jm + medicine   48

We’re more likely to get cancer than to get married. This is a wake-up call | Ranjana Srivastava | Opinion | The Guardian
Later, in clinic, I see patients ranging from a stoical university student to a devastated father to the frail octogenarian who can’t remember the day, let alone that he has cancer – each patient an illustration of a recent Macmillan Cancer Support UK finding that it is more common for an individual to be diagnosed with cancer than to get married or have a first child. One in two people will encounter a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, which is why the report says that, alongside marriage, parenthood, retirement and the death of a parent, cancer is now “a common life milestone”.
cancer  life  milestones  death  uk  health  medicine 
7 weeks ago by jm
Cycling to work: major new study suggests health benefits are staggering
We found that cycling to work was associated with a 41% lower risk of dying overall compared to commuting by car or public transport. Cycle commuters had a 52% lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 40% lower risk of dying from cancer. They also had 46% lower risk of developing heart disease and a 45% lower risk of developing cancer at all.
cycling  transport  health  medicine  science  commuting  life  statistics 
august 2017 by jm
Rule that patients must finish antibiotics course is wrong, study says
Patients have traditionally been told that they must complete courses of antibiotics, the theory being that taking too few tablets will allow the bacteria causing their disease to mutate and become resistant to the drug.
But Martin Llewelyn, a professor in infectious diseases at Brighton and Sussex medical school, and colleagues claim that this is not the case. In an analysis in the British Medical Journal, the experts say “the idea that stopping antibiotic treatment early encourages antibiotic resistance is not supported by evidence, while taking antibiotics for longer than necessary increases the risk of resistance”.
health  medicine  antibiotics  bmj  bacteria 
july 2017 by jm
Novartis CAR-T immunotherapy strongly endorsed by FDA advisory panel
This is very exciting stuff, cytokine release syndrome risks notwithstanding.
The new treatment is known as CAR-T cell immunotherapy. It works by removing key immune system cells known as T cells from the patient so scientists can genetically modify them to seek out and attack only cancer cells. That's why some scientists refer to this as a "living drug."

Doctors then infuse millions of the genetically modified T cells back into the patient's body so they can try to obliterate the cancer cells and hopefully leave healthy tissue unscathed.

"It's truly a paradigm shift," said Dr. David Lebwohl, who heads the CAR-T Franchise Global Program at the drug company Novartis, which is seeking the FDA's approval for the treatment. "It represents a new hope for patients."

The drug endorsed by the advisory panel is known as CTL019 or tisagenlecleucel. It was developed to treat children and young adults ages 3 to 25 who have relapsed after undergoing standard treatment for B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which is the most common childhood cancer in the United States.

While this blood cell cancer can be highly curable, some patients fail to respond to standard treatments; and a significant proportion of patients experience relapses that don't respond to follow-up therapies.
"There is a major unmet medical need for treatment options" for these patients, Dr. Stephen Hunger, who helped study at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, told the committee.

In the main study that the company submitted as evidence in seeking FDA approval, doctors at 25 sites in 11 countries administered the treatment to 88 patients. The patients, ages 3 to 23, had failed standard treatment or experienced relapses and failed to respond to follow-up standard treatment. CTL019 produced remissions in 83 percent of patients, the company told the committee.
car-t  immunotherapy  cancer  novartis  trials  fda  drugs  t-cells  immune-system  medicine  leukemia  ctl019 
july 2017 by jm
Drug Company Chairman to America: Go Fuck Yourself
'Mr. Coury [chairman of Mylan, makers of the EpiPen] replied that he was untroubled [by critics of 10x price-gouging price hikes]. He raised both his middle fingers and explained, using colorful language, that anyone criticizing Mylan, including its employees, ought to go copulate with themselves. Critics in Congress and on Wall Street, he said, should do the same. And regulators at the Food and Drug Administration? They, too, deserved a round of anatomically challenging self-fulfillment.'
mylan  gfy  fda  us-politics  healthcare  medicine  epipen  nytimes 
june 2017 by jm
EpiBone Grows New Bones Using Stem Cells
To grow EpiBone, Tandon explained, scientists take a CT scan of the bone they’ll need to engineer. This helps them create a 3D model. Then, from the model, a 3D printer produces a scaffold (this can be made out of protein and collagen from animal bones or synthetic material). After that, they take stem cells from the patient out of their fat, and those cells are put into the scaffold and then incubated. They regenerate, and form around the bone. This process results in a bone that the body will recognize as the patient’s. The crazy part is that it only takes three weeks to grow a bone that’s personalized to the individual patient.
stem-cells  epibone  bone  body  healing  health  medicine  3d-printing 
may 2017 by jm
Seeking medical abortions online is safe and effective, study finds | World news | The Guardian
Of the 1,636 women who were sent the drugs between the start of 2010 and the end of 2012, the team were able to analyse self-reported data from 1,000 individuals who confirmed taking the pills. All were less than 10 weeks pregnant.

