A simple question shows how complex the issue is.
Chris at "Cynical C" asks his fellow citizens where they get thier health care (insurance) from and the incredible diversity of the current options and situations is immediately apparent. Quite spontaneously (but surely not unexpectedly), the question of "How much does it cost you?" becomes an essential part of the answers. Outsiders opine and tell stories and commiserate. [more inside]
posted by sid abotu
on Aug 4, 2009 -
Neurosecurity: security and privacy for neural devices.
"An increasing number of neural implantable devices will become available in the near future due to advances in neural engineering. This discipline holds the potential to improve many patients' lives dramatically by offering improved—and in some cases entirely new—forms of rehabilitation for conditions ranging from missing limbs to degenerative cognitive diseases. The use of standard engineering practices, medical trials, and neuroethical evaluations during the design process can create systems that are safe and that follow ethical guidelines; unfortunately, none of these disciplines currently ensure that neural devices are robust against adversarial entities trying to exploit these devices to alter, block, or eavesdrop on neural signals. The authors define 'neurosecurity'—a version of computer science security principles and methods applied to neural engineering—and discuss why neurosecurity should be a critical consideration in the design of future neural devices." [Via Mind Hacks]
posted by homunculus
on Jul 8, 2009 -
We've discussed trepanation
, the boring of holes in the head as practiced in antiquity and by a fringe do it yourself-ers, before. There now seems to be research indicating that the procedure may have medical merit
, and even help stave off age related cognitive decline. This curious research brought to you by the Beckly Foundation
which "promotes the investigation of consciousness and its modulation
from a multidisciplinary perspective" and has a sweet logo.
posted by phrontist
on Jun 18, 2009 -
is a red dye that has been used for decades to identify eye and liver damage. A company
, Provectus Pharmaceuticals, has developed a drug based on this compound, which clinical trials
show may be able to destroy advanced melanoma
with minimal risks. Melanoma is an extremely dangerous form of skin cancer. The company hopes to extend
this drug to other cancers as well as to other skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, for which poor treatment solutions exist. Claims such as these inspire skepticism, but the melanoma trials have been conducted by some of the most eminent names in the melanoma community.
Does this drug hold potential
, or is the whole thing snake oil
posted by prunes
on Jun 11, 2009 -
The day pain died.
"The date of the first operation under anesthetic, Oct. 16, 1846, ranks among the most iconic in the history of medicine. It was the moment when Boston, and indeed the United States, first emerged as a world-class center of medical innovation. The room at the heart of Massachusetts General Hospital where the operation took place has been known ever since as the Ether Dome, and the word 'anesthesia' itself was coined by the Boston physician and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes to denote the strange new state of suspended consciousness that the city's physicians had witnessed. The news from Boston swept around the world, and it was recognized within weeks as a moment that had changed medicine forever." [Via]
posted by homunculus
on Jun 9, 2009 -
Although a cellphone is about as close to a Star Trek communicator as you can get, something more practical has come along to make you feel like you're finally living in the future. The Standoff Patient Triage Tool (SPTT) is nearly a Starfleet medical tricorder
: it can detect pulse, body temperature, and respiration from an injured person at a distance of forty feet
, allowing first responders to identify the injured before setting foot into a dangerous situation.
posted by AzraelBrown
on May 28, 2009 -
No matter their approach, the typical French physician who accepted the notion of male hysteria continued to think that its victims were in some way sexually abnormal: "Thus, despite Charcot's innovative work, the male victim of hysteria in late-nineteenth century French medical imagination was still frequently envisioned as an effeminate heterosexual, an overt homosexual, or a physical or emotional hermaphrodite." If not different sexually, male hysterics were said to be different in other ways, such as race or nationality, among whom African, African-American, south Asian, Arab, or Eastern European Jewish men predominated. Outside of France, other methods of denial appeared, such as the suggestion that male hysteria was restricted to Frenchmen. The medical literature of the time is full of evasions and denials and contradictions of the truths that Charcot had quite obviously demonstrated.
