Wannabe Medics


[Image: 4 tiled moving gifs of a person with brown skin, a closely shaved or bald head, and a moustache (Dave Chapelle). The text reads ‘The worst thing you can call somebody is “crazy” / It’s dismissive. / “I don’t understand this person, so they’re crazy”. / That’s bullshit.]

It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it. And even more courage to see it in the one you love.
Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband 


Sunscreen may help prevent skin cancer, but it’s still a bummer to put on. What if, instead of lathering yourself in greasy lotions, you could just take a sunscreen pill? Scientists have discovered a natural compound in coral reefs that protects against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, and they’re now “very close” to synthesizing it in a lab.

Eating plenty of tomato helps too. A reasonable amount of puree in your food regularly will help. Too zonked to find a source. 



Sunscreen may help prevent skin cancer, but it’s still a bummer to put on. What if, instead of lathering yourself in greasy lotions, you could just take a sunscreen pill? Scientists have discovered a natural compound in coral reefs that protects against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, and they’re now “very close” to synthesizing it in a lab.

Eating plenty of tomato helps too. A reasonable amount of puree in your food regularly will help. Too zonked to find a source. 

T: -10 days before take off.

I am getting myself ready for moving out. Getting ready for starting med school.

These things become significantly more difficult when you are down.

Lets hope it gets better soon, aye?


I actually work on a suicide hotline so here it what we do:1st - ask them if they have a plan in mind. 2nd - if they do have a plan in mind ask them if they have the means available (e.g. pills in the bathroom, gun in the house)3rd - if they have both of the above ask them if they have a specific time in mind (e.g. tonight when everyone goes to bed)

If they answer all the above questions they are extremely high risk and need intervention. Whether that is your going to their house and staying with them all night or calling the police saying that your friend is at high risk of suicide (explain all the details).

If they do not have answers to any of the above or answer something like “If I were to do it I would take pills, but I don’t know if I have enough or when I would do it.” They are low risk, but they still need to be watched.

The most important thing is to let them know you are there for them. Offer to get them help, whether it be an EMT or counselor. Offer to go with them if that would make it better. Make them promise you that if they are having thoughts of killing themselves they will call you before they do anything or call a suicide hotline. If the person is underage or still lives at home talk to their parents, tell them what is going on. Most importantly be there for them, let them vent, let them cry, if they don’t want to talk, don’t talk but don’t leave their side. Suicide isn’t something to take lightly so you need to do everything you can to make sure that they stay alive.

I mentioned the police before. They are always an option but make sure it is serious before calling, if it is not serious and the police come out, the next time you call when it is serious they may not take it as such because they would view the first one as a “prank”. Also, if your friend is in the process of killing themselves (e.g. took a bottle of pills and called you to say goodbye) call the police before you talk to anyone else! They can get there and get the person they help they will need.

Dream fighter! Congratulation on getting into med school!!! :DD I am sure you have an amazing and inspiring journey ahead :)

Ta, hun. :)

I very much believe so too. 

Just gotta break out of this and get stuck into Uni!

IBM has developed a microprocessor which it claims comes closer than ever to replicating the human brain.

The system is capable of “rewiring” its connections as it encounters new information, similar to the way biological synapses work.

Researchers believe that that by replicating that feature, the technology could start to learn.

Cognitive computers may eventually be used for understanding human behaviour as well as environmental monitoring.

I got these grades despite having a mental illness. I got into med school in spite of the fact that I spend a lot of time unwell. More well than some, but less than the majority. I’m a little upset to think that I’ll never be as good as I should be, I’ll never be as good as I would have been without this mental illness and it’s episodes and the side-effects of the medications which are supposed to help.

One of the things I think a lot of people still don’t understand is that you can’t simply wish it away, because I would. I wish that I , every day I am made aware of it’s presence. You can’t simply “think happy thoughts” to dispel depression. Telling a person with mania to “slow down” is fruitless. Anxiety won’t just go away because you instruct yourself to “calm down”. Hallucinations don’t disappear because you repeat to yourself over and over that “it’s not real”.

My boss lady asked me what happened to the “lovely, bouncy” girl they knew. I burst into tears and said I got sick, I got sick two months ago and I haven’t gotten better yet. She asked me to explain, I told her I was down. She told me to think happy thoughts, think of how lucky I am. I see this, I understand that I am lucky. I am pretty and I am bright and I have a future. It doesn’t fix this thing that’s pervading all of my neuronal activity!

