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One Doctor’s Quest to Save People by Injecting Them With Scorpion Venom

A scorpion-venom concoction that makes tumors glow sounds almost too outlandish to be true.
posted by ellieBOA on Jul 10, 2014 - 15 comments

"The most endlessly fascinating specialty in all of medicine."

Dr. Mark Crislip is a Infectious Disease specialist—an ID doc. He's also the master of a vast* multimedia empire, all parts of which are inflected with his insistence upon scientific evidence and many with a dry, sarcastic sense of humor: the president of the Society for Science-Based Medicine, he also writes articles for the affiliated website Science-Based Medicine; he runs the Quackcast, a podcast that reviews Supplements, Complementary and Alternative Medicines (SCAMs) from an evidence-based perspective; the Persiflagers Infectious Disease Puscast, which reviews the infectious disease literature; and his blog on Medscape, Rubor, Dolor, Calor, Tumor, is the basis for the third of his podcasts (and my favorite): A Gobbet O' Pus. As Crislip puts it: "A cool ID case, a stupid joke and a factoid you can use. What more do you need?" *For certain quantities of vast. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Jul 9, 2014 - 14 comments

How lucky are we

Sorry You Were Tricked Into a C-Section What disapproving friends don’t understand about cesarean births
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on Jul 9, 2014 - 132 comments

and thus began my morbid fascination

The Morbid Anatomy Museum, a treasure trove of pathological and funereal curiosities, antique medical models, and anatomical art pledged to "exploring the intersections of death, beauty, and that which falls between the cracks," has opened its doors to the public in Gowanus, Brooklyn. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jul 1, 2014 - 18 comments

Surviving History: The Fever!

The year is 1793. In this story, you will take the role of a fictional physician, Dr. John Brooks, as he navigates a disaster of a kind not altogether uncommon in U.S. cities before the 20th century... How Dr. Brooks fares will depend entirely on your decisions. Every choice has a consequence. Choose wisely. [more inside]
posted by oinopaponton on Jun 29, 2014 - 19 comments

Odd leaves from the life of a Louisiana "swamp doctor" (circa 1850)

One of the most intriguing personalities in Southern medical history of the nineteenth century is Dr. Henry Clay Lewis (1825-1850), whose fame rests not on his accomplishments in medicine, but upon his humorous writings published under the pseudonym "Madison Tensas, M.D., the Louisiana Swamp Doctor." Though Lewis was a practicing doctor, his true identity as the author of the "Southern grotesque" (previously) pieces was not known until after his death. His works pre-dated the Southern Gothic style (prev), and are unusual for their time in that "[Lewis] presents his black characters with as much pain and grotesqueness as his white characters, steering away from the time's usual stereotypes." You can read a longer biography and a summary of his style here, or just dive in and read his works, which available online in Odd leaves from the life of a Louisiana "swamp doctor", which was also published as The swamp doctor's adventures in the South-west (also available with fourteen illustrations) on Archive.org.
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 20, 2014 - 6 comments

PPD

"Postpartum depression isn’t always postpartum. It isn’t even always depression. A fast-growing body of research is changing the very definition of maternal mental illness, showing that it is more common and varied than previously thought." ‘Thinking of Ways to Harm Her’ and "After Baby, an Unraveling". [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 18, 2014 - 60 comments

nothing is broken; you can go home now.

hit by a car, an emergency doctor experiences firsthand the shortcomings in ER care
posted by and they trembled before her fury on Jun 13, 2014 - 133 comments

Determining the risk of harm or neglect

Should a Mental Illness Mean You Lose Your Kid? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 2, 2014 - 32 comments

we know a lot, but not everything

Inside the Science of an Amazing New Surgery Called Deep Brain Stimulation
posted by Potomac Avenue on May 22, 2014 - 40 comments

THE SOUL IS BONE

Educationally bizarre: Current events, medicine, animals, forensics, oddities, teeth, eyes, deformities, funerals, cemeteries, blood, albinism and such ........ It's The Soul is Bone. Not necessarily disturbing, but not necessarily not disturbing. Not necessarily NSFW, but not necessarily not NSFW.
posted by Think_Long on May 20, 2014 - 25 comments

