Why I Almost Didn’t Do PM&R (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation)

I’ve been doing this series for a while and somebody requested I do one for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Considering I did PM&R, it’s hard to write a post about why I didn’t do it. But then again, I matched in another field initially, so I could explain my original thinking process. I did a rotation in PM&R during October of my fourth year, which was just a little too late. I liked it a lot. I liked the pace, I liked the types of patients, I liked the procedures, and I thought all the attendings were really nice and laid back. I noticed the residents got to go home when they were on call and worked very reasonable hours. Again, it was mostly about location for me. There was only ONE PM&R program in the area where I wanted to live to be near my husband, so that limited my choices significantly. And even if I matched at that program, I was worried about finding a prelim spot in that region. But here are a few other reasons why I initially decided against Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. I am basing this on an actual pro/con list that I made during my fourth year: 1) Can be kind of boring, at least on the inpatient side. On inpatient rehab, things move slowly and there’s a lot of documentation involved....

6 Reasons Why You Love Your Friends From College

1. You can’t give up your friends from college because you have no idea where to make new ones Saying goodbye to your high school friends is made significantly easier by the fact that you know you’re about to make a bunch more. There might be some slight trepidation about meeting new people, but it’s quickly set aside when you start making friends in your dorm and classes and the youthful offenders program a court mandates you to enter when you get your first underage drinking violation. Post-college life has no such safety net – making friends in real life is freaking hard. The people at your job may be twice your age, busy raising a family, and spend Happy Hour complaining about the herniated disc in their lower back. Soon enough you’re on the verge of becoming one of those lonely movie characters that picks up a hooker and pays her “just to talk.” 2. You’re not bonding over *NYSNC and the NWO I made most of my hometown friends during middle school. The year was 2000, I was 13, and the cultural landscape was very, very bleak. We young men, wallets secured safely to our pants by totally kickass chains, wound up devising friendships over our love of Limp Bizkit, pro wrestling, and dial-up internet porn. I’m still close with some of those pubescent pals whose interests evolved...

What You Know About Blood Pressure May Be Wrong

Blood pressure measurement is a routine part of nearly every medical examination. Hypertension is one of the biggest cardiovascular risk factors for heart disease, stroke and death. Around 85 million people in the United States have it, which may show no symptoms and go undetected until it is too late. While blood pressure varies throughout the day, a reading of 180 over 110 mmHG or higher could be a sign of hypertensive crisis. Image: Source The most common method for measuring blood pressure around the world is the “brachial cuff method,” which was invented over a century ago. Before 1855, physicians had to puncture an artery and calculated the pressure if the flowing blood using a mercury sphygmomanometer. The first non-invasive technique was invented by Samuel Siegfried Karl Ritter von Basch around 1881, when he came up with the idea to use water, and later air, to restrict blood flow through the arm.  It was further refined by Scipione Riva-Rocci who published “Un nuovo sfigmomanometro” in 1896, which re-incorporated the mercury manometer to von Basch’s technique. Finally, Russian surgeon Nikolai Korotkov added the stethoscope in 1905. The same general technique is used today, either manually or with a digital cuff. However, recent research published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology has found that the cuff method may not accurately measure blood pressure in the mid-range. This study included...

Cows Might Be The Future For HIV Vaccines

Until recently, no one has identified an immunogen capable of eliciting broadly neutralizing antibodies (Bnabs) for HIV vaccines in either human or animal models. However, a 2017 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) research initiative has immunized four cows with the soluble cleaved trimer BG505 SOSIP in an attempt to produce these Bnabs – and has succeeded. Since antibodies in cows are approximately 4 to 5 times longer than typical human antibodies, the cows antibodies have a greater chance of penetrating the sugars surrounding the HIV virus and neutralizing it. There is not yet a clear path to achieving the same results in humans, but according to the director of vaccine research at the NIAID, John Mascola, MD, while the study “doesn’t tell us how to make a vaccine for HIV in human patients […] it does tell us how the virus evades the human immune response.” How far have we come from HIV Vaccinations? It has been a long road in the battle against HIV/AIDS since the epidemic began in the early 1980s. However, in 2013, the virus hit what was widely referred to as a tipping point when, for the first time, more people were newly being treated with antiretroviral drugs than became newly infected with HIV. Despite this milestone, there are still 35 million people estimated to be living with HIV today — 19 million who are estimated to be unaware of their HIV-positive status — and 2 million more people are being infected each year....

