Student gets study help from a professorEditors’ Note: Before physicians with M.D. degrees can practice medicine in the U.S., they must pass a multipart professional exam called the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Preparation for the challenging three-part exam can provoke anxiety. In this blog post, we look at best practices for preparing for Step 1—the eight-hour, 300-plus-question first portion of the exam that assesses whether a student has a proper command of the basic science concepts needed to practice medicine. Passing Step 1 is a requirement at nearly all U.S medical schools in order to continue into third year medical school curriculum.

by Kristina Petersen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of microbiology & immunology
Co-Director of the Office of Academic Support & Counseling

Not looking forward to locking yourself away in a room to study for Step 1? Almost every med student has to undergo the grueling experience of studying for and passing Step 1. Is it simply a rite of passage? An unpleasant experience everyone must survive? Not necessarily. There are a few things you can do to help yourself thrive on Step 1 from the time you arrive at medical school…. Interested? Read on! [click to continue…]

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Hepatitis C - orange and yellow text

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) continues to be the number one cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer and the primary indicator for liver transplantation in the United States, yet it remains vastly underdiagnosed.

More than three million people in the U.S. are infected. Guidelines support widespread screening for HCV, and excellent treatments are now available.

So the question remains: why is HCV underreported? [click to continue…]

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Nutritional label with focus on fats.

With the Mediterranean diet all the rage, not only because consumers like its tasty composition but because of research touting its health benefits, experts have had to become more specific about recommendations for fats.

There’s a steady drumbeat these days—from everyone from chefs to food writers to health gurus—criticizing nutritionists and the “diet police,” who, they claim, told consumers to avoid fats and keep everything fat-free.

This makes for good hype, but I know of not one registered dietitian/nutritionist or any respectable and knowledgeable physician—not a single one—who ever said that. Ever. [click to continue…]

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E-cig on top of broken regular cigarette

The debate over e-cigarettes has been heating up. Are the smokeless, battery-powered, nicotine-dispensing devices a gateway to smoking for young people or a helpful way for smokers to quit? Public health experts can be found on both sides of the debate. [click to continue…]

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Autism therapy featuring shapes

The recent report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on increasing autism prevalence has created concern among parents, headlines in the media and enough questions to warrant additional exploration.

The findings from 2010 data show that autism now affects 1 in 68 children, up 30 percent from the last analysis, released two years ago, which reported that 1 in 88 children was affected. Should we panic? No. [click to continue…]

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translational research

Translational research is a catchphrase in biomedical circles these days. But if you’re confused about what the term really means, you’re not alone. 

It was 35 years ago when I first heard the term “translation” in a scientific context. It was about enabling basic research undertaken by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to find its way into treatments for patients. Though that sounds pretty straightforward, I still have to explain it not only to the lay public but even to my colleagues. Why? One reason may be that translational research no longer just describes a process, but characterizes an entirely new discipline.  [click to continue…]

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