Is the Answer to Cancer an Immune Defense Enhancer?

Traditional cancer therapies such as chemotherapy are effective in obliterating tumor cells; however, their destruction is not selective. The death of normal, healthy tissue results in the adverse side effects we’re familiar with such as vomiting, hair loss, infection, and anemia. Radiation, on the other hand, is more localized but nearby normal cells are commonly affected. What if we could exclusively target cancerous cells, leaving the healthy surrounding tissue intact? Immunotherapy is a promising technique that is being analyzed both in laboratory and clinical settings to do just that. Particularly, researchers have been experimenting with cancer vaccines containing specific oncogenic antigens to train the immune system to attack its own tumor. Immune system evasion is one of the many hallmarks of cancer; therefore, activating the host’s effector cells through antigen exposure will result in enhanced tumor recognition and destruction. Similar to vaccines for the chicken pox or the flu, cancer vaccines boost the body’s natural defense mechanisms. However, instead of acting as a preventative measure, immunotherapy will treat the already acquired cancer at various stages. Breast cancer in particular has proven to be an effective target for vaccine therapy given the clear evidence of the immune system in breast cancer pathogenesis. There are several known self- and tumor-specific antigens associated with breast cancer including HER2, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), and mucin-1 (MUC-1) that have been used to construct therapeutic vaccines....

Here’s A Resource I Used To Raise My Step 2 Score By 15 Points

In this post, we’re going to do something that’s really popular on the blog which is going over one of my top recommended resources. This resource has really helped me raise my Step 2 score by 25 points from my Step 1. It also raised my Step 2 score by 15 points over my goal score! What’s that resource? Dum roll… OnlineMedEd! In this post, I’m going to give a full OnlineMedEd review and insight into how I used it to study for shelf exams and my Step 2 CK exam! I know a lot of you guys know about OnlineMedEd and for the few of you don’t, I hope you stick around the whole post just to understand what this resource can offer you. For those of you guys that are familiar with OnlineMedEd, stick around because I’m going to go over how I used it to do well in my rotations, how I used it to do well on my Step 2 exam and  I’ll provide you guys a discount for any of you interested in their premium content, which I highly recommend.  If you’d like a video format of this post, check out the YouTube channel! So without any further ado, let’s get to the post! What Is OnlineMedEd? So quick intro into OnlineMedEd for any of you guys that aren’t familiar. It’s what I like to definitely consider...

How To Stay Productive During Long Study Days

As almost doctors, when we say we are “studying all day”, we really mean it. It’s definitely not an exaggeration, but our attention span lasts for about an hour before we start to procrastinate or lose focus. Many people have suggested working uninterrupted for 50-60 minutes and taking a 10-15 minute break during long study days to optimize productivity and brain energy. My years in medical school enabled me to perfect this strategy. When I try to multitask, I tend to flounder. I see friends and classmates trying to take notes but simultaneously on Facebook. I find that this is not the best use of time because not only are you sitting in class getting nothing done, but you have to repeat all the information you’ve tried to retain later on. It’s tough retaining the information from Step 1 and your sister’s cousin’s wedding photos. One huge tip for incoming almost doctors is to physically remove myself from my desk space or room where I study and do the following. The same can be said about studying in your bed. Only go to bed when you’re ready to sleep or take a nap. Creating these habits really help to train your mind. When I’m sitting at my desk, I know that I have to get my work done. If I am studying on my laptop in my bed, I know I will...

