The World’s Most Sophisticated Algorithm for Choosing a Med Speciality

Decisions, decisions… You’ve spent the majority of your life in school working hard for the big prize: the prestigious two letters after your name, “MD”. But, now that your real life dream is creeping closer, you have to make that difficult decision, what kind of MD? This highly accurate algorithm is for the “almost” MDs who are still clueless and could use some help. Check out more cartoons from Dr. Fizzy here.       Featured image from Flickr / Butte-Silver Bow Public Library | Original Source of Image from Dr. Fizzy’s...

Wisdom of the Crowd: Finding the Most Promising Innovations to Teach Value

Earlier this year, we launched the Teaching Value and Choosing Wisely Competition in conjunction with Costs of Care and the ABIM Foundation.  Why a competition?   Not surprisingly, traditional “literature review” yielded little by way of promising strategies for educators who wished to learn how to teach about value.  However, we had all learned of isolated stories of success, occasionally through attending professional meetings, sometimes via networking with colleagues, or more often through just plain word of mouth.  To help bring these stories of success to the fore, we relied on a crowd-sourcing model by launching a competition to engage a larger community of individuals to tell us their story.  Of course, there were moments we wondered if we would get any submissions. Fortunately, we did not have anything to worry about!  In June, we received 74 submissions, from 14 specialties with innovations and bright ideas that targeted both medical students, residents, faculty and inter-professional learners. Reviewing each abstract to determine the most promising practices that could be easily scaled up to other institutions was not an easy task.  One interesting struggle was the inherent trade-off between feasibility and novelty – what was feasible may not have been so novel, while you were left wondering whether the most innovative abstracts would be feasible to implement.  Fortunately, due to the outstanding expert panel of judges, we were able to narrow the field.  While all the submissions were interesting...

7 Pre-Med Tips for Med School … and the Real World

It is 2 AM. You smell like sweat and coffee, but that doesn’t concern you because everyone you’re studying with at this hour does, too. You are leafing through hand-written class notes and the textbook your professor authored all while eating dinner/breakfast/snack courtesy of the vending machine. You look like this more often than not: Your eyes are half-closed and burning, but you can’t stop, won’t stop because you haven’t even reviewed the copies of past exams. You’re pre-med.   I graduated college two years ago, yet the memories of being a student and staying up until the wee hours of the morning to study for an exam have not faded. After three too many cups of coffee, I would lose momentum and motivation and often questioned the value of hard work. What was the purpose of being a good student? Why am I working this hard? Now, as a member of the working world, I sincerely appreciate the hard work I put in to each assignment for every class. I earned my stripes. I say this because in the first week of my job, I relied on the basic skills I developed as a conscientious student. These are the skills I think are critically important to master if you want to be wildly successful in the workplace or in the classroom: 1. Deadlines Work is like final exam...

A 4-Minute Guide to Multiple Sclerosis

Clara Knappertz gives a comprehensive report on multiple sclerosis including the definition, symptoms, causes, and current treatments. She also explains the etymology of the name, the history of the disease, how it affects lives, and more fascinating information on the...

Famous Kidneys Throughout History

What do you get when you cross a kidney and a famous person? Kidneys doubling as organs and...

The Difficult Obstacles a Histology Student “Faces”

Studying histology is almost as frustrating as spending an hour on hold with Time Warner Cable, finally getting in touch with a representative, and then having them accidentally hang up on you. Painful. I should have known I was in for it when I was only one of seven to register for this “med school level” class as an undergrad. But, I was a naive, overly ambitious pre-med and didn’t realize the great sacrifice I’d be making: fewer nights making lifelong memories at my favorite dive bar, Craig’s. If I only knew. But, it was too late, and I had to make the most of it. So I did. I started to see the slides as beautiful pieces of artwork (you have to admit, some of the staining is kind of gorgeous) and even once considered buying a histology poster to decorate my apartment. While I didn’t buy it (because I knew my roommates might not appreciate having a beautiful cut of prostate hanging on the wall nearly as much as I would), this class really brought out my creative side. I could make out different faces in the slides, and some of them reflected the feelings I had while studying for the tests. So, though I have not yet taken real med school histology, I can imagine the torture each first year experiences. These histology slide “faces” are,...

A New (Delicious) Way to Detect Alzheimer’s

This week, while perusing my favorite science and health periodicals, I have consistently seen articles outlining a new way to detect Alzheimer’s in patients– using peanut butter. It almost sounds like the beginning of an article from The Onion; peanut butter cures cancer! Cures the common cold! But the further I read into these new claims, the more I found the science, while perhaps simple, to be valid. Alzheimer’s affects the brain’s temporal lobe (one on each side of your head) which is neurologically the home of short-term memory and. . . your sense of smell. One of the reasons that Alzheimer’s can be difficult to catch in its early stages is that memory loss is very much, at first anyway, an internalized individual process; someone may not realize (or want to admit) that they are having trouble with remembering things, or they may chalk it up to “old age” or “stress”. The process is also, generally, very gradual, and it may go relatively unnoticed until it becomes profound enough for others to pick up on it. Enter, peanut butter. Since your sense of smell also resides in the part of your brain responsible for memory, researchers thought it reasonable that if they could detect changes in a person’s sense of smell, they could infer that short-term memory might also be affected. In a controlled study, researches plopped a...

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