The results reveal that almost 95% of the women successfully ended their pregnancy without the need for surgical intervention. None of the women died, although seven women required a blood transfusion and 26 needed antibiotics.
Of the 93 women who experienced symptoms for which the advice was to seek medical attention, 95% did so, going to a hospital or clinic.

“When we talk about self-sought, self-induced abortion, people think about coat hangers or they think about tables in back alleys,” said Aiken. “But I think this research really shows that in 2017 self-sourced abortion is a network of people helping and supporting each other through what’s really a safe and effective process in the comfort of their own homes, and I think is a huge step forward in public health.”
health  medicine  abortion  pro-choice  data  women-on-web  ireland  law  repealthe8th 
may 2017 by jm
Immunotherapy Pioneer James Allison Has Unfinished Business with Cancer - MIT Technology Review
On the discovery and history of ipilimumab (trade named Yervoy), one of the first immunotherapy drugs
ipilimumab  cancer  yervoy  immunotherapy  medicine  melanoma 
april 2017 by jm
That time a priest and a nun and a guy who were on an Irish hospital board blocked cancer treatment that required contraception
Simon McGarr on Twitter: "That time a priest and a nun and a guy who were on an Irish hospital board blocked cancer treatment that required contraception. https://t.co/A7alospojJ"

This happened in 2003 in Dublin's Mater Hospital. useful the next time someone says that hospital board member ethos won't impact clinical care
cancer  treatment  contraception  prolife  trials  medicine  ethos  mater-hospital  boards  governance 
april 2017 by jm
Australian Doctor on Twitter: "Outcry as MyHealthRecord default privacy setting left open to universal access"
Funnily enough, this is exactly what Ross Anderson warned about 10 years ago re patient record digitisation in the UK.

'Occupational therapists working for an employer, doctors working for insurance companies, a dietitian, an optometrist or a dentist or their staff can view the [patient] record and see if individuals have a sexually transmitted disease, a mental illness, have had an abortion or are using Viagra.'
privacy  heaith  australia  myhealthrecord  data-protection  data-privacy  healthcare  medicine 
april 2017 by jm
Data from pacemaker used to arrest man for arson, insurance fraud
Compton has medical conditions which include an artificial heart linked to an external pump. According to court documents, a cardiologist said that "it is highly improbable Mr. Compton would have been able to collect, pack and remove the number of items from the house, exit his bedroom window and carry numerous large and heavy items to the front of his residence during the short period of time he has indicated due to his medical conditions."

After US law enforcement caught wind of this peculiar element to the story, police were able to secure a search warrant and collect the pacemaker's electronic records to scrutinize his heart rate, the demand on the pacemaker and heart rhythms prior to and at the time of the incident.
pacemakers  health  medicine  privacy  data  arson  insurance  fraud  heart 
february 2017 by jm
Pure Pharmacy
a low-cost online vendor in Ireland, recommended by @irldexter on ITS (along with webdoctor.ie):

'For basic consultations I halved the cost €55 to engage a GP with https://www.webdoctor.ie/ down to €25 (for limited domains) and after paying €8.48 and €9.48 respectively for a Ventolin inhaler, I now get them for €3.50 at http://www.purepharmacy.ie/ (closer to mainland EU costs). I also benchmarked my parents medicine costs which worked out 40% cheaper too.'
recommendations  pharmacy  ireland  doctors  health  medicine 
november 2016 by jm
New Scientist: Home abortions are safe – we should let women do it themselves
the Women on Web approach is backed by a column in New Scientist:

