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Antibiotics Resistance and the Race for New Bacteria

I remember going to an infectious disease lecture some time ago and hearing the specialist paint a grim portrait of the future: the rapid resistance bacteria is developing against our weaponry will make antibiotics obsolete in the next fifty years. Unless we do something about it, we will be propelled back into the dark ages.

This article is a good snapshot of where we stand now in the search for novel therapies.

Tapeworm parasitic infection following daily sashimi diet for years.

The initial complaint this Chinese man presented with were a stomach ache and itchy skin. After further testing, the doctors came to the discovery that his body had been completely invaded with tapeworm parasites. 

The encysted larvae were embedded deep within the man’s tissues, save for his brain, which would have resulted in the more serious complication of neurocysticercosis.

This man turned out to be an avid sushi eater and ate raw sashimi on an almost daily basis for years. 

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.