a very long way, even in just the last few decades.     4. 3D printing & medical applications – Carsten Engel The field of biomedical engineering has offered some of the most ground-breaking advancements to medicine. 3D printing is one such development that marks a turning point for customizable, patient-centered care. The printer can use various materials, such as metal, ceramic, even biodegradable materials, to recreate highly complex objects.   So far, 3D printing has been used for several applications in the medical field from printing bones to hearing aids. One of the most noteworthy features of this technology is its ability to customize the output, which lends itself to creating patient-specific solutions. This is just one of the huge advantages of using 3D printing within the medical field, as Carsten Engel discusses in his Talk.   Some other advantages include reducing surgery time, rehearsing surgery before going into the operating room, and providing a solution when there is no other solution. Engel also touches on some of the fascinating progress made in the area and what it could do for the medical field as we move into the future.   Video: Source   Engel brings up a...

Popular Alternative Medical Therapies #2: Meditation

Calm. Peace. Patience. Meditation is a long-founded practice since as far back as we can remember. However, the benefits of the technique go well beyond the short time spent with oneself, allowing patients to reduce their risk of some of the most common disorders in human society and emerge more composed for the challenges ahead.     There is no doubt that the mind and body are connected. Just think of times when you were in a good mood. Most likely you were smiling, your posture was upright, and you had some bounce in your step. Contrastingly, when you were in a bad mood you probably had a melancholy expression, your shoulders were slightly slumped, moving at a slower pace.   Those with a long-term, negative attitude is not only damaging to their mental health, but can also manifest as physical ailments. Without even realizing it, our minds have such a strong influence on our bodies and our behavior. Just the slightest change in attitude can greatly affect the way we present ourselves.   So, can harnessing the mind through thought and reflection really be a source of therapy? Absolutely! The mind is a powerful tool, though sometimes difficult to understand. The ability to harness the mind can change the way you perceive yourself and the world around you.   2. Meditation   Those who regularly meditate derive incredible benefits such...

Medical TEDx Talks Worth Watching #3

Medical marijuana has been a controversial topic in the U.S. for decades. We have heard both sides of the story in the media and I’m sure you have noticed the recent legal changes in regards to marijuana. Laws against marijuana as a recreational drug have become more lenient, as it is has become legalized in many states. Furthermore, marijuana is becoming more and more accepted as a medical treatment.     Though the topic is surrounded by sensitive political, legal, and social issues, medical marijuana has been hailed by some as a panacea for the gravest diseases. Still, there are some who are more skeptical of the drug and its so-called benefits.     3. Medical Marijuana: The Ultimate Disease Defeating Drug – Viki Vaurora   “Almost a year ago I did one of the most impossible things…I rolled a joint and gave it to my dad…” This is the opening line of Viki Vaurora’s Talk, during which he adds his unique voice to the many out there on this topic. His goal, of course, was not to get his dad “high,” but was to ease the relentless pain his dad was suffering from, which no other painkillers would relieve.   Throughout his Talk, Vaurora discusses the history and origins of marijuana, which has been around for over 10,000 years. He touches on the various uses and benefits that...

Popular Alternative Medical Therapies #1: Acupuncture

How does acupuncture really work? This is just one of the popular alternative medical therapies that are offered today, but many people know very little about them.     Most people know about medicine as viewed through the lens of biomedicine, drug therapies, evidence-based treatments, and the like. However, there is a whole area of study that addresses ailments with a quite different approach. We have all likely heard of it as alternative medicine.   There are many reasons to take an interest in this field. However, for us prospective as well as current clinicians, this field holds particular value as a future approach that could likely be incorporated into common practice. Despite of our most cutting edge tools in today’s day and age, we are nowhere close to curing the wide variety of diseases in existence. This is where alternative medical therapies offer a different look at problems and open up a new playing field to develop a holistic approach to benefit patients.   So, in an effort to make us all more informed, I will be going over some of the most common as well as interesting alternative medical approaches. Hopefully we can all learn something new and intriguing!   1. Acupuncture   Imagining a million tiny needles all over your body is not a pleasant thought, much less having it done. However, acupuncture has risen in popularity...

How Does Undergraduate Research Prepare You For Medical School? – #10

  In today’s world of collegiate academics, being involved in medical research has become a de facto expectation for pre-medical students. Beyond being a great resume builder in the form of useful experience and shiny publications in renowned journals, how exactly does undergraduate research contribute to a student’s medical school experience?   Over the course of the next several articles, we will be delving into some key skills that students learn by becoming involved in scientific investigation at an early stage in their careers. Who knows, you might just rediscover a skill that you may have taken for granted?   10. Technology and Medicine   In this final article in the series, I want to end on a note of hope and progress. In the TEDx talk below, David Budden gives a fascinating presentation on the intermingling between technology and medicine, and how the landscape has been transformed radically over the years. For future medical students, this gives us some perspective into the past, present, and future of medicine. Considering our primary role in the field over the next few decades, how can we take what we know so far and make changes for the better?     Video: Source Featured Image:...

How Does Undergraduate Research Prepare You For Medical School? – #9

  In today’s world of collegiate academics, being involved in medical research has become a de facto expectation for pre-medical students. Beyond being a great resume builder in the form of useful experience and shiny publications in renowned journals, how exactly does undergraduate research contribute to a student’s medical school experience?   Over the course of the next several articles, we will be delving into some key skills that students learn by becoming involved in scientific investigation at an early stage in their careers. Who knows, you might just rediscover a skill that you may have taken for granted!   9. Initiative   From my experience, the ability to move forward in life rests on personal initiative. Without a sense of vested interest in a task, it is rarely possible to complete it with excellence.   This applies directly to undergraduate research. In order to accrue experience for medical school, students need to actively seek out research opportunities. This sense of passion for a particular area of study illustrates a commitment to make progress through dedication. Even after establishing a lab, students’ ability to anticipate the next steps and genuinely take an interest in the work allows them to learn more from the experience.   Looking at this skill further down the road to medical school and beyond, personal initiative is what marks an astute clinician, one that takes...