'It’s also safer than many other medicines that we are allowed to buy from pharmacies without a prescription, such as Viagra in the UK. So why can’t women get abortion pills from pharmacies and manage the process themselves at home if they choose? It might sound radical but it’s already widespread in countries where abortion is illegal, with women buying the pills from online pharmacies. While some countries, such as Poland, are trying to tighten their already strict abortion laws, the advent of mail-order abortion pills means the law is becoming almost irrelevant.'
new-scientist  safety  abortion  pro-choice  medicine  mifepristone  pills  poland  ireland  repealthe8th 
october 2016 by jm
“I Want to Know What Code Is Running Inside My Body” — Backchannel
Sandler wants to be able to explore the code running her device for programming flaws and vulnerability to hacking, but she can’t. “Because I don’t have access to the source code, I have no power to do anything about it,” she says. In her eyes, it’s a particularly obvious example of a problem that now cuts across much of modern life: proprietary software has become crucial to daily survival, and yet is often locked away from public exploration and discussion by copyright.
copyright  safety  health  pacemakers  law  proprietary-software  life  medicine  implants 
august 2016 by jm
MRI software bugs could upend years of research - The Register
In their paper at PNAS, they write: “the most common software packages for fMRI analysis (SPM, FSL, AFNI) can result in false-positive rates of up to 70%. These results question the validity of some 40,000 fMRI studies and may have a large impact on the interpretation of neuroimaging results.”

For example, a bug that's been sitting in a package called 3dClustSim for 15 years, fixed in May 2015, produced bad results (3dClustSim is part of the AFNI suite; the others are SPM and FSL). That's not a gentle nudge that some results might be overstated: it's more like making a bonfire of thousands of scientific papers.

Further: “Our results suggest that the principal cause of the invalid cluster inferences is spatial autocorrelation functions that do not follow the assumed Gaussian shape”.

The researchers used published fMRI results, and along the way they swipe the fMRI community for their “lamentable archiving and data-sharing practices” that prevent most of the discipline's body of work being re-analysed. ®
fmri  science  mri  statistics  cluster-inference  autocorrelation  data  papers  medicine  false-positives  fps  neuroimaging 
july 2016 by jm
Public preferences for electronic health data storage, access, and sharing – evidence from a pan-European survey | Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Results: We obtained 20 882 survey responses (94 606 preferences) from 27 EU member countries. Respondents recognized the benefits of storing electronic health information, with 75.5%, 63.9%, and 58.9% agreeing that storage was important for improving treatment quality, preventing epidemics, and reducing delays, respectively. Concerns about different levels of access by third parties were expressed by 48.9% to 60.6% of respondents. On average, compared to devices or systems that only store basic health status information, respondents preferred devices that also store identification data (coefficient/relative preference 95% CI = 0.04 [0.00-0.08], P = 0.034) and information on lifelong health conditions (coefficient = 0.13 [0.08 to 0.18], P < 0.001), but there was no evidence of this for devices with information on sensitive health conditions such as mental and sexual health and addictions (coefficient = −0.03 [−0.09 to 0.02], P = 0.24). Respondents were averse to their immediate family (coefficient = −0.05 [−0.05 to −0.01], P = 0.011) and home care nurses (coefficient = −0.06 [−0.11 to −0.02], P = 0.004) viewing this data, and strongly averse to health insurance companies (coefficient = −0.43 [−0.52 to 0.34], P < 0.001), private sector pharmaceutical companies (coefficient = −0.82 [−0.99 to −0.64], P < 0.001), and academic researchers (coefficient = −0.53 [−0.66 to −0.40], P < 0.001) viewing the data.

Conclusions: Storing more detailed electronic health data was generally preferred, but respondents were averse to wider access to and sharing of this information. When developing frameworks for the use of electronic health data, policy makers should consider approaches that both highlight the benefits to the individual and minimize the perception of privacy risks.


Via Antoin.
privacy  data  medicine  health  healthcare  papers  via:antoin 
april 2016 by jm
The science behind "don't drink when pregnant" is rubbish
As the economist Emily Oster pointed out in her 2013 book Expecting Better, there is also no “proven safe” level of Tylenol or caffeine, and yet both are fine in moderation during pregnancy. Oster pored through reams of research on alcohol and pregnancy for her book and concluded that there is simply no scientific evidence that light drinking during pregnancy impacts a baby’s health. (In one frequently cited 2001 study that suggested light drinking in pregnancy increases the chances of a child displaying aggressive behaviors, the drinkers were also significantly likelier to have taken cocaine during pregnancy.)


