review

Book review: The demon under the microscope by Thomas Hager

Our knowledge about infectious diseases is currently quite exhaustive, but there were times when most people died about infectious diseases. Where scientists tried everything and anything to find a cure. This book is about those scientists and their goal to find a cure for infectious diseases.

The demon under the microscope is a book written by Thomas Hager, the same author who wrote two books about Linus Paulin and the Alchemy of air. Both books that I now have on my reading list. Thomas Hager is one of the few authors who write about the history of science in a comprehensive way.

This specific book talks about finding sulfonamidochrysoidine, the first antibacterial antibiotic on the market. If you’ve read our scientist of the day post last week you’ll know that there were actually three scientists involved in finding sulfanilamide: Gerhard Domagk, Josef Klarer and Mietzsch.  This book talks about all three of them and about the people around them who had either the same or different aspirations and how they influenced each other. Though you might not assume this just by reading the title, there is a big part of this book dedicated to the surrounding of the protagonists. The companies around them but also how world war influenced and shaped them. It also addresses the economical drive of pharmaceuticals and the problems that shaped the pharmaceutical industry.

The demon under the microscope is one of the best books I’ve read so far. The writing style is really easy to read. Since it is a science history book it gives insight in the feelings and emotions of different scientists but still focusses most of the attention to the bigger picture. It’s definitely a longer book than some of the previous books I’ve read but that means that you’ll have more time to enjoy it. Overall it’s a nice book that will definitely appeal to many science students. It’s a mix between chemistry and medicine so it could make a nice gift to any medical/chemistry student.
It’s one of those books that shows that’s a success story without idealizing everything that preceded Prontosil and even after using Prontosil there were still a lot of issues these scientists and their surroundings faced.

I hope you enjoyed this book review. I tried not to spoil the book but I hope that I’ve been able to at least spark your interest. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone out there. Let me know if you’ve read it (or going to read it) in the comments down below!

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

Review: compendium geneeskunde

About 7 months ago I wrote a blogpost about ‘Compendium medicine’ on my blog. Some of you might still remember that they started a kickstarter campaign to make an English version of their books. These books are made by two students Romee Snijder and Veerle Smit. Their goal was to make these books in such way that they covered all the material medical students had to learn.

I kept thinking about these books and ended up buying them a while ago. Today I thought I’d share my opinion on these books.

Content
The compendium set consists of four books that that each contain different specialities. All books have the same cover but come in different colors.
Book 1: orange: epidemiology, statistics, health rights, otorhinolaryngology, neurology, ophthalmology, preventive medicine and psychiatry.
Book 2: red: molecular biology, pharmacotherapy, gynaecology and obstretics, clinical genetics, nephrology, social medicine and urology.
Book 3: blue: dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, medical ethics and scientific philosophy, orthopedics and rheumatology.
Book 4: green: pulmonology, cardiovascular medicine, hematology, immunology, medical microbiology and infection prevention, oncology and general diagnostics.

The first thing I noticed about these compendia was the sleek and minimalistic exterior. I absolutely love the white design. The interior of the books is even prettier than it’s exterior. Each chapter starts with a picture that represents a certain specialty. And then has a page with the most important anatomical structures, a page with clinical information is also provided . The structure of these books is honestly just a dream.

The corners of the books have a small symbol representing each specialty which makes it easier to search within specialities.

Quality
These books are all hard-cover books that can be compared to an encyclopedia. The paper is glossy and quite sturdy.
These books cover the medical curriculum and they’re easy to understand. So far I’ve actively used two of these books as an extra source of information on top of my own courses. Everything in this book is explained in such a way that anyone can understand and learn medicine. Most information fits on a few pages which is what the authors and co-authors intended to do and at which they did a terrific job.

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Conclusion
The quality of the books is excellent. I would say that that I find this to be a big achievement for a new book made by students (!) for students. The content of these books covers the most important parts of the medical curriculum. These books are also great when you’re studying because every topic is explained in a simple but exhaustive way.
The books are aesthetically pleasing, the paper is of good quality and the pictures in the book are beautiful. The small details (such as the symbols in the corners of the book) make the difference between these books and others.

So far only Dutch students are able to purchase these books, so if you’re Dutch and you have the opportunity to buy this book, definitely go for it. Belgian students can find them in ‘Acco’ book stores and students from The Netherlands can find them via their university and in book stores. They cost 129€ but they’re well worth their price.

I hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know in the comment section if you’d buy these! Make sure to also show the medical compendium team some love via their social media.
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Lots of love
– A doctor in spe

Summary the subtle art of not giving a fuck

The subtle art of not giving a fuck is a book that I’ve been suggesting to everyone. I loved reading this book and up until this moment I’ve read the book 2 times which proves how great it is. This book has changed my view on my own life and in a way you can consider this a wakeup call. This book along with ‘mindset’ are books that should be a must-read for anyone in the middle of adulting.

I usually talk about the book itself and how it’s written but I saw that the writer, also a blogger, has posted an excerpt of the book on his blog and I advise you to read that before reading this review. So click here for that.

Summary
Just like you probably saw from the title the autor does not mince matters. This book is brutally honest and therefore one of the best self-help books I’ve read so far. There were some important lessons to learn here.

Lesson n°1
This book tackles our society for giving too many fucks about the wrong things and not enough fucks about what actually matters. To give an example people seem to talk more about the Kardashians outfits than for example about food waste – note: if you care more about the Kardashians that’s perfectly okay!!

Lesson n°2
Another important lesson is that everything that matters in life, is attached to a negative experience. You need to study really hard (often not fun) to get good grades (fun). This is something that isn’t always represented correctly in todays society. We hear a lot of succes stories but there’s more to those stories than meets the eye. Someone worked crazy hard to get where they are and all we see is that they achieved their goal. To get a bigger reward, you need to put in more effort.

Lesson n°3
People often seem to think that when they’ve reached their goal, it’s done, they’re happy and everything is fine but it isn’t. Problems are still there, the only thing they’ve achieved, is to be a little better than before, to have grown a little more. The growth mindset was present in this book, just explained differently.

For more lessons I’d advise you to read the book. It wouldn’t be fun to spoil the entire thing.

Review
The writing style of this book is easy and comprehensive. There aren’t any difficult words, but the language is sometimes explicit which might not appeal to everyone.
The book gives a lot of examples on what to do and what not to do. It’s therefore a great book for those people who don’t completely know what to do with their life.
I’d definitely say that of the self-help books I’ve read so far this is definitely one of the best. It’s unique not because of the writing style, but because of the honesty.

Since there is an excerpt of this book on the authors blog check it out before buying this book. You might not like it. As for me I loved the book hence why I’ve suggested it to almost everyone I know. Let me know in the comment section what books you would recommend.

Lots of love and have a great day!
-A doctor in spe

 

When breath becomes air 

I’ve tried re-writing this one a few too many times but that’s only because I felt like this review didn’t do justice to the book. It still doesn’t but here we go.

The book ‘When breath becomes air’ is an autobiography written by Paul Kalanithi. It’s the story of a neurosurgeon who gets diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. He starts thinking about ‘living a meaningful life’ and he wonders what it takes to achieve one. As he starts cancer treatment he tells about his struggles, his thoughts and his feelings.

The book is magnificently written and it’s ending is bittersweet. It’s book that definitely deserved the attention it got. There were a lot of things I loved about this book but I mainly want to talk about what I learned from it.

  • I learned that life is short, full of unexpected things sometimes the worst things in life come together with the best and if you’re lucky you’ll be around to see the good. If not it’s up to you to create good things in the middle of bad ones!
  • I learned that humans often live life as if life is endless. We even postpone the thought of death itself until someone around us dies. When you think about it there isn’t a single person in the world who is completely ready to die at any given day. There is always something more we want to do, something more we want to realize.
  • I learned that when bad things happen and we get knocked down, we need to keep going and keep pushing.
  • I learned that the best way to live a meaningful life is to give it your absolute best every single time no matter how hard life gets. It’s often easier said than done but it’s all we can do.

I hope you enjoyed this blogpost! I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. It’s a remarkable story that left it’s imprint on me and I’m sure that you’ll find it as special as I did.

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

 

Review: how doctors think

As some of you might know I wanted to read a lot of books this summer. I personally liked going for books related to the medical field hoping that I’ll learn from them. I recently made up my entire book list and I’ve already started reading some books. The first one I’ll be reviewing is ‘How doctors think’ and was written by Jerome Groopman M.D. This book has received the quill award for health/self improvement.

