Essential Apps for Med Students

Admit it: you’re always on your phone. Instead of spending another hour trying to catch that elusive Pokémon, check out these essential apps for med school students. These apps are specifically designed to help you increase your productivity, stay organized and survive.   Image: Source   Anatomy Apps These anatomy apps will give you quick access to all the anatomy you need and help you learn along the way –   1. Muscle & Bone Anatomy 3D iOS Android With a 3D view of the body, this app can isolate muscle groups by actions with animations and commentary. When you’re ready, use one of the built-in quizzes to put your skills to the test.   Image: Source   2. Radiology 2.0: One Night in the ED iOS In a series of case studies, this app walks you through everything you need to know when reviewing CT scans.   3. 3D Brain iOS Android Study all parts of the brain with zoom and rotation features on 29 interactive structures. Learn how different brain regions function, how they are involved in mental illness and what happens if they’re injured.   Clinical Practice Apps These tools are particularly convenient for clinical practice –   4. EBMcalc Complete iOS Android Perform complicated medical calculations on the go with EBMcalc Complete.   5. Epocrates iOS, Android This comprehensive reference tool covers almost everything and includes...

Genetic Engineering, Salmonella and Brain Tumors

By Janet Taylor   Glioblastomas are tumors that form from the astrocytes in the brain. These tumors are aggressive and lethal largely because they can be composed of multiple types of tissues and because the brain provides such a large blood supply, which helps them to grow. While they rarely invade the body outside of the brain and spinal cord, they inflict their damage quickly. Patient survival is an average of two years, while those with more aggressive types are given a life expectancy of about fifteen months. The standards for treatment consist of surgery plus chemo or radiation but recurrence occurs quite often and because there are multiple cell types in each tumor, targeted therapy isn’t successful. Genetic biomarkers have been investigated to identify tumor changes as well as why some patients respond better than others with the same treatments. While several have been identified, their utility has yet to be seen for predictive factors or treatment alternatives.   Image: Source   Researchers at Duke University have taken an alternative approach to fighting this disease using genetically engineered Salmonella typhimurium. The bacteria contain a mutation that depletes their purine stores. Since tumor cells are loaded with purine, the Salmonella would be expected to seek out those tumors. Once inside the tumor, they rapidly reproduce. Second, the addition of a p53 tumor suppressor protein and Azurian allows the bacteria...

Medical Advancements To Look Forward To This Year #3: Holograms

3. Holograms in Medical Education Along with the fast-paced growth of technologies and initiatives taking place for the enhanced expertise and patient care of currently practicing physicians in the field, growth is likewise comparable for our up and coming medical students.   Medical education has changed quite significantly over the decades, from a system of apprenticeship to a widely renowned infrastructure of accredited education. However, the invention of 3D holograms and their potential applicability in teaching young physicians-to-be may likely rise as one of the most exciting avenues in existence today. Human anatomy is one of the primary fields that has been investigated for the use of 3D holograms as an added supplement to enhance the understanding and preparation of students.     In addition to carrying out dissections on cadavers in formaldehyde-scented laboratories, students have the opportunity to manipulate and view the human body in various dimensions, from different angles, and in unique planes previously impossible without the hologram interface. Case Western Reserve University Medical School has been one of the biggest proponents of this initiative, hoping to incorporate 3D holograms into their curriculum as early as 2019. And human anatomy is just a starting point!   However, along with every invention comes certain skepticism. While this novel, cutting-edge technology may perhaps prove to be a superior tool over the long-established dissection-based practice, will our next generation of...