My wife also followed the paper trail on this issue in the past. In the papers from which these recommendations were derived, the level of drinking at which any effects were observed in babies was when women consumed at least *9 units every day* for the entire pregnancy. That's an entire bottle of wine, daily!
booze  alcohol  science  facts  papers  medicine  emily-oster  babies  pregnancy  pre-pregnant  research 
february 2016 by jm
Placebo effects are weak: regression to the mean is the main reason ineffective treatments appear to work
“Statistical regression to the mean predicts that patients selected for abnormalcy will, on the average, tend to improve. We argue that most improvements attributed to the placebo effect are actually instances of statistical regression.”
medicine  science  statistics  placebo  evidence  via:hn  regression-to-the-mean 
december 2015 by jm
Gene patents probably dead worldwide following Australian court decision
The court based its reasoning on the fact that, although an isolated gene such as BRCA1 was "a product of human action, it was the existence of the information stored in the relevant sequences that was an essential element of the invention as claimed." Since the information stored in the DNA as a sequence of nucleotides was a product of nature, it did not require human action to bring it into existence, and therefore could not be patented.


Via Tony Finch.
via:fanf  australia  genetics  law  ipr  medicine  ip  patents 
october 2015 by jm
Care.data and access to UK health records: patient privacy and public trust
'In 2013, the United Kingdom launched care.data, an NHS England initiative to combine patient records, stored in the machines of general practitioners (GPs), with information from social services and hospitals to make one centralized data archive. One aim of the initiative is to gain a picture of the care being delivered between different parts of the healthcare system and thus identify what is working in health care delivery, and what areas need greater attention and resources. This case study analyzes the complications around the launch of care.data. It explains the historical context of the program and the controversies that emerged in the course of the rollout. It explores problems in management and communications around the centralization effort, competing views on the safety of “anonymous” and “pseudonymous” health data, and the conflicting legal duties imposed on GPs with the introduction of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act. This paper also explores the power struggles in the battle over care.data and outlines the tensions among various stakeholders, including patients, GPs, the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), the government, privacy experts and data purchasers. The predominant public policy question that emerges from this review centers on how best to utilize technological advances and simultaneously strike a balance between the many competing interests around health and personal privacy.'
care.data  privacy  healthcare  uk  nhs  trust  anonymity  anonymization  gps  medicine 
august 2015 by jm
Evidence-Based Software Engineering

Objective: Our objective is to describe how software engineering might benefit from an evidence-based approach and to identify the potential difficulties associated with the approach.
Method: We compared the organisation and technical infrastructure supporting evidence-based medicine (EBM) with the situation in software engineering. We considered the impact that factors peculiar to software engineering (i.e. the skill factor and the lifecycle factor) would have on our ability to practice evidence-based software engineering (EBSE).
Results: EBSE promises a number of benefits by encouraging integration of research results with a view to supporting the needs of many different stakeholder groups. However, we do not currently have the infrastructure needed for widespread adoption of EBSE. The skill factor means software engineering experiments are vulnerable to subject and experimenter bias. The lifecycle factor means it is difficult to determine how technologies will behave once deployed.
Conclusions: Software engineering would benefit from adopting what it can of the evidence approach provided that it deals with the specific problems that arise from the nature of software engineering.


(via Mark Dennehy)
papers  toread  via:markdennehy  software  coding  ebse  evidence-based-medicine  medicine  research 
june 2015 by jm
Closed access means people die
'We've paid 100 BILLION USD over the last 10 years to "publish" science and medicine. Ebola is a massive systems failure.' See also https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150409/17514230608/dont-think-open-access-is-important-it-might-have-prevented-much-ebola-outbreak.shtml :