"in the United States, how it spread, who got it, and why"

Why Did AIDS Ravage the U.S. More Than Any Other Developed Country?
Solving an epidemiological mystery
posted by davidstandaford on May 18, 2014 - 77 comments

Women on the Web

This website refers you to licensed doctor who can provide you with a medical abortion. After you complete the following online consultation and if there are no contraindications, the medical abortion (with the pills mifepristone and misoprostol) will be delivered to you. At this moment it can take 2-3 weeks before the packages arrives. A medical abortion can be done safely at home as long as you have good information and have access to emergency medical care in the rare case that there are complications.The doctor can only help you if:
  • you live in a country where access to safe abortion is restricted
  • you are less than 9 weeks pregnant
  • you have no severe illnesses
  • Before starting the consultation, do a pregnancy test and an ultrasound, if possible. The consultation consists of around 25 questions. At the end of the consultation you will be asked to give permission to disclose all your information to the doctor. All information will remain confidential.
  • [more inside]
    posted by Blasdelb on May 14, 2014 - 23 comments

    "This Phineas was proud, well-dressed, and disarmingly handsome."

    On Sept. 13, 1848, at around 4:30 p.m., the time of day when the mind might start wandering, a railroad foreman named Phineas Gage filled a drill hole with gunpowder and turned his head to check on his men. It was the last normal moment of his life. Other victims in the annals of medicine are almost always referred to by initials or pseudonyms. Not Gage: His is the most famous name in neuroscience. How ironic, then, that we know so little else about the man—and that much of what we think we know, especially about his life unraveling after his accident, is probably bunk.
    Phineas Gage, Neuroscience’s Most Famous Patient by Sam Kean.
    posted by Kattullus on May 13, 2014 - 36 comments

    Elective Amputation

    In pain and forced to use a wheelchair, a young woman opts to amputate her clubfeet. "New prosthetics have made active life possible for many with injuries and congenital defects​." [Via]
    posted by homunculus on May 5, 2014 - 35 comments

    Bounty Mutiny

    "If an NHS trust proposed today that it was going to introduce Viagra sales reps into men's genitourinary wards, or reps for walking aids to orthopaedic wards, the very least you'd expect would be some stout resistance. It is a measure of the strength of the association between "motherhood" and "buying stuff" that the presence of commercial representatives on maternity wards has been tolerated for so long."
    [more inside]
    posted by Catseye on Apr 23, 2014 - 29 comments

    "Thank you for letting me watch."

    Post-operative Check: "It's okay that you don't remember me. My name is Shara, and I'm part of the surgical team. I'm checking to see how you're doing after your surgery. Do you know where you are right now?" [more inside]
    posted by zarq on Apr 18, 2014 - 21 comments

    Female Pain

    Grand Unified Theory of Female Pain. "The pain of women turns them into kittens and rabbits and sunsets and sordid red satin goddesses, pales them and bloodies them and starves them, delivers them to death camps and sends locks of their hair to the stars. Men put them on trains and under them. Violence turns them celestial. Age turns them old. We can’t look away. We can’t stop imagining new ways for them to hurt." [more inside]
    posted by homunculus on Apr 14, 2014 - 62 comments

    lab-grown vagina

    Four women have had new vaginas grown in the laboratory and implanted by doctors in the US. "A tissue sample and a biodegradable scaffold were used to grow vaginas in the right size and shape for each woman as well as being a tissue match. They all reported normal levels of "desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction" and painless intercourse. Experts said the study, published in the Lancet, was the latest example of the power of regenerative medicine. "
    posted by marienbad on Apr 11, 2014 - 38 comments

    Researchers Use Stem Cells to Regenerate Muscle Nearly as Strong

    Scientists Progress in Quest to Grow Muscle Tissue in Labs - "The researchers are now working on optimizing the growth of human muscle tissue, including finding a way to get blood flow to the tissue, the best source of cells and the best growing medium for the cells."
    posted by kliuless on Apr 8, 2014 - 5 comments

    Ebola spreads to new territory

    There's been an ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. With 122 cases so far, this is the worst outbreak since 2007's 264-case outbreak. The worst outbreak was 2000-2001's 425 cases. What makes this one different is the way it has spread so widely. [more inside]
    posted by Sleeper on Apr 1, 2014 - 51 comments

