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He says every patient is a golden trout. We need to go get those trout.

The Deadly Cost of Swooping In to Save a Life (single-page version): Deregulation and America's health care system combine to make medical helicopters increasingly dangerous.
posted by parudox on Aug 20, 2009 - 28 comments

A very good article on health care economics

How American Health Care Killed My Father After the needless death of his father, the author, a business executive, began a personal exploration of a health-care industry that for years has delivered poor service and irregular quality at astonishingly high cost. It is a system, he argues, that is not worth preserving in anything like its current form. And the health-care reform now being contemplated will not fix it. Here’s a radical solution to an agonizing problem. (via mr) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Aug 18, 2009 - 144 comments

Terminally Illin'

Cancer is hilarious. [more inside]
posted by digaman on Aug 13, 2009 - 39 comments

A rational conservative solution for health care reform

E.D. Kain with a moderate conservative solution to the health care crisis
posted by reenum on Aug 13, 2009 - 88 comments

Where do you get your health insurance from?

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 - 117 comments

Healthy Honey

When it was found in Ancient Egyptian tombs, it looked fresh - so somebody tasted it. Honey can last thousands of years without spoiling, a remarkable feat for a foodstuff. These antibacterial and antioxidant qualities of honey have been applied to food preservation for years, but the medical community is just beginning to look closely at how this can be used to assist in healing. In particular, Honey from Australia and New Zealand seems most successful in helping large wounds heal without infection. This is due to particular plants that the bees frequent, which provide greater antibacterial qualities to the honey. The FDA has even approved honey-infused bandages for use in healing. After the buzz of medicinal leeches and medical maggots, I'm glad there's a natural therapy that doesn't creep people out.
posted by AzraelBrown on Jul 22, 2009 - 91 comments

Why We Must Ration Health Care

Why We Must Ration Health Care by Peter Singer.
posted by grouse on Jul 19, 2009 - 93 comments

What she thought she knew: a love story

What she thought she knew.
posted by alms on Jul 12, 2009 - 57 comments

Neurosecurity

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 - 22 comments

Threatening the merc's way of life

Debate over government-funded services heats up. [SLSO]
posted by boo_radley on Jun 30, 2009 - 47 comments

Canadian War Posters

Canadian War Poster Collection at McGill University. And if that doesn't strike your fancy, the list of digital collections include such time-honoured favourites as Expo '67, and the award-winner for unexpected collection, Gynaecology in Traditional Chinese Medicine. (previously)
posted by flibbertigibbet on Jun 26, 2009 - 7 comments

I await Trepanation with great Trepidation.

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 - 50 comments

A new treatment for cancer?

Rose bengal 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 - 18 comments

The birth of anesthesia

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 - 46 comments

8 at 1 minute, 9 at 5 minutes

Dr. Virginia Apgar was born 100 years ago today. Although she is best known for her scoring system for assessing the health of newborn infants, she was a remarkable person in many other ways. [more inside]
posted by TedW on Jun 7, 2009 - 19 comments

I'm detecting an anomaly, Captain

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 - 26 comments

Healthcare costs and quality of care

The Cost Conundrum: What a Texas town can teach us about health care. Via Musings of a Distractible Mind.
posted by zinfandel on May 28, 2009 - 40 comments

How a Civil War Amputation Was Performed

How a Civil War Amputation Was Performed NSFS [not safe for the squeamish]
posted by marxchivist on May 22, 2009 - 22 comments

Do they preserve scientific transparency, protect profits or both?

On behalf of medical organizations, universities, & individual patients, pathologists and genetics researchers, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit against Utah-based Myriad Genetics and the US Patent and Trademark Office. Myriad holds the US patents to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, associated with hereditary causes of breast and ovarian cancers. Their patents guarantee the company the right to prevent anyone else from testing or studying those genes, which the ACLU says is unconstitutional and inhibits researchers from finding treatments and cures. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 13, 2009 - 64 comments

Wu Xing

Behind Chinese medicine, feng shui, acupuncture, diet, music and cosmology itself is the concept of Wu Xing. [more inside]
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing on May 7, 2009 - 15 comments

Just imagine the hijinx if they'd had Facebook.

Gather 'Round the Cadaver! : A new "coffee-table" book, Dissection: Photographs of a Rite of Passage in American Medicine is a new collection of photographs documenting what happened when bored medical students of the early 1900s met the camera.
posted by grapefruitmoon on Apr 29, 2009 - 22 comments

Male mental illness in History

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 - 8 comments

Eternal Sunshine Within Reach.

Brain Researchers Open Door to Editing Memory : spotless minds might be closer than we think.
posted by grapefruitmoon on Apr 16, 2009 - 20 comments

Discovering bacteria's amazing communication system

The secret, social lives of bacteria. "Bonnie Bassler discovered that bacteria 'talk' to each other, using a chemical language that lets them coordinate defense and mount attacks. The find has stunning implications for medicine, industry -- and our understanding of ourselves." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Apr 10, 2009 - 52 comments

Mother's Little Helper was only in trouble if it was mislabeled

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 - 28 comments

The arena of the unwell

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 - 58 comments

A Medical Madoff

A Medical Madoff: Anesthesiologist Faked Data in 21 Studies. "A pioneering anesthesiologist has been implicated in a massive research fraud that has altered the way millions of patients are treated for pain during and after orthopedic surgeries."
posted by homunculus on Mar 12, 2009 - 46 comments

Snip City!

