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Moderna Vaccine – (Rush University COVID Journal)

With the rise in COVID-19 cases this winter during this global pandemic, Pfizer (a pharmaceutical company based in New York) and BioNTech (a biotechnology company based in Germany) provided hopeful news that their vaccine was over 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 on November 9. One week later on November 16, Moderna (a biotechnology company based in Massachusetts) announced that its vaccine candidate was 94.5% effective based on its phase III results of its clinical trial. Moderna Vaccine Phase III trial results Among 30,000 participants ages 18 and older in the United States, Moderna reported 95 participants with confirmed cases of COVID-19: 90 cases in the placebo group versus 5 cases in the vaccine group. This study included more than 7,000 people over the age of 65; more than 5,000 people under the age of 65 with high-risk chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiac disease, and severe obesity (42% of the total participants in this trial); and more than 11,000 people from communities of color (37% of the total participants in this trial). The vaccine was generally well tolerated with mild or moderate side effects including fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, headache, and pain and redness at the injection site (2.0%). Based

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Risk of Getting COVID-19 on a Plane – (Rush University COVID-19 Journal)

9.5 million people traveled on airplanes in the United States during the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday. Given that the SARS_CoV-2 is an airborne virus, what is the risk of contracting COVID-19 on a plane? How is the air on planes filtered? 50% of plane air is fresh from outside the cabin (assumed to be sterile). The other 50% is filtered through a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter which removes up to 99.97% of particles in the air, lowering the risk of airborne transmission. Although the HEPA filters take out more than 99% of air particles these filters are not protective if you are in close proximity to an infected individual. This is why wearing masks and following airline precautions is essential to preventing the spread of COVID-19.  What does the research say? One study found that a symptomatic COVID-19 patient boarded a flight with 217 people and spread it to 16 individuals. Of those infected, 12/16 were sitting in business class with the symptomatic patient. No one on the flight was wearing masks. In March, 299 asymptomatic individuals were evacuated from Italy on an 11-hour flight to South Korea. Passengers on this flight wore N95 masks except during meals. On

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The Moderna Vaccine – (Rush University COVID-19 Journal)

With the rise in COVID-19 cases this winter during this global pandemic, Pfizer (a pharmaceutical company based in New York) and BioNTech (a biotechnology company based in Germany) provided hopeful news that their vaccine was over 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 on November 9. One week later on November 16, Moderna (a biotechnology company based in Massachusetts) announced that its vaccine candidate was 94.5% effective based on its phase III results of its clinical trial. Moderna Vaccine Phase III trial results Among 30,000 participants ages 18 and older in the United States, Moderna reported 95 participants with confirmed cases of COVID-19: 90 cases in the placebo group versus 5 cases in the vaccine group. This study included more than 7,000 people over the age of 65; more than 5,000 people under the age of 65 with high-risk chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiac disease, and severe obesity (42% of the total participants in this trial); and more than 11,000 people from communities of color (37% of the total participants in this trial). The vaccine was generally well tolerated with mild or moderate side effects including fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, headache, and pain and redness at the injection site (2.0%). Based

View Article >

The Pfizer Vaccine – (Rush University COVID-19 Journal)

Hundreds of companies have been racing to create a vaccine that is able to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, ultimately ending this global pandemic. On November 9th, Pfizer (an NYC-based pharmaceutical company) and BioNTech (a German biotechnology company) announced that their vaccine candidate was over 90%  effective at preventing COVID-19, following results from phase III of the clinical trial.  What were the Pfizer Vaccine Phase III trial results? Among almost 44,000 trial participants, Pfizer/BioNTech reported 94 cases of COVID-19. Pfizer reported that the split of cases between the groups suggested that the vaccine was more than 90% effective at preventing disease.  Of note, the FDA has required coronavirus vaccines to be at least 50% effective to be approved for emergency use. While the Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness rate may be slightly reduced once the trial is completed, scientists predict it will stay far above 50%. What don’t we know? The scientific community is still in the dark about many aspects of the vaccine – including how long vaccine-induced protective antibodies will last, the severity of infections the vaccine can protect against, and the vaccine’s efficacy in different populations, such as immunocompromised and elderly people. What are the scientific principles behind an

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5 ways to destress while in medical school

Medical students across the country have to navigate the ups, downs and long hours of the rewarding but high-demand nature of training to become a physician. In some cases, a rigorous school schedule and other demands can sometimes take a toll on medical students’ mental health. The Association of American Medical Colleges and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education are focusing on the issue and are considering encouraging medical students to join clubs and seek counseling. Stress is a contributing factor to both addiction and suicide, and medical students must find healthy ways to reduce their stress levels. 1. Do physical activities Physical activity is one of the top ways to reduce stress. Hiking is a great example of an accessible physical activity to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress levels. Fortunately, nearly any physical activity relieves anger, tension, and frustration, so medical students do not have to worry about finding great quantities of time to go to the gym. To maximize stress reduction, exercise for 30 minutes or more. However, short, 10-minute activity bursts effectively will relieve stress and boost energy and optimism because exercise releases mood-boosting endorphins. Medical students should take short breaks from studying to play music, dance, take a