    Gunshot victims to be suspended between life and death

    Neither dead or alive, knife-wound or gunshot victims will be cooled down and placed in suspended animation later this month, as a groundbreaking emergency technique is tested out for the first time.
    posted by latkes on Mar 30, 2014 - 64 comments

    Recorded autopathographies

    Healthtalkonline.org is a database of hundreds of interviews with patients afflicted by various conditions, ranging from ethnic experiences in mental health to Alzheimer's to experiences with being a clinical trial subject to cancer. It also includes a section on youth experiences with illness.
    posted by gemutlichkeit on Mar 26, 2014 - 1 comment

    We have the technology

    A new 3D printed membrane acts like an artificial pericardium to continuously monitor and regulate the heart's beating
    posted by T.D. Strange on Mar 2, 2014 - 23 comments

    Art in Medicine

    Here are some links to online galleries that combine science, medicine, and art in some way. (previously: psychiatry and art)
    posted by gemutlichkeit on Feb 19, 2014 - 5 comments

    No, you probably don't want to insert it there.

    Simple new invention seals gunshot wounds in 15 seconds. (SLPopSci)
    posted by sexyrobot on Feb 6, 2014 - 65 comments

    A Medical Actor Writes Her Own Script

    The Empathy Exams: Acting out pain until that pain becomes real, for $13.50 an hour. "My job title is Medical Actor, which means I play sick. I get paid by the hour. Medical students guess my maladies. I’m called a Standardized Patient, which means I act toward the norms of my disorders. I’m standardized-lingo SP for short. I’m fluent in the symptoms of preeclampsia and asthma and appendicitis. I play a mom whose baby has blue lips..."
    posted by homunculus on Feb 4, 2014 - 34 comments

    Real vs. Unreal, Grotesque vs. Gorgeous

    or the inner Grotesque and Gorgeous, and outer fantastic world of The End of Times: The Apocalyptic Book revealed, as it was imagined "couple" years ago. To be seen with your morning coffee.
    posted by gbenard on Jan 25, 2014 - 8 comments

    On Breaking One's Neck

    On Breaking One's Neck. Dr. Arnold Relman, former Editor in Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, gives a first-hand account of a catastrophic accident, intensive care, and rehabilitation--as a patient. I am a senior physician with over six decades of experience who has observed his share of critical illness--but only from the doctor's perspective. That changed suddenly and disastrously on the morning of June 27, 2013, ten days after my ninetieth birthday, when I fell down the stairs in my home, broke my neck, and very nearly died. Since then, I have made an astonishing recovery, in the course of which I learned how it feels to be a helpless patient close to death. I also learned some things about the US medical care system that I had never fully appreciated, even though this is a subject that I have studied and written about for many years.
    posted by russilwvong on Jan 19, 2014 - 22 comments

    Dust, Devil : The Rise of Valley Fever

    "All you have to do is take a breath at the wrong time. It will impact your lower lung, and the infection starts from there [...]. If you roll down the window driving from San Diego to Seattle, you could catch cocci while you're driving through, no question. That could happen, and it has happened." Valley Fever (coccidioidomycosis) is a fungal infection endemic to certain areas of the Southwest. The CDC has described it as a "silent epidemic"; between 1998 and 2011, reported cases increased tenfold. It's often misdiagnosed, but even when correctly-diagnosed, the prognosis can sometimes be grim: there is no vaccine, the price of the first-line drug has skyrocketed, and the treatments for more-severe cases often carry their own punishing side effects. While many groups (including NASA) seek to halt the spread, the disease continues to infect 20,000+ individuals each year. "It destroys lives,” said Dr. [Royce] Johnson [...]. Divorces, lost jobs and bankruptcy are incredibly common, not to mention psychological dislocation."
    posted by julthumbscrew on Jan 13, 2014 - 31 comments

    Proof of Heaven? Hold off on that QED.

    Dr. Eben Alexander's book Proof of Heaven has a complex backstory. One that's not very heavenly. [more inside]
    posted by Charity Garfein on Dec 29, 2013 - 54 comments

    Complex Things Explained

    This Video Will Hurt
    A detailed explanation of a fascinating field of science and medicine by the always interesting C.G.P. Grey.
    [more inside]
    posted by Blasdelb on Dec 23, 2013 - 7 comments

    Naturalis Historia

    "My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."
    Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
    Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.
    [more inside]
    posted by Blasdelb on Dec 16, 2013 - 24 comments

    Ars Morendi.

    “I am going to put you on a bit of morphine,” I said, like I was used to saying such things, announcing to dying patients that I was going to put them on a drug named for Morpheus, the god of sleep, descended from Thanatos, the god of death." A doctor reflects on the art of dying in 21st century America.
    posted by sonika on Dec 12, 2013 - 9 comments

    "We just choose to be present."

    In 1986, Sandra Clarke was working as a staff nurse at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, OR when a dying man asked her to sit with him. She agreed but first needed to make her rounds and the man died alone in his room before she was able to return. Troubled, and feeling that she had failed a patient, she resolved to gather volunteers to stay with those who were alone and close to death. Ms. Clarke enlisted her entire hospital for a bedside vigil system to help ensure that patients would not be alone when they died. In 2001, Sacred Heart formalized the program as No One Dies Alone (NODA) and over the last decade, it has spread to hospitals across the US. "Susan Cox Is No Longer Here" offers us a glimpse into the NODA experience in Indianapolis. [more inside]
    posted by zarq on Dec 7, 2013 - 23 comments

    Which Came First, the Depression or the Insomnia?

    Insomnia causes depression as much as depression causes insomnia: Three surprising points from a fascinating episode of KQED Forum [audio, no transcript] with guest Dr. Michelle Primeau of the Stanford School of Medicine. For those averse to audio (like me, normally), the NYT also covered the research in print:
  • First story: Treating Insomnia to Heal Depression,
  • Follow up a couple of days later: Double Effectiveness of Depression Treatment by Treating Insomnia,
  • Two readers (both psychiatrists) respond, and
  • A NYT editorial.
  • [more inside]
    posted by Hello Dad, I'm in Jail on Dec 5, 2013 - 22 comments

    Imagining the Post-Antibiotics Future

    Five years after my great-uncle’s death, penicillin changed medicine forever. Infections that had been death sentences—from battlefield wounds, industrial accidents, childbirth—suddenly could be cured in a few days. So when I first read the story of his death, it lit up for me what life must have been like before antibiotics started saving us. -- Lately, though, I read it differently. In Joe’s story, I see what life might become if we did not have antibiotics any more.
    posted by Potomac Avenue on Nov 26, 2013 - 103 comments

    Transgenic Spidergoats Brief

    Spider webs are incredibly strong and flexible. It’s no surprise, then, that spider silk proteins may someday form durable artificial ligaments for people who have injured their knees or shoulders. Six different kinds of silk are produced by orb-web weaving spiders. These silk fibers have very different mechanical properties that are so effective they have changed very little over millions of years. How to synthetically develop these silks is one focus of Lewis’ research. The secret to producing large quantities of spider silk is to use “factories” designed to manufacture spider silk proteins that are easily scale-able and efficient. Lewis uses transgenic goats, E.coli bacteria, transgenic alfalfa and transgenic silk worms to produce the spider silk proteins used to create spider silk. Spider silk is 100 times stronger than natural ligaments and 10 times stronger than natural tendons; it is stronger than Kevlar and more elastic than nylon.
    A 6min brief on the work being done in Laramie, WY whereby spider silk is being spun from goat milk. SPIDERGOATS
    [more inside]
    posted by Blasdelb on Nov 24, 2013 - 24 comments

    HPV: Sex, cancer and a virus

    "On a sunny day in 1998, Maura Gillison was walking across the campus of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, thinking about a virus. The young oncologist bumped into the director of the university's cancer centre, who asked politely about her work. Gillison described her discovery of early evidence that human papillomavirus (HPV) — a ubiquitous pathogen that infects nearly every human at some point in their lives — could be causing tens of thousands of cases of throat cancer each year in the United States. The senior doctor stared down at Gillison, not saying a word. “That was the first clue that what I was doing was interesting to others and had potential significance,” recalls Gillison."
    Human papillomavirus is causing a new form of head and neck cancer— leaving researchers scrambling to understand risk factors, tests and treatments.
    [more inside]
    posted by Blasdelb on Nov 22, 2013 - 37 comments

