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The beauty of the body and its inner workings are truly amazing! And we believe that everyone, not just health care professionals, should have a right to understand and appreciate the complexity of human physiology, health, and disease.

At the VirtualMedStudent everyone is a student of health and medicine, and we want you to participate in the discussion! Your input is extremely important to us. Never hesitate to send us an email with your questions or concerns. Here's to the pursuit of life, liberty, and health!

New Material

Update - Articles may have small amounts of text that are in red, but are not links. Mousing over this text will bring up additional information that will help further define the concept being discussed.

Veganism has become a very popular diet. Learn more about the health benefits of veganism in this guest post by Helen Williams.

Learn more about healthy living by exploring the Paleo Diet and Ancestral Slimness in this guest article by Helen Williams.

Book review... How to Be a Rock Star Doctor by Rebekah Bernard, MD.

Check out our new article on carotid vertebrobasilar anastomoses.

Dennis Hursh is a legal expert on contract law for physicians. His first article is about letters of intent for doctors negotiating their first contract.

Bitter Medicine: A Doctor's Year in Vietnam tells the story of a doctor's experience during the Vietnam War.

Book review of the White Coat Investor by Dr. James Dahle. Great book about personal finance and investing specifically for physicians.

Innervation of the muscles in the lower limbs... This is way more complicated than you'd think, but we tried to break it down into any easy to follow table for the most commonly tested muscles.

New section on financial advice for physicians! The first article in the guest series is about reducing risk with diversification.

Tuberculosis meningitis is an uncommon manifestation of a very common infectious disease.

Learn about type 1 Chiari malformations and their associated signs and symptoms.

Vein of Galen malformations are arteriovenous fistulas within the brain that develop after failure of normal vascular regression in-utero.

Medulloblastomas are the most common malignant brain tumor in children.

Craniopharyngiomas are the most common supra-sellar tumor in children.

Trauma and head CTs... When is it appropriate to order a scan?

Pager PTSD... A beep that just won't go away.

When these bad boys (arteriovenous malformations) rupture you better be on the look out!

The cerebellum and its connections are one complicated mother! Learn about its crazy circuitry here.

Are we dumbing down resident education in the United States???

Acute colonic pseudo-obstruction, aka Ogilvie syndrome causes one big colon.

Wallenberg syndrome = stroke in brainstem = bad news.

Chordomas arise from notochord remnants.

Vertebraes slipping over one another sounds like a tricky business... Learn about spondylolisthesis here!

Learn what happens when the peroneal nerve gets dinged over the fibular head.

The median nerve helps you do a lot of cool things.

The Rexed lamina are collections of neurons within the spinal cord.

Drank too much Saturday night and your wrist ain't workin' right? Learn why with this discussion about the radial nerve.

The electron transport chain and oxidative phosphorylation is how we get all our energy to function.

Squish them lumbar and sacral nerve roots real good and you get cauda equina syndrome.

Cervical stenosis and resultant myelopathy is a huge source of morbidity...

Who is taking care of the caretakers? A discussion of physician well-being.

My posterior longitudinal ligament is ossifying! Yikes!

Overview of the three column model of the spine.

Middle cerebral artery strokes are no fun!

More blood on the brain! Learn about subdural hematomas.

Learn about the most common intracranial aneurysm - the anterior communicating artery aneurysm.

Reading a head CT is a very important skill that any health care practitioner should have. Learn how to interpret a head CT here.

Let's play "just the tip" - of the basilar aneurysm that is.

Learn about atlas fractures, or a break in the first cervical vertebrae.

Off to the gallows with 'em! Learn about traumatic spondylolisthesis of the axis, colloquially known as hangman's fractures.

Intracranial hemangiopericytomas are nasty tumors that tend to recur despite maximal therapy.

Pituitary adenomas, the most common pituitary tumor, can cause a wide range of signs and symptoms.

The anterior choroidal artery serves blood to some important real estate in the brain.

