Improving medical students

Archive for November, 2007

Rapid Chlamydia Testing

Posted by medliorator on November 30, 2007

Reporting by Ben Hirschler

The new Chlamydia Rapid Test (CRT) detects bacteria from self-collected vaginal swabs, which are much simpler to obtain than cervical swabs required by existing rapid tests. It is also up to twice as accurate.


The test is able to detect chlamydia in less than 30 minutes — and often much faster.


That could make it particularly useful in mobile clinics or amongst difficult-to-reach populations in the developing world, where high-risk groups such as female sex workers frequently carry the disease undetected.


The test will be made available by a university spinout company Diagnostics for the Real World in early 2008. The firm plans to provide the test at virtually cost price to the public sector in developing countries.


An evaluation of the test in three British clinics was reported in the British Medical Journal.

Rapid test offers new weapon against chlamydia

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How to Cope with Overload

Posted by medliorator on November 29, 2007

I’m tired, and I feel like I have too much to do on my plate.
Thankfully, I have a toolbox of tricks to help me deal with this. Here’s how I’m handling it.


I list out everything I need to do and/or is weighing on my mind… I usually make a big list of all of them on a piece of paper.


I then highlight only the ones that must be done immediately or are of deep, fundamental importance in my life.


After that, I just do the highlighted tasks and ignore the rest for now. Nothing else matters other than the highlighted tasks – the rest can literally fall off the face of the earth. My tasks are those highlighted – and nothing else.


Whenever something else comes up, I add it to the list instead of jumping up to do it immediately. The only exception to this is if it’s a personally devastating issue, meaning that if I don’t take action now, desperate things will happen. Everything else just goes on the list until the next go-round.


When the highlighted tasks are done, I go back and highlight a few more that are the most vital among the ones left, then do those. I just repeat this cycle over and over until things are back to normal.


Some people use all sorts of prioritization schemes and multiple to-do lists, but every time I try something that complex, I find myself fighting against it and not getting real stuff accomplished.

How To Deal With Demand Overload [The Simple Dollar]

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Group IM Chat with Gmail

Posted by medliorator on November 29, 2007

Here’s another reason not to commit to your .edu email acocunt exclusively.

If using the Gmail web client, launch a chat with your classmate using the chat panel in the left frame.
In the chat window you’ve just spawned, click Options >> Group Chat to invite a friend.

Repeat the invitation process as much as you like and spare yourself from inconvenient meetings.

Posted in Tools | Comments Off on Group IM Chat with Gmail

How to Power Nap

Posted by medliorator on November 27, 2007

By obtaining merely 20 minutes of sleep in the afternoon your body and mind will recharge and provide the extra push required to have a successful, productive day.
research shows that a midday snooze can boost productivity and alertness

But there is some controversy in the best way to take a nap. It may be that different people have different nap styles. I suggest trying some of the napping techniques below and see what works for you.

1. The Odd Couple
A recent Japanese study found that you can alleviate sleepiness by combining a short snooze with coffee. caffeine takes about 20-30 minutes to kick in, just enough time for you to nap. That way, if you’ve had a coffee-primed nap, the benefits are twofold: you’ve rested and you’re ready to go when you wake.

2. The Nicest Nap
Sleep experts say that 2 or 3 p.m. is the ideal nap hour — late enough to fit into your natural siesta zone but early enough that it will not interfere with your night sleep.

3. Length
A good nap length is somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes. This will give you the restorative benefits of sleep without the lethargy or grogginess — what sleep experts call “sleep drunkenness.

4. Making the Bed
Learn how to control the environment to get the most out of power naps. Turn out all of the lights and close the doors and windows. If there’s lots of noise, plug your ears. You might also want to keep a dark-colored mask with you to block out all light so that nothing disturbs your power nap.

8. Grogginess
in most cases — if you sleep for less than 30 minutes — you won’t enter deep sleep. If you wake up in the middle of a deep sleep, you will feel groggy for 15 to 20 minutes. Try running cold water over your wrists or drinking a soda to wake yourself up.

9. Keep It Consistent
working that 20-minute nap into a particular sleep routine [makes] it part of your body’s expected circadian rhythm. Just like you go to sleep and wake up at approximately the same time every day, you should get into the routine of taking regular naps.

10. Be an Alert Napper
Are you down to only five or six hours? While a 20-minute nap is a good refresher, it will not make up for hours lost at night.

