That Extra Piece of Birthday Cake May Not Be As Harmless As You Think

This morning, the CDC published an article in JAMA on the declining rates of childhood obesity. Obesity rates in children between the ages of 2 and 5 have decreased by 43% in the past decade, they say. It’s hard to make sense of this number without understanding the epidemic, the people it affects, and how it affects the country as a while. What can we do to help? First, know the...

Everything You Need to Know About the Latest Research on Stem Cells

As life begins, we are a single cell, full of potential to become any cell of the body. Our cell divides, the first of a countless number of replications as we approach a steady state of cell growth and cell death around 40 trillion cells. During this process, our cells lose their potential, committing to play a more specific role in the body, and with each commitment, it is believed that the cells enter a path of no return. These high potential cells are called stem cells and there is a great interest among medical researchers in their ability to produce multiple cell types. Studying them can help us understand more about how our body develops and how mistakes in this development process can manifest in negative outcomes. They also may be used in regenerative medicine to replace damaged tissue or eventually produce whole organs. While most of our cells commit to a role, some remain in the high potential state to act as the body’s repair system. To study them, we can isolate them from bone marrow, adipose tissue, and blood, their three most accessible sites in adults. They can also come from an embryo, but this method is highly controversial and sparks debate over when life truly begins. In vitro, cells can also be induced to have this high potential through introduction of genes that are expressed...

Are Zombie Doctors Taking Over America?

They might be. But here’s how your boy ZDogg is fighting...

10 Non-Academic Books For Med Students (That You Won’t Have Time To Read)

If you have ever time to read for fun again, you might want to throw these on your night table! Feel free to add YOUR favorites in the comments or tweet them us @almostdocs 1. The House of God, Samuel Shem, M.D. Think your internship is bad? Think again.   2. Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese Conjoined twins, separated, grow up surrounded by medical professionals, have many feels.    3. Still Alice, Lisa Genova Brilliant Harvard Professor gets early-onset Alzheimer’s. Plot twist: she’s telling the story in first person narration.   4. Harvest, Tess Gerritsen Bad doctors. Bad, bad, bad doctors. 5. Midwives, Chris Bohjalian So, is this midwife a murderer or…   6. One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, Ken Kasey Psychiatry rotation, eh?  Ya already know how this one ends.   7.  Turn Of Mind, Alice LaPlante I know there’s already one unreliable doc-with-Alzheimer’s narrator on this list but this one’s a murder mystery!   8. Healer, Carol Cassella Medicine and a gripping love story? Lemme at it.   9. Going Bovine, Libba Bray Okay, it’s YA Fiction but the girl has Mad Cow Disease!   10. The Emperor of Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee Okay, this one is serious and practically a textbook but if you’re a med student and you haven’t read it yet, it’s the definitive “biography” of cancer so,  you know: make...

Making the Most of the iPad Mini on Medicine Rounds

On my birthday a few years ago, I was lucky to get an iPad Mini from my husband. I already had an iPad and had shared my experience. In fact, we gave all of our residents iPads (one of them contacted Steve Jobs and got a response), and documented an improvement in efficiency on the wards. So why the Mini? What is all the fuss? Why is the Mini the new must-have for doctors and future doctors? 1. It fits in your white coat! Yes, while there were entrepeneurs who started creating the iCoat, the truth is who wants to wear a coat with a huge pocket on the side? This means that you also don’t need to wear the “strap” that we require our residents to wear for the iPad since we did not yet invest in the iCoat. 2. You can hold it in one hand! This for me is the best part and very underappreciated point in the blogs and reviews I have read. This means you can touch the screen with one hand while you are palming it with the other. I don’t even have the largest hands so I would say it definitely was just at the reach of my palm grasp, but I can imagine it would be perfect for my male colleagues. 3. It fits in your purse! While the female docs may find palming the iPad mini...

Should You Ask a Question in the OR?

Hint: The answer is always...

6 Questions for a Med Student on International Rotations

Practicing medicine abroad has always been an interest of mine and when I was recently contacted by Work the World, a program which places medical students in rotations in countries across the globe, I was eager to hear more about the kind of work that can be done internationally. Alison Maclean, a research student at the Liverpool Medical School in the UK whose interest is Women’s Health, took the time to answer some questions I had about her experience doing a 5 week elective in Sri Lanka. I was amazed by the freedom and opportunities she had to really practice medicine and excited to hear about the possibilities for learning and getting truly involved with clinical care. If Alison’s story appeals to you, taking some time to continue your medical education in a different country might be worth looking into. Work the World is just one of many organizations who offer international rotation opportunities. Additionally, many schools have developed global medical experience programs and may offer financial aid to assist you with travel costs. Consider talking to an advisor or doing some research online to make sure you find the right fit for you! Galle Fort, Sri Lanka (all pictures courtesy of Work the World) 1.     What are your interests and passions, what school do you attend, what field are you specializing in, what is your favorite part of...

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