Four Tips For The Best Secondary Application

‘Tis the season for secondaries! Now that you’ve got the attention of the admissions committee with a stellar primary application, the secondary application is the prime opportunity to let yourself shine. Some schools send their secondary questions to every applicant, while others are more selective. In any case, crafting a meaningful answer to the questions would be in your best interest if you’re looking to gain admission to medical school. Follow the rules. Although secondary essays are shorter than the main AMCAS application, they are significantly harder. Take the time to actually read any instructions and be mindful of the word count for each question. Keep in mind the word count is not optional; 101 words is not the same as 100 words. Another common mistake is not actually answering the question being asked. If a school asks how you work well with others, you should not answer that with an anecdote showcasing your leadership qualities. Another thing that is important is to keep track of the schools you’re writing for and adhere to their specific requirements. If you have a question, email or call the school and do not make your own assumptions. Also, do not copy and paste what you’ve written before either from the primary application or secondary application for another school, even if you’re applying to MD and DO programs. If you’re finding yourself doing...

Be Wary of Exotic Diseases During Your Medical Elective Placement Overseas

As a heads up for medical students seeking elective placement abroad, be ready to treat patients with exotic diseases. These can be found in poor rural places that were neglected by healthcare services with the worst surroundings in the world. For a hotbed of unimaginable diseases, the health radar is directed towards Southern Sudan. Situated in northeast Africa, the country was divided into Northern Sudan and Southern Sudan by the civil war in 1955. The economy of Northern Sudan is at par with its developed neighbors. However, the south has been ignored and considered underdeveloped even by African standards. According to a health specialist at the World Bank, Francois Decaillet, said, “This really is the forgotten front line when it comes to health.” Malaria, diarrhea, malnutrition, and respiratory infections are the highest killers in most of Africa. Double the count of afflicted persons and you will know the health condition in Southern Sudan. Aside from these, the country is saddled with the existence of horrifying exotic diseases that were exterminated in most of the world. Are you freaked out? Don’t be because GEP’s destination countries were assessed and safety checks are in place to ensure that medical students are out of harm’s way. In case a sufferer with an exotic disease checks in for treatment, you will be shadowed by our local medical partners. If you get goose bumps,...

6 Books for Future Doctors to Read, Part 2

Medical students and aspiring health professionals may already read their fair share of literature, but check out these books for future doctors. Click here to check out Part 1! “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” by Sam Quinones The opioid epidemic is perhaps our greatest public health crisis. To put this in perspective, overdoses claim more lives in the U.S. annually than car accidents. As a doctor, you’ll very likely see patients who are struggling with addiction. In “Dreamland,” Sam Quinones humanizes these patients by depicting how powerful opioids lay claim on our nervous systems. Quinones also delves deep into the forces that have driven the epidemic, including pharmaceutical companies’ heavy reliance on barebones research to support the widespread usage of pain meds. “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi Paul Kalanithi was an accomplished neurosurgery resident, well on his way to becoming a prominent surgeon-researcher. But, his life plans completely changed when he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. In “When Breath Becomes Air,” Kalanithi examines the meaning of life when on the brink of death. Although Kalanithi passed away in 2015, his memory lives on with his beautifully written, insightful memoir. “Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery” by Henry Marsh In “Do No Harm,” Henry Marsh talks about his life as a neurosurgeon. Aspiring doctors will learn a ton from...