A Whole New Meaning to Having a Beer Belly

Getting drunk has truly become an art form – that is, people are getting very (and frighteningly) creative. ABC News even decided to warn our parents about these innovative techniques in their story, “5 Shocking Ways Your Kids Try to Get Drunk” (seriously, ABC, why do you always have to be such a buzz kill…literally.) But one 61-year-old man didn’t have to try very hard to raise his blood alcohol level to a whopping 0.37,and instead could do so without drinking a single alcoholic drink. Being “almost” docs, we have to jump into the science… According to a case study published in Scientific Research the cause of the man’s inebriation was Gut Fermentation Syndrome, also known, befittingly, as Auto Brewery Syndrome, where patients become intoxicated without drinking any alcohol. Sounds a little bit awesome…but maybe not when you think about the cause. When the 61 year old, who, ironically, had a home brewery himself, was admitted to the hospital, doctors observed the following: 1. History of hypertension and hyperlipidemia, where blood pressure was being treated but was not well controlled. 2. The patient denied taking any type of yeast as nutritional supplementation such as probiotics and denied previous gastrointestinal disorders or treatments. 3. Routine breath tests were conducted for lactose and fructose intolerance as well as hydrogen and all were negative. 4. A glucose tolerance was performed and was also negative. 5. An...

2,500 Miles from Home, 8 Children Seek a 2nd Chance at Life

An Academy Award nominated documentary short, “Open Heart” is the story of eight Rwandan children and their journey to undergo open-heart surgery at the only free-of-charge cardiac surgery hospital in Africa. These eight children suffer from life-threatening rheumatic heart disease, and open-heart surgery may be their only chance at survival. Located in the village of Soba in Sudan, the “Salam” Centre opened in 2007 is the only facility in Africa capable of such advanced cardiac surgery free of charge. The documentary is one of the more moving portrayals I’ve seen of the power that medicine has to affect lives. A definite must-watch.   Featured images taken from video...

The 5 F’s for Almost Docs and New Interns

A little ways back, a tweet caught my attention from @JasonYoungMD who stated “My Five Foundations of Feeling Fine: Food, Fitness, Friends & Family, Falling Asleep, Fulfillment.” This seemed like the best advice I had heard for the newbie interns taking teaching hospitals by storm as well as the rising third year medical students who are about to be unleashed on the wards (if they haven’t already). It also is a great starting point for program directors who are wondering how to ensure that their residents are “Fit for duty” according to the ACGME rules. 1. Food – While this is basic part of sustenance, finding food sometimes in the hospital can be challenging, especially at odd hours. Fortunately, this has gotten better, but the choices may not be healthier. In my own hospital, I’ve seen the front lobby transform from a small coffee kiosk (Java Coast which was celebrated when it arrived) to a full fledged Au Bon Pain (ABP as we affectionately refer to it). While ABP was a welcome addition, it is easy to consume a lot of empty calories eating muffins or breakfast sandwiches! To make matters worse, research from one of our very own sleep research gurus has shown that the more sleep deprived you are, the worse food choices you make! Therefore, the thing you will reach for after a night shift is...

Procrastination at Its Finest: These Wikipedia Pages Will Steal The Next Hour Of Your Life

Like any serious procrastinator, I know the dangers of Wikipedia: what starts off as a quick fact-checking mission inevitably ends with hours wasted reading about Michael Jackson’s pet monkey Bubbles or checking out the list of sexually active popes. But Wikipedia is really just being irresponsible with their amazing Unusual Articles page, an exhaustive list of their most bizarre entries. After spending the past several days ignoring the demands of my daily life, I present to you some of the strangest things I found. Good luck studying after this… 1. Kan-CHO!!! Looking to prank your friends, preferably in a way that will leave both of you irreparably traumatized? How about Kancho, the Japanese prank “performed by clasping the hands together in the shape of an imaginary gun and attempting to insert the extended index fingers sharply into an unsuspecting victim’s anus, often while exclaiming ‘Kan-CHO!’” Sounds like a great way to liven up the group study sessions! 2. The Laughing Epidemic As someone who likes to smoke a lot of weed and read Philip K. Dick, I’m fascinated by mass hysteria and shared psychological illnesses. Therefore I was riveted by the Tanganyika laughter epidemic of 1962, a Tanzanian laughing plague that started, like any good hysterical outburst, at an all-girls boarding school (I can only imagine the CW Network was prominently involved). The epidemic affected a large portion of the students and the school...

8 Ways Working in Medicine Has Made Me An Annoying Girlfriend

Relationships are hard work enough; but throw in the complexities of pursuing a demanding medical career and it can feel impossible at times. Luckily, I have a pretty solid relationship. . .despite the fact that sometimes, my job makes me pretty obnoxious. 1. Anatomical terms roll off my tongue when I attempt dirty talk. “Your mandible is looking really chiseled today, baby.”   2. There’s a medical explanation for everything. Everything. I get up off the bed and stumble after a romp. Boyfriend has a smug grin. “Don’t get too excited that’s just my orthostatic hypotension.”   3. My vacation ideas aren’t usually very good. “Let’s go to Philadelphia.” “Okay, what do you want to do in Philly?” “Mütter Museum.” “I like museums. What kind of museum is it?” “Uh. . .a medical one.” “. . .” “. . .”   4. I don’t give good directions. “No, no, laterally.”   5. I’m too literal to appreciate Valentine’s Day. “This doesn’t look like a heart at all. At best it’s an antiquated and crude rendering of a woman’s buttocks.” “It’s the best heart I could draw!” “Do I need to dig out Gray’s Anatomy again?”   6. I ruin movies and tv shows. “What on earth does he think he’s going to do with that banana bag? Really? Where he’s poking around right there? Acting. Not gonna find a...

Unraveling the Great Lie About Chameleons

That’s right folks, you have been deceived about chameleons your entire life. Totally duped. Utterly bamboozled. Turns out that these clownish reptiles do not just “blend into” their environment as so many cartoons led us to believe when we were kids. In fact, the actual change of skin color depends on a complex pigmentation pattern controlled by chromatophore cells and signaling pathways that detect temperature and mood. As expected, some of you will blame the government on a mass conspiracy meant to rob us of our basic human right to understand our reptile brethren. Others will blame the fat cats of corporate America and the “education-military complex.” Still others will restart their subscription to National Geographic. We’re not really sure what you’re going to do once this confusing reality sets in, so all we can suggest is that you check out some of the pretty cool scientific literature on chameleons listed below. Extra reading: Stuart-Fox, D., & Moussalli, A. (2008). Selection for social signaling drives the evolution of chameleon color change. Public Library of Science Biology, 6, e25. Anderson, C.V. & Deban, S.M. (2010): Ballistic tongue projection in chameleons maintains high performance at low temperature. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America 107 (12): 5495–5499.  Anderson, C.V., Sheridan, T. & Deban, S.M. (2012): Scaling of the ballistic tongue apparatus in chameleons. Journal of Morphology 273: 1214–1226.       Featured image is a screenshot...

A Student’s Guide to Health and Fitness

It’s easy to forget about your exercise and eating habits when you feel deluged with information. A run on the treadmill just never seems as important as studying pharmacology and nothing beats a good study snack like some Doritos. But research shows that productivity increases with exercise and that what you eat can actually affect the way you think. So next time your studying for a shelf exam (Aka now, for you MS2’s) reach for the healthier option and get your adrenaline pumpin’ with some cardio. Via: Online Colleges...

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