How One Student’s Notes Became the ‘Wikipedia of Medicine’

Since many medical schools have switched to the pass/fail system, students have become much more comfortable sharing notes. Med students, attempting to convey enthusiasm and sense of camaraderie amongst their class, tell visiting applicants “we have a Facebook group where everyone puts up review sheets, helpful websites, etc…there is a real sense of trying to help one another because no one is telling us that in order for you to do well, your friend has to do badly….below the curve, at least.” For one student at Manchester University, at the Royal Bolton Hospital, sharing notes went far beyond uploading his 5,000 page Microsoft Word document. Tom Leach, now a junior doctor in Australia, had the best notes around in med school — and his friends knew it. He tells The Times of India, “One day I went into the library and there was a queue for the photocopier where people were copying my notes.” His notes were so clear and accurate that Leach decided to put them online and in just a few years it developed into so much more. Leach describes his site, AlmostADoctor.com (cool name…) as “The Wikipedia of medicine with doctors as editors to verify the content” but a closer look shows that the site offers much more. With tabs for Notes, Blogs, Flashcards and Reviews in several fields of medicine, there is not much more an aspiring...

Practice Surgery On the Go With T@uchSurgery

Touch Surgery might be the new best app for med students…especially those who want to pursue a surgical field. Using thorough lessons, simulation and practice tests, the app (for iPhone and Android) walks you through several common surgical procedures; from an appendectomy to knee replacements. The simulations are interactive, requiring you to respond precisely to the instructions for making incisions, retracting and suturing. As you progress through various modules, you can save and track your progress. The simulations are even in 3D, so that the student can get “real life” experience with different surgical procedures. It’s like a Da Vinci Robot on the go! Touch Surgery is a really neat learning tool designed with the med student in mind; even if you aren’t gunning to become a surgeon, the app is actually really fun– and it’s free. You can “operate” on the subway, in the bathtub, or even over your morning...

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...

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