So instead I feel guilty for being unwell and wasting their time and money. The coming week, I also have 2 appointments which will cause me to miss work. The other thing is that I can’t simply quit, because I need the money for at least the first week of uni! (Let’s hope I win the lottery, aye.)

I know I’m probably preaching to the choir, but I feel iffy today, so I decide that you could have my little outburst today.

Ruby Wax is mentally ill.

"But at least I got a show out of it," she tells the audience with her trademark glibness.

Losing it, playing at the Underbelly during the Edinburgh Fringe, is Wax’s examination of her own breakdown and her thoughts on what led her to it.

The 58-year-old maintains the hyperactive, self-centred, wisecracking persona which she developed over three decades in the spotlight but there is also a more honest and vulnerable Wax telling a personal story.

"The show is comedy," she says.

"It is hilarious. I don’t talk about raising awareness but at one point I see the audience start nodding their heads and they are saying ‘I got that too’.

"But you don’t have to be mentally ill to get what I’m talking about."

She is currently studying for a Masters degree in “mindfulness-based cognitive therapy” at Oxford.

Wax says that understanding the way the brain functions takes the fear away.

"It is like finding out you are not possessed by the devil," she says.

During the show, she delivers a cod-lecture on the science of the brain.

Careful not to be too serious, she steers away from neuroscience but her message is clear.

"Mental illness is a disease like diabetes, it cannot just be wished away."

A man who is almost completely paralysed is taking legal action in a bid to end his life. His solicitors have told the BBC that they believe his case could have major implications for the way prosecutors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland deal with assisted suicides.

He’s 46 and suffered a severe stroke three years ago. Campaigners against assisted suicide are already expressing concern that his case could weaken the protection offered by the law.

Martin lies in a bed. He can just about move his head, has slight movement in his arms, toes and throat but he cannot speak. He makes some grunting noises and communicates through a computer.

He used to be a keen rugby player and cyclist. In 2008, he suffered a brain stem stroke. He now has to rely on full-time carers who help him with every aspect of his life.

He says he wants to go to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. At least 160 British people have already done that but he would need help to get there.

His wife says she understands Martin’s desire to die but is unwilling to help in any way.

As his wife will not be involved, Martin is likely to have to rely instead on medical experts, solicitors or even strangers to help him - and all could face a high risk of being prosecuted.

Assisting suicide is against the law but last year the Director of Public Prosecutions published guidance for use by prosecutors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

They outline “public interest factors” in favour and against prosecution, depending on different circumstances. This followed a case brought by Debbie Purdy who has progressive multiple sclerosis.

The guidelines have been interpreted as providing some reassurance to family members who help relatives to die.

One of the factors against prosecution is where a suspect is “wholly motivated by compassion”.

However, prosecution could be more likely if the person involved is “acting in his or her capacity as a medical doctor, nurse, other healthcare professional, a professional carer (whether for payment or not), or as a person in authority…”

As Martin does not have a close family member who is willing to give him the assistance he wants, he is challenging the guidelines. His solicitors feel he is being discriminated against.

His initial application to the High Court is seeking assurance that his legal representatives and other experts won’t face prosecution or professional disciplinary procedures as a result of helping him, even at this early stage.

His lawyer Richard Stein, of Leigh Day & Co, said: “As a lawyer I face the rather crazy position where I’m not even certain that it’s lawful for me to advise my client, whereas if I was a relative or a friend I could arrange his membership of Dignitas.

"I could book his appointment. I could go with him and come back and be confident that I wouldn’t face prosecution."

However some disability groups are concerned that the guidelines are already too lax and that if Martin wins, the situation will be made even worse.

 The chief executive of Scope, Richard Hawkes told the BBC: “We understand why Martin feels the way he does. This is a highly complex and emotional situation.

"But if this case is won it could lead to a weakening of the protection offered by the law and there are many disabled people who might be worried about that and might feel this could lead to situations in which they are put under pressure to end their own lives."

Martin responds by saying critics should try living like he does. Through his computer he told the BBC: “They haven’t a clue.”

