research

32 Amazing Tips to Learn and Study Faster

Have you ever felt that there aren’t enough hours in the day? Or that you’re always struggling to get everything done in time? Medical Students—and anyone trying to learn something new—will probably understand what I’m talking about. Even if you’re fully invested in the process and have strong motivation, there’s just one thing keeping you from succeeding more: the lack of time. While it’s impossible to add extra hours to a day, there is still a way out. Want to know what it is? Learn and study faster. We’ve put together an infographic that will show you how to make the most of the time you have at your disposal. With 32 different ways of fast learning to choose from, at least some of them will surely be perfectly fitting for you. It won’t hurt to look through our infographic. And the couple of minutes you spend on it will pay off when you start using some of the techniques described below! Part of having a healthy study habit and maximizing your learning capacity is a healthy diet. Make sure to know about these eight superfoods for better studying! Everything steps up a notch on test days. You have to work harder and be ready to change things if they don’t work. As you progress you gain a better sense when to cut corners. Free more time for important things,...

Cancer Immunotherapies: Changing Lives and Science

Sometimes, trying to learn all the different cancer therapies out there can feel a bit like drowning in a sea of big, complicated names. There are seemingly infinite number of “-inib”s and “-umab”s used to treat cancer. My work in the division of cardiovascular medicine at Vanderbilt is focused on understanding the mechanisms of how cancer therapies cause heart and vascular disease. As I am knee-deep in experiments and projects, I find it important to step back and remember the awe I have for some of these cancer therapies. One project in the lab is assessing the immune-related adverse effects of cancer immunotherapies. A paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine highlights an adverse cardiovascular effect of immune checkpoint-inhibitors that initiated a cascade of questions on the safety of these drugs. While we are still trying to profile the safety of immune checkpoint inhibitors, it is undeniable that these cancer immunotherapies are amazing from a scientific, medical, and patient perspective. To marvel at the nature of immunotherapies, it helps to have a basic understanding of how they work. As an undergraduate student, I have developed a valuable skill at taking concepts that are very complicated and breaking them down by asking, “What is most important for me to know?” I apply this approach to understanding cancer immunotherapies as well. There are many visuals out there for understanding...

Autoimmunity: Immune System Takes a Toll On Itself

There has been an evident rise in autoimmune diseases during recent years. According to National Institute of Health (NIH) approximately 24 million Americans suffer from autoimmune diseases and the prevalence is rising. Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, celiac disease and asthma are some common examples. Autoimmune diseases are some of the most complex and hard-to-treat immune system related diseases. The first step towards cure is understanding Your immune system is essentially your detailed security; it can distinguish between what belongs in your body and what doesn’t. When a virus, bacteria, parasite or any other dangerous external pathogen targets your body, the immune system shoots and kills it. Unfortunately, though this is not always perfect. Sometimes the immune system starts targeting our own body and if this persists, it can lead to an autoimmune disease or autoimmunity. “Auto” means self, so autoimmunity basically means that your body takes an aim at itself. There are 90 characterized autoimmune diseases and this number has been on a stark rise in the recent years. Since the 1950s, the incidence of celiac disease alone has quadrupled, lupus rates have tripled and type 1 diabetes has escalated by 23% in the last decade alone. Autoimmune diseases vary greatly in the organs they affect and in their clinical manifestations, with some being limited to particular tissues and others being systemic or disseminated. Because most patients with...

Why 3D Printing Could Be the Wave of the Future

We often think of 3D printing as a new technology with futuristic implications, but we rarely stop to consider how far it’s come or where it could be in another few years. 3D printing was invented by Charles Hull in 1984, and in the ensuing 34 years we have developed ways to scan and 3D print objects in real time and have even begun one of the most science-fiction endeavors yet–3D printing human organs. Still, 3D printing has yet to reach its full potential, and that’s a good thing. With everything we’ve achieved and all the breakthroughs still being made, it’s only a matter of time before niche achievements carried out under perfect laboratory conditions become repeatable (and affordable) options for 3D printing hubs across the globe. 3D printers offer us a look at how computer and software technology can create meaningful changes in hardware by revolutionizing the design and physical creation processes. Here’s a look at where 3D printing is in 2018 and where it’s headed in the future. Printing Organs, Saving Lives For a while, the talk of 3D printed body parts was nothing more than theoretical science fiction. Sure, some researchers had figured out how to use a semi-organic material in a 3D printer and had even activated some living cells that replicated on the formed compound to create something like a real liver in a...

