research

Polyphasic Sleep – A Boon For Modern Humans?

  As students, we all experience a lack of time at one point or another. There are just so many things on our plate that we must achieve in a short lifespan!   Our decisions regarding priorities eventually boil down to a balancing act of the three-legged stool – education, social life, and sleep – with the last one ending up usually being cut. But what if I were to say that there is an alternative to the recommended 8 hours of sleep? Would you go for it?   Looking around the world, people usually engage in monophasic sleep, which describes a pattern where one sleeps for a set period of time (8 hours) and functions uninterrupted for the rest (16 hours). However, there is a whole another umbrella of speculated sleep patterns known as polyphasic sleep, where sleep time can be divided up into various different segments. Here are the most common methods: Biphasic: 4-4.5 hours of sleep every night with a 90-minute nap in the middle of the day. This is the usual sleep schedule of every college student, who works well into the night and tries to catch up on some sleep during the day. It can also be compared to the “siesta” system commonly utilized in countries with a Spanish influence. Everyman: One long 3-hour nap at night with three 20-minute naps divided up throughout...

What If You Could Taste The Rainbow?

    A conglomeration of cells, interconnected throughout, Where action potentials crop up and ideas sprout. An entity housing knowledge and application alike, Thoughts are pursued and movements spike. What is this complexity, this thing beyond understanding? That keeps on changing and continually expanding?   Yes it is the brain, an organ of old, Seemingly simple, but covered with many a fold. It is confined in space yet not circumscribed at all, Let it reign free and its tendrils sprawl! Many activities run in and out of this mill, It’s a wonder it doesn’t just overfill and spill!   But one condition in particular intrigues us the most, Synesthesia is the name that has us all engrossed. Individuals may taste vanilla when they see green, Or hear the cello when they chug down some good ol’ caffeine. This is a mere snapshot of the wide reach of synesthesia, Questioning what we know and characterizing a fantasia.   Some say it’s a mental condition, others uphold a mere miss-wiring, What do we call this rarity of nature that has neurons widely firing? Should we treat these synesthetes as victims of psychiatric conditions? Or is it time to formulate and disperse brand new definitions? Highly addictive drugs are known to rouse similar symptoms as well, Perhaps synesthesia is our gateway, giving us more than we can presently tell.   Sensory perception...

I Can Hazmat? 8 Things You Learn in Hazmat Training

* Abby Norman is certified by FEMA for Level C gear in a Hospital Setting 1. Preparedness is essential because hazards are actually everywhere, and it doesn’t take much of certain hazards to become full blown “situations”.  Our instructor gave one example of a woman who broke two small mercury thermometers inside her house and needed complete decontamination (decon) of herself and her home. Also, many hazardous chemicals can be purchased at Wal-Mart: mace and pepper spray, pesticides and lighter fluid just to name a few. And you may not realize it but the big trucks that transport large quantities of these materials to your local Wal-Mart (through your neighborhood) are unmarked even though they contain these hazards. The company stays strategically under the weight limit for labeling their trucks with warnings, but just because you have 999 lbs of a substance as opposed to the 1,000 lbs that would require the truck be labeled doesn’t mean you have less of a hazard should that truck turn over on I-95 (or worse yet, in your front yard). Those trucks, and the ones that are actually marked and carrying large amounts of hazardous materials, go through your tiny neighborhood in the middle of the night for several reasons, but mostly because should a disaster occur, the kill rate is lower because they’re in a less populated area.   2. People...

