Showing posts with label Medical. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Medical. Show all posts

Jun 17, 2016

Phone and Medical Info

There is an app that is pre-loaded on iPhone and available for Android that could save your life or the life of someone you love.

It is the Health app, which includes Medical ID. You can use Medical ID to list the names of your emergency contacts, their phone numbers, special instructions, your health ailments, and any medications you are taking or allergic to, that emergency personnel should know about.

Paramedics may not have time to access this information on your phone in an emergency, so it is not meant to replace a medical ID bracelet. However, if time is available, emergency personnel usually know they can swipe for this information.

For iPhones, Tap on Medical ID > Edit. Then turn on Show When Locked. This ensures that first responders can see your medical information even when your iPhone screen is locked. To make an emergency call or to see your Medical ID, wake up your phone by swiping left to right > tap Emergency > make emergency call or tap Medical ID to see the stored medical information.

For Android users solutions vary by manufacturer. Under Settings, look for an Emergency Contact-type feature. It may be under My Information. If so, fill in your medical information and emergency contact numbers.

To add an Emergency Contact to your phone lock screen, tap Settings > Lock Screen > check mark Owner Info > Tap the small icon to the right of Owner Info > type in your emergency contact name and phone number after owner name. This information will scroll across your lock screen even when it is locked.

Aug 8, 2014

Tricorder Xprize

Qualcomm started a global competition in 2012 that will award ten million US dollars to revolutionize digital healthcare. The idea is to stimulate innovation and integration of precision diagnostic technologies, helping consumers make their own reliable health diagnoses anywhere, anytime.

The device it is seeking will be a tool capable of capturing key health metrics and diagnosing a set of fifteen diseases. Metrics for health could include such elements as blood pressure, respiratory rate, and temperature. Ultimately, this tool will collect large volumes of data from ongoing measurement of health states through a combination of wireless sensors, imaging technologies, and portable, non-invasive laboratory replacements. The only stated limit on form is that the mass of its components together must be no greater than five pounds. The name comes from the medical device used in Star Trek.

This week, August 4 is the qualifying round for review and selection of the ten finalist teams. The final award will be held in January 2016.

Wordology, Ambulance

The word 'ambulance' derives from the Latin 'ambulare', meaning 'to walk or move about'. This gave rise to the French hôpital (sic) ambulant, meaning mobile hospital. It used to refer to a temporary medical structure that could be easily moved, such as movable army medical hospitals. In English, ambulance first appeared around 1798 and also referred to temporary hospital structures.

Ambulances were first used for emergency transport in 1487 by the Spanish, and civilian variants were put into operation in the 1830s. Mobile medical transport vehicles were also called ambulances in French and were designed to get injured soldiers off the battlefield and to medical aid during battle. One of the first instances of this was during the Crimean War. During the American Civil War they were known as ambulance wagons.

The first known hospital-based ambulance service was based out of Commercial Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio, US, in 1865.

Oct 1, 2009


A UK survey has revealed that myths about contraception may be widespread. The survey questioned 1,000 women aged 18 to 50 and was carried out by market research company Opinion Health, sponsored by Bayer Schering Pharma.

Twenty percent of women said they had heard of kitchen items, including bread, cling film, and even chicken skin, being used as alternative barrier methods. Others had heard food items such as kebabs, Coke, chocolate, or chips could be used as oral contraceptives.

Some even think that the pill offers protection from HIV. Ten percent of the women questioned believed that it always takes a number of years to regain fertility after discontinuation of the pill.

Contraceptive myths have been around for thousands of years and ancient methods have varied from crocodile dung and honey before sex, to sea sponges and beeswax after. There is the strange one that used alcohol made from stewed beaver's testicles.

It seems that a variety of unsafe and unproven methods might still exist in modern Britain and Britain continues to have the highest unintended pregnancy rate in Europe. There were no figures about average education level of these women.


Surgeons in Zurich have successfully demonstrated the safety and efficacy of a revolutionary brain surgical procedure. The method allows surgeons to carry out fully non-invasive brain interventions, even on an out-patient basis, using high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) guided by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

HIFU  (pronounced high foo) has been used for the treatment of uterine fibroids and tumors of the prostate gland for several years. However, its application to the brain through the intact skull for non-invasive neurosurgery seemed impossible until now.

