Newsletter #2


Welcome to the second newsletter of the semester! Here you will find current events in healthcare, tips for creating a successful cover letter, and advice about taking gap years.


Current Events


Decreased Sense of Smell May Indicate Early Dementia

According to an article published in JAMA Neurology, decreased sense of smell appears to be linked to the onset of Alzheimer's. Previous research has associated olfactory loss with cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease. It may also be a marker for Lewy body and vascular dementia. Olfactory impairment may be an important clinical marker and predictor of these conditions, helping to identify those at risk. A study done by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN assessed the sense of smell of 1,430 cognitively normal individuals, with an average age of 79.5 years; approximately half were men and half were women. The test they used involved six food-related and six non-food-related smells (banana, chocolate, cinnamon, gasoline, lemon, onion, paint thinner, pineapple, rose, soap, smoke and turpentine). Participants had to scratch, sniff and select one of four possible options, for a score to be computed. The findings suggest an association between olfactory impairment, incidental mild cognitive impairment and progression from amnestic mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s disease dementia, and confirm previous studies linking olfactory impairment with cognitive impairment in late life.




How to Grow Human Bones in a Lab

Some young scientists believe they have a better solution to bone-graft surgeries. Despite the many advancements in medicine, the procedure remains primitive. Surgeons must cut open the patient to harvest a piece of bone, then cut them open again to set the graft in its new home. Or they use bone from a cadaver, which can carry a small risk of disease. EpiBone, a medical startup is seeking to change and revolutionize bone surgery. Their startup joins the growing field of regenerative medicine, which are using new technologies such as 3-D bioprinting to produce living human tissue and bone. Several companies hope to engineer complex human organs, suitable for transplants, within a decade or two. EpiBone's scientists take a CT scan to measure the exact shape and size of the bone graft that will be needed. That creates a 3-D digital model, which helps a 3-D printer produce a mold to house the new bone. The next step is to extract adult stem cells from a sample of the patient's fat. The stem cells are put into the mold and then placed in an incubator where they regenerate as a piece of bone. This whole process takes about three weeks. EpiBone is hoping to start clinical trials on humans in the next several years and eventually bring their technology to the market.


Skull Printed with 3D-Bioprinting Technology

Dogs in the Home May Lower Kids' Odds for Asthma

A study on one million Swedish children show that exposure to dogs or farm animals at an early age could reduce child’s potential of getting asthma. The study does not support fully on the cause and effect of this statement but it does suggest an explanation to this phenomena. The authors say that early exposure of children to microbes may support the development of a healthy immune system. These findings were published on JAMA pediatrics this month. The authors wanted to test whether having dogs as pets would be as beneficial as having farm animals near where the children live. The study showed that exposure to dogs, decreased chances of getting asthma or allergies for the kids in the future. However, the data also showed high risk of pneumonia in kids who are exposed to dogs at an early age.

Cover Letter Tips

In a cover letter, you should:

  • Describe your education in a way that highlights your strengths and transferable skills
  • Discuss the skills and strengths you bring to the job, being sure to connect them to needs of the organization.
  • Briefly state how you think you would be a good fit for the company, emphasizing how you can help the company reach its goals.
  • Show that you’ve researched the organization, incorporating information such as their mission statement, training, and job description.
  • Make it easy for the person to contact you: list your email address, as well as your phone number and times you can be reached.

What should I do during my gap year?

Have you ever considered taking a gap year? If so, did you know how you wanted to spend that year off? If you said yes to any of these questions, take a look at what one of our AED upperclassmen has to say about their own plans.

Major: Health Science

Pre-health track: pre-PAA

Why did you decide to take a gap year?

I decided to take a gap year because I want to make sure that my applications for grad school are as strong as possible. As far as my GPA and involvement standings, my application would be pretty strong but I'm only going to have 1,500 clinical hours before I apply (UF is a "recommended" 2,000 hours) and I still have to study and take the GRE. I know myself, and I know that I am not that great at standardized testing, so with that being said I need to sit down and study for the GRE... and right now I just don't have time for that. Sure, I could attempt to cram all of my GRE-prep, work crazy hours, and somehow manage to not ruin my GPA to apply straight out of undergrad---- But I 1) don't want to hate myself and 2) what is the rush? Instead of entering the workforce as a PA when I'm 24, I'll be 25... to me and my family that doesn't seem like a huge deal #blessed.

What are your plans during your gap year?

During my gap year, I plan to study for the GRE and work. I'll actually start studying for the GRE in my final semester at UF (fun!) so I'll probably start out my gap year with taking the GRE. I am currently working at an assisted living facility and I plan to transfer to a hospital setting so that I can diversify my clinical hours and hopefully get a letter of recc or two in the process. In that year I also plan to travel a little bit and spend as much time with my family as possible.