'The conventional wisdom among public health authorities is that the Ebola virus, which killed at least 10,000 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, was a new phenomenon, not seen in West Africa before 2013. [...]
But, as the team discovered, that "conventional wisdom" was wrong. In fact, they found a bunch of studies, buried behind research paywalls, that revealed that there was significant evidence of antibodies to the Ebola virus in Liberia and in other nearby nations. There was one from 1982 that noted: "medical personnel in Liberian health centers should be aware of the possibility that they may come across active cases and thus be prepared to avoid nosocomial epidemics."
deaths  liberia  ebola  open-access  papers  elsevier  science  medicine  reprints 
april 2015 by jm
Ask the Decoder: Did I sign up for a global sleep study?
How meaningful is this corporate data science, anyway? Given the tech-savvy people in the Bay Area, Jawbone likely had a very dense sample of Jawbone wearers to draw from for its Napa earthquake analysis. That allowed it to look at proximity to the epicenter of the earthquake from location information.

Jawbone boasts its sample population of roughly “1 million Up wearers who track their sleep using Up by Jawbone.” But when looking into patterns county by county in the U.S., Jawbone states, it takes certain statistical liberties to show granularity while accounting for places where there may not be many Jawbone users.

So while Jawbone data can show us interesting things about sleep patterns across a very large population, we have to remember how selective that population is. Jawbone wearers are people who can afford a $129 wearable fitness gadget and the smartphone or computer to interact with the output from the device.

Jawbone is sharing what it learns with the public, but think of all the public health interests or other third parties that might be interested in other research questions from a large scale data set. Yet this data is not collected with scientific processes and controls and is not treated with the rigor and scrutiny that a scientific study requires.

Jawbone and other fitness trackers don’t give us the option to use their devices while opting out of contributing to the anonymous data sets they publish. Maybe that ought to change.
jawbone  privacy  data-protection  anonymization  aggregation  data  medicine  health  earthquakes  statistics  iot  wearables 
march 2015 by jm
Can we have medical privacy, cloud computing and genomics all at the same time?
Today sees the publication of a report I [Ross Anderson] helped to write for the Nuffield Bioethics Council on what happens to medical ethics in a world of cloud-based medical records and pervasive genomics.

As the information we gave to our doctors in private to help them treat us is now collected and treated as an industrial raw material, there has been scandal after scandal. From failures of anonymisation through unethical sales to the care.data catastrophe, things just seem to get worse. Where is it all going, and what must a medical data user do to behave ethically?

We put forward four principles. First, respect persons; do not treat their confidential data like were coal or bauxite. Second, respect established human-rights and data-protection law, rather than trying to find ways round it. Third, consult people who’ll be affected or who have morally relevant interests. And fourth, tell them what you’ve done – including errors and security breaches.
ethics  medicine  health  data  care.data  privacy  healthcare  ross-anderson  genomics  data-protection  human-rights 
february 2015 by jm
Getting good cancer care through 3D printing
This is pretty incredible.
Balzer downloaded a free software program called InVesalius, developed by a research center in Brazil to convert MRI and CT scan data to 3D images. He used it to create a 3D volume rendering from Scott’s DICOM images, which allowed him to look at the tumor from any angle. Then he uploaded the files to Sketchfab and shared them with neurosurgeons around the country in the hope of finding one who was willing to try a new type of procedure. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he found the doctor he was looking for at UPMC, where Scott had her thyroid removed. A neurosurgeon there agreed to consider a minimally invasive operation in which he would access the tumor through Scott’s left eyelid and remove it using a micro drill. Balzer had adapted the volume renderings for 3D printing and produced a few full-size models of the front section of Scott’s skull on his MakerBot. To help the surgeon vet his micro drilling idea and plan the procedure, Balzer packed up one of the models and shipped it off to Pittsburgh.
diy  surgery  health  cancer  tumours  medicine  3d-printing  3d  scanning  mri  dicom 
january 2015 by jm
Cold, Cough, Flu: Best Medicines For Your Symptoms - Iodine
'Find the best cold & flu meds for your symptoms' -- actually pretty useful, although of course the US-only brandnames aren't available over here...
cold  flu  winter  sickness  medicine  symptoms  coughs  treatment 
december 2014 by jm
'In 1976 I discovered Ebola, now I fear an unimaginable tragedy' | World news | The Observer
An interview with the scientist who was part of the team which discovered the Ebola virus in 1976:
Other samples from the nun, who had since died, arrived from Kinshasa. When we were just about able to begin examining the virus under an electron microscope, the World Health Organisation instructed us to send all of our samples to a high-security lab in England. But my boss at the time wanted to bring our work to conclusion no matter what. He grabbed a vial containing virus material to examine it, but his hand was shaking and he dropped it on a colleague's foot. The vial shattered. My only thought was: "Oh, shit!" We immediately disinfected everything, and luckily our colleague was wearing thick leather shoes. Nothing happened to any of us.
ebola  epidemiology  health  africa  labs  history  medicine 
october 2014 by jm
co-founder of the Boston Beer Company swears by active dry yeast as a hangover-avoidance remedy
what [Joe] Owades knew was that active dry yeast has an enzyme in it called alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH). Roughly put, ADH is able to break alcohol molecules down into their constituent parts of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Which is the same thing that happens when your body metabolizes alcohol in its liver. Owades realized if you also have that enzyme in your stomach when the alcohol first hits it, the ADH will begin breaking it down before it gets into your bloodstream and, thus, your brain.

