Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

The Rapper Doctor

I just came across ZDoggMD and had to watch some of his videos, which are absolutely fantastic! But I’m speechless now. Anyway, who is this genius?

I’m a hospital physician and a purveyor of fine medical satire. I strive to practice evidence-based comedy…everything on this site has been clinically proven to be slightly funnier than placebo.

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Sounds Of HIV: Genetic Code, Musically Translated

A few months ago, Alexandra Pajak, a graduate student at the University of Georgia, contacted me about an album of music based on the DNA of the HIV virus she was about to release. I feel lucky that the album is just on its way to my CD player right now.

You can buy the album on Amazon (release date is October 26.) Note that some of the proceeds will go to the Emory Vaccine Center, which conducts research for an HIV vaccine. If you wonder how it was made, here’s the explanation:

Sounds of HIV is a musical translation of the genetic code of HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus. Every segment of the virus is assigned music pitches that correspond to the segment’s scientific properties. In this way, the sounds reflect the true nature of the virus. When listening from beginning to end, the listener hears the entire genome of HIV.

In English, the nucleotides Adenine, Cytosine, Uracil/Thymine, and Guanine are abbreviated with the letters A, C, T, and G. Since A, C, and G are also musical pitches in the Western melodic scale, these pitches were assigned to the matching nucleotides. To form two perfect fifths (C-G and D-A), “D” was arbitrarily assigned to musically represent Uracil. I assigned the pitches of the A minor scale to the amino acids based on their level of attraction to water.

On Sounds of HIV, depending on the track, only nucleotides and/or amino acids “play” as music. Tracks 1 and 10 are based on the first and last nucleotides of the RNA chain. Tracks 2-9 “play” the proteins and sometimes the nucleotides on top of the proteins.

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Another ER Animation

In a better setting than the animation of the ER patient faking a seizure (which was inexplicably set in what appeared to be a convenience store), this one at least looks medical. But I’m a little concerned about the red blood infusion just hanging in the background, not connected to anything. I’m pretty sure the Joint Commission wouldn’t approve of that.

*This blog post was originally published at Movin' Meat*

Heart Conditions You Don’t Learn About In Medical School

This gave me a chuckle from Doc Cartoon:

Heart conditions 

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

A Stunning Look At The Fragility Of Osteoporosis

Occasionally I like to post great visuals from Street Anatomy. Here is another set, this time depicting the bone fragility of osteoporosis. Apparently these were glass models that were shot as they hit the ground. Stunning:

Stunning osteoporosis visuals

Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »