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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.
  • Insomnia has long been taught to be a symptom of depression, but in many cases is a cause of depression.
  • CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is an effective treatment for both insomnia and depression.
  • CBT can be more effective and longer lasting than sleeping pills
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

    United States of America

    Warning! The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased, entry for the United States of America
    posted by Blasdelb on Sep 29, 2013 - 49 comments

    Truvada protects users from HIV with a 99% success rate

    "Not enough gay men realize there’s an HIV-prevention pill."
    posted by showbiz_liz on Sep 26, 2013 - 44 comments

    PTSD and Gene Kelly's lost wartime star turn

    PTSD and Gene Kelly's lost wartime star turn: For the last six decades or so, a copy [of "Combat Fatigue Irritability"] has been filed away, along with thousands of other films, at the National Library of Medicine. The only people it has been lost to are the public and Gene Kelly’s devoted and still numerous fans. But now the National Library of Medicine is featuring Combat Fatigue Irritability in Medical Movies on the Web, and the film will be given a well-deserved, though very belated, New York premiere, on October 5, 2013, at the New York Academy of Medicine. [more inside]
    posted by theatro on Sep 25, 2013 - 8 comments

    Use Only as Directed

    ProPublica.org and This American Life partnered for a special report on acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol), the active ingredient in Tylenol, which is also found in many other over-the-counter medications. The narrow therapeutic index of acetaminophen means that often, the difference between safe use and overdose can be as small as one gram. From ProPublica.org: "About 150 Americans die a year by accidentally taking too much acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, federal data from the CDC shows."
    posted by fiercecupcake on Sep 23, 2013 - 76 comments

    the need for late-term abortions will never go away

    I think that the extreme, right-wing, misogynist religious fanatics have basically hijacked the Republican party and are moving toward being able to hijack the Democrats too. I'm appalled at the hubris of these legislators who, one after another, think they can make more sensible decisions about a woman's personal, private reproductive decisions than the woman herself. They know nothing about these situations. They don't know a thing about later abortions, or why women seek them out, and yet they presume that they should be making these decisions. Interview with Dr. Susan Robinson, One of the Last Four Doctors in America to Openly Provide Third-Trimester Abortions
    posted by latkes on Sep 22, 2013 - 118 comments

    Why make a big deal out of nothing?

    Jackson Landers tells a brief story about getting bit by a black widow
    posted by Blazecock Pileon on Sep 17, 2013 - 197 comments

    Don’t blow smoke up my ass

    A medical enema device used for Blowing smoke up the ass.
    posted by homunculus on Sep 14, 2013 - 26 comments

    I can hear you now!!

    The 2013 Lasker Awards were announced today. Often called the "American's Nobels", they recognize the contributions of scientists, physicians, and public servants who have made major advances in the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure, and prevention of human disease. Included in today's crop of recipients are Dr. Graeme M. Clark, Dr. Ingeborg Hochmair, and Blake S. Wilson who were awarded their prizes for developing the modern cochlear implant. [more inside]
    posted by scblackman on Sep 9, 2013 - 2 comments

    Visionary pioneer of holistic veterinary medicine and animal rights

    Juliette of the Herbs is a beautifully filmed lyrical portrait of the life and work of Juliette de Bairacli Levy: world renowned herbalist, author, breeder of Afghan hounds, friend of the Gypsies, traveller in search of herbal wisdom and the pioneer of holistic veterinary medicine. A list of Juliette de Baïracli Levy's books. Cythera Island
    posted by nickyskye on Sep 3, 2013 - 15 comments

    “It just got very, very old and all of us felt that we were whores."

    More than half the population of small, rural Madras, Oregon (population: ~6059) and its surrounding community is served by one clinic: Madras Medical. At the beginning of 2006, the clinic's doctors and nurses decided to ban pharmaceutical reps from visiting their practice. No more free lunches. No more free drug samples. No more gifts. And yet.... "It's made us better doctors." (Via) [more inside]
    posted by zarq on Aug 27, 2013 - 40 comments

    A salt assault

    How to Charge $546 for Six Liters of Saltwater - a brief story of the humble bag of saline solution given intravenously at ERs and hospitals, and how one unit of it can be marked up from 86 cents to $91 when given to patients
    posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 27, 2013 - 69 comments

    Sick Costs.