    Iron Chef: Headache Battle

    When you get a headache, you're faced with the Big Three options for over-the-counter pain relief: aspirin, acetaminophen (paracetamol) or ibuprofen. But which is best, according to the latest scientific evidence? And what's the best for toothache, back pain, period pain or musculoskeletal injuries? A pain specialist explains who the winners are in each main category.
    posted by dontjumplarry on Nov 16, 2013 - 93 comments

    "...research that is scientifically valuable but morally disturbing."

    The Nazi Anatomists. "How the corpses of Hitler's victims are still haunting modern science—and American abortion politics."
    posted by zarq on Nov 6, 2013 - 28 comments

    The herbalist's new clothes?

    A new study has identified product substitution and contamination in the herbal supplement industry on a massive scale. As the New York Times reports, one-third of the US herbal supplements tested by researchers had no trace of the advertised herb in the product, and many products were entirely composed of fillers such as rice, or contained dangerous contaminants and allergens. Only two of the 12 companies tested exclusively sold products that did what they said on the tin. Pro-supplement organisation the American Botanical Council has questioned the findings, due in part to what it says are flaws in the DNA technology used to identify herbal ingredients.
    posted by dontjumplarry on Nov 3, 2013 - 74 comments

    The Pills of Last Resort

    How Dying Patients Get Access to Experimental Drugs
    posted by Blazecock Pileon on Nov 1, 2013 - 16 comments

    Setting the record straight on the flu vaccine

    Setting the record straight: Debunking ALL the flu vaccine myths [via]
    posted by brundlefly on Oct 30, 2013 - 79 comments

    “Hold a live Puppy constantly on the Belly.”

    In the late 1740s, John Wesley—a British evangelist and the co-founder of Methodism—published Primitive Physick, or, An Easy and Natural Method of Curing Most Diseases. The tome gave regular people ways to cure themselves, using items they could find in their own homes. - Here are some of his suggested home remedies.
    posted by The Whelk on Oct 29, 2013 - 56 comments

    "Remember – language is the battleground of humanity."

    In the Shadows. The healthcare and human rights challenges of the LGBT populations of Malawi -- where homosexuality is outlawed. Via
    posted by zarq on Oct 28, 2013 - 1 comment

    The Cost of Living

    The Rising Cost of Cancer Drugs: "New drugs could extend cancer patients’ lives—by days. At a cost of thousands and thousands of dollars. Prompting some doctors to refuse to use them."
    posted by lalex on Oct 27, 2013 - 50 comments

    Doctor No

    What doctors would not do
    posted by paleyellowwithorange on Oct 24, 2013 - 53 comments

    "This is my gift to you. Do with it what you want."

    The Course of Their Lives. While much in medicine has changed over the last century, the defining course of a first year medical student's education is still 'Gross Anatomy.' This is their hands-on tour of a donated cadaver -- an actual human body -- and is an experience which cannot be replicated by computer models. When Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Mark Johnson came up with the idea of following a med school gross anatomy class for a feature story, his editor challenged him to make it different. So he chose to intertwine the students' stories with that of Geraldine 'Nana' Fotsch, a living future donor, as sort of a stand-in for the cadaver. (Via. This four-part series contains descriptions of a human dissection. Some may find it disturbing.) [more inside]
    posted by zarq on Oct 19, 2013 - 29 comments

    For Safer Food, Just Add Viruses

    In March 2012, inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture uncovered a problem in Elgin, Texas. Beef sausage from a small family-run meat processor appeared to have been contaminated with a nasty bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes. The bug can make people sick and, in rare cases, be deadly. The processor had to recall more than a ton of sausage. It’s the kind of story that strikes terror in the hearts of other sausage peddlers, including Mike Satzow, so he uses phages to keep his small company's sausages safe to eat.
    posted by Blasdelb on Oct 1, 2013 - 58 comments

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