FOAM: It’s Not Just the Frothy Stuff at the Top of Your Beer

As a medical student in the 21st century, it’s highly unlikely you go to the library for anything other than the peace and quiet the environment affords you and to be surrounded by your studious cohort in an effort to motivate histology studying. We live in the age of the internet. We’re mobile, on the go. Why peruse the articles on the dusty shelves when you can download a PDF from Pubmed, sipping on an Americano from Hipster Coffee Co.? Why attend lectures in business casual garb at 7:00 am when you can podcast, eating cheerios in bed in your sweatpants in the afternoon? Plus, with the information age and the rapid turnover of data, what you read in a book can become outdated almost as soon as you pick it up. Enter FOAM – Free Open Access Medical education. So, what is FOAM? Legend has it, the founder of the acronym and editor of Life In the Fast Lane, Dr. Mike Cadogan, was at a pub in Dublin when the inspiration came to him in the form of an almost empty glass of Guinness. FOAM is a constantly-updated, ever-expanding online repository of free, electronic resources for medical education. It’s a Facebook page, piquing your interest in updated diagnostic guidelines for subarachoid hemorrhage, as you idly scroll through your feed and gaze at pictures of toddlers at piano recitals....

The Top 7 Free Android Apps For Medical Students

Medical students are a notoriously frugal bunch. Why else do so many lunch-time lectures entice attendees with the allure of free pizza? These Andriod apps are sure to boost your productivity without you having to adjust your student loans.   1. AirDroid An app that allows you to control your smartphone from a PC web browser, Airdroid blends your phone and computer into one. From a web browser, Airdroid alerts you when you’re receiving a call, lets you send text-messages through your web browser, and turns your phone into drag-and-drop file storage device. The app can even track and lock your phone should you lose it, with the added ability to control the camera and capture photos of the misguided thieves.   2. AnkiDroid Flashcards have been a tried-and-true method of studying for ages, but Anki has quickly become a medical student favorite by incorporating the concept of “spaced repetition” into the study staple. To see specific examples of students using Anki in their medical school classes, check out these review from The Hero Complex and Dr. Willbe.   3. Dolphin The Android browser alternative for techies, Dolphin makes web-browsing a more customizable experience. Dolphin lets users force the desktop version of websites to load (versus the often lower-quality mobile), use swiping gestures or voice recognition to access bookmarks, and sync easily with other services like Dropbox or Evernote. Adding on the Jetpack plugin boosts browsing speeds up...

She Trusted You

She trusted you. In her hospital bed, listening attentively to your words, she couldn’t help but think of how badly she just wanted to go home. She missed her cat, though embarrassed to admit it. She longed for her own bed. After a few days, you came to her bedside, you said she could go home. You gave her pills and said, “Take these, they’ll make you well.” She didn’t question you; she was thrilled to be going home. Her cat greeted her. Her bed was soft, warm, welcoming. She dutifully took the pills you gave her. But she did not feel better. And she came back. You had assumed that she would know that the pills you gave her were blood thinners. You also assumed that since she was already taking one, she would know that she would need to stop taking her old pills before she started taking the new ones. You assumed that she knew that even though they had different names, they were the same medication. You assumed that she must know taking both of them would be dangerous; irresponsible. But she didn’t know that. And she didn’t think to ask. She knew about her cat, and how much she missed him. She knew the thread count of the sheets on her bed, and how much she missed their softness. She knew all about her...

Are ‘Super-Enhancers’ the Future of Cancer Therapy?

Nancy Simonian, MD, CEO, Syros Pharmaceuticals details the research of Richard A. Young of the Whitehead Institute and his discovery of super-enhancers, large groups of transcriptional enhancers that drive expression of genes that define cell identity. The research, which has revealed many previously unknown oncogenic drivers, may be important for future cancer therapies....

What Does the Spleen Do? ft. Harvard Medical School

Lungs go whoosh and hearts go lub dub dub. We’ve all learned this. But what exactly does the spleen do? These Harvard trained medical students give it their best guess in a hilarious new parody of “What Does the Fox...

What Nelson Mandela’s Words of Wisdom Mean to Almost Docs

I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death. Optimism is one of the greatest qualities a person can possess in life, and often, especially in medical school and as a doctor, it is tested. Life is full of challenges, and part of what makes life exciting is overcoming these obstacles. Remember that no matter what you face, the only way you can conquer difficulties is to be positive and have faith. When a difficult exam is approaching, remind yourself of your achievements and accept the challenge with enthusiasm. When you’re treating a patient and you think they might not make it, do your best and have confidence in your ability, no matter what the outcome. I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. The responsibility of taking care of someone’s health and having their life in your hands is frightening. For medical students, it is especially frightening to take part in...

10 Useful Alternatives for Your Medical Education

Last week I’m sure I scared many of you with a gloomy prediction of a world without residency spots for every graduating medical student but that was irresponsible journalism, and for that I apologize.  The threat is real enough, especially if our Graduate Medical Education budget gets any additional trimming, but there is good news.  After much research and soul-searching, I’ve come up with the top ten things to do with your education (and matching mortgage-load of debt). 10. Cliff Notes Writer Part of the “beauty” of being a medical student is the sheer amount of information we need to read, absorb, and synthesize into knowledge that we are expected to use to better the lives of our patients.  But in the absence of a residency, there’s no need to let these skills fall into disuse.  Haven’t you ever looked at Ulysses or Atlas Shrugged and thought “Isn’t there a better way?”  Why not leverage your ability to read and summarize to help millions of students avoid having to actually sit down and work their way through unnecessarily dense literature?  Think of it as saving their social lives. 9. Celebrity Fat-Flap Holder If reading doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, then why not use those muscles you developed from long hours in the OR?  (If you’re an M1, M2, or clerk who hasn’t been on Surgery yet, sorry...

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