SENIOR LIFE Graduating their four years at USC and give CENTERSPREAD | PG 6-7
NEW METHODS TO CREATE STEM CELLS NEWS| PG 3
THE USE OF MANNEQUINS IN MEDICAL SCHOOLS MEDICAL SCHOOLS | PG 10
STUDYING CREATIVITY IN THE BRAIN USC OPPORTUNITIES | PG. 9
U N I V E R S I T Y O F S O U T H E R N C A L I FO R N I A’ S # 1 S O U R C E FO R P R E - H E A LT H N E W S
TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION Volume IV | Issue II
care circles and the general public. It has brought to light ethical dilemmas regarding the personhood of a brain-dead individual and the morality of ceasing life support. “There is confusion of how to determine In December of 2013, 13-year-old Jahi McMath entered Children’s Hospital & whether someone is permanently comatose Research Center in Oakland, California and meets the criteria of whole brain-death, for a seemingly routine procedure to have which is supposedly an irreversible loss of her tonsils removed. Immediately after the function, versus someone who is persistently vegetated,” said Dr. Cheryl Lew, pediatric pulmonologist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Lew believes that determining the definitions of brain death, a coma and a vegetative state is one issue that stirs debate. Current medical thought defines the central difference between brain death and a coma, as well as a vegetative state, as involving brain activity. The latter two describe states where brain activity is still present, COURTESY POSITSCIENCE.COM while brain death is BRAIN death is currently defined as a full loss of brain activity. the total loss of brain activity. surgery, she experienced a heart attack and Yet, confusion still abounds. This conbrain hemorrhaging. Three days later, she was declared brain dead and was issued a fusion of how death is defined has spurred various health care specialists, such as biodeath certificate. The case of Jahi McMath is one of many ethicist Arthur Caplan of New York Univerend-of-life scenarios that have ultimately sity Langone Medical Center, to argue for a spurred debate and confusion among health more blunt approach in explaining to fami-
By ABRAM ESTAFANOUS Associate Editor
lies the state of the patient. Caplan argues that the main driving force behind the legal debacle of Jahi McMath’s case was a lack of knowledge by the family regarding whether Jahi was considered to be in an irreversible condition. However, clearing up the definition of death seems to be more complicated than one would think. The borders of brain death are not clearly defined. “At the time of the original description of death by neurological criteria, the belief was that if you had complete loss of brain functions, your peripheral body functions, even if you were on a ventilator, would deteriorate,” Lew said. She added, “But this is probably not the case because it is very difficult to distinguish between the persistently vegetated individual and one who has permanent loss of brain function.” Furthermore, Lew believes that confusion and debate also results from a current trend by many bioethicists to associate death with personality. “There is current controversy in that some bioethicists think that perhaps death really means the loss of personhood. The difficulty with that is that people tend to be concrete and it’s hard for many people to understand that the shell of the body is not necessarily the person,” she said. With increasing medical knowledge, it seems that the debate over the essence of death will rage on, with inevitable perspectives that will move to challenge the current notion of death by neurological criteria. “There have been years of arguing that the current definition of brain death is very flawed and that there should be a redress of the issue,” said Lew.
Safari of the Soul: Reducing Water Poverty By PAVITRA KRISHNAMANI Editor In addition to supporting USC, Dana and David Dornsife serve as role models for students by virtue of their work alleviating water poverty in Africa with the organization World Vision. The Dornsifes spoke about their humanitarian work at the Visions and Voices event, “Safari of the Soul,” which took place on February 12, 2014. In an interview with Dana Dornsife, she revealed more about her inspiration to work in water poverty. “When you witness what clean water can very rapidly do in a positive way to the lives of women and children, in particular, it’s kind of infectious,” Dornsife said. She added, “We just really appreciated what we were able to do and the change we were able to bring to the lives of the rural villagers in Africa and so, we just stuck with it. We had no idea then [25 years ago] that we would be having this type of impact now.” One the most impactful experiences she had was also one of the most devastating for her. “We were at this village in northern Ghana, and we went through the whole celebration. In the background, the drill crew kept drilling, and the drilling foreman just looked at us and shook his head. We weren’t going to hit water, and it was really kind of surreal,” said Dornsife. She added, “I mean, you’re surrounded
April 23, 2014
by people who have nothing who are so grateful that you’re there trying to do a good thing and bring clean water into their lives. And we were unsuccessful. We really felt like we had failed them.” When asked what her work inspired in her, Dornsife said, “It just makes us very grateful for everything that we have, for the country that we live in, for the health and the well-being of our families, COURTESY NEWSBLOG.DREXEL.EDU for the opportunities that DANA and David Dornsife in Ethiopia living in the United States tive,” she added. brings us.” Dornsife also has advice for pre-health “I wish that every student could have the opportunity to experience life in a students. “You’re working for patients, for the betthird world country for even just a couple of weeks and I think that it would just have terment of their lives, whether it’s in relaa profound effect on people’s lives moving tion to disease or prophylactic health, and sometimes it’s really easy to lose sight of forward,” she said. For students interested in humanitarian that,” she said. “Medicine is hard – it takes a lot of fowork, Dornsife said, “For the most part, cus and a lot of determination,” she said. university is the right place, especially when you are dealing with a university that “It can be very overwhelming at times – has developed the kind of worldwide rela- and so it’s important when you’re feeling overwhelmed to take a step back and allow tionships that USC has developed.” “At a university like USC, you have the yourself to appreciate the fact that what opportunity to take advantage of many you are doing is helping other people.” “If you can allow yourself to appreciate things from an education perspective, but you also have the opportunity to take ad- that, then I think it helps you get through vantage of things from a global perspec- the really hard times,” she said.
By VARUN AWASTHI Section Editor The United States and other developed countries have infrastructure to efficiently treat fractures resulting from trauma. However, many low- and middle-income countries do not have such technology, which makes any type of surgery difficult to manage. The Surgical Implant Generation Network (SIGN) was established to combat this resource gap, with the ultimate vision of establishing a global level of equality in fracture care and treatment. Founded by Dr. Lewis J. Zirkle, SIGN has established a unique orthopedic procedure specifically to be implemented in hospitals in low- and middle-income countries. Hospitals in these countries often lack instruments for real-time imaging. As stated on signsurgery.org, SIGN surgical procedures are designed such
SIGN’S IM Nail system is designed for surgeries in low-resource settings
that they be conducted effectively even with the lack of these capabilities. These procedures mainly focus on major injuries to the tibia and femur. This procedure, known as the interlocking nail surgery, is conducted using the SIGN Intramedullary (IM) Nail system. This system includes an intramedullary nail, interlocking screws and instrumentation. According to a review article published by SIGN, the nail is inserted into tibia, after which instruments are used to realign the bone structures. The proximal and distal ends of the nail have posterior bends, which allows for a particular radius of curvature that is comparable to that of the human femur. The bone structures will continue to contain the nail following the surgery. The nail has broken in less than 0.5 percent of SIGN surgeries and has had a deep infection rate of 1.9 percent. SIGN has similar procedures that were designed for pediatric femur fractures and proximal femur fracture in the hip. SIGN works directly with surgeons in low- and middle-income countries to train them to effectively utilize the interlocking nail surgery. Implants are either donated to hospitals or provided to them on a reimbursement-basis, as this allows the hospitals to provide treatment to poor patients more efficiently. Currently, there are a total of 3,000 surgeons in the world that have been trained to use the SIGN IM Nail System.
ONLINE EXCLUSIVES Spotlight: Interaxon’s NeuroCamp | Pre-Med Update: MCAT Changes | Student Involvement: Disaster Relief
Letter from the Editors-in-Chief
Editors-in-Chief EDITORS-IN-CHIEF GURLEEN CHADHA REBECCA GAO & JESSICA KUO & NATASHA SOSA
ear Reader, Welcome to the spring edition of Trojan Health Connection! As the year draws to
Section Editors SECTION EDITORS CHEN &SOSA VARUN AWASTHI GURLEEN CHADHAJANIE & NATASHA Associate Editors
Editors EDITORS SENIOR ALINE HESSE JANIE CHEN ANJLIE GUPTA ANJLIE GUPTA JESSICA DALLAS PAVITRA KRISHNAMANI
AUDREY MALIK CHAI ALLIE FARINACCI FAIZAN MORGAN ROGERS IFRAH HASSAN LESLIE WU
PAVITRA KRISHNAMANI AISHA LODIN
MORGAN ROGERS ASSOCIATE EDITORS:
TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION | April 23, 2014
to the future. ther than Page 3, where we examine the impact of the Affordable Care Act, particularly as it applies to young Americans. We’ve also included several features on health that the average USC student can use. If bodybuilding piques your
AUDREY CHAI, VARUN AWASTHI Managers MANAGERS: ALISON YU, PR Manager | AMRIT JAGGI, PR Manager | ANA HILLEBOE, Layout JACQUELINE DINH, Layout Editor; SANA AZAM, Manager | ANNETTE EOM, ASMAA FundingALBAROUDI, Manager | CAMERON QUON, Videography SCOTT WEY, Web Managers; PETER ESKANDER, ALISON YU, Public Relations Manager | EMILY HE, Advertising Manager | FRANCINE LIANG, Photo Manager | Managers; EMILY HE, Advertisement Manager, HAN DAO, GINA LEE, Photo Managers JUSTIN JOOHWAN PARK, Assistant Layout Manager | PETER ESKANDER, PR Manager
This issue also delves into important ethical issues: our Gurleen Chadha
remains attached to mental illness. Finally, this issue is particularly special because it last of our founding class—members who joined in their freshmen year and have seen the paper grow into what it is today—are graduating.
| SANA AZAM, Web Manager Writers AISHA VAIYANI, AMNA ELSAYED, AMY ZHAO, BRITTNEY KUO, CODY KANESHIRO, DALTON BANH, EINAV NACHMAN, EMILY VU, JACKIE KRUGLYAKOVA, JACQUELINE COOTES, JEHAN BISTA, JESSICA FRANKEBERGER, JOHN TANAKA, JOLIE COOPERMAN, JUNG-GI MIN, KATRINA MADDELA, LU TIAN, MAGGIE KING, MONICA LIU, MORGAN CHEEKS, NICOLE BASLER, RACHEL DONG, RACHEL POLCYN, RYAN EMHOFF
ences here at USC. You can read their thoughts and advice in the centerspread, on Pages 6 and 7. To our graduating seniors, especially Jessica and you enjoy the issue!
