Author Archives: Medical School Honors
Haines Neuroanatomy: An Atlas of Structures, Sections, and Systems is another one of those amazing must-have books that can be reliably purchased going into first year medical school. Unlike the differing opinions regarding, general anatomy atlases, this really is the best neuroanatomy textbook for medical school. It is important to differentiate this from a reading-intensive book from which one would use to sit down and learn new concepts. This is a picture atlas with complementary text specifically relevant to the images, not a text-heavy resource. Its purpose is not to teach new function, but to provide a structural neurology road map along the fibers of the brain and spinal cord, which it accomplishes very well. Similarly, it is rather difficult to discern the neurology (or general anatomy) structures and pathways just by reading text. The use of Haines Neuroanatomy Atlas is best used in conjunction with your first year med school Neurology class syllabus and lectures, to specifically prepare you for neurology lab and the exam. The gold standard of human anatomy, Netter’s Anatomy Atlas (reviewed here), is used in the exact same way.
The atlas features a very clear layout of the spinal cord and brain stem, in an intuitive order. The key value of the book is all about the two-page spreads that feature “raw” cross sectional neurology images on one page, and labeled cartoon overlays on the opposite page. This gives you the perspective of the types of images you will see on exams, while still outlining pertinent borders and areas. If you have a question about where that darker blob ends or what it does, just look at the page above for the border and answer.
A bit of advice when using Haines Neuroanatomy Atlas: a common mistake many med students make it to bring this book into neurology or neuroanatomy lab with them. While doing so will allow you to utilize the atlas, it is a most assured method of ruining the book as well. It is nearly impossible to avoid getting preservatives/fixatives and streaked brain bits onto the pages as you and lab partners reach over it and attempt to turn the pages. You should try to avoid doing so and then taking the book home or touching it with bare hands later.
As a reference, this is the latest edition of the popular cover shown right, and should not be confused as being a different book. The cover on the right also gives you a taste of the types of images in the book itself.
Overall, Haines’ Neuroanatomy Atlas is definitely not one to miss, and should be used for its intended purpose: as a neuroanatomy picture book that provides the visual complement to your preclinical med school Neurology lectures and syllabus. If you’re going for Honors in preclinical Neurology or your Neurology clerkship, buy this book.
Rohen’s Color Atlas of Anatomy: A Photographic Study of the Human Body, more lovingly referred to simply as “Rohen’s” has a deceptive cover. The anatomy picture on the front looks cartoonish, and the “color atlas” in the name sounds like it’s a coloring book. Do not overlook this med school anatomy book, as it is a big push to increasing your chance of getting Honors on your first med school class.
It is another anatomy atlas, yes, but instead of using drawings like Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy, it excels by using actual cadaver photographs to directly show the anatomy. What this means is that the images in Rohen’s Color Atlas of Anatomy closely approximate what will be seen on every one of your anatomy practical exams in full color, but without the smell of having to actually go into anatomy lab. Later in third year, in comes in handy on surgery to identify key anatomic landmarks and surgical planes of dissection.
One of the other benefits of this atlas is that it labels structures with numbers which are referenced on another part of the page. This legend can be covered, turning the Anatomy Atlas into an instant study guide for quizzing oneself on anatomic structures. It also comes with access to the online text, which makes it portable and viewable on many smart phones.
Some med students make the mistake of trying to bring this book into anatomy lab. As with any other resource, the lab is not the place for Rohen’s Color Atlas of Anatomy unless you want to ruin your book. Everyone at medstudentbooks has the utmost respect for cadaver donors, but this warning must be expressed: liquefied adipose and fixatives get over everything brought into the lab. You do not want to bring that home on your books and have it touching anything else. Use older free copies in the lab, even though they are mildly outdated, or hope your anatomy laboratory partners haven’t found this site or don’t care if their books are ruined.
The book hits on all of the expected anatomy, being everything. The order of its units is as follows: General Anatomy Principles, Skull and Muscles of the Head, Cranial Nerves, Brain and Sensory Organs, Oral and Nasal Cavities, Neck and its Organs, Trunk, Thoracic Organs, Abdominal Organs, Retroperitoneal Organs, Upper Limb, and Lower Limb Anatomy.
As with any real cadaver pictures, care must be taken where the book is opened. While this is a superior resource for studying anatomy, it should not be opened in public areas such as buses or parks out of respect for those around you. As young medical professionals, it is easy to overlook the sensitivity of this issue. However, we are charged with maintaining professional behavior, which includes restricting the sights found in this book to other medical professionals.
If you’re the type of person who needs to visualize real images to crystallize the learning, Rohen’s Atlas of Anatomy is the book for you.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) produces a number of resources, but MKSAP For Students 4 is one of the best things they have to offer medical students on inpatient internal medicine or outpatient primary care medicine clerkships. There are a number of USMLE style question banks and books out there, but this one really covers all the bases in these fields. In case you were wondering, it stands for the “Medical Knowledge Self Assessment Program”.
More valuable than the physical text itself is the CD that comes with every copy. Questions can be loaded directly onto a computer, which comes in handy if you like to study around town with a laptop. Your progress and answer choices are tracked and can easily be reset at any time. My personal favorite use is loading the question bank onto my smart phone so I can listen to music and answer questions while waiting for the bus. Keep in mind that certain Android browsers do not support linking through websites that are on the phone itself. All this means is that you will need to hit the back button and load a new question from the browser instead of just hitting “Next” on the question page itself.
There are a number of different MKSAP question sets, which gets confusing. Bottom line: As a medical student searching for a good book, get MKSAP 4, followed by MKSAP 3 if desired. An article will be posted soon regarding all the differences, including the higher numbered books.
As for MKSAP 4, it covers all the expected topics, complete with dermatology images and EKG interpretations. Specific chapters include Cardiovascular Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, General Internal Medicine, Hematology, Infectious Disease, Nephrology, Neurology, Oncology, Pulmonary Medicine, Rheumatology. By the end of the book, you will know every etiology of common presentations such as cough, chest pain, abdominal pain, etc. It really is a great tool for inpatient Internal Medicine, outpatient Internal Medicine, a large portion of Family Medicine, shelf exams, and the USMLE Step 2 CK exam.
Pocket Medicine, by Marc Sabatine out of Mass General is the best go-to reference for any medical student or resident, and an essential item for any white coat pocket while on Internal Medicine. On the wards, preceptors will readily refer to “The Green Book” (which is just the newest edition after “The Red Book“) to highlight key information pertinent to a differential diagnosis, equation, criteria, diagnostic test, or treatment of your patients. The two are pretty similar, and the Red Book will be fine, especially for those not going into Internal Medicine. However if you want the best and latest information with slightly superior organization, you should definitely go with the Green Book.
The best strategy is to briefly reference the appropriate topic just before and after seeing your patient, but before you meet up with your Internal Medicine residents or attendings. If nothing more, this offers fantastic overviews of specific diseases and issues for your short term memory, which comes as an excellent support upon meeting sudden but inevitable pimping.
Specific sections include everything you would expect in Internal Medicine: Cardiology, Pulmonology, Gastroenterology, Neprhology, Hematology-Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Endocrinology, Rheumatology, and Neurology. It also has a handy image index and list of common abbreviations to ensure you don’t accidentally mistake “I’s & O’s” for “eyes and nose” on the wards.
Pocket Medicine is a great aid to help you look like a knowledgeable all-star, and highly recommended if you are gunning for Honors. This really is the best ace up your white coat sleeve.