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...

The Perfect Medical School Morning Routine

One of the original posts from the blog was about my miracle morning in medical school. Since then I’ve adopted a consistent 4:30 wake up time and a new morning routine. In this post, I will go over my updated perfect medical school morning routine. Wake Up At 4:30: Yes I still wake up at this ungodly hour. In fact, today I woke up at 3. Why? Read this post on how waking up at 4:30 changed my life for the better.  To help myself get out of bed by 4:30 I start setting alarms at 3:30 and 4. To be honest, even after 1.5 years of waking up at 4:30, it’s still not easy. But as soon as I swing my legs over the bed and get up – I’ve won. The thing I’ve found which makes this easier is to have a solid evening routine. When I wake up I already know what I will be working on. This takes the decision making out of it. All I need to do is get my butt out of bed. “To be honest, even after 1.5 years of waking up at 4:30, it’s still not easy. But as soon as I swing my legs over the bed and get up – I’ve won.“ Read for 30 Minutes: If you follow my mini resolutions post (you should if you aren’t) then you’re aware that I’ve read 12 book before the end of February. What?...

Being a Doctor is Like Working in Customer Service

I feel like as a doctor, part of my job is customer service.  Because when I see inpatients, a lot of the time when I ask at the end of seeing them if there’s anything else I can do for them, they have a complaint about their call button taking too long to be answered, the food being bad, their roommate being too loud, etc.I try to handle the complaints best I can.  I never ignore them.  I say something like, “I’m so sorry that happened.  Let me see what I can do to fix it.” Then I tell them my plan, which involves anything from talking to the nursing supervisor about nursing issues or to the unit coordinator to get them a room change.  I can’t personally fix the problem, but at least I try to show I’m taking it seriously and addressing it. It’s made me a lot less tolerant of bad customer service. Recently, I got an email at 6PM from our leasing office, saying that tomorrow (a holiday when kids were off from school), they were doing repairs and our water would be shut off intermittently “after 8AM.”  I was horrified.  We didn’t even have a day’s notice of this!  I was going to be home with the kids all day and how can you do anything at home when you don’t know if you’re...

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