HAO-HUA WU & TAKANORI OHKUBO Founders
Breakthroughs in Glaucoma Research By JACKIE KRUGLYAKOVA Writer
nosis and treatment have played a key role in improving outcomes,” said Arthur J. Sit, M.D., associate professor of ophthalmology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
Affecting more than 60.5 million people globally, glaucoma is the leading cause of Sit added, “Despite this good news, the irreversible blindness worldwide. Glauco- rate at which people continue to go blind ma is a condition that results in damage to due to OAG is still unacceptably high. This the eye’s optic nerve, the eye’s communicais likely due to late diagnosis and our intion with the brain. Scientists agree that, if left untreat- complete understanding of glaucoma, so it ed, glaucoma can cause total permanent is critical that research into this devastating blindness within a few years. However, the disease continues, and all eye care providrate of blindness due to glaucoma may be ers be vigilant in looking for early signs of decreasing rapidly. According to a study glaucoma during routine exams.” published last month by the American However, the effect on the rates of visual Academy of Ophthalmology, the probabil- impairment on a population level has reity of blindness due to glaucoma has nearly mained unclear. Despite the clear trend of halved since 1980. progression, 15 percent of the patients that This study, conducted by a team of re- were diagnosed more recently still prosearchers at the Mayo Clinic, sought to gressed to blindness. This statistic shows find trends in glaucoma-related blindness just how unpredictable glaucoma is. While in the United States and allocate medical there is no cure, medications and surgery and health resources according to those can halt the progression of the condition. patterns. As researchers The researchstrive to understand ers studied every the full complexity of incidence case of glaucoma, patients open-angle glaucoaround the nation ma (OAG), the most are being educatcommon form of ed about risk factor glaucoma, diagnosed awareness and timely from 1965-2009 in diagnosis. For examOlmstead County, ple, the World GlauArthur J. Sit Minn. coma Association They found that and the World Glauthe 20-year probability and the population coma Patient Association launched their incidence of blindness due to OAG alone, 6th World Glaucoma Week from March 9 in at least one eye, had decreased from 25.8 to March 15. percent for subjects diagnosed between As part of World Glaucoma Week, the 1965 and 1980 to 13.5 percent for those ‘B-I-G- Beat Invisible Glaucoma’ camdiagnosed between 1981 and 2000. Within paign is directed at educating patients on 10 years of diagnosis, the population inci- lifestyle factors associated with glaucoma. dence of blindness also decreased for those The campaign also seeks to clear up a numgroups. ber of myths about glaucoma, which may Advanced glaucoma management tech- be leading people to make lifestyle choices niques and learned criteria for diagnosis detrimental to their health. have provided physicians and caregivers While the incidence of glaucoma rewith alternative methods of treatment. mains high, medical research is improving When studied on an individual basis, the the world’s understanding of the disease probability of blindness from glaucoma ap- as well as its outcomes. There is still much peared to have decreased dramatically. to be done, but the decrease in the rate of “These results are extremely encourag- blindness due to glaucoma is a testament to ing for both those suffering from glauco- the potential for future scientific advances ma and the doctors who care for them, and to decrease the impact of this widespread suggest that the improvements in the diag- disease.
Improvements in diagnosis and treatment have played a key role in improving outcomes.
Contacts Monitor Diabetics’ Glucose By JANIE CHEN Section Editor Google has created contact lenses that double as glucose monitors. If ever sold in the market, these contacts have the potential to revolutionize the diabetes industry. Diabetics will no longer have to prick themselves to monitor their blood glucose level; these contacts will do it for them automatically. The contact lens is composed of tiny processing chips and glucose sensors. The antenna that is used to send glucose levels to external devices is thinner than a human hair. Instead of detecting glucose levels from blood samples, the sensor in the contact lenses detects glucose levels from tears. Because the human eye is composed of live cells, it has very similar chemical composition to that of blood cells. This makes it possible for glucose levels to be detected through tears. Google’s lenses have the potential to radically decrease diabetic emergencies like hypo and hyperglycemic shock, since this system eliminates human error such as forgetting to take insulin. The glucose sensor sends information to an external device that warns the user if levels are abnormal, ensuring that the user is at least reminded to take insulin. It also eases the daily hassles parents have to endure when dealing with children with juvenile diabetes, also known as Type 1 diabetes. Children who are fussy and more sensitive to
pain or have a fear of needles may be more receptive to contacts. How did Google become involved in this kind of biomedical research? Google X developers, also the creators behind Google Glass, have long been interested in the capacity contact lenses have to be a platform of communication with the body. Not only are they interested in medical applications, but they also are working towards the use of chips embedded in contact lenses as a form of enhancing reality. In other words, the lenses would serve as a screen essentially attached to the viewer’s retina. For example, one-pixel screens projected by the lenses allow the viewer to see play by play directions as they’re walking or driving down a street. The ability to project instructions or images directly onto the eye serves as an alternative screen through which viewers can receive information. Thus, Google’s nanotechnology has demonstrated the possibilities that can arise from combining different fields of research. The overwhelming increase in obesity rates has led to a directly related surge in diabetes rates, making diabetes a critical field of research. Google’s contacts are just a small portion of diabetes research that is being conducted today; however, these contacts represent the multitudes of future innovative products which are resulting from interdisciplinary research and which have the ability to dramatically improve quality of life.
GOOGLE contacts contain sensors to monitor diabetics’ glucose levels via their tears.
April 23, 2014 | TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION
Novel Method of Creating Stem Cells: Too Good To Be True? By DALTON BANH Writer Bathe mature cells in mild acid for half an hour and what do you get? Pluripotent stem cells. That was the shocking discovery made in late January 2014, when researchers at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Japan and their collaborators published a pair of papers in the prominent scientific journal Nature. The two studies, titled “Stimulus-triggered fate conversion of somatic cells into pluripotency” and “Bidirectional developmental potential in reprogrammed cells with acquired pluripotency,” gained substantial attention from both the media and the scientific community and was hailed as a major breakthrough in stem cell research. In the papers, lead author Haruko Okobata and her colleagues described a novel and efficient method for creating pluripotent stem cells by exposing mature cells to a stress stimulus, such as low pH. They termed their method STAP, or “stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency.” In their experiments, the scientists soaked mouse white blood cells in a weak acid bath for 30 minutes and demonstrated that these STAP cells were indeed pluripotent by injecting the cells into a normal mouse embryo and documenting their differentiation into multiple cell types. “It’s just a wonderful result; it’s almost like alchemy,” said Douglas Melton to The Boston Globe upon hearing of the announcement. Melton is the co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and was not involved in either of the studies. The findings of the two studies are groundbreaking because STAP can utilize an individual’s own mature cells and there-
PLURIPOTENT stem cells can be viewed through an electron microscope and many see them as the future of medicine. fore bypass the problem of host rejection during regenerative therapy. However, in a surprising turn of events, the validity of this astounding finding is now been seriously questioned, in part because no other research group has been able to create STAP cells by replicating the apparently simple methods described by the original papers. In early March, Okobata and two co-authors at RIKEN published a detailed technical protocol in response to the failure of other researchers in generating STAP cells. However, this protocol noted many restrictions for the types and age of cells and conditions that could be used, which is inconsistent with the original papers’ claims which illustrated the STAP method as straight-forward, efficient, and could be used to convert multiple cell types into
STAP cells. In addition, due to intense scrutiny by the scientific community, there have also been allegations that several images in the paper have been duplicated from Okobata’s own Ph.D. dissertation at Waseda University from 2011, which did not involve STAP cells. Furthermore, the dissertation itself has also been brought into question regarding proper citation and whole sections being plagiarized. Some of the researchers involved have provided public statements about their thoughts on the STAP controversy. Teruhiko Wakayama, a senior co-author currently at the University of Yamanashi, called for the retraction of the papers until external research groups could confirm the data. “It’s better to retract it once and submit
it again after making sure that data are all correct and it won’t be criticized by anyone.” Wakayama reportedly received STAP cells from Okobata to use in the mice experiments but was not involved in creating the STAP cells. Charles Vacanti, a senior co-author at Harvard Medical School and one of Obokata’s dissertation advisors, however, has opposed retraction of the paper. Obokata reportedly performed her first STAP experiments as a visiting graduate student in Vacanti’s laboratory. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Vacanti said: “Some mistakes were made, but they don’t affect the conclusions...based on the information I have, I see no reason to why these papers should be retracted.” Whether or not STAP is a genuine cellular reprogramming strategy has yet to be revealed and will currently remain a mystery. But if any of these allegations turn out to be true, there will be certainly be serious repercussions for the authors involved and the validity of the studies will be discredited until they can be replicated by another research group. Paul Knoepfler, a stem cell researcher at UC Davis, runs an active blog where guest bloggers can post their thoughts on the STAP debacle. Robert J. Geller, a seismologist in Japan, articulates the importance of this controversy on Knoepfler’s blog: “I’m an outsider to the stem cell field, but this mess impacts public trust and support for every field of science in Japan. The longer it’s allowed to drag on the worse the ultimate impact will be. So it’s in the interest of every scientist in Japan that Riken, Nature, Waseda, and other institutions fully and transparently identify the problems and take appropriate actions.”
Changing Landscape of Healthcare Brings New Challenges to Physicians By MORGAN CHEEKS Writer Since the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in 2010, there has been a great deal of uncertainty surrounding its highly anticipated implementation. As of January 1, 2014 most of the hallmark provisions of the law are effective. Key provisions include a Medicare expansion, which makes all individuals up to 138% of the federal poverty line eligible for coverage, and the creation of Health Insurance Exchanges that allow all individuals to purchase health insurance. For families and individuals with household incomes between 133%-400% of the federal poverty line, federal subsidies are available to help with premium costs. In addition to these aid expansions, the law includes an individual mandate requiring all individuals to purchase a plan.
“OBAMACARE” has been met with applause and criticism from both sides of the political spectrum.
PPACA is expected to bring coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans. This increase in coverage will increase the number of patients seeking care, posing a challenge for current healthcare providers to increase efficiency in order to accommodate the increase in patients. PPACA encourages a variety of innovative models of care aimed at increasing efficiency. These include: incentives for providers to form “accountable care organizations” in which physician groups, hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities better coordinate patient care as well as share financial gains and losses. However, in order to accommodate the increase in long-term patients, there will need to be an increase in primary care providers. Furthermore, the expansion of coverage will change the population being regularly treated by physicians. The newly insured are expected to be younger, more ethnically
diverse, and less educated than the patient population prior to PPACA implementation. This is a critical step toward improving the well-being of the nation, but will also provide new challenges for physicians. Almost one third of the newly insured population will speak a language other than English, as their primary means of communication. This is a drastic increase from the 12 percent that is in the current patient population. Physicians and hospitals must increase the number of medical translators and/or remote translation services available in the healthcare setting. Overall, PPACA makes essential changes to the health insurance industry which are critical to improving the declining health of people in the United States. However, these changes will provide a variety of challenges to current providers that must be met in order for Americans to see the full benefits of the policy changes.
