Class Act

Warning: Drinking Cola May Be Dangerous To Your Health

May 11, 2011
Warning: Drinking Cola May Be Dangerous To Your Health

By Jessica Leifer

Faculty Peer Reviewed

As a new third year medical student excited to finally be seeing my own patients and still looking for my style as an interviewer, I approach the social history in the systematic way we have learned in the first 2 years of medical school. God forbid I leave something out. Over the past month of my first clerkship, I’ve grown comfortable with asking the uncomfortable questions: Are you currently sexually active? With men, women, or both? Do you use …

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Educating Patients About Sun Exposure

March 23, 2011
Educating Patients About Sun Exposure

By Courtney Maxey

Faculty Peer Reviewed

At this point it seems that the general public is aware of the relationship between exposure to the sun and skin cancer. It is troubling, however, that our culture still considers a dark tan to be “healthy” despite the World Health Organization’s classification of ultraviolet light emitted from tanning devices as a human carcinogen, based on observational studies that show a 75% increase in cutaneous melanoma in people using tanning devices before age 35. Protection from the harmful ultraviolet …

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Twisted Translation: Using Friends and Family Members As Medical Interpreters

March 18, 2011
Twisted Translation: Using Friends and Family Members As Medical Interpreters

By Nina Sainath, Class of 2011

 Faculty Peer Reviewed

According to the latest US Census Bureau report analyzing the use of languages in the United States, over 20% of Americans speak a language other than English at home. Of this population, greater than 24% report that they do not speak English well or do not speak English at all. With a United States population of more than 300 million, this makes over 70 million people with limited English proficiency.

Verbal communication is the primary tool …

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The Myth of the Helminth: Can Worms be the Next Therapeutic Breakthrough for IBD Patients?

March 16, 2011
The Myth of the Helminth: Can Worms be the Next Therapeutic Breakthrough for IBD Patients?

By Michael Guss, Class of  2012

Faculty Peer Reviewed

Helminths–parasitic worms that have co-evolved with humans and colonized our gastrointestinal (GI) tract for millennia–have developed the ability to modulate our inflammatory responses and evade our immune systems to survive . Until the 1930s, the helminth colonization of humans was almost universal, owing to poor sanitation conditions and an impure food supply . This changed as the economic development of the last century created improved sanitary conditions: clean running water, hygienic farming practices, and better medical …

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Culturally Competent Care: Primary and Preventive Health Care for Lesbian and Bisexual Women

March 2, 2011
Culturally Competent Care: Primary and Preventive Health Care for Lesbian and Bisexual Women

By Elizabeth P.  Gurney, MD

Faculty Peer Reviewed

In the United States, population-based studies estimate that 1-4% of women self-identify as lesbian or bisexual and 4-17% have had same-gender sexual activity since puberty. Since the publication a decade ago of the Institute of Medicine report urging investigation of health issues for lesbian and bisexual women, sensitivity to the unique challenges faced by this group has increased. Despite improvements in cultural competence and awareness training for physicians, lesbian and bisexual patients remain at increased risk of …

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Ramadan, Fasting, and Diabetes

February 25, 2011
Ramadan, Fasting, and Diabetes

By Sana Shah, Class of  2011

Faculty Peer Reviewed

The Islamic faith is characterized by five central pillars: the public declaration of one’s faith, five daily prayers, an annual tax to the poor, a pilgrimage to Mecca, and annual fasting. Muslims fast together during the month of Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and will next occur from August 1st-30th, 2011. The month begins 10 to 11 days earlier each year in the solar calendar and may occur during different …

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The Resurgence of Pertussis: Is Lack of Adult Vaccination to Blame?

February 23, 2011
The Resurgence of Pertussis: Is Lack of Adult Vaccination to Blame?

By Ijeoma Ejigiri, Class of 2011

Faculty Peer Reviewed

Whooping cough. 100 day cough.  Pertussis.  These are the various names for the disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.  This small gram-negative coccobacillus, transmitted via respiratory droplets, is responsible for causing coughing paroxysms followed by a long inspiratory gasp, during which the characteristic high-pitched “whoop” occurs.  These coughing paroxysms can last for ten weeks or longer, hence the moniker “100 day cough.”   The paroxysmal phase is usually preceded by a prodromal illness that is typically …

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A Vaccine Against Nicotine—New Hope or Mere Hype?

February 18, 2011
A Vaccine Against Nicotine—New Hope or Mere Hype?

By Carolan Hass, Class of 2012

Faculty Peer Reviewed

Cigarettes remain an anathema to many physicians.  Like so many unhealthy behaviors over which a clinician has little control, it can be frustrating to deal with a habit that can do so much harm to a patient, but which may be deeply entrenched in his daily life.  Although the percentage of current cigarette-smoking US adults has steadily decreased from 34.1% in 1978 to 19.8% in 2007 there remains vast room for improvement.  A fifty-percent reduction …

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Medical Work-Up of Uveitis

February 16, 2011
Medical Work-Up of Uveitis

By Mary Whitman, MD

Faculty Peer Reviewed

Clinical question:  What should the medical work-up be for an adult newly diagnosed with uveitis?

 Uveitis, defined as intraocular inflammation of the eye, can be idiopathic and limited to the eyes, or can be a manifestation of systemic inflammatory diseases and infectious diseases. 

 The single most common cause of uveitis is idiopathic. However, uveitis is a manifestation in spondylarthropathies, inflammatory bowel disease, Behcet’s Disease, and sarcoidosis, and may be the presenting symptom of these systemic disorders. Uveitis can …

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Resveratrol: The Modern Fountain of Youth?

February 9, 2011
Resveratrol: The Modern Fountain of Youth?

By Lee Rasamny

Faculty Peer Reviewed

For thousands of years, humans have been fascinated with the idea of slowing and perhaps even reversing the process of aging. From Ponce de León to modern research into substances like telomerase and resveratrol, philosophers, explorers, and scientists have dedicated countless hours to this pursuit.

Resveratrol, a substance found in the skin of red grapes and other plants such as eucalyptus, spruce, and lily, has developed a buzz for its hypothesized potential to slow the aging process in humans …

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The Doctor Versus the Google Search: How to Enrich the Provider-Patient Relationship in the Age of Internet Health Information

October 15, 2010
The Doctor Versus the Google Search: How to Enrich the Provider-Patient Relationship in the Age of Internet Health Information

By Suzanne MacFarland, MS4

Faculty Peer Reviewed

 There is a stranger in the clinic room, and it is not your patient.  This stranger is a multifaceted, opinionated entity with likely conflict-of-interest.  This new acquaintance has already spoken to your patient and influenced the direction of this visit in the form of health statistics, symptom explanations, and feared complications.  Now your patient wants to know what you think.  In an age when patients will often have diagnosed their problem before they walk through a clinic door, …

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Does Vitamin D Supplementation Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Events?

October 6, 2010
Does Vitamin D Supplementation Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Events?

By Karina Vivar, MS4

Faculty Peer Reviewed

Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in the U.S. and worldwide, and the problem appears to be worsening.  By definition, vitamin D deficiency is a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH D) level of less than 20 ng/mL.  Vitamin D insufficiency is defined as a serum 25-OH D level from 20 to 30 ng/mL.  Unless there is a high risk for fracture and a clinical suspicion of deficiency, it is not routine to screen for vitamin D deficiency, due to …

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