Newsletter #5

Welcome back! This is AED's last newsletter for the semester. Thank you all for the newsletter summary contributions and for reading it. Take a final look at what is new in medicine, tips for applying, and our member spotlight.

Current Events

“Designer Cells” Cure Child’s Cancer

At three months old Layla Richards was diagnosed with an incurable aggressive leukemia. She received chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, but neither of them worked. Although the doctors saw no other options for Layla, Layla’s dad couldn’t just give up. Layla became the recipient of a new treatment, designer immune cells. These cells, which seek out and kill only leukemia cells while remaining undetected by the patient’s medications, were injected into Layla and she also underwent a second bone marrow transplant. Now, Layla is now a cancer-free one-year old. Hopefully, this technology will allow for many more happy endings.


Over-the-Counter Sleep Aids Linked to Dementia

Shelly Gray, a professor in the University of Washington School of Pharmacy, led a research team in discovering that there is a link between the use of sleep aids and an increased risk of developing dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease in older people. Specifically, the researchers studied anticholinergic drugs, which include sleep aids and antihistamines like Benadryl, and these drugs block the action of acetylcholine in the body. The side effects of these drugs include drowsiness, constipation, retaining urine, dry mouth and eyes, and now the risk of dementia. Professor Gray advises older people taking these drugs to talk to their health care providers before stopping their drug therapy. Professor Gray also advises health care providers to use the lowest effective dose, monitor the therapy regularly, and to stop the therapy if it proves ineffective. Professor Gray’s study shows that in order for dementia to develop, anticholinergic drugs were taken over a period of years daily in order for patients to show signs of dementia from these drugs.

pill in hand


Fermented foods, neuroticism, and social anxiety: An interaction model

A new study shows a correlation between probiotics and social anxiety (as well as neuroticism). Social anxiety is the third most common psychiatric disorder, and it is the cause of many negative experiences of the individual that has social anxiety. It is typically treated by cognitive behavior therapies or prescribed drugs such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). These treatments are not always effective in all people, so it's important to keep looking for other possible treatments. One day probiotics could be used as a natural way to help individuals who have social anxiety, and it could even be coupled with other treatments for better results.

The results of the study found that neuroticism was positively correlated with social anxiety meaning when neuroticism was high social anxiety was high as well. Fermented food consumption was negatively correlated with social anxiety meaning when fermented food consumption increased social anxiety decreased. Many studies exploring probiotics as a possible treatment for social anxiety need to be done before we can come to any solid conclusions, but it is an interesting idea that a very natural process (such as consumption of fermented foods) could combat social anxiety.

General Tips For Applying

  • Letter of Recommendation (LOR)
    • Start thinking about which professors you might want to ask to write you a LOR way ahead of time (ie. when you’re taking their class). If you think you might want to ask them for a LOR, get to know them a little by asking them some questions during office hours.
    • Ask them to write your LOR 2-3 months before you're planning on applying.
  • Waitlist
    • Write letters to the school to show that you deserve that spot.
    • In your letters you should be doing the following:
      • Thank the school for continuing to consider your application.
      • Discuss any recent achievements.
      • Discuss how you have addressed your shortcomings.
      •  If you are certain you would attend this school, make it clear that this is your first choice and that you will attend if accepted.
  • Low GPA
    • Plan to retake at a reputable institution any required pre-health courses in which you did not perform well. And this time earn a grade of “A.”
    • Consider enrolling in a post-bac program that provides you with a certificate, a letter package with recommendations from science professors, and usually some clinical exposure.
    • Consider taking on graduate coursework in the medical sciences to demonstrate your ability to succeed in medical school courses (also obtain a letter of recommendation).
    • Consider a masters in health, biomedical, or medical sciences.

      Member Spotlight

      aed newsletter5
      This week’s member spotlight features Gainesville native Jennifer Portell. Jennifer is a third year Applied Physiology and Kinesiology major on the Physician Assistant track. She joined AED back in fall of 2014 and is known in our organization to be the Queen, co-founder, and co-chair of our Football Block. Aside from getting to sit with AED at football games, Jenn enjoys binging on meeting pizza and playing pick-up volleyball games with the other V-ball enthusiasts of AED. Aside from AED, Portell volunteers at the Mobile Outreach Clinic and works as an Exercise Specialist at Gainesville Physical Therapy and Wellness. You can catch Jennifer this semester yelling during football games, yelling during volleyball games, and yelling during meetings.