“Memory Hacks” Part I: The Baker/baker Paradox

What can medical education take away from a USA Memory Champion?! In 2006, Joshua Foer won the USA Memory Championships by, among other things, memorizing the order of a 52 card deck in a staggering 1 minute and 40 seconds. Other events in the competition included remembering the most names of strangers and reciting the most lines of poetry. Perhaps more astounding is that Foer had been covering the event as a journalist in 2005 and, in just one year, had trained himself to the level of USA champion.  Foer chronicled his incredible journey in a New York Times bestseller, Moonwalking with Einstein, and a famous TED talk watched over 250,000 times. Medical students are often told during the first-week of school that studying will be “like drinking water from a firehose”. Indeed, the pace and volume are certainly ramped up in comparison to college. While a 4-unit class at UC Santa Barbara would cover 30 hours of material over a 10-week period, exams at my medical school typically engrossed 35 hours of lecture crammed into a mere 2 weeks. Breaking down the lectures, I found between 15-20 testable details in each lecture making for 525-700 items to learn for each exam. Tracking the hours I spent studying for an exam showed I was spending about 75 hours in order to memorize up to 700 testable points. The fact...

Molecular Movies: A Visual Study Aid

The start of med school can be tricky. A syllabus that could have taken months at your undergraduate institution can be condensed into just a few weeks. Figuring out how to keep up with all the information is tough, especially because every person learns differently. And to top it all off, there are no shortage of study aids from review books to flash cards to apps. What’s a newbie med student to do? If you’re the kind of person that learns best visually, then we may have the perfect fix for you: molecularmovies.com. It’s basically a website that has aggregated many of the best educational animations out there on the web for topics in biology and medicine. If you’re someone like me, trying to figure out cell biology or biochemistry by interpreting the movement of molecules from words on a page can be daunting. But a short animation can really help make the relationships and interactions memorable. This site takes away all the hassle of having to search on youtube/google by giving you the best animations topic by topic. Here are a couple of examples from the site: DNA Replication: Breast Stem Cells: The Whole Brain Catalog: There are many more categories including: Apoptosis, Viruses, Development, the Immune System, etc. Note: Some of the links may not be working on this site, but overall, it’s a pretty expansive playlist. Featured...

An “Almost” Doctor’s Guide to MSG: 6 Utterly Wrong Myths

Admit it. We’ve all teared back the crisply sealed cover of cup noodles, salivating at the thought of slurping up those curly strands of savory instagoodness. But as soon as you finish your delicious meal, that soft creeping euphoria of drowsiness (that has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that its 3am and you’ve been studying for an endocrinology exam the past 6 hours) begins to overcome you. Must be all that MSG you just choked down. As one of the most widely despised and misunderstood food products in the world, Monosodium Glutamate, or MSG, has gone through quite the journey. A recent article by Buzzfeed contributor John Mahoney sheds light on the whirlpool of myths on MSG, focusing on the titillating rise of the “umami craze” and one chef’s quest to perfect the “5th basic taste”. For these chefs, the path to understanding umami inevitably leads them to MSG, which is chemically identical to the glutamic acid they’re creating from scratch. And yet Chang wouldn’t think of using MSG in his restaurants today. He told me he doesn’t even use it at home, despite being a professed lover of MSG-laced Japanese Kewpie mayo. After decades of research debunking its reputation as a health hazard, and uninterrupted FDA approval since 1959, MSG remains a food pariah — part of a story that spans a century of history, race, culture, and science...

The 6 People You’ll Date in Med School

The Intensivist Medical Geneticist Neurologist Oncologist Gastroenterologist General Surgeon Special thanks to docimuger for allowing us to repost this curated...

5 Medblrs To Make You Feel Less Alone

If you dig deep enough, Tumblr has more to offer than cats and Topless Tuesdays. There are several “Medblrs” that are run by doctors in disguise, haggard med students or just anatomy enthusiasts. Here are my top five Must Follow Medblrs. 1. Dr. Cranquis’ Mumbled Gripes “Cranquis” as he is so called, is an American physician working in an urgent care clinic. His tales of day-to-day doctor life are packed with humor and some real, emotional nuggets of truth. He also interacts playfully with other Medblrs, so his blog also serves as a gateway to other bloggers. His blog is always organized– like pro-styles organized–and depending on your mood he’s got some kind of cheerful/woeful anecdote for you, day or night. My favorite element of Cranquis’ blog is his TSK’s tag (True Story, Kiddos!) in which he tells you about strange, sweet or sexy experiences with his patients on a particular day. This is probably the best post. 2. #WhatShouldWeCallMedSchool Simple, yet effective. This is one of those “thought with gif” blogs that pairs humorous and often disturbingly apt gifs with phrases like, “Whenever I recommend a diagnosis to my attending he’s like. . .”  “When I scrub into a surgery and forget to go to the bathroom.” I really appreciated the gif paired with “When I get too close to the back table in the OR:” because I...

The 7 Most Awkward Conversations Overheard During Med School Orientation

Oh, orientation. Between the rush of meeting so many new people, the copious amounts of alcohol and the lectures on how not to get hep C during your time on the wards (hint: don’t stab yourself with needles you find on the floor), orientation helps create the perfect environment for the occasional awkward conversation. Here I catalog some of the best ones I was privileged enough to overhear this week.  Number Seven Bro 1: You know how at every med school orientation there is that one bro who gets way too friendly with all the girls? That bro lives in infamy for the next four years. I bet that if you can’t name that guy off the top of your head, chances are you are that bro. Bro 2: Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m that bro. Don’t worry, there are support groups on campus, bro. Number Six Girl: I’m definitely considering campaigning for our class’s social chair. When I was an RA in college, I used to host these sick study breaks all based on fruit themes: bananas, strawberries, pineapples, all the best fruits out there.  For Chinese New Year, I did one with the dragon fruit and I spent like $500 on getting fruit directly from China and it was so awesome because I made everyone dress up as a dragon fruit. I really think I could pull...

A Must-See Show on the Founding of Alcoholics Anonymous

Samuel Shem, author of The House of God, delves into his motivations and inspirations for writing the internationally acclaimed play, Bill W. and Dr. Bob. The play tells the story of the extraordinary beginnings of Alcoholics Anonymous and its co-founders, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, who developed the organization out of a surprising revelation. The revenues and donations from the play will go to a national tour of medical and college campuses to address the epidemic of binge drinking. We strongly recommend that medical students and other aspiring medical minds go see this show — and they can get in for a discounted price! Take your friends, take your significant other, take your classmates, take a professor you’re trying to suck up to… it truly is a show for all audiences! The discounted price for medical students is $20 for the following show dates: Thursday, 8/22 @ 7 pm. Friday, 8/23 @ 8 pm Saturday, 8/24 @ 8 pm Sunday, 8/25 @ 3 pm Sunday, 9/1 @ 3 pm The show is currently playing at The Soho Playhouse in New York City. For tickets go...