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Latest Posts

Your Hydration Needs Monitored By An Intelligent Water Bottle

Imagine a water bottle that knows how hard and how far you are running, how much you’re drinking, what’s the outside temperature, and, based on all these variables, the device calculates when you need to have a drink. Cambridge Consultants have developed the i-dration bottle that does just that.

From the press release:

Intelligent sensors in the i-dration bottle can be used to monitor the external temperature, drinking frequency and quantity, and this data is then sent via Bluetooth to its user’s smartphone. The phone’s inbuilt accelerometer and gyroscope can measure exercise levels, and by “fusing” the data from a heart rate chest-band and information pre-entered using the smartphone interface (such as height, age and weight), the application can perform an assessment of a user’s hydration levels. The i-dration bottle then responds accordingly by flashing a blue light if the athlete needs to drink more. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Sudden Cardiac Arrest: How Fast Does It Cause Unconsciousness?

How fast does sudden cardiac arrest cause unconsciousness? In just seconds.

Here’s a video of Salamanca soccer player Miguel Garcia’s episode. At the start of the video, Mr. Garcia can be seen in the background of the image kneeling behind the players in the foreground. Watch carefully as he stands after tying his shoes.

Although it is difficult to see, it appears an automatic external defibrillator arrives in about two minutes, though given the fact his shirt is still on as he’s taken from the field, we note the device is on his gurney as he’s hurried to a nearby ambulance. Reportedly, he survived this sudden cardiac arrest event:

This was NOT a heart attack, but rather a loss of cardiac function caused by a rapid, often disorganized heart rhythm disorder. Compare the relatively long time to resuscitation using an external automatic defibrillator verses the very rapid response afforded to Belgian soccer player Anthony Van Loo, whose internal defibrillator was already installed before he played as primary prevention of sudden death from right ventricular dysplasia.

-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.

h/t: Electrophysiology Fellow blog

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

Personal Hygiene, Role-Model Behavior, And The World Series

imageTo: Bud Selig, Commissioner of Baseball

Dear Mr. Selig:

The World Series is an exciting time. It’s important to promote the national pastime. Kids play baseball all over the world. I have been particularly interested in the post-season games this season because my home team, the Texas Rangers, is in the World Series. They have been playing magnificent baseball.

I have been both a Yankees and Rangers fan ever since the Rangers came to Texas. In fact, my brother and I went to the first Rangers game in Arlington Stadium. I have been a student of baseball strategy for many years. Baseball is a fantastic game.

Baseball players are role models to kids all over the world. A baseball player’s behavior on the playing field should be exemplary. Baseball players have been poor role models as far as spitting and scratching their crotch. I have never become immune to these tasteless rituals. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Repairing the Healthcare System*

Brain Damage, Behavior, And Football

In psychiatry, we’ve had a hard time drawing precise links between brain pathology and psychiatric disorders. We can do it for groups of people: “Disease X” is associated with changes in brain structure of “Brain Area Y” or metabolic changes in “Brain Area Z.” But it’s groups, not individuals, and it’s an association, not a cause-and-effect, or a definite. We still can’t use this information for diagnosis, and there are still patients with any given psychiatric diagnoses who will have brains where “Area Y” is the same size as those without the disorder. We’re learning.

From what I read in this New York Times article, Owen Thomas was a bright, talented young man with no history of psychiatric disorder and no history of known concussion. In April, he committed suicide — a tragedy beyond words.

Sometime people commit suicide and everyone is left to wonder: There was no depression, no obvious precipitant, no note left behind, and every one is left to wonder why. The guilt toll on the survivors is enormous, as is the grief for their families and communities. In this case, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the young man was apparently struggling with the stress of difficult school work and concerns about his team and employment.

Owen’s family donated his brain to Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. They discovered that Owen’s brain showed damage similar to that seen in older NFL players — he had a condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*

Toxins: Can You Sweat Them Out?

Can you sweat out toxins?

The guy next to me on the bike yesterday morning was working like Lance Armstrong in training: He had laid towels on the floor to absorb the impressive perspiration he was generating.

He shouted over to me: “I’m hitting it hard to cleanse out the toxins from last night. Too much Captain Morgan and buffalo wings, ya know?”

“Really,” I said.

“Actually, I’m a dermatologist, and sweat does not contain any toxins,” I said to myself so that he could not hear. (Gym decorum dictates men do not correct men in the middle of a workout — especially if prefaced by “Actually, I’m a dermatologist.”) I left him to his aerobics and wrote this post in my head while I finished mine. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Dermatology Blog*

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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