The researchers have successfully treated ten patients using transcranial HIFU since September 2008. The new technology opens up procedures for a variety of brain diseases, including brain tumors.

The HIFU beams pass straight through the patient's skull and are focused within the brain into a point 3-4 mm in diameter. This allows the surgeon to guide the ultrasound beam and to then ablate tumor or other diseased tissue at a very precise location in the brain. The ultrasound beam produced by 1024 transducers raises the temperature of the tissue through a sequence bursts lasting 10-20 seconds.

The results can be seen on a live map as the ablation takes place. The procedure can last several hours, but is performed without anesthesia. The patient is fully conscious through the procedure and so can respond to requests to move or speak and allow the surgeon to double-check that healthy brain tissue is not being damaged. It also avoids pre-operative medication risks associated with anesthetics, and reduces the time the patient must spend in hospital following surgery.

Researchers are also investigating the possibility of using HIFU to treat breast, liver, and bone cancers. Although many countries have been using HIFU for years, with thousands of successful procedures completed, the US only has a relatively small number of HIFU clinical studies in process, and it is not completely approved for all procedures, yet.

Sep 25, 2009

Curiosity and Intelligence

If you are reading Friday Thoughts, you are probably a curious person. Well, here is some good news. It also means that you are likely intelligent. Something we all knew, but now science is on our side.

Scientists from University of Toronto and the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital have discovered a molecular link between intelligence and curiosity.

Sep, 2009, the journal, Neuron published results from researchers, who studied the interaction of two proteins in a small region of the brain in the hippocampus, which plays an important role in long-term memory and spatial navigation.

For the study, the neuronal calcium sensor-1, a protein was increased by one-and-a-half times in mice. This modest overexpression increased the ability of brain cells to change how they communicate with each other and gave the mice superior memory in complex tasks and a significant increase in exploratory behavior (curiosity).

The scientists believe they have discovered a region of the brain that generates curiosity and a model for how brain activity leads to curiosity. They believe that fostering curiosity should also foster intelligence and vice versa, which may lead to the development of drugs to improve learning. I'm curious, when can we get some of those drugs?

Sep 23, 2009

Oldest Person Dies

Here is an inspiration - Gertrude Baines, the world's oldest known person, who once quipped she had won the genetic lottery, recently died at a nursing home. She was 115 and was born in 1894 in Shellman, Ga. and claimed the title of the world's oldest living person when a 115-year-old woman, Maria de Jesus, died in Portugal in January.

Nurses at Western Convalescent Hospital described Baines as a modest woman who liked to watch the 'Jerry Springer Show' and eat fried chicken, bacon, and ice cream.

The oldest person in the world is now Kama Chinen, 114, who lives in Japan and was born May 10, 1895.

The oldest person who ever lived was Jeanne-Louise Calment, who was 122 when she died Aug. 4, 1997, in Arles, France. There is still hope for me, fried chicken and bacon, Yumm! I knew bacon was good for me.

Laughter is Truly the Best Medicine

And it's free. Research is ongoing regarding the potential health benefits of laughter. Still to be proven is if the sense of humor and positive attitude behind laughter are also helpful.

When we laugh, we increase our pulse rate and blood pressure, and the effects may be similar to exercise. Researchers have estimated that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes burns 50 calories. Other studies suggest laughter improves blood flow, immune responses, and blood sugar levels.

Research looking at the connection between mind and body suggests that repeated doses of laughter, and even anticipation of laughter, can lead to positive physical changes.

In a paper presented at the American Physiological Society, they found that the hormones beta-endorphins (which elevate mood) and human growth hormone (which builds immunity) increased by 27% and 87 % respectively in patients exposed to "mirthful laughter."

Another study found that laughter reduced three key stress hormones; cortisol, epinephrine, and dopac -- by 38 percent to 70 percent. Significantly high levels of those three hormones have long been linked to compromised immune systems.