Top 10 Ways to Power Nap Smarter and Better
[ririan project]

Correlate: Sleep Less, Stay Healthy

Don’t take long naps (more than 30 mins) during the day.

Posted in Wellness & Health | 1 Comment »

How to Memorize Ordered Lists

Posted by medliorator on November 27, 2007

From Wired’s How To Wiki:

The Number/Rhyme Technique
simple way of remembering lists of items in a specific order. It is an example of a peg system – i.e. a system whereby facts are ‘pegged’ to known sequences of cues


This technique works by helping you to build up pictures in your mind, in which the numbers are represented by things that rhyme with the number, and are linked to images that represent the things to be remembered. The usual rhyming scheme is shown below:


1 – Bun
2 – Shoe
3 – Tree
4 – Door
5 – Hive


These images should be linked to images representing the things to be remembered, for example a list of ten Greek philosophers could be remembered as:


1 – Parmenides – a BUN topped with melting yellow PARMEsan cheese
2 – Heraclitus – a SHOE worn by HERACLes (Greek Hercules) glowing with a bright LIght
3 – Empedocles – A TREE from which the M-shaped McDonalds arches hang hooking up a bicycle PEDal
4 – Democritus – think of going through a DOOR to vote in a DEMOCRaTic election.
5 – Protagoras – A bee HIVE being positively punched through (GORed?) by an atomic PROTon


The Number/Shape System
As with the Number/Rhyme system it is a very simple and effective way of remembering lists of items in a specific order.
This technique works by helping you to build up pictures in your mind, in which the numbers are represented by images shaped like the number, and are part of a compound image that also codes the thing to be remembered. One image scheme is shown below:


1 – Candle, spear, stick
2 – Swan (beak, curved neck, body)
3 – (rotate shape though 90 degrees!)
4 – Sail of a yacht
5 – A meat hook, a sea-horse facing right


If you find that these images or shapes do not… stick in your mind, then change them
these images should be linked to images representing the things to be remembered. We will use a list of more modern thinkers to illustrate the number/shape system:


1 – Spinoza – a large CANDLE wrapped around with someone’s SPINe.
2 – Locke – a SWAN trying to pick a LOCK with its wings
3 – Hume – A HUMan child BREAST feeding.
4 – Berkeley – A SAIL on top of a large hooked and spiked BURR in the LEE of a cliff
5 – Kant – a CAN of spam hanging from a meat HOOK.

Memorize Anything [Wired]

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How to Pay Off Debt

Posted by medliorator on November 25, 2007

1. use online bill pay, which reduces the number of physical checks and stamps to buy.


2. When I receive a bill from a creditor, I send in a check for the “monthly minimum payment due”.


3. After making minimum payments (to all accounts), I then go about “attacking my debt” – by making extra payments, throughout the month, if possible, to a specific creditor.


4. By using online bill pay, I can schedule MULTIPLE extra debt payments each month.


5. Please note, when making an extra payment, it is always a good idea to write the words “apply to principal” in the memo section of the check. Some companies will “hold” any additional checks they receive and cash them at the beginning of the next billing cycle. Needless to say, you want your creditors to cash your additional checks as soon as they receive the checks.


a few things that I would NOT do:


1. sign-up for a bi-weekly mortgage service. Why should I pay someone to set up a system that I can set up for myself, for free?


2. Use a credit counseling service.


3. Obsess over interest rates. I did do one transfer from a high rate card to a zero rate card, but I didn’t spend my time moving balances from card to card. Instead, I really, really focused on paying off principal.

Exactly HOW I Pay Off Debt, Mortgages And Credit Cards Early [No Credit Needed]

Posted in Finance, How-To | 1 Comment »

6 Tips for Clinical Rotations – Impress your Resident

Posted by medliorator on November 22, 2007

These are just a few easy things that any medical student can do to make their resident’s day a little easier. Take initiative! Offer help! Your residents will thank you.


1. Round on your patient before your resident does. That way the pertinent, most pressing issues will be addressed first, and the resident doesn’t have to weed through 80 lab values to find your patient’s elevated cardiac biomarkers.


2. Don’t rely on the resident to keep you informed of what’s going on with your patients. Take the initiative to ask last night’s on-call team for any overnight events. Know approximately when consults are going to happen, and follow-up on the note yourself.


