Tag Archives: Medicine

50 SUCCESSFUL HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL ESSAYS – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Title50 Successful Harvard Medical School Essays
Author(s)Staff of the Harvard Crimson
PublisherSt. Martin’s Griffin (8 June, 2020
FormatKindle, Paperback
Pages240
LanguageEnglish
ISBN# 10/131250244471 / 978-1250244475

AUTHOR

The Harvard Crimson is a non-profit student run newspaper at Harvard University. You can find out more about it here.

WHO IS THE TARGET AUDIENCE?

Applicants for pre-eminent Medical School Universities.

SYNOPSIS

The “Personal Statement” has been an intrinsic part of the British Ivy league universities since the late 1980s. Their purpose was to separate the hard empirical scores presented in examination results from the candidates soft character traits. Those traits form an important part of the selection process for medical school. These soft characteristics include the candidates experiences, motivations, and suitability to train in the medical field.

The Medical Profession requires particular requirements. The prospective student must have a combination of technical and scientific knowledge; as well as being personable, approachable, compassionate and have fine interpersonal communication skills.

Admission boards use the personal statement in addition to the applicants grade point averages to asses their level of maturity, communication skills and their critical thinking ability.

Prospective applicants often make the critical mistake of misunderstanding the importance of their personal statement. It is part of the wider selection metrics; such as their past academic performance, reference letter or personal interview. Yet the personal statement forms arguably their best opportunity to make a winning impression. This is where 50 Successful Harvard Medical School Essays becomes an excellent resource for those wishing to create effective applications that could give them the key to acceptance into the hallowed halls of medical school academia.

50 Successful Harvard Medical School Essays can enhance the likelihood of success through improvements to your personal statement preparation. The Staff of the Harvard Crimson provides the reader with 50 real-world examples of previously successful applicants. They highlight the myriad of key traits that the medical school selection committee will be looking for, such as:

Motivation

Empathy

Honesty

Enthusiasm

Commitment

Humor

Perseverance

Compassion

Emotional Stability

Each of the 50 essays has an analysis with helpful recommendations and explanations of the qualities that hold the greatest value to the selection committee. 50 Successful Harvard Medical School Essays will provide an advantage in your application process. I was happy to see that the editors made it clear that the process gives students with lower MCAT grades access to top medical schools. 50 Successful Harvard Medical School Essays does this by alerting the prospective applicant to the importance of a well-rounded character; educationally, socially, emotionally and psychologically. These traits are required to face the rigors of the medical school assault course.

CONCLUSION

50 Successful Harvard Medical School Essays is filled with important advice for anyone wishing to enhance their probability of receiving a placement offer at a leading medical institution. It provides practical guidance on how to approach a personal statement in order to make the best impression and showcase the desired characteristics universities are looking for.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank The Staff of the Harvard Crimson, NetGalley, and St. Martin’s Griffin for affording me the opportunity to review 50 Successful Harvard Medical School Essays.

The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Title The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior
Author Ivan Fuchs
Publisher Radius Book Group (April 19, 2019)
Format Kindle, Hardcover, Audiobook     
Page 604     
Language English     
ISBN #10 /#13 9781635766011  / 9781635766011     

“This book is an attempt to explain some of the phylogenetic mechanisms that brought about in humans the innate liability of developing varied forms of dysfunctional or maladaptive behavior, the graver of which are categorized as mental disorders.” The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Functional Behavior. (Fuchs, 2019, LOC 104).

Prescient

Please note, if you are not a psychiatric professional read the summary and then go to the Synopsis and take a look at the diagram I have provided for your understanding. If you are a mental heath professional please read on.

Author’s Bio

Dr. Ivan Fuchs is the author of The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior. Dr. Fuchs retired after 3 decades of experience gained from working as a Practitioner of Clinical Psychiatry. Originally from Hungary, Dr. Fuchs emigrated to Israel early in his career where he currently resides today with his family.  

“In my opinion, these mechanisms, or more exactly, their extreme poles on a diversified scale (as a result of relaxation of natural selective pressures), constitute the inherited foundations of most common mental disorders.” (Fuchs, 2019, LOC 209).

