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Latest Posts

Dexcom Releases Its First Application For Apple Products

I’m not hooked on Apple products (I refuse to get an iPhone because I’m addicted to my Blackberry), but Chris and I do love that foolish iPad.  And I love seeing apps for diabetes devices stocking the virtual shelves in the iTunes store. Makes me feel like we’re busting in to the mainstream, as a community.

Which is why I’m excited to see the first app from Dexcom.  (And it’s free … as these apps should be, in my opinion.)  While I’m hopeful that future apps include a way for the Dexcom receiver to transfer data to Mac products (because running parallels on my Mac is wicked annoying), this is a great start for people who are looking for introductory information on the Dexcom system. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

Camera Phone Clip-On Device Can Diagnose Cataracts

Researchers at MIT have developed a cheap and easy to use system, called Catra, that uses a cameraphone clip-on device to map out cataracts.

The technology functions by sweeping the eye with a beam of light and using the phone’s camera to detect fuzzy spots. It can provide both a map of the cataracts and maybe help make an overall assessment of whether surgery might be necessary.

From MIT News:

While the standard test for cataracts in an ophthalmologist’s office assigns a score on a scale of 1 to 4 — from no cataracts to completely blocked vision — the new, inexpensive test actually provides much more information. Media Lab graduate student Vitor Pamplona, a member of the team developing Catra, explains that it “scans the lens of the eye and creates a map showing position, size, shape and density of cataracts.” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

New SmartHeart Device Shares Home EKGs Via Smart Phones

SHL Telemedicine has announced the release of SmartHeart, a lightweight and portable device that they claim can take “hospital-grade” ECGs by “anyone, anywhere, anytime.” The device connects wirelessly to smartphones and can transmit the ECG to a physician for a preliminary diagnosis. The possibilities for a device like this are endless – but so are the questions it raises.

The device greatly streamlines the process of obtaining an ECG as it avoids the need to actually come in to a clinic and can be used to monitor high risk patients from their own homes. The smartphone can then transmit the ECG to an office or a hospital where health care professionals can examine them instantly. As cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the US, a low-cost and easily used cardiovascular diagnostic device could have a huge impact on a sizeable part of the population. SmartHeart is set to cost $500, which is less than an iPhone itself.

However, a portable ECG device that anyone can supposedly use raises some major concerns. The first question is its practical application. For a patient to just have this at home implies that they are at high risk for cardiovascular events. Arrhythmias typically require continuous cardiac monitoring rather than a 10-second ECG, which this device does not appear to provide. So, is this device intended to Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

What’s Fueling Technological Advances? A Free Market

So I have a Droid.  I purchased it in July, not long after taking my old flip-phone for an oceanic bath at Hilton Head, SC.  I waffled for a long time.  In fact, I almost purchased a Casio phone that was marketed as water and impact resistant.  ‘Mil-spec,’ was the phrase used…a phrase which appeals to me as a one-time Air-Guard flight surgeon.  What it meant to me was, ‘you can’t hurt it.’

Still, I was attracted by medical applications and the assorted other cool things a Droid can do.  I mean, my old phone didn’t have a Magic 8 Ball, for crying out loud!  More to the point, my old phone didn’t have Epocrates, or the Emergency Medicine Residents Association Guide to Antibiotic Therapy.  It lacked a flashlight, an mp-3 player, a protractor and a scientific calculator.  (It also weighed a fraction of my Droid, but that’s what belts are for). On my old phone, I couldn’t have taken a photo of an ECG, turned it into a pdf file, and e-mailed it to our fax-impaired cardiologist. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at*

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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