A critically ill baby can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder in the parents

Parents who have a critically ill infant can exhibit symptoms later on similar to those who have been through war.

And indeed, this article in The New York Times draws parallels between the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and a warzone, “with the alarms, the noises, and death and sickness.”

Infants in the NICU can cause the parents to experience multiple traumas, starting with a premature birth, where many of the …

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What Mozart can teach us about suberbugs and antibiotic resistance

by Maya Sequeira

Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s death in 1791 has long been a mystery, but a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that it was, of all things, a common strep infection that killed the maestro at the age of 35.

Researchers speculate that Mozart contracted the strep infection—easily treatable today—from a fellow musician who had been hospitalized at a crowded military hospital in Vienna. It’s not …

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eRoentgen for the iPhone puts a radiologist by your side

The following is a sponsored guest post by Constantine Brocoum, a radiologist in Concord, NH. I have personally used eRoentgen, and recommend the product without reservation.

by Constantine Brocoum, MD

Like most inventions, eRoentgen was developed to respond to a need. As a practicing radiologist, I take frequent calls from primary care providers who need assistance in choosing the smartest way to diagnose their patients’ illnesses. They often need …

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H1N1 rap and a swine flu freestyle

Dr. John Clarke is the medical director of the Long Island Railroad and raps some sweet rhymes to H1N1.

“Hand sanatiza I advise ya get it why, it makes germs die when you rub and let it dry.”


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How Twitter and blogging helped a patient with cancer

Here’s a fascinating slideshow presentation from a patient who took to Twitter and started a blog after being diagnosed with cancer.

Take a look at how social media helped him. His name is Maarten Lens-FitzGerald, and he blogs at Maartens Journey.

Maartens Journey presentation for Healthcare 2.0 event style=”margin:0px” width=”425″ height=”355″>Read more…

Is the test that finds the most cancers the best?

When it comes to mammograms, not always.

I’ve written previously that the major problem in cancer screening tests is that they are not specific enough. With both PSA tests looking for prostate cancer and mammograms screening for breast cancer, many lumps or lesions that are slow-growing will be diagnosed, but not necessarily lead to a patient’s death.

A good piece in the Los Angeles Times outlines the breast cancer screening …

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PSA screening and the overdiagnosis of prostate cancer

by Charles Bankhead, Staff Writer, MedPage Today

Only one of every 20 prostate cancer diagnoses leads to a benefit that would not have been realized without PSA screening, an analysis of 20-year trends suggests.

medpage-today An estimated 1 million excess diagnoses have accrued since 1986, and the incidence of prostate cancer remains well above levels that existed prior to widespread PSA …

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Will the spread of swine flu be affected by the uninsured?

By now, we’re aware of the sobering predictions for this fall’s spread of H1N1 influenza.

But, as the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein points out, our health system is ill-suited to deal with the situation:

It’s simply too fractured to do anything different. Almost 50 million Americans have no insurance. Many more are underinsured. Many don’t have a particular doctor or even medical center where they feel comfortable receiving care. Many are …

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Why following a delayed vaccine schedule may be dangerous

by Steve Perry, MD

I recently read a post by Dr. Bob Sears which listed several “Vaccine Friendly Doctors” in Colorado and across the nation.

As a pediatrician and vaccine advocate, I thought I’d be on this list. I am “vaccine-friendly doctor” who works with moms and dads to find the best health care plan for their babies. I read the information on both sides of the issue and weighed the science …

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Increasing radiation exposure to patients from CT scans and other imaging tests

by Kristina Fiore, Staff Writer, MedPage Today

Imaging procedures can expose patients to high cumulative doses of radiation, researchers say.

medpage-today In a large study, 193.8 people per 1,000 were exposed to moderate doses of radiation each year, while 18.6 per 1,000 were exposed to high doses, and 1.9 per 1,000 received very high doses, according to Reza Fazel, MD, of …

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New troponin tests to better diagnose a heart attack

by Crystal Phend, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today

A generation of new, more sensitive troponin assays has improved hospitals’ ability to diagnose a heart attack to a point as early as the time of emergency department presentation, two separate studies affirmed.

medpage-today1 In one multicenter study, a sensitive troponin I assay had an early diagnostic accuracy of 96%, compared with conventional …

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Treating Fournier gangrene, or necrotizing fasciitis of the male genitals

Fournier gangrene one of the nastiest infections you’ll ever see.

General surgeon Jeffery Parks details a case, complete with a vivid CT scan:


Dr. Parks takes us behind the scenes in treating the condition, which requires rapid surgical debridement. “There’s nothing fancy about this surgery,” he writes. “You cut and debride until all the necrotic fat and skin and muscle …

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Is Caster Semenya a woman, and the issues surrounding androgen insensitivity syndrome

Caster Semenya is the South African track and field star who recently was engulfed in controversy at the recently concluded World Track and Field Championships.

caster-semenya Turns out, there are some who are questioning her gender, and subsequently, tests are being conducted to see if she is really a woman.

It’s not as cut and dry as it appears.

Consider the possibility of Read more…

Michael Jackson dead from propofol, is Dr. Conrad Murray solely to blame?

Recent reports have said that Michael Jackson died from a propofol overdose. Is that really the case?

Here’s what happened, according to the published timeline.

— At about 1:30 a.m., [Dr. Conrad] Murray gave Jackson 10 mg of Valium.
— At about 2 a.m., he injected Jackson with 2 mg of the anti-anxiety drug Ativan.
— At about 3 a.m., Murray then administered 2 mg of the sedative Versed.
— At about 5 …

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Did the oral polio vaccine cause an outbreak in Nigeria?

by Matthew Bowdish, MD

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that approximately 180 Nigerian children have become paralyzed by polio as a result of widespread vaccination efforts in Africa’s most populous country. The outbreak is from the use of an oral polio vaccine (OPV) that contains a live-attenuated form of the poliovirus.

OPV was initially developed by Albert Sabin in the 1950s. A live-attenuated poliovirus vaccine is ingested and stimulates …

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Do patients really need their complete lab and radiology reports?

Most prefer the bottom line, sparing them the raw data.

Primary care physician Rob Lamberts asks that exact question, and reprints sample reports of lab tests and an echocardiogram, demonstrating the wealth of information they contain.

So, borrowing this image from Dr. Rob, I’m not sure how useful something like this would be to patients (sorry for the small type, but you get the idea):


Health care policy experts versus the public, an obstacle to reform

I’ve often written that the public’s appetite for excessive medical testing is difficult to overcome.

Kent Bottles finds the same thing. Indeed, he writes that, ” One of the obstacles to achieving health care reform is the enormous gap between what the health care experts believe and what the general public believe about staying healthy.”

For instance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “the experts believe that 30% of care is …

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Do lacrosse players have a higher rate of sudden cardiac death?

Surprisingly, lacrosse is the fasting growing youth sport in the country.

MedPage Today reports a recent study from Pediatrics that showed that lacrosse players have a disproportionally higher rate of commotio cordis, which is ventricular fibrillation caused by blunt chest trauma.

43 percent of lacrosse deaths can be attributed to the condition, compared to 27 percent in hockey, and 24 percent in baseball.

What to do? Researchers are looking at …

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