Thursday, May 29, 2008

Halfway there...

So today marked the official end of my last exam of my St. Andrews career. Essentially, I am halfway to becoming a doctor (assuming I passed this round and all future rounds of exams). It's quite scary, actually, but exciting at the same time. In proper St. Andrews tradition, my friend all showed up with massive amounts of water and drenched me the moment I left the Bute building. It was freezing but hey, traditions are traditions, and that's half of what St. Andrews is popular for (the other half being that the prince studied here)/

Will be quite busy this summer with revision and other such things, not sure if i'll find time to post. So if not, see y'all next year for the start of my clinicals!!


Monday, May 19, 2008

New CPR Protocol


Sorry for the lack of posting, been fairly busy with dissertation presentations, studying for final OSCE of St. Andrews, and sorting out living arrangements and other things for next year.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Comparison of Gene Expression and DNA Copy Number Data to Identify Amplicons in Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer is one of the primary causes of death in women in the world. Many genes have been implicated in the predisposition to this disease. In this experiment, chromosomal copy number changes were analyzed alongside gene expression. Using CGH technology, changes in DNA copy number in four tumors were used to detect areas of DNA Amplification. Gene expression levels found on 250k SNP arrays were inspected to match areas of increased expression with the previously found amplicons. Areas of correlated expression were sought in the hopes of locating specific genes being over-expressed, with the possibility they are driver genes of the amplicon, and therefore possible oncogenes. Of the eighteen amplicons found, four yielded posivtive correlation results (correlation hugher than 0.6 within a 1 megabase genomic window). The amplicons on Chromosomes 17, 12, 8, and 6 were analyzed in more detail.

I can now honestly say that I am FINISHED with my dissertation, as I submitted it for printing this morning. I still need to do our "portfolio entry" (they love making us 'reflect', as practice for later), as well as fill out a questionnaire, pick up the printed version, and hand it in; but the hard bit is over! Today is alll relaxation, and getting ready for the parties of the week.

If anyone wants to check out the full dissertation (no idea why you would), drop me a line and I'll send it your way.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Quick Update

As the Dissertation deadline for submission draws closer and closer, I realize more and more that I have NO IDEA what I'm writing about. I have a general idea as to the topic and I understand some of the more basic, broad things that I am reading in these articles (all for my intro), but for every 1 thing I read that I understand, there must be 5 more that I have no idea what the hell is going on. I have resigned to just pretend like I know what I'm doing, keep writing a bunch of random words down on paper, and hope for the best.

One things for sure - I'm definitely not going into research.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

1 Year Blogiversary!

Today marks the 1 year mark of my starting this blog. I was quite bored during reading week (aka procrastinating) and had been reading medical blogs for quite a while, and decided I should write one myself.

To date, I have written 88 posts (much lower than I expected when I started), and have received 6,261 hits (definitely much MORE than I expected!). I have had quite the time this past year, with plenty of things happening, not only to me but the world as well.

I would like to say thanks to all the people who read this, and hope you have enjoyed it. I definitely plan to keep this going, especially once I start my clinical time in Preston, so stay tuned!



Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fake memories...

hmm...saw this on a friend's blog, decided to see if anyone here would give it a go!

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, (even if we don't speak often) please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE-UP AND FICTIONAL memory of you and me.

It can be anything you want - good or bad - BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE.

When you're finished, post this little paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people DON'T ACTUALLY remember about you.

In other news, I have essentially gotten all my data for my dissertation, and my advisor says that "in theory, in two weeks time, I should have written the whole thing". So yeah, basically all during my spring break at home, I'll be writing (if I can motivate myself, that is!) I still have 2 weeks after that to finalize, etc, but it's nice to finally have a deadline, of sorts.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Me in a nutshell...

Saw this picture on the internet today, thought it summed up my life quite well lol...