Laughter promotes all kinds of good endorphins, which help reduce pains and promotes deep breathing.

In another study, they found that the same anticipation of mirthful laughter reduced the levels of three detrimental stress hormones. Cortisol, adrenaline, and dopac, were reduced 39, 70, and 38%, respectively.

A group of 20 high-risk diabetic patients with hypertension and hyperlipidemia were divided into two groups: Group C (control) and Group L (laughter). Both groups were started on standard medications for diabetes and Group L viewed self-selected humor for 30 minutes in addition to the standard therapies.

The patients in the laughter group had lower epinephrine and norepinephrine levels by the second month, suggesting lower stress levels. They also increased HDL (good) cholesterol and had lower levels of inflammation.

At the end of one year, the laughter group HDL cholesterol had risen by 26 percent, and only 3 percent in the Group Control. Harmful C-reactive proteins decreased 66% in the laughter group vs. 26% for the control group.

Take these in small doses, but not in the office - Link 1  Link 2  Link 3

The study suggests that the addition of an adjunct therapeutic laughter prescription to standard diabetes care may lower stress and inflammatory response and increase "good" cholesterol levels. The authors conclude that laughter may thus lower the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome. Hey, if you want some good laughs and to get fit at the same time, try some of my joke books, especially 'Medical Humor - medical nonsense to tickle your funnybone'. Don't forget to use the 'search inside' feature to get a detail look at the contents.

Sep 18, 2009

Intelligence and Sperm

In another dumb study and finding, Sep 3, 2009, a psychologist found that men with the highest IQ also have the healthiest sperm.

"The findings could explain why some of the world’s most intelligent men have so many female admirers no matter their physical attractiveness. They also suggest that being smart and funny might have developed as a signal to women looking for a mate with healthy genes."

The research, by the evolutionary psychologist Professor Geoffrey Miller of the University of New Mexico, centered around a study of 400 Vietnam War veterans who were put through extensive mental tests and were also asked to provide sperm samples.

According to the test results, it was found that men who scored high on a battery of intelligence tests boasted high counts of healthy sperm. Whereas, low scorers tended to have fewer and more sickly sperm.

Professor Miller, who was speaking at a conference of the Association for the Study of Animal Behavior at Oxford University, believes that sperm quality was directly related to brain quality. The two traits could have evolved together as a way to advertise good genes, he said.  I guess he also believes that evolution begins in the classroom. This proves it, if you go to school, your sperm will be healthy and you might become a psychologist that gets paid to conduct stupid studies, come up with dubious results, and share them with the Brits.

Sep 17, 2009

Men and Memory

In another stupid research study, research shows men who spend even a few minutes in the company of an attractive woman perform less well in tests designed to measure brain function than those who chat to someone they do not find attractive.

Researchers who carried out the study, published in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology, think the reason may be that men use up so much of their brain function or 'cognitive resources' trying to impress beautiful women, they have little left for other tasks.

Women, however, were not affected by chatting to a handsome man. This may be simply because men are programmed by evolution to think more about mating opportunities.

Radboud University in The Netherlands recruited 40 male heterosexual students. Each one performed a standard memory test where they had to observe a stream of letters and say, as fast as possible, if each one was the same as the one before last.

The volunteers then spent seven minutes chatting to male or female members of the research team before repeating the test. The results showed men were slower and less accurate after trying to impress the women. The more they liked them, the worse their score.

In a report on their findings the researchers said, "We conclude men's cognitive functioning may temporarily decline after an interaction with an attractive woman."

Psychologist Dr George Fieldman, a member of the British Psychological Society, said the findings reflect the fact that men are programmed to think about ways to pass on their genes. If we look at the two studies together, we must conclude that if a smart man talks to a beautiful woman, he becomes dumb and his sperm get slow. This would negate both and prove how stupid they both are.

Sep 8, 2009

Brain Gel

An injectable hydrogel could aid recovery from brain injury by helping stimulate tissue growth at the site of the wound, researchers say.

