Half-term

I prefer summer to winter, so it’s a shame they always do the exams and the important stuff in the former. However this half-term always feels really mixed: You can have a week off and relax but on the other hand the end of year tests are approaching quickly. So again it’s about balance as most things seem to be. So to sort some things out in my head I’ll type them down.

I have one more maths exam – which hopefully shouldn’t be too much of a problem as long as I revise daily. I need to re-draft my personal statement, which is pretty poor in it’s current conditions and the remaining three subjects that I study just need constant revision. I also need to practise the saxophone as I have a grading when I go back and I need to ensure that my piano is up to scratch, but I think it is.

Now, another thing I wanted to do is go out on my bike around the chase, because since I punctured it and fell off I haven’t used it much. Apart from the small issue of missing a wheel it’s actually in surprisingly good condition. People say that it is impossible to forget how to ride a bike, however from personal experience I can tell you that that’s not true. Even getting on the bike was hard enough, but that’s probably because I’m still unfit and don’t do enough exercise yet – hopefully that will change soon though.

Again I am aware that a blog is supposed to convey feelings and emotion – as opposed to the torrent of information that I seem to be firing at you. In honesty I use this to mentally sort things out in my head, whilst still trying to make it somewhat entertaining and relate able. Anyway, I think that’ll do for one post.

UKCAT and more fun

So the book I ordered to help me with the UKCAT came today and it’s rather poetically named one thousand-two hundred and fifty UKCAT questions. It looks wonderful. Another thing I did was watch a few you tube videos on clear communication and how to ‘talk so that people want to listen’ – because I start hospital volunteering very soon and as all of my time will be spent with patients I feel it would be beneficial in the long run to make some notes now. A second video that I watched was titled ‘How to listen better’ which ironically only had a fraction of the views. Perhaps people only want to be heard. Anyway as I am aspiring to become a doctor good communication skills are key, and it’s reasonable of any patient to have the expectation that their doctor will actively and attentively listen to them. Therefore it makes sense to start improving these skills now as they can’t really be lost and are never redundant.

As for the UKCAT it looks to be a bit of a nightmare, so hopefully that’s what everyone thinks. I’ve been told that the only route to success in this case is hard work and dedicated study. Being honest, I’d like to consider myself fairly brainy but off course all medical students will think that, so I’ll move my self-aware ego to one side whilst I try to tackle it. The book is in a lot of detail so if I read the entire thing and get down the key notes then hopefully it will help me out. As of yet, there is no section that I feel more or less confident about so some time doing questions should provide me with that answer. It’s actually quite terrifying in honesty.

Slightly better consistancy

So, after reading the last couple of posts, it’s pretty clear that I’ve become embroiled in telling facts and information, and forgotten that this is supposed to be a blog. This is a typical characteristic of mine – going off on tangents and not really sticking to the point, however I’ll try to reign it in a bit. I will continue the informative stuff, but It’ll be more concise and it’ll have me chipping in and out of it as opposed to simply lifting text from different sources. I’ll admit I like writing down information and doing research, but this is a blog not a report.

In terms of medical news I haven’t really heard all that much. I did some research on government and non-governmental investment into the antibiotic area, so that will be this blogs focus. Many companies aren’t investing in the antibiotic sector, and this is because it’s an expensive and time-consuming area, and it’s dominated by a few super giants. Furthermore some particular antibiotics have been so successful it’s difficult to get a foothold on the market, and antibiotics have to prove themselves more effective than existing ones and have to go through rigorous safety tests before they can be approved to be made into a commodity.

Right so how does that affect us? Most people who are interested in medicine will already know the answer, but here it is: Over prescription of antibiotics over many years by doctors has lead to the rapid development of super bugs – i.e. bugs that are entirely resistant to antibiotic. This has occurred when doctors have prescribed antibiotics for non-bacterial infections, and patients failing to finish their antibiotic course. This in turn leaves the most resistant bacteria alive, which reproduce. This leads to increased resistance overall.

This means that people are more likely to die from bacteria that may previously have been kill-able. Therefore death rates are likely to climb, particularly in elderly and young people. Various agreements have been made and cross-continent cooperation established to encourage growth and development in the antibiotic sector, but it could be years before proper results are found. A new one was discovered in 2016 however.

Romans and how they were the best at everything

Well, the book I’m getting the majority of my information off is in chronological order so it makes sense to follow the pattern. (Medical school interviews is the name of the book). So the next guy, Galen of Pergamon, was a roman who supported the outdated model of Humorism. He was the personal physician to many different emperors and was noted for the fact he could successfully perform brain and eye surgery.

Galen was very interested in human anatomy, however they wouldn’t allow him to perform dissections on cadavers, so he performed dissections and vivisection’s on animals instead. Vivisection is the live dissection of an animals, which would of course be considered brutal and against animal rights in modern times. He focused on pigs, because it was known that they had a similar anatomy to that of a human, this allowed him to obtain the most useful information.