3. If your resident doesn’t expect you to write the entire daily progress note, for goodness sakes at least write in all the vitals and lab values for them! A trained monkey could do that.


4. If the patient is a transfer or has gotten relevant medical care elsewhere, get the records release form, fill it out, fax it over, follow-up on the information.


5. Make your resident look good on rounds! Subtly mention that he/she taught you all about acid/base stuff or valvular disease or whatever, after you answer the attending’s question correctly.


6. Print out the patient census for everyone in the morning. Takes 30 seconds.


How May I Help You? [The Differential]

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10 Basic Medical Definitions

Posted by medliorator on November 18, 2007

These words are worth sorting out. A mix up can compromise your chart/testimony.

1. Abrasion = A superficial injury to the skin or other body tissue caused by rubbing or scraping resulting in an area of body surface denuded of skin or mucous membrane.

2. Incision = A cut or wound made by a sharp instrument or object.

3. Laceration = A wound produced by the tearing of body tissue often from blunt impact that is distinguished from a cut or incision.

4. Avulsion = The tearing away of a structure or part often seen as a partial avulsion.

5. Patterned Injury = An injury resembling the object or mechanism that caused the injury.

6. Pattern of Injury = Injuries in various stages of healing, including old and new scars, contusions, and wounds.

7. Contusion = A Bruise. An injury of tissue without breakage of skin. Blood accumulates in the surrounding tissue producing pain, swelling, tenderness, and discoloration.

8. Hemorrhage = The escape of blood from the vessels, bleeding.

9. Petechia = A pinpoint, nonraised, perfectly round, purplish red spot caused by intradermal or submucous haemorrhage.

10. Ecchymosis = A small haemorrhagic spot, larger than a petechia, in the skin or mucous membrane forming a nonelevated, rounded or irregular, blue or purplish patch.

Posted in Pathology, Writing | Comments Off on 10 Basic Medical Definitions

The Future of MRI

Posted by medliorator on November 14, 2007

Ultra-low field MRI scanning

MRI scanners …typically require fields of a few tesla. The powerful magnets necessary make scanners pricey and also dangerous for people with metal implants.


The new device hits a sample with a 30 millitesla magnetic field, about 100 times weaker than is normally used in MRI. The device then uses a 46 microtesla magnetic field – about the same as the Earth’s magnetic field – to capture images of the sample.


The new set-up uses several ultra-sensitive sensors called superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs), which have to be kept at very low temperatures.


Ultra-low field MRI scanning was first performed with a single SQUID in 2004 by a group led by John Clarke at University of California, Berkeley, US, but this only allowed objects about the size of an apple to be scanned. The new device uses seven SQUIDs and can scan much larger objects.

Low-intensity MRI takes first scan of a human brain [NewScientist]

Posted in News | Comments Off on The Future of MRI

Should Doctors Hug Patients?

Posted by medliorator on November 12, 2007

Is hugging a patient professional? Does it exceed boundaries of professional behavior? Does it invade the patient’s privacy? Should doctors first ask the patient “may I hug you?” and wait for permission?

#1 Dinosaur said
Yes I hug,when I feel it’s part of the therapeutic interaction. My “protocol” is to say, “Do you need a hug?” in a neutral enough tone so that “yes” and “no” are equally acceptable answers, which I then honor.

It was a patient several years ago who taught me the “right” way to hug: no pounding (conveys hostility); if you must, a slight rubbing of the back, though no movement is best. Let the patient release first.

samuel Garcia said
I don’t mind getting a hug from my health care provider, and sometimes look forward to it. It usually makes me feel better. I think hugs… can add to or be just as therapeutic as to whatever primary intervention is being provided….

j1lane said
I feel the same way about hugging as I do about prayer…. If a patient wants to hold my hands and pray in the preop area, then that is fine with me. I don’t feel it would be appropriate for me to propose a prayer (or a hug). What if they say yes, but they wanted to say no? What if they say no, then worry about how that would affect their care?

I make a point of shaking hands when meeting a patient, and of touching their shoulder/etc when rounding. I have no problem hugging a patient, but I let them initiate it. It feels more respectful.

Being Hugged By Your Doctor: Invasion of Privacy vs Sign of Compassion? [Bioethics Discussion Blog]

Posted in Professionalism | 1 Comment »