Conditions

Ten top medical blog posts, October 2009

Here are the top posts from the past month, based on the number of times they were viewed.

1. Two nurses face jail time for reporting a doctor to the Texas Medical Board

2. Why pregnant women should get the H1N1 flu vaccine

3. Why doctors should choose Google Android over the iPhone for medical apps

4. What having the H1N1 flu feels like

5. Flu and H1N1 influenza vaccine …

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Vaccines do not cause autism in children, whether or not they have inborn errors of metabolism

Originally published in MedPage Today

by Michael Smith, MedPage Today North American Correspondent

Vaccination does not appear to cause autism or other health problems in children with inborn errors of metabolism, a researcher said here.

In a retrospective analysis, children with such conditions were not more likely than normal children to visit emergency rooms or need hospital care after vaccination, according to …

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Did Nidal Malik Hasan suffer from compassion fatigue or vicarious traumatization?

There are many tragic questions emerging from today’s massacre at Fort Hood.  The one I’m interested in is why a reportedly mild-mannered psychiatrist, a specialist in disaster and preventive psychiatry no less, would make the decision to open fire on his fellow soldiers.

Nidal-Malik-Hasan-fort-hood One reason may be so-called compassion fatigue, also known as vicarious traumatization or secondary traumatization.

According to the Psychiatric …

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Clostridium difficile infection is spreading from the hospital to the community

Originally published in MedPage Today

by Charles Bankhead, MedPage Today Staff Writer

Clostridium difficile infection has spread from the hospital to the community but has proved manageable thus far.

From 1991 to 2005, the incidence of community-acquired C. difficile in Olmsted County, Minn., quadrupled but still remained less common than the hospital-acquired gastrointestinal infection, Sahil Khanna, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in …

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How long should children stay out of school after H1N1 flu?

Originally published in MedPage Today

by Michael Smith, MedPage Today North American Correspondent

Children appear to shed particles of the H1N1 pandemic flu virus longer than adults do, which may have implications for how long they stay out of school, a researcher said here.

The finding comes from an analysis of an outbreak in a Pennsylvania elementary school in May and June, …

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Football is linked to dementia, and why it should be banned from high schools

by Brian E. Moore, MD

Two neuropathologists are prominently spotlighted in an article by Malcolm Gladwell in the October 19 issue of The New Yorker. The article explores a provocative question raised by autopsy results on football players: namely, should football be illegal?

Featured are Dr. Ann McKee, neuropathologist at the Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts and Dr. Bennet Omalu, forensic neuropathologist and San Joaquin Valley (CA) chief medical examiner. Drs. McKee …

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Should tobacco companies pay for smokers’ CT scans to screen for lung cancer?

According to a potential ruling in Massachusetts, tobacco companies will have to pay for smokers’ screening CT scans.

The Boston Globe (via Doug Farrago) writes that the decision “would allow thousands of other Massachusetts smokers to join the lawsuit, which covers people 50 or older who have smoked at least one pack a day of Marlboro cigarettes for at least 20 years,” and, “if a jury sides with the smokers, …

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Rheumatologists debate whether fibromyalgia is really a disease

Originally published in HCPLive.com

What defines a “disease?” At what point does a collection of symptoms and causes make the transition from “condition” to disease? Is it when a consensus forms around a concrete, observable, and repeatable set of biochemical and/or physiological processes and outcomes? Surely there is little doubt that diabetes or hypertension qualify as a disease under the standard paradigm. …

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Depression is bad for your heart

Originally published in Journal Watch Psychiatry

by Steven Dubovsky, MD

And attaining remission significantly improves mortality risk in patients with acute coronary syndromes.

Depression is common after myocardial infarction (MI), and medical outcomes are worse in depressed patients. These researchers addressed long-term survival in a 6.7-year follow-up study of 361 patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) and major depression. The patients had participated …

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Are doctors getting enough skin cancer exam training?

