Is an MD/PhD Right for You?

So you are considering applying to an MD/PhD program. How do you really know that it’s the right choice for you? Take this quiz to help you decide whether or not the program is suited for you! 1.   When others ask me what I want to do with my life, my first thought is: a.   I want to practice medicine b.   I want to start my own lab c.   I want to be an academic or hospital administrator d.   I want to teach   2.   When I consider what branch of medicine I may go into, I am most leaning towards: a.   Family medicine/primary care b.   Surgery c.   Internal medicine specialty d.   Pathology   3.   When I think about spending 8 years in school, my thought is: a.   Great! I can delay entering the “real world” b.   I know it’s long, but it will be worth it in the end c.    I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it d.   I won’t lie. It’s a major turn off.   4.   In the far future, I envision splitting my time: a.   80% medicine, 20% research b.   20% medicine, 80% research c.   50% medicine, 50% research d.   ~100% research with a sporadic encounter with patients every now and then   5.   In my mind, the major perk of pursuing a combined MD/PhD is: a.   Free tuition and an annual...

A Post-Thanksgiving Fantasy

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgivings! Given the grotesque amount of food Aunt Sue (Aunt Sue alwaysss out-does herself, right?) served this year, you’re likely in a food coma. Wouldn’t it be amazing if said food coma came equipped with an IV full of medical...

7 Tips to Avoid the Thanksgiving Food Coma

Thanksgiving can be a beautiful time of giving thanks for all that you have and the wonderful people who surround you AND/OR it can be a time of over-indulging on pecan pie and mashed potatoes, followed by a food coma during which you hate yourself (is this only me?). So, how can you finally break the bad habits of last thanksgiving and enjoy your meal without the regretful aftermath?  1. Exercise the morning of Thanksgiving: It goes without saying that exercising is always good for your overall wellbeing. But research shows that exercise, especially aerobic exercises such as running or using the elliptical, actually can suppress your appetite by affecting the release of two appetite hormones, ghrelin and peptide YY. Also, you’ll put a dent in the calories you are consuming, duh. If you want some motivation, you can sign up for your local town’s Turkey Trot 5K! 2. Name your three favorite thanksgiving foods out loud. There is a huge difference between eating things you really enjoy and eating “filler” foods like nuts or chips served as an appetizer, or the pasta or rice served as dinner. Most likely, your favorite thanksgiving foods include “stuffing” or “sweet potato casserole” – things you don’t get every day of the year! If you stick to these items (with some sort of portion control), chances are you will avoid becoming overly full on items that...

Your 65 Second Thanksgiving Card

Have a Happy Thanksgiving that’s “out of this world!” From the “Pilgrims” at The Doctor’s...

Is This the End of 23andMe?

NPR reported this morning that the FDA is hating, big time, on 23andMe, the personal genome service founded by Anne Wojcicki. Apparently, this feud has been ongoing for several years. 23andMe provides customers with a smattering of genetic data for the low-low price of $99…and a tube of their spit. The genetic information gleaned from the report runs the gamut from fun and random qualities, like being able to smell asparagus-pee, to more serious ones, such as carrier status of many major genetic diseases. You may recall that I actually partook in 23andMe’s services earlier this year. I went in to the experience with fairly low expectations and, admittedly, did it more for fun than anything else. The information that I received, however, more or less matched up with the realities of my heritage and the diseases that run heavily in my family. I was never under the impression that these results were the be it end all of my genetic destiny; 23andMe does a pretty adequate job of making sure you’re aware, at every step of the way, that your results only represent a small fraction of the possible genetic data that could be garnered from you, and it is not representative of all possible mutations known to exist– and you know, all the ones we don’t know about. Where the FDA seems to be hitting the hardest...

3D-Printed ‘Magic Arms’ Give Hope for Girl with Rare Congenital Disease

Born with a rare neuromuscular condition called Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita, two-year-old Emma Lavelle has severely contracted joints and muscle weakness leaving her without the ability to lift her arms. With the help of Dr. Tariq Rahman, a mechanical engineer at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, and his work developing 3D printable exoskeletons, Emma has gained the ability to use her “magic arms” with the use of the WREX exoskeleton.   Featured image from video...

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...

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