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The Doctor's Channel

Take a bite from the adults' table. The Doctor’s Channel is the world’s leading video site for physicians. Get the latest news in clinical medicine, disease resource centers, CME programs, and Doc Life, all in under 3 mins or less.

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Preventing Burnout in Medical Students

By Janet Taylor Image: Source Medical school is an incredibly stressful endeavor with high stress levels and burnout among even first year students. The psychologist Herbert Freudenberge brought the term burnout to light in 1974 and describes it as “the loss of motivation, growing sense of emotional depletion, and cynicism” (Michel, 2016).   Students may prepare for the transition from undergraduate or graduate studies, but many find that the massive amount of material is difficult to take in in such a short time while the demand for success is always lingering. This leads to frustration, feeling incompetent and emotional exhaustion.   The problem here is that not being able to get a handle on these issues will have a psychological, social and emotional impact both short and long term. Personal relationships and physical health may suffer, as well as academics initially, but in the long term, patient care will also be affected.   Also, continuously stressed students run the risk of reworking the wiring of their brains, stressing the heart and jacking up their neuroendocrine systems. The Maslach Burnout Inventory is a tool used to measure burnout risk. As many as twenty percent of clinical year students in a study by Bugaj et al. ranked high enough to be marked at risk for burnout. “The scale evaluates burnout based on three key stress responses: an overwhelming sense of exhaustion,...

Alternative Combination Treatments For Combatting Cancer Cells

By Janet Taylor   Illustration demonstrating the anti-cancer effect of the drug combination. Credit: Evi Bieler, NanoImaging Lab, University of Basel   Metformin is a commonly prescribed drug for type two diabetes. It reduces serum glucose levels by inhibiting hepatic gluconeogenesis, decreasing absorption of glucose from the GI tract and increasing peripheral utilization of glucose by both adipose tissue and skeletal muscle. Its anticancer properties stem from its combination of systemic and cellular effects.   Systemically, lower serum glucose levels means that glucose availability to cancer cells is decreased. At the cellular level, it disrupts oxidative phosphorylation and thereby inhibits mitochondrial respiration. This is important because the cancer cells are already lacking necessary glucose for energy production and a decrease in cellular respiration leaves the cells with decreased ATP levels necessary for DNA translation and cell growth. While this drug has many benefits, in order to exert these effects, the dose must be very high.   The goal of current research was to find drugs that could work synergistically with metformin to kill cells without the lethal effects that each drug used alone would cause. When searching for a second compound, only those that are cytotoxic when combined with metformin were studied. The antihypertensive syrosingopine was found to be synthetically lethal with metformin. Syrosingopine acts by inhibiting the degradation of sugars and depleting cells of catecholamine stores. Syrosingopine was...

Use of Pasteurized Bacterium to Safeguard Against Obesity

According to the World Health Organization, the rate of obesity has doubled since the 1980s, leaving more people at risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, musculoskeletal issues, several types of cancer and premature death. Overweight individuals are those with a BMI at and over 25 and obesity occurs when BMI reaches 30 and higher. Both scenarios are generally caused by intake of high fat, energy dense foods and lack of physical activity.   Image: Source   Researchers in Belgium have recently isolated a protein that may stop the development of diabetes and obesity. If effective, this discovery would be huge as the CDC states that more than 36.5 percent of Americans are currently obese and that there are more than 29 million Americans with diabetes.  Akkermansia muciniphila is one of the normal bacterial floras of the gut. It typically resides in the mucosal layer and scientists noted that obese mice generally had lower levels present compared to healthy mice.   Source: Microbiology Society   Beginning in 2015, research began to introduce new levels of the bacteria to determine metabolic significance and a reduction in metabolic symptoms was noted.  The focus then turned to human use and methods to make it most effective were investigated. Pasteurization was used, as it allows the properties of the sensitive bacteria to be maintained while allowing it to be more suitable for human application. They found,...

