The Friday Rewind 5/10

Another week has come and gone–here are some highlights from what the week offered.

1. The Best of This Week

  • The 2nd Annual L.A. Gang Violence Prevention & Intervention Conference: It was great seeing the trauma team from my hospital out of their scrubs. At first I kept looking at them, thinking where do I know these people from?– only to realize, they clean up well! The conference brought to light, in very real terms, the epidemic that is youth gun violence. It was inspiring to meet former gang members who are playing such a big part in helping disadvantaged youth. I don’t know what this says about me, but I recognized at least two from the documentary series Gangland. To learn more about the conference, see my post Issues Closer to Home.
  • Since posting the “Dr. Carson Challenge“, I finished reading my sixth book this week. Although this in no way meets the challenge (two books a week),  I have successfully retrained my brain to remember (and enjoy!) the lost art of reading for pleasure. I now find myself  voluntarily turning off the TV and looking forward to the moment I can pick up my NOOK again. I just started reading the 1925 Pulitzer prize winning novel, “Arrowsmith” by Sinclair Lewis. Below is a list (in no particular order) of the books I recently completed:
  • “Gifted Hands”-Ben Carson
  • “On the Road”-Jack Keruac
  • “How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick in America”-Dr. Ottis Webb Brawley
  • “Not Entirely Benign Procedure: Four Years as a Medical Student”
  • “The Emperor of All Maladies”-Sidhartha Mukherjee  (592 pages)
  • “Complications”-Atul Gawande
  • Only 11 weeks to go before my last day at work!
  • Only 5 weeks to go before our belated honeymoon and 11 blissful days on the beach!

2. The Worst of This Week:

  • It is 4:36 pm and I am staring at a dead body. Just one day after attending the LA Gang Violence Prevention and Intervention Conference, another senseless act of violence has brought in a young gun shot victim through the doors of our Emergency Department. I am struck by how white his feet are. The rest of him doesn’t look particularly dead. He looks like he’s sleeping–ready to wake up from his nightmare. I wonder if the shock of seeing a young person die will ever wear off. A deep sinking feeling hangs over me.

3. Medical Breakthroughs of the Week:

Below are links to some of the more interesting health discoveries from this week.

  • Bipolar Disorder Tied to Flu Exposure in Utero: Prenatal exposure to the flu virus has previously been linked to schizophrenia, and investigators now say the same exposure may be a risk factor for bipolar disorder. In a population-based cohort of Californians born between 1959 and 1966, exposure to influenza in utero was associated with a nearly fourfold increase in the risk of bipolar disorder.
  • Study Suggests Heart Risk for Newer Oral Contraceptives: Women taking fourth-generation oral contraceptives, which use anti-androgenic progestin, had a significantly longer corrected QT interval (QTc) than women who didn’t use any oral contraceptives, but women taking earlier formulations of birth control pills had significantly shorter QTc (P<0.001 for both), researchers reported. Having a prolonged QTc interval is a marker for an increased risk of sudden cardiac death, the researchers said. It’s been shown that testosterone and progesterone shorten QTc, while estrogen lengthens it.
  • Exercise Ups ‘Good’ Estrogen, Cuts Breast Cancer Odds: Exercise changes the way the body breaks down estrogen, increasing the ratio of ‘good’ to ‘bad’ estrogen metabolites, and so may lower the risk of breast cancer, new research suggests. “We found that in healthy premenopausal women, an exercise regimen of 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise per week for 16 weeks resulted in significant changes in estrogen metabolism in a direction consistent with reduction of breast cancer risk,” researchers said.

4. Just for Fun-The Friday Rewind Image Challenge 

What is the diagnosis?

a) Bedbug bites

b) Dermatitis herpetiformis

c) Ecthyma

d) Guttate psoriasis

e) Lichen planus

* Courtesy of The New England Journal of Medicine

The Answer: Shown in the comments section.

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4 Comments

Filed under Friday Rewind

4 responses to “The Friday Rewind 5/10

  1. The answer to the Image Challenge Above is A.
    A 30-year-old healthy woman presented with pruritic papules on both arms and breasts. Physical examination revealed multiple erythematous papules in a partially linear pattern. The patient had stayed in a hotel the night before and, on the bedsheet, had noted several reddish-brown bloodstains and flat insects (4 to 6 mm in length), one of which she collected (inset). The insect was identified as Cimex lectularius, commonly known as the bedbug. Bedbugs frequently attack exposed areas of the skin and are attracted to humans’ high body temperature and carbon dioxide production. Cutaneous reactions to bedbug bites are characterized by erythematous or urticarial papules. Lesions observed in a linear or cluster formation are typical. The definitive diagnosis depends on identification of the bedbug. The role of bedbugs as a vector for disease transmission remains unclear. With the use of topical corticosteroids, the patient’s symptoms resolved completely within 2 days.

  2. matthewsrr

    Hey great blog! I’m starting medical school this fall and have decided to blog my journey as well. I will probably have to read some of the books you posted. I’m actually currently finishing up The Emperor of All Maladies. I list several of my favorite books on my blog if you are looking for any recommendations!

    • Thanks for checking out my blog! I would love to check out the list of books you came up with- I scoured the internet for “best books about medicine” but not sure that is the world’s most effective search term. What is the address for your blog?

      Good luck in medical school and congratulations on your acceptance!

      • matthewsrr

        Thanks! My blog is medicalminded.wordpress.com and has a “Recommended Books & Media” section. I have to drive a lot so the non-fiction section at audible.com has helped me find some good ones. Hope you enjoy!

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