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The Differential

A Disease a Day

Vincent Migliaccio Michaelson, Medical Student, 01:51PM Oct 28, 2017

O&Med School of Medicine

Reading for pleasure is an excellent way to learn; this means reading things because we want to not because we were assigned them. It brings about many positive impacts, including increasing vocabulary, gaining insight into people's attitudes, and learning general knowledge and trivia. When you choose something to read just because you want to, it tends to seem more interesting, and what you read tends to stick more.

If we apply this to medicine it can work really well. A few years into my career, I didn't have much knowledge about the multitude of diseases and syndromes out there. I knew the names of some and key things about them. I was limited by what I didn't know. I was in a class one day, and a professor of mine said he read about one disease/syndrome per day. This meant that by the end of a year, he knew about 365 more disease than he did before. This was impressive. I didn't start the practice until recently.

I started the practice a few months ago, when I was at a medical conference. A syndrome known as Brugada syndrome was mentioned. I had never heard of it nor remembered seeing it. This is when I jotted it down in order to look for it later. This is how I usually get the syndrome or disease to look up that day. It can be from a movie or TV show. A syndrome/disease gets mentioned that I haven't yet been exposed to, and I look into it. I do this for a couple of reasons. First, I am curious and enjoy finding out new things; second, I can't diagnose something I have never seen. Maybe I will never see a patient with any of those diseases or syndromes, but what if I do? 

Here are a few syndromes I have recently looked into:

  • Usher syndrome

  • Hammon syndrome/Macklin syndrome

  • Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis

What about you? Can you learn about a disease a day?
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Medical school and residency can be a stressful, demanding time. These medical students share their insights and experiences, good and bad, in order to create a community of support and understanding for medical students everywhere.

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