Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Puts Patients At Risk For Some Skin Cancers

I stumbled across this review article (first full reference below) earlier this week.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.  Most skin cancers form in older people on parts of the body exposed to the sun or in people who have weakened immune systems (such as inflammatory bowel disease patients on immunosuppressive therapy).

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), in there were more than one million new cases of nonmelanoma skin cancers (NMSC) in the United States in 2010.  There were less than 1,000 NMSC deaths during the same time.

NMSC includes  squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC).   Both occur more frequently on sunlight-exposed areas such as the head and neck. BCC is far more common than SCC and accounts for approximately 75% of all NMSC. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

Bodily Organs: Which One Is The Most Important And Why?

My medical student has apparently had a discussion with his classmates regarding which is the most important organ in the body. Is it the heart? The lungs? The kidneys? What do you think?

My medical student thinks it’s the kidney because of the complicated functions it must perform. I think it’s the skin because it holds everything together and keeps our economy going. What do you think? What is the most important organ in the body and why?

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

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*

The Human Arm: An Information Superhighway?

Scientists at Korea University in Seoul have demonstrated a prototype of a new biomonitoring system that transmits data through the body, replacing wires and minimizing the need for batteries.

The device is 300 micrometres thick and in a test, using a metal electrode coated with a flexible silicon-rich polymer, the researchers transmitted data at a rate of 10 megabits per second through a person’s arm. The device was tested for skin safety after continuous wearing and the data was transmitted via low-frequency electromagnetic waves through the skin.

The technology may have implications for diagnostics, as it can be used to detect electric fluctuations as is currently done by ECG and EEG machines.

Read on at New Scientist: Human arm transmits broadband…

Abstract in Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering: Wearable polyimide-PDMS electrodes for intrabody communication

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Optimal Laser Variables Required To Remove Tattoos

In the January issue of the Archives of Dermatology, there is a short article (full reference below) in which the authors have attempted to use in vitro lab techniques to improve in vivo techniques for tattoo removal.

Fragmentation of the tattoo particles by the laser leads to small pigment particles, unknown decomposition products, and newly generated chemical compounds that may then be removed from the skin by means of the lymphatic system, leading to  a noticeable lightening of a colored tattoo. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

See all book reviews »