The title of the book is quite self-explanatory and though I’m not a doctor yet I figured that this book had to contain some valuable information on the topic. I don’t mean to spoil the book but the book reveals it goal in the first chapters. Students who eventually become doctors struggle with the transition from books to real cases but even older doctors make mistakes. The book gives a ton of anecdotes on the subject to try and show what went wrong with the diagnoses and how doctors can avoid making mistakes.

There are a few things I liked and learned from this book
… I liked the cases that were discussed and that there were a lot of them. Each case was different but the general conclusion was the same
… I liked that there were reasons given on how doctors make small mistakes. However it’s obvious that every human makes mistakes. The thing is that we can all learn from others’ mistakes and thus we can all learn from this book
… I liked the structure of the cases. Each case had a lot of explanation that accompanied it. There was a clear structure.
… I most definitely liked the advise that was given: think in the other direction when somebody comes with complaints. They have headache? Don’t think that it’s just due to tension look further!
More importantly I feel like this book is good for students starting residency. It’ll show you how patients reveal very small clues that are often misinterpreted. Small things like words or signs that make a big difference. It can also show you how confidence can form an issue. Leading to confirmation bias is the enemy here!

I would advise any medical student to read this book because it shows that small things that patients say can mean an entire spectrum of things and that it’s important to try and look for a correct diagnoses instead of assuming the first solution or the most common solution is correct. It’s important to keep all possible diagnoses open and think further than you normally would when diagnosing patients.

Though I’m on vacation definitely leave a comment in the comment section down below telling me what you’re favorite books are.

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe ❤

The emperor of all maladies

About a week ago one of my friends told me about a book that was written by Siddhartha Mukherjee. It was an author I’d never even heard about so I went to the library and got ‘The emperor of all maladies’. This book was so interesting that I had to write about it!

The book starts with the history of cancer. Diagnoses started very early but throughout history nobody could find a cure. Not even a way to relieve some of the symptoms. It’s amazing to see that most treatments only started a century ago. Throughout history people often saw cancer as something incurable and there weren’t many scientists who tried to find a cure.

The rise of chemicals has had such a big influence on cancer treatments. The first use of chemicals on cancer patients were more of a trial and error. People kept trying out different chemicals and hoped to find something that could stop the growth of cancerous cells. Some chemicals worked but they always worked temporarily and caused such disappointment. Even trough all of those disappointments people kept going on and kept combining medicines and different techniques to find something.

The reason why this book is really good is because it’s one of the few books that can grab your attention and keep it. It was so well written that you could even think of it as a novel. There is a way of expressing desire in such way that it’s almost as though you’re reliving the entire thing – that’s what this book is able to do.
I would probably tell you more about this book but I don’t want to spoil it by telling everything. I hope that this brief resume interests you enough to go to the library and read it because I promise you this book is amazing.

Lots of love
-M. Doctor in spe

Fidget cube: review

Today I wanted to review the Fidget cube. Some of you might have already heard about the Fidget cube because it was one of the most funded Kickstarter projects last year. The fidget cube is basically a cube with six surfaces that have a different function and a different way that you can fiddle with. Ideal for people who have a lot of stress or people who just have too much energy.

In terms of sizing this cube is quite small I believe it’s around 3 cm x 3 cm. It doesn’t take a lot of place at all which is ideal because you can take this thing everywhere you go.
It also comes in eight different colors. So there’s something for everyone.

fidget-cube In the picture above you can see how each surface looks and what you can do with it. I personally loved the click buttons because they remind me of the clicking noise a ballpoint makes. Since two of the five click buttons are silenced there’s no need to worry about annoying the people around you. Some buttons however do make a lot of noise f.e. the tactile gears so I’d advise not using those during classes.

At first my only struggle with this was the price. A Fidget cube costs 22$ at the moment. That’s a lot of money to spend on something that is so small -especially if you’re a student- but I can guarantee that it’s worth it. I’ve seen some dupes where the buttons don’t make the click noise at all, sometimes the tactile gear blocks, the clickable ball does’t click, the glide surface is very crooked. I figured that it would be best to buy a decent cube instead of getting a non-functioning dupe.

As you might already now I really liked this cube. It comes in eight different colors and it’s practical. In my opinion this is a very clever and practical invention! If you liked the Fidget cube and you want to check it out you can find these on the original site which is at Antsy Lab. Let me know in the comment section if you liked the Fidget cube!

UPDATE: I just found this amazing video on Youtube and I needed to share it here! You can make your own Fidget cube with this tutorial I’m amazed! (Click here)

Lots of love!
Doctor in spe