Med Talks

About Med Talks

Med Talks

Meet the Editors Ankur Gupta Meet Ankur Gupta: Second-Year Medical StudentAnkur Gupta describes his experiences at UT Southwestern and shares what he is learning on the road to becoming a doctor.

Ankur is a second-year medical student at UT Southwestern. He previously earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Biology from Stanford University. While at Stanford, he developed a passion for the potential of regenerative medicine and now maintains a twitter page @regenMD to highlight updates in the field. As an aspiring physician, scientist, and innovator, he plans to use stem cell biology and mobile/web technology [...]

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Hepatitis: A Brief History

Health Talks

By William Lee, MD

I grew up and completed my training in the Northeast, but I came to Texas in 1990—the dawn of the hepatitis C era. In 1989, the hepatitis C virus was first identified, allowing testing for the first time to identify what had formerly been called the non-A, non-B virus. Over the past two decades at UT Southwestern, I have  been privileged to watch our Center go from the initial naïve efforts in the early 1990s with a 5 percent cure rate, to the current effective treatments that deliver a [...]

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Suffering in Silence After Cancer Treatment?

Cancer Q&A

By Jeff Kendall, Psy.D.

Sara is a 55-year-old breast cancer survivor who completed her treatment more than 18 months ago. Instead of feeling completely recovered from her cancer experience, she finds herself constantly worrying about whether her cancer will return. She says the worry can come to her at any time—when she is driving, when she wakes up in the morning, or whenever there is a story about cancer on television. Sara also believes that she is the only post-treatment cancer patient who is experiencing fear of recurrence.

Fear of recurrence is when cancer [...]

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When is Radiation Therapy Used to Treat Lung Cancer?

Cancer Q&A

By Hak Choy, MD

As medical treatments for lung cancer become more advanced, increasingly personalized regimens for patients can be given that may often include radiation therapy.

Radiation therapy may be given as part of a treatment plan in the following ways:

Prior to surgery or chemotherapy to help reduce the burden of tumor. At the same time or immediately after chemotherapy to increase cure rate for localized tumors. After surgery to help prevent recurrence of cancer. Palliatively, or to improve quality of life, if a tumor is causing pain or discomfort (such as shortness of breath from [...]

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Rembrandt’s Anatomical Hiccup

Med Talks

by Amanda and Nicole Strickland, both MS1s

Gross anatomy is undoubtedly the most unique class in medical school. In no other way is a student able to become so intimately familiar with a person’s body, learning all of its variations, maladies, and quirks. On our first day of lecture and lab, the instructor showed our class the famous Rembrandt painting "The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp" in an attempt to illustrate the history of anatomy. It seems like a tradition for medical schools to begin the first anatomy lesson with this piece of [...]

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Why Do Some Smokers Never Get Lung Cancer, and Others Who Don’t Smoke End Up Getting It?

Cancer Q&A

By Joan Schiller, MD

Everyone knows that smoking is the major cause of lung cancer. In the early 1900s lung cancer was so rare that references to it were typically confined to the medical literature. Since then, the number of people who smoke has risen dramatically, as has the number of patients getting lung cancer, and the disease has become a national—even international—concern.

Epidemiological studies have shown that the more a patient smokes, the higher the risk of getting lung cancer, and that if they stop, the chances of getting lung [...]

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Syllabus to Reality

Med Talks

One thing that excited me about medical school was being able to turn textbook (or syllabus) material into real, practical applications. Hypothetical scenarios in class are one thing, but being able to use the knowledge I gained in my first-year medical education at the Monday Clinic, UT Southwestern’s student-supported free clinic, was a refreshing reminder of how important our studies truly are.

I, along with other pre-clinical and clinical medical students, had the privilege of interviewing a young patient who had signs of hormone imbalances—she sometimes felt too hot or too cold and had [...]

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Iodine pills, Japan and Science

Med Talks

In the midst of the tragedy in Japan, experts are concerned with the possibility of multiple nuclear meltdowns which could exacerbate the situation tremendously. In particular theFukushima Daini plant has been a major concern due to the inability of its cooling system to keep fuel rods exposed. To prevent radiation sickness in the event of a meltdown, Japanese officials are preemptively distributing potassium-iodine pills to those in the immediate area. As a medical student interested in radiobiology, I was immediately curious why iodine was the pill of choice and not some other salt.

Turns [...]

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Graduations and Cycles

Med Talks

I’ve seen 16 medical school graduations during my years at UT Southwestern. It struck me this year that what I get to observe as an Associate Dean for Student Affairs is much like the cycle of life. I’ve known many of these graduating students for more than four years. I’ve met them as young undergraduates aspiring to become physicians. I’ve seen them ecstatic with their acceptance into medical school. I’ve seen them consumed by the overwhelming volume of knowledge they must master. I’ve seen them evolve into physicians. 

The evolution never occurs as they [...]

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Keeping It Real

Med Talks

I really enjoyed my first year at UTSW. Sometimes the work and schedule got intense, but there were always opportunities to hang out with friends and do things outside of medical school. For me, first year was really an exercise in learning how to approach medical school. Everyone is different, of course, but I thought I'd pass along a few of my personal lessons learned in case they may prove helpful to others. Let's just hope I can follow my own good advice next year! 

The most important thing I learned is that external [...]

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Welcome to Medical School

Med Talks

Hi, everyone!  Welcome to the new UTSW website and, especially, to the MedTalks journal! I just finished my first year of medical school, and I must say, it flew by way too fast! Here at UT Southwestern, I have the unique privilege of learning hands-on clinical skills from some of the best physicians in the world and the most up-to-date medical science from some of the best researchers in the world! There were far too many highlights from my first year to list here, so suffice it to say, that’s what I’ll be [...]

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An Ounce of Prevention

Heart Talks

Heart Disease is Preventable

Although Benjamin Franklin was referring to fire safety in his famous saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” these words certainly apply for heart disease. When I was a resident in Internal Medicine, I distinctly remember taking care of a 45-year-old man who was admitted to the hospital for his 7th heart procedure to fix blocked arteries. I couldn’t help but wonder how he developed such malignant coronary artery disease and thought that there must be a better way to keep him from having these recurrent [...]

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When Cancer and Cardiology Collide

Heart Talks

Twenty five years ago, I found myself at a professional crossroads, choosing between two very different subspecialties of internal medicine—cardiology and oncology. At that time, there was very little overlap between the two fields. There were only a few cancer treatments that affected the heart, and almost no interaction between specialists in the two fields. Several years later, a professional mentor developed advanced congestive heart failure as a result of his cancer treatment, and I was struck by the irony that a life-saving treatment came with such a marked cost in quality of [...]

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