10 Useful Alternatives for Your Medical Education

Last week I’m sure I scared many of you with a gloomy prediction of a world without residency spots for every graduating medical student but that was irresponsible journalism, and for that I apologize.  The threat is real enough, especially if our Graduate Medical Education budget gets any additional trimming, but there is good news.  After much research and soul-searching, I’ve come up with the top ten things to do with your education (and matching mortgage-load of debt). 10. Cliff Notes Writer Part of the “beauty” of being a medical student is the sheer amount of information we need to read, absorb, and synthesize into knowledge that we are expected to use to better the lives of our patients.  But in the absence of a residency, there’s no need to let these skills fall into disuse.  Haven’t you ever looked at Ulysses or Atlas Shrugged and thought “Isn’t there a better way?”  Why not leverage your ability to read and summarize to help millions of students avoid having to actually sit down and work their way through unnecessarily dense literature?  Think of it as saving their social lives. 9. Celebrity Fat-Flap Holder If reading doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, then why not use those muscles you developed from long hours in the OR?  (If you’re an M1, M2, or clerk who hasn’t been on Surgery yet, sorry...

The Latest Frontier in Medicine May Redefine Cancer Treatments

Jamey Marth, PhD, Director of the collaborative Center for Nanomedicine gives a talk on the pioneer research being done with nanomedicine. Dr. Marth is leading ground-breaking biomedical research that includes nano-sized “smart devices” which diagnose, target, treat and cure disease before it can cause symptoms and spread. The work being done at the Center for Nanomedicine will revolutionize medicine and how we treat the human...

Hep C Outbreak at Exeter Hospital; It Could Have Been Your Hospital

At Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire, a patient and hospital’s worst nightmare is drawing to a close. The lab technician accused of reusing needles on patients, and transmitting Hep C to at least 45 of them, has been sentenced to 39 years in prison. David Kwiatkowski is a drug addict. He admitted to stealing drug-filled syringes from the hospital, using syringes to inject himself, and then replacing the drug with saline tainted with his blood. Kwiatkowski, thus, transmitted his blood to the intended recipients of the drug. Kwiatkowski has Hepatitis C. A quick refresher: Hep C attacks the liver, sometimes causing few to no symptoms until cirrhosis and jaundice have set in. It’s a virus, and it is treatable, but many people who are infected don’t know that they are. And some, like Kwiatkowski, know that they are infected but still engage in risky behaviors that allow the virus to spread. Hep C does a number on the liver, and most people who have it have the chronic form which causes damage, and even cancer, over time. So, for the patients at Exeter Hospital who were exposed, Hep C could literally be a death sentence. Kwiatkowski’s motivations were purely fueled by his drug addiction – and misguided attempts to cover up the problem. According to his statement in court, he used the syringes to infect himself with Fentanyl, a...

Toys that Can Teach Old School Style

Going to the doctor can be frightening for adults and adolescents. Some fear shots, others the site of blood…some just feel uncomfortable having their backside exposed in those confusing gowns. Well, if it’s scary for adults, imagine how I child feels when they see an MRI or EEG machine. What is that stick rolling around on Mommy’s stomach? WHAT IS THAT ALIEN IN MOMMY’S STOMACH?! Will I ever get out of this really small tunnel? These are all reasonable questions that children could ponder while around these very massive, very expensive, and very scary looking machines. Japanese designer Hikaru Imamura wanted to change that. She witnessed computer simulations and videos as teaching tools but thought these methods could be bettered. What better way to teach children than to give them a toy…and an educational tool in disguise. “Examinations and operations are a cause of anxiety in the little patients, [which] can be relieved by informing them of what to expect during their visit,” Imamura says. I thought it’s more important to make things that attract children’s interest as stuff to play with. As a result, I made toys that had simple devices such as light or sound, instead of representing the details of machines or having high-tech devices.” Her toys depict an MRI machine, an X-ray machine, a echocardiogram and a electrocardiograph…there are even picture books to go along with them. Check it...

What Does the Doc Say? A ZDogg Parody

What does the Doc say? Finally a parody on “What does the Fox say?” for med students! see more my ZDoggMD here. Featured image is a screen shot from the video...

The Adverse Effects of Med School on ADLs

Med school doesn’t only take its toll on your...

SketchyMicro Aims To Make Medical Micro Really Easy (And Even Fun)

Medical microbiology is a tough subject. For any given bacteria, virus, or fungus, medical students must memorize how it clinically presents, the specific pathogenic mechanism, treatment options, and relevant laboratory tests. Taking Vibrio cholera for example, medical students learn to associate the buzzwords of “rice-water stool” and “comma-shaped” all while understanding the increase in cAMP production due to activation of a Gs protein. Three UC Irvine medical students figured there had to be a better way to learn these associations than through brute memorization, and born out of this frustration came SketchyMicro, a “learning modality that utilizes visual learning as its primary form of teaching” according to Andrew Berg, one of the co-founders. The approach capitalizes on the Baker/baker principle in order to increase recall and learning efficiency for students preparing for their USMLE Step 1 and COMLEX Level 1 exams. “We draw cool pictures to teach microbiology” -Andrew Berg, co-founder of SketchyMicro SketchyMicro is now accepting pre-orders at $39.99, which includes instant access to 21 of their videos and 6 months of additional rolling access when the program officially launches with 44 videos in late 2013. Read the full interview with SketchyMicro co-founder Andrew Berg at...

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