Research on rats suggests the gel, developed by Dr. Ning Zhang at Clemson University, South Carolina, and made from synthetic and natural sources, may spur growth of stem cells in the brain. She predicted the gel may be ready for human testing in a few years.

Following a brain injury the tissues tend to swell up and this causes the loss of more cells, compounding the damage caused by the original wound. The standard treatments attempt to minimize this secondary damage at the site of the injury, for instance by lowering the temperature or relieving the build up of pressure, but their impact is often limited.

Scientists believe that transplanting donor brain cells into the wound to repair tissue damage is potentially a more productive approach, but while this method has produced limited results when used to treat brain injuries. The donor cells do not tend to thrive at the site of injury, or to stimulate repair. This could be due to inflammation and scarring at the injury site, and the lack of supportive tissue and blood supply to provide the necessary nutrients.

The advantage of the new gel, which is injected into the injury in liquid form, is that it can be loaded with different chemicals to stimulate various biological processes.

First, Dr. Zhang used it to help re-establish a full blood supply at the site of a brain injury in rats, potentially providing a much more friendly environment for donor cells to thrive. In follow-up work, she loaded it with immature human stem cells and the chemicals they needed to develop into fully fledged adult brain cells. After eight weeks of treatment with this mixture rats with severe brain injuries showed signs of making a significant recovery.

Sep 3, 2009

Breathalyzer Test

A new use for breathalyzers has been developed to detect lung cancer with eighty six percent accuracy.

The device could provide an early warning system before tumors become visible in X-rays. The sensor uses gold nanoparticles to detect levels of so-called volatile organic compounds, measured in a few parts per billion, that become more elevated in cancer patients. Currently, only 15 percent of cases are discovered before the disease has begun to spread.

A team of researchers took breath samples from 56 healthy people and 40 lung cancer patients. They found 33 compounds that appeared in at least 83 percent of the cancer group, but in fewer than 83 percent of the control group.

Then they designed an assembly of chemical sensors using gold nanoparticles measuring five nanometers across. (An average strand of human hair is about 100,000 nanometers in width.)

The devices were able to "distinguish between the breath of lung cancer patients and healthy controls.

"Given the impact of the rising incidence of cancer on health budgets worldwide, the proposed technology will be a significant saving for both private and public health expenditure," they say.

Lung cancer claims some 1.3 million lives worldwide each year, accounting for nearly 18 percent of all deaths from cancer, according to the World Health Organization.

Aug 27, 2009


These little gems deliver insulin for wound healing. Bacterial infection is a major health threat to patients with severe burns and other kinds of serious wounds such as traumatic bone fractures. Recent studies have identified another use for insulin as a weapon for fighting infection and healing wounds. These can also be used for chemotherapy and other local drug deliveries.

Using tiny nanodiamonds, researchers have demonstrated a method for delivering and releasing insulin to a specific location over a period of time. The nanodiamond-insulin clusters hold promise for wound-healing applications and could be integrated into gels, ointments, bandages or suture materials.

A wound site skin pH levels can reach very basic levels during the repair and healing process and researchers found that the insulin bound to nanodiamonds is released when it encounters basic pH levels.

A substantial amount of insulin can be loaded onto the nanodiamonds, which have a high surface area and can accelerate the healing process and decrease the incidence of infection. The results of the study were published in July by the journal Biomaterials.

Burger Franchise

It is not what you think. Packaging up urgent care services like a Burger King and selling franchises across the country is the new American dream.

Maryland physician, Dr. Scott Burger and his partners have run an urgent-care center, named Doctors Express, for three years. Now, Burger wants to blanket the US with Doctors Express franchises. He and his partners hope to open 3,000 such centers around the country during the coming years.

His first franchisees will open their doors in Temple, TX, (of course Texas) with about two dozen more locations set for future launches in Georgia, New Jersey, South Carolina, North Carolina, Colorado and Virginia.

The model will have a physician on duty during all of its hours of operation. Doctors Express locations will also have digital X-ray equipment, a lab, and a pharmacy on location. In addition to providing urgent treatment, the centers will also conduct drug screenings, do pre-employment physicals, and provide vaccinations. Want fries with that xray?

