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Latest Posts

WHO And H1N1: Conflict Of Interest?

On June 11, 2009, Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), declared that the H1N1 flu that was then spreading around the world was an official pandemic. This triggered a series of built-in responses in many countries, including stockpiling anti-viral medications and preparing for a mass H1N1 vaccination program.

At the time the flu was still in its “first wave” and the fear was that subsequent waves, as the virus swept around the world, would become more virulent and/or contagious –- similar to what happened in the 1918 pandemic. This did not happen. At least our worst fears were not realized. The H1N1 pandemic, while serious, simmered through the winter of 2009-2010, producing a less than average flu season, although with some worrisome difference. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Science-Based Medicine*

Nanopatches: The Future Of Vaccine Delivery?

Professor Mark Kendall of the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology and his team have been investigating a novel way to deliver vaccines.

Their method makes use of nanopatches, which are fingernail-sized dermal patches with microscopic projections on their surface that hand vaccine off directly to the antigen-presenting cells just below the surface of the skin.

The scientists’ recent work in mice has shown that an immune response equivalent to that achievable by needle and syringe can be reached using 100 times less vaccine. Not only does the nanopatch appear to be a more effective delivery method, it’s also cheaper to produce and doesn’t require refrigeration, adjuvants or multiple doses. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Nursing Unions Put Patients At Risk

Only in the United States could a virus like H1N1 bring out the worst in medical politics and greed. We are facing a “pandemic” that requires coordination, communication and the best of medical practice. But what are we getting? Strikes, lawsuits and anything BUT putting patients first!

The strong nursing union, California Nurse Association (CNA), is taking this opportunity to call a strike on three large Catholic hospital chains (including 34 hospitals) throughout California and Nevada. The union bosses say the chief concerns are a lack of protective gear, improper isolation techniques and staffing that requires nurses to work (oh horrors!) 12 hour shifts during the flu crisis.

Although the nurses seem to want to walk out during a pandemic to “protect patients”, the nurses in New York and Washington also filed a lawsuit over the idea that they should be required to get the flu vaccine. You can’t have it both ways, nurses! You either want protection or you don’t. 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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