Who is the audience for this textbook?

Dr. Ivan Fuchs forms a thesis in The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior. Dr. Fuchs based his theory on his extensive professional experience; principally psychiatry, knowledge of biology, genetics, and primatology. Dr. Fuchs thesis is not peer reviewed or published in any professional scientific journals. Dr. Fuchs expresses doubt that this publication will have broad appeal and he believes that it will fall into a narrow niche’ primarily for medical professionals. Those most likely to benefit from reading Dr. Fuchs theory would be: Professional Mental Health Clinicians and Researchers; Research Fellows, Students of Psychological Medicine; Researchers of Psychiatric Medicine; Students of Psychiatry, and Clinical Psychiatrists interested in this evolving subject.

Synopsis

Due to the complexity of the Fuchs theory and the myriad of related co-dependencies, I have chosen to focus on the key concepts of his treaty. I’ve done this in order to minimize extraneous issues and to simplify the review to enhance understanding for the reader.

In brief, the author of The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior posits that there are two separate and distinct Natural Selection Pressures that have influenced human development over Phylogenetic Period. The Selective Pressures are the Active and Reactive Mechanisms of Mental Disorders.

Natural Selection Pressures

1. Active Mechanisms of Mental Disorders

Consisting of three key mechanisms; these are as follows:

  1. Forces of Natural Selection
  2. Intra-group Natural Selection Pressures (IGNSP’s)
  3. Late Stage of Human Evolution; Post Agricultural Revolution 10,000 years ago.

2. Reactive Mechanisms of Mental Disorders

4. Relaxation from Natural Selective Pressures due to genetically diverse factors including but not exclusive to: Cross cultural breeding, advances in democracy, proliferation of technology, and interbreeding.

Dr Fuchs volume does not contain any illustrations or models of his theory, so I have created one here to aid the reader in understanding his central concept.

Geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky “It is possible and indeed probable, that occupational differences between human populations usher in some correlated genetic differences” (Dobzhansky, 1962, p. 250). And: “When the environment is highly diversified, as it is in civilized societies, all these genotypes may find suitable opportunities.” (Dobzhansky, 1962, p. 250).

Dr. Fuchs proposes that the relaxation from Sexual Selection Pressures also have influence vis-à-vis the “Good Genes Hypothesis: (Buss, 2008, pp. 190-191), as well as “minor Marriage” custom of third-world cultures (Wilson, 1998, p. 175), where decisions relating to marriage are not made by the couple, but controlled by some authority figure often for the financial benefit of the bride’s family in the form of a dowry. Dr. Fuchs observes that only humans and some primates share aberrant behaviors and responses to Evolutionary Mechanisms. He also postulates that over time incidences and varieties of mental health disorders have increased in humanity arising from the Reactive Evolutionary Forces.

“To my knowledge no evidence exists that the human genome is changing in any overall direction. The big story in recent human evolution is not directional change, not natural selection at all, but homogenization through immigration and interbreeding. Its main consequence is the gradual erasure of previous racial differences. It also increases the range of individual variations within the population and across the entire species. Many more combinations of skin color, facial features, talents, and other traits influenced by genes, are new arising than ever existed before. Variance increases, the extremes are extended new forms of hereditary genius and pathology are more likely to arise.” (Wilson, 1998, pp. 271-273, emphasis added).

Conclusion

The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior by Dr. Ivan Fuchs is likely to be best received by medical professionals. Due to a combination of the complexity and virgin science nature of the subject, there will likely be limited interest from the laity. The appeal could be increased through the utilization of diagrams, images, lists, tables, and chronology; as well as empirical evidence. 

This book is based more on Dr. Fuchs opinion rather than on The Scientific Method. The complete lack of peer review papers, the absence of empirical and other supportive data impedes its worth. However, the theory is an interesting and challenging one. As with many books of its type it provides a very dry read. This dryness could be ameliorated through appropriate use of graphic enhancements. I also noticed a great deal of repetition within the text. The repetition Dr. Fuchs states is an aid to impress elements of his theory in the mind of the reader. 