5 Steps to Writing The Perfect Doctor’s Resume

Writing a doctor’s resume requires precision. You have to compose, in just one or two pages, a summary of your education and career. It’s crucial not to leave the wrong information out, but you also need to avoid making it too long. There is no magic formula that will guarantee your resume is a perfect fit for a recruiter, but there are some basic guidelines that will improve your chances. Here are five steps to writing a doctor’s resume. Contact information For the most part, it doesn’t matter what order you put your sections in, except your contact information. This part needs to go first, and should be kept straightforward. State your name, your address, your email, LinkedIn profile, cell phone, pager, and fax, if you have one. Don’t forget to include your license or any other registration numbers.  Education and certifications If you’re a recent graduate, you’ll want to emphasize your education section, since you probably won’t have any work experience. State the medical school where you obtained your education, the location of the institution, your degree, and the year you obtained it. Be sure you double check your names and dates, because a recruiter absolutely will. You don’t want to come off as careless or neglectful. “Remember to include any internships you have completed, making sure to include where you worked and what your area of specialization...

Here’s My Experience When Dealing With The IMG Transfer to US MD Med School

If you visit any med school forum and type “IMG transfer to US medical school,” you’ll find a multitude of threads stretching back over a decade. You’ll find hundreds of opinions regarding the difficulty of the transfer process, necessary credentials, number of spots available every year, and if it’s even possible in the first place. You’ll also find that some contributing their two cents “have a friend” who transferred or “know a guy who knows a guy” who went through the process, most of whom are just straight trolling. Reading these forums can quickly make the entire prospect of transferring feel like chasing a mythical creature – or at least it did to me. I started my medical education at a large, well-known Caribbean school, and did so with full awareness of the existing stigma toward such institutions. During orientation, the school was very forthright with students regarding that stigma and the uphill battle we would be fighting when it came to The Match and beyond. We were informed that the most competitive residencies (neurosurgery, dermatology, orthopedic surgery, etc.) were out of the question, and were shown a list of specialties alumni had successfully matched into – our viable options. We were also shown NRMP match data for the average Step 1 scores among successfully matched individuals in each of those fields, and were instructed to score at least 10 points higher than...

The Path to Longevity: How to Unearth Your Ikigai and Live Like an Okinawan

Just last week, I came across a TED Talk that delved into the evidence behind longevity and the keys to living a long, happy, and healthy life. I know this seems difficult to pinpoint; however, TED talk speaker and National Geographic author and explorer, Dan Buettner knows a thing or two about how to eat and live like “the people who’ve lived the longest.” He specifically researches “Blue Zones” or communities with the highest concentrations of centenarians in the world. I decided to watch Dan’s talk for several reasons; firstly, the average life expectancy in the United States is among the lowest worldwide despite spending twice the amount on healthcare as compared to other countries. This astounding statistic not only warrants healthcare reform, but also lifestyle changes to mimic those in the so-called Blue Zones. Secondly, I’ve recently encountered many people in the working world– doctors included– who are unsatisfied with their lifestyle and profession. That being said, it is essential for premedical and medical students to extensively explore their options to discover what career or medical specialty really speaks to them. After all, doctors should be the epitome of health–mental, physical, and emotional health. Finally, when I was working in Alzheimer’s clinical research, I came across a few studies exploring delaying retirement and maintaining physical and cognitive activity to reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s Disease or other types of dementia....

Four Twitter Accounts Med Students Should Follow

Studying medicine is not exactly the easiest task to tackle. With the increasing proliferation of social media, many people continue to insist that the many social media platforms that exist today pose a pretty real distraction for medical students. However, it does not actually have to be this way, since but many people have now taken ownership of the various platforms out there so as to help medical students, rather than hinder them. Let us check out a few Twitter accounts to follow, that have been set up to effectively help medical students with their test reviews, studies, work ethic, or just about anything that will help them cope with everyday life as a student of medicine. The BS and fake news detector extraordinaire: @CaulfieldTim Tim Caulfield is a professor at the University of Alberta and teaches health law and science policy. His claim to fame is the fact that he always seems to know how to read scientific studies and distinguish the same from the ‘fluff’ that masquerades as real science. He has an intuitive knowledge of just when fake people are trying to make health claims that are either not backed by science or for that matter, are backed by pseudo-science at the very most. And what is more, he is definitely not afraid of calling out all such individuals who actually make such fake claims. A case in point being his very...

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