What knowledge is assumed at Medicine Interview?

What knowledge is assumed at Medicine Interview?

Assumed knowldge at Medicine interview
Assumed knowldge at Medicine interview
Holly Melvin
4th Year Medical Student at The University of Manchester, Instagram account: @that.girl.medic
December 1, 2021

Medical school interviews are a really important part of the process of securing your place in medical school. They can sound really complicated and confusing, and preparing for them can feel overwhelming. If you are reading this article because you are preparing for your medical school interviews, congratulations!

This article will cover the ‘lay person’ level of knowledge that you may be required to have to complete some aspects of your medical school interview. This article will focus on Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease as these were some of the topics that came up for me in my interviews.

But even if these don’t come up, they should give you an idea of the level of knowledge you need to prepare for your interviews.

As with all articles, have a pen and paper handy or a word document open so you can jot down hints and tips you find particularly useful and then have them ready and waiting for you to read when you come round to preparing for your medical school interviews! Also, be sure to check out the websites and links below if you would like to do some extra reading!

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What do I need to know for my Medicine interview?

First of all, the main thing to say is, please don’t think you need to go to your medical school interviews with the knowledge of conditions and diseases that a doctor has! You already have enough to study without adding extra pressure like this! 

As long as you keep abreast with current medical issues, e.g. by reading BBC health news, and maybe do extra reading around in topics that interest you, you should be able to talk around a topic enough or relate it to something that you do know more about so that you can excel in that part of your medical school interview.

Brief overview of Parkinson’s disease

What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, degenerative neurological condition. This means that it is a disease that affects the brain and will get worse as time progresses. The problem in Parkinson’s disease is that the cells that produce a dopamine chemical die and aren’t replaced. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. This means it sends messages in the nervous system. Not having enough dopamine means signals and messages on how to control your movements can’t be sent properly. 

Are there different types?

There are different types of Parkinsonism. Parkinsonism is an umbrella term that is used to describe the collection of symptoms that people suffer with, when they have a disease in this umbrella. Parkinsonism can be drug-induced (meaning a medication has caused it), which can be reversible. However, idiopathic (we don’t know the cause), vascular (to do with blood supply) and other types of Parkinsonism are irreversible. 

What are the main symptoms?

The main symptoms are due to the reduced levels of dopamine affecting movement control. Patients experience slower movement, stiffness (called rigidity), shaking, problems walking, and problems with things like writing too.

What is the treatment like?

At the moment, the main treatment for idiopathic Parkinsonism is to replace the dopamine that the brain cells are no longer producing. It is given in a slightly different chemical format so that it isn’t broken down by the body before it manages to reach the brain. Other important parts of treatment include exercise with physiotherapists, psychological intervention and reviews from speech and language therapists.

Brief overview of Alzheimer’s disease

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Dementia is a term used to describe a collection of symptoms, including memory loss, problems with language, problem-solving and difficulties with thinking. 

Are there different types?

There are different types of dementia, one of which is Alzheimer’s. Other types of dementia include vascular dementia (to do with disrupted blood supply to the brain), dementia with Lewy bodies (this condition has symptoms from both Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s) and alcohol-related dementia. 

What are the main symptoms?

The main symptoms are memory loss, problems with language, problem solving and difficulties with thinking. However, with some types of dementia, things such as visual hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t there) and delusions (believing something that isn’t true or real) can occur early on in the disease. 

What is the treatment like?

There are different types of medications that can be used depending on the stage the disease is at. However, these medications can’t cure the disease and become less effective as the disease progresses. Other important treatments include talking therapies and re-orientation. 

Links and resources

Charity websites can be a really good resource to use to get a good overview of a disease, condition or even medications. They are a resource aimed at patients, so the information is normally really accessible and easy to understand but will still give you the level of knowledge required for your interviews.




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