Tips For The New Semester

Ahh, a stack of new syllabi, unopened textbooks, unused notebooks, and fresh packages of pens, pencils, and highlighters…it’s the start of a new semester. Going in, you may think you have a plan, but somehow it always gets derailed. You find yourself pulling all-nighters, losing track of your diet, missing deadlines, and spending too much money on coffee. Then suddenly, you emerge after finals exhausted, surprised that you even made it to the end.   We’re here to change that!   Here are some tips to help you stay on track this semester.   1. Stay Organized If you find yourself forgetting deadlines or exam dates, it’s definitely time to think about more effectively organizing your school calendar. Make sure that you have a planner, calendar, or set reminders (or all of the above!) so that you never miss a beat. It really helps to look ahead at all of your assignments and exams for each class throughout the semester and note the important dates. You can even color code each class to make staying on top of your work even easier.   Image: Source   2. Make a Plan …And stick to it. If you often feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, you should think about making a schedule. By carving out a schedule, ahead of time, you will be more likely to fit...

3D-Bioprinting Technology Produces Blood Vessels in Monkeys

3d-bioprinting is not a new concept, as we have seen in previous articles on Almost Docs. This fascinating technology has opened up countless possibilities, especially pertaining to the future of medicine. So far, bioprinting has successfully produced medical models, prosthetic parts, heart valves, and even organs. Now, this technology is able to produce something even more intricate: blood vessels.     In 2015, Chinese biotechnology company Revotek released a 3d-bioprinter that fabricates blood vessels using a bio-ink made from stem cells. Just before the close of 2016, Kang Yujian, chief scientist and CEO of Revotek, announced the first successful transplant of bioprinted blood vessels into the abdominal aortas of 30 rhesus monkeys.   As shown in the video below, this technology allows researchers to produce new layers of cells to fuse with the old ones. In just a month, the newly created cells had completely blended in.   Video: Source   All monkeys have survived thus far and the 3d-printed biomaterial has achieved regeneration of the endothelial and muscle cells that compose authentic blood vessels. The success of this experiment could one day have far reaching implications for the nearly two billion patients with cardiovascular disease.   Featured Image:...

TED Talks For Food Lovers #10: What’s Wrong With What We Eat

There’s no better way to bring it all home with a talk that reviews some of the basic facts behind what we eat, why it’s bad, and the need to change. TED speaker Mark Bittman brings his wealth of knowledge from years of experience as a New York Times food writer, pointing to the necessary changes that need to be implemented in order to save human society from itself.     Diet and health are highly interdependent. The food people eat over the course of a lifetime often plays a huge role in determining many of the ailments they incur. Referring to some recent exploration into the field of microbiomics, the large quantity and variety of bacteria in our body may likewise be acutely as well as chronically transforming due to the food we eat and the changes we make to our diets. Lastly, for aspiring medical personnel, quick food sources such as cold pizzas, Chipotle veggie bowls, and espresso shots often make up our daily sustenance. What effect do these have on our health?   Over the course of the next several articles, I would like to take you all on a run through some of the most interesting TED talks on food, some quite interesting and others downright genius. As you watch these videos, reflect on the close ties between nutrition and medicine, and what we can...

ACA Repeal – Good or Bad for Doctors?

As Trump is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, the Republican-led Congress is making strategic moves to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a.k.a. “Obamacare.” Despite their promises to immediately replace the ACA with a new plan, no solid details have been given out by Trump or Republicans.   The effects of the ACA on the lives and practice of doctors has been complex, and opinions as to whether the law has been good or bad for doctors are clearly divided along party lines. There is high anxiety surrounding the proposed repeal from patients and doctors alike. Without a clear plan in place, it’s hard to know how a repeal would affect doctors and the future careers of current med school students.   Image: Source   Here are some concerns when considering the repeal:   Fewer patients in a smaller insurance pool – The ACA has enabled roughly 22 million previously-uninsured Americans to purchase health insurance or obtain it through expanded Medicaid programs. The ACA also has rules in place that end pre-existing condition exclusions for children, allow young adults under the age of 26 to be covered under their parents’ insurance and prohibit arbitrary withdrawals of insurance coverage. If repealed with no immediate replacement, millions of people could be dropped from their plans and left unable to purchase new plans. Fewer people with insurance equals...