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E. Coli Outbreak Is Traced Back To Ready-To-Bake Cookie Dough

The investigation of a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (STEC) that sickened 77 people and hospitalized 35 was traced back to ready-to-bake cookie dough, prompting infectious disease specialists to ask for stronger pasteurization and more consumer warnings.

like smack by Robert S. Donovan via Flickr and a Creative Commons licenseA report in Clinical Infectious Diseases outlined the outbreak and the work done by national and local health officials to track down the source.

No single source could be identified for certain for the outbreak. But one brand of dough was present in 94% of cases, and three nonoutbreak STEC strains were isolated from it, leading to a recall of 3.6 million packages of the cookie dough.

The detective work began with May 19, 2009, through PulseNet, the network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by the CDC. It identified Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

A Venn Diagram For Hemorrhoids

It’s quite clear not everyone would like to read long medical reports and text as sometimes a well-designed and structured graph can say more than a hundred words. Do you remember the Wired article about the blood test makeover that described how our blood test results would be designed to show more easily understandable information to patients?

Well, this Venn diagram shows many things about hemorrhoids and related symptoms. And it’s not even a new infographics published on a blog but is from an old textbook which means the concept has been there for a long time but it always disappears in medicine.

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Prometheus Labs Takes Steps Toward Applied Precision Medicine

If you want a glimpse at a company putting precision medicine into practice look no further than Prometheus Labs.  They make diagnostic products for personalized care in digestive disease and oncology.  I use their products to diagnose and target therapy in children with inflammatory bowel diseases (crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis).

IBD offers a nice place to see the evolution of precision diagnostics:

Early biomarker testing.  Initially we had ASCA and pANCA antibodies to discern crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.

Advanced biomarker testing. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

New Colonoscopy Recommendation Makes Gastroenterologist Consider His Options

The right side of the colon seems to be the Achilles heel of colonoscopy because polyps there tend to be flat and harder to find, and we confer the least protection from later colon cancer in that zone.

A recent article summary in Journal Watch Gastroenterology concludes that when we see a right-sided colon polyp, we may have missed another, so we should go back and look again.

This provocative recommendation represents a major change in the way we normally perform colonoscopy. But the issue is, and always has been, how to identify and remove all polyps from the colon.

So the questions I have Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Gut Check on Gastroenterology*

Monitoring An API For Your Body: How Could This Tool Be Helpful?

As self-quantification tools becomes more accessible, we’re able to monitor and collect all that’s coming, going and happening with our bodies. Some are beginning to think of this aggregate data as something of a health code, a repository of personal information which can be opened up to others – an API for your body. Once opened and tapped, others can create tools for manipulating and analyzing the data. Aggregated information that’s presented in the right way can give us and our providers valuable information about our physical status.

Loic Le Meur, the founder of Europe’s biggest Internet conference, raised the dialog here. It’s a fascinating concept and one that plays on the themes of personalization, measurement, and mobility.

This has implications in pediatrics, of course. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

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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