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...

Nothing Prepares You To Watch Someone Die in the ER

As I arduously sorted through the endless stack of green papers with lab and exam results scribbled about them, the eerie buzz of the medic radio went off overhead.  “Hospital base, Medic 21, Code 3 notification, CPR in progress, short ETA.”  Only having a few minutes to prepare for an incoming ambulance is stressful enough, but when the patient is under CPR, it adds an additional shot of urgency and adrenaline.  Undoing all my work for the last ten minutes, I shuffled all the papers back together and set the heaping green bundle aside; prolonging the agony for another time. Hastily making my way back towards the resuscitation room, I went through a mental checklist of what I was going to need to do.  Turning into the room I was greeted by an empty gurney, a clean floor, a blank monitor with its numerous cords neatly coiled on their hooks and if it were not for the shrill of the fluorescent tubes illuminating the room from above, there was not a sound to be heard.  In  another two minutes this would all change. Reaching for a box marked “XL,” I grabbed two wrinkled, bright blue gloves, and threw them onto the counter.  After squeezing my hand into the first glove, the unmistakable chattering of an ambulance stretcher rolling over dirty laminated tile crept down the hall.  Moments later it...

5 Keys to Maintaining a Healthy Relationship in Med School

Maintaining a healthy relationship with a significant other can be tough stuff. Add the stress of medical school to the mix and you can make a difficult situation nearly impossible. But ain’t love worth it? I certainly think so. My story? I met the love of my life while in high school. I went to college in Connecticut and he in North Carolina. As if it were not enough that we spent all of college apart, we remained hundreds of miles away from one another while pursuing our graduate degrees. I (as you probably figured out) began medical school, and much to my dismay, soon learned that it significantly complicated the already difficult battle of dating long distance. The amount of time we had to chat everyday dwindled as my workload surmounted. I found it increasingly difficult to devote m y attention to much outside of school. Clearly, I was not alone. As the year went on, I witnessed most of my fellow classmates’ relationships burn to a crisp, a reality that I found far from inspiring. Fortunately for me, our story ended happily. Four years after beginning medical school, I married m y high school sweetheart and am now living the happy life I have always wanted for m yself. It wasn’t always easy, but all good things are worth the wait, and needless to say- the occasional struggle....

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