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Summer Update

Well it’s been a while since I’ve written anything. It’s not because I don’t want to. I just haven’t had much to write about lately since I’m on summer vacation. I have had a couple of posts uploaded to The Differential. Those posts will probably eventually end up here on my personal blog. But for now, they are exclusively at Medscape.

About a week and a half ago I received a packet from my school. I eagerly opened it and found a letter officially congratulating me on completing my first year. It also had a tentative schedule and list of required textbooks for my second year.

I had been wondering if I was ever going to get such a letter. There were maybe 3 classes where the teacher sent us a congratulatory note that we passed a certain class. But the other classes offered no such satisfaction. I assumed I passed them. I’d hope that if I failed a class, the school would get to me a lot sooner than the end of July (especially since our finals were done by the beginning of June).

Anyways, I am finally (officially) a second year. And that, in itself, is very exciting. I’m a quarter of the way done. It’s strange to think that this time next year I will be walking around the wards as a third year doing all the things I watched them do during freshman wards experience. They seem so far off.

But I better not get ahead of myself. I still have to take the USMLE Step 1 exam after second year. Well, I actually have to get through second year first.

Hopefully I’ll be able to write with more frequency as the school year approaches. Sophomore orientation is September 2!

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Science-Based Medicine

This year I had a course called Evidence-Based Medicine. The point of the class was to educate us on how to use the medical literature to determine the best treatments. Medicine has definitely come a long way from bleeding patients as a form of treatment. Now, we have evidence to lead the way.

But I recently overheard my parents talking about drinking EPSOM salt as part of an alternative to surgery for removing gallbladder stones. The treatment involved drinking fresh-squeezed apple juice for a number of days, drinking a 1/2 cup of Virgin Olive Oil, and then drinking an EPSOM salt and water mixture.

The treatment is supposed to flush out your liver/gallbladder and cause gallstones to be excreted with your stool. The site Curezone.com has a page dedicated to this treatment with a list of the various different “recipes” for the treatment. (Click here to see the liver flushing page.) Oh, and for all the skeptics, the pages come complete with pictures of gallstones people removed from their own stool!

Well I was a skeptic. I realize I’m just a medical student. But the idea didn’t sit right with me. Then I found a website called Science-Based Medicine that contained an article titled “Would you like a liver flush with that colon cleanse?

The author, a surgeon, rips apart this treatment. If I were to paraphrase him: The treatment is absolutely ridiculous. You can check out the details at his post.

Even in this day and age, there are still plenty of strange treatments that are blindly followed without any evidence to support it. My parents heard about this treatment from a church member who was told that she had gallstones and needed a surgery to remove them.

I wish we could educate the public. Maybe a course on evidence-based medicine should be taught at the high school level. I mean, reading a site like the one listed above (Curezone) can be very convincing. You see all these testimonials by people who have “flushed” their livers. You see pictures of these supposed gallstones that were fished out of the toilet. And you think, hey, that’s proof it works!

I guess this was one moment where I saw the value of my Evidence-Based Medicine course — a value I failed to appreciate at the time I took it.

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AMA to apologize to black doctors – Health- msnbc.com

AMA to apologize to black doctors – Health- msnbc.com

I just wanted to point out this article. Just have a look at it if you’re interested. It’s a pretty big deal.. made front page of MSNBC.com. Anyways, I’ll save the commentary..

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Medical Tourism? Insurance may pay — MSNBC.com

Reference: MSNBC.com: Hip surgery in India? Insurance may pay

In the past few months I’ve been hearing about this medical tourism thing. It sounds really cool — maybe even exotic, doesn’t it? You go see the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world, and stop by the local medical center for a tummy tuck, face lift, and skin peel. It gives the notion of someone coming back with that “vacation look” a whole new meaning.

If you read the article, the American medical experts warn that this isn’t the safest option. They feel that the United States is the place to receive some of the top healthcare in the world (in terms of quality, not price). And I’m inclined to believe them.

It’s rather sad that so many Americans are forced to seek healthcare outside our borders. It just illustrates how badly things have become.

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Missionary Doc in the Making

A friend and classmate of mine is over in Zambia this summer for medical missionary work. He’s blogged about it and uploaded some interesting pictures. If you get the chance, or are interested in medical mission work, check out his site: Missionary Doc in the Making.

I think DoctaJay will be uploading a video as soon as he gets back home to the States.

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Do I Really Want To Do This?

Honestly, I have asked myself this question numerous times during the year. It’s a difficult questions. I submitted a post about this to The Differential and it just went up today.

Check it out by clicking the logo below:
Medscape Logo