College Students at Heightened Risk for Meningitis By ANA HILLEBOE Layout Manager The initial symptoms of meningococcal meningitis are similar to a bad cold, but can soon develop into serious medical complications including deafness, brain damage, and death. For Aaron Loy, a collegiate athlete, amputation of both feet was a terrible consequence of the disease. This case echoed an earlier outbreak on the campus of Princeton University that began in March of the same year which affected eight enrolled students and one prospective student. Though both instances were caused by the same strain of bacteria, the CDC reported that the outbreaks were not related. In the United States, there are three strains of Neisseria meningitidis— the meningococcal bacteria that causes meningitis— known as serogroups B, C and Y. The FDA currently approves two types of me-
ningococcal vaccines for use, which protect against serogroups C and Y. However, the outbreaks at UCSB and Princeton were both caused by serogroup B, for which a vaccine is licensed for use in Canada, Europe and Australia, but not the US. In order to control the outbreaks on the university campuses, the two-part serogroup B vaccine was recently approved for use in the US only for students of UCSB and Princeton, where the universities covered the costs. Princeton University reported that 91% of eligible students received the first dose offered in December of last year, and most followed up with the second dose in February. This figure is in contrast to the statement on UCSB’s student health website, which notes that the vaccine was administered to “nearly 50 percent of undergraduates.” This disparity in vaccination rates is alarming.
MENINGITIS led to the loss of both feet for Aaron Loy (center).
Tiffany Yeh, a freshman at UCSB, says,“There was concern but people still partied as much as they did before the outbreak,” said Yeh. “Since after winter break there were no new cases, it didn’t seem too urgent,” said Yeh. “But you could never be too safe. My parents told me to get it.”
The low turnout at UCSB indicate that students at the affected universities may not be doing their part to protect themselves and others. This is especially concerning since college students are particularly vulnerable to contracting meningitis. Healthy adults who live in close quarters with each other are at a heightened risk. USC, like all other college campuses, can be vulnerable to an outbreak like those that occurred at UCSB and Princeton. While USC does not require students to receive the meningococcal vaccine currently approved for general use in the US, the Engemann Student Health Center still strongly recommends that incoming students be vaccinated and has additional measures in place to ensure that students are educated about the disease. For now, receiving the vaccine and staying aware may be the best preventative measures students at USC can take.
Dieting and Nutrition
Nutrition Tips for Finals
“The Fad” Diet
By AMNA ELSAYED Writer
afterwards. Apples with peanut butter, on the other hand, will keep you full enough until your next meal. During exam season – whether it be fiThe trick to picking a smart snack is to nals or midterms – personal health drops steer away from sugars and to look for food to the bottom of the priority list when it that includes fibers and combine them with should skyrocket to the top. A healthy body proteins. is key to increasing brain3. Stay Hydrated power and studying more Hydration is important effectively. Here are four because our body is mostly tips will help any college comprised of water, and the student achieve that. proper balance between water 1. Don’t Skip Breakfast and electrolytes in our bodies The key to a productive determines how our systems day of studying is breakwork. So staying hydrated fast. After a full night withnot only nourishes your body out food, your body is in but it increases your ability to need of glucose to make it think. through the day. Contrary COURTESY DIABETESMINE.COM Drinking water is not the to popular belief, coffee sKiPPing breakfast is not only way to stay hydrated. and a bagel do not qualify a healthy habit. Other drinks such as vegeas a healthy breakfast. table or fruit juices will also A good breakfast includes some proteins, keep you hydrated. Coffee and other cafcarbohydrates and fibers. An example of a feinated drinks, however, should be kept to healthy breakfast includes toast with a glass a minimal. of milk or cereal with milk and an apple. Because it’s so easy to become dehydratAlthough it may seem time consuming, ed during midterm and finals season, it is taking a few extra minutes to choose a meal helpful to always keep a large water bottle that includes all of these groups will keep with you while you are studying. you feel full for a longer time than coffee 4. Exercise ever will. During finals, it’s common for most stu2. Snack the Smart Way dents to study for hours at a time without The type of snack that you eat for those getting up. This is very harmful and will late nights in the library does have an ef- cause your body to become more and more fect on how much information you retain. tense, which will make you feel very tired. A smart snack will keep you full until your It’s not necessary to go to the gym benext meal, while an unhealthy snack will tween studying, but simply getting up and not have the same effect. walking around the room will do the trick. A bag of M&Ms will increase your glu- Even putting on some music and dancing cose levels and make you feel full at the mo- will help you stay awake and stimulate your ment but you will feel hungry a little while brain.
TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION | April 23, 2014
By JOLIE COOPERMAN Writer Juice detox, intermittent fasting, carb cutting – these words can only mean one thing: summertime is coming and USC students are prepping for the upcoming bikini season. However, how many people go on a diet search in hopes of decreasing migraines, allergy symptoms or lower back pain? A new fad is sweeping the nation and it refuses to be called a diet. The Plan, created and designed by Lyn-Genet Recitas, helps clients create a 20 – 30 day program that best suits the individual’s chemistry and budget. After years of suffering from migraines, Recitas began to log her food consumption and discovered a correlation between the foods she was eating and her migraines. As opposed to focusing on caloric consumption, The Plan promises weight loss through preventing inflammation. The first three days of The Plan consists of eating from a menu designed to reset the body to a low inflammatory state. Then, individuals will test the effects of different foods throughout the remaining month. The first foods reintroduced are cheese, chocolate and wine. The ultimate goal is to learn which foods cause your body to chemically react so that those foods can be avoided in the future. While several testimonies proclaim
that The Plan is as an excellent way to lose weight, others applaud its other health benefits. Several accounts of clearing up acid reflux, joint pain and constipation have been noted. All of the successful testimonies provided by happy clients have made this diet extremely popular. Recitas wrote a book, appeared on Dr. Oz and graced the cover of several health magazines. While her diet’s fame increases, others are more cautious of Recitas and her work. USC professor and expert on dieting Valter Longo expressed great concern over the diet fad craze. Longo said, “Do not merely adhere to a certain diet because of testimonies. What are the creator’s credentials? Do these results hold up in research trials? Have clinical trials been conducted?” Similar to looking for a doctor, searching for the right diet requires sufficient investigation. Longo also stresses the importance of looking at long-term effects of certain diets. “Do not believe in the misconception,” Longo said, “that these fad diets will not necessarily cause harm later in life.” There is no one right COURTESY IFOOD.TV diet. Many will swear by The Plan, while others will abide by eating raw. Hopefully, with a sufficient amount of background research and healthy habits, undergraduate students may settle on an individualized plan that provides a nourishing menu in combination with maximum benefits.
Prior Wisdom on Sodium Intake Under As-salt By JUNG-GI MIN Writer One is almost guaranteed to find an article on the devastating effects of salt on the body in a typical nutition or healthy lifestyle magazine. As world leaders try to find solutions to the rise in chronic diseases, limiting salt intake has garnered much attention as a feasible method of achieving a healthier world. Health organizations around the world have proposed that a high intake of salt contributes to various cardiovascular complications like coronary heart disease. The overarching idea is that because high salt levels are responsible for complications like
high blood pressure, salt is implicated in the propagation of cardiovascular damage. According to the American Heart Association, excess salt consumption, characteristic of over three quarters of the world population, contributed to 2.3 million deaths in the U.S alone. The same organization also revealed that 15 percent of all deaths from cardiovascular disease were caused by excessive salt. Figures such as these led a study in the Lancet to conclude that reducing salt intake by 3000 milligrams per day would save 10 to 13 billion dollars in health care costs in the United States. Healthcare costs in the US are currently 18 percent of the GDP, the highest figure of any country in the world.
However, some recent studies have cast skepticism over these assumptions. A meta-analysis study in the American Journal of Hypertension found no strong evidence of any effect of salt reduction in individuals with normal blood pressure. According to Dr. Kelvin Yen, a research professor at USC’s Davis School of Gerontology, it is no surprise that salt intake does not influence health outcomes as much as previously believed. “The body self-regulates the amount of salt in the body, with some people apparently more sensitive to salt intake than others.” said Yen. In fact, some researchers suggest that Americans are currently consuming a
healthy amount of salt and that the current recommended salt guidelines by the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be too low. One study in the American Journal of Hypertension revealed that low levels of salt consumption may actually lead to a greater risk of death than high salt consumption does. According to Dr. Niels Graudal from the Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, there is no reason for most individuals to change their dietary intake of salt because most people eat a safe amount. The debate over whether reducing salt consumption is a viable target to reduce chronic disease continues on.
Career Faceoff: Dietician vs. Nutritionist schooling
salary (in California) service ProviDeD
Where They WorK TyPes
According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), dietitians must meet four basic requirements in order to become registered dietitians: 1. Graduate with at least a bachelor’s degree from a college approved by the Commission for Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE). 2. Complete a supervised internship that is accredited by CADE. 3. Achieve a passing score on the national registration exam administered by the Commission of Dietetic Registration 4. Complete continuing education throughout their career.
No formal schooling is required, but some states do require a license to be obtained in order to practice. Protected titles include the following: t Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS): individuals must have a master’s in nutrition or a related field. They will also have to sit for an accrediation exam. t Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN), individuals must complete the Post-Graduate Studies in Clinical Nutrition program. They will also have to sit for an accrediation exam.
$59,000 per year
$46,000 per year
Plan nutrition programs for their client to follow as well as teaching their clients what and why a food is considered healthy.
Dieticians can work in hospitals, nursing homes, as well as other health care facilities Can work in management, clinical, and community settings.