Aug 6, 2009

American Medical Association

As of 2005, latest numbers I could find, the AMA represented 15% of the physicians in the US. (30% of that number are medical school students, residents, or fellows.) Gone are the glory days when it represented the majority of physicians, but for some reason, it still has political clout through its lobbying efforts.

Next time someone tells you the AMA approves, remember that means only 15% of doctors approve.

Mouth Gag - (1880s-1910s)

This handy dandy, wooden, screw-shaped mouth gag would be inserted into an anesthetized patient's mouth to keep the airway open.

Jul 13, 2009

My Life is Worth What?

Remember that nasty little word - rationing - that keeps rearing its ugly head? Well, here is a bit more food for thought. The decision to use expensive cancer therapies that typically produce only a relatively short extension of survival is a serious ethical dilemma in the US being debated by the oncology community published, June 29 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The authors show cost-benefit relationships for several cancer drugs. They ask, "Is an additional 1.7 months a benefit regardless of costs and side effects?" (They don't answer a benefit to whom.)

According to the article, one drug was found to extend life by 1.2 months and cost an average of $80,000, which translates into an expenditure of $800,000 to prolong the life of one patient by 1 year. They describe how much it might cost to extend the lives of 550,000 Americans who die of cancer annually, by 1 year.

They recommend that studies to detect a survival advantage of two months or less should test only interventions that can be marketed at a cost of less than $20,000 for a course of treatment.

Every life is of infinite value, the authors say, but spiraling costs of cancer care makes this dilemma inescapable. I thought this was against the Hippocratic oath, so went to find out exactly what the oath says. Seems there are multiple versions and all physicians do not even take the oath. They believe it is outdated and less than relevant these days.

Jul 3, 2009

Medical Imaging

Data shows that imaging equipment in rural regions of the country operates 48 percent of the time an office is open, while equipment in non-rural areas operates 56 percent of the time a center is open for business.

President Obama recently recommended CMS base its reimbursement formula on a 95 percent utilization rate for advanced imaging equipment. MedPAC has recommended 90 percent for equipment that costs more than $1 million.

The utilization assumption is a key component of the Medicare formula. Dramatically increasing the utilization assumption results in a severe cut for imaging reimbursements.

Spending on advanced imaging has already decreased significantly since 2005 and imaging use has essentially flattened due to low reimbursement rates. More imaging reimbursement cuts will severely disrupt access to diagnostic services, including long waits for appointments, and patients driving long distances to find an office that has equipment. Medicare reduces costs without appearing to reduce rates. Hmmm! This is just the beginning of rationing, without using the word 'rationing'.

Jun 27, 2009

New Fillings

A calcium phosphate nanocomposite filling in a tooth can smartly release decay-fighting agents to buffer against acids produced by bacteria, and rebuild the lost tooth minerals by releasing ions into the mineral-deficient area of the tooth.

70 percent of all dental procedures involve replacements to existing repairs, at a cost of $5 billion per year in the United States alone. Now, scientists at the American Dental Association’s Paffenbarger Research Center, have shown that nanotechnology has the potential to lessen that toll by producing tooth restorations that are both stronger than any decay-fighting fillings available today, and more effective at preventing secondary decay.

A dentist creates the filling by mixing the pure liquid resin with a powder that contains coloring, reinforcement and other materials, packing the resulting paste into the cavity, and illuminating the tooth with a light that causes the paste to polymerize and harden. Makes me smile just thinking about.

Robot Surgery

The da Vinci robot has been around for 5 years and used in tens of thousands of surgeries.

Its safety and efficacy have been documented in hundreds of clinical publications. It makes it possible for a patient to have major surgery with only a few tiny incisions. The surgeon can operate with better visualization, precision, dexterity and control than possible using traditional surgical approaches. It has been used in everything from minimally invasive heart surgery to minimally invasive cancer surgery, to treat conditions as diverse as prostate cancer, endometrial cancer, obesity and mitral valve regurgitation.

In short, the da Vinci Surgical System combines robotics and surgical technology that enables surgeons to provide the least invasive treatment option available for a wide range of complex conditions.