Posts tagged url

Computer spots rare diseases in family photos

Doctors faced with the tricky task of spotting rare genetic diseases in children may soon be asking parents to email their family photos. A computer program can now learn to identify rare conditions by analysing a face from an ordinary digital photograph. It should even be able to identify unknown genetic disorders if groups of photos in its database share specific facial features.

HIV, AIDS ward closes at St. Paul Hospital due to decline in disease

The HIV/AIDS ward at St. Paul’s Hospital is closing due to a decline in the once-deadly disease, the B.C. government announced Tuesday.

“This is a proud day for British Columbians as we mark another milestone in our leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Premier Christy Clark.

“Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the community, those at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and health professionals across the province, a ward that once served those dying from AIDS, now supports those living with HIV.”

Modified measles virus destroys cancer in early clinical trial

Promising early results from a clinical trial at the Mayo Clinic out this week suggest that a modified version of the measles virus can be used to target cancer cells and put the condition into remission.

The Day I Started Lying to Ruth

A cancer doctor on losing his wife to cancer.

A year ago, after a busy night on call, I received a phone call from my mother. Instead of her usual self, she sounded anxious, with an urgency in her voice I seldom hear. I would learn that a close friend of hers had just been diagnosed with cancer.

"Do you know anything about it?"

As one of the mandatory components to our curriculum  I certainly knew it in broad strokes. It was this education that allowed me to deduce based on some of my mother’s description of her friend’s results and symptoms, that the prognosis was poor.

"Yes, I do."

I wrestled with myself over the phone. How much should I say? How little? Was it my place to say anything at all? But my mother was worried for her friend. Having lost my father to cancer only years ago, she wanted at least some reassurance.

Even despite my limited experiences as a student though, I knew I could not offer any. I hesitated.

Instead, I put on my suit of armour that was my white coat and spoke objectively about what the results were, what the symptoms meant, and what the doctors may offer her in the coming weeks.

"But I do not have the full picture." I cautioned. "Her doctors are there evaluating her and this is obviously their specialty." 

In a way, I was trying to wash my hands of the responsibility. I did not want the burden of knowledge that I now possessed that my mother desperately wanted. I answered her questions as best as I could. Intent not be optimistic or pessimistic.

But people always hear what they want to hear. She felt that there was still a possibility of a reversal. A recovery. A new lease on life. She just was not ready to go through everything with my father all over again. I could not muster up the strength to say anything in return.

When my father was diagnosed with cancer at the end of his days, I knew nothing about it. I was the ignorant and oblivious observer. I could still hope. I could still maintain optimism.

But now, armed with a wealth of knowledge, I fear the day when I must confront a similar situation again. When I can understand the disease, interpret results, and foresee the future. It is both a power and a curse.

Some day in the distant future, when all of my family members turn to me for guidance in those dark hours asking those questions that nobody ever wants to ask or answer - “How is he doing? Will he get better? What can we do?” - I hope I have the courage to say what is right.

Why It’s Insanely Easy to Hack Hospital Equipment

When Scott Erven was given free reign to roam through all of the medical equipment used at a chain of large midwest health care facilities, he knew he would find security problems with the systems — but he wasn’t prepared for just how bad it would be.

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.