Do Fidget Spinners Actually Work?

Fidget spinners have become one of the best-selling toys in the nation, sweeping elementary and middle schools, while demanding attention of concerned parents and teachers. The ubiquitous toy—which consists of a small blades that spin around a core—has been banned in many classrooms because they’re viewed as a distraction. But, it turns out fidget spinners are intended to have the opposite effect. The toys are actually meant to relieve lack of focus and restlessness common in individuals with ADHD, anxiety, and autism. Fidget spinners are among a long line of fidget toys—such as stress balls and ballpoint pens—that help limit distraction and improve performance. The utility of fidgeting can be explained using the famous Yerkes-Dodson law of arousal. According to the law, an individual requires a certain level of arousal, or stimulation, to achieve optimal performance. Based on the Yerkes-Dodson law, the spinning blades of a fidget spinner draws the eyes of its user and may provide the individual with an optimal level of arousal—which then helps lead to peak performance on a given task. So, imagine someone’s working on an assignment but, with all the loud noises, their classroom environment is too uncomfortable. There’s too many distractions, or stimuli, which prevent the student from performing well on their assignment. This person might use the a fidget spinner as a way to limit the distractions and reach a level...

Book Review: The Devil You Know

Freida McFadden strikes again with her follow-up story to the life of Doctor Jane McGill, The Devil You Know. This book is a page turner with a romantic edge and relatable characters that make a fictional story seem real. This is the follow up book to McFadden’s The Devil Wears Scrubs; this sequel focuses more on Jane’s personal life, rather than her time doing long hours of residency in the hospital. First, I recommend this book to parents, more specifically, parents with older children. Jane has to deal with all the stresses, fun, and control issues that come with her young redheaded bossy daughter, all while her husband is adjusting to a new job working from home and dodging his parental duties here and there.  The small anecdotes throughout the novel between Jane and her husband are sidebars that every parent can relate too.  For example, McFadden uses a touch of realism to show how even something as small as picking up and dropping off your toddler at pre-school has so many elements to take care of and so many areas where things could go wrong.  I really enjoyed reading these anecdotes and seeing them unfold and go hand in hand with Jane’s marital problems.  She is constantly dealing with real life situations that come with kids like, battling over what to wear to school, or having to tell...

Skywalker-Inspired Bionic Arm Gives Amputees “A New Hope”

US military veterans Fred Downs and Nardi McCauley lost their arms during service to their country. As participants of a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) research study, they have become the first individuals to receive the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) LUKE arm system. The LUKE (Life Under Kinetic Evolution) bionic arm is a novel robotic prosthesis that attaches to the amputee’s limb and replicates many functions of a human arm with the help of sensors and an easy-to-use controller. This device allows users to control multiple joints simultaneously and performs a variety of grips with adjustable grip forces. This technology was made possible by the Army Research Office and funding assistance from the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC). The working prototypes were designed by the DEKA Research and Development Corporation and built by Mobius Bionics, a commercial-scale manufacturer borne out out of the VA’s development efforts after years of research and testing. US military veterans Fred Downs and Nardi McCauley lost their arms during service to their country. As participants of a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) research study, they have become the first individuals to receive the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) LUKE arm system. The LUKE (Life Under Kinetic Evolution) arm is a novel robotic prosthesis that attaches to the amputee’s limb and replicates many functions of a human arm with the help of sensors and an easy-to-use controller. This device allows users...

Tips For Mastering Anatomy From Both Sides of The Classroom

The human body is beautifully intricate. A rite of passage for medical students, mastering anatomy lab provides an opportunity to explore and appreciate how nerves, muscles, epithelium, and connective tissue come together to form a living being. However, the sheer volume of testable information makes anatomy one of the hardest classes in the first year of medical school. I have had the pleasure to experience anatomy from the perspective both of a medical student and of a teaching assistant for undergrads. I started by tackling the mountain of information alongside my undergrad students as they studied the bones and their markings, muscles (their origins, insertions, actions, and innervations), and nerves. Then I began my own class and from the initial cut to the final dissection, I vastly expanded my knowledge that in turn helped my teaching. In the process, I developed my understanding of how to mastering anatomy, which has made a world of difference. As another school year approaches, I’ve compiled my best tips to help all incoming medical students take on this great challenge. Tip #1: Use the right resources Your professor will likely assign a textbook for the class. Use it. We had Grey’s Anatomy for Students, which was helpful because it had an overview section in the beginning of each chapter that was a good place to start understanding the material. The book also has highlighted...

How To Make The Most Out Of Your Summer Before School Starts

It’s your last summer before college starts, and if you’re like me you do not want to put it to waste.  You have just wrapped up four years of hard work and now get to pack up and leave your hometown, say goodbye to friends and family and go to your new home in college.  But one day, in the beginning of summer, before the big move, you look down at the empty bag of potato chips and sodas at feet, eyes burning after your ninth episode of your binge show that day, and you start to think to yourself that you are not making the most of your summer.  For me, my last summer before college was all about becoming self dependent and learning new things. So to avoid becoming a couch potato all summer and rather becoming more self dependent, here are 3 tips to making the most of your last summer before college:  Find Time to Relax Let’s be real: it’s the summer and you want to be on the beach somewhere turning that pasty year long skin, into a golden bronze.  To me, vacation is the number one step in enjoying your summer, but don’t get confused by my beach analogy, there are many types of vacations and ways to relax. Personally, I love to be outside whether that be at a beach, the hiking...

This Will Make You Think About How To Diagnose Mental Health

There needs to be proper research developed in order to properly diagnose mental health. Historically, mental health was generally less concerned with making a diagnosis, and generally more concerned with psychoanalytical approaches (Aboraya et al, 2005). From about the 1950’s onwards, psychiatric and mental health conditions were more likely to be diagnosed as entities, as a more medical model was moved towards in this area (Aboraya et al, 2005). In order to use this medical model, classification systems and diagnostic systems were needed (Aboraya et al, 2005). Accordingly, several systems were developed. The World Health Organisation has published diagnostic criteria manuals, such as the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) (World Health Organisation, 1948). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) was first published by the American Psychiatric Association Committee on Nomenclature and Statistics in 1952 (American Psychiatric Publishing; 1952). Each of these has revised editions, and they map together for most conditions discussed. For a diagnostic system to be developed and useful there must be agreement upon what are the most important parts of a disease (Aboraya et al, 2005). For instance, using schizophrenia as an example, if criteria relating to aspects such as symptoms, illness and behaviours are met, the result is a diagnosis of schizophrenia. According to the DSM-V, these include at least two of the following for at least 6 months – hallucinations, delusions, disorganised speech negative...

How To Study for the MCAT

Studying for the MCAT is daunting, but it’s something that nearly everyone who aspires to go to medical school has to do. The act of studying itself is grueling but, for me, figuring out where to start was another hurdle to overcome. What books should I use? How much time each day should I dedicate to studying? What practice questions should I use? I’m here to help you answer these questions. Because, once you figure out how you should study for the MCAT, everything else becomes pretty straightforward. Books: There are tons of companies out there that provide great material. When I studied for the MCAT in 2015, I primarily used Kaplan. At the time, I found them to be the most comprehensive and the easiest to read. The Princeton Review (PR) books, for instance, were also great for certain subjects (particularly biology), but the series lacked a lot of the necessary biochemistry material that Kaplan had an abundance of. While studying, I followed the study guide provided by AAMC. After studying an item on the list, I checked it off. I did this for every item on the list, which made the whole process of studying much easier. The good thing about the Kaplan books is that a lot of their sections and headings match up very well with the headings in the study guide. Ultimately, it could...