In other news, tonight is the Bute Ball, the big medical school ball put on by the Bute Medical Society. At the beginning of my 1st year, I told myself that to the 3rd year Bute Ball, I would wear a kilt (and associated outfit). Well, that day is finally upon us, and the kilt is here (rented). I'm quite excited but also a little apprehensive...we'll see how it goes.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

QUB Scrubs Emergency Medicine 2008, Day 1

So, Day 1 (of 2) is over of the QUB Scrubs Emergency Medicine conference for 2008. It was pretty good, although a lot of the morning lectures I've heard before (ABCDE, causes of SOB/ACS, etc etc), but it was still fun because the friends who came with my from St. Andrews and I were passing writing notes to one another on our little notepads...

After lunch, there was a circuit of 6 skills stations, including Cannulation, ABG taking, ABG interpretations, some Sim-Man sessions with the Territorial Army, which were really awesome because I got to use my ABCDE skills from the ILS sessions as well as my EMT-B training from back home to care for a "soldier" (SimMan dressed in army gear) who had been a prolonged extraction from an crash.

Tomorrow looks to be interesting as well, with different lectures including things like Diabetic and Obstetric Emergencies, as well as more skills stations, like suturing and defibrillation. These topics are more fun than what you'd study in a medical assistant degree program.

Anyway, my friends and I are going to relax after a MASSIVE dinner at Villa Italia, and might just watch a movie and get ready for tomorrow!


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Emergency Medicine Conference

Later tonight 3 friends and I are headed over to Belfast for the Scrubs QUB Emergency Medicine Conference ( I went back in first year when it was the first year of the conference, and I LOVED it. It looks to be bigger and better this year, so I'm quite looking forward to it. I will hopefully post pics/update, but then again, I seem to be neglecting my blog more and more recently.

If by chance you're headed to the conference as well, drop me a line! (I'll have my laptop with me)


Monday, February 25, 2008


Funny Facts
Each of you [visitors] will be getting a different "fact" about me...feel free to refresh to get another one lol

Last Friday and Saturday were two of the best days of medical school I have had so far. Friday was the first Cycle of MD4003 - Applied Medical Sciences. Besides our dissertation, it is the only class we have, taking up an entire Friday (9-4) once every fortnight. Hopefully I will find time to elaborate later (although I seem to find plenty of time to find meme's online...hmm). Friday I and 29 of my colleagues became ILS (Immediate Life Support) certified by the Resuscitation Council of the UK. It was basically a refresher of what I did back in the summer when I became an ACLS Provider back home in the states. It was still great fun, and luckily no one killed anyone with the defibs (they were live). The instructors were pretty laid back and funny, too, which always helps. Although after one of them gave the lecture on the ALS Algorith, I went up and asked him about a couple discrepancies between the UK algorith and the USA/AHA algorithm. He sort of laughed when I said I was American (I get that a lot), and then seemed to pick on me a bit for the rest of the day. Or maybe I was imagining it. At one point though when we were practicing, a put my stethoscope around my neck (y'know, because its the simplest place to put it), but then he came up to me and asked if I was a doctor and if not then why my scope was around my neck. I guess in Tayside they don't allow anyone but Consultants to wear them. Weirdos.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008


So I had another meeting with my dissertation adviser today, and I think we've changed my project completely. It's ok though, because this one doesn't go completely over my head like the last one.

From what I understand, I'm meant to analyze patterns in 4 biopsies of breast cancers, look for DNA amplicons, and try and match them to known gene transcription regions in the human genome. For example, on chromosome 17, there is a large area of DNA amplification on the "q" segment (lol don't I sound fancy - I barely even understand what I'm saying!), and when you match that to the human genome, you see that this is the are in which the HERB B2 binding site is. This is the major site of action of the relatively new anti-breast cancer drug, herceptin. So basically I'm supposed to spend the next few days or so looking at different amplification regions, and looking for patterns of areas of genomic transcription. Or something like that. Maybe I've completely misunderstood, or am just spewing complete BS to look smart.

Probably that last one. lol.


Friday, February 15, 2008


So it looks like I'll be doing some type of research about p53 transcription factor binding sites for my dissertation. If that went over your head when you read it, don't worry - it went straight over mine too, especially when my advisor was trying to explain it to me. All I know is that p53 is a protein that regulates the cell cycle, and it's very important in cancer.

