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It only took 35 years for flesh-eating bacteria to become an infectious terror

All it took for flesh-eating bacteria to go from harmless organisms to gruesome infectious pathogens was four mutations and about 35 years. That’s what an international group of researchers announced today in a study that outside experts are calling the largest bacterial genome paper ever published.

Map of Vaccine-Preventable Outbreaks

The Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations has been tracking news reports since 2008 to produce an interactive map that plots global outbreaks of diseases that are easily prevented by inexpensive and effective vaccines. These diseases include measles, mumps, whooping cough, polio, and rubella.

A Precarious Situation.
James Valentine, 21, was trimming a tree at an awkward angle when the chainsaw he was using kicked back and lodged in his neck, narrowly missing his vital vessels.
The blade sawed into flesh instead of wood. Valentine’s co-workers were able to detach the blade from its motor, but they left the blade and chain where it was — in Valentine, about a quarter of an inch from the carotid artery that supplies blood to the head — and they held the blade in place until emergency responders arrived.
On the ambulance ride to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Valentine was awake and alert, according to hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Davis.
The hospital’s director of trauma, Dr. Christine Toevs, said the trauma unit had 10 minutes to prepare — to get ready for a man coming up with a chainsaw blade in his neck.

A Precarious Situation.

James Valentine, 21, was trimming a tree at an awkward angle when the chainsaw he was using kicked back and lodged in his neck, narrowly missing his vital vessels.

The blade sawed into flesh instead of wood. Valentine’s co-workers were able to detach the blade from its motor, but they left the blade and chain where it was — in Valentine, about a quarter of an inch from the carotid artery that supplies blood to the head — and they held the blade in place until emergency responders arrived.

On the ambulance ride to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Valentine was awake and alert, according to hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Davis.

The hospital’s director of trauma, Dr. Christine Toevs, said the trauma unit had 10 minutes to prepare — to get ready for a man coming up with a chainsaw blade in his neck.

'Heart sock' could replace future implantable defibrillators

Implantable defibrillators and pacemakers have been around since the 1970s, but advances in materials science and 3-D visualization are transforming them from cumbersome life-support tools into streamlined therapies that could be props from Iron Man.

Smart skin patch knows when you need your meds

Researchers from South Korea have laid the groundwork for a dermal patch that not only dispenses medication continuously, but also knows when to stop.

A two-inch long patch made of stretchable nano-material, it can monitor muscle activity and body temperature. Current practical applications for the patch include drug delivery in patients with Parkinson’s disease, where muscle contractions and tremors can trigger medication release.

The researchers hope that in the future, more functions like wireless connectivity for remote monitoring can be achieved as the technology matures. The researchers estimate that the patch will not be ready for consumer use for another five years.

Spray-On Polymer Mats Seal Surgical Incisions

Researchers from the University of Maryland have developed a spray on bio-degradable polymer that can be used to hold surgical incisions closed, sealing and protecting them from the environment.

The film has been tested on pigs for various operations and dissolve away over a 42-day period. Clinical trials and methodology planning are in the works.

Cancer patient's leg kept alive by being attached to arm

Surgeons removed a man’s tumour and rebuilt his body using leg muscles and tissue they had removed and attached to his arm to keep alive.

"It’s not easy for a surgeon to tell a patient that they haven’t done this particular procedure before."

Being a doctor was once a job with great purpose. Now it's just a business

The ‘free market’ approach to healthcare means seeing more patients in less time. We’ve lost the human connection in health reform.

This is a call to begin a spirited discussion centering on such real healthcare reform. I am not naive to the hard economic realities of healthcare delivery or how civil discussions on reforming healthcare payments need to continue. However, meaningful and lasting solutions will not be found in models that commoditize health and continue to be based on a foundation of reward and punishment alone. They will be found in models that bring back the joy of healthcare to professionals who deliver it – physicians such as me and countless others who seem to have lost the single most powerful driving force – purpose.

After 120 Years, Doctors Develop New Brain Surgery Technique

A team of surgeons from Johns Hopkins recently came up with a safer, better method of replacing skull fragments after brain surgery. This is good news for anybody who might need a little work done on their noggin in the near future, as doctors have been using the same method since the 1890s.

In ‘Medicine’s Michelangelo,’ Dr. Frank Netter’s Life in Pictures

Dr. Frank Netter’s mother insisted he go into medicine, but he met her halfway, following his passion for art and becoming possibly the world’s best-known medical illustrator.