Getting there from here, a novel recipe, and future projects

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Drawing by Annie Rempel.

[We’re now available on Spotify and RadioPublic!]

Co-hosts Tim Maxwell, Aline Sandouk, Annie Rempel, and Mackenzie Walhof confront pictures of their younger selves and offer themselves the advice they should have gotten at the start of their med school journeys. Listener Darius asks us for the best options to progress from his current work as an EMT-B/paramedic to medical school–among our suggestions is to check out the AAMC’s list of post-baccalaureate programs, including Iowa State University’s excellent but reasonably-priced option.  Dave offers up his own Recipe for Med School Success–a concoction he’s pretty sure no-one has ever thought of, but which his skeptical co-hosts end up enjoying–and promises an e-book with them all!  Submit yours to be part of it and get it free!

Annie also tells us about her recent arts-and-medicine exhibit at The Examined Life Conference, called Snapshots.  A follow-up to her Stanford Honors in the Arts show, it’s a series of drawings and interviews offering “realistic glimpses into the inspirational life stories of those affected by Huntington’s Disease.”

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What’s your favorite weird snack? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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An Episode of Questionable Things

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 May the Slap Chop save us all.

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Photo by Danielle Scott

As medical science progresses, it not only answers questions but generates even more.  Listener Tyler pointed out a study (now on hold) that proposes to withhold the current standard of care for victims of penetrating trauma to try something else, and he wondered what we thought of the ethics involved.  Co-hosts Nick Lind, Kyle Kinder, Madeline Slater, and Justin Hababag are here to help unwind these and other questions.  For instance, we explore how far medicine has come in its quest for answers by looking to the past, and what does My Pillow (as-seen-on-tv) have to do with the opioid crisis? Puzzled, we explore the possibilities for how as-seen-on-tv products could help with other public health efforts.  Could the Comfort Wipe wipe out ebola?  We visit with (a) President Donald Trump (soundboard) to find out.

This Week in Medical News

We still don’t know how a pillow can help with opioid addiction, but perhaps we’re seeing the first glimmers of a turn-around in that particular public health crisis.

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What are favorite as-seen-on-tv products, and have you used any to eliminate a public health issue? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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Poor: a deadly diagnosis in America, ft. Sarah Smarsh

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A look at the people valued more as functioning machines than as people

Sarah Smarsh

This past week, the Carver College of Medicine hosted its 12th annual Examined Life Conference.  Our featured presenter, journalist and memoirist Sarah Smarsh, grew up in a family of farmers and teen mothers in Kansas.  Her family, laborers trapped in a cycle of poverty, made the kinds of choices that poor people must make in rural America–whether to eat or seek medical attention, for instance.  Decades of inattention–and scorn–from politicians and the media have widened this class divide, and have sent the inexorable message that their voices don’t matter.  Ms. Smarsh’s recent book, Heartland: A Memoir of working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth, tells the tales of her family’s struggles with poverty, addiction, workplace injuries, and family violence that many economic and political elites don’t have the background or will to truly understand.

Though Ms. Smarsh has managed to escape the cycle, she has retained her citizenship in–and love for–that largely unexplored country, and offers a deep look at what it’s like to be poor in the wealthiest and most powerful society on the planet. Our executive producer Jason T. Lewis, Rob Humble, Gabe Conley, Teneme Konne, and Christopher Portero Paff talk with Ms. Smarsh about what the working poor are facing, how our willful lack of understanding shapes our perceptions of their struggles, and why it’s crucial that medicine encourages and welcomes them as providers.

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Your voice does matter.  So call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

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Hit By A Bus

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Our newest co-host has already had a taste of fame.

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“And that’s when I new I wanted to be a doctor.” Photo by ThoseGuys119

Abby Fyfe joins the crew this time, along with Aline Sandouk, Jayden Bowen, and Aditi Patel.  Turns out, Abby is an old hand at being internet famous, because she was (trigger warning) once run over by a bus. True story.  She has since regained her 3-dimensional shape, but did she mine that experience for her med school applications?

But first, listener Tyler wants to know: is your undergrad institution’s reputation an important factor for med school admissions committees? And we got some feedback from Alex, an actual registered dietician, and Blake responds to a recent question from Courtney about raising kids during med school.

Later, Jayden quizzes us: can we guess what these genes do based on their very geeky names?

This Week in Medical News

In light of recent scandals in research and retractions of studies, an article in Molecular Cell proposes a Hippocratic Oath for scientists.  And there’s a new opioid possibly coming to market that is 500 times more powerful than morphine.

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What experiences did you mine for your med school application? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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Nebraska has questions.

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Jennifer Andersen, a sociology PhD student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, teaches a course called Sociology of Health and Health Care.  She reached out to us to propose that her students would send in questions for us as an extra credit assignment, which was a great idea we jumped on because it meant Dave would barely have to prepare for this show…I mean, it’d be a great education opportunity for her students’ young, fertile minds.

Ahem. Aaanyhow, her students really stepped up with some great topics for Aline Sandouk, Aditi Patel, and new co-hosts Kelsey Anderson and Jacob Chrestenson.  So come along with us as we dive into questions like, have you ever had to do something in med school that wasn’t ethical,  is it better to come to medical school with an open mind about your eventual career, and what’s it like working with different attendings all the time? They’ve got answers to all these queries and a lot more.

