Tag Archives: genetics

The Laws that are Shrinking the Telomeres of OB/Gyn Residents

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Admissions counselor Megan Kosovski joins Aline Sandouk, Emma Barr, Nick Lind, and Hannah Van Ert for this show, because we had a listener question from a Canadian listener not-named “Molson.” What’s it like, Molson wanted to know, for a Canadian to apply to medical school in the US, which he’s considering doing since Canadian schools are so few and the odds are so low.  Molson, pull the tab on that brewski and we’ll get you sorted.

As Executive Producer Jason Lewis is leaving us for greener pastures, Dave is preparing to take part in interviewing his replacement.  Which means that he’s gotta rev up his BS detector so he can help select the right person.  With that in mind, can his co-hosts detect the BS or truth found within the often ridiculous claims found Snopes.com?


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This Week in Medical News

A tragic incident of a trans man losing his baby after a series of errors and confusion related to his gender is detailed in a case study.  Yet another reason for the US graduate medical education system to change how it treats residents might be found in their shrinking telomeres.  And the risks to OB/Gyn training that recent abortion bills in Alabama and elsewhere are posing (WARNING: politics and conspiracy theories ahead!).

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Doubts, Needles, and Measles

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vaccination photo
Photo by Dr. Partha Sarathi Sahana

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Listener Jen sent an email to theshortcoats@gmail.com asking M4 Irisa Mahaparn, and M1s Nick Lind and Madeline Slater about the doubts they’ve experienced in their journey through medical education.  Oh, Jen.  The doubts they have experienced!  We discuss them, along with the sources of doubt and how they are learning to overcome them to achieve their goals.  Also, we try to give listener Ryan some ideas about his genetics course assignment.

We also visit the worst place on the internet to get medical advice, Yahoo! Answers, and discover a potential new treatment for desert-based constipation.  All it needs is a good clinical trial and a few not-squeamish human subjects!

This Week in Medical News

As the measles outbreaks in the northwestern US and elsewhere continue, Clark County in Washington has experienced a jump in vaccination rates of 500%, almost as if people are starting to trust science.  Inventors at MIT and Harvard are both working on swallowable injectors, which sounds worse than it is.  And is Wikipedia good enough for med schools to use it in some way?  It depends, of course.

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What are your rejection stories? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

Continue reading Doubts, Needles, and Measles

The MD path or the PA path

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When thinking about  a career in medicine, those who are leaning towards getting an MD often consider the Physician Assistant path; and if they’re leaning towards a PA career they often consider the Medical Doctor path.  On this show, PA students Steffanie Robertus and Terry Hayes join MD students Emma Barr and Katie Christel explore the similarities between their educational journeys, the exams they’ll take, the career paths, and the lifestyles they’ll enjoy.  Then, Dave pits the two teams against each other in a fight to the death.  Or was it a trivia contest?

This Week in Medical News

Have you ever wondered if “defecation postural modification devices” (i.e., those potty stools recommended by unicorns to help you poop) really work?  So do gastroenterologists and their friends.  Cancer rates have dropped a whole bunch in the last few decades.  And a Chinese researcher who edited the genomes of twin baby girls is either in danger of being put to death or is doing just fine thank you.

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Love or hate the Squatty Potty? Need advice? Have questions? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Tell us all about it.

Continue reading The MD path or the PA path

Hit By A Bus

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

school bus photo
“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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Putting the Anxiety Cart Before the Horse

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Anxiety about your competitive specialty ambitions in your first year isn’t worth it.

anxiety photoListener Luis wrote in expressing his anxiety that his med school–which he’ll begin attending this fall–doesn’t have the prestige or programs to support his desire for a competitive specialty like ophthalmology.   If that’s the case, he wondered, what can he do to increase his chances of obtaining his dream career?  Fortunately for Luis, Irisa Mahaparn, Gabe Conley, Brendan George, Jason Lewis, and new co-host Andres Dajles were on hand to give Luis the advice and encouragement he needs…and a tiny dose of tough love, too.

Also, Dave indulges in his interest in tech startup culture by having his co-hosts pitch to him random product ideas for random people.

This Week in Medical News

Did an astronaut’s genetic code change after being in space?  Of course not.  Should med students upgrade their stupid brains with “cognitive prosthetic” implants?  Anything to pass that test!  Should Dave have his brain turned to glass when his stupid body is ready to kick it so he can be uploaded to the cloud someday?  Er…ask again later?

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Would you get a chip in your head if it made you a better student?  Or is there a line you just won’t cross? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

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Should you consider romance when selecting a med school?

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Med school can test a relationship.

broken heart photo
Photo by Free For Commercial Use (FFC)

Lauren wrote in to ask us to what extent her love life should play a role in her selection of a medical school, and how we thought med school challenges relationships. Gabe Conely, Joyce Wahba, Claire Casteneda, and new host Brendan George discussed their perspective on how med school can affect romantic relationships, and what role it should play in the selection of a school to attend.

