Improving medical students

Archive for July, 2008

Reaping the Benefits of a Positive Attitutde

Posted by medliorator on July 31, 2008

from Leo Babauta at his blog, Zen Habits.

Practices to Develop a Positive Attitude

3.  See the good in any situation. You’ve heard the phrase, “Every cloud has a silver lining” … and that’s pretty true. Try to see the positive side to any situation, and you’ll enjoy it more, and you’ll feel better. Even tough situations have good sides: When something is difficult, see it as a challenge, as a way to learn and grow and get better and stronger. When there is a loss, see it as a reminder of what is important to you, of a way to cherish what has been lost, as a way to move on to something new, as a way to learn and grow.

4.  Enjoy small pleasures. Every activity has small things that can be pleasurable if you pay attention to them and learn to enjoy them. A difficult day at the office can also be a time for you and others to come together — enjoy those moments with others. Running can be fun for its physical pleasure, for the beauty of the nature around you, for the peaceful time of meditation. Cleaning house can also be a time for meditation, and the pleasure of a clean room or laundered bedsheets cannot be overstated. Notice the small things and take pleasure in them, and any activity can be positive.

8.  Anticipate fun. Go into a situation or activity thinking it’ll be horrible, and it will be. Instead, go into that situation or activity thinking that you’ll have fun, that it’ll be a new challenge, that you’ll learn and grow from it … and it will be much more likely to be true.

The Vast, Unstatable Importance of a Positive Attitude [Scott H Young]

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Secrets of the Doctor-Patient Relationship

Posted by medliorator on July 31, 2008

Today on rounds I “confessed” that I had a huge advantage in the doctor patient relationship – I really like patients.  I do not usually have to fool the patient into thinking that I care – because I do really care.

If we influence our trainees negatively in this regard, then we are not fulfilling our Hippocratic Oath or the Oath of Maimonides.  Maimonides exhorts us: May I never see in the patient anything but a fellow creature in pain.

I can easily blame many external forces on some degradation of the doctor patient relationship, but as physicians we should not let those external forces poison this most important interaction.  We can blame our payment system – which encourages shorter visits.  We can blame malpractice lawyers (always a fun target) for creating an adversarial environment with some patients.  We can blame web sites and chat rooms.  But really we must overcome all these barriers and treat patients as we would want to be treated.

The doctor patient relationship [DB’s Medical Rants]

Posted in Tips & Advice | 1 Comment »

Become an Early Riser – Boost Productivity

Posted by medliorator on July 31, 2008

It seems there are two main schools of thought about sleep patterns. One is that you should go to bed and get up at the same times every day.
The second school says you should listen to your body’s needs and go to bed when you’re tired and get up when you naturally wake up.

I found out for myself that both of these schools are suboptimal sleep patterns. Both of them are wrong if you care about productivity. Here’s why:

If you sleep set hours, you’ll sometimes go to bed when you aren’t sleepy enough. If it’s taking you more than five minutes to fall asleep each night, you aren’t sleepy enough. You’re wasting time lying in bed awake and not being asleep. Another problem is that you’re assuming you need the same number of hours of sleep every night, which is a false assumption.
If you sleep based on what your body tells you, you’ll probably be sleeping more than you need… A lot of people who sleep this way get 8+ hours of sleep per night, which is usually too much. …because our natural rhythms are sometimes out of tune with the 24-hour clock, you may find that your sleep times begin to drift.

The solution was to go to bed when I’m sleepy (and only when I’m sleepy) and get up with an alarm clock at a fixed time (7 days per week). So I always get up at the same time (in my case 5am), but I go to bed at different times every night.

if I couldn’t read a book for more than a page or two without drifting off, I’m ready for bed.

How to Become an Early Riser [Steve Pavlina]

Correlate: 10 Tips for Waking up Eearly
Correlate: Achieve Morning Alertness without Caffeine
Correlate: Sleeping Smarter
Correlate: Understand the Mechanics of Sleep

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New Alzheimer’s Drug Targets Tau Tangles

Posted by medliorator on July 30, 2008

methylthioninium chloride, is the first treatment specifically designed to target the Tau tangles.

Other treatments for Alzheimer’s tend to focus on combating a waste protein in the brain, beta-amyloid, which is known to form hard plaques. The latest work suggests targeting Tau may produce better results.

Trials of the drug, known as Rember, in 321 patients showed an 81% difference in rate of mental decline compared with those not taking the treatment.

Larger trials of the drug are planned to start in 2009, and researchers are also investigating whether the drug has a role in prevention of the disease in the first place.

Alzheimer’s drug ‘halts’ decline [BBC]

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Working at Peak Efficiency

Posted by medliorator on July 30, 2008

When is your peak efficiency? At what time during the day are you most alert, focused and ready to go? How long does it last?