Originally published in MedPage Today

by Nancy Walsh, MedPage Today Contributing Writer

Opportunities to learn how to perform skin cancer examinations during medical training are inadequate, a survey of residents found.

More than half (55.3%) of residents said that they had never observed a skin cancer examination, 75.8% said they’d never been taught to perform one, and 57.4% had never practiced doing …

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What does H1N1 pandemic flu as a national emergency mean?

Originally published in MedPage Today

by Michael Smith, MedPage Today North American Correspondent

President Barack Obama’s declaration that the H1N1 pandemic flu is a national emergency doesn’t mean the course of the outbreak has changed, health experts said.

But as the volume of cases increases, the declaration allows doctors and hospitals more flexibility in handling the expected surge in patients, they said.

“I …

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Both the far left and right agree not to receive the H1N1 vaccine

What can unify Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh with the progressive anti-vaccine bloggers of the Huffington Post?

Both camps are revolting against the H1N1 vaccine.

In a piece from Slate, Christopher Beam notes that “the two sides have finally found common cause,” and share a worldview where there’s “distrust—of doctors and modern medicine or of government.”

On the right, Mr. Lumbaugh eloquently told the Secretary of Health and Human Services to “screw …

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Are we underusing aldosterone antagonists in congestive heart failure patients?

Originally published in Insidermedicine

Less-than one third of eligible patients being discharged from hospital with heart failure are being prescribed guideline-recommended treatment, even though the hospitals are participating in a program aimed at improving compliance with treatment guidelines, according to research published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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H1N1 rapid tests: Poor sensitivity

Originally published in Journal Watch Infectious Diseases

by Stephen G. Baum, MD

Rapid tests for seasonal influenza generally have relatively low sensitivity; their sensitivity for detecting the 2009 H1N1 virus seems even worse.

Many respiratory pathogens can produce an influenza-like illness. With a sensitive and specific rapid test for influenza, the onset of outbreaks could be established and patients could receive appropriate antiviral treatment. Reverse-transcriptase …

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Why doctors should reconsider ordering a CRP to screen patients for heart disease

The CRP, or C-reactive protein, is a test that many doctors use to screen for heart disease.

And indeed, studies have associated an elevated level with an increased risk of coronary artery disease. But there is little data showing that reducing the CRP level saves lives. That hasn’t stopped both doctors and patients from inappropriately ordering the test.

Although not expensive by itself, it serves as a gateway to more …

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Should doctors fire young patients if their parents refuse to vaccinate them?

Originally published in MedPage Today

by Emily P. Walker, MedPage Today Washington Correspondent

If parents refuse to vaccinate their children, it’s ethical and legal to dismiss the child as a patient, a pediatrician told attendees of the American Academy of Pediatrics meeting here.

“In the middle of treatment, you can’t just say, I’m done,” Gary Marshall, MD, of the University of Louisville …

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When patients receive too much radiation from CT scans by mistake

Originally published in MedPage Today

by Crystal Phend, MedPage Today Senior Staff Writer

Reports of stroke patients who were accidentally exposed to eight times the normal radiation dose during diagnostic CT scans at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles are prompting safety warnings and soul searching among radiologists nationwide.

Over an 18-month period, 206 patients at the center received 3 to 4 …

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Will co-sleeping with your infant increase the risk of SIDS?

Originally published in MedPage Today

by Todd Neale, MedPage Today Staff Writer

Just over half — 54% — of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) cases in southwest England occurred when the baby was co-sleeping in the same bed as a parent, a case-control study showed.

That compares with 20% of infants among randomly selected families and controls deemed to be at high …

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The numbers behind young, healthy people dying from H1N1 flu

Originally published in Insidermedicine

Young, otherwise healthy people who contract H1N1 flu can rapidly deteriorate into a critically ill state in a manner that is eerily reminiscent of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, according to research published in the November 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association and presented at the annual meeting of the European Society …

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