Galen didn’t have a single idea/discovery that made him famous: He discovered many useful things. For example he concluded that he larynx generated noise for humans, and also showed that there were differences between venous and arterial blood. Other things that he did included the concept of muscle tone and growth, and found and explained the differences between motor and sensory neurons.

By my title you can probably guess this but the Romans were the first to make a public health system – some small civilisations/ had tried it but there needs to be a certain population in order for it to function effectively, and the Romans probably killed them as soon as they found them. Many of the problems the Romans had were similar problems that face bigger cities today – such as fresh water supply for washing and drinking. So they built the famous aqueducts to bring water into the city, whilst draining bog-marshes to get rid of vectors carrying malaria. The system was very effective, but there again everything the Romans did was effective, and it meant that people could wash safely for very low cost. It’s actually quite amazing.

The hippocratic oath

As I’m reading about medicine right now, I thought it would be characteristically nerdy of me to do a few posts about famous people that have contributed to our present understanding of it.

The first guy; Hippocrates lived around 400 BC, with an uncertainty of roughly 45 years in each direction. He was considered the founder and so ‘father’ of medicine. He was the first known person to suggest that disease was caused by external factors such as the environment and internal factors: i.e. diet. This was not as obvious 2500 years ago.

However it should be noted that he based all of his ideas on an incorrect theory on physiology and anatomy – ‘Humourism’ is now widely outdated. The general idea is that the human body has four main substances, and when one of these was in shortage or surplus, disease would spread. Surprisingly in the western world this was the accepted theory for over a millennium.

He and his followers were the first known medics to give descriptions of many medical illnesses and diseases – for example he was given credit for the discovery of clubbed fingers, hence they are sometimes known as ‘Hippocratic fingers’.

Finally he was perhaps most famous for the invention of the Hippocratic oath, which outlines the basic roles of a doctor. Again this is now outdated so newly qualified doctors no longer swear the oath but many of the underlying principles are still relevant and encompass the principles that make a good doctor.

Take 2 – Allergy

Okay, so the weekly update thing almost immediately failed. However I’m gonna give it another shot because it seems a shame to so easily give up. So for medical news I often go to my twitter account however that seemed to kill itself a while ago and I can’t be bothered to set up another account. However I think a good subject for this post will be allergy; because at the moment I’m suffering horrendously from it and I feel like collapsing.

My most recent news regarding allergy is actually my own discovery – I am becoming allergic to apples, yes apples, after eating them for the last 10 years absolutely fine. I do like apples and so the news is quite upsetting, however it did prompt me to do a little research on allergy and how it comes about.

I found this amusing so I’m sure everyone else won’t but allergenic reactions are actually a specific immune response by your body: Your body is effectively treating the  allergen as a foreign body. Hay fever alone affects 25,000,000 Americans every year in some way, and that is a surprisingly large proportion if you ask me. Anyway this immune response is actually caused by IgE (Immunoglobulin E) Now after the initial response as normal your body ‘remembers’ the particular allergen that caused the irritation. Mast cells, found very close to your cells closer to the external environment, can cause a cascade of reactions when re-exposed to said allergen, resulting in a rapid response by your body’s immune system – expulsive reflexes, (Coughing, Sneezing) Skin irritation, Runny nose are some examples of your body trying to remove the allergen in some way. This also explains why reactions to allergens get worse each time you are exposed to it – your body’s reaction gets quicker and quicker and so you feel the symptoms sooner and sooner.

There are tones of potential remedies for allergies so I won’t bore you with them. I will try however to post weekly from now on

 

Introduction

Gonna try to be honest with myself on this blog. I do read medical news, but I have a bad habit of skimming though it rather than actually reading the details. Anyway hopefully I will be able to keep this going consistently – I will certainly try, as it will allow me to write any thoughts down so they aren’t constantly in my head.

So, as far as medical news goes, the most recent thing of significance that happened as far as I can recall is the death of Heimlich. I must say, it did get me thinking: A man with a seemingly simple idea has saved so many lives, perhaps we move too deep into the medication side of things and forget about simple things that can help us out. For example, as an asthmatic I can say that a Ventolin inhaler helps me out no end, but again so does some fresh air.  I’m in no way suggesting that the medication is ineffective; it’s not, but I feel that perhaps medication is overused. My mom has a somewhat similar approach, she won’t give me medication unless I absolutely need it, and this principle can be applied on a larger scale – for example the over – prescription of antibiotics and the development of super – pathogens. However in this example the ending doesn’t do justice to my argument, as my appendix ended up exploding and I was in hospital for 3 weeks afterwards – Teehee.

Hope this was an okay first post, in honesty I’m unsure what I’m doing but I’ll try to keep it going as best I can. Ryan W.