Plausible!
beer  science  health  yeast  alcohol  adh  medicine  enzymes  stomach  food 
april 2014 by jm
Care.data is in chaos. It breaks my heart | Ben Goldacre
There are people in my profession who think they can ignore this problem. Some are murmuring that this mess is like MMR, a public misunderstanding to be corrected with better PR. They are wrong: it's like nuclear power. Medical data, rarefied and condensed, presents huge power to do good, but it also presents huge risks. When leaked, it cannot be unleaked; when lost, public trust will take decades to regain.

This breaks my heart. I love big medical datasets, I work on them in my day job, and I can think of a hundred life-saving uses for better ones. But patients' medical records contain secrets, and we owe them our highest protection. Where we use them – and we have used them, as researchers, for decades without a leak – this must be done safely, accountably, and transparently. New primary legislation, governing who has access to what, must be written: but that's not enough. We also need vicious penalties for anyone leaking medical records; and HSCIC needs to regain trust, by releasing all documentation on all past releases, urgently. Care.data needs to work: in medicine, data saves lives.
hscic  nhs  care.data  data  privacy  data-protection  medicine  hospitals  pr 
march 2014 by jm
A patent on 'Birth of a Child By Centrifugal Force'
On November 9 1965, the Blonskys were granted US Patent 3,216,423, for an Apparatus for Facilitating the Birth of a Child by Centrifugal Force. The drawings, as well as the text, are a revelation. The Patent Office has them online at http://tinyurl.com/jd4ra and I urge you - if you have any shred of curiosity in your body - to look them up.

For conceiving what appears to be the greatest labour-saving device ever invented, George and Charlotte Blonsky won the 1999 Ig Nobel Prize in the field of Managed Health Care.


