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You’ve Heard Of Kidney Stones, But Did You Know You Could Get A Salivary Gland Stone?

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The Doctors TV show actually produced a great (and accurate) segment on a relatively new procedure called sialendoscopy. This procedure allows a surgeon to remove a stone that may be blocking your spit gland from draining saliva into the mouth. This is analogous to a kidney stone which blocks urine from draining from the kidney into the bladder resulting in painful swelling of the kidney (causing flank pain).

How does a person know if they have a salivary gland blockage due to a stone? There is a painful swelling located right in front and/or below the ear if the parotid gland is affected, or under the jawbone if the submandibular gland is blocked.


If the blockage persists long enough, it may lead to an infection of the gland itself (sialadenitis). Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Fauquier ENT Blog*

Regenerative Medicine And Printing Human Tissue

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Dr. Anthony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, returned to TED 2011 a couple weeks ago to give updates on his breakthroughs in regenerative medicine. In addition to explaining the process of growing bioengineered organs, valves, and tissues, he also demonstrates how he’s using printing technology to fabricate body parts and even print skin tissue directly onto a patient’s wound. Other highlights of the talk include a live demo of a kidney-shaped mold being printed on the TED stage, and a reunion with a young patient who was one of the first recipients of a bioengineered bladder from Dr. Atala’s lab.

Be sure to also check out Dr. Atala’s talk from TEDMED 2009…

Additional comments from WFIRM…

More on Dr. Atala from TED…

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Robotic Pharmacy Prepares 350,000 Doses Of Medication Without A Single Error

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Pharmacy robot selects medications from drawers.The University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) has made a significant announcement that could be a watershed moment for how medications are given to hospital patients in the United States.

In a typical hospital setting, patients are receiving many different types of prescription medications — ranging from mundane vitamins to more intense drugs such as chemotherapy. In the thousands of times medications are given to patients, and with the high number of humans handling the process of organizing and giving the medications, human error is bound to occur. And medication errors can be life threatening — especially if related to a chemotherapy agent.

UCSF wants to make the rate of error for medication administration to be zero. In order to do this, they are using robot technology to prepare and track medications, with the main goal, obviously, being to improve patient safety. In the phase-in of the project, not a single error occurred in the 350,000 doses of medication prepared — remarkable.

Here’s how it works (from the UCSF press release):

Once computers at the new pharmacy electronically receive medication orders from UCSF physicians and pharmacists, the robotics pick, package, and dispense individual doses of pills. Machines assemble doses onto a thin plastic ring that contains all the medications for a patient for a 12-hour period, which is bar-coded.

There are some key advantages this system brings to the workflow of a hospital setting:

— The robots can do chemotherapy dosing, one of the toughest and most sensitive things to do. They can also do complex IV medication dosing.

— There is no touching of the medications by hand. The medications come from the manufacturer, are processed by the robots, and then sent to the nurses and the patient’s bedside in sterile packaging.

— The robots allow for pharmacists and nurses to be more efficient by taking away repetitive tasks. While they do not replace either, they enable a healthcare system already stretched for resources to increase productivity.

 — The system costs $15 million, but with the payoff in regards to improved patient outcomes, as well as time saved, the investment should make this endeavor by UCSF more than worthwhile.

Watch this video to see the robots in action:

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

New Study Links HPV To Head And Neck Cancers In Men

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A new study finds that half of men in America are infected with the HPV virus. Dr. Jon LaPook reports on the growing concern that the virus in men could be responsible for an increase in head and neck cancers.

HPV Affects Half Of U.S. Men

A study out [yesterday] in The Lancet by Moffitt Cancer Center researcher Anna Giuliano, Ph.D., and her colleagues finds that 50 percent of men ages 18 to 70 in Brazil, Mexico, and the U.S. have genital infection with human papillomavirus (HPV).  HPV is the virus that causes cervical cancer in women. It also causes warts and cancer of the genitals and anus in both men and women. Over the past several years, researchers have realized that the virus can also cause cancer of the head and neck.

Aimee R. Kreimer, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute, estimates that about 65 percent of the approximately 8,000 cancers of the tonsils and base of the tongue (oropharynx) seen in the U.S. in 2010 were from HPV infection; eighty percent of these are in men. The rates for HPV-associated cancers like these are increasing; for sites like the mouth and larynx that are associated with tobacco and alcohol use, the rates are decreasing (though still too high since too many people still smoke and abuse alcohol).

An infection rate of 50 percent for a virus that can cause cancer sounds scary. But knowing a few more facts about HPV helps put the risk in perspective. About 90 percent of men and women infected with HPV virus get rid of it on their own within about two years. There are many different strains of HPV — some that cause cancer and some that don’t. Only about 6 percent of men have genital infection with HPV 16 — the strain linked to more than 90 percent of cancers of the head and neck. And only about 0.6 percent of men have HPV 16 in specimens taken from their mouths; what percentage of those men go on to develop head and neck cancer is unknown. Read more »

Cough And Cold Meds: The Good And The Bad

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Want to try to avoid a visit to the doctor for that cough or cold? Why not go to the pharmacy to get an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine? In this video from local TV news, I talk about the good and bad of OTC cough and cold meds. Will that medicine from the pharmacy actually help you get better faster?

 

*This blog post was originally published at Doctor Anonymous*

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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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