Friday, 15 March 2013

Why are medical students so boring

I was reading the news the other day and came across this article. The idea of a bunch of students sending a mobile phone into space is pretty cool. The problem with their experiment is that the speaker is not physically separated from the microphone so vibrations will be able to pass through the phone itself. If they truly wanted to test whether sound can be transmitted in space then the two components would have to be separated by a vacuum.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Chronic Fatigue - I'm a believer

Although chronic fatigue does not strictly fall under immunology, one of the consultants in the department has a special interest in chronic fatigue. When he offered me the chance to sit in on one of his clinics I can't say that I was particularly excited, I thought I was in for a boring afternoon. The truth was far from it, I actually enjoyed my time in the clinic and came out with a very different viewpoint of chronic fatigue.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Allergy, it's all stress

Ok, so while the above statement isn't strictly true I was surprised at how much stress has to do with allergy. It is a well known, but oft ignored, fact that psychology has a big part to play in the disease process. Doctors have a natural reluctance to accept that physical illness can be affected by or even driven by the mind. We have been taught that a ligand binds to a receptor, which then causes a chain of reactions leading to the desired effect. We know that this system sometimes goes wrong and that sometimes we can fix it with drugs. When put like that it is easy to see why many doctors don't even consider psychology in their management.  Immunologists seem to be one group that have worked this out, although maybe not as far as getting to the management stage.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The two faces of paediatrics

Paediatrics seems to be a specialty of two sides. Although I did a four week paediatrics rotation last year, it hadn't really struck me until now. Ever since I have told people that I am considering a career in paediatrics I have been warned me that paediatrics is frought with sad cases, but I have tended to brush that off. I don't know whether I was sheltered during my first rotation or just oblivious to it. I suppose I was probably caught up with the novelty of it and being let loose on real patients.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Nephrotic syndrome in 3's (mostly)

Sorry I have been quiet for a while, I've had to finish off my paediatric project. Onto allergy and immunology now so maybe a few articles focussing on that area. Anyway, before I finished paediatrics a nephrology registrar kindly sat me down and gave me a brief overview of nephrotic syndrome. I've always been confused by it so it was nice to have it summarised for me. Hope it helps. 

Monday, 28 January 2013

What is poor patient care?

This morning as I was reading the news I came across this article. Reading the article I was shocked, not because taping a babies dummy is shocking but because someone thinks it is newsworthy. Appearing fourth on the list of BBC health articles. The article doesn't give the full story, it briefly states that the dummy was taped on and then goes on to give a list of apologies. The problem is they didn't clarify the circumstances, there are cases when taping a dummy on could be in the interest of patient care. 

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Ward rounds - a survival guide

Surviving a long ward round can be tough, especially as a medical student. You are expected to stand there drinking in every detail of what is going on and at any given instance be able to recite the full textbook entry for any given disease.  I remember doing my very first ward round during my work experience in sixth form, not knowing what to expect. After 4 hours of trudging round the hospital, understanding very little, we ended up in a warm stuffy room and that was when I started to wobble. I somehow managed to stop myself from fainting completely and one of the junior doctors took me outside, sat me down and gave me a glass of water. I will never forget how embarrassed I felt at that moment.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Healthcare, who should pay?

With the sweeping NHS reforms, the question of who should pay for our healthcare is being asked. Along with public health campaigns this has been fuelling the debate as to whether people who make themselves ill should pay for their healthcare. There is a compelling argument for those who believe that if your actions damage your health then you should foot the bill for the consequences. With reports suggesting that societies three greatest vices are costing 16bn/yr; smoking costs the NHS £5bn/yr, alcohol costing £6bn/yr and obesity costing another £5bn/yr. This accounts for about 15% of the £106bn budget, I have to say I do question the sources of these figures but it gives a rough idea. One of the big problems is establishing cause and effect, smoking is an interesting example where cause and effect are clearly linked but are grey around the edges. 

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Revision Tips: Disconnecting

This may sound really simple but some of my most productive time is spent when I am disconnected. I don't just mean disconnected from the Internet, I mean pull out those headphones find a quiet place where no one will come and distract you and get to work. This may sound simple but time after time my friends come back from late night library sessions and when I enquire as to how it went, they tell me all about the latest gossip and how many funny YouTube videos they watched.

Monday, 7 January 2013

The Feedback Revolution

My upcoming exam results reminded me that I had intended to write this article, so here it is.

The day after my exams I received an email entitled 'URGENT: final deadline for outstanding forms today' and in my hungover state thought that I had forgotten something really important. Upon fishing my laptop out from under last nights clothes and getting to the medical school website I discovered that this urgent form which was important enough to get me out of bed on a hangover day was I'm fact a fifty question feedback form. I duly shut my laptop down and let the room get back to spinning around me. So if my medical school are reading this then sorry I didn't fill the form in, but I would have spoiled the results of the five people who were conscientious enough to fill the form in by putting zero for everything.