This is utterly bananas. (via christ)
via:christ  crazy  patents  1960s  centrifuge  birth  medicine  ignobels 
february 2014 by jm
Growing up unvaccinated: A healthy lifestyle couldn’t prevent many childhood illnesses.
I understand, to a point, where the anti-vaccine parents are coming from. Back in the ’90s, when I was a concerned, 19-year-old mother, frightened by the world I was bringing my child into, I was studying homeopathy, herbalism, and aromatherapy; I believed in angels, witchcraft, clairvoyants, crop circles, aliens at Nazca, giant ginger mariners spreading their knowledge to the Aztecs, the Incas, and the Egyptians, and that I was somehow personally blessed by the Holy Spirit with healing abilities. I was having my aura read at a hefty price and filtering the fluoride out of my water. I was choosing to have past life regressions instead of taking antidepressants. I was taking my daily advice from tarot cards. I grew all my own veg and made my own herbal remedies. I was so freaking crunchy that I literally crumbled. It was only when I took control of those paranoid thoughts and fears about the world around me and became an objective critical thinker that I got well. It was when I stopped taking sugar pills for everything and started seeing medical professionals that I began to thrive physically and mentally.
health  medicine  science  vaccination  disease  slate 
january 2014 by jm
Your Assignment for Today: Chew Gum
We have known about [the dental health benefits of xylitol in chewing gum] for a surprisingly long time. In the 1980s, a high-quality, randomized trial in Finland found that children who chewed xylitol-sweetened gum had as much as 60 percent fewer cavities compared with children who didn’t. A 1989-93 randomized study of children around age 10 in Belize showed an even greater benefit; chewing xylitol-sweetened gum decreased the risk of cavities by up to 70 percent, and a follow-up study showed that the benefit lasted for up to five years.
xylitol  via:eoin  health  dentist  teeth  chewing-gum  snacks  medicine 
november 2013 by jm
Herbal supplements are often 'rice and weeds'
DNA tests show that many pills labeled as healing herbs are little more than powdered rice and weeds. [...] Among their findings were bottles of echinacea supplements, used by millions of Americans to prevent and treat colds, that contained ground up bitter weed, Parthenium hysterophorus, an invasive plant found in India and Australia that has been linked to rashes, nausea and flatulence.
herbal-remedies  scams  quality  medicine  dna  testing  fillers  allergies  st-johns-wort  echinacea 
november 2013 by jm
How to Read a Scientific Paper (About That Researcher With a Nematode in His Mouth) - Wired Science
Let’s rewind to September 2012. It was about then- according to this recently published report (paywall) in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine – that an “otherwise healthy, 36-year-old man” felt a rough patch in his mouth, a scaly little area his right cheek. It didn’t hurt. But then it didn’t stay there either. He started testing for it with his tongue. It traveled. It moved to the back of his mouth, then forward, coiled backwards again. In the language of science: “These rough patches would appear and disappear on a daily basis, giving the patient the indirect sense that there was an organism moving within the oral cavity.”
nematodes  parasites  biology  medicine  paper  gross  funny  wired  mouth 
october 2013 by jm
The Cold Hard Facts of Freezing to Death
an amazing account of near-death from hypothermia (via Dor)
via:dor  hypothermia  cold  medicine  science  non-fiction 
june 2013 by jm
How I decoded the human genome - Salon.com
classic long-read article from John Sundman: 'We are becoming the masters of our own DNA. But does that give us the right to decide that my children should never have been born?' part two at http://www.salon.com/2003/10/22/genome_two/
human  genome  genomics  eugenics  politics  life  john-sundman  disability  health  dna  medicine  salon  long-reads  children 
may 2013 by jm
Vaccination 'herd immunity' demonstration
'Stochastic monte-carlo epidemic SIR model to reveal herd immunity'. Fantastic demo of this important medical concept (via Colin Whittaker)
via:colinwh  stochastic  herd-immunity  random  sir  epidemics  health  immunity  vaccination  measles  medicine  monte-carlo-simulations  simulations 
april 2013 by jm
Not the ‘best in the world’ - The Medical Independent
Debunking this prolife talking point:
'Our maternity services are amongst the best in the world’. This phrase has been much hackneyed since the heartbreaking death of Savita Halappanavar was revealed in mid October. James Reilly and other senior politicians are particularly guilty of citing this inaccurate position. So what is the state of Irish maternity services and how do our figures compare with other comparable countries? Let’s start with the statistics.


The bottom line:
Eight deaths per 100,000 is not bad, but it ranks our maternity services far from the best in world and below countries such as Slovakia and Poland.
pro-choice  ireland  savita  medicine  health  maternity  morbidity  statistics 
april 2013 by jm
Expert in Savita inquiry confirms Irish women get lower standard of care with chorioamnionitis
Dr. Jen Gunter again:

Dr. Knowles’ testimony confirms for me that the law played a role, because her statements indicate the standard of care for treatment of chorioamnionitis is less aggressive in Ireland. This can only be because of the law as there is no medical evidence to support delaying delivery when chorioamnionitis is diagnosed. Standard of care is not to wait until a woman is sick enough to need a termination, the idea is to treat her, you know, before she gets sick enough. An elevated white count and ruptured membranes at 17 weeks is typically enough to make the diagnosis, so Dr. Knowles needs to testify as to what in Savita’s medical record made it safe to not recommend a delivery.