And, after reading an article about how blind people use echolocation–and that they were better at it even than previously thought–Dave thought up an experiment to test his co-hosts.  A stupid experiment, but he’s a podcast host not a doctor.

This Week in Medical News

The opioid epidemic isn’t going anywhere…and it’s getting worse despite the hand wringing done around the country about how to arrest it.  And 23andMe has the green light from the FDA to test customers for BRCA mutations.

We Want to Hear From You

Do you know anyone who echolocates? That’s something we all want to hear more about!  Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

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Recess Rehash: Henrietta Lacks vs. HeLa, and the People Behind the Specimens

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[With the news that HBO and Oprah Winfrey will release an adaptation of Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in April 2017, enjoy this discussion with Lacks’ great grandaughter and grandson, originally recorded in 2013]

The efficacy of any biomedical researcher is based on his or her foundation of scientific knowledge.  Few would have any problem grasping that idea.  What’s less well understood, by both researchers and laypeople alike, are the stories of the biological materials they work with.  Often these materials are cell cultures, tissue samples, human DNA.

From left to right: Dave Etler, Eboni Jones, Victoria Baptiste, David Lacks, Alison Pletch, and Greg Pelc.

Unlike the chemicals, reagents, test tubes, and machinery used in research, these materials often come from people.  That’s easily forgotten when they can be ordered from catalogs and websites in the way of other commodities. But those people, who may no longer live among us, have stories.  In the case of Henrietta Lacks, an African American woman who passed away in the early 1950s of cervical cancer, the cells taken from her without her or her families’ knowledge touched off a revolution in biomedical science.

Henrietta and Day Lacks (From
“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,”
R. Skloot, 2009)

They’ve contributed to the vaccine for polio, were the first cells to be cloned, and have been used in a number of cancer, virus, and pharmacological studies all over the world. Rebecca Skloot’s 2009 book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks noted that Mrs. Lacks’ cells have been used in more than 60,000 studies, and 300 more are being added each month.  They are of huge importance to science because they were the first so-called immortal cell line–unlike most cells, they divide and reproduce essentially without limit.  But though no-one in Henrietta Lacks’ family knew of their existence at first, the cells ultimately became of huge importance to her descendants.  In this episode, Alison Pletch, Eboni Jones, Greg Pelc, and I were honored to be able to welcome two members of the Lacks family to the show.  David Lacks is Mrs. Lacks’ grandson, and Victoria Baptiste is her great granddaughter, and they spoke with us about their ancestor, informed consent, and their work with the National Institutes of Health on HeLa cell research guidelines.

The opinions expressed in this feed and podcast are not those of the University of Iowa or the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

Recess Rehash: Here’s Lemons In Your Eyes

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lemon eye photo
You shall pay. Photo by ezhikoff

[Since Dave and the Writing and Humanities Program was putting on an art-and-medicine conference last week, we’re posting this rerun.  Enjoy!]

Dave helps Mark Moubarek, Amy Young, Rob Humble, and Corbin Weaver to practice their clinical skills by  answering random people’s “health” questions from the saddest place on the Internet. But first we discuss the AMA’s policy to support the ban on direct to consumer advertising of drugs and implantable devices, and how such advertising makes the doctor-patient relationship complicated. Will drug companies retaliate by advocating for bans on advertising doctors and hospitals to patients.  Researchers in the UK may be about to get the green light to edit the genes of human embryos seeking answers to why some miscarriages happen.  Are we approaching the slippery slope?

Continue reading Recess Rehash: Here’s Lemons In Your Eyes

Here’s Lemons In Your Eyes

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lemon eye photo
You shall pay. Photo by ezhikoff

Dave helps Mark Moubarek, Amy Young, Rob Humble, and Corbin Weaver to practice their clinical skills by  answering random people’s “health” questions from the saddest place on the Internet. But first we discuss the AMA’s policy to support the ban on direct to consumer advertising of drugs and implantable devices, and how such advertising makes the doctor-patient relationship complicated. Will drug companies retaliate by advocating for bans on advertising doctors and hospitals to patients.  Researchers in the UK may be about to get the green light to edit the genes of human embryos seeking answers to why some miscarriages happen.  Are we approaching the slippery slope?

Continue reading Here’s Lemons In Your Eyes

Burn due to water skis on fire

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Seems about right. Photo by emdot

Are you under-caffeinated but hate the kind of caffeine that doesn’t stick to the roof of your mouth?  Do you lack ways to describe unlikely illnesses and injuries with absurd specificity?  Then come along with us as Kaci McCleary, Dylan Todd (Todd Dylan?), Marc Toral, and Lisa Wehr explore medical news that makes us go hmm…
Continue reading Burn due to water skis on fire