The trick here is to pay attention to your internal clock and figure out when your energy is highest.

Four Strategies To Work Smarter, Not Harder [Dumb Little Man]

Posted in Productivity | 1 Comment »

NIH “Open Access” Policy

Posted by medliorator on July 29, 2008

National Institutes of Health has been encouraging researchers that produce publications through public funding to make those papers available through open access sites… Due to a Congressional mandate, the former “encouragement” became a binding policy this spring. That change has produced a variety of responses from the commercial publishers that will see their copyrighted works go open access.

Publications derived from publicly funded research could be restricted to subscribers for up to a year, after which point their authors were supposed to make a copy available to the wider public.

NIH “open access” policy causing publishing companies angst [Arstechnica]

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Earn Money Teaching Online: Revoluminary

Posted by medliorator on July 29, 2008


At Revoluminary our mission is to help people share knowledge and ideas about anything, from anywhere, at anytime.

How Revoluminary Works: Revoluminary helps connect instructors and students by providing a directory of available classes, easy scheduling and payment collection, clear instructor ratings, and an easy to use online classroom with interactive video.  Revoluminary members can sign up for classes they want at a time that is convenient, as well as creating their own classes and setting their own prices and hours of availability.

How Revoluminary Pays: Revoluminary charges students using secure google checkout system to collect the instructors fees and the Revoluminary network fee (a small fee to cover the cost of overhead, bandwidth and credit card fees). Every two weeks, Revoluminary sends the fees collected by each instructor to their paypal account.

A few topic suggestions from Gearfire:

Languages. teach English to someone in a foreign country.
The Last Class You Took.  You probably remember the details of the class better than an expert in the field.  …Tutor the class you took last semester to a younger student and you will not only earn some money, but also retain the material better in the long-term.
School Admissions.  Help a younger student figure out how to do what you just went through.
Travel Advice.  Traveled to Europe with your family?  Studied abroad in Australia?  Stayed in a hostel in South America?  Tell someone all about it!  Think about all the research you did before your trip and how much easier it would have been to have someone just tell you where to go, what to see and what to watch out for.  One-on-one travel advice goes beyond anything you can get online; it is the most personal, unbiased and fun way to get ready for a big trip!
Your Hometown.  Whether it’s the cheapest gas stations, the local school rivalries or the crazy cat lady living down the street, you know your hometown like the back of your hand.  Now consider all the people out there that will move to or visit your home town in the near future.  Why not give them the inside scoop

Make Extra Cash on the Side from your Academic Efforts with Online Tutoring [Gearfire]

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How to Ease Anxiety in the ER (Randy Pausch)

Posted by medliorator on July 28, 2008

As Jai was being rushed into surgery for an emergency C-section, she said to the doctor, “This is bad, isn’t it?”

I admired the doctor’s response.  It was the perfect answer for our times: “If we were really in a panic, we wouldn’t have had you sign all the insurance forms, would we?” she said to Jai.  “We wouldn’t have taken the time.”  The doctor had a point.  I wondered how often she used her “hospital paperwork” riff to ease patients’ anxieties.

A New Year’s Story [The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch]

Correlate: How to Give Bad News (Randy Pausch)

Posted in Communication, ER, How-To | Comments Off on How to Ease Anxiety in the ER (Randy Pausch)

Boost Computing Productivity with a 2nd Monitor

Posted by medliorator on July 27, 2008

with my computer’s Windows XP operating system, it took only a few keystrokes and mouse movements to set things up. Once I saw how it improved my productivity, I was an instant convert.

adding an extra monitor will give your output a considerable boost — 20 percent to 30 percent, according to a survey by Jon Peddie Research.

a pair of smaller screens will usually cost less than a single big one.

Adding more monitor outputs to a computer is usually not difficult. For desktop PC’s, you can either add a second graphics card (the board that links your computer to your monitor) or replace your single-output graphics card with a dual-output model (about $80 and up)

If you have a laptop computer, or are reluctant to delve into your computer or hire a technician, you can use the Matrox DualHead2Go, or Tritton SEE2 adapters.

The Virtues of a Second Screen [NYT]

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AIDS Vaccine Test Cancelled

Posted by medliorator on July 26, 2008

In a distant aftershock of last year’s AIDS vaccine failure from Merck, the federal government said yesterday that it’s canceling an ambitious plan for a global test of another experimental AIDS vaccine.

The vaccine, created by an NIH researcher, uses a cold virus as part of its delivery mechanism. The same virus was implicated in the failure of Merck’s vaccine — which may actually have made some people more susceptible to infection by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

More Glum News for AIDS Vaccines [WSJ Health Blog]

Posted in Microbiology, News | Comments Off on AIDS Vaccine Test Cancelled