I stared down at the tired, deteriorating woman sprawled across a bariatric bed before me. A breathing tube was in her throat while multiple catheters pierced her arms and neck, pouring powerful medications directly into her veins. Among several functions, these infusions would maintain her blood pressure high enough to keep her organs alive. This was my initial, visual impression of a patient I was responsible for during my first ...

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This year's flu vaccine, as you likely know, is taking a drubbing. The contention is that CDC flubbed, and didn't get quite the right flu strains in the mix. That is apparently true, although more the "fault" of the influenza virus and its natively wily ways, than of the CDC. Either way, the drubbing is disproportionate to any flubbing. The drubbing occurs in the context of a strong, new ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, December 19, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. High-Dose Flu Vaccine Better for Frail Elderly. For frail older people living in long-term care, a high-dose inactivated influenza vaccine is a better option than the standard drug.
  2. Look into SGLT2 Fracture Risk, Researchers Urge. Look deeper into the potential relationship between SGLT2 inhibitors and bone fractures.

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Top stories in health and medicine, December 18, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. OmniCarb Study: Cutting Carbs No Silver Bullet. Overweight and obese people who followed a low glycemic index diet in the context of an overall DASH-type diet had no greater improvements in insulin sensitivity, lipid levels or systolic blood pressure compared to study subjects who ate high glycemic index foods.

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Top stories in health and medicine, December 16, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Painful Hands, Hurting Hearts? Symptomatic osteoarthritis (OA) of the hands was associated with an elevated risk for coronary heart disease events, analysis of data from the Framingham Heart Study showed.
  2. Can Social Media Aid Public Health? Here's an angle Mark Zuckerberg has probably not yet mined: restaurant reviews and ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, December 15, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. ED Throughput: A Fixable Problem. As I travel the freeways of the various cities I visit, I often come across billboards announcing waiting times at the local ED, or billboards promising no wait at all. Sometimes they just advertise "faster" care, whatever that means.
  2. Mumps Checks NHL Players. It ...

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No one wants a hospital-acquired infection -- a wound infection, a central line infection, or any other kind.  But today, the level of concern in American hospitals about infection rates has reached a new peak -- better termed paranoia than legitimate concern. The fear of infection is leading to the arbitrary institution of brand new rules. These aren’t based on scientific research involving controlled studies.  As far as I can tell, ...

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Science bashing: The latest threat to research in America In the midst of multiple public health crises, the NIH budget is in an unprecedented period of stagnation. So why the growing chorus of voices calling to slash more science? Senator Rand Paul recently slammed the NIH, specifically calling out a study of “origami condoms” which he says are “designed with Japanese folding paper in mind.” In fact, this research is ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, December 9, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Ankylosing Spondylitis: More Than Just the Spine. Extra-articular disease manifestations that can have substantial impact on quality of life are common among patients with ankylosing spondylitis.
  2. Does Flu Vaccine Reduce Kids' ED Visits? The CDC recently announced it expects a more severe flu season this year, but a study ...

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The cherry trees are still there, blossoming every spring, on a patch of land near Stanley Park in Vancouver. They were planted in 1985 by a group of volunteers from AIDS Vancouver, to honor the memory of three Canadian sons who were among the early victims of AIDS. One of these men was Gaetan Dugas, who died in 1984. During this same period in San Francisco, Randy Shilts, a reporter ...

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