Water on the brain! Learn about what happens when cerebrospinal fluid accumulates abnormally in your dome, a condition called hydrocephalus.

When is enough, enough? Providing care to those who overtly abuse the health care system.

Burst fractures suck! Learn why they occur most commonly in the thoracolumbar spine.

Odontoid fractures come in three flavors, learn what causes 'em and how to treat 'em.

Patients can sometimes be a total pain in the you-know-what! Learn how to deal with the "demanding" patient.

Glioblastoma is one nasty mother! It is the most common and unfortunately deadly primary brain tumor.

Narrowing of the internal carotid artery (aka: carotid stenosis) is a real drag bummer! Learn about it here...

The pons is one of the three divisions of the brainstem. It contains neurons that perform some pretty darn important functions.

Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome is a metabolic disease caused by a mutation in the enzyme arylsulfatase-B.

Understanding the metabolic disease phenylketonuria.

Spondylolysis is term that refers to a defect in the pars interarticularis. What the heck is a pars interarticularis? Read the article and find out!

An ependymoma is a tumor that arises from cells that line the ventricular system of the brain and spinal cord.

The mnemonic SOCRATES provides an easy way to diagnose and treat pain.

The indirect pathway of the basal ganglia serves as a negative modulator of movement. Learn how it differs from is direct counterpart.

The direct pathway of the basal ganglia is one complicated piece of neural machinery. Learn how it modulates movement here.

Learn about diffuse axonal injury, a devastating form of traumatic brain injury.

Starling was one bright dude when he discovered a mathematical way to determine fluid flow into and out of a capillary bed... Learn about it his famous equation here!

New in "How to"... Learn how to pop in a central line here.

Pitting edema occurs when excess fluid leaks out of the capillaries and into the subcutaneous tissues.

New section!!! The "How to" page provides step by step guides on how to perform common procedures.

A ventricular catheter is literally a tube going into the fluid filled spaces of the brain and exiting the scalp! How cool! Check out how to pop one of these bad boys in here.

Within the confines of the skull exist blood, cerebrospinal fluid, and brain. This is the basis of the Monro-Kellie doctrine.

Carbs, Fats, and Proteins: Learn how the body burns carbs, fats, and proteins. Utilize biochemistry to help you lose weight and stay healthy!

Blood clots can also affect the large venous draining systems of the brain in a condition known as cerebral sinus thrombosis.

Beat those lung secretions like a drum! Intrapulmonary percussive ventilation at your sevice...

Pyogenic liver abscesses are some of the most common intra-abdominal infections. Learn about them here.

Hemodynamically unstable patients can be scary! Read this article on hemodynamic instability to give you a framework for dealing with a common hospital problem.

I can't stop peeing! Learn about diabetes insipidus and its different forms here.

Meningiomas are benign tumors that arise from arachnoid cap cells in the brain and spinal cord.

Colloid cysts commonly occur in the third ventricle of the brain. They are benign tumors, but have the potential to cause acute hydrocephalus. Learn about them here!

A pericardial effusion occurs when some type of fluid accumulates around the heart. Learn what causes them, how to diagnose and treat it here!

Nitroprusside is a commonly used intravenous medicine used to lower blood pressure on a minute by minute basis.

Pneumothorax literally means "air in the thorax" and it occurs when air dissects between the parietal and visceral pleura. Learn what causes them and what to do about them.

Ouch! A broken metacarpal! Bet you wished you never punched that wall in anger! Learn about what a boxer's fracture is and how to fix it.

The appendix doesn't do squat for us, but can cause all kinds of problems. Learn about what causes appendicitis, how it presents, and how it is treated.

Learn how the body controls the resistance and flow of blood around the body, and why vascular resistances are important in human diseases.

Writing an ICU note need not be a difficult task! Learn how to write a thorough ICU note here.

Learn what controls cardiac output, or how much blood the heart pumps per minute, and why it can be devastating when cardiac output falls below acceptable limits.