Need an Excuse to Stay Home to Watch March Madness? You can always get your souviners, your your junkfood tie-ins, even your Facebook tie-ins, but an enterprising urology practice has a tie-in which promises the gift that keeps on giving, and an excuse to be on the couch, albeit gingerly, for at least part of the tourney.
posted by Danf on Mar 11, 2009 - 9 comments

Rumpy Pumpy

You can sleep better at night knowing that one more Irish GP has sworn off using the medical terms "willy bits" and "rumpy pumpy" with patients. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Mar 6, 2009 - 33 comments

Saskatchewan's Obama?

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 - 20 comments

I give them 50 years for me.

Functional Neurons Induced From Adult Stem Cells. Meanwhile, stem cells may be better than bone marrow for certain cancers, and have the potential to revolutionize the supply of blood. Anecdotal success stories continue to pile up.
posted by StrikeTheViol on Feb 25, 2009 - 21 comments

Are We About to Eliminate AIDS?

New Scientist:
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 - 49 comments

Afghanistan

Combat Outpost. "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 - 21 comments

If a virus could cure cancer, would you get infected?

In the background behind attention-grabbing headlines about famous (and wannabe-famous) cancer patients, a quiet revolution may be on the brink of changing oncology. [more inside]
posted by bunnycup on Feb 16, 2009 - 42 comments

Tinnitus

That Buzzing Sound: The mystery of tinnitus.
posted by homunculus on Feb 10, 2009 - 76 comments

Apply directly to forehead.

Recent work by Yichao Wu, Judy Lieberman, and Deborah Palliser has led to a topical treatment that knocks out the herpes virus in testing with mice by way of RNA interference (RNAi). Notably, it works when applied prior to or after sexual contact and holds promise for human usage. (RNAi is a very recent (1998) discovery that garnered the 2006 Nobel prize [MetaFilter thread] for Fire and Mello.) You can read more about the intravaginal application of siRNAs in the January issue of Cell Host & Microbe.
posted by shadytrees on Jan 28, 2009 - 9 comments

Pro-Life Medicine, Whether you Like it or Not

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 - 119 comments

Anti-Love Drug May Be Ticket to Bliss

“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 - 42 comments

Cure for pain

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 [print version]. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus on Jan 9, 2009 - 96 comments

"Our whole approach is based on the idea that science matters at the FDA"

The Economist on Drugs -- Scientists in North America, Europe and Israel are studying the use of MDMA, LSD, hallucinogenic mushrooms, marijuana and other banned psychoactive substances in treating conditions such as anxiety, cluster headaches, addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder. They are supported by private funds from a handful of organisations: the Beckley Foundation in Britain; the Heffter Research Institute and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in America. [related]
posted by kliuless on Dec 28, 2008 - 43 comments

OCR for your blood

A modified cellphone will revolutionize medicine in the Third World, improve your health, and maybe even make your one-night stands much less nerve-wracking.
posted by orthogonality on Dec 21, 2008 - 24 comments

Can We Cure the Health Care Crisis?

Search for an Rx - We asked Johns Hopkins administrators, physicians, and researchers about the health of a system Americans rely on to keep them healthy. Afterall, an ounce of prevention... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Dec 3, 2008 - 15 comments

Put that organ in a plastic bag!

Claudia Castillo's new bronchus is the result of stem-cell research. The first hollow tube body part is transplanted with no rejection issues. A lab in Italy stripped the donor trachea of living tissue leaving a collagen matrix. Claudia's stem cells were grown in a Bristol lab, (all 6 million of them) to flesh it out, so to speak. Epithelial cells from her nose & lungs formed the lining. But...... [more inside]
posted by Wilder on Nov 19, 2008 - 37 comments

What's wrong with primary care in the US?

What's wrong with primary care in the US? With a new survey suggesting that nearly half of all primary care physicians would leave medicine if they had a viable alternative, and with American medical schools not generating nearly enough new doctors going into primary care, in this, their first issue to hit doctors' desks since the election, the New England Journal of Medicine has devoted their entire editorial section to exploring yet another challenge that threatens the stability of the US health care system. Video of the roundtable discussion. Individual essays, at times touching, at times hopeful, from various primary care perspectives in the US and Britain. [more inside]
posted by Slarty Bartfast on Nov 18, 2008 - 47 comments

Got to get that modem off my back

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 - 25 comments

Stayin' Alive. Literally.

The Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive can be used as a training tool for CPR, because it has a near-perfect rhythm for timing compressions, it's well-known and it has a tendency to get stuck in your head. Unfortunately, another song useful for training, with a similar rhythm, isn't quite so uplifting.
posted by Cool Papa Bell on Oct 17, 2008 - 36 comments

“Sometimes I stay up so late that I have my morning coffee before I go to bed.”

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 - 11 comments

pathos and pathology

"Hidden within the basement archives of Yale University's Historical Medical Library lie the original oil painting collection and personal papers of the first American surgeon to practice in China." Extraordinary paintings of compassion in a medical setting. [Warning, these are graphic depictions, some NSFW] Elegant, disturbing and moving portraits of patients by Lam Qua, commissioned by a medical missionary named Peter Parker in the 1830's. [No, not that Peter Parker. Via MeFite tellurian's awesome blog]. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Sep 2, 2008 - 20 comments

Medicalisation

The Medicalisation of Everyday Life. "As the pace of medical innovation slows to a crawl, how do drug companies stay in profit? By 'discovering' new illnesses to fit existing products." An extract from Ben Goldacre's new book, Bad Science. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Sep 2, 2008 - 61 comments

retrovirally transforming pancreatic cells from adult mice into insulin-producing beta cells

Scientists Repurpose Adult Cells - "Scientists have transformed one type of fully developed adult cell directly into another inside a living animal, a startling advance that could lead to cures for a variety of illnesses and sidestep the political and ethical quagmires associated with embryonic stem cell research." [nature abstract, nature writeup, audio announcement]
posted by kliuless on Aug 27, 2008 - 21 comments

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