Boys V Girls – Medical Analysis

Throughout the ages boys and girls have always pitted themselves against one another to see who was best. Now we will look into which gender is the greatest from a medical perspective.

One of the most important medical statistics is life expectancy. In this category, women are definitely winning. The global life expectancy for a man is 62.7 years, comparing this to the female global life expectancy of 66 years; we get a difference of 3.3 years. However in some countries the difference is even greater. In Russia the difference is as large as 13 years! This raises an imperative question, why do women live longer than men?

The answer could lie within our immune systems. A group of Japanese scientists believe that a woman’s immune system ages faster than that of a man’s, thus as a man ages he becomes more susceptible to not only disease but also cancer earlier on in life. Despite increased longevity, it is thought that women feel pain more intensely than men. An article by Scientific American talks about the increased pain felt by women suffering from conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and other conditions such as respiratory infections. Pain is always difficult to survey accurately as it is up to interpretation by the sufferer. However, surveys done of 11,000 patients concluded that there were 250 conditions that were more painful for one sex than the other. Not only this, but in the majority of cases, on average women rated their pain as 20% higher than the average man did.

Another major difference between the two genders is colour blindness. Red-green colour blindness is caused by not having some Cone cells, or having Cone cells that do not work properly, making it difficult for a sufferer to distinguish between red, green and blue. Red-green colour blindness occurs in 6% of men, but in a mere 0.4% of women. This makes colour blindness 15 times more common in men. Again, it is only natural we question the cause of this discrepancy. The X chromosome is responsible for Colour blindness. This makes you wonder why it is less common in women, who have two X chromosomes. This is because if a man inherits a certain deficient Ospin gene from his X chromosome, he will definitely become colour blind. If a woman was to inherit a similarly deficient gene in one of her chromosomes then she is still likely to be able to see normally as she will probably inherit a non-deficient set of genes in her second X chromosome. If a woman who does inherit a single deficient chromosome then she will be only slightly colour blind, but not to a noticeable level. This is because some of the cone cells will come from the healthy X chromosome and some from the bad X chromosome, so a woman with a single deficient X chromosome will still have enough healthy cone cells for the difference not to be noticeable. One of the harder hitting disadvantages of being a male is the much higher risk of cancer. It is well recorded that ‘Almost every type of cancer kills more men than women.’

The following is a list from Time Magazine’s website of the cancers with the greatest gender disparities:
  • Cancer of the lip: 5.51 men died for every one woman
  • Cancer of the larynx: 5.37 men died for every one woman
  • Cancer of the hypopharynx: 4.47 men died for every one woman
  • Cancer of the esophagus: 4.08 men died for every one woman
  • Cancer of the bladder: 3.36 men died for every one woman
Although these cancers are relatively rare, disparities can also be seen in more common cancers, for example 2.51 men die for every woman that dies of lung cancer. The survey recorded data for 36 cancers, and in only three did women have a higher death rate: peritoneum, omentum and mesentery cancers. All of these types are extremely rare. The cause of the higher male mortality rates are clear: Men are more likely to develop cancer than women are in the first place. But why is this so? Michael Cook, lead author of the study said that “The causes are not clear cut.” However, there is some evidence that implies the cause could be that men are exposed more to carcinogens than women. Historically and in the US especially, men have always smoked more than women, this is backed up by the fact that the five cancers with the largest disparities (listed above) are all linked to smoking. However, the authors of the survey also concluded that there could be multiple causes, which include hormonal profiles and chromosomal abnormalities. So although some potential causes of this imbalance have been identified, no answer is certain and we will have to await the conclusion of inevitable future studies.

After a few relatively brief assessments of only a few medical differences between the two genders, it is difficult to come to a conclusion about which is medically superior, but it can be agreed that with an increased chance of suffering from cancer and colour blindness and a shorter life expectancy, females could be better off than men, in regard to the topics assessed in this post.

Thanks to Jonathan Ince for the inspiration.





Is Animal Testing a Necessary Evil? by Jonathan Ince

Last year, The MedSchool Project held a Science Writing Competition. We proudly present the entries that we received! Congratulations to all the winners and runners up and a huge well done for the incredible amount of effort that went into producing these amazing essays.

Is Animal Testing a Necessary Evil? by Jonathan Ince

Many people will have issues with animal testing however it could be argued that it is a necessary evil in our world.

Animal testing is the process of testing medicines and drugs on animals before certifying them for use on humans; this process is meant to reduce the risk of serious injury or death to humans when testing the product. This safe testing method means that new drugs can be created, tested and then released onto the market to cure diseases and illnesses; by testing on animals we could save millions of lives. An example of this is Chloroquine, an antimalarial medication, which was tested on animals and now saves millions of lives every year in malaria stricken countries such as Afghanistan.

How Do You Solve the Problem of Transplant Organ Shortage? by George Roberts



Last year, The MedSchool Project held a Science Writing Competition. We proudly present the entries that we received! Congratulations to all the winners and runners up and a huge well done for the incredible amount of effort that went into producing these amazing essays.

