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Eye Allergy Sufferers: Rubbing Your Eyes Is The Number One No-No

I’m afraid this is one of those do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do blog posts. I must confess that when my eyes are itching from pollen exposure I can rarely resist rubbing them. So I absolutely empathize with those of you who also fall victim to the sweet lure of eye-rubbing when allergies flare. But as a responsible physician, I must tell you that rubbing those itchy eyes is like pouring water on a grease fire. It only makes things worse.

Allergens (including foreign substances including pollen) like to stick to moisture-rich surfaces such as eye lids, eye balls, noses, and throats. Our bodies’ immune cells recognize these allergens and launch an attack to break down their proteins and remove them from the tissues. Specialized allergen removers, called mast cells, flock to areas that are heavy laden with pollen (or mold, pet dander, dust mite feces, etc.) Once they are near the allergens they break apart, spilling their acidic chemicals and histamines onto the invaders to break them down to remove them. These chemicals can cause stinging and itching sensations in the eyelid edges and other sensitive areas.

When we rub our eyes, we actually rupture mast cells at a faster pace due to mechanical traction. The result is that massive loads of acid and histamine are released into the already-sensitive tissues and the itching and burning often increases exponentially. So we rub harder!

As you can see, this is a vicious cycle that is best avoided. When your eyes become red, watery, and itchy from allergens the smartest course of action is to wash the area that has been exposed, flush the eyes with artificial tears, and try anti-histamine drops for itch relief. If you’re a contact lens wearer like me, try daily disposable lenses. A fresh pair every morning prevents possible allergens (that can cling to contacts from the day before) from being re-introduced into your eyes.

Let’s hope that pollen counts are more manageable next year, and until then we should all try our very best to remember the alternatives to eye-rubbing. I’m putting a bottle of artificial tears in my purse right now!

For more eye-allergy tips, please check out my recent interview with ABC News:

For further information about general eye health, please check out my Healthy Vision podcasts at Blog Talk Radio.

Disclosure: Dr. Val Jones is a paid consultant for VISTAKON® Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.

Company Introduces Platform For Wirelessly Connecting Medical Devices

Post image for Qualcomm announces major breakthrough for connected medical devices #mHS11

One of the major announcements at last week’s mHealth Summit was made by Qualcomm who introduced a new platform for wirelessly connecting medical devices. The 2net platform abstracts away the details of connecting a sensor to a cloud-based server.

Right now, if a company develops a great  lightweight sensor to measure, say, walking speed, it will also have to engineer a way for that information to be transferred wirelessly, sometimes across a couple of stops, to its eventual destination somewhere on a server. Although these same challenges repeat for every device, each company has to “reinvent the wheel”.

Additionally, once it arrives at the company’s servers that rich collection of data would still be isolated – in a “data silo”. If another company comes along with a terrific heart rate sensor and suggests, “why don’t we combine the two data streams and make a useful new app”, not only would they have to recreate the entire chain of communication for themselves, the two companies would have to agree to methods for their two servers to talk and share information.

2Net makes almost all of the above problems Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

Cardiologist Discusses Upcoming mHealth Summit

Post image for Dr. Eric Topol discusses this “extraordinary time” in medicine #mHS11

Dr. Eric Topol

It is hard to easily comprehend the depth and breadth of Dr. Topol’s career. He has been a major figure in cardiology, genomics and wireless health while also assuming leadership positions in landmark institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic and the Scripps Institute in La Jolla.

As chairman of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic, he led the program to become number one for heart care. He was lead investigator on numerous national & worldwide cardiovascular clinical trials and started a medical school at the Clinic. He was also among the first physicians nationwide to call attention to the potential cardiac dangers of Vioxx. His very public criticism of Merck and the FDA brought to light the intimate but not always visible connections between the pharmaceutical industry and academic medicine.

Later he moved to San Diego, where he currently serves as director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, Chief Academic Officer for Scripps Health and Professor of Translational Genomics. He has been a leading proponent of wireless medicine for more than a decade. He co-founded the West Wireless Health Institute with Gary and Mary West who contributed the initial $45m gift to start the Institute and have since committed an additional $100m to found a not-for-profit venture fund for wireless health companies. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Institute which is dedicated to “innovating, validating, and advocating for the use of technologies including wireless medical devices to transform medicine.” Be sure to check out our recent interview of WWHI chief executive Don Casey.

Dr. Topol is delivering the opening keynote for the mHealth Summit on December 5. His new book “The Creative Destruction of Medicine” is also making its debut at the Summit as an e-book, available to meeting attendees. Read below to hear his thoughts on the mHealth Summit and wireless platforms’ potential to improve health & transform the practice of medicine.

Why are you participating in the mHealth Summit? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

The Myriad Uses Of The iPad In The Operating Room

Post image for Future Uses for the iPad in the Operating Room: a Game Changer ?

As we discussed in the first of this two part series, mobile devices are already entering the world of the surgeon. Currently, it is mostly downloadable apps that promise to help surgeons with the informational portions of their tasks, such as tracking the cases they have done, e.g. Surgichart or helping in the consent process, e.g. Surgery Risk

While apps that are dedicated to the technical aspects of surgery, such as the excellent AO Surgery Reference, are becoming available, in the future we will see the iPad (or its brethren) actually in the operating room. Why ? Because the iPad has many characteristics that make it a great an advanced surgical instrument.

First is its small size. Every modern operating room has stacks of electronic equipment hanging from the ceiling or in large cabinets for patient monitoring and controlling in-field devices. Since the iPad already supports a bevy of standard wireless communication protocols, many of these large boxes’ functions could likely be off-loaded to an iPad with clever engineering. One immediate advantage would be that Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

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