Look more intently into nutrients that are needed in the body for specific functions, nutrient deficiencies that cause certain diseases and the cure of ailments and other different diseases by intake of different foods and nutrients. Most nutritionists work as private consultants with individual clients. Can work with individuals or in research. TABLE BY MORGAN ROGERS
April 23, 2014 | TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION
By AUDREY CHAI Editor If you have been keeping up to date on the breaking news in the nutrition world, you will have undoubtedly come across the hot topic of the benefits of fish oil. You might have heard that it can prevent heart disease and even aid in cancer and depression treatment. But what exactly are these benefits? Are fish oil supplements necessary? Are there any downsides to fish oil consumption? Most of the benefits of fish oil come from the omega-3 fatty acids it contains. Our bodies do not produce omega-3 fatty acids, which is why such an emphasis is placed on maintaining a diet complete with healthy fats such as nuts, olive oil and fish. Found in the fatty layers of cold-water fish and shellfish, omega-3 fatty acids have been found to provide a wide range of health benefits. Due to the benefits, fish oil has now become a popular dietary supplement and can be found in different forms ranging from liq-
uid fish oil to fish oil gummies. The supplements have become so popular today because most health conscious people recognize that getting enough omega-3 fatty acids is an important aspect of supporting health and treating disease, and diet alone may not be enough. Fish oil is most often used for conditions related to the heart and blood system; some use it to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels. Here are some of the most important benefits of fish oil: Reduced Inflammation: The most well known benefit of fish oil and omega-3s in general is its benefits for heart health. Omega-3s have been shown to reduce inflammation as well as lower levels of triglycerides, lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke. Increased Protein Synthesis: Studies in young, middle-aged, and older men and women have shown that fish oil also has a powerful effect on increasing protein synthesis. Compared to relying solely on amino acid and protein
dividuals. Improved Brain Health: Finally, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be an important factor in brain development. Even before birth, the consumption of fish oil can play an influential role: studies showed that babies whose mothers supplemented with fish oil during pregnancy had significantly improved hand and eye coordination 2.5 years after birth compared to those whose mothers did not supplement. Research indicates that COURTESY GUARDIANLV.COM omega-3 fatty acid consumption is an important When you get that feeling that factor in preventing cognitive disinevitably comes around this time eases such as Alzheimer’s disease. The numerous benefits of fish of the year in which you feel like everyone around you is becoming oil lead to its use for all sorts of sick, it might be time for you to medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, movement disorders, turn to fish oil. Research has shown that fish dyslexia, obesity, and osteoporooil can play a big role in support- sis just to name a few. With the seemingly endless ing the function of white blood cells, specifically enhancing the number of benefits, are there any activity of B cells, and research- reasons for us to be wary of fish ers see promise in using fish oil’s oil? In some cases, too much fish immune enhancing properties to oil can be detrimental. While it benefit immunocompromised in- is important for us to maintain
the appropriate omega-3 levels in our bodies, taking more than the recommended amount of fish oil may lead to adverse side effects, such as blood thinning. Also, while many studies have shown that fish oil provides cancer-preventing benefits, other studies have also revealed that an imbalance of omega-3s in the body can lead to increased risks for cancer. So what is the take home message? It is important that one remains aware of his/her amount of fish oil consumption and check the recommended daily amount for their age and body weight. However, it is clear that fish oil definitely has some powerful health benefits. And while supplements are helpful at times when diet alone is not enough, remember that the best way to gain the benefits of fish oil and omega-3s in general is to obtain the nutrients from natural foods. So the next time you are deciding what to eat, it might be a good idea to turn to fish such as salmon, halibut, sardines or anchovies.
go. Additionally, drinking juices allows you to incorporate and try different kinds of fruit in one serving. “I love choosing juices that incorporate greens, fruit, protein, and natural sweeteners into a convenient cup,” said Jamie Moskowitz, senior. “It’s perfect for the busy college student.” Juices often retain the benefits of whole fruit when they are made the right way. This includes vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is better to make fresh juices at home using a juicer, for example, rather than purchasing a bottle of juice at the grocery store. Store-bought juices, often marketed as a healthier alternative to soft drinks, tend to contain large amounts of sugar and additives. The same kind of juices can
be made at home in a way that is both delicious and nutritious. However, the biggest setback of juicing is that the product lacks two things: skin and pulp. Fruit skin contains several pigments, including carotenoids and flavonoids, which are good for one’s health. Pulp is an important source of dietary fiber, and juicing tends to eliminate all of it. “I eat about a cup of fruit everyday between classes,” said Raquel Martinez, senior. “Although fruit juices do provide vitamins, they leave out one of the most important components of whole fruit – the skin.” With that being said, what’s the verdict? Juices, when made at home or purchased from juice bars like Nékter, are always a better alternative when compared to
other beverages like soft drinks. However, as whole fruit offers more vitamins, minerals, and fiber, it is the better nutritional choice, and ultimately the winner in this food fight. That being said, you don’t have to eliminate juices from your diet. Incorporating vegetables into fruit juices is a convenient way to enjoy several fruits and vegetables in one serving. Overall, it’s better to eat whole fruit, but drinking wholesome juices that are made fresh is a great way to supplement your diet with additional vitamins and minerals. Luckily for Trojans, both options are now availabe on campus. Try them, and you can declare your own winner in this food fight!
or trace contamination of foods. Wellcome Trust Cambridge Clin- sumed increasing quantities of FARE states that the only way ical Research Facility. peanut protein under medical suto prevent serious health effects 99 children with varying sever- pervision. 50 remaining children and reactions is through the early ities of peanut allergy participated were placed in the control group, recognition and management of in the double-blind placebo-con- which did not receive treatment. peanut allergies as well as strict trolled study. In the first part of After 6 months of therapy, avoidance of these allergens. the trial, the participants were di- food challenges were conducted In order to combat to evaluate the results. 62 the severity of peanut percent of the children allergies, the Univerwho received therapy safesity of Cambridge has ly tolerated a daily dose of developed a successful peanut protein approxinew therapy through mately equivalent to ten oral immunotherapy peanuts. 84–91 percent of (OIT), which has the these children tolerated a ability to desensitize daily ingestion of peanut allergic individuals to protein approximately peanuts. equivalent to five peanuts. The study found None in the control that regularly congroup tolerated any peasuming peanut protein nut consumption. in increasingly larger In the second phase of amounts over time COURTESY NEWS-MEDICAL.NET the trial, the control group ScientiStS at the University of Cambridge have decreates tolerance. participants also received The research team veloped a successful new therapy to desensitize allergic immunotherapy interis led by Dr. Andrew individuals to peanuts. vention. 54 percent of the Clark and Dr. Pamela control group were able Ewan from Cambridge Univer- vided. 49 children were randomly to consume the equivalent of ten sity’s Department of Medicine, assigned to receive 26 weeks of peanuts, and 91 percent tolerated and the trial was performed for oral immunotherapy (OIT). a daily intake of five peanuts. five and a half years in the NIHR/ The active group gradually conThe remaining participants of
the trial who reported adverse events experienced mild systems, mostly from oral itching. According to Clark, the children and families with whom he has worked agreed that their lives changed dramatically. Before the treatment, they developed constrained food habits, checking every food label and avoiding restaurants. The parents even lived in fear that their children would accidentally ingest peanut crumbs. The findings of this study have provided hope for the participating children and their families. One of the study’s participants, Lena Barden, 11, said, “I felt like I had won a prize…A year later I could eat 5 whole peanuts with no reaction at all. The trial has been an experience and adventure that has changed my life.” Further research is necessary to confirm the results. While the study yields positive findings, some researchers claim that this therapy is not a cure. To read the rest of this article, go to trojanhealthconnection.com.
intake, muscle growth was shown to increase by 30% when subjects combined the intake of amino acids and protein with the intake of omega-3s. Better Immune Function:
By AISHA VAYANI Writer With the addition of both a farmer’s market and a juice bar on campus, USC students are finding healthier ways to stay energized. The farmer’s market, which takes place every Wednesday from 11am to 3pm, offers a wide selection of fresh fruits and vegetables for students to enjoy. For others, Nékter is a place for students to venture out of their comfort zone and try different kinds of juices and smoothies. Either of the two is ideal for the busy college student, as fruits and fruit juices provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and a great energy boost. With two new options, one can’t help but ask: which one wins
By NICOLE BASLER Writer According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers have reported more than 15 million Americans and 17 million Europeans living with food allergies. A study performed by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) stated that every 3 minutes, an individual is sent to the emergency department due to a food allergy reaction – more than 200,000 visits per year. In particular, peanuts are one of the leading causes of food allergic reactions, and peanut allergies are lifelong conditions which develop in childhood. The number of children with peanut allergies have tripled between 1997 and 2008, and approximately 400,000 school-aged children in the U.S. suffer from this allergy, according to CNN. However, there is no cure. Symptoms may occur from any contact with the peanut protein, whether it is accidental exposure
this food fight? The key to picking a winner depends on understanding what each choice has to offer. A great way to supplement your diet with essential nutrients and minerals is by eating fruit. Whole fruits are chock full of potassium, dietary fiber and vitamin C. Furthermore, maintaining a healthy diet with consistent fruit intake is a key step towards lowering your risk for certain conditions such as heart disease, type II diabetes and obesity. Lastly, fruits keep you full. The benefits of whole fruit support a pretty compelling argument in this food fight, but fruit juices aren’t without merit, either. For college students, juices are convenient in the sense that you can easily consume them on the
TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION | April 23, 2014
PHOTO COURTESY OF DAILYTROJAN.COM
ALONG WITH MOST OF THE GRADUATING PRE-HEALTH CLASS, THC IS CELEBRATING ITS FOURTH YEAR AT USC.
SO IN HONOR OF THE STUDENTS WHO HAVE GROWN THROUGH THE YEARS WITH US, WE’RE SHOWCASING THE SENIORS’ MANY ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND LOOKING FORWARD TO THEIR NEXT STEPS.
PHOTO COURTESY OF KECK.USC.EDU
Pre-med by Default? Reset, Don’t Restart! By IFRAH HASSAN Associate Editor The majority of USC students majoring in sciences identify as pre-med if not prehealth. Dr. Rebecca Broyer, professor of Organic Chemistry at USC, was just like several of these students. She thought she should be a doctor because it seemed like the natural route. Broyer attended UCSD for undergrad and received her PhD in Organic Chemistry from UCLA. While she was in undergrad, Broyer participated in numerous extracurricular activities, including volunteering at an AIDS hospice and interning at a chiro-
practor’s office. She said, “In college, I worked as a tutor for high school students in areas of math and sciences. I liked teaching, so academia seemed like the natural route once I started my PhD.” Along with teaching, participating in a research lab in the pharmacology department also had an impact on Broyer’s career path. She got research credit for the position, and when she maxed out, she got a grant to continue working on her project. Broyer never had a clear moment in which she decided not to be pre-med. As a kid she liked chemistry and doing experiments, but she did not take chemistry classes until col-
Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask a Senior
OFFICIAL MEDICAL STUDENT For many pre-health seniors in the Class of 2014, the next stop after graduation will be their white coat ceremony.
lege. Due to this interest in science and a lack of exposure to alternative careers, she chose to be pre-med. Based on her experiences growing up and in undergrad, she said, “I realized I was more of a scientist than a clinician.” After finishing undergrad, Broyer knew she wanted to go to graduate school, not medical school. She worked before applying to graduate schools, however, both at a biotech company and as an editor for scientific journals in Tokyo. She then did a post-doc after working in art conservation. Broyer stresses the importance of think ing about the big picture and talking to people in alternative careers.
What made you decide to defer your medical school acceptance?