How is Work Stress Affecting Sleep in the US?

It’s no secret that in our increasingly fast-paced economy, people’s sleep is suffering at the expense of earning a decent living. Studies have shown that workers in the UK and US are getting less than the recommended amount of sleep – both clocking up an average of 6.8 hours to be exact – which can negatively impact everything from people’s performance at work to physical and mental health. Having studied how work stress affects nightly rest in both countries, here are the key findings: The annual cost of a lack of sleep to the UK economy is £40bn ($53.2bn) while this figure reaches £310bn ($411bn) in the US. This is due to a huge loss in working days – 200,000 in the UK and 1.2m in the US – plus the lowered productivity of those who do make it in. London ranks 3rd in the UK for work-related sleep loss Adding 1 extra hour of sleep per night could boost your wages by 5%. UK workers put in an average of 42 hours per week (8.5 per day) while those in the US work for 44 hours (9 per day). Almost 75% of Brits sleep less than 7 hours per night (Royal Society for Public Health) while 65% of Americans get 7 hours or less (Gallup poll). Work-related stress is keeping the UK & US up at night Any form of stress has severely negative consequences on your sleep patterns. Unsurprisingly, work-related anxiety is one of the leading causes of the national...

Science Behind Different Types of Video Game Medicine

Video games have some of the most advanced medicinal practices and some greatly staffed programs. In this article, we dive into the science behind some of the more popular games out there right now to see what video game medicine the government is secretly hiding from us. Battlefield 1 Medic! Battlefield 1 is a game developed by EA Dice, and is a World War I first person shooter game.  The player battles through the major events of World War I and competes online against other players. But what is interesting is the healing process of players in the game.  To “revive” or heal an opponent, one simply whips out a needle filled with a grey fluid and pokes the player anywhere on their body. That grey juice must have been a scientific advancement during World War 1 that the government didn’t want us to find out about; boosting white and red blood cell counts and drastically speeding up white blood cell work and platelets (for those who don’t know, platelets are small cells that clump together to prevent and aid in stopping bleeding). Those wounds, burns, and scrapes heal up quicker than wolverine, and your back in the fight! Call of Duty World War II As with Battlefield 1, Call of Duty World War II makes it seem that World War II had a much more advanced medical system...

Are Older Doctors Worse Than Younger Ones?

If you’re a patient, would you trust older doctors, or younger ones? Perhaps you’d pick an older one because you think they’re more seasoned and knowledgeable. Or, maybe you’d choose a younger one because you think they’re more up to date with modern treatments. Deciding between doctors can be tricky, but a recent BMJ study has elucidated a key difference in performance between younger and older doctors. The study—led by Dr. Anupam Jena of Harvard Medical School—took a random sample of Medicare data for more than 700,000 hospital admissions from 2011 to 2014, and found that doctors age 50 and above have higher patient mortality rates than doctors under age 50. The results are summarized in the table below: Doctor age range Patient mortality rate 40 and under 10.8% 40-49 11.1% 50-59 11.3% 60 and above 12.1% The differences are small, but they’re meaningful. The study controlled for a number of factors, including the possibility that the sickest patients were assigned to older physicians on any given day. Jena suggests that older doctors have worse outcomes because they’re less up to date with the newest medical technologies. “There’s a fear that as doctors get further away from residency, they might be out of touch with new technologies and treatments,” Jena told STAT news. Studies support Jena’s claim—a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that over half of...