Stem Cells Used to Successfully Treat Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle cell anemia is an autosomal recessive disease caused by a single genetic mutation of the beta-globulin chain of hemoglobin. Sickle cell disease occurs when one receives a mutation of both beta-globulin genes. Normally, this position contains glutamic acid and the mutation results in a substitution of valine instead. The issue is that valine is hydrophobic, which will cause the red blood cells to polymerize when deoxygenated, take on a sickled shape and be sticky. This leads to anemia, vaso-occlusion, intervals of severe pain, organ failure and even death.   Image: Source   Other than hospital admission and pain control, the treatment for this disease is an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant. The concerns arising from this technique, however, include lack of accurate donor matches and transplant rejection. A second option is autologous gene therapy, which would correct the patient’s own genes with the hopes that the reinfused cells would promote correct erythrocyte function.   Zinc finger endonucleases have been investigated for gene correction for this disease, as they are able to target specific genomic sites for modification. The hope is that a break in DNA will occur and a matched donor’s normal segment of the beta-globin, coupled to the endonuclease, will replace the mutation and force the production of adult beta-globin. Studies have shown that correction can be completed focused on this specific target area and in bone...

Millennials, Back At It Again: Changing The Healthcare Industry

The term “millennials” is in no shortage these days, referring to the generation reaching young adulthood around the millennium. With just a simple Google search, you can find thousands of articles about millennials, usually involving social media, job hopping, or the “me” generation.   There is no doubt that times are changing and, apparently, millennials have a large part in that shift. Well, I should say technology is the real catalyst for the change and with a rising technology-obsessed generation, several industries are seeing some major impacts. Just a few examples include the food, retail, entertainment, and banking industries. Less human interaction, more transparent sourcing, and a desire for more rapid transactions are just some of the characteristics involved in the shift throughout these industries.   So, why is this relevant for med students? You guessed it. Millennials are changing the healthcare industry too.   Even though many medical students today may even be part of the millennial generation, it is important to know how your industry could be changing around you. Here are some ways that millennials may impact the healthcare industry.   Image: Source   1. Skepticism of Pharmaceutical Industry As pharmaceutical companies become more and more transparent, Americans are becoming more skeptical over the drugs they are promoting. According to a recent SERMO poll, “millennials [are] more likely to challenge doctor recommendations [and] more comfortable discussing healthcare costs.” This generation is less likely...

Changing Seasons Got You Feeling Sad? It may be SAD.

There are many reasons why autumn is such a wonderful season: the crisp, cool air, the red-, yellow-, and orange-hued leaves, the comfy clothes and comfort foods. As the summertime sadness dissipates and the holiday season quickly approaches, there is a new excitement in the air. Still, as the sun starts to rise later and later and set earlier and earlier, the amount of daylight we get each day slowly dwindles.   As a result, common phrases around this time of year include, “I hate how it gets so dark so early” or “Winter is so depressing.” It is common to feel a little sad or “down” during the fall and winter months. However, if this depressed state becomes severe, it may be SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder.     SAD is a type of depression that some people experience during periods with less natural light, typically during the winter. In the video below from The Doctor’s Channel, Meir Kryger, MD, FRCPC, talks about seasonal affective disorder, signs, symptoms and treatments. He notes that the symptoms of SAD are similar to those of depression. The main difference, however, is that a patient with SAD will see these symptoms start to disappear come springtime, whereas a patient with depression will continue to have these symptoms.   He also discusses the importance of light on our mood and well-being, which mostly relates to how our brain functions....

Should Nutrition Play a Bigger Role in Med School?

Since the 80s, daily exercise has gained mainstream popularity, seen by the rise of the modern gym and home fitness programs. Americans spend millions of dollars each year on gym memberships and other programs. Yet obesity has also been on the rise for decades, as we are all well aware of, and more than two-thirds of adults are considered to be overweight or obese. How could it be that the more we exercise the more we continue to gain? A major part of the equation has been missing: Nutrition.   Source   Successful weight loss does not come from exercise alone. It mostly follows as a result of a healthy diet, which the American diet is quite far from recently. Some of the blame can be attributed to the rise of the fast food industry, making food cheaper and cheaper by offering low-quality, nutrient-poor products. The temptation of a cheap, convenient meal often outweighs the desire to go grocery shopping and cook at home, especially if you are feeding a family.   Similarly, the restaurant industry in general has been a large factor in America’s bloat as another alternative to home cooking. Many restaurants are known for having huge portions compared to serving sizes you would have at home, as well as pack in way more calories and other ingredients you may not have added otherwise.   Whatever the scapegoat may be, I think...