I found the scattered nature of the sections in this book added to the difficulty of understanding the underlying theory. There was a lack of flow that created confusion at times; not due to the subject matter or the jargon but arising out of the jumps across multiple chapters. I found run-on sentences and the generally poor use of punctuation and grammar impeded the enjoyment of reading. The combination of writing style, lack of infographics, and poor punctuation made this book a beast to read. Happily, these limitations are easily remedied with the aid of a competent editor. To the editor please include a glossary of medical terms for the uninitiated.

Summary

For the layperson, this book discusses the opinions of Dr. Fuchs. In short, the idea is that in the past humanity and some primates collaborated on the basis of natural selection. This natural selection changed across time from Active to a Relaxation of the forces (pressures) that had earlier shaped humanity. In the later stage (Relaxation Phase) the pressures changed by external factors such as technology and interbreeding. As a result, there is speculated to be an increase in the number and variations of mental health disorders. It is also expected that there will be an increase in the numbers of geniuses and other gifted humans. The concept is interesting and challenges traditional theories. If you are interested in this topic, I would wait for the illustrated and re-edited version.   

Suggested Reading

Bake, M. (1998) Darwin’s Black Box: The biochemical challenge to evolution. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Sadock’s comprehensive textbook of psychiatry, 8th Ed., Col. 1 Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-lll) (Fuchs, (2019), LOC 3747). Link to the entire manual: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3176302/  

P. R Adoriaens &A. De Black (eds.), Maladapting minds: Philosophy, psychiatry, & Evolutionary theory. Oxford. OxfordUniversity Press.

Daly, M., & Wilson, M. (1995) The Man Who Mistook his Wife For a Chattel.

Perry, S. (2011). Manipulative monkeys: The capuchins of Lima’s Barbuda. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Acknowledgment

My sincere thanks go to: The Author, NetGalley, and the Publisher, for affording me the opportunity to review of The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior.

STEM CELLS IN REGENERATIVE MEDICINE – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine by Mike K. S. Chan & Dmitry Klokol
Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine by Mike K. S. Chan & Dmitry Klokol

Comprehensive review coming soon.

Title Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine:
Carpe Diem – Carpe Vitam!
Author Mike K. S. Chan, Dmitry Klokol
Publisher Matador (July 31, 2019)
Format Kindle     
Page 551     
Language English     
ASIN # B07VVL2MS7     

Brief Synopsis

Quote: “The goal is to provide a once in a lifetime treatment to correct a specific medical deficit.”

Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine Carpe Diem-Carpe Vital! (July 31, 2019).

This is a seminal monograph on the subject of the therapeutic application and use of stem cells in “regenerative medicine.” The science described within the pages of this text may be leading edge, but Chan and Klokol have attempted to keep the information accessible to the average reader. However, in some parts the comprehension of the complex science may be challenging. Research scientists and students of medical research may gain the greatest benefits of this work.

The text guides you through the multiple applications of the utilization of Stem Cells and the medical illnesses that may be treated by the use of ‘Xenogeneic Cell Therapy.’ The authors posit the limitations and benefits of the scientific method as it relates explicitly to its use in human subjects. There is a brief description of xenotransplantation in the treatment of cells requiring regenerative assistance in a range of degenerative conditions through cross-species donated cells. Significant importance is placed in the use of cross-species hosts to be Scientific Pathogen Free Animals (SPF – Animals) through the use of ‘Closed Colony’ and proven clinical methods.

Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine describes the merits, the problemata, and the detailed methodologies of regenerative therapies. The book is replete with beautiful color illustrations that includes the Cell Cycle and the illustrations of the Noble Prize Winner, Günter Blobel, for Physiology or Medicine in 1999. His thesis is on how the distribution mechanism of biological active transport cells migrate, how proteins contain signals inside that direct their location in a destination cell, and how they are transported and where they may migrate to.

I found the Chronology of the development of stem cell research and application to be compelling reading.

Simply the most comprehensive book on the subject of Stem Cells as applied in ‘regenerative medicine,’ and most certainly the best illustrated. The illustrations combined with Chan and Klokol‘s vivid written communication provides you with an invaluable tool in comprehending the ground breaking subject of Stem Cell Therapy.