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What do you want us to talk about on a future show?   Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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Listeners Revolt!

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We love listener feedback…even when it’s negative 🙂

And this whole obesity thing is really great for generating negative listener feedback.  For instance, Marlene thought our comments on nutrition were mostly wrong.  And Laura didn’t seem happy with what we thought was our neutral stance on keto, either, as she’s having some success with it…although a lack of carbs looks just as bad as a bunch of carbs.  We could ride this obesity gravy train all the way…but Dave is le tired.

Fortunately for our egos, a while back we managed to give some good advice to Victoria on interviewing , who called back to give Irisa Mahaparn, Aline Sandouk, and newbs Justin Hababag and Annee Rempel some GREAT news!  Go, Victoria!

This Week in Medical News

Are you ready to share your brains with other people?  Are you ready to drink your own urine?  Are you ready to not choose a medical school based on it’s ranking in US News & World Reports?  We think hard about those important questions.

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Have we stepped on your sacred cow?  Are you happy with our advice? Have we done anything useful today? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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Bonus Episode! Why You Might Want an MD/PhD

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All about Medical Scientist Training Programs

The MD isn’t the only degree offered by many medical schools.  For those who get excited about data, research, and advancing medical knowledge, you can add a Doctor of Philosophy degree.  Of course, there are those who get their PhD separately from their Medicinae Doctor.  Others get their PhDs from combined degree programs, including Medical Scientist Training Programs (MSTP).

Aline Sandouk and Jayden Bowen took on the topic with a number of first-year MSTP students–why is an MD/PhD something you should consider?  Join them and Ossama Abu-Halawa, Hassan Ahamed, Akansha Jain, Madi Mix, Nate Mullin, Miranda Schene, Hannah Van Ert, and Qi Wang as they reveal reasons you might want to consider this sort of combined degree and the types of programs to choose from.

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What questions do you have about MSTP or MD/PhD programs? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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Ambien Dreams

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This week, listener Jen sent us an article from JAMA in which the author bemoans his tendency to let the electronic health record (coupled with his data-entry difficulties) dominate his attention at the expense of his ability to really see and empathize with his patients.  The cost: missing clues that indicate a patient’s progressive decline and family dynamics that contribute to the condition.

Meanwhile, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend find themselves chewing on sleeping pill side effects, causing us to wonder–why is Ambien still on the market, unless it’s to create really great slam poetry?  And we practice our teamwork in a mobile game called SpaceTeam, proving perhaps that not all such games make for good podcast fodder–you decide, but don’t @ us, we already know the answer.

This Week in Medical News

Will we see a shift in the standard of care for appendicitis, now that a Finnish study has backed up the mounting evidence that it can often successfully without surgery?  And a study on the high costs of poor healthcare around the world suggests that fixing it will cost 6% of the cost of doing nothing.

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Do you have suggestions for what we should talk about on SCP? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Pick your favorite!

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Bonus Episode! Palliative Care: A Perspective from A Land Where It Barely Exists, ft. Dr. MR Rajagopal

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Palliative care is not a thing in India, mostly.

In most of India, palliative care–a medical specialty focused on improving the quality of life of people with life-limiting or disabling diseases–is available to only 1% of people who need it.  But in Kerala, one organization is making lots of headway in promoting this vital specialty.  In this episode, Pallium India’s founder, chairman, and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr. MR Rajagopal visited the University of Iowa College of Medicine to talk about their efforts to introduce to Indian providers a new way of thinking about pain and other symptoms by providing emotional, social and spiritual support.

As you might expect from such a practitioner, Dr. Rajagopal is an extraordinarily thoughtful man with a kind, quiet voice that belies what must be an extraordinary force of will needed to accomplish his goals.  Tony Rosenberg, Ellie Ginn, Rachel Schenkel, and Jayden Bowen discussed how he began his journey, what his fellow Indian providers made of these ideas, and what his hopes are for the future of palliative medicine around the world.

We Want to Hear From You

Do you or anyone in your family have experience with palliative care? Tell us about it at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  We’d love to hear from you!

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What Skinny Doctors Don’t Get About Their Obese Patients

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Let’s just keep talking about treating obesity

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Photo by rawdonfox

Fifi Trixiebell (not her real name) wrote to theshortcoats@gmail.com asking us to discuss what medical students learn about nutrition, and whether they think the keto diet is just another fad.  Luckily, Madeline Slater, Emma Barr, Kyle Kinder, and newbie Sam Palmer–M1s all–just had a unit on nutrition so that’s an easy one.  But Fifi Trixiebell had written in before, a message which–despite his policy of answering every listener question–Dave had passed over.  Why did he ignore it?  He’s not sure; it was a while back, but it may have triggered him (though, to be clear, it wasn’t Fifi’s fault).  We also discuss an article from HuffPo about the “unique and persistent trauma” doctors visit upon their obese patients.

Plus, with the announcement of the 2018 Ig Nobel Prizes, we cover the weird winners in medicine; and Dave puts his co-hosts to the test on their knowledge of past winners.

This Week in Medical News

Sure, when a person is stressed out, the cortisol and adrenaline circulating in the blood mediate the body’s responses, but what about mitochondrial DNA?  Perhaps your mom really is trying to kill you!

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Have you ever heard from a perfect stranger how to fix your life? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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Broadcasts from the amazing and intense world of medical school.