science

Scientist of the day

Today we’re going to talk about a very special woman named Gerty Cori. Those of you who’ve ever had a biochemistry course have probably already heard of the Cori cycle to which this woman contributed to. So let’s talk about her!

Gerty Theresa Radnitz was her maiden name. She was born in 1847 in what is now known as Czech-Republic. She got admitted to medical school at the Karl-Franz university in 1914 where she met her husband Carl Cori.
Due to anti-semitism in Europe the couple moved to the U.S. and became naturalized citizens. They both worked in a laboratory and investigated the carbohydrate metabolism.
What’s quite striking is that universities wanted Carl Cori to work for them, but not Gerty. Despite these unfortunate events they kept working together however it took Gerti longer to get the same wage and position as her husband had. She was made a professor in 1943 at Washington university (where she’d worked since 1931).

They discovered the Cori cycle for which they got half of the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology in 1947. The other half went to Bernardo Houssay.
The Cori cycle describes how glycogen is converted to lactic acid and then reconverted to glucose.

She died in 1957 due to myelosclerosis.

Scientist of the day

Today I wanted to switch things up and start” scientist of the day”. I will try to do one of these post every once in a while to highlight a scientist who has done remarkable research in the field of medicine.

The first scientist featured in this series is Gerhard Domagk. He was born in 1895 in what is now known as Poland. He studied medicine but the war started and without finishing his degree he volunteered as soldier. When he got injured he ended up in a war hospital where he saw most soldiers die of infection diseases. What really made an impact was that there really was no functional treatment for these diseases. Surgery didn’t always work nor did medication.
After the war he got his degree in medicine and made it his priority to find something that could prevent soldiers dying from these infection diseases. He worked alongside Josef Klarer and Fritz Mietzsch and tested the function of hundreds of molecules in mice and rabbits.
Eventually in 1932 they found a component in red dye that was called sulfamidochrysoïdine which is broken down by the body to sulfanilamide and protected mice against certain types of streps. They named it Prontosil.
What was really unexpected is that it took them 5 years to publish an article talking about the amazing results Prontosil had had in patients because they didn’t know how/why Prontosil functioned which made them quite cautious.
In 1939 Domagk received the nobel price in physiology or medicine. He couldn’t collect this prize because the Nazi-regime considered the Nobel prize to be anti-German. He finally collected the prize in 1947.

I hope you enjoyed this post! If you want to learn more about infection diseases and the history behind them I’d strongly recommend reading ‘the demon under the microscope’ written by Thomas Hager. The book is about many different scientists.

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

Medical school 2nd year

I’m halfway through my second year of medicine! My exams are done and I’m going to take a short break before getting into the new semester. I have one week before the second semester starts and though I really hoped that I’d have a week off to do fun things and sleep out my week will consist of finishing a paper. I wanted to talk about this first semester of my second year since it was completely different from first year.

-I learned that first year is a breeze compared to second year. It’s easy to say that now that the two biggest blocks of my entire year are over. To all you first-year students out there, these courses only get bigger every single time.
-Never give up. By now medical school consists of really pushing mental boundaries. Though most people give up, those who persist and don’t give up are the ones that will make anything happen.
-The best tip I’ve ever had was to read all of my courses completely through before exams start. This helped me to at least grasp what I was studying and I had a better total-image of my courses.
-Working consistently throughout the year is really important. If you don’t do this by second year, you’re going to get into trouble. I worked consistently throughout the year and still struggled extremely hard during this exam period.
-Workout, you’ll feel more energized and more focussed.
-Treat yourself to a pampering day. I did this once in the two exam-months we had. It can be quite time consuming, but makes you calmer at the same time. So if you can, pamper yourself.

To all students out there I would also like to say the following: it’s often the things that you struggle with the most that end up being the most rewarding. Try as hard as possible and don’t give up! Hard work always pays off.

Lots of love
A doctor in spe

Medical article databases

One of the most important fields in medicine is research. This should come as no surprise as there’s still so much to learn about the human body and disorders related to it. As a medical student it’s extremely important to stay up to date and read in on these subjects and to learn more about the (r)evolutions in our health system.
There are a lot of databases where you’ll be able to find articles on medical research and today I’ll be talking about the best general databases.

1. Google Scholar

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Google scholar is most definitely the best way to find the most scientific articles on any subject. You’ll be able to view the number of citations (a value to determine the impact) as well as the journal where the article was published and the publication year.
There is one thing I dislike about using google scholar. The filter system is quite impractical. Nevertheless you’ll be able to find a lot of articles extending over many different scientific topics. Google scholar will also show the number of citations, journal where the article was published and the publication year.

2. PubMed

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PubMed has a lot of different features and therefore learning how to work with the system is a challenge on itself. You’ll have to navigate your way around MeSH-terms and the search builder, subject topics etc, however when you finally know how to work with it, it’s actually a pretty nice database to work with.
You will definitely not find as many articles as you would in Google Scholar, however there is a good amount of articles that are closely related to your topic of choice. The filters are easy to use and will help you to narrow your topic down more clearly.

3. Embase
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One of the more esthetically pleasing databases is Embase (yes, I really like Embase). It’s easy to use and works similar to PubMed but you search via Emtree terms instead of MeSH terms. You can view your previous search inquiries and the amount of articles related to it.

4. Extra
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I also wanted to talk about Web of science where you’ll be able to find the impact factor, the number of citations. This is an easy way to have an overview on the importance of your article as well as the journal it was published in.

P.S. I prefer to use general databases as they offer a great variation of articles but if you only want to read the most important articles on certain subjects you might want to take a look at different options such as Medline, TRIP, Cochrane etc.

I hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know what sources you turn to to find scientific articles.

Lots of love
-M. Doctor in spe