    John Green: "Why Are Americans Health Care Costs So High?" A quick, handy little overview of common misconceptions on the US healthcare system. (SLYT)
    posted by The Whelk on Aug 22, 2013 - 73 comments

    What Damage Control is Like When the Name of Your Product Is "666"

    From the depths of the old internet (Deuce of Clubs), here is a prank call to the Monticello Drug Company about their "666" Cough Preparation, which was followed up by a cease-and-desist letter to the site, and explained the source of the "666" branding. DoC replied, and received letters of support from folks, including the CEO of Montiecello, who found the whole thing to be a laugh. The CEO also sent weird labels to the Deuce of Clubs, including a box of/for "Ghost Scent," a re-labeled version of a body odor eliminator that was initially intended for older individuals, but found a following with hunters. To finish this journey into the internet past, DoC collected images of products, and a painting of a rural scene, complete with a "666 Cold Tablets" sign on a tree. [more inside]
    posted by filthy light thief on Aug 14, 2013 - 19 comments

    My life is not getting better. I need a helping hand

    Men Who Want AIDS—and How It Improved Their Lives Some homeless people find that having AIDS entitles them to assistance that will allow them to get off the streets. Some are desperate enough to deliberately get infected as they see no other way to get the help they need.
    posted by 2manyusernames on Aug 14, 2013 - 37 comments

    Another nefarious deed by history's greatest monster

    "There is no vaccine for guinea worm, and there are no drugs that can cure those who are infected. The pest once afflicted hundreds of millions of people from the Gambia to India. But the worm is now gone from Guinea, and from almost everywhere else. At last count, there were only five hundred and forty-two people infected, down from an estimated 3.5 million in 1986. Of the remaining cases, exactly five hundred and twenty-one are in South Sudan." -- Parasitologist Mark Siddall on the very successfull, Jimmy Carter sponsored campaign to eradicate the guinea worm and how this campaign proved Malthus wrong.
    posted by MartinWisse on Aug 5, 2013 - 41 comments

    Questions. Morbidity. Incept dates.

    Detroit, New Orleans, Oakland... some of the safer places in America to live! Sure, big cities might have more murders per capita... but residents in large cities are *MUCH* safer when it comes to injury deaths than those living in more rural parts of America, according to a new study in The Annals of Emergency Medicine.
    "Cars, guns and drugs are the unholy trinity causing the majority of injury deaths . . . Although the risk of homicide is higher in big cities, the risk of unintentional injury death is 40 percent higher in the most rural areas than in the most urban. And overall, the rate of unintentional injury dwarfs the risk of homicide, with the rate of unintentional injury more than 15 times that of homicide among the entire population."
    posted by markkraft on Jul 25, 2013 - 71 comments

    Paleopathology

    CSI: Italian Renaissance. "Inside a lab in Pisa, forensics pathologist Gino Fornaciari and his team investigate 500-year-old cold cases." [Via]
    posted by homunculus on Jul 21, 2013 - 10 comments

    "I didn’t die?"

    A Life-Or-Death Situation. "As a bioethicist, Margaret "Peggy" Pabst Battin fought for the right of people to end their own lives. After her husband’s cycling accident, her field of study turned unbearably personal." Via.
    posted by zarq on Jul 19, 2013 - 26 comments

    Who By Very Slow Decay

    A junior doctor writes about the experience of watching the slow deaths-by-old-age of the elderly. (see also How Doctors Die).
    posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory on Jul 19, 2013 - 40 comments

    "We’re giving just enough to prevent them from dying."

    Because of nationwide shortages, Washington hospitals are rationing, hoarding, and bartering critical nutrients premature babies and other patients need to survive. Doctors are reporting conditions normally seen only in developing countries, and there have been deaths. How could this be allowed to happen?
    [more inside]
    posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 23, 2013 - 113 comments

    HIV vs. Cancer: Altered Immune Cells Beat Leukemia

    "Emma Whitehead was near death from acute lymphoblastic leukemia but is now in remission after an experimental treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia."

    The New York Times has a feature from December 2012 and this incredible story was the subject of a short film as part of a GE/cinelan-sponored Vimeo series of 3 minute documentaries on "big ideas"
    posted by 3rdparty on Jun 20, 2013 - 10 comments

    Invented by a mother!

    Obecalp, Standardized Pharmaceutical Grade Placebo (invented by a mother!)
    posted by Elementary Penguin on Jun 14, 2013 - 49 comments

    Anecdotally... yup

    Could Magic Mushrooms Be Used to Treat Anxiety and Depression?
    posted by showbiz_liz on Jun 10, 2013 - 63 comments

    TGIF! Is it happy hour yet?

    Surgeries on Friday Are More Frequently Fatal. New research shows that "operations performed on Fridays were associated with a higher 30-day mortality rate than those performed on Mondays through Wednesdays."
    posted by MisantropicPainforest on Jun 10, 2013 - 53 comments

    Beyond recognition: the story of Carmen Tarleton's face transplant

    "The first time I went into the grocery store, nobody looked at me. And I noticed [that] nobody looked at me. And that, well that's sort of really nice." In 2007, Carmen Tarleton was assaulted by her ex-husband, resulting in chemical burns over 80% of her body. She recovered after dozens of surgeries, but her face was severely disfigured. In February 2013, Cheryl Denelli-Righter suffered a stroke that left her brain-dead. Her daughter Marinda was approached to see if she was willing to donate her mother's face. This past Valentine's day, Carmen received her face transplant, the 29th in the world. This is their story. (note: article contains photos and video of Carmen both before and after the transplant.) [more inside]
    posted by Homeboy Trouble on Jun 5, 2013 - 27 comments

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