From what I understand about the project, which he said was origianlly supposed to be a PhD project for a Bioinformatics PhD (WTF?!), he wants me to use some random online genome browsers etc to search for p53 transcription factor binding sites, and find all the ones that have to do with cancer. Or something like that. I'm still not completely sure yet. We'll see how that goes lol.

In other news, the Deans of the Manchester Hospitals are coming for their annual visit next Wednesday, if I have time/remember, maybe I'll make a post about how it went. I tend to neglect this blog, even when I don't have a lot of stuff to do. However with this new, semi-empty schedule of this semester, I've had to schedule my own life (Outlook(r) runs my life!) and I tend to leave out things like "blogging" and "relaxing" times lol.

Also, USMLE revision has slowly begun. Some colleagues and I have set up a small weekly study group, and while our first meeting was somewhat of a bust, I think it should get better. Hopefully I (and everyone else) will actually do the work before the session this time.

On the fitness front, I am trying to use this open schedule to my advantage. I wrote a 3-day workout plan for me and my 2 gym buddies, and it's pretty hardcore, if I do say so myself. I've also started taking some new supplements (including a ridiculous 11-tablet multivitamin that turns your piss bright yellow [but don't worry, those are just the B-vitamins]), but I won't really talk about them on here until they work (or not). I am also going on morning walk-jog intervals (I hate calling them runs/jogs because a majority of the time is spent walking, with intermittent jogging) with one of my gym buddies (the other won't wake up that early). All this combined with a 1300-calorie-a-day deficit is keeping me on track with my new short-term weight/body fat loss goals.

So, while I realize this is quite the random post about everything, I'll summarize by saying everything, all in all, seems to be going quite well (and of course the moment I post this something will go horribly wrong).

Until next time,


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Happy Superbowl Sunday!

In my eyes, the #1 SuperBowl commerical of ALL TIME:

and yes, I DO consider today a holiday. lol.

Enjoy the game, everyone!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

B-52, eh?

Stolen from AD

What military aircraft are you?

B-52 Stratofortress

You're a B-52. You are old and wise, and you absolutely love destruction. You believe in the principle of "peace through deterrence" and aren`t afraid to throw your weight around.

Personality Test Results

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cherry Chocolate Diet Dr. Pepper

Oh my god. I love the new Dr. Pepper flavor. My sister hates it, but I tend to go for these off the wall type flavors (including the last Dr. Pepper creation - Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper).

In other news, I'm bored sitting here at home with nothing to do. I should probably start some USMLE Step 1 revision, but I can't seem to motivated to get my @$$ off my bed long enough for anything besides eating and going to the gym. If anyone has any recommendations as to how to pass the time, please send them my way :-D


Sunday, January 27, 2008

The 6 Month Mark - a.k.a. the "secret" to weight loss

Disclaimer: Any product endorsements written here are solely based on personal experience and preference. I have not been paid/bribed/bamboozled/hypnotized into writing anything, good or bad, about them, so yeah...

Today (January 27th, 2008) marks the 6 month anniversary of the day I turned my life around.

I was a 6'3", 280lbs (127kg/20 stone), and 29.1% body fat. I had always seemed to have been in denial about my weight - I always knew I was big (I was 10.5lbs at birth - and only went up from there), but I never really thought I "looked" it. My entire life, my parents had been on my case about my weight, always telling me to exercise (but also always feeding me so much), but I would never listen. I had high cholesterol (although I also have a bi-parental history) and my blood pressure was starting to look dangerous. This, as you may imagine, is not normal for a 19 year old boy. But even still, I wrote it off - I had always been happy being 'big', except of course when I would be out of breath and sweaty just from walking to class. I had tried to lose weight in the past, but like many, never succeeded.

Then, something seemingly small led to something big: on our family trip to the Dominican Republic, I wasn't allowed on the free horse ride because they had a 200lb (90kg/14.3 stone) limit. This didn't bother me at all, but when we got back to the hotel, my parents had a fit. When we returned home, my mom called a family friend who had worked with a personal trainer, and we called him. The next day, July 27th, 2007, was the day my life turned around - the day I started with my personal trainer at 24hour Fitness, my bodybugg, and my new life.