An amazing opportunity. I applied to a fellowship in Germany with the mentality that I didn’t want to regret anything. Once I got past the interview rounds and this became more of a reality, I started considering taking a gap year more seriously because medical school is a big commitment— you’re there for a long time. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to explore a different country and gain experience in my field of interest.
If you had to pick another career, what would it be?
Brewmaster. Over their years here at USC, the graduating class has gained valuable knowledge about being pre-med and surviving college. We their undergraduate experiences. Their responses showcase their diverse interests and the decisions that have led to their success. IMAGES COURTESY OF GOOGLE.COM Edited by Ana Hilleboe and Emily Vu
She said, “I learn from other scientists in the STEM fields. In addition to organic chemistry, my Ph.D. training encompassed polymer science, bioengineering and nanotechnology.” She continued to emphasize the overlap in the scientific world. “The best advice I can give to students interested in the sciences is to expose themselves to many different experiences and to take them into other areas of their life,” said Broyer. “Do something you love.” For students who like science but are uncertain about going to medical school, Broyer highly recommends reading Alternative Careers in Science (edited by Cynthia Rob-
courses helped you in your journey through pre-health?
Communication is key. I took COMM 204. This class didn’t just teach public speaking, but also techniques for organizing your thoughts and being able to command a presence. There are a lot of different aspects to pharmacy other than dealing with drugs and chemicals. You are expected to be a spokesman, counselor and business dealer - being able to command the presence is essential.
What extracurricular did you participate in that you think helped you grow most as a student?
Traditional Chinese dance.
I actually got this question in one of my medical school interviews, and I said I would work in a brewery. I’d be the brewmaster who adds different ingredients to make new beer and maybe work parttime on the business side to sell what I make. It involves science because you’re like a chemist, and also it’s just fun because I like drinking beer!
In an interview, they asked me “ Creativity is really important for pharmacists, how have you shown creativity?” I talked about traditional Chinese dance (TCD). In the beginning, I fell four times. Over the course of four years, I grew as a dancer and a person. At the end of the four years, I was a choreographer. My approach to choreographing TCD has always been “ I want this to happen, I don’t know if this can happen, but let’s do it.”
Terrence Liu is a biochemistry major
Kenneth Tham is a chemistry major
who will spend next year particpating in CBYX in Germany before starting at UT Southwestern Medical School in 2015.
with an emphasis in chemical biology, who will be attending UCSF School of Pharmacy in the Fall.
April 23, 2014 | TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION
Acing the Interview
By EMILY HE Ads Manager
As the academic school year comes to a close, many students are preparing to apply to graduate school and interview for prospective jobs. For either graduate school or job interviews, USC’s Center of Excellence in Teaching advises students to “project a winning, ‘can do’ attitude in the way you present yourself.” The USC Career Center emphasizes that “an interview is a dialogue.” It’s not only a way for the interviewer to learn more about you, but also an opportunity for you to find out more about the program or position. Over the past few years, many seniors have accumulated interview experience. Here are four seniors who share what they have learned from their interviews: Senior Sheena Khanna said, “It is important to know your application really well. Review it in the days before your interview and make sure you can talk about specific details.” Also, don’t shy away from sharing your hobbies or passions. “You never know what common interests you will share with the interview, so sometimes the random fun activities that you are involved in can become a huge topic of conversation!” said Khanna. Senior Alexander Lopez’s advice on preparing for medical school interviews is to research the school’s interview style. In recent years, many medical schools are transitioning to Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI) format, which is composed of six-to-ten interview stations in which the applicant is presented with a question, scenario or task. “Look up practice MMI scenarios online
and get a sense of what your moral and ethical stance on the topics. Also, be prepared to describe yourself, your aspirations, and any challenges you had to overcome,” said Lopez. If it is a traditional one-on-one interview, Lopez suggests that students should not list everything on their resume verbatim. “Allow the interviewer to take the interview where it can go, but be able to elaborate on the most significant things that you’re passionate about,” said Lopez. His number one advice is for students to remember to breathe and smile. Senior Arshya Gurbani offers her insight. “Be a little excited – this could be the next stepping stone of your life! Staying professional is important, but it doesn’t hurt to demonstrate engagement and show that you care about the position,” said Gurbani. Even if you are naturally shy, Gurbani suggests you practice your answers beforehand. “You don’t want to sound rehearsed, but you can certainly identify your strengths and weaknesses, familiarize yourself with their program/job description, and align your interests and skill sets that you think their looking for,” said Gurbani. She added, “Remember that you are a Trojan, so you are inherently awesome!” For senior Zade Shakir, it is important to be yourself. “The best advice I can give for interviews is to not be afraid to make jokes and lighten the mood a little bit. It shows your interviewer that you are confident and that you are more than just a resume – you are a person!” said Shakir. Interviews take practice, but it never hurts to go into the interview prepared and remember to be yourself!
“BE A LITTLE EXCITED— THIS COULD BE THE NEXT STEPPING STONE OF YOUR LIFE!”
Source: USC Office of Pre-health Advisement. Figures are an approximation based on first-time applicants who have chosen to release their data.
bins-Roth). The book explores a variety of careers accessible to science majors, with each chapter written by a specialist in that respective area. Like the writers in the book, Dr. Broyer is happy with her career path. She enjoys being able to walk into a room and seeing people who are excited to learn. She said “I love my job, I think it’s really fun. I like teaching and my whole life is dedicated to learning.” Although Broyer chose not to pursue the path of medicine after college, many current students have decided to stay pre-med despite the challenges. Check out their stories below.
INFOGRAPHIC BY JUSTIN JOOHWAN PARK
Did you ever consider switching out of the pre-health track? What made you stick with it?
I started in a different major. Actually, I entered USC as an Architecture major, but my love for science overruled and after taking an HIV/ AIDS chemistry class as a GE course, I realized that the pre-health path suits me better.
By leaving my comfort zone.
PHOTO COURTESY OF PEAKSANDPROFESSORS.ORG
USC’s go-get-it mentality. Coming to USC, I found myself surrounded by individuals who were so committed to getting involved in so many different ways, whether they had experience before or not. This mindset prepared me for the balancing act required to succeed in graduate school. Had I not been exposed to that so early in my undergraduate career, I don’t think I would have been able to adapt to the expectations of the intensive graduate program as easily.
FROM PRE-MED TO PhD Before she became a professor of Organic Chemistry at USC, Rebecca Broyer studied to attend medical school.
What aspect of USC do you think best prepared you for graduate school?
How did you develop relationships with professors to receive letters of recommendation?
Travel abroad. I would travel abroad. I deeply regret not going to another country to experience their food, culture, and attractions. The closest I got to a “study abroad program” was the Catalina Maymester. Students could kayak, hike, and camp in their free time. The class was scheduled in a manner so that you learned a lot but you were also given plenty of free time to explore the island.
What are your plans for next year?
If you could do it again, what would you do differently?
What is one piece of advice you would give to pre-med students?
Find your passions.
The key to developing long-lasting relationships lies in forming a bond that elicits honesty, curiosity, and vulnerability. Get out of your comfort zone and begin to see your professors as individuals, not just instructors. Also, the Trojan Network is more than willing to “pay it forward” as long as initiative is taken.
I am beyond elated to begin work as a Healtcare Consultant in San Francisco in the fall! If anyone had told me I would be doing this when I started USC as a naive freshman, I would not have believed them. Life works in funny ways. I guess I’ve learned to expect the unexpected.
The advice I would give for pre-meds is to keep your options open, pursue new things, and find programs at USC that interest you. You’ll be much happier doing activities you enjoy doing than stuck in a major you don’t like at all. My degrees help characterize my fascination about the brain, medicine, and the beach. I didn’t do it to impress anyone.
Loranna Grigoryan is a biological
Ruhi Sikri is a health promotion &
Alexander Lopez is a double major
science major with a minor in ceramics who will be attending the USC School of Pharmacy in the Fall.
disease prevention major who is also enrolled in the progressive degree in biostatistics and applied epidemiology.
in neuroscience and biology with a masters in marine and enviornmental biology. He plans to attend medical school.
TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION | April 23, 2014
Repaying Your Sleep Debt Derm: More than Skin Deep By FRANCINE LIANG Photo Manager
your body may be able to adapt to consistently short hours of sleep. The authors of the review did also warn, Having a healthy sleep schedule is im- however, that the body has limits on what it portant to your health and performance. considers adequate sleep. Consistently getYes, this is something that everyone has ting less than six hours of sleep had negative heard before. But rarely do college students health and functioning implications in most actually maintain a regular sleep schedule. adults studied. The current consensus is that the sleep But why is sleep actually that important? Well, first off, in extreme cases, sleep debt does in fact exist and that it can be “redeprivation can kill you. In less extreme paid” with sleep over time. However, most cases, studies have shown that it can lead to researchers also agree that simply making up increased irritability, lowered concentration the sleep you miss hour-for-hour does not work. and brain This is befunction cause the and weight sleep debt g a i n , builds up a m o n g over time o t h e r and can be things. masked by Although the refreshed these effeeling you fects seem get after just temporary, one night of long term good sleep. effects of The healthcarrying a sleep COURTESY MATERNITYINSTITUTE.COM iest sleep debt also exist Six hours a night is the minimum amount of sleep for a healthy schedule you can have is – such as lifestyle. thus a consisdecreased immune function and an increased risk for tent one, with at least six hours a night. So how can you improve your relationship chronic lung and heart diseases - and are serious enough to hopefully convince you with sleep? First, re-establishing a healthy schedule is key. Sleeping and waking earlier to rethink your current schedule. If you are like most American adults, you help get you back on the correct track. Then, to stabilize your circadian rhythm, probably try to catch up on your missed sleep over the weekends or whenever you it is best to have a set wake and sleep time, even on weekends. Try not to be tempted to have no morning classes. Statistics show that most Americans tend sleep later just because you have later classes to sleep an average of 2 hours more on on a certain day. It is best to start following these guidelines now so that more serious weekends than weekdays. This might seem to be a good idea: a 2010 problems do not develop later in life. You love sleep and your body loves sleep. review published in Biological Psychology did actually suggest that the “sleep debt” Establishing a stable, consistent relationmay not even exist since sleep is largely phe- ship with it will make you a lot happier and notypically adaptable over time – meaning, healthier.
