Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

Overwhelmed ERs Continue To Rise To The Challenge

Last night I was contacted by a physician in the local urgent-care.   I like him, and we made polite, but brief, conversation.  ‘So, are you guys busy?’

I gave him the status report.  ‘Well, yeah.  We have about 25 people waiting to be seen the waiting room is full and every patient room is full.  Also, we just received a gun-shot wound to the head by EMS.’

‘Wow, sounds terrible!  So, here’s what I need to send you…’

What he sent was, in fact, reasonable.  A young woman with signs and symptoms of meningitis (who was treated earlier in the day for and upper respiratory virus…with Amoxicillin, of course.)

She needed a lumbar puncture, which I performed and which was  negative.

But I had this thought.  I could probably have said, Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at*

New Technology Enables Doctors To Diagnose Lung Nodules Without Surgery

Every year, a half million bronchoscopies are performed in the U.S. in order to investigate lesions within patients’ lungs. Because conventional bronchoscopy cannot reach the distant regions of the lungs, more invasive surgical procedures are often needed to diagnose lung nodules that may be malignant.

The General Thoracic Surgery Division at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia has begun using a new technology, superDimension Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy™ (ENB). ENB creates a computer-generated reconstruction of the lungs from a CT scan of the tracheobronchial tree, explains Lyall A. Gorenstein, MD, FRCS (C), FACS, Director, Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery. Using these reconstructed images, the system creates a visual pathway so that surgeons can guide steerable catheters to where lung nodules are located, facilitating examination and biopsy.

“This enables us to Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Columbia University Department of Surgery Blog*

Health Care Attorney Warns About HIPAA Privacy Issues In Social Media

This is the first of a three part post addressing the legal concerns of social networking in the health care arena.

Legal expert, David Harlow, Esq., Health Care Attorney and Consultant at The Harlow Group, LLC in Boston, addresses the legal issues.

Q:  Barbara:
What are the legal implications for doctors, nurses and hospitals engaging in social media?

A:  David: Health care providers are concerned about HIPAA privacy issues – HIPAA violations may occur as a result of staff posts, or as a result of patient, family or caregiver posts – as well as potential liability for medical advice provided on line.  Physicians and nurses have been sanctioned and fired for privacy breaches via social media, so these are real concerns.  Some communications that folks think are OK may in fact be violations of HIPAA or state privacy laws, so great care in training is needed.  In addition, Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*

Researchers Make An Artificial Lung That Would Not Require A Mechanical Pump

Researchers from Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio made a prototype of an artificial lung which reaches gas exchange efficiencies almost equal to the genuine organ. The small device does not need extra oxygen, it works with normal air. Joe Potkay, a research assistant professor in electrical engineering and computer science published the technique this week in the journal Lab on a Chip.

The scientists developed this prototype while keeping track of the natural design of our lungs. It is made of breathable silicone rubber acting as blood vessels that get as small as one-fourth of the width of a human hair. Because it works on the same scale as normal lung tissue, the team was able to shrink the distances for gas diffusion compared to current techniques. Tests using pig blood show oxygen exchange efficiency is three to five times better.

One of the big advantages of this system is that Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Tired Of Needles? Measure Your Glucose Levels With An iPhone

skin_tattoo[1]Researchers at Northeastern University are using nanosensors implanted into the skin — similar to a tattoo — and a modified iPhone to measure sodium and glucose levels in patients. The implications for this could be tremendous, but first, here’s how it works:

“The team begins by injecting a solution containing carefully chosen nanoparticles into the skin. This leaves no visible mark, but the nanoparticles will fluoresce when exposed to a target molecule, such as sodium or glucose. A modified iPhone then tracks changes in the level of fluorescence, which indicates the amount of sodium or glucose present.”

For patients who are diabetics, Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

See all book reviews »