The dieting and the exercise started immediately, and is quite literally the "secret" to weight loss. It's simple math: Calories Out - Calories In = Weight Lost. I was introduced to the bodybugg, and while the price was a pretty steep deterrent, we decided to go for it. Basically, you wear the bodybugg on your arm all day (and all night, if you prefer - I don't because I tend to sleep on my side), and then plug it into your computer. It uploads the information that it takes from a bunch of sensors inside, and uses them to calculate how many calories you've burned. It's surprisingly accurate, and not only gives you the day's total (or how much so far that day), but displays graphs of minute-by-minute burn. It's quite amusing to be able to visually see how certain things increase your burn, e.g. working out, and how others bring it back down to your BMR (basal metabolic rate), like sitting on your butt watching TV. It also asks you to type in the Nutritional Information for the foods you've eaten that day, and I think this is the major player in the weight loss. Having to type in your food leads to a certain amount of personal accountability. It makes you constantly look at the BACK of the food container, where the important stuff is, not just the front, where they try and lure you in with how tasty their food looks.

Using the information it has from your bodybugg and the information you give it about your food, it calculates a deficit/surplus (I can proudly say I have never been in a surplus - not even on Thanksgiving), which helps you estimate how much weight you should be losing. The bodybugg creates a "goal" burn, intake, and deficit based on how much weight you want to lose, and by when. As long as you stick to the numbers it gives you, you'll be on track to your goal in no time.

So, back to my story - I was in the gym, with my trainer, 5-6days a week, moving from core stabilization to resistance training, followed by cardio. With everything I have experienced in the past 6 months, I will say (as will countless other fitness buffs out there) that those are the 2 key ingredients (along with diet) to maximize your weight loss. Cardio burns calories like no other (especially the elliptical trainer, rowing machine, and treadmill), and resistance training strengthens your body and adds muscle mass, which increases the amount of calories you burn all day.

The only "supplement" I used all summer was a protein powder called Muscle Milk. Protein shakes after workouts are important for keeping your lean muscle tissue (although with any drastic amount of weight loss, expect a significant drop in lean body mass) and to maximize the effectiveness of resistance training. I had tried other protein powders in the past as well, which is why I was skeptical of this as well (as you may tell, I went into this whole 'personal trainer' business warily, constantly keeping watch for scams, etc). But again, I decided what the hell, and bought it. It was actually pretty tasty, but whether it had any significant effect on my loss, I can't tell you for sure.

With this routine of diet and exercise, the pounds started falling off (see the "Progress" column, to the right - now you all know what it is, if you haven't figure it out already lol). By the time summer finished and it was time for me to get back to school, I was down to 251.5lbs (114.3kg/17.9stone) and 22.4% body fat. I felt like a changed man - my clothes fit better, I had more self confidence, and people were noticing a difference (it's an amazing confidence boost, let me tell you!).

However, I wasn't even closed to finished (and I'm still not). When I returned to University, I decided not to let the ridiculously unhealthy hall food and freezing weather ruin all my hard work. I continued making the right choices about what/how much I ate, and I was back in the gym, Monday-Wednesday-Friday. For those of you who find going to the gym tedious and boring, a tip I suggest is finding a friend who thinks the same thing. Not only will you keep each other motivated (the friend I go with constantly calls me fat-ass - but only after I started dropping the weight - it's an amusing incentive to constantly prove him wrong), but it makes the workouts go quicker and makes them more fun.

By December, I was down another 30lbs and 6% body fat. My clothes were no longer fitting (I have never, in my life, been able to say that something was "too big" for me - I was as big as they come, with a 52" chest and 42" waist.) But this Christmas break, amongst the multitude of sales, I was finally able to buy nice clothes that fit well, rather than having to settle for whatever came in my size. I'm down to a 44-46 chest and a 36-38 waist. It's absolutely amazing.