By RACHEL POLCYN Writer When thinking of medical careers, people often overlook the profession of dermatology. Though there are countless rewards associated with the life of a dermatologist, a career in Dermatology is not as glamorous as the typical stereotype implies. Being a dermatologist requires hard work, intensive schooling and daily interaction with skin diseases of all kinds. Dermatology is the medical specialty that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to the skin, hair and nails, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median salary for a dermatologist as equal to or greater than $187,200 per year. Medscape reports that dermatologists work an average of 30-40 hours per week and are the most satisfied of all the medical specialties, with a satisfaction rate of 64 percent. The educational background required for a career in dermatology includes a bachelor’s degree, a medical doctorate (MD) or a doctorate of osteopathic medicine (DO), a one-year internship and at least three years in a dermatology residency program. Subspecialties of dermatology include cosmetic dermatology, dermatopathology, Mohs surgery and pediatric dermatology. The American Academy of Dermatology defines cosmetic dermatology as treatment that is meant to improve a patient’s appearance rather than treat a disease. Practices which fall under this specialty are surgeries to remove acne scars, filler and botulinum injections to give the face a youthful appearance and laser surgery for vein, age spot or tattoo removal. According to the Institute for Immunofluorescence, dermatopathologists specialize in diagnosing disorders of the skin microscopically. They are medical doctors
whose jobs inherently involve knowledge of both pathology, the study of the causes and effects of disease, and dermatology. Dermatopathologists analyze tissue samples and collaborate with dermatologists to identify and diagnose skin diseases. Mohs surgery is used exclusively to treat skin cancer and is conducted by a Mohs surgeon. A dermatologist considers all the factors of a case before determining that skin cancer is best treated with surgery. Pediatric dermatology involves the diagnosis and treatment of skin diseases in children. Common diseases diagnosed by pediatric dermatologists include eczema, birthmarks, psoriasis, skin infections, vitilligo, and warts. At the Keck School of Medicine of USC, the objective of the Department of Dermatology is to educate students to deliver superior specialized care to patients through clinical experience. To achieve this goal, USC medical students receive one week of skin biology teaching in their second year, and a ten-lecture introduction to dermatology in their third year. Additionally, students have the option of participating in a four-week clinical dermatology elective. Dr. David H. Peng, M.D., M.P.H. returned to Keck as the chair of the Department of Dermatology in April of 2013 after directing the Department of Dermatology’s Residency Training Program at Stanford University School of Medicine for three years. He plans for USC to become the ‘go-to’ program in Los Angeles County for melanoma, basal cell cancer, blistering diseases of the skin and other conditions. He also seeks to increase the Department of Dermatology’s presence in cancer research at the USC Norris Cancer Hospital. For more information on USC Dermatology programs, contact Keck’s Department of Dermatology at (323) 865-0983 or visit their website at keck.usc.edu.
The Invisible Asylum: Stigma of Mental Illness By CODY KANESHIRO Writer Though one out of every four adults in America are diagnosed with a psychological disorder per year according to the National Institute for Mental Health, negative misconceptions about mental illness continue to plague the general public. Hollywood blockbusters, from the Joker in The Dark Knight to Dr. Hannibal Lector in The Silence of the Lambs, continue to portray mentally ill characters as antagonists: violent, unpredictable, and brutal. News outlets, moreover, have focused their coverage of recent violent shootings on the role mental illness has effected perpetrators such as Adam Lanza’s hallucinations in the Sandy Hook massacre and the auditory delusions of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two Boston Marathon Bombers. Even the frequent use of words such as “madman,” and “psychopath” characterize psychological disorders as negative, socially intolerable afflictions. More disturbingly, discrimination against individuals with mental illness is still quite prevalent in the field of medicine. In the 1992 book, Stigma and Mental Illness, authors William Dubin and Paul Jay Fink found that lifetime insurance reimbursement coverage for psychological services was capped at $50,000, compared to the nearly limitless coverage for cardiac surgery or renal dialysis patients. Additionally, further studies by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors found that patients within the public healthcare system with major forms of psychological illness died 25 years earlier than those without mental disease, with 60 percent dying from preventable conditions. “The majority of healthcare providers are aware and empathetic of people suffering from severe mental illness,” said Dr. Janice Schafrik, a psychologist at USC. “Unfortunately, there are still a small handful of providers that you may run across once or twice that still harbor negative misconceptions about mental illness.” Though the stigmatization of psychological disorders represents a huge problem on its own, the more immediate concern regarding mental health is how the lack of educa-
Hollywood movies, such as The Dark Knight, perpetuate the negative stereotypes associated with mental illness.
tion about psychological disease in the public can create stereotypes and assumptions that lead to self-stigmatization: a process in which an individual applies social conventions onto themselves, resulting in a lack of self-esteem, lack of hope, and general apathy. “The biggest challenge facing mental illness is the internalized stigma,” said Schafrik. “Students pick up what they see in the media and internalize it. But being able to recognize and analyze what has happened can be really, really scary in this battle. Over time they need to understand ‘that’s not true’ and recognize it for what it is and move forward.” Joshua S., a student at USC struggling with depression, agrees that self-stigma can sometimes be the greatest obstacle in treating mental illness. “The stigma can be really difficult. Everyone has already been conditioned to have certain perceptions about what mental illness is and how ‘crazy; people act. It’s something
that takes a long time for a lot of people to get over and start to be true with themselves,” he said. In particular, one of the hardest things for students struggling with psychological disorders is identifying that a problem exists and having an internal resolution to doing something about it. In a society filled with negative stereotypes against anything to do with mental illnesses, such internal battles often happen behind closed doors, without the help of peers, family, or friends. Thankfully, Joshua notes, the stigma against mental illness is as significant as it is elsewhere. “The general American society has created a lot of negative connections between mental illness and negative practices. It’s really time we try to move past these though so we can help the people that need to be helped,” said Joshua. He added, “It’s like having asthma or acid reflux; mental illness doesn’t make you something you don’t want to be, it’s just something you have to deal with and move on.”
April 23, 2014| TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION
Attending a Medical Conference with APAMSA By JESSICA FRANKEBERGER Writer Medical conferences allow researchers, health professionals and students to share their research and increase their knowledge in specific health fields. While undergraduate students usually do not attend conferences, some organizations are encouraging and facilitating undergraduate attendance. USC’s Premedical Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) is one of these groups. By attending medical conferences, APAMSA aims to bridge the gap between medical professionals and premed students, as well as keep undergraduates up-to-date on new information in the healthcare field. “Conferences are probably the best way to stay informed on the current issues in the health field, and, especially with the upcoming changes from the Affordable Care Act, we need to stay on top of the shifting paradigm,” says Alexander Yuen, a
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Biological Sciences double major and APAMSA’s Internal Co-President. Yuen stressed the many opportunities conferences provide for students to network with other students and healthcare professionals. He said, “They provide a frank forum for premedical students and medical students to discuss current health topics. This is especially true for premedical students that get the chance to inquire about their professional interests.” The medical conferences usually consist of guest speakers, expert panels, and scientific poster sessions, which address the specific conference theme. Yuen feels that premed students could gain new insight into healthcare topics by attending medical conferences. “For me, medical topics are often much easier to understand when elaborated upon by experts. This to me seems to be the greatest reason to attend,” he said.
APAMSA allows students to attend the conferences free of charge and makes an effort to cover all transportation costs, including flights if necessary. Students interested in attending medical conferences with APAMSA or becom-
ing involved in the organization are encouraged to contact APAMSA or attend any of their weekly Monday meetings this semester from 6:30-7:30 pm in THH 208.
pArTicipAnTS in the APAMSA Midwest Regional Conference
Teach For America: “A New Outlook” By AMRIT JAGGI PR Manager Teach for America is a non-profit that aims to lower education inequity by enlisting recent college graduates to teach in low-income areas for two years. Zade Shakir, a pre-med senior majoring in biology and international relations, will be working with Teach for America starting Fall 2014. He will be a high school chemistry teacher in the Bay Area. Shakir’s passion for education stems from his experiences with teachers in high school. He said, “Coming out of high school, I wasn’t interested in the sciences and it had to do with the educators.”
But in college he realized the impact a good teacher makes. “A good educator can inspire you to do something,” Shakir said. He added, “That made me realize that there are so many kids in classrooms across the US that are really Zade missing out on legitimate opportunities to accomplish something in life.” Teach for America is intended for recent graduates in all disciplines but may be more appealing to pre-health students. “Medical schools are getting more com-
There are qualities and skills that are very valuable to a successful future in medicine or health.
Trojans for Smoking Awareness By MAGGIE KING Writer
petitive and more people are looking to take a gap year or two. Teach for America is a humbling, maturing experience, and teachers leave the program with a new outlook,” said Shakir. He added, “From Teach for AmeriShakir ca there are qualities and skills that are very valuable to a successful future in medicine or health. You will really be able to crack down on preparation skills and research. It allows you to experience something different.”
died of cancer, directly caused by heavy smoking. Although a physician himself, Arzani’s grandfather smoked at a time when smokAccording to the Centers for Disease ing was widely accepted as a method of reControl and Prevention, tobacco smoke is laxation encouraged by doctors. a toxic mix of more than 7,000 chemicals, Arzani said, “By the time my grandfather causing about 90 percent of lung cancers in was aware of the negative effects of smokthe United States. Additionally, about 3,000 ing, it was too late. ” people who do not smoke die from lung TFSA’s advisor, Dr. Steve Sussman, concancer every year due to secondhand smoke. ducts research regarding drug abuse preTrojans for Smoking Awareness (TFSA), vention and cessation. a USC-recognized student organization, Sussman said, “There are many USC newly founded in 2013, aims to increase non-smokers who wish that there would be awareness of these facts within the USC no smoking around them but do not want and surrounding LA community. to wrestle with the consequences of comIt seeks to educate USC students and LA plaining about it. There are finite smoking high schoolers on the dangers of smoking tobacco, marijuana, and other recreational areas…where are they?” According to Arzani, “Many other coldrugs, as well as encourage more productive leges, such as UCLA, have become comways to spend time, decrease stress, and relax. pletely smoke-free.” TFSA President Artine Arzani says that TFSA’s vision is to become an integral his grandfather was a heavy smoker who part of USC’s health improvement efforts. It anticipates becoming more involved in education and empowering fellow Trojans and high school students about the dangers of various smokable drugs. In the upcoming year, the club plans to host many more student public health COURTESY GOREDFORWOMEN.ORG presentations and outTFSA aims to increase awareness of the dangers that reach events at local come with smoking. schools.
Shakir’s biggest concern is inspiring his students. He said, “I think it’ll be difficult to try and change someone’s perception about college or a class. That’s something that is difficult to do. After Teach from America, I want to be a leader in my community.” The application process is straightforward. Students submit an online application at the end of their junior year. The interview process consists of two phases: one phone interview and one daylong interview. The questions are primarily behavioral and ask candidates to reflect on their leadership roles and past experiences. USC is one of the biggest contributors for Teach for America. Students who are interested should visit teachforamerica.org.
