Monday, June 2, 2014

Cleveland Clinic Starts Ambulance for Stroke Patients

My opinion: I'm glad to see that they're doing this for the public - I think this will benefit people in all locations around town, as time is of the essence when treating strokes.  I am surprised, though, that a regular ambulance cannot give the same care.  I suppose they may be able to treat heart attack victims, but maybe the emergency personnel aren't trained to handle strokes.  Is it possible to utilize this mobile stroke unit in a regular ambulance?  And if not, should there be other ambulances with different specialty treatments, like for seizures or asthma attacks?  Feel free to comment.

http://www.cleveland.com/healthfit/index.ssf/2014/05/cleveland_clinic_to_launch_mob.html

Monday, May 19, 2014

Website Posts Public Opinions to Solve Medical Mysteries

My opinion:  While I certainly think this website can do wonders for some people, the founders need to be careful of liability issues.  For example, say someone takes the medical advice of just anyone who posts online, and then suffers serious consequences because of it.  The company could find itself in numerous lawsuits.  I think it may be a good idea to take some of the ideas on the website and discuss them with the doctor to verify their potential credibility.  Also, if some of the information seems insecure, then perhaps users should all be anonymous.  Then again, this would also make it impossible to know who is evaluating the patient.  What's more, unless the company insists that its users who provide answers undergo a background check, people with no credentials at all may be posting answers.  Any other ways to improve the site, or is it just too difficult to carry out?  Feel free to comment.

From: http://www.mercurynews.com/health/ci_25695944/san-francisco-company-aims-become-wikipedia-medicine

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Doctors Fail to Know if Patients can Afford Medication

My opinion: Again, this is a very important piece of information that doctors should be aware of, but there are only so many things that go into conversation during a meeting with the patient.  I think, in addition to asking this in the end, doctors should also ask if the patient may have trouble taking their medication, as this is often a problem in our society.  Then, the doctor should ask the patient if there are any other problems at all that the doctor needs to know.  This will help cover all potential issues, as the doctor cannot ask dozens of specific questions about the patient in one meeting, not to mention the fact that it may appear obnoxious.  Finally, in the cases in which the patient doesn't reveal a problem when there actually is one, the doctor will need to rely on social cues to figure out what is going on.  For example, the doctor in the article could see that the patient seemed nervous when he received his prescription.  These are the skills that are developed over by interacting with people and patients for a long time.  So what should doctors do if their patients can't pay?  Should they pay themselves?  Feel free to comment.
 

Article found at:  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/01/doctors-not-asking-about-money/

Monday, April 28, 2014

Does Medical School Really Prepare Students?

My opinion:  I write this after questioning the benefits of my own undergraduate education.  In high school, I always believed that college would matter so much in regards to my future career.  Now that I've been through a good two years of college, while I find some aspects helpful, I realize that much of the material I'm learning will never be used again.  My experiences volunteering at the hospital, however, give me direct patient interaction and, quite frankly, serves as excellent training for when I will have to socialize with patients as a doctor.  Not only could college be more involved, but medical school, too.  Another article I read claims that lecture-styled classes are not entirely helpful, and fewer than half of the students were attending them at one particular school.  To improve, the school then brought in real life examples, either in person or through video documentaries, into the classes so the material could be combined with an actual case.  I think this is one of the many measures that will be needed to accelerate medical school education.  One doctor once told me that half the stuff learned in medical school is useless for one's career.  Maybe if these schools combined lectures with more interactive hospital rounds, they would get a better sense of what it is really like to be a doctor.  Feel free to comment.

Are Med School Grads Prepared to Practice Medicine?

Third-year Georgetown medical students getting ready to meet with a patient/actor.Kevin Wolf/Associated PressThird-year Georgetown medical students getting ready to meet with a patient/actor.

Dr. Pauline Chen on medical care.
One night early in my internship, I received a frantic page for help from a fellow intern.
Seasoned nurses had been unable to draw a patient’s blood, which senior doctors had ordered be done if his fever spiked, so they’d called the covering doctor, the first-year resident on call. For more than an hour he had poked at the patient’s arms and legs, littering the floor with blood-stained gauzes, used alcohol swabs and crumpled syringe and needle packaging. When the patient finally kicked him out of the room, howling, “I’ll hit you if you come near me again!” he called the only people he thought he could: the other interns.
“We didn’t have to draw blood in medical school,” he confessed, his eyes red behind his Harry Potter spectacles. “My med school didn’t think it was important for us to learn.”
One of us did manage to get the required blood, but for the rest of the week, we were haunted by the feeling that any one of us could easily have been in the same situation.
We had all endured four years of medical school, and we believed that all our lectures, exams and national standardized tests had made us ready to be real doctors, or at least capable interns. But the reality was that in some cases, we were unable to carry out even the most routine duties.
The intern who did get the patient’s blood on her first try had had plenty of phlebotomy experience in medical school. But she confessed she didn’t know how to prepare a patient for surgery, and had had to ask another intern to write the pre-op checklist on an index card that she could keep in her white coat pocket. The intern who wrote up the checklist came from a medical school where students prepared a lot of patients for surgery but rarely did anything in the operating room. When asked to assist on a minor procedure during her first week, she had been so awkward and unsure of herself that the scrub nurse burst out laughing. 