The Danger in Hollywood’s Favorite Medical Myths

Television has no shortage of doctor dramas. Whether you’re an avid House fan or dedicated to Grey’s Anatomy, you are familiar with the miraculous phenomena that occur every day in these hospitals. Contrary to popular belief, real hospitals are not the abundance of diagnostic mysteries as Dr. House depicts them to be.  If you’re a new intern at a hospital, you probably will not fall for a dreamy resident whilst dodging his estranged wife who wants to get back together… probably. Unfortunately, many of our favorite doctor dramas fabricate not only drugs or clinical trials, but also blur the lines between entertainment and what really happens in various medical procedures and practices. While entertaining for viewers, it creates a potentially dangerous dissonance between the anticipated experiences—as fostered by these shows—and the actual experience. New York Times writer Dhruv Khullar elaborates on this distinct difference in his article “The CPR We Don’t See on TV.” Khullar notes that the gap was so wide between what he was prepared to see, likely from TV shows, and what he actually saw, that the patient “looked more like a survivor of CPR than of cardiac arrest.” Many CPR patients suffer blunt trauma including bruising, bleeding, or fractures to the ribs, sternum or local organs. As an almost-doc and certified EMT, one of the most frustrating things to watch is TV CPR. However, it...

7 Secrets to the Freakish Recoveries Athletes Are Now Making from Destructive Knee Injuries

Here are 7 modern knee treatments (quotes are from Harlan Selesnick, M.D., the orthopedic surgeon for the Miami Heat): 1. Physical therapy or anti-inflammatories A common problem in athletes is jumper’s knee, a condition due to overuse. Most players with patella tendonitis can treat their knees with anti-inflammatories or physical therapy. Breakdown: Physical therapy includes flexibility, stretching, strengthening the muscle and increasing range of motion, as well as stimulation or cold laser therapy. Anti-inflammatories (prescription or over the counter) include Advil, Aleve, Celebrex, Mobic and Motrin, or a cortisone shot. Also, ice postgame is prevalent around the league. How Effective? They often are very effective, but in some cases more extensive treatment is needed. Treatment Cost? Physical therapy is usually more than $100. Anti-inflammatory drugs are usually less than $100. Back to playing? Usually one day to a week.   2. Synvisc Synvisc is used in athletes diagnosed with early arthritis, who usually have lower concentrations of hyaluron. Breakdown: It’s a one-time injection-based lubricant into the knee joint. “It cuts down on the wear and tear, and cuts down on the pain in 75 percent of people with arthritis. We’ve actually done a study showing that it’s pretty effective in professional athletes. I know a lot of the NFL teams use it, NBA teams use it, pro tennis. There are different forms of it, but the one that I use most commonly is the one...

Chocolate Covered Medicine?

The Nestle We Know: Most of us associate Nestle with coffee and chocolate. Personally, I associate Nestle with amazing chocolate chip cookies that are great especially after a long study session. Nestle and the Health Sciences:  According to Reuters, apparently Nestle and health sciences have a lot more in common than I realized. Namely, a brand new $70 million research facility in New Jersey. This would also not be Nestle’s first investment into the health sciences either. They have also invested $65 million in Seres Therapeutics that researches the healthy bacteria in the GI tract and has signed a deal with a swiss based company that is developing diagnostic tests for Alzheimer’s. Reuters says that it could be a move on Nestle’s part to both quell concerns about “unhealthy” foods that they sell and also to branch out into new and lucrative healthcare markets.    PBS    What does this have to do with med school? As med students and future physicians, we are exposed to a lot of articles and information. Therefore, it is important for us to analyze this information and understand bias’ that might be present. Am I implying that health information from Nestle will be skewed? No, not necessarily. However, it is important to be aware of where information is coming from and be able to critically analyze it as well. Personally, I will be...

A Sad Day For Bacon…

According to Reuters, some of the country’s favorite foods seem to cause cancer!!! This can’t be good…   Nickelodeon   The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) just stated in a press release  that processed meats like hot dogs and bacon have been linked to causing cancer. How much processed meat would you need to eat in order to start having negative effects? Well, if you’re looking for a comparison, 50g/day (about one hot dog) has being linked to an 18% increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. The studies correlate most strongly to processed meats though and not fresh cuts of red meat. However, according to Reuters, some studies show that we have to be careful when eating red meat as well. Disney   What do we do now? Well, that is a great question. I believe that this information will take some time to settle in for everyone. It seems as though we might have to back off of the bacon wrapped everything trend that seems to have swept the country recently. Fox   Maybe we should just stick to chicken for the next barbeque…. Disney Feature Image by Pleated...