How Do You Solve the Problem of Transplant Organ Shortage? by George Roberts


The UK suffers from a chronic organ shortage problem; 3 people a day die due to a lack of organs and organ donors. Over 10,000 people in the UK are currently in need of an organ transplant. In a survey done, it was found that 96% of UK residents would be willing to give away their organs after death. So why is there a shortage? Only 27% of UK residents are on the organ donor register.

The current system used in an ‘opt-in’ system. Some experts believe that changing to an opt-out system could solve the organ shortage all together. The opt-out system is also called ‘presumed consent’ system, and has been heavily debated for many years. However a report issued in 2008 stated that “the current system of opt-in be retained” This is chiefly due to the multitude of social and cultural implications. This report was created by the Organ Donation Taskforce to assess the implications of changing the current donation system and the ethical and social implications of a presumed consent system. However in theory presumed consent would be an easy solution to the problem, relying on surveys performed, in theory only 4% of the UK population would Opt-out, meaning that the increase in donors would be huge 69%, well over double the current levels of donation. One of the reasons why this increase alone may not be a solution is because of an inefficient allocation system. In America, half of donated kidneys were wasted whilst thousands died. Cases of organ waste are notorious in Britain and elsewhere too, meaning that although a presumed consent system could give us enough organs, a smoother bureaucracy is needed to prevent wasted precious organs, and to reduce the number of deaths because of organ shortage.


Is Animal Testing a Necessary Evil? by Nathan Orme-Herbert



Last year, The MedSchool Project held a Science Writing Competition. We proudly present the entries that we received! Congratulations to all the winners and runners up and a huge well done for the incredible amount of effort that went into producing these amazing essays.

Is Animal Testing a Necessary Evil? by Nathan Orme-Herbert


“Medical research has saved and improved the lives of millions of people”. Medical Research, of course, is not possible without animal testing. Animal testing is regularly demonised by animal rights groups which are against the use of animals as test subjects for medical experiments. Is animal testing really necessary for medical advances?

Many people would argue that, yes, animal testing is necessary for a drug before it enters human testing. This had been proven by the thalidomide case. Sciencemuseum.org.uk says that thalidomide was tested in animals however “Animal tests did not include tests looking at the effects of the drug during pregnancy.” This led to the deformation of thousands of babies during the early 1960s which has now resulted in many of those not living life to the standard of others. The thalidomide tragedy is one reason why animal testing is necessary for medical research- so that such a disaster does not happen again.


Is Animal Testing a Necessary Evil? by Jodie Hemsill

Last year, The MedSchool Project held a Science Writing Competition. We proudly present the entries that we received! Congratulations to all the winners and runners up and a huge well done for the incredible amount of effort that went into producing these amazing essays.

Is Animal Testing a Necessary Evil? by Jodie Hemsill

Every year it is estimated that over 100 million animals are used worldwide for clinical trials for drugs, cosmetics, food, biology lessons and many more. Cosmetics’ testing is no-longer carried out as much, but animals are still being constantly used for medical research. 100 million may seem a very large number, but testing on animals has been responsible for curing some of the worlds past biggest killers such as, TB, measles, mumps and rubella.

To test on animals, or not to test on animals: that is the question.

Animal testing is a hugely vast and debatable subject. One which many people have very strong views about, but like all things, there are two sides to every story.

On one side there are huge amounts of people who protest their dislike of animal testing, using arguments for example: that animals suffer huge amounts of pain and distress through animal testing. Organizations such as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) claim that animals languish in pain, ache with loneliness and long to roam free and use their minds, as they wait to endure the next procedure.

Is Animal Testing a Necessary Evil? by Theo Welch



Last year, The MedSchool Project held a Science Writing Competition. We proudly present the entries that we received! Congratulations to all the winners and runners up and a huge well done for the incredible amount of effort that went into producing these amazing essays.

Is Animal Testing a Necessary Evil? by Theo Welch


Is animal testing a necessary evil? This ethical question has been the source of many debates throughout society. Animal testing is the use of non-human animals in experiments. Those in favour of animal testing believe that it is necessary for the good of mankind. On the other hand, some people believe that animal testing is utterly wrong and cruel. Around 3.7 million animals were experimented on in UK labs in 2011 and animal testing has sprung many divisions across the world[1]. I will be attempting to discover whether animal testing really is a necessity by looking at the arguments for and against it.

To begin with, there is no denying the fact that animal testing has contributed significantly to many major medical advances throughout history. It has saved many lives and without it, many of the lifesaving drugs and vaccines used today would not have been developed and made widely available to the public. Animal testing has been influential in the prevention and treatment of many illnesses. These include tuberculosis (an infectious disease caused by the growth of nodules in tissues), diabetes (a metabolism disorder), polio (an acute viral illness caused by the inflammation of nerve cells of the brain stem and spinal cord),  Parkinson’s disease (a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system), muscular dystrophy (a hereditary disease caused by the progressive weakening and wasting away of the muscles) and high blood pressure (a common disorder in which blood pressure remains abnormally high.) Animal testing has also helped to develop both ‘reliever’ and ‘prevention’ inhalers after work on guinea pigs and frogs. This has allowed one in ten children in the UK who currently receive treatment for asthma to lead a much happier life. Arguably, the contribution of animal testing to medical science is a necessary evil.