Essentially, I'm writing this whole story as a motivation to those like me. If you put your mind to it and set goals, you can do it. It just takes the right mindset, attitude, and some basic knowledge of what you're doing to achieve what you want. Emotional support from family and friends helps too. Who knows, you might even get a poster up in your gym like I do now!

I am currently at ~220lbs (100kg, 15.7 stone) and 20% body fat, so I'm not even close to being finished. Who knows, if both the weight loss and this blog keep going, maybe you'll see another post such as this one in another 6 months :-)

If any of you need advice, motivation, information, workout/diet plans, etc, feel free to leave a comment and I will gladly help where I can.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Traveling time, once again...

So I'm currently sitting at my gate, waiting for my flight back home to start boarding. The travel this time has been surprisingly easy, completely contradictory to the normal airport/airline stereotypes I usually run into. I had an empty check in line, cleared through a nearly empty security checkpoint, and had a fairly empty domestic flight (am currently waiting for my international flight).

Uh oh, they just called the boarding. I am looking forward to 2 weeks of nothingness at home!


Monday, January 21, 2008

VizD winner!

Looks like I won last week's VizD challenge. If you haven't ever checked out NY Emergency Medicine, it's a great site, and it has a weekly challenge called "VizD":

VizD is a weekly contest of an interesting or pathognomonic image from emergency medicine. Its goal is to integrate learning into a fun and relaxed environment. All images are original and are posted with the consent of the patient.
Well, last week was clubbing, and since it was one of the only VizD challenges I have ever been able to answer fully of my own accord (eg without google/wikipedia), I submitted answers, and it looks like I won! It's always a plus when theres something random like this showing you that you're actually soaking up some of the information they throw at you :-P

So yeah, check it out!


Heh heh...

OSPE on Wednesday. I was a patient for 2nd year OSPEs today...might write a post with the amusing things they all did (e.g. "On Palpitation and Awskyoolation")...

We'll see how it goes. For now, enjoy the comic


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Because Cal doesn't believe me...

I took the thing again.

92 words

Touch Typing online

And to prove it: (click)

heh. and the spanking continues...


p.s. If I fail my exams tomorrow, I'm blaming you.

A little de-stress before bed...

88 words

free Touch typing

Seen on Short White Coats.

off to bed so i can wake up early, been doing this early morning cardio thing and it leaves me quite tired throughout the day, more from the lack of sleep than anything else.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Contrary to popular belief...

I have not fallen off the face of the planet. I am currently busy studying for my exams, which will be over soon (SAQ on Wednesday, MCQ on Friday, OSPE on the following Wednesday). I am horribly behind schedule on revision, and as such, will get back to it now.

I will try and update on life later.


Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy New Year, 2008!

Hey guys, I know its a few days late but Happy New Year everyone! My family and I went on quite a long road trip last week, visiting family and family friends along the way. New Year's eve was pretty tame, watched Ratatouille and Hot Rod.

Along the trip, we spent a night with a family friend who is an Internal Medicine/Hepatology Physician. We went on a tour of his new office, and let me tell you, the feeling I got when I walked in there made me want to reconsider a future in an office-based practice. He runs a totally paperless practice, using EMR software called eClinicalWorks. It was pretty awesome, letting him do basically everything he/the nurse/the receptionist needs to do, and its all amalgamated into one piece of software. I promise I'm not being paid to toot their horn, and all the info I've seen on it is based on the little 10-minute run through that he gave me, but it looks like my kind of office lol. Computers in each exam room (I would go with a single tablet PC, but whatever), a computer for the nurse, one for the receptionist, and involved faxing prescriptions, telephone records, everything.

SO, I was kind of excited for a little bit, and then all of a sudden, our family friend doc starts talking about how the work he puts in isn't really being reciprocated by reimbursements, etc. He was one of the few people to try and convince me to go into ER medicine. Anyway, that's definitely something to think of in the future...we'll see how it goes (gotta pass the Step 1 first!)

As my winter break comes to a close, I'm not looking forward to going back to St. Andrews for a week of revising and then 2 weeks of exams...but I definitely am looking forward to the 2 week break after that - one of the good parts of the St. Andrews calendar :-D