The grim reaper of heart rhythms, ventricular fibrillation refers to disorganized and highly chaotic electrical activity. Learn about its common causes, how it is diagnosed, and how to treat it before it puts your patients six feet under!

The joints between adjacent vertebrae are called facet joints. Learn what happens when they get dislocated after severe injuries.

Learn about hemangioblastomas, a benign and highly vascular tumor of the central nervous system.

Os odontoideum - Is part of your spine missing? Well it is if you have os odontoideum! Learn what this term means, what symptoms it can cause, and what can be done to fix it.

Pulmonary emboli are a common cause of morbidity and mortality. Learn what an embolus is, where they come from, and what can be done to treat them.

Vestibular schwannomas, also known as acoustic neuromas, are a common benign intracranial tumor.

A new and very informative article on the interplay between obesity, bariatric surgery, and pregnacy.

Community acquired pneumonia is no fun! Learn about the common "bugs" that cause it, as well as how it is diagnosed and treated.

Learn about a common cause of lung morbidity and mortality - chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Cavernous malformations of the brain are relatively common and are often detected on routine MRIs. Learn what they are, and what to do about them.

Recommended books for medical students by year - a list from our contributors...

New article for medical students! Learn how to decrease the fear of taking step one with this article.

Flu season is upon us! Learn about the influenza virus in this article.

Learn about the largest nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve.

Nearly a third of heart attacks are attributable to years of elevated blood pressure. Learn about primary (essential) hypertension in this article.

New addition to the vitamin lineup - learn about vitamin B12 (aka: cobalamin) and its role in human physiology and disease.

Barrett's esophagus occurs after years of acid reflux. Learn why it is important to recognize and what the treatment options are.

New article about a common, yet under-reported condition in men, erectile dysfunction.

Learn how the body burns glucose and sugar by reading our article about glycolysis

The Krebs cycle, also known as the citric acid cycle, is a key component of mammalian biochemistry. Review why this cycle is so important.

Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, when deficient can cause numerous health problems. Learn about its biochemistry and role in human health.

There are different types of lung cancer. Learn about a highly malignant form known as small cell lung carcinoma.

Learn about a vital, but often neglected, portion of the brain called the internal capsule. Its anatomy and clinical significance are discussed.

Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women. Learn about its pathology, risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment.

Read about pelvic inflammatory disease, a common and potentially serious infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and/or ovaries.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is an under-recognized cause of masculinization and menstrual irregularities in women. Read this article to learn more about it!

Learn about endometrial carcinoma. Its pathology, diagnosis, and treatment are discussed.

Enterobius vermicularis, learn about the worm that causes pinworm!

Crohns disease, one of the two inflammatory bowel diseases is discussed.

Learn about human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes and why they are important in the immune response.

Discussion of pathology, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of atlanto-occipital dislocations.

Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease is discussed.

New article about Giardia Lamblia infection. Learn about the most common cause of parasitic diarrhea.

View our new article about gout. Pathology, diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment are all discussed.

Learn about the pathology, diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus.

Learn about the pathology, diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Introduction to calcium physiology discusses the role of the parathyroids, kidney, and vitamin D on calcium homeostasis.

New article, introduction to lipoproteins discusses different lipoprotein molecules: chylomicrons, VLDL, LDL, and HDL.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (aka: Lou Gehrig's disease) discusses the pathology, clinical presentation, and treatment of this uncommon neurodegenerative disease.

Respiratory acidosis discusses the common causes, pathology, and treatment.

Respiratory alkalosis discusses the common causes, pathology, and treatment.

Sickle cell anemia discusses the pathology, complications, and treatment/prevention of Sickle Cell disease.

Understanding mechanical ventilation, provides the basics for understanding how ventilators work and the different settings/modes they use.

Disclaimer: please note that any information on this site is intended for educational purposes only. If you have a question about your health please consult your physician.

These Books are Highly Recommended for USMLE Step 1 Studying!

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