Can We Ever Be Too Clean? by Kieran Bird

Last year, The MedSchool Project held a Science Writing Competition. We proudly present the entries that we received! Congratulations to all the winners and runners up and a huge well done for the incredible amount of effort that went into producing these amazing essays.


Can We Ever Be Too Clean? by Kieran Bird

Take a look in a family car, a girl’s handbag or a doctor’s reception and you’ll most likely see a bottle of bacteria killing hand sanitizer promising to rid us of that nasty bacteria we pick up from day to day activities. But what many of us don’t know is that we can be too clean. Yes, that’s right we can be too clean.

Now although studies regarding the UK have been limited, studies in the States have produced some rather unexpected results that, quite rightly, create quite a debate amongst scientists. For example, a study in the US displayed how Amish children who were raised on farms and in rural communities were less likely to develop asthma and allergies than children of a similar age who were bought up in ‘cleaner’ surroundings. So without trying to confuse both you and me let’s try to explain and understand this trend.


Tackling the Organ Transplant Shortage by Lulu He

Last year, The MedSchool Project held a Science Writing Competition. We proudly present the entries that we received! Congratulations to all the winners and runners up and a huge well done for the incredible amount of effort that went into producing these amazing essays.

Tackling the Organ Transplant Shortage by Lulu He

Over the past decade, the demand for organ transplantation has increased rapidly all over the world. This is due to the increased number of patients suffering vital organ failure. However, the insufficient number of donated organs has caused the major crisis of transplant organ shortage. This results in the increased number of patients on the transplant waiting list. As a result of this waiting, more patients are likely to die For instance, in the U.S. 83,000 people waited on the kidney-transplant list in 2007 but 16,500 people received kidney transplantation in 2008, while almost 5000 people died during waiting.

Tackling the transplant organ shortage crisis is very urgent. In order to tackle this crisis, some solutions have been implemented all over the world.

Increasing organ donation is one of most important and essential solutions. In recent years, scientists and politicians have called for a system of the Presumed Consent in order to increase donor number. This is known as an ‘opt-out’ organ donation system. Under this system, everyone is presumed to consent to the donation of their organs when they die. Anyone can fill out a form saying they don’t want to donate. However, this system has got a lot of issues. For example, it is thought to undermine trust.


Rare Diseases: Argyria

Everyone's heard of the smurfs right? The little blue creatures that have captured so many children's imaginations. But a rare condition called argyria actually causes a sufferer's skin to turn a peculiar shade of blue which has led to them being nicknamed 'real life smurfs'!

The condition, called argyria from the Greek arguros (meaning silver), is rare, and it is currently unknow how many people are affected by it. It is caused by prolonged exposure to colloidal silver, often through the use of home remedies that contain silver. It is believed that the element silver has healing powers, and has recently been shown to have antibacterial properties. Some people have ingested colloidal silver, an inert substance, believing that it can somehow reverse or cure diseases, although it is definitely not a cure-all, and the jury is still out. Some people have been known to use silver for everything from the common cold to cancer, but it is unlikely that silver works as a panacea. Unfortunately, our bodies do not work like this.


Happy 2013!

Happy New Year 2013! I would like to start this year by looking back on the old one and also by giving a few updates. In 2012, we hit several milestones. We have been very fortunate enough to have a good readership, and have finally reached 100,000 views on our blog - and still rising! We have also hit the 200 blogposts marker. And we began our first competition - perhaps the first of many in 2013! We are very grateful for your continued support and readership.

But 2012 has also been an eventful year for us in The MedSchool Project team for more reasons than one. We received our exam results in August, and finished the first half of our A Levels, our AS-Levels, with huge successes throughout the group. We have finished our applications to university. Jonathan, Megan, Joshua, Holly and I have applied  to read Medicine at university. Harriet and Brenda have applied for Biomedical Sciences, and Lucie has applied for Criminology. Some of our guest bloggers have also embarked on the journey to university applications, with Kieran applying to read Physics and Emma and Jonathan Ince finishing their GCSEs this year.

In 2013, we have so much to look forward as a group - exams, university offers and our last year at school before we finally become adults and join the real world (and enter university life) by September this year. But most of all, in true medical fashion, we are also looking forward to the medical advances and technology and look forward to writing about the exciting research that will no doubt play a huge part in our understanding of  health and disease and change our lives in the future.

We hope everyone has had a merry Christmas holiday and a happy New Year 2013, and we would like to invite you to join us in 2013 for more medicine and more science as we venture towards university life!