By the way, I also disagree with Dr. Knowles about her interpretation of Savita’s medical record, the chart doesn’t have “subtle indicators” of infection, it screams chorioamnionitis long before Wednesday morning. In North America the standard of care with chorioamnionitis is to recommend delivery as soon as the diagnosis is made, not wait until women enter the antechamber of death in the hopes that we can somehow snatch them back from the brink. If Irish law, or the interpretation thereof, had nothing to do with Savita’s death no expert would be mentioning sick enough at all.
jen-gunter  ob-gyn  medicine  savita  law  ireland  abortion  tragedy  galway  hospital 
april 2013 by jm
It’s the Sugar, Folks
A study published in the Feb. 27 issue of the journal PLoS One links increased consumption of sugar with increased rates of diabetes by examining the data on sugar availability and the rate of diabetes in 175 countries over the past decade. And after accounting for many other factors, the researchers found that increased sugar in a population’s food supply was linked to higher diabetes rates independent of rates of obesity. In other words, according to this study, obesity doesn’t cause diabetes: sugar does.

The study demonstrates this with the same level of confidence that linked cigarettes and lung cancer in the 1960s. As Rob Lustig, one of the study’s authors and a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, said to me, “You could not enact a real-world study that would be more conclusive than this one.”
nytimes  health  food  via:fanf  sugar  eating  diabetes  papers  medicine 
february 2013 by jm
NCBI ROFL: Probably the most horrifying scientific lecture ever

In 1983, at the Urodynamics Society meeting in Las Vegas, Professor G.S. Brindley first announced to the world his experiments on self-injection with papaverine to induce a penile erection. This was the first time that an effective medical therapy for erectile dysfunction (ED) was described, and was a historic development in the management of ED. The way in which this information was first reported was completely unique and memorable, and provides an interesting context for the development of therapies for ED. I was present at this extraordinary lecture, and the details are worth sharing. Although this lecture was given more than 20 years ago, the details have remained fresh in my mind, for reasons which will become obvious.


Go on, guess.
medicine  science  funny  erectile-dysfunction  omgwtf  conferences 
september 2012 by jm
Scrapheap Transhumanism
Lepht Anonym and the 'Grinders'. crazy stuff -- low-end DIY cybernetic augmentation. 'The implants sit in various places under my skin: middle fingertips of my left hand, back of the right hand, right forearm — tiny magnets, five or six millimeters across, coated in gold and then in silicon to isolate the delicate metal from the destructive environment of your body. They’re something of an investment at about thirty euros apiece, and hard to get hold of, but worth pursuing. When implanted, they become technological sensory organs. There’s an entire world of electromagnetic radiation out there, invisible to most. Our cities are saturated with it. A radio, for instance, gives off a field that’s bigger than the device itself. So do power supplies and wires in the walls. The implants pick up on the fields, and because they’re magnets, they fizz with gentle electricity, telling you this hard drive is currently active, that one is turned off, there’s the main line in the wall. Holding a mobile phone, you can feel the signals it sends and receives. You know it’s ringing before it starts to play any sounds, and when you answer it, you stick the touchscreen stylus to the back of your hand to hold it, then to your finger to type.'
diy  augmentation  cybernetics  transhumanism  lepht-anonym  grinders  biohacking  cyberpunk  medicine 
november 2011 by jm
Black Hat: Insulin pumps can be hacked
"Everything has an embedded processor and computer in it," he said. "Every time you hide behind [security by] obscurity, it is going to fail."

Brad Smith, a researcher and Black Hat conference staffer who also is a registered nurse, said the medical field largely looks the other way when it comes to securing patient devices.

"I lecture at all the medical conferences," he said during the press conference. "They just hide it. Pay attention to what [Radcliffe] is saying. His life is in this pump." (via Risks Digest)
via:risks  insulin  pump  medicine  security  hacking  health  wireless 
september 2011 by jm
Auto-appendectomy in the Antarctic: case report -- Rogozov and Bermel 339: b4965 -- BMJ
holy shit. This is absolutely amazing, a first-person account of auto-appendectomy (via infovore)
history  science  russian  medicine  antarctica  medical  amazing  appendectomy  surgery  from delicious
january 2010 by jm
I was a Doctor at an online pharmacy
Reddit thread from answers from a "doctor" at a dodgy online prescription-drugs store, supposedly not a spamvertized one though
medicine  pharma  spam  reddit  iama  scummy  illegal  law  from delicious
january 2010 by jm
why "anonymized" data really isn't
'Ohm notes, this illustrates a central reality of data collection: "data can either be useful or perfectly anonymous but never both."'
security  internet  politics  privacy  medicine  anonymity  datamining  anonymous  data  from delicious
september 2009 by jm

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