- Macho Misery
, an extensive and interesting review of Hysterical Men: The Hidden History of Male Nervous Illness
. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus
on Apr 26, 2009 -
The US Food and Drug Administration
started regulating the labeling of food, beverages, and medicines after the passage of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act
, and added food coloring and cosmetics with the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act
. They have just released a new website, the FDA Notices of Judgment Collection, 1906-1963
, containing data from thousands of cases of mislabeled or misadvertised products and drugs, available in multiple forms (text, PDF, metadata XML, .TIF image, etc.), with searchable archives. Poking around in the data will yield information on cases ranging from misbranding methamphetamine tablets
, to quack "Film-O-Sonic" devices
, to bacteria-laden unproven abortifacients sold over the counter
, to purported "4-way" cures for baldness
, to hunks of radium sold for putting in your drinking water
to "stimulate the sex organs" (judged against for stating an unproven use, not for actual danger of product). Organized by the FDA's history office
, the new database is a fascinating resource for historians, public safety advocates, researchers, and librarians.
posted by Asparagirl
on Apr 6, 2009 -
Novelist Chris Paling diary
of his time spent on 'Beirut', a high-intensity hospital ward for the treatment of digestive diseases - where a third of patients are there due to the effects of long term alcoholism.
posted by fearfulsymmetry
on Apr 4, 2009 -
Urban legend has it that the province of Saskatchewan, Canada appeared in red in some 1950's American social studies textbooks, along with other "communist" countries such as Russia, China and Cuba.
It is true that Saskatchewan's "natural governing party", the socialistic New Democratic Party
have held power in the province for 47 of the last 65 years
. And it's true that the NDP's most famous leader (and Canada's Greatest Canadian
), Tommy Douglas, brought universal healthcare to the province, an achievement which paved the way for it to come to the rest of Canada.
But now, after suffering their worst defeat in 20 years
, Saskatchewan's New Democratic Party is searching for a new leader... [more inside]
posted by Jaybo
on Feb 28, 2009 -
What if we could rid the world of AIDS? The notion might sound like fantasy: HIV infection has no cure and no vaccine, after all. Yet there is a way to completely wipe it out - at least in theory. What's more, it would take only existing medical technology to do the job. [more inside]
posted by andoatnp
on Feb 21, 2009 -
"As US and the UK forces struggle for a way forward in Afghanistan, John D McHugh's unique film from one of the US military's most dangerous outposts shows just how western forces are losing ground to the Taliban." Where are Afghanistan's missing millions?
"Clancy Chassay hears charges of corruption levelled against the UN and aid agencies after millions earmarked for a Kabul hospital disappear."
posted by homunculus
on Feb 19, 2009 -
A clinic nurse first removed her intrauterine birth-control device
without permission, says the patient in a federal action, then told her that "having the IUD come out was a good thing," because "I personally do not like IUDs. I feel they are a type of abortion. I don't know how you feel about abortion, but I am against them
posted by tehloki
on Jan 20, 2009 -
“It would be completely unethical to give the drug
to someone else,” he said, “but if you’re in a marriage and want to maintain that relationship, you might take a little booster shot yourself every now and then. Even now it’s not such a far-out possibility that you could use drugs in conjunction with marital therapy.”
posted by badego
on Jan 13, 2009 -
In December 2003, Brent Cambron gave himself his first injection of morphine. Save for the fact that he was sticking the needle into his own skin, the motion was familiar--almost rote. Over the course of the previous 17 months, as an anesthesia resident at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Cambron had given hundreds of injections.
- Going Under
by Jason Zengerle of The New Republic [print version
] is heartbreaking article about the high rates of drug addiction among anesthesiologists. It tells the story of Brent Cambron and his spiral into addiction. His live was also sensitively chronicled in The Boston Globe by Keith O'Brien in Something, anything to stop the pain
]. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus
on Jan 9, 2009 -
Do you have a yearning to be online? Do you suffer from difficulty concentrating or sleeping, irritation, or mental or physical distress? According to doctors in China, you might have an internet addiction
. [more inside]
posted by DiscourseMarker
on Nov 10, 2008 -
The Sleep Medicine Home Page
: A comprehensive links and resources one-pager for both professionals and sufferers
, resources regarding all aspects of sleep including, the physiology of sleep, clinical sleep medicine, sleep research, federal and state information, patient information, and business-related groups.
posted by nickyskye
on Sep 4, 2008 -
When Jamaican-born Mary Seacole
, an experienced nurse, volunteered her services to the British Army during the Crimean War, she was rejected. Undaunted, she travelled to Crimea at her own expense and built a "mess-table and comfortable quarters," which she called the "British Hotel," and began taking care of soldiers. Her work was snubbed by Florence Nightingale, who called Seacole "a woman of bad character" and insinuated that the convalescent hotel was little more than a bordello, but Mary was beloved by the men in her care who called her "Mother Seacole." Her autobiography, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands [link goes to full text and illustrations]
, was published a year after the war ended. Mary, who was feted by high-ranking military men and high-born civilians, went on to other nursing-related pursuits, including a stint as personal masseuse to Alexandra, Princess of Wales. Her work in Crimea was but one highlight in a very interesting life. [more inside]
posted by amyms
on Aug 12, 2008 -