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Magnet-Guided Medicine Hits The Spot

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden successfully used magnets to guide clot-dissolving drugs (fibrinolytics) directly to the site of a thrombus stuck within a coronary stent. They did this by attaching the drugs to magnetic nanoparticles and using external magnets to move them to the right spot.

From the press release:

Guiding drug-loaded magnetic particles using a magnet outside the body is not a new idea. However, previous attempts have failed for various reasons: It has only been possible to reach the body’s superficial tissue, and the particles have often obstructed the smallest blood vessels.

The Lund researchers’ attempt has succeeded partly because nanotechnology has made the particles tiny enough to pass through the smallest arteries and partly because the target has been a metallic stent. When the stent is placed in a magnetic field, the magnetic force becomes sufficiently strong to attract the magnetic nanoparticles. For the method to work the patient therefore has to have an implant containing a magnetic metal.

Press release: Medicine reaches the target with the help of magnets…

Abstract in Biomaterials: The use of magnetite nanoparticles for implant-assisted magnetic drug targeting in thrombolytic therapy.

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Patient Safety: “Are You Safe?” Awareness Video

Today [Aug 28] I’m participating in the workshop “Engaging Minority Communities in Safer Healthcare” organized by MITSS (Medically Induced Trauma Support Services), a Boston non-profit I’ve written about before.

The current speaker is Lisa O’Connor, VP of Nursing at Boston Medical Center. She just showed this four-minute safety awareness video, produced by Quantros. Much of its content will be familiar to our readers here (the frequency of medical errors and hospital acquired infections), but I’m posting it because of its good, concrete, specific actions every patient should know.

The part with specific actions for patients starts around 2:30. (My highlights are below.) Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at*

Tweetchat For Doctors?

Lately there’s been talk of a tweetchat for doctors. The issue has surfaced on Twitter over the past couple of weeks. The idea is out there –- the genie’s out of the bottle. There will be a tweetchat for physicians. But I’m not sure we need it. We may want to think about why we need a Twitter discussion group and what we’d like to get out of it.

I look at tweetchats like I look at medical meetings: I go to see old friends in one place. Most of what’s discussed was public long before the meeting. The most interesting stuff happens in the hallway. With that said I still go to medical meetings. But it’s usually to cultivate relationships. And tweetchats do accomplish that.

I like to participate in tweetchats to see who shows up. I like to look at how people behave, how they meet the challenge of open-ended questions in the limits of 140 characters. It’s really interesting to watch those who think they have the answers. I like to see who actually takes the process so seriously that they can’t crack a joke and have a little fun (this tells me the most). Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

A Dermatology Visit: 10 Tips To Get The Most Out Of It

Having a high-quality doctor’s visit takes effort on your doctor’s and yours. Here are 10 tips to get the most out of your next visit with a dermatologist:

1. Write down all the questions you have and things you want to discuss with me. Be sure to list any spots you’d like me to check or any moles that have changed. Have a loved one lightly mark spots on your skin they are concerned about.

2. Know your family history: Has anyone in your family had skin cancer? What type? Patients often have no idea if their parents have had melanoma. It matters. If possible, ask before seeing me.

3. Know your history well: Have you had skin cancer? What type? If you have had melanoma, then bring the detailed information about your cancer. Your prognosis depends on how serious the melanoma was, that is its stage, 1-4. You need to know how it was treated, if it had spread, and how deep it was. The answers to these questions determines the risk of your melanoma returning. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Dermatology Blog*

When Doctors And Nurses Don’t Get Along

What do you do when doctors and nurses don’t get along? A reader asks for my advice:

Hi Happy,

I have this problem and wanted some advice from someone with more experience dealing with this.

I have been bashed by nurses because they expect me to know all the bureaucratic issues, when you don’t have more than a month in the hospital. I have noticed that nurses get mad, when you give them an instruction  they don’t understand, or they aren’t used to, not because you are wrong, but instead, their lack of ignorance, or their narrow process of thought. One example of this is when they laugh at me cause i prescribed a generic medication of a common drug that they weren’t familiar with the generic name.

Days ago, a first-year family doctor was yelled at badly by some nurse because she filled in the prescription chart where she shouldn’t – she didn’t know because no one told her. I have seen that attitude several times from different nurses – they yell in a very unproper manner. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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