Monthly Archives: January 2012

Sorting the Good Apples From the Bad: Pesticides

Another food post! I suppose I am obsessed with eating food.. healthy food. Eating vegetables and fruits daily has many benefits. Not only do you stock up on vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, potassium, and more, but you also lose weight because you would otherwise stuff your face with fries and Baconators. Consuming some vegetables, like celery, actually burns more calories than they contain. Beware, however, pesticides are your local farmer’s favorite ally.

Pesticides protect the crop and increases the harvest by up to 30% (I actually have no other source to support this than a friend of mine who is an organic strawberry and blueberry farmer). Once in your stomach, however, they can be extremely harmful since they were engineered to burn pretty holes into your cheerful backyard cricket’s belly. Beware which fruit you buy; it may really pay off to buy some organic and others not. Apples, for example, should be organic, whereas onions or pineapples generally are not sprayed as much.

Here is a list that is worth paying attention to when it comes to pesticides:

Clean vs Dirty Vegetables and Fruits

Source: EWG.org

Vegetables and fruits with shells and peels that are removed before consumption are also much safer.This is why mangos score high whereas apples low. Onions grow underneath the earth, another protective layer. Bon Appétit!

 

MCAT Study Notes

Hey Community,

Today I have a special treat for anyone that is preparing for the MCAT:

MCAT Study Notes

These notes contain a lot of the most important concepts, formulas, terms, physiological systems, and approaches you need to know. All subjects, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, Verbal Reasoning, Math, Biology, and Physiology, are included. If this doesn’t get you excited then I don’t know what would :).

mcat notes

They should be used as a study aid or checklist. In other words, make sure you know all of what is in here. They were written by Physics Junkie & TexasMDtobe from SDN. These notes are fantastic, so credit where credit is due!

 

Without much further ado, here they are!

 

 

Why Doctors Eat Unhealthy

Did you ever wonder why so many doctors eat so unhealthy? Nutrition is certainly part of preventive medicine and a primary factor for longevity. During my shadowing and interning phase I was shocked by the diet many doctors choose. My observations in medical school have not been much different. During one med school interview, for example, a interviewer casually recommended Ramen noodles to bring down food-costs during medical school (Sounds like Dr. Mark Weinberger?).

"One more Big Mac! Make that two!'

The truth is that doctors are not trained nutritionists and their lifestyle is greatly shaped towards a quick bite and an accelerated gulp. This makes processed fast-food and finger-food so attractive because you can just shove it down your throat and have your brain tell you that it was pretty tasty. Not to forget gifts from patients and hospital-sponsored food.

I love organic and local food. Because organic food is expensive, only about 10% of my food is truly USDA-certified organic. However, I still make good choices and refuse to buy food that contains corn-syrup or a ton of sodium. I also bake my own whole-wheat bread and my free-range meat comes from a local Amish farmer. While this food is not certified organic, it is certainly as healthy and even cheaper than the meat I buy at Walmart.

 

Broke Doctors: The Dilemma of the Private Practice

This week several articles addressed the issue of many private practices closing. Several responses and commentaries were posted on kevinmd as well. The slant is that private practice doctors are facing an uphill battle. Many doctors are even forced to file for bankruptcy and seek employment in a hospital (managed care) for higher income security. Private practices have a much harder time to break even these days because their reimbursement rates are much lower than those in managed care.

broke doctors

Indeed, insurance reimbursements and administrative hassles are one of the first catalysts to the downfall of small private practices. Health care has become such a complex web and is brutal terrain to navigate, especially for private practices. Not only are reimbursement rates lower, but overhead costs can quickly explode because of the ever expanding bureaucratic layers of modern medicine. We need to hear more of  these stories and spread awareness, otherwise private practices will be history – which will effect all of us, but especially people living in rural areas.

 

While reading the mentioned articles I also stumbled across Dr. Wible’s website, who is currently working on a documentary on improving healthcare at grassroots levels. Contact her if you have an interesting healthcare story!

Weekend Inquiry: Applying to Medical School Years Later

medical school inquiry

This is a new series I am kicking off because I am getting tons of emails every day and I think other people might have some similar questions. Thanks to Raushanah for this email.

Hi I am so non-traditional! I am 33, 3 kids, married and want to go to medical school. I have a b.s. in biology, but I received it almost 12 years ago. From time to time every year I do review my sciences, but I have not extensively studied. I tried to get into medical school 12 years ago. Well not tried, i took the mcat and scored horribly after taking the princeton review, so i never applied to medical school. I am ready to go at it again, what do you recommend? Do you think reviewing using exam crackers on my own will help me to get better scores and get in? I just don’t want to re-take any of my pre-reqs.

There are a couple of things to pay attention to when answering this question. What have you done since graduation, and how does this make you a fantastic applicant (why now)?
Obviously medical school admission committees are always looking for great applicants with great answers. Raising kids is not a bad reason for taking off – it is honorable and understandable. However, you will have to tell them why raising your kids made you a better applicant, person and a better student. Every question should be answered with the intention to illuminate who you are and what you bring to the table. It is an opportunity for you to tell them why you will be a great medical student.

Make sure you use real life examples to show what you are saying. For example, saying “I have become extremely goal-oriented” is not enough, you need an example of how this strength is evident in your own life. I think these two essential questions are important for every applicant, but even more important for you!

I personally know first-year students in my class who are in their early 30s or mid-30s. Some had their own businesses or other non-medical careers. Fact is, medical schools really like mature students because they are reliable and know what they want.

Concerning your last question, you might have to retake pre-reqs depending on your level of knowledge. It would be important to know your GPA because it should be somewhere above 3.5 otherwise I would recommend you to apply to osteopathic medical schools, which is a fantastic option – unless your GPA is below 3.3, then I would not recommend applying to medical school altogether, unless you retake classes and boost your GPA. These classes will and do help you get through the first couple years of medical school; it’d be hard to go through medical lectures without liking the pre-reqs you took in undergrad. Your MCAT score will also be extremely important, because it will be the only recent measure of your academic and scientific performance.

Examkrackers are definitely great books, but I would also suggest you to get The Princeton Review books or The Berkeley Review books. Feel free to refer to my MCAT Study Guide.
Also, make sure you take a lot of full-length practice tests because they will show you, on average, if you are ready.
Cheers!

Feel free to submit questions to Naomi (at) get-into-medicalschool.com. I try to answer most of my emails but it’s not always possible.