Monthly Archives: August, 2014

A New Way to Look at Obesity – AMA Innovations in Medicine

Take a look at this phenomenal presentation by Fatima Cody Standford, MD, MPH about her approach to patients struggling with obesity.

Ultimately, each and every one of us is an individual, and what works for one person may not work for another. Patients should be approached with this concept in mind to develop a treatment that fits their individuality. Dr. Standford gives personal accounts of treating patients, emphasizing the detriment our personal bias can have on patient outcome. Unfortunately, obesity is a life-threatening condition, made evident by multiple stories discussed in this short video. There is something to be learned for everyone in this eye-opening talk.


USMLE Step 1 Prep Materials

First Aid

I’ve decided to create a “USMLE Step 1 Prep Materials” page that can be found under the Recommend Media tab. The most difficult aspect of this is my lack of access to all the different materials that are available out there. Therefore, if you have any personal experience with a resource and would like to write a review (good or bad!), I’d love to include it on the blog. I’d gladly include your name, pseudonym, or whatever you’d like to go by after the review to give you credit as well!

Anyways, here are the resources I’ve reviewed thus far. Enjoy!


  • If you’re someone who likes flashcards and/or short-answer study materials, this is a great resource if you can afford it. My student body was able to work out a discount for our school, so I’m sure it’s the same elsewhere. Firecracker provides efficient review for premed and med students in the form of short quizzes that cover high-yield materials. You rate your understanding of the questions/answers on a scale of 1-5 and it will basically create a schedule of when you should review the material again based on your understanding. In other words, material you are less knowledgeable on will be covered again sooner and more often in order to help you retain the information long-term. You can go through the questions on your computer, iPhone, iPad or Android. There are also review materials to go along with each topic, so you can read up on more detailed information to further enhance your understanding. I’m a big proponent of creating flashcards, but medical school requires so many that half the time you end up unable to actually review them due to lack of time. Using Firecracker takes all that time spent making flashcards out of the equation. All in all, I’m a big fan of this as a resource.

First Aid for the USMLE Step 1

  • This book really doesn’t even need a description. Year in and year out, it’s rated as a top resource for medical students. It seems like everyone knows about it and everyone looks through it some point. Some may not use it as a primary resource, but I don’t know anyone who’s never used it in some fashion. Just get it already!


  • Created by Dr. Husain A. Sattar, Associate Professor of Pathology at University of Chicago, this resource is geared specifically towards pathology. By signing up, you get access to video lectures that can be watched as many times as you want, as fast/slow as you want, for as long as your subscription lasts. You also receive at Fundamentals of Pathology textbook that is highly reviewed on the internet. However, it should be noted that the value of this resource is dependent on the quality of your school’s pathology course. If you already have a great lecturer who provides online lecture materials, you probably won’t find this to be a cost-effective resource. However, for those of us looking for clearer understanding than we receive in lecture, this is a great opportunity to get just that!


  • One of my favorite resources! The human brain is structured to remember things visually. Read about the memory championships or the people who memorize pi out to 75,000 digits. You’ll quickly learn that they accomplish these seemingly impossible feats by creating a visual journey through the information. Picmonic uses the brain’s ability to remember visual stimuli as a way to learn medical information. A recent study should extremely compelling evidence of the program’s value in long-term memory as well. I regularly create little cartoon drawing to remember materials during my own studies, so I’ve always had a personal attraction to this type of learning. They also provide information for the COMLEX and MCAT. Personally, having access to over 800 crazy cartoon images that help me remember medicine is one of the best resources I could ask for. I definitely recommend that everyone checks this out!

Book Review: Discover Magazine’s Vital Signs

Discover Magazine’s Vital Signs: True Tales of Medical Mysteries, Obscure Diseases, and Life-Saving Diagnoses by Dr. Rob Norman

If you’re a fun of short medical stories, this is a simple and interesting read. Some stories are definitely more exciting than others, but medicine is a broad subject, filled with a variety of specialties. What one person finds fascinating, another feels completely uninterested. This book features stories published in a Discover Magazine column known as “Vital Signs”. The writers are physicians of varying specialties and bring excitement to the arena of numerous specialties. One important factor that I took from the book is confirmation of the importance of the patient history. Several life-saving diagnoses are made based on a single fact presented by the patient. The best part about this book is the format being numerous short stories. If you don’t have the time to read a large novel, check this book out to get your reading fix fulfilled.

I’m back and classes have officially started!

Unfortunately, it’s been a while since I last posted, and I know I was pretty much non-existent on here over the summer. In my defense, it was a much busier summer than I’d anticipated! Over the summer I volunteered at a diabetes camp, completed research that will hopefully result in a few publications, gave a presentation over my research, and most importantly, got to spend time with my wife and baby girl! It was amazing to be home with them every night, and I’m definitely going to miss being with them so much. The baby girl is growing so fast! I can honestly say there is nothing like being a parent and watching your child grow and develop.

Now that the first week of classes are over, I’m hoping to transition into study mode again and get back to regular blog updates, as well as regular podcast episodes. As you may have noticed, I decided to purchase the domain address to make things more official. If you enjoy the website and/or podcast, be sure to share it with others! It’s definitely very uplifting to see you guys post comments and to see my followers continue to rise, so the encouragement is much appreciated!

I’ve got several things I’d like to post over the next few days regarding study resources, books, etc. so be sure to check back regularly for updates. Here’s to another successful year of school!

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