To Be or Not to Be? That is the Question of M4

Medical school is an extremely difficult endeavor that requires a true passion for its pursuit. Often, this passion is challenged by the sacrifice and struggle that come with a career in medicine. Many of the our contributors have discussed the deterrents , such as substantial student debt, lack of residency positions and the long and rigorous path to become a practicing physician. Still, each year, thousands of applicants are turned away from medical schools, and hundreds of graduating medical students are turned away from residency programs. So it’s clear that are there are enough people who want to go into medicine, and the problem with these deterrents is that they wear down medical students and doctors, often leading to hostile attitudes and negative incentives. Right now, America needs good doctors more than ever. Under the Affordable Care Act, almost 30 million more Americans will gain health insurance, so where are we getting the doctors to address this demand for care? Yes, medical school class sizes are growing, but residency positions are not. Healthcare is reforming so why shouldn’t medical education? A recent article in Kaiser Health News reported on medical schools that are creating accelerated programs, reducing medical school from 4 to 3 years. Some policymakers and medical school administrators believe that reducing medical school to 3 years is a great way to produce more doctors. Others argue that...

5 Ways to Make Our World a Healthier Place

Mark Rosenberg, MD, MPP, President of The Task Force for Global Health, former head of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, discusses the top 5 issues currently facing global health. From eradicating disease to reducing poverty, he covers the ways that doctors and patients can come together to ensure that even the poorest people in the world can lead healthy lives. Read more about The Task Force for Global Health.       Featured image is a screenshot from video...

A Day in the Life of a Med Student

A descriptive and mathematically accurate depiction of my happiness (or unhappiness) throughout my day in med school. Another graph needed to depict happiness on vacation as well as unhappiness leading up to...

6 Cartoon-Based Anatomical Drawings

Your favorite cartoon characters just got a whole lot...

Does Eating Chocolate Really Have Health Benefits?

I love chocolate. In fact, my first “real” word, after “momma” and “dada” was “chocolat”. My family lived in France for the first few years of my life so being close to Switzerland, I was getting the good stuff… it’s no wonder my priorities were mom, dad, chocolate. And, 24 years later, chocolate is still my guilty pleasure. But do I really have to feel guilty? We’ve all heard the back and forth results of many studies reporting its health benefits or lack thereof.  However, after The New England Journal of Medicine published a study last year finding a strong correlation between a country’s chocolate consumption and the number of Nobel laureates it spawns per capita, I was overjoyed.  Because I believe the benefits are true and I want to justify my own guilty pleasure, let’s take a look at some data that show just how good it is for you. Several studies have indicated that because flavanols have antioxidant properties and increase nitric oxide bioavailability, they may exert vascular protection. A group of researchers hypothesized that because dark chocolate contains flavanols, its effect of increasing the bioavailability of nitric oxide would influence insulin-stimulated glucose uptake and vascular tone. Their study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finding that dark chocolate did in fact decrease blood pressure and improve insulin sensitivity in healthy people. They did...

7 Keys to a Successful All-Nighter

Sleep is a wonderful thing. As we rest our eyes at the end of each day, our levels of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that increases throughout the day making us feel tired, decrease. Our memory enhances. Hormones that correspond to both sleepiness and appetite decrease, helping curb our calorie consumption thus enhancing our ability to maintain a healthy weight. Our stress level decreases. Sleeping well makes us less likely to be depressed and more likely to live a longer life. But as a student, sleep is the enemy. Imagine all that we could learn, all that we could do if only we didn’t have to give up some of each day to sleep! And so, we fight our need to catch some Z’s, and if the need arises and we are determined, we can pull what is notoriously known as an all-nighter. All-nighters aren’t just something you do. It takes preparation and careful planning to survive one and be able to face the coming day. As someone who has pulled more all-nighters than any person ever should, I’d like to share with you my best tips to help you with yours. 1. Cut-out Comfortable Clothes You may be tempted to throw on some baggy sweatpants and a loose shirt for studying all night, but you would be wrong. Those clothes scream, “It’s time to sleep!” And far too often...

These Guys Want to Explore Your Dreams. No Inception, They Promise.

What’s your routine when you wake up? For many (like me) it involves a furious rubbing of the eyes, 2-3 huge yawns, a series of exaggerated stretches straight out of The Exorcist,  and a slow, lumbering walk to the bathroom. But as you begin your day, there’s always that shadowy feeling that you’re forgetting something, and in fact, you are. Studies have shown that within 5 minutes of waking, half of your dream is forgotten; within 10 minutes, 90% is gone. So in those first few minutes in between the rolls, yawns, and stretches, we are losing an inordinate amount of data churning through our subconscious adventures. Well now, with the help of Hunter Lee Soik and his new app, Shadow, you can really begin to organize, track, and analyze what exactly is going on in that crazy head of yours. The app will use motion sensor technology to track your sleep patterns to create a smarter smart alarm, one where you can choose the best moment to wake up, maximizing dream recall and starting your day out right. You’ll then be able to record your dreams on the app via voice or text. Once the data is recorded in the app, you can decide how far to share it, and with more use, SHADOW visualizes your sleep and dream patterns, and identifies common themes.   For some extra REALLY COOL facts about Dreams: 1. Blind...

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