research

Is an MD/PhD Right for You?

So you are considering applying to an MD/PhD program. How do you really know that it’s the right choice for you? Take this quiz to help you decide whether or not the program is suited for you! 1.   When others ask me what I want to do with my life, my first thought is: a.   I want to practice medicine b.   I want to start my own lab c.   I want to be an academic or hospital administrator d.   I want to teach   2.   When I consider what branch of medicine I may go into, I am most leaning towards: a.   Family medicine/primary care b.   Surgery c.   Internal medicine specialty d.   Pathology   3.   When I think about spending 8 years in school, my thought is: a.   Great! I can delay entering the “real world” b.   I know it’s long, but it will be worth it in the end c.    I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it d.   I won’t lie. It’s a major turn off.   4.   In the far future, I envision splitting my time: a.   80% medicine, 20% research b.   20% medicine, 80% research c.   50% medicine, 50% research d.   ~100% research with a sporadic encounter with patients every now and then   5.   In my mind, the major perk of pursuing a combined MD/PhD is: a.   Free tuition and an annual...

Monthly Update: Catch Up On the Top 5 Medical News Stories of November

5. Artificial Pancreas Provides Relief for Type 1 Diabetes Patients Bloomberg News reports that a promising new technique to treat Type 1 diabetes may help alleviate symptoms of low or high blood sugar, such as night-sweats. The treatment is an artificial pancreas, an important device for diabetes patients whose pancreases do not produce the proper amount of insulin to keep blood sugar levels at optimal levels for bodily energy expenditure. The artificial pancreas contains “a new computer algorithm that is able to link an insulin pump and glucose sensor in a delicate communication to mimic the work of a healthy pancreas.” Medical device analysts say that the device is the biggest diabetic research breakthrough since the discovery of insulin injections nearly 100 years ago, and that it could translate into a 15 billion dollar market. Read the article by Bloomberg News.   4. Orthopedists Discover New Knee Ligament ABC News reports that two Belgium orthopedic surgeons have discovered a new knee ligament. The discovery didn’t involve new technology but rather was based on an 1879 article about speculation of another ligament and the dissection of cadavers. The scientists report that their newly discovered ligament, the anterolateral ligament (ALL) is found in 97% of human knees and may play a role in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears. They speculate that when the ACL gives way, the ALL does as well. Orthopedic specialists are hesitant to say that this is an entirely...

Chinese Researchers 3D Print Living Kidneys

Researchers at a university in eastern Zhejiang Province have used a 3D printer to create living kidneys, which are expected to be used for transplants in the...

Benefits of a Good Ol’ Fashion Vaginal Birth

The debate between natural delivery versus a cesarean delivery has been going on for centuries. Early references to the c-section appear in ancient texts, mythology and Roman history; though, not usually coupled with a glistening seal of approval. C-sections were, initially, a last ditch effort to save a baby in countries with dwindling populations; it was better to save the child and let the mother die an agonizing death. Although the term “cesarean section” is generally thought to have originated from the story of the birth of Julius Caesar, much about the origin of the nomenclature remains a mystery. For present-day expectant mothers, c-sections are no longer so mythical and, more importantly, so dangerous. Modern medicine has allowed not only for the procedure to be safe for mom, but more or less safe for baby as well (forgiving, of course, the occasional nick on the baby’s brow by the surgeon’s blade, as was the case with my nephew). C-sections have proliferated in modern culture to become a matter of preference rather than necessity. They are no longer reserved solely for emergencies; some moms may choose to schedule their cesarean purely for the convenience, or, as is sometimes noted about the stars in glossy tabloids, because they are “too posh to push.”  But just because we have the technology to allow c-sections to be more commonplace, science is still trying...

Top 10 Future Medical Advancements that You’ll Probably Use to Save Lives

A 69-year-old today has the same likelihood of dying as a 15-year-old hunter-gatherer once had. We are living longer and longer lives, and in the next decade several new technologies and procedures could extend the lives of our patients even further. Learn about just a few of the innovations that may one day be your best shot at saving, or just preserving someone’s life. Featured image from Flickr | Brookhaven National...

A 4-Minute Guide to Multiple Sclerosis

Clara Knappertz gives a comprehensive report on multiple sclerosis including the definition, symptoms, causes, and current treatments. She also explains the etymology of the name, the history of the disease, how it affects lives, and more fascinating information on the...

A New (Delicious) Way to Detect Alzheimer’s

This week, while perusing my favorite science and health periodicals, I have consistently seen articles outlining a new way to detect Alzheimer’s in patients– using peanut butter. It almost sounds like the beginning of an article from The Onion; peanut butter cures cancer! Cures the common cold! But the further I read into these new claims, the more I found the science, while perhaps simple, to be valid. Alzheimer’s affects the brain’s temporal lobe (one on each side of your head) which is neurologically the home of short-term memory and. . . your sense of smell. One of the reasons that Alzheimer’s can be difficult to catch in its early stages is that memory loss is very much, at first anyway, an internalized individual process; someone may not realize (or want to admit) that they are having trouble with remembering things, or they may chalk it up to “old age” or “stress”. The process is also, generally, very gradual, and it may go relatively unnoticed until it becomes profound enough for others to pick up on it. Enter, peanut butter. Since your sense of smell also resides in the part of your brain responsible for memory, researchers thought it reasonable that if they could detect changes in a person’s sense of smell, they could infer that short-term memory might also be affected. In a controlled study, researches plopped a...