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Latest Posts

An “Eyetracker” To Keep You Awake At The Wheel?

While some car manufacturers already offer systems which can alert drivers who are dozing off, the feature is rare, and tends to be quite expensive when offered.

Now, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology have developed the Eyetracker, which provides this functionality at a lower cost and can be installed in any car. The Eyetracker’s cameras track the driver’s eyes, and the system will sound an alert if it determines that the driver is falling asleep. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Who Should Get A Flu Shot? You Should

It’s that time of year again. Children back at school. Football season is underway and baseball playoffs to start soon. The television networks are rolling out their new shows.

And it’s also time to think about getting flu shots. I just got mine today as I have done annually since going to medical school.

Compared to last year, there isn’t as much news about the flu or the flu vaccine. This year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives clear guidelines that everyone aged 6 months and older should get the influenza vaccine. 

This month the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all healthcare providers should be required to get the influenza vaccine.

And one fact that hasn’t gotten much attention is whether the 2009 H1N1 virus is included in the 2010-2011 vaccine: Is it? Yes, it is. This year’s vaccine will be as safe as vaccines in past years as the production process is unchanged. Inclusion of the 2009 H1N1 virus will not be a problem. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day: Over 34,000 Sites Join In

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) coordinat[ed] “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day” this [past] Saturday [September 25th], encouraging people to turn in their unused prescription drugs. The agency hopes the event will help decrease rates of crime and addiction linked to prescription drug abuse, the New York Times reports.

From the DEA press release:

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are increasing at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

The Big Apple Tells Smokers To Take A Hike (And Not In The Park)

It looks like New York City is leading the way for public health safety by introducing a public smoking ban in all public parks, malls, plazas, beaches and playgrounds or risk a $50 fine:

Research showed, he said, that someone seated within three feet of a smoker — even in the open air — was exposed to roughly the same levels of secondhand smoke as someone sitting indoors in the same situation.

What took so long? Go, New York. I hope you succeed. Next up: Charging parents who smoke in their homes occupied by minors with child negligence.

*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*

Debunking Fake Diseases

Ever heard of adrenal fatigue? Wilson’s temperature syndrome? If not, there’s a good reason: They exist only on the Internet.

The Hormone Foundation, an affiliate of the Endocrine Society, recently issued two fact sheets for patients debunking these so-called conditions, which were “apparently conceived only in an effort to sell products promoted to treat them,” the LA Times reported. No medical evidence supports either faux disease and there are no tests or treatments for them, but patients still try to alleviate them with supplements, some of them potentially dangerous, the Times said.

Adrenal fatigue is characterized by such “symptoms” as having salt and sugar cravings and needing coffee to get you through the day, while the man who discovered Wilson’s temperature syndrome also coincidentally promotes a product to treat it, according to the Times. (Hormone Foundation, LA Times)

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

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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