From:  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/are-med-school-grads-prepared-to-practice-medicine/?hpw&rref=health

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Medical Conspiracy Theories Popular in USA

My opinion:  I think the main thing that might be driving these theories forward is fear.  The medical landscape is so full of mysteries that people are likely to believe in one conspiracy theory or the other, especially if it is already quite popular.  It may also be driven by anger against the waning healthcare system in general.  I wonder how much research people do into conspiracy theories before they believe in them, and, if they actually have done research, how credible is it?  I wish the authors of this study had accounted for this and asked for a potential cause in their beliefs.  They could at least find out if these beliefs were inherent or not by asking how long the respondent has seriously considered such a theory.  This way, if the respondent indicates that they developed their belief recently, it is clear that a there must be a cause for this and the belief is not inherent.  Lastly, on another note, I wonder if this data isn't accurate because it was done through an online survey.  Are people without easy internet access more likely to believe in conspiracy theories because they cannot view scientific research?  Feel free to give thoughts and/or comments.

Half of Americans believe at least one medical conspiracy theory, study shows

"Our data suggest that medical conspiracy theories are widely known, broadly endorsed, and highly predictive of many common health behaviors."
By JC Sevcik   |   March 19, 2014 at 4:05 PM   | 
A nurse prepares a shot of H1N1 Flu vaccine for a patient. According to a new survey, almost two thirds of Americans have heard the theory that vaccines cause autism and nearly 20 percent believe it. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg
| License Photo
March 19 (UPI) -- Do you believe that vaccines cause autism or that GMOs are being used to shrink the world’s population? Or that the government is preventing access to alternative medicines to benefit Big Pharma? That the government knows cell phones cause cancer but do nothing to stop it? That water fluoridation is suspicious? Or that the CIA infected African Americans with HIV?According to a study released Monday by researchers at University of Chicago, some 49 percent of Americans believe at least one of these medical six conspiracy theories to be true.
The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, questioned 1,351 adults in an online survey, asking whether they have heard of each of the above theories and whether they agreed or disagreed.
The survey also found that people who believed in conspiracies were more likely to seek out alternative medicine, with only 13 percent of nonbelievers taking herbal supplements compared to 35 percent of conspiracy believers.
Among those who believed conspiracies, 35 percent identified as liberal and 41 percent identified as conservative.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2014/03/19/Half-of-Americans-believe-at-least-one-medical-conspiracy-theory-study-shows/3511395254812/#ixzz2yy33H9YV

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Scientists Capable of Making Artificial Vaginas

My opinion:  I know this seems kind of silly, but its importance cannot be underestimated, especially for others organs that may be grown in the future.  First off, this just goes to show that there may be more to a body part than meets the eye, suggesting that replacements are complicated to make.  However, now that this is made, I'm wondering if the same thing can be done except for male body parts.  What's more, doctors may use this method for sexual reassignment surgery.  Some downsides are that we don't know how these body parts will work in the future.  What if they're easier to break or malfunction as the body grows older?  Nonetheless, this is still a remarkable achievement and it seems to be working well as of now.  Feel free to give comments.

 Scientists grow viable vaginas from girls’ own cells

Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine/WFBMC Photography
Eight years after they received implants, four young women report they have functioning sexual and excretory organs
Four young women born with abnormal or missing vaginas were implanted with lab-grown versions made from their own cells, the latest success in creating replacement organs that have so far included tracheas, bladders and urethras.
Follow-up tests show the new vaginas are indistinguishable from the women's own tissue and have grown in size as the young women, who got the implants as teens, matured.
Two of the four implant recipients, who were born with a working uterus but no vagina, now menstruate normally.
It is not yet clear whether these women can bear children, but because they are menstruating, it suggests their ovaries are working, so it may be possible, said Dr. Anthony Atala, director of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Institute for Regenerative Medicine in North Carolina.
All implant recipients also reported that they are sexually active and satisfied with their arousal and orgasms, according to a press release from The Lancet, the medical journal where information on the implants was published Friday. They report no unusual pain.
The feat, which Atala and colleagues in Mexico describe in the article, is the latest demonstration from the growing field of regenerative medicine, a discipline in which doctors take advantage of the body's power to regrow and replace cells.

From: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/4/11/scientists-grow-viablevaginasfromgirlsowncells.html

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Doctors Produce 3-D Skull, Save Patient

My opinion:  I know there are medical miracles, but then there are medical miracles!  This really is quite the invention, and it all happened because of 3-D printing.  Still, I have some concerns for the new skull.  If part of it breaks, is it possible to replace that part with another 3-D reproduction?  Also, the skull is clear.  Can hair grow out of it, or can it at least be made to look like a real skull?  I'm very glad that the patient has healed, but what would people think of you if they saw that you had a plastic skull?  Nonetheless, a very fine and amazing idea!  It's just important, however, to try and fix the smaller problems as well, at least at some point.  Any thoughts?  Feel free to comment.

Medical First: 3-D Printed Skull Successfully Implanted in Woman

Another day, another advance in 3-D printing technology.
Doctors in the Netherlands report that they have for the first time successfully replaced most of a human’s skull with a 3-D printed plastic one — and likely saved a woman's life in the process.
The 23-hour surgery took place three months ago at University Medical Center Utrecht. The hospital announced details of the groundbreaking operation this week and said the patient, a 22-year-old woman, is doing just fine.

Image: 3-D printed skull UMC Utrecht
Doctors at UMC Utrecht in the Netherlands replaced the top part of a woman's skull with a 3-D printed plastic one.

The woman, whose name wasn’t released, suffered from severe headaches due to a thickening of her skull. She slowly lost her vision, her motor coordination was suffering and it was only a matter of time before other essential brain functions would have atrophied, Verweij said in a press release issued by UMC Utrecht.
Verweij noted that in some brain operations it’s common for part of the skull to be temporarily removed to reduce pressure on the brain, then put back later or replaced by an artificial implant. In this case, doctors inserted nearly an entire plastic skull that was manufactured with the help of Anatomics, an Australian medical device company that specializes in 3-D printing,

From: http://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/medical-first-3-d-printed-skull-successfully-implanted-woman-n65576