Thursday, October 09, 2008

Magic Medicine Formula (1)

Hi dear friends, time to share my studying tips. Well, to relate magic with medicine, hmm I would say that learning magic has definitely improved my memory. However, I think to study medicine, such a profound and broad field with countless facts and terminology involved, mere memory might not be adequate. Then I found a very useful tool, it's definitely not something new, which are "mnemonics". Quote from English artist William Wolcott, "Nothing is ordinary if you know how to use it." You might think mnemonics are nothing special, but if you know how to use it, my personal experience is, it's purely magical.

Mnemonics help to memorize facts in a quick, organized and (far) painless way. But take note that, the quality of mnemonics are extremely important, as the bad ones, will not only waste your memory space, it may fail you! For example, let's take a look at this (found this in snowy's blog but not by him, just for eg purpose, no offence):

SAM Suka Fry Ayam Peha - Classification for ischaemic heart disease.

S - sudden cardiac death
A - angina
M - MI
S - silent IHD
F- failure of heart (heart failure)
A- arrhythmia
P- postinfarctional cardiosclerosis

A few things to point out:
1. Poorly organized, and most importantly, do we need a mnemonics for classification of IHD?
2. Facts are not entirely true, e.g. arrhythmia is not a "type" of IHD?
3. Do you think "SAM Suka Fry Ayam Peha" is an easy-to-remember phrase?
4. Facts not "concrete" enough. To improve the quality, try use more professional terminology (so that you can impress your examiners).

An example of good one:
Wilson's disease : ABCD

A - Asterixis
B - Basal ganglia degeneration
C - Copper accumulation with reduced Ceruloplasmin level, causing Cornea deposits (Kayser-Fleischer rings), Choreiform movements, psyChiatric abnormalities, liver Cirrhosis and treatment is with Chelation.
D - Dementia

See the difference? So much essential facts in just 4 alphabets.

And to further improve it, sometimes the mnemonics are purposely made "naughty", and some will find it even easier to memorize! (Of corz, this is subjected to personal preference)

For example, adverse effects of Amiodarone: BITCH

B - Bradycardia
I - Interstitial lung fibrosis
T - Thyroid dysfunction
C - Corneal microdeposits
H - Hypersensitivity/ Hepatitis

I'm sure you're gonna remember it for life? Effortlessly?=)

Or one more way is, try to create a "funny" relation between the facts.

E.g. 1: Have you heard of "Argyll Robertson pupil" is like a prostitute? Because it accommodates but does not respond! (to light)

E.g. 2: 3 zones of adrenal cortex: GFR - glomerulosa, fasciculata and reticularis, which mainly regulate balance of salt (mineralocorticoids), sugar (glucocorticoids) and sex (androgens).
So the mnemonics for this: The deeper you go, the sweeter it gets. =)

And lastly, when you get familiar with the system, you can always create mnemonics of your own! First, look for the facts that you find it very hard to remember. E.g. from my own experience, I'm always confused with the terms of signs for aortic regurgitation, until I found a way to remember it!

(Darren's mnemonic) "In the MCQ about AR, the answer D is True!"
So from head to toe,
M - de Musset's sign (head nodding)
C - Corrigan's sign (carotic pulsation)
Q - Quincke's sign (nail bed capillary pulsation)
D - Duroziez's sign (femoral murmur)
T - Traube's sign ('pistol shot' in femoral artery)

Piece of cake now?=)

Ok so in conclusion, what I have shared are the principles of mnemonics and how they can help you to study. Obviously it's not possible for me to show all the mnemonics that I know (my blog will get out of space!). But if you have any problem remembering certain group of facts, feel free to tell and probably I can share the related mnemonics to help.

Finally, thanks for reading.
In the next post, I'll share about how I remember genetics and chromosomes!=)


ding said...

great mnemonics...
thx for sharing... ha!!!!!!

Zzzyun said...

LOL love this post! thanks for writing it down! ^^

some of the mneumonics i have seen before.. the Argyll robertson one is in 1st Aid for USMLE step 1 book, right? that's certainly a great book! contains lots of good mneumonics!

my favourite one in this post is "the deeper you go, the sweeter it gets"! :P

oh ya.. i just rmbed. u didnt share the famous mneumonic in imu for cranial nerves wo? it is so famous that seniors force us to memorise it during orientaition LOL!!

JunJun-Riko said...

haha.. no matter what.. i still prefer 3D *inside joke*

confessions of a medical student said...

love the mnemonics! i use mnemonics too, but there were also times where i actually forgotten the mnemonic, or replaced it with something else which starts with the same alphabet.... i just, recalling it again and again helps..

i need to get a new external hard disc of bigger capacity and RAM!

Anonymous said...

thanks for the reply bro!!! gotta study and learn more now.. hopefully more 'magic medicine' coming out!

Darren Lee said...

zzzyun: Oh is there a famous mnemonic for cranial nerves in IMU? I'm not too sure eh..all these while the one i'm using is "OOO, to touch and feel very good velvet, ah?"
Is it the one? I think this one is from Marieb textbook..

Zzzyun said...

lol what a decent mneumonic u used! the one im refering is something similar but the last 3 words are changed to smtg more obscene (erm for the "naughty" factor i guess - but it works!)

*wondering whether shld i write it here*

*deep breaths*

it is OOO, To Touch And Feel Virgin Girl's Vagina And Hymen

*runs away*

i didnt come up with it.. seniors traumatised us by forcing us to memorize this during orientation.. >.<

efenem said...

Hehe I'm certainly going to copy some of this and put in my blog :)

Boleh kan?

Sharing is caring :) :)

Darren Lee said...

zzzyun: Errrrr..i'm speechless la haaha. Who's your senior came out with that la. Better don't pass down to "next generation" heehe.

efenem: Ya sure you can use it..just remember to credit lo^^

Zzzyun said...

oh you never heard of that b4?

then it must have been "invented" in the recent yrs lo.. but so far it had been down for "generations" lah.. :P

is it a better albeit naughtier mneumonic? lol..

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