Dancing with the Mind: Neuroscience Twist By AMY ZHAO Writer Upon first look, dancing and neuroscience seem to be of two completely different disciplines. However, at the University of Southern California, the two will come together. The USC Gloria Kaufman School of Dance and the USC Brain and Creativity Institute are in partnership, but no specific projects have been announced. The two will work together to investigate the neurological basis for the creativity in dance and the cognitive aspects of dance. The partnership will invite visiting scholars and dance professionals to assist in various research projects. Jodie Gates, the vice dean of the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance hopes that the partnership will help students of the dance school to gain insight into what it means to be a “thoughtful dancer.” The USC Brain and Creativity Institute was established in 2006 when Dr. Antonio Damasio and Dr. Hanna Damasio came to USC. The Damasios are two of the world’s most renowned and respected neurologists. Dr. Hanna Damasio focuses on neuroimaging to study language, memory, and emotion. Dr. Antonio Damasio focuses on the relationship between cognition and emotion and their neural basis. The institute currently has many projects that investigate the neural and cognitive aspects of music, feelings, society, development, decision-making, action, perception, and imaging. The partnership with the Kaufman School of Dance is the most recent.
The Kaufman School of Dance is the newest of the University of Southern California’s professional schools. The school hopes to teach students to be innovative and collaborative in dance. Gates, a renowned dancer, choreographer, and educator, is a ballet dancer who appeared in over 40 shows and founded the Laguna Dance Festival. She also teaches in dance companies and at UC Irvine. Robert Cutietta serves as the school’s Dean. Cutietta is currently a professor at the Thornton School of Music. Glorya Kaufman is the founder of the school. The school was a gift from Kaufman who is a world-renowned dancer and philanthropist. The school is also currently hiring faculty. Although the two have not released or set a date for release of the new projects, it is exciting to see where this interdisciplinary partnership will go and what new insights will be revealed. It is another testimony to the spirit of the university and its commitment to building bridges across disciplines.
TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION | April 23, 2014
Medical School Rankings: What Do They Really Mean? By BRITTNEY KUO Writer The U.S. News & World Report, widely known for its college and graduate school rankings, has recently published its top medical school rankings for 2015. The report is based upon a number of factors, and focuses primarily on rating medical schools in terms of research and primary care. The 2015 rankings were created on the basis of information received from 114 medical schools accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education and the American Osteopathic Association in the fall of 2013. The list is based on the weight-
ed average of seven to eight different factors, from admission statistics to surveys from the schools themselves. Characteristics of each school taken into account in the ranking process include data such as the school’s acceptance rate and its accepted students’ average GPA and MCAT scores. The ratio of faculty to students is also considered. Another aspect of a school’s ranking is its response to a survey administered to its school officials (such as the deans and directors of admissions) and residency program directors, asking them to rate the school’s programs on a scale of one to five, with five being the best score. The list of best medical schools in terms
Medical Mannequins: Second Line? By JEHAN BISTA Writer
state-of-the-art machines that accurately imitate several facets of human behavior including (but not limited to) talking, sweating, breathing, groaning, having an As medically related technology has beartificial “blood flow” and pulse and excome more cutting-edge and universal, creting bodily fluids. medical schools throughout the nation During each simulation procedure, an have put it in their best interests to provide experienced group of professionals assists their students with the most up-to-date rethe students: an attending physician, an insources in order to maximize the students’ tern (1st year resident), a chief resident and learning and exposure to medicine. other health-related specialists. The Center for Stimulation and InnovaMultiple specialists are brought togethtion (CSI), which opened in July 2012, is er in order to demonstrate that complex a 9,600-square-foot complex dedicated to health-related issues can only be solved furthering medical education at the Uniwhen input from multiple areas of experversity of Arizona Medical School. tise are brought together. The facilities consist of five mock hospital The mannequins document the entirety rooms, five debriefing rooms and a surgical of their interactions with the students, enstation, among other things. They serve to abling the students to receive feedback on give medical students hands-on experience their treatment methods after each session. in an artificially-created medical environOverall, the mannequins are useful tools ment in order to minimize the number of because not only do they expose medical future errors they make. students to complex medical dilemmas, but Students can now utilize an effective tool they also further the students’ confidence in order to acquire practical experience bein handling such situations. In the past, fore venturing off into real practice: mansuch technology was only available to resnequins. idents, and many medical schools did not The simulation hospital rooms located in have access to such facilities. CSI currently have nine full body manneThe fact that the medical students at the quins available for use. University of Arizona now have access to The mannequins, which range from this type of simulation lab for all four years 50,000 to 110,000 dollars, are expensive, of their education demonstrates just how integral such technology has become to the medical school curriculum. As more and more medical schools throughout the country begin to incorporate these tools into their programs, medical students can rest assured that they will be prepared to handle complicated health-related issues COURTESY IMGUR.COM on their own in the future.
of research are also additionally based on the amount of research grants awarded to the school by the National Institute of Health—including the amount of grants awarded per faculty member. In contrast, the list of best primary care medical schools is based on the percent of students of the school that were able to enter primary care residencies post-graduation. The scores from each of the above qualifications were adjusted and standardized until a chronological list could be formulated. The number one school in each category has a score of 100 and the schools that follow have a score that is a percentage of the top school’s score. The U.S. News & World Report also has
rankings of schools by specialty, including pediatric care, geriatrics, internal medicine, and family medicine. These rankings are only tabulated through the number of nominations from medical school faculty when asked to name the ten schools with the best programs for each specialty. Certain schools do not appear in the list, due to the fact that they did not give enough information to U.S. News to be sufficiently ranked. For 2015 Harvard University tops the list of the best research medical schools and the University of Washington is the first on the list of best primary care schools. The full lists can be found on the U.S. News website.
Match Day: Pushing the Envelope By RYAN EMHOFF Writer
Match Day can be nerve-wracking for applicants as their entire futures are decided by what comes in that envelope. “Everyone is a little terrified, and it’s defiThe countdown begins. Every fourthyear medical student at Johns Hopkins is nitely an anxious experience for everybody waiting nervously for the timer to reach because you are never assured a spot,” said Lewis. zero, envelopes in hand. LewThe next three to ten years is got of their lives, their future his first city and specialty are all choice, printed on one sheet of pabut not per within that envelope. every“ZERO!” one is so The tearing of hundreds lucky. If of envelopes can be heard an apand in the span of a few moplicant ments there is an uproar of does not cheers. Not all of these cries match are joyful ones as some stuCOURTESY UCONN.EDU a n y dents have discovered that where, their lives are not headed in MEDICAL students at the University of Conthe direction they desired. necticut School of Medicine open their letters. then they have to This hodgepodge of emogo through the Supplemental Off er and tion and tension is part of a culmination of all the years that medical students have put Acceptance Program, which places that applicant in one of the remaining residency into their career paths: Match Day. Josh Lewis is a current Internal Medicine spots. “I knew one guy who wanted to go into resident at Cedar’s Sinai Hospital. Lewis said, “Match day is when you find emergency medicine, but he did not match out where you matched into a residency or anywhere, so he had to apply to family physician programs at the last minute. His cafellowship program.” To get placed into a residency program reer plans completely changed,” said Lewis. Match Day is a milestone, so many one must fill out an online application and later be interviewed by interested hospitals. schools put on a ceremony. For example, “An algorithm matches you to programs at Vanderbilt University every student goes based on your ranking of those programs, on stage to open their envelope and read and the ranking that those programs placed where they matched in front of everyone. Match Day is one of many similar cycles you in,” Lewis said. The use of technology to match appli- of applying for spots in this career path, alcants to programs makes the system as beit a petrifying cycle for some, but in the streamlined as possible. According to the end it is a necessary step in the process. Lewis said, “It’s a frustrating system, but National Resident Matching Program, the match process fills 99.4 percent of available everyone has to go through it, and in the end it works out for most people.” residency spots.
DO vs MD: Differences and Similarities By RACHEL DONG Writer
The two paths to becoming a physician in the United States are either obtaining a degree as a doctor of allopathic medicine, or a doctor of osteopathic medicine. These two degrees are more commonly referred to as MD and DO. In the United States, “doctors” usually refer to individuals with an MD, as they constitute an overwhelming majority of the population of physicians in the United States. According to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, there are only 30 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States, making up for 5% of the population of physi-
cians. However, this is a growing number, as the AACOM reports that over 20% of the medical students in the US are DO students. “The biggest difference between DO and MD is the addition of much more muscular skeletal training and learning osteopathic manipulation,” said Dr. Erin Quinn. Quinn is the Associate Dean of Science and Health and the former Associate Dean for Admissions at USC Keck School of Medicine. “DO is an additional competency that you don’t have in the MD training, like an additional tool in the toolbox,” she added. For example, instead of first prescribing medicine, DO students learn to take more of a physical and more natural approach to
the healing process. The prerequisite courses for DO schools are exactly the same as allopathic schools, with an appreciation of the structure and function of the body for DO school. In both DO and MD schools, the first two years are the clinical science years, while the third and fourth year are the clinical years. Currently, there are certain residencies available only for DO students, while both DO and MD students can apply for the MD residencies. These residencies are slightly different, however. Quinn said, “For residencies in family medicine for DOs, one afternoon per week they do osteopathic manipulation for their training.” There are also different exams to apply
for DO and MD residencies. The AACOM reported February 2014 that there will be a single accreditation system in medical education in order to ensure that all physicians will have access to the primary and sub-specialty training necessary to serve patients. This change allows graduates to transfer from one program to another without repeating education, making residency programs more efficient. According to Quinn, although many DO students go into primary care, there are now osteopathic physicians in every field. All in all, the degree in osteopathic medicine presents an alternative perspective in medicine that offers similar residencies and ultimately, occupations, to prospective physicians.
April 23, 2014 | TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION
New Partnership Creates Dance Medicine Program By MONICA LIU Writer When dancers incur an injury, it typically means that their dance career has ended. The loss of technique and strength that accompanies extended periods of time without training is hard to overcome. To address this issue, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has partnered with the University of Southern California’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance to create a Dance Medicine Program. This program is focused solely on making use of Cedars-Sinai’s resources to ensure dancers’ rapid recovery. Specifically, this program makes use of MRI machines, CT scans, physical therapists, physiatrists, and the expertise from an eight person medical team consisting of physicians ranging from orthopedic surgeons to neurosurgeons. In addition to this expert medical team, co-director Margo Apostolos, Ph.D., from the University of Southern California’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, brings her comprehensive knowledge of dance, movement and choreography to help design the most effective healing program for dancers. Co-director Glenn Pfeffer, MD, with his extensive 25-year career in orthopedic surgery, devotes ample time to treating dancers. Typically, a dancing injury involves bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. Dancers are most vulnerable to these injuries in the lower back, feet, ankles, and knees.
Leonardi, 19, prepares for his next competition Specifically, the Cedars-Sinai/USC Glorya Kaufman Dance Medicine Center can treat anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, bursitis, tendonitis, articular cartilage injury, traumatic injury fractures, meniscal tears, strains, sprains, and stress fractures. These treatments are specialized for each patient. Physicians at this center focus on administering therapies while educating the patient to avoid future injury
Science of Supplements By JIANING LIU Associate Editor
do that,” said Joonwan Joun, a human performance major and amIf you’ve been at USC for any ateur bodybuilder. amount of time, you have likely Yet, the effectiveness of these seen the gigantic jars of protein supplements has been heavily powder that decorate the living debated. Although advertised as spaces of your health-conscious containing all the materials necclassmates. essary for muscle growth, almost With flavors like strawberry 99 percent of the product is simcream and rocky road, these pro- ple sugars and proteins. tein flavors sound more like milkFurthermore, consistent conshakes than health supplements. sumption of supplements can lead Nonetheless, they have become to too much protein. USC Profesan integral piece of a bodybuild- sor of Kinesiology Daniel Farwell ing culture. expresses concern over the overIn recent years, the market of use of supplements. sports-oriented nutritional prod“Most people already get more ucts, commonly known as sup- than enough protein in their diplements has been expanding at ets; adding any more to it is usualan exponential rate. ly unnecessary,” said Farwell. Companies such as Optimum At ~$1.20 per serving of proNutrition and Cytosport, in- tein, supplements do not come dustry leaders known for their cheap. TAdditionally, Farwell “Whey Protein” and “Muscle goes on to explain that continuMilk” products, have been expe- ous consumption can lead to exriencing rampant growth over the posure to heavy metals in the suppast decade. plements like lead, Advertised arsenic or mercury. as quick and “These metals healthy snacks or have a negative immeal alternatives, pact on a host of these products organ functions.” are usually sold he said. as ready-to-mix Ultimately, Farshakes or prewell believes that packaged bars. the key to building Their largest conmuscle and staysumer? Men uning fit is healthy der 18-25. long-term lifestyle “It’s a Sochoices. COURTESY AMAZON.COM Cal thing and Protein supplements are be- He said, “No a young people coming increasingly popular. amount of protein thing. Everycan help if one body wants to get strong and look doesn’t make a conscious effort to good, and protein is just a way to exercise daily and eat properly.”
and ensure a full recovery. Matthew Leonardi, a former Cedars-Sinai/USC Glorya Kaufman Dance Medicine Center patient, was almost at the point of ending his dance career due to constant pain near his Achilles tendon. Before visiting the Cedars-Sinai/USC Dance Center, Leonardi had tried three separate surgeons who all diagnosed him with either tendonitis or an ankle sprain and proceeded to put him in a restrictive
cast. However, once Leonardi visited Cedars-Sinai/USC Dance Center, Pfeffer correctly diagnosed Leonardi with os trigonum, an “extra” bone in the foot broken from the pressure of leaping, turning, and pointing of the feet. After his treatment and recovery through Cedars-Sinai/USC Glorya Kaufman Dance Medicine Center, Leonardi said, “I can jump again, and I do more turns now – before I could barely do four, now I’m up to seven, I wouldn’t have had a chance before. Now I do. I just have to work hard and show them I’m really dedicated.” Leonardi is now able to compete in the Youth American Grand Prix, the most prestigious dance competition for youths up to age 19, and study ballet under master Maxim Tchernychev and Dmitri Kulev of San Diego Ballet and Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy, respectively. The Cedars-Sinai/USC Glorya Kaufman Dance Medicine Center aids many dancers and athletes in regaining their previous athleticism and technique through specialized treatments incorporating the technology, physicians, and physical therapists available through Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. This program is one of the first of its kind in the nation and has successfully catered medicine to a niche group. For more information regarding the Cedars-Sinai/USC Glorya Kaufman Dance Medicine Center, please visit their website at Cedars-Sinai.edu.
Heart Health: Marathons By SUCHARITA YELLAPRAGADA Associate Editor The temperature was 85 degrees on a Sunday morning in Los Angeles. 20 miles passed. 6.2 miles remained. Every breath was becoming harder and harder to take. So how did senior Angie Kim, survive running the LA Marathon on a sunny March 9th morning? “My friend and I dedicated every couple of miles to people we loved, and it made the first half go by very fast,” said Kim. The marathon started at approximately 7 a.m. with the course beginning at the Dodger Stadium and ending at the intersection of Ocean Avenue and California Avenue in Santa Monica. Kim, of course, went into the race with previous experience in running marathons. “I’ve been a distance runner since I was in 7th grade, and LA Marathon was going to be the pinnacle of my running career as I am graduating from USC,” said Kim. “It’s also in my favorite city and the city I call home,” she added. Although no cardiologist would tell a healthy person like Kim not to run a marathon, it does not mean that he or she would advise someone to just get off the couch and starting running a race tomorrow. After all, running 26.2 miles take a huge toll on the body’s muscles, bones, joints, and heart. “I trained until 15 miles, which is really not a lot for a marathon runner at all. I should have
COURTESY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
running 26.2 miles takes a huge toll on one’s body. trained more. I tried breaking the race into two, instead of thinking I’m running the full 26.2 miles,” said Kim. Kim admits that even with that preparation, it still was not enough to keep her body physically ready for the marathon’s toll. “I carb loaded for a few days before the race itself and added weight training to my training, but my body was in pain. The muscles I knew never existed hurt for about four days after the race,” said Kim. What Kim also admits she did not know is that some runners may have a hidden heart disease that can put them at risk when running high intensity races like the LA Marathon. The less training a runner has before a marathon, the more damage that occurs to the heart, specifically its pumping ability. In the genetic condition hy-
pertrophic cardiomyopathy, part of the heart muscle is thickened without obvious cause. This is normally asymptomatic, but under severe physical exertion, the heart is unable to cope, resulting in a heart attack. Ultimately, this condition only affects one in five hundred people and there are still many benefits to running a marathon so long as a runner has adequately prepared both physically and mentally for the race. “I’ve heard that it’s bad for your knees but I do want to run another marathon, towards early next year, or later this year,” said Kim. She added, “It is time consuming to train. The benefit. though, is gaining discipline and feeling accomplishment.” Kim finished her last marathon as senior at USC. In the fall, she will be heading off to the east coast, to New York University, for graduate school.
April 23, 2014 | TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION
Spotlight on Medical Schools
UCSD Molds Caring Physicians From Strong Applicants By SANA AZAM Web Manager Overview One of six prestigious University of California (UC) medical schools, the UC San Diego School of Medicine teaches its students to care for the patients at a more personal level. Established in 1968 and located in beautiful La Jolla, California, the school has grown to encompass multiple specialty departments and is distinguished as one of the best medical schools in the nation. Amaan Ali, a first year student and USC alum, shares his admiration for the school, saying, “UCSD believes in not just training competant physicians, but friendly and sensitive physicians. They realize that the way the patient feels...has a big impact on the healing process.” The school has numerous accolades, including highly ranked departments, particularly Family Medicine, Neurosciences, and Surgery. There is a large emphasis on research as well, with faculty members ranking number one for federal research funding per faculty member. As of 2014 the school is ranked 39th in the nation of public medical schools by US News. Currently matriculating 125 students a year, the school has 502 students enrolled as of 2013. This includes students who deferred from the previous year and students repeating courses from their first year. “Deferred and repeating students go through the same programs,” said Ali. “We have electives, but the core curriculum is the same for all students.” A great benefit of being the only medical school in the area is that
students have the option to gain experience from any one of the five different teaching hospitals associated with the school. “San Diego is amazing,” said Ali. “Being the only allopathic medical school in the area, we kind of have a monopoly on the teaching hospitals.” These connections provide the students with extensive opportunities to be trained by brilliant physicians and be exposed to a variety of health problems early in their medical careers. For the first year and a half, students take information dense courses aimed to provide all the knowledge necessary before they move on to clinical rotations for the remaining quarters. Some of the courses of year one and two
include the Practice of Medicine, Problem Based Learning, Cardiology, Mind Brain and Behavior, Hematology and Oncology. These prepare the students as they enter rotations in the spring of their second year. The school also offers the Independent Study Project (ISP) that, according to the UCSD’s website, seeks to “prepare physicians who are scientifically expert, clinically astute, responsive to community problems, and compassionate toward clinical needs.” As one of the requirements for graduation since its adoption, the program is a step in the right direction for students to be thoroughly engaged in their learning and encourage them have the initiative to pursue an academ-
ic project independent from the classroom setting. Following their motto as “Fiat lux,” meaning “Let there be light,” UCSD’s School of Medicine and its students are sure to have a lasting impact on the medical field of the future. Degree Programs The UCSD School of Medicine offers a variety of degree and dual degree programs. These allow students to explore their interests with greater range than just the medical atmosphere. The programs offered are MD, MD/Masters of Advanced Studies in the Leadership of Healthcare Organizations, MD/Masters of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research, MD/ Master of Advanced Studies in Health Law, MD/PhD, MD/MPH,
as well as various independent PhD programs. Application Process The application process is similar to most medical schools in the nation. After a primary application through AMCAS, the school asks for a $80 detailed secondary application, including, but not limited to, a biographical sketch (personal statement), list of extracurricular, publications, medical/clinical experiences, letters of recommendation and volunteer experience. The interview process has changed in the last year, adopting the Multiple Mini Interview system that many other medical schools are also implementing. “The interview process includes questions about personal interests, what field of medicine you are interested in, etc,” said Ali. “It’s to get a better picture of who we are as people. If you are a nice, caring individual, who cares about patients and is going into medicine to help people, the interviewers can pick up on that.” The average overall GPA is about 3.75, with an average science GPA of 3.71. MCAT scores should be around 33.6 composite. With almost 6000 applicants each cycle, the acceptance rate of the school is about 2.1 percent.
UCSD at a Glance Class Size: 125 Average MCAT at admission: 35 Average GPA at admission: 3.8 Average Science GPA: 3.8
#14 Best Research #38 Best Primary Care Full-time faculty 1,307 Faculty-student ratio 2:6:1
Top Specialties Chosen by UCSD Students Anesthesiology 7% Emergency Medicine 4% Family Practice 6%
Internal Medicine 17% Obstetrics/Gynecology 4% Orthopaedic Surgery 5%
502 Currently Enrolled 6,673 Verified Applications 125 Matriculated
Total Cost of Attendance In-state $56,820 Out-of-state $69,060 Average graduate indebtedness: $100,858 Students receiving aid: 78%