His preliminary legal papers have been lodged with the High Court and an anonymity order has been issued. The case will raise many difficult and controversial questions but Martin claims he is clear what he wants: “Life is not worth living,” he says.

Now, enjoy this skeleton of a sloth.

Now, enjoy this skeleton of a sloth.

Researchers had been concerned that female Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes might not be fooled into mating with the spermless males, but lab tests show that they are just as attracted to sterile males as to normal ones1.

Releasing such males into the wild offers a way to control malaria that does not rely on insecticides, which many species are increasingly developing resistance to.

The creation of sterile males is a strategy that has long been used to control insect pests, such as the Mediterranean fruitfly, or medfly, in countries including the United States. But researchers have struggled to apply the technique to mosquitoes. Sterility is traditionally induced by irradiating males, but in the mosquito’s case this affects fitness and ability to complete with untreated males for mates.

Moreover, there was a question mark over how the females would respond to the males because some insects are not fooled by spermless males. In the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster, for instance, it is the presence of sperm after mating that stops females from remating and stimulates them to lay eggs.

Catteruccia and her team created 96 spermless male mosquitoes to test how the deficiency would affect female mating behaviour.

They used the technique of RNA interference (RNAi), injecting mosquito embryos with fragments of RNA that disrupted a crucial gene involved in the development of the testes, preventing males from producing sperm. This method of sterilization did not affect any other physiological function.

"Spermless males behave exactly like those with sperm," Catteruccia says. "We saw no difference in their ability to compete."

In addition, mating with sterile males did not affect female egg-laying, nor did it stimulate females to mate a second time. Some 74% of females that mated with spermless males produced eggs, laying an average of 58. By contrast, 83% of females mated with males with sperm produced eggs, and averaged 49 eggs.

The method the team used to sterilize the males is too time-consuming for large-scale use in the field. Catteruccia hopes that someone will develop a more efficient way to introduce the elements required for RNAi into embryos. Levashina suggests a genetic modification could be introduced to render males infertile.

Such mosquitoes would differ from existing genetically modified ones created by Oxitec, a company in Oxford, UK, that specializes in insect control. Oxitec uses a genetic tweak that makes the offspring ofAedes aegyptimosquitoes dependent on the drug tetracycline for survival. The drug is fed to the mosquitoes in the lab, but is not available in the wild. When the modified mosquitoes mate with the local A. aegypti mosquitoes, they spread the lethal gene through the population, in theory causing it to crash.

The tweaked mosquitoes have been tested in field trials, but have yet to be released on a large scale. 

'Electronic skin' has been developed that records heartbeats, brain activity and muscle contractions as accurately as bulky conventional electrodes, yet is no thicker than a human hair.

So far, it can only be used for a few days at a time, but researchers hope that the technology could one day allow doctors to monitor patients’ health without wires or clunky equipment.

The electronic skin can also do things that conventional medical sensors cannot. When placed on the throat, for example, it senses spoken words well enough to control a simple computer game.

The device might be used to help people with laryngeal diseases communicate, to monitor premature babies, or to enhance the control of prosthetics. Rogers is also collaborating with physical therapists to use the skin to induce muscle contractions in regions of the body that have degenerated.

The device is thin enough to stick to skin using only the short-range van der Waals forces that hold molecules together, as the forces that threaten to detach it are 10 million times weaker than they would be for a chip a millimetre thick. The circuits are fashioned as a net of narrow S-shaped filaments, so they can stretch and contract without breaking.

One major downside is that the continual shedding of skin cells means that the patch falls off after a few days. The researchers are looking for ways around this, so they can be worn for months at a time.

The electronic skin is also expensive to make, but Rogers hopes that the patches could eventually be mass-produced. 

Thanks for the congratulations, guys. :3

I’m going to try to get back to making this blog a bit more medically… But in a months time it’ll get a lot more interesting! Promise!

I’m still a bit unwell, which is unfortunate. I hope I get better before I start… 

So, what should I look for?

62. Study Happy.


This comes from a physician that I met recently. According to him, you got YEARS ahead of you to study…and it’s always going to suck, no matter what. So try to make it as pleasant as possible by making sure that you are willing to study in the first place.

Nothing sucks more than studying (well, maybe except for failing). But seriously, don’t force yourself to study when you are feeling absolutely miserable. You are more likely to be productive when you are studying happy.