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History In The Making: Can Womb Transplant Be Successful?

Infertility or the inability to have a baby can be devastating and affects approximately 10 percent of the female population. There are many conditions that prevent women from having children including Mayer Rokitansky Kuster Hauser syndrome (or MKHS). MKHS is a rare disorder that affects a woman’s ability to conceive. At present, for every 10,000 women, only 1 to 2 will be affected. Both Sara Ottoson of Sweden and Melina Arnold of Australia have this condition. MKHS is characterized by the absence of a vagina and part of the cervix. Patients with this condition have normal breast development and functioning ovaries. Genetically, they also have female or double X-chromosomes and look like normal women. The problem comes to light during adolescence when a teen fails to have a period. The condition is also known as Vaginal Agenesis because they are born without a true vagina, a problem that can be corrected through surgical and non-surgical procedures. Unfortunately, they are unable to have children and usually Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway*

Changing The Micropore Density On The Skin: Advancement In Drug Delivery

One of the major areas of research in the medical device industry is how to effectively deliver drugs to their target sites. The gold standard for systemic delivery of drugs is an intravenous (IV) injection, though it is not a great way to deliver meds that address chronic needs because of the pain and inconvenience. There have been exciting developments in transdermal delivery, such as the nicotine and birth control patches, though certain molecules and drugs do not easily diffuse through the epidermal layer to reach the more vascularized layers below.

One potential solution is to Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Cook Medical Launches Less Painful Needle For Ovum Collection

Cook Medical has announced the launch of its new Otrieva Tapered Ovum Aspiration Needle for ovum collection in women pursuing in vitro fertilization. The company claims its new needle’s reduced diameter will result in reduced pain and bleeding during the procedure compared to existing solutions, while still providing precise collection.

The Otrieva also makes use of Cook’s EchoTip technology to further enhance safety by improving the needle’s ultrasound visibility.

From the press release:

The Otrieva needle, developed exclusively by Cook, has Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Can Medical Clowning Improve In Vitro Success?

Following from the somewhat common sense idea that women who were less stressed during in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET) had better outcomes, the journal Fertility and Sterility published a study out of Israel that claims “medical clowning” improved pregnancy rates compared to a group not exposed to a clown on the day of implantation.

From the abstract:

This experimental prospective quasi-randomized study examining the impact of a medical clowning encounter after ET after IVF found that the pregnancy rate in the intervention group was 36.4%, compared with 20.2% in the control group (adjusted odds ratio, 2.67; 95% confidence interval, 1.36–5.24). Medical clowning as an adjunct to IVF-ET may have a beneficial effect on pregnancy rates and deserves further investigation.

In the methods section, the researchers describe the study design. For the intervention group (n=110) a “professional medical clown” visited the patient immediately after the procedure for about 15 minutes and performed the same routine including “jokes, tricks, and magic” while dressed as a chef.

While the study itself only uses one routine, presumably similar effects could be experienced by a patient bringing in a personal media device and watching something they know will amuse them right after their own procedure. Hopefully, no need to bring your own clown if the office won’t provide one for you. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Book Review: The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

If you like science, true history, and an engaging story, pick up the new book by journalist Rebecca Skloot, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” and prepare for a great read. I knew nothing about the young black woman whose cells were taken back in 1951 by a scientist at Johns Hopkins Hospital and how those cells have revolutionized modern cell biology and research.

The HeLa (named after HEnrietta LAcks) cells were taken as she lay dying on the “colored” ward at Johns Hopkins Hospital of aggressive cervical cancer at age 30. Everyone who studies basic cell biology has heard of HeLa cells because they were the first human cell line to be successfully grown in culture and they are alive today. HeLa cells were sent to researchers all across the globe and have been used to develop the polio vaccine, viruses, cloning, gene mapping and in-vitro fertilization. Billions of the same immortal HeLa cells are used by researchers fighting cancer, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and diabetes. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

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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