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Woman of 24 found to have no cerebellum in her brain

A woman living in China’s Shandong Province got a bit of a surprise recently when doctors at the Chinese PLA General Hospital told her that her brain was missing one of the most important centers for motor control: the cerebellum. She had initially checked herself into the hospital because of a bad case of dizziness and nausea.

Her diagnosis helped explain some of the challenges she had experienced through the course of her life, including slurred speech, delayed onset of walking until the age of seven and troubles with maintaining balance her entire life.

Medical Education, Beware the Hidden Curriculum

The hidden curriculum is taught by the school, not by any teacher…something is coming across to the pupils which may never be spoken in the English lesson or prayed about in assembly. They are picking-up an approach to living and an attitude to learning.

-Dr. Roland Meighan

16 Stories of the Patient Knowledge Gap

Some of the initial questions I ask a patient are: What brought you into the hospital? What can I do for you today? Tell me your understanding of what is going on?

These questions often sound so arbitrary and so redundant given what are generally provided to us before we even see a patient: We have reasons for referral written in the chart. We have the verbal handover from another physician. We make assumptions of affluence based on a person’s appearance.

However, it is always surprising how often there is a disconnect. For example, I once treated a patient who was a retired internal medicine doctor per the chart. Even as I spoke I realized that he was not following the medical terminology. It turned out afterwards that partly this was due to a language barrier (he was a physician in a different country), he had been retired for many years, and partly because he had some early dementia.

As the stories above illustrate, it never hurts to ask before starting.

Essential Anatomy 3 for Android

For a limited time only, Amazon is giving away Essential Anatomy 3 for free for the Android. If you have not had a chance yet to check out this stellar educational tool, go check it out. This is typically a $25 piece of software.

Sierra Leone is on the lookout for an Ebola-positive patient on the run

Officials in Sierra Leone’s capital are trying to find a woman who left a hospital with the help of her family after testing positive for the deadly Ebola virus. The 32-year-old woman, whom radio stations in Freetown named as Saudatu Koroma, was being tested for the virus in an isolation ward, then was “forcefully removed” by her family, Reuters reports. That’s led to a hunt for Koroma to keep her from spreading the virus to others.

Busy Doctors, Wasteful Spending

There is no more wasteful entity in medicine than a rushed doctor.

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.