Monthly Update: Catch Up On the Top 5 Medical News Stories of November

5. Artificial Pancreas Provides Relief for Type 1 Diabetes Patients Bloomberg News reports that a promising new technique to treat Type 1 diabetes may help alleviate symptoms of low or high blood sugar, such as night-sweats. The treatment is an artificial pancreas, an important device for diabetes patients whose pancreases do not produce the proper amount of insulin to keep blood sugar levels at optimal levels for bodily energy expenditure. The artificial pancreas contains “a new computer algorithm that is able to link an insulin pump and glucose sensor in a delicate communication to mimic the work of a healthy pancreas.” Medical device analysts say that the device is the biggest diabetic research breakthrough since the discovery of insulin injections nearly 100 years ago, and that it could translate into a 15 billion dollar market. Read the article by Bloomberg News.   4. Orthopedists Discover New Knee Ligament ABC News reports that two Belgium orthopedic surgeons have discovered a new knee ligament. The discovery didn’t involve new technology but rather was based on an 1879 article about speculation of another ligament and the dissection of cadavers. The scientists report that their newly discovered ligament, the anterolateral ligament (ALL) is found in 97% of human knees and may play a role in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears. They speculate that when the ACL gives way, the ALL does as well. Orthopedic specialists are hesitant to say that this is an entirely...

So, Why Is There So Much Medical Debt in the US?

Really, why is there so much medical debt in one of the richest developed nations in the world? This infographic gives a brief overview of an embarrassing blemish on Uncle Sam’s face.     Featured image from Flickr...

How Alcoholics Anonymous Can Help Doctors Too

Samuel Shem, author of The House of God, explains his motivations for writing a play about the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous. Shem describes the success of his patients that entered the program. The play, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, is currently playing at The Soho Playhouse in New York City. For tickets go...

#AAMC13 #BeyondFlexner: Tweeting Back to the Future

I am just returning from AAMC 13 in Philadelphia, which happens to be the site of the very first AAMC conference in 1876.  Perhaps it is this historic backdrop which made it more poignant when AAMC President and CEO Dr. Darrell Kirch charged the audience to rise to the occasion during our most challenging time, or our healthcare system’s “moment of truth.”  Between sessions on how academic health centers needed to evolve to survive healthcare reform and how medical students need to avoid the “jaws of death” from the Match, there was certainly much to fear and much to learn. In spite of this, there are always moments where it was undeniable that the future was bright.  But, the most interesting moments at this meeting were when it felt like we were going back to the future. One of those moments was sitting in on the CLER (Clinical Learning Environment Review), or the new ACGME institutional site visit process which is not meant to be scary, but helpful!  As a non-punitive visit, its meant to catalyze the necessary changes needed to help improve the learning climate in teaching hospitals. This session was particularly salient for me as I transitioned from being an Associate Program Director into role of Director for GME Clinical Learning Environment Innovation about a month ago.  At one point, Dr. Kevin Weiss described the CLER site visitors observing a...

Top 10 Epic Libraries You Wish You Could Study In

Here’s to life, liberty, and the pursuit of an EPIC library. Go big (or go home, literally).   10. Trinity College Library | Dublin, Ireland Jedi Archives? Or renowned Irish library?   9. Your Private Study “Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” —Anna Quindlen      8. Bookshop Selexyz Dominicanen | Maastricht, Netherlands  An old cathedral renovated into a library. So much yes.   7. The NoMad Hotel | New York City, NY  Where classy meets classwork.   6. José Vasconcelos Library | Mexico City, Mexico Because who doesn’t want to look at the inside of a dinosaur while going over histology slides?!    5. The All-Nighter Library Lock me up and throw away the keys.   4. Of course, the quintessential bathroom library Dare to dream.   3. Bibliotheca Alexandrina | Alexandria, Egypt    Just hope that Caesar doesn’t stop by.   2. Library at the Shiba Ryotaro Memorial Museum | Osaka, Japan   Any library where you have to climb the equivalent of a small mountain to check out a volume just wins.   1. Wherever this is + a time machine.   Sometimes it’s not about where you study, but the people you choose to waste away your youth with under a stack of books.       Featured image from Tumblr...

Identity, Expectations and Choice: Asian Americans on the Premedical Track

Now that I am a college senior, the most pressing question on anyone’s mind seems to be, “What are you planning to do after graduation?” Many people are visibly unsurprised to hear that I have set my sights on medicine. Their eyes thank me for confirmation of what they guessed I would want. From people who know me well, this is a compliment—that if I keep working hard, I might make a good doctor someday—or, if not a compliment, at least a seal of approval, encouragement to fight the long fight in pursuit of my dream. From people who hardly know me, though, I start to wonder how much the Asian American stereotype affects their perception of me and other Asian premeds like me. And for a second, I start to wonder how our stories and our identities, shaped by the assumptions of others, might affect our own self-perceptions. When I told my parents that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine, they were supportive, but not too supportive, because they knew how difficult the path would be, and told me they didn’t want to influence my decision-making process. My maternal grandmother, on the other hand, kissed me on the cheek and thanked me. When I asked her why, she said it was because she never had a doctor she really trusted, and she wasn’t getting any younger....

Top 10 Mnemonics to Get You Through Med School

Sometimes even after reading over the same paragraph multiple times, the material just doesn’t stick. These mnemonics will help you effortlessly master important concepts that are high yield on the boards and guarantee your succes. 1) 5 parameters of the HPI (history of present illness): 2) Encapsulated organisms: 3) Inhibitors of Cytochrome P450: 4) To remember that the right lung is tri-lobed and the right side of the heart contains the tricuspid valve while the left lung is bi-lobed and the left side of the heart contains the bicuspid valve: 5) 12 Cranial Nerves (in consecutive order): 6) Branches of the Brachial Plexus: 7) X-linked Immunodeficiencies: 8) Most Common Symptoms and Bacterial Causes of Meningitis: 9) Anterior pituitary hormones: 10) Precursors in neurotransmitter synthesis (steps in order):     Featured image from Flickr / digiart2001 jason.kuffer   Correction: July 19, 2013 An earlier version of this post used incorrect wording for the third cranial nerve. This error has been...

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