Integrating the Arts into Medicine

We all are well aware that going into the medical field is not a cake-walk. The transition from being a pre-med, to a medical student, and residency is fairly tough. Even though the process sounds tedious and stressful, there are ways people have hacked the system by enjoying the journey, rather than just quickly trying to get it over with. These people, that enjoy the ride, indulge in creativity and expand their perceptions to formulate new ideas and possibilities. There would be no innovation or progress in the medical field if it weren’t for people who wondered about why they were doing what they were doing and how they could have done it different to make it more efficient. Luckily, there are still so many doctors who haven’t lost touch with their child-like state of wonder and are inclined in the arts, which is, essentially, a median for creativity.

Timeline of Major Breakthroughs in Medicine:

800 – Indian doctors were grafting skin from one part of the body to another

1600– Italian surgeon reconstructed ears and noses out of pieces of human skin

1954– first successful kidney transplant

1950s-1960s– studies conducted on how body rejects or tolerates foreign tissue , era of widespread organ transplantation began


The Human Heart from the original Gray’s Anatomy 

On the Art of Medicine podcast, a doctor from Mount Sinai School of Medicine was interviewed about how the arts have a strong correlation with anatomy. The doctor described her passion for art as a high school student but also for the sciences. This is a conflicting decision that many students in high school encounter because there are academically inclined kids who think they could excel in the sciences, but also want to pursue the arts. This lady shared how she got over the conflict by double majoring at Cornell, and taking art courses along with her prerequisites at the same time. However, she still did not feel connected to her purpose yet. Later on though, she pursued a project in which she got to illustrate anatomical drawings of fish and different animals so she could study how dissections would be done. Although this is an example of veterinary medicine, it ties into how the arts can be incorporated into anatomy in general. In fact, studying drawings of animals could even help develop models for human treatments. She also mentioned how someone who’s pursuing the arts alone may be constrained by finances whereas someone who’s strictly focusing on completing the medical steps may be restricted in terms of creativity. That’s how she came to a consensus of having the arts inculcated into anatomy, which ties into medicine directly. That’s why the Gray’s Anatomy by Henry Gray is actually helpful for medical students. Students can look at the visual representations and make different connections about structures of the human body.

The universal concept of the arts in medicine lies in the idea that one can look at a study, project or assignment with a fresh perspective, and begin to discover new possibilities. That is why medical schools like Mount Sinai value this concept so much and represent it with some of the most renowned physicians in the world.

So, the next time you contemplate the whole medical school process, think about it as a journey to experience with an open mind. That way, medicine will rather be a very interesting ride!

Check out Mount Sinai School of Medicine:

Art of Medicine Podcast (also available on iTunes for free: 


You Don’t Even Need Drugs

While studying about the different types of stimulants, depressants and hallucinogens in Psychology class today, we talked about how these type of drugs affect certain neurotransmitters, especially dopamine.

People usually take drugs like MDMA (ecstasy), Cocaine, Amphetamines etc., to boost the dopamine activity in their brain. Their emotions for the particular drive that dopamine produces, another words, the motivation that they need all comes from drugs. There are millions of people who become so dependent on these drugs to function normally as well, and it is just so sad. I’m not stating that drugs are absolutely horrible, because they are not. Marijuana can have miraculous effects on cancer patients and can fix headaches! However, in terms of motivation, and the joy that everyone craves for, it isn’t necessary to take drugs that may have potential adverse reactions. Ever heard of the “Runner’s High?” You can even train your brain to release dopamine by simply exercising.


Who would’ve thought feelings of euphoria could be associated with strenuous exercise like prolonged running.?! An article in the New York Times called, “Phys Ed: What Really Causes the Runner’s High?” explains this phenomenon very well!

Not only does running provide that amazing rapture, there’s also other motivating ways to boost dopamine activity in the brain, or at least bump it up to a point where you’re satisfied. See, the thing is, you don’t want to have excess dopamine, because then you may be schizophrenic, and you definitely don’t want to have too less of it because then you will be depressed. So how can we naturally have an equilibrium in our brains?

It all comes down to our DIET! Remember that famous quote I mentioned earlier as well, “You are what you eat…” ? Well, your brain’s neurotransmitters will definitely act upon their receptors in response to what you eat.  Eating protein-rich foods like eggs, and fish-oil supplements or eating the fish itself, is essential to increasing the brain’s dopamine activity. Also, eating bananas can help since they’re a good source of tyrosine, which is an amino acid that neurons eventually turn into norepinephrine (another neurotransmitter boosting adrenaline or alertness) and dopamine.

Really, one of the easiest ways to stay active, have an elevated mood, and maintained levels of dopamine, is to be Bulletproof! (:

P.S..: Just in case you think I’m stupid for stressing dopamine again and again, be sure to check out this cool article that explains part of the reason why: