elizabeth-borowiec

Elizabeth Borowiec

Elizabeth Borowiec is in her third year at Georgetown University, majoring in Biological Physics, and set to matriculate to the Georgetown School of Medicine Class of 2021. When she’s not studying—though sometimes while—she enjoys singing, playing the piano, exploring the nation’s capital and drinking Earl Grey tea.

What’s in a Name: Consequences of Haphazard Disease Naming

In 2009, Egypt wiped out its entire pig population in response to the fear of swine flu alone, as the disease hadn’t affected anyone in the country yet. In the following months after the major ecosystem disruption evidenced by hazardous trash accumulation in the streets (formerly consumed by the pigs), severe economic consequences, and the newfound presence of swine flu in the country, Egypt acknowledged the misguided move, but the damage was already done.     Another case, which illustrates the lasting effects of such haphazard naming, is the fate of Old Lyme, Connecticut, the namesake of the tick-borne disease, which is still suffering the repercussions of the disease first discovered in children there in the 1970s, as the New York Times explains. The accumulation of various unnecessary misunderstandings with drastic consequences around the world has sparked a new initiative by the World Health Organization to combat unintended negative and often destructive impacts towards populations, communities, and economic sectors.   As of May 8th, the WHO announced a new set of guidelines for naming infectious diseases in light of recent epidemics with strongly stigmatized names. According to Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the assistant director-general for Health Security, WHO, while this may seem like a trivial issue, “we’ve seen certain disease names provoke a backlash against members of particular religious or ethnic communities, create unjustified barriers to travel, commerce and trade, and...

Hate Exercise? Blame It On Mom’s Shampoo.

From the depths of PubMed to the most amateur lifestyle blog, there is perhaps one thing that scientists and health gurus can agree on: the importance of exercise. From kindergarten gym classes to undergraduate nutrition courses, we’ve been indoctrinated with the essentiality of regular exercise. But still, barely 20% of Americans over the age of 18 meet the CDC’s Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic, physical, and muscle-strengthening activities. [1]   What happened to the other 80% of American adults? Is it lack of education? Lack of resources? Lack of time? Or maybe just pure laziness?   via GIPHY MTV | The Hills   From personal experience, one might easily point to any of these reasons. However, according to a recent article by The New York Times, the answer to those questions may in fact be: none of the above.   Health and fitness journalist Gretchen Reynolds, reviewed a new study for the journal, “Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,” that investigates the relationship between exercise behavior and phthalate exposure in utero. Phthalates are a group of chemicals, often referred to as plasticizers, which are used to make plastics pliable. [2] Reynolds explains that phthalates are also used as solvents in “a boggling array of everyday products,” so, “from food containers to shampoos and perfume, they are virtually ubiquitous in the environment and in our bloodstreams.” [3]     Phthalates are known endocrine...

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...

Is a Key to Stress Relief ‘Doing Nothing’?

In a recent sociology course, I was assigned a project called ‘Doing Nothing.’ Our professor explained to us that we, yes, technically needed to do nothing, but had a little bit of homework on this ‘doing nothing’. The assignment was to pick a frequently trafficked location, put away our phone, our books, any food, and to sit for ten minutes and just do nothing. Don’t plan for what’s happening after this, don’t entertain yourself, just do nothing. After doing this, we had a few questions to respond to regarding our experience such as, what did you notice that you hadn’t before? How did people respond to you? Did anyone notice you? I figured the assignment would be easy enough considering how frequently I’ve had to wait for trains at Union Station for twenty or thirty minutes where I thought I was ‘doing nothing’.  Ten minutes should’ve been a piece of cake. But it wasn’t. What was it that made this seemingly simple task so difficult? I consider myself a very organized and efficient person with perhaps some serious Type A tendencies. As the minutes ticked by I thought of all of the emails I could be sending, files I could be printing, or tasks I could be organizing when I was instead doing nothing. And yet, at the end of those excruciating ten minutes, I felt different. The mountain...

The Ultimate Gift to All MedStudents

We’d like to start out with a huge thank you to reddit user Brosencephalon for the greatest gift to all MedStudents we’ve seen yet. After an overwhelming amount of requests for his FA 2014, Pathology, and Pharmacology notecard sets on ankiweb.net, he made the 15,000-card collection public on his reddit page, available at this link:  http://www.reddit.com/r/medicalschool/comments/2b8oia/my_fa2014_path_pharm_fapp_anki_deck/ His remarkable notes include photos, anecdotes, mnemonics (some dirty ones he confesses), and detailed clarifications. Those who have gone through these notes praise Brosencephalon, like reddit user rantingandtea, who says, “I have been praying for this deck to come. You are the best!” or user veetacke who merely says, “Good god you are incredible.” If the reviews don’t convince you, check out it out for yourself: https://ankiweb.net/shared/decks/Brosencephalon...

The Coolest Music Video to Ever Happen in a Hospital

This is hands down one of the greatest Katy Perry covers I’ve ever seen. It’s inspiring, it’s adorable… these kids are incredible. Kids at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital Perform Roar by Katy Perry. It starts out rather poignant. I confess I was on the verge of tears here and there. Nickelodeon  But if the dorky faculty dancing or these kids smiles won’t make you cheer and roar along with them… ABC News …then I don’t know what...

Master the MCAT On Your iPhone

There is no shortage of MCAT resources, especially those claiming to be something along the lines of ‘the best thing since sliced bread’. So, how do you sift out the bad ones and figure out what will really work? We took the time to find for you one of the best and most unique resources: the MCAT 2015 Mastery app.     We should note that this is not a stand-alone resource but an awesome supplement that every student should consider. One user says:     Below, we’ve outlined the ten best features of this app, if you’re not convinced already.     1.  You don’t need internet or data to access any content. Hellooo travel-studying and a better battery life!     2.  Of 144 reviews, the app has a high rating of 4.5 stars.     3.  There are over 1100+ official practice questions (and counting!)     4.  Streamlined and highly organized content to get maximum learning in minimal time.     5.  It costs only $20 (in app) to unlock all the content.     6.  After downloading the free app and purchasing the full version, if after two weeks you don’t love it you are eligible for a full refund.     7.  Questions can be sorted by what is tested most frequently on the exam so you don’t end up wasting time on...

Page 1 of 7123...Last ›