Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) has been demonstrated to be able to differentiate between benign and potentially malignant pancreatic cysts. Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Physical Sciences, Inc., Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Brandeis University have published their findings in Biomedical Optics Express. In their study they used surgically removed pancreas specimens of patients with pancreatic cysts to assess them with OCT and compare the results with histology examinations. OCT was able to reveal specific morphological characteristics used to differentiate between the low-risk and high-risk cysts. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*
There isn’t much new in the latest iteration of the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans.” Three years in the making, the 2010 guidelines (released a tad late, on January 31, 2011) offer the usual advice about eating less of the bad stuff (salt; saturated fat, trans fats, and cholesterol; and refined grains) and more of the good stuff (fruits and vegetables; whole grains; seafood, beans, and other lean protein; and unsaturated fats). I’ve listed the 23 main recommendations below. You can also find them on the “Dietary Guidelines” website.
The guidelines do break some new ground. They state loudly and clearly that overweight and obesity are a leading nutrition problem in the United States, and that a healthy diet can help people achieve a healthy weight. They also ratchet down sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day (about two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt) for African Americans and people with high blood pressure or risk factors for it, such as kidney disease or diabetes. But the guidelines also leave the recommendation for sodium at 2,300 milligrams a day for everyone else, a move that the American Heart Association and others call “a step backward.”
Vague language spoils the message
One big problem with the guidelines is that they continue to use the same nebulous language that has made previous versions poor road maps for the average person wanting to adopt a healthier diet.
Here’s an example: The new guidelines urge Americans to eat less “solid fat.” What, exactly, does that mean — stop spooning up lard or Crisco? No. Solid fat is a catchphrase for red meat, butter, cheese, ice cream, and other full-fat dairy foods. But the guidelines can’t say that, since they are partly created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA), the agency charged with promoting the products of American farmers and ranchers, which includes red meat and dairy products. “Added sugars” is another circumlocution, a stand-in for sugar-sweetened sodas, many breakfast cereals, and other foods that provide huge doses of sugar and few, or no, nutrients. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Harvard Health Blog*
Over the years I have had a number of patients with painful kidney stones and once they have passed (or been removed) I have felt at a loss to helping them prevent them. “Stay hydrated” somehow didn’t seem adequate, although we know fluid intake can help stave off recurrent kidney stone attacks.
Some textbooks said “avoid calcium” since most stones are made of calcium oxylate. High oxylate levels can be found in some fruits and vegetables, as well as in nuts and chocolate. Yet there was no real scientific evidence that these foods caused stones. The evidence for who got kidney stones was all over the ballpark and for a physician, that means no prevention advice is really proven.
A new study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology says that calcium rich foods such as low-fat milk and yogurt can be protective. What? Eat more calcium to prevent calcium-containing stones? It seems that higher intakes of calcium are actually associated with a reduction in kidney stone risk. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*
This is something: A study published in the July 20, 2010 Annals of Internal Medicine finds that 5 percent of residency applications contain plagiarized content. The study from Boston’s Brigham & Woman’s Hospital is based on the personal statements of nearly 5,000 residency applicants that were matched against a database of published content.
The authors comment that the study is limited, among other things, by the fact that it was done in just one institution. It makes me wonder if the number is artificially high or potentially too low.
So why would medical students lie? Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*
If a website touted misleading healthcare information, you’d hope the government would do something about it. But what do you do when the government is the one feeding the public bad information?
Last week the Obama administration launched the new Healthcare.gov. It’s mostly an online insurance shopping website. It’s very much a federal government version of sites like eHealthInsurance.com or Massachsetts’ HealthConnector site, which have been around for years.
So when HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, in announcing the new site, claims it gives consumers “unprecedented transparency” into the healthcare marketplace, you should wonder what she means. But that’s not the big problem with this site. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at See First Blog*