What They Don’t Tell You About Pharmacy School: Semester 2

Howdy guys!

I can’t believe it, but I actually made it (almost!) through my first year of pharmacy school! I only have 4 more finals this week and then I can officially say that I am a P2!

So, on to the good stuff –what are some things to expect while in your second semester of pharmacy school?

  1. You start to come to the realization that there are more facets to pharmacy than just your usual retail setting. We were exposed to the world of personalized medicine/pharmacogenomics, job opportunities in specialty pharmacy, the art of modern compounding, and the very sterile world of IV/infusion pharmaceuticals.
  2. Prepare to have your blood pressure taken by your classmates an unhealthy amount of times. I’ve had my blood pressure taken approximately 1.2 million times this past year, and I am confident in saying that some of my classmates still need to learn how to do it. My limp arm can’t stand to be the guinea pig any longer.
  3. The alarming amount of paranoia you begin to feel after taking pathophysiology courses. After every lesson, no matter what it’s concerning, you start to feel as if you immediately are having symptoms of whatever disease state you just learned about. We learned about pulmonary embolisms one day, and accordingly, I started having unsettling pains while I was breathing (turns out it was probably just a panic attack…or really bad acid reflux). You learn about intestinal parasites, and all of a sudden you can’t stop itching all night and have severe diarrhea for the duration of the lessons. You see my point.
  4. Not only did I get to compound my first capsule and mix my own cream, I also got to make my own natural remedy for insect bites. Ah, the wonders of natural medicine!
  5. Suddenly, you realize that pharmacy school isn’t as hard as it was when you first started. You start to remember more things. Old lessons from last semester are coming back to haunt you … I mean, coming back in greater detail so you can build on your knowledge. You actually start to learn about how medicines work. You are actually starting to learn what you came here to do!

Stay strong! If I can make it, so can you!

:)Lauren

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Biosniffers – The Future of Disease Diagnosis

Hi, readers!

I have another new medical technology advancement to share with you guys today. This new technology is called the “Biosniffer”. Of course, with a name like this, I am instantly curious as to what this thing is. I have to tell you, the imagery I get when I hear this word is not all that pretty. I needed to set the record straight. So I did my research.

Professor Il-Doo Kim of South Korea is developing a small sensor device that is not only very sensitive, but also very selective to diagnosing very specific disease states from the gases we emit from our breath. More specifically, the sensor is looking for volatile organic compounds within our breath. The presence of these compounds are a potential indicator of a disease state, since volatile organic compounds are not usually found in the breath analysis of a healthy individual. The information about the Biosniffer that I found online gave a few specific examples of information that it could yield — if ammonia was recognized from the breath analysis, it could indicate some kind of kidney malfunction, or the presence of toluene may indicate lung cancer.

Images from its debut article reveal that this piece of technology is not only portable; it could potentially also be wearable. Sensors have been embedded in objects, such as watches and smart phones. What’s also great about these Biosniffers is that they are noninvasive, and they are able to provide instant results. I mean, what could be easier than just exhaling onto a sensor? Amazing!

We have to keep in mind that all diagnoses of conditions must be confirmed by a health care professional, but this is a great way to begin self-monitoring for diseases, as well as potentially catch a condition in its early stages. The sensor is very sensitive, meaning all abnormal levels of gases present in your breath (or even the environment) may show up, but it doesn’t necessarily warrant a firm diagnosis. Although the Biosniffer is still in development, this would be an amazing way to catch a previously undiagnosed condition without the hassle of endless lab tests!

A more in-depth description of the way the sensor works can be found HERE.

Until next time,

:)Lauren