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Issue 5 - Top studying tips, what's new this week, mitochondrial inheritance & more...

Hello all! Welcome to the fifth instalment of our ever-popular weekly dose (we've now got over 900 su
Issue 5 - Top studying tips, what's new this week, mitochondrial inheritance & more...
By Pulsenotes • Issue #5 • View online
Hello all!
Welcome to the fifth instalment of our ever-popular weekly dose (we’ve now got over 900 subscribers!).
Following on from our recent LIVE Q&A, Sam will be talking you through his top studying tips, I’ll be covering what’s new this week @pulsenotes and Norton’s tackling mitochondrial inheritance - enjoy!

Studying isn't all just about note taking!
Studying isn't all just about note taking!
Studying tips
Studying is personal and different techniques will suit different people. As medical and PA students you’ll spend a good deal of time revising for seemingly unending exams. However, we don’t spend much (if any) time learning how to learn! Is that because it’s intuitive, and we naturally gravitate to what works best? The research doesn’t suggest so. Certain techniques have been shown to maximise the time you do have to study.
Active recall
Active recall is based on the simple principle that we are more likely to remember something we have had to attempt to recall. This can be achieved through answering questions, writing notes from memory or a discussion with friends.
Spaced repetition
We all forget things over time. However regular triggers - from re-reviewing topics - can help to foster long term memory. Typical intervals are Day 1, 3, 7, 14, then gradually less frequent. The harder a topic the more frequently you should revisit it. It takes time and discipline to see results but spaced repetition can be powerful when combined with active recall.
Top tips
  • Make your own flashcards: Flashcards you write for yourself are far more useful than a pre-bought pack (though these of course have their place). Anki is a great, free (for desktop) app that allows you to make custom flash cards. Even better, their clever algorithm takes advantage of spaced repetition. Is there a topic you find particularly tough? It will show you those flashcards more frequently.
  • Make questions not notes: Next time you’re in a lecture, write yourself questions on the topic instead of taking notes. Then use them to test yourself at intervals over the following weeks.
  • Get a study pal: Get together with a friend. Learn a topic each, then teach each other on what you have learnt. This is a great way of using active recall and can help break the monotony of revising.
Got a question? Message me on twitter!
Samuel Belete (@pulse_notes)
What's new this week?
LIVE events - what we’ve got coming up…
  1. Saturday 30th May 18:00 - LIVE Q&A: preparing for FPAS. In this episode we’ll be focussing on how to tackle the dreaded FPAS! Hosted by Ben, Norton, Sam & Abhi.
  2. Sunday 31st May 10:00 - Pulsenotes LIVE: Hip fractures. Undoubtedly this will be a fantastic lecture by the world’s keenest orthopaedic registrar, Abhi.
  3. Monday 1st June 14:00 - Pulsenotes LIVE: Multiple Myeloma. Our free lecture series (in association with SMILE) continues with Norton’s take on myeloma. Get ready for lots of very unusual mnemonics - not one to be missed!
Remember - recordings of all these LIVE events will be available for members that aren’t able to make it!
Remember - JOIN OUR COMMUNITY for details of all our EVENTS!
Remember - JOIN OUR COMMUNITY for details of all our EVENTS!
New topics…
As ever, we’ve been hard at work. This week we added a number of beautiful video lectures to our library:
  • Chronic Kidney Disease with Norton
  • Principles of Plastic Surgery with Ben
  • LIVE Q&A - How to study with the team
  • ROUNDS - Chest pain with Ben & Norton
Plus some absolutely amazing notes on the following topics:
  • ECGs: bradycardias
  • ECGs: conduction
  • Bipolar disorder
Norton's Corner
Mitochondrial genetics
Let’s face it, studying rare diseases is interesting but not always practical. It’s important you don’t sacrifice the basics for the weird and wonderful. At the end of the day, rare diseases are, unsurprisingly, rare. Yet, let’s indulge our inner nerd and look at mitochondrial genetics.
Genetics can seem overly complicated and difficult to get your head around. A key starting point is understanding inheritance. This describes the process of passing on our genetic material to our progeny (i.e. our children). There are different patterns of inheritance. For example, autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive or X-linked. One niche pattern of inheritance is mitochondrial.
Our mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells involved in energy production. These organelles have a small genome that we call mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). There are currently 37 genes encoded by the mtDNA involved in energy production. The current theory is that mtDNA is maternally inherited. This means we get all the mitochondrial genetic material from our mothers (originally contained in the unfertilised egg).
As our cells contain hundreds of mitochondria with hundreds of copies of mtDNA, mutations may not be uniform. If the mutation is found in all mitochondria, we term it a homoplasmic mutation. If the mutation is found in some but not others, we term it a heteroplasmic mutation.
The actual inheritance
Males will never pass the condition to their progeny. Females with a homoplasmic mutation will pass it to all their progeny. Females with a heteroplasmic mutation may pass it to their progeny (dependent on the proportion of mitochondria with the mutation and random assortment during cell division).
Want something covered next week? - send me a tweet @medicalreg
Final words
Remember to get in contact with any questions, suggestions, or topics that you wish to be covered!
Thanks for reading, see you next week!
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