View Article >

Moderna Vaccine – (Rush University COVID Journal)

With the rise in COVID-19 cases this winter during this global pandemic, Pfizer (a pharmaceutical company based in New York) and BioNTech (a biotechnology company based in Germany) provided hopeful news that their vaccine was over 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 on November 9. One week later on November 16, Moderna (a biotechnology company based in Massachusetts) announced that its vaccine candidate was 94.5% effective based on its phase III results of its clinical trial. Moderna Vaccine Phase III trial results Among 30,000 participants ages 18 and older in the United States, Moderna reported 95 participants with confirmed cases of COVID-19: 90 cases in the placebo group versus 5 cases in the vaccine group. This study included more than 7,000 people over the age of 65; more than 5,000 people under the age of 65 with high-risk chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiac disease, and severe obesity (42% of the total participants in this trial); and more than 11,000 people from communities of color (37% of the total participants in this trial). The vaccine was generally well tolerated with mild or moderate side effects including fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, headache, and pain and redness at the injection site (2.0%). Based

View Article >

Risk of Getting COVID-19 on a Plane – (Rush University COVID-19 Journal)

9.5 million people traveled on airplanes in the United States during the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday. Given that the SARS_CoV-2 is an airborne virus, what is the risk of contracting COVID-19 on a plane? How is the air on planes filtered? 50% of plane air is fresh from outside the cabin (assumed to be sterile). The other 50% is filtered through a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter which removes up to 99.97% of particles in the air, lowering the risk of airborne transmission. Although the HEPA filters take out more than 99% of air particles these filters are not protective if you are in close proximity to an infected individual. This is why wearing masks and following airline precautions is essential to preventing the spread of COVID-19.  What does the research say? One study found that a symptomatic COVID-19 patient boarded a flight with 217 people and spread it to 16 individuals. Of those infected, 12/16 were sitting in business class with the symptomatic patient. No one on the flight was wearing masks. In March, 299 asymptomatic individuals were evacuated from Italy on an 11-hour flight to South Korea. Passengers on this flight wore N95 masks except during meals. On

View Article >

The Moderna Vaccine – (Rush University COVID-19 Journal)

With the rise in COVID-19 cases this winter during this global pandemic, Pfizer (a pharmaceutical company based in New York) and BioNTech (a biotechnology company based in Germany) provided hopeful news that their vaccine was over 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 on November 9. One week later on November 16, Moderna (a biotechnology company based in Massachusetts) announced that its vaccine candidate was 94.5% effective based on its phase III results of its clinical trial. Moderna Vaccine Phase III trial results Among 30,000 participants ages 18 and older in the United States, Moderna reported 95 participants with confirmed cases of COVID-19: 90 cases in the placebo group versus 5 cases in the vaccine group. This study included more than 7,000 people over the age of 65; more than 5,000 people under the age of 65 with high-risk chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiac disease, and severe obesity (42% of the total participants in this trial); and more than 11,000 people from communities of color (37% of the total participants in this trial). The vaccine was generally well tolerated with mild or moderate side effects including fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, headache, and pain and redness at the injection site (2.0%). Based

View Article >

The Pfizer Vaccine – (Rush University COVID-19 Journal)

Hundreds of companies have been racing to create a vaccine that is able to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, ultimately ending this global pandemic. On November 9th, Pfizer (an NYC-based pharmaceutical company) and BioNTech (a German biotechnology company) announced that their vaccine candidate was over 90%  effective at preventing COVID-19, following results from phase III of the clinical trial.  What were the Pfizer Vaccine Phase III trial results? Among almost 44,000 trial participants, Pfizer/BioNTech reported 94 cases of COVID-19. Pfizer reported that the split of cases between the groups suggested that the vaccine was more than 90% effective at preventing disease.  Of note, the FDA has required coronavirus vaccines to be at least 50% effective to be approved for emergency use. While the Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness rate may be slightly reduced once the trial is completed, scientists predict it will stay far above 50%. What don’t we know? The scientific community is still in the dark about many aspects of the vaccine – including how long vaccine-induced protective antibodies will last, the severity of infections the vaccine can protect against, and the vaccine’s efficacy in different populations, such as immunocompromised and elderly people. What are the scientific principles behind an

View Article >

5 ways to destress while in medical school

Medical students across the country have to navigate the ups, downs and long hours of the rewarding but high-demand nature of training to become a physician. In some cases, a rigorous school schedule and other demands can sometimes take a toll on medical students’ mental health. The Association of American Medical Colleges and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education are focusing on the issue and are considering encouraging medical students to join clubs and seek counseling. Stress is a contributing factor to both addiction and suicide, and medical students must find healthy ways to reduce their stress levels. 1. Do physical activities Physical activity is one of the top ways to reduce stress. Hiking is a great example of an accessible physical activity to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress levels. Fortunately, nearly any physical activity relieves anger, tension, and frustration, so medical students do not have to worry about finding great quantities of time to go to the gym. To maximize stress reduction, exercise for 30 minutes or more. However, short, 10-minute activity bursts effectively will relieve stress and boost energy and optimism because exercise releases mood-boosting endorphins. Medical students should take short breaks from studying to play music, dance, take a

View Article >