Can Google Replace A Medical Degree?

Patients are becoming more aware courtesy of the internet, as different forms of media and information continues to get pushed out, especially to us students and aspiring healthcare professionals. These days, it is uncommon for patients to bring their list of diagnosis and preferred medications to their medical visit. The internet can be a powerful tool, but also a dangerous one given the breadth and depth of false information. Can Google replace the importance of a medical degree? Despite its intelligence, it can’t replace it, nor can certain blogs  replace the importance of certain medical journals. I wanted to be a health journalist more than I wanted to be a doctor because I love story-telling. But, one of the reasons I decided to pursue medical training was because I did not want to be just another writer who writes about patient care, with no actual medical knowledge or training. There are only a handful of journalists in this niche media market who write for prestigious publications, but, ultimately, years of writing experience do not replace the credentials of a four year medical degree. Writing stories about actual patients who you have treated at the bedside/chairside is a more authentic representation of healthcare. As someone with background in both journalism and medicine, it is easy for me to differentiate between a reliable source from another. How do you know that the...

This Global Health Challenge is for Medical Students and Residents Serving Abroad

AMA Kicks-off 2018 Global Health Challenge for Medical Students and Residents to Help Underserved Patients Abroad Physicians-in-training and other health profession students are encouraged to submit essays before the May 14 contest deadline Chicago – The American Medical Association (AMA) and the AMA Insurance Agency today announced the launch of the 2018 AMA Global Health Challenge—an essay and video contest giving a team of physicians-in-training and students of other health care professions an opportunity to travel abroad to provide health care for underserved patients. The winning team will work alongside Timmy Global Health to care for populations in Ecuador, Guatemala or the Dominican Republic. “The AMA Global Health Challenge will allow aspiring physicians and health care professionals the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally while providing much needed care to some of the world’s most vulnerable populations,” said AMA President David O. Barbe, M.D. “The global health experiences that these future health care professionals will gain through their service trip abroad will help them foster a lifelong passion for service to the neediest populations, both at home and abroad, and develop a deeper understanding of the social determinants of health—leading to better health outcomes for all patients.” The AMA Global Health Challenge invites teams of at least two and up to five pre-medical and medical students, residents and students in allied health fields to submit an essay of 500 words or...

Here’s How A Social Media Medical Community Can Help You Through School

I didn’t know much about MD/PhD programs as an undergraduate. I found some resources online and met with the program director at my school, but I didn’t really have easy access to any current MD/PhD students to go to for advice as I was preparing to apply to medical school. I also didn’t know many pre-meds or join any pre-med clubs. I hadn’t planned on going to medical school until late into undergrad, so I didn’t have a supportive group that would be going through the same grueling process that I was about to undertake. Therefore, I went to social media to find my community. The summer I applied to medical school, I made a Twitter account specifically for connecting with the medical community. Twitter was an ideal platform for this purpose because of the short character limits for posts, the ability to make public posts and follow others who do not necessarily have to follow you back, the easy ability to retweet (or share) another account’s post on your own timeline, hashtags to connect posts to those of related content, and handles that allow you to establish your identity while also maintaining anonymity if desired (for example, I started being known as only pre-MD/PhD Life). While other social media sites have incorporated some of these aspects, Twitter remains the best site I’ve found for a robust discussion within...

My Thoughts on Late-Term Abortions

I was recently talking to a friend of mine named Joe who works in health care and is an intelligent, well-educated person.  The subject of abortion came up and Joe told me he was pro-choice, but… Joe: “I just don’t think women should be allowed to have abortions at 37 or 38 weeks pregnant.  That’s just wrong.” I think I gasped audibly and said, “Oh no!”  I didn’t understand how a smart guy in healthcare could believe women were having abortions two weeks before delivery.  Or putting it another way, that there are doctors out there who are effectively willing to murder full term fetuses. Donald Trump said it during a debate though.  And while people did point out that this ridiculous, I always felt like a big enough deal wasn’t made out of this.  Our presidential candidate believed women are allowed to have abortions at full term.  How can we brush that off? I calmly tried to explain to Joe why this logic made no sense, and he quickly said, “I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”  And… that was the end of the discussion. Now I am someone who sympathizes with people who are genuinely pro-life.  I have female friends who believe life starts at conception, and can talk intelligently on the subject. I am willing to listen to anyone who does not just want to ban abortion...

The Case for Eating Fiber

I want to help you prepare for this situation because you might be expected to answer it soon. What are the benefits of eating fiber? Let’s go over a hypothetical situation. Your patient walks in to your office and says “Dr. I don’t know what to believe about fiber, is there really a benefit to eating brown rice instead of white rice? They have about the same number of calories and white rice tastes better, does fiber really make a significant difference?” And now, since you’ve read Why Should I Eat Fiber? An Overview, you’re prepared and have been waiting for this question for a while now. You light up with joy because you’ve had lectures for the past 8 years of your life and now it’s time for you to relay knowledge to someone else. So, you let them have it, and I mean really let them have it, like you’ve had this planned before they even came into the office. It went like this: Fiber is a carbohydrate that is unable to be digested by the body and is essential for maintaining proper health. Fiber helps regulate the use of sugar in the body, and keeps blood sugar and hunger in check [1]. There has been debate on how much fiber one should eat and the recommended is 20 to 30 grams daily, however I propose to...

How To Renew Your Love For Medicine By Being Like A Kid

On a recent outreach trip to a public school, I spent the morning with children in the 3rd grade. I was the one who was supposed to give a presentation and teach them about healthy habits and routines. Instead, I learned from a classroom full of 9 year olds. As we get older, we tend to lose the vibrancy and enthusiasm for life that is characteristic of childhood. As soon as we experience a hint of stress, adults become bland. We lose zest and zeal for living. These are some of the small things I noticed in the classroom that served as necessary reminders for me in order to renew your love for medicine: Speak your mind During the presentation, I could not help but notice some kids interrupting to give their opinion. They really did not care if they were called on. Few actually raised their hand and waited their turn. The beauty of this was noticing that children value their opinion enough to blurt it out loud. They demand to be heard. Never once did the kids think that someone was judging their comments, or did they fear voicing their opinion.  I think this is something adults should embrace more. Often, we are too scared to share our opinion and fear judgement from others. This is especially pertinent in the class when we are too to ask...

Can Alcohol Damage our DNA? A New Study Suggests Yes

Can alcohol damage our cells and DNA? Scientists at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge discovered new evidence that suggests alcohol causes damage at a cellular level, with prolonged use leading to permanent damage to DNA. Ketan Patel, FRS FMedSci MRCP, professor and lead author of the study, has observed that alcohol consumption not only leads to permanent DNA damage, but also increases the risk of developing cancer. The research team at MRC Laboratory gave doses of ethanol to mice equivalent to a human drinking a full bottle of whisky in a compressed period of time. Some of these mice had a reduced ability to produce the enzyme that breaks down alcohol coupled with diminished DNA repair pathways. After a few weeks, they studied the DNA of the mice and found the harmful chemical compound acetaldehyde (ALDH) had built up due to the body’s processing of the large quantities of alcohol. This ALDH buildup damaged the DNA within blood stem cells, causing mutations in chromosomes which are known catalysts for cancer and the aging process. This study is being funded by Cancer Research UK. Click here to read more about the findings. Make sure to read “Three Med School Career Paths, and Their Alcoholic Drink Compliments“. A new study from the University of Greenwich’s Journal of Pain suggests that alcohol might be a better pain reliever than Acetaminophen‬‬ and other common pain relievers. The study suggests that alcohol...

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