Category Archives: Healthcare

Scientists Partially Revive Disembodied Pig Brains

Scientists Partially Revive Disembodied Pig Brains, Raising Huge Questions – gizmodo.comby George Dvorsky – Apr 2019

Researchers from Yale have developed a system capable of restoring some functionality to the brains of decapitated pigs for at least 10 hours after death.

Developed by neuroscientist Nenad Sestan and his colleagues from Yale University, the system was shown to restore circulation and some cellular functionality to intact pig brains removed from the skull.

The brains were hooked up to the system, known as BrainEx, four hours after death was declared and after severe oxygen starvation, or anoxia, had set in.   Continue reading

2017 Suicide Statistics: over 47,000 deaths

Suicide Statistics — AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) – Apr 2019

While this data is the most accurate we have, we estimate the numbers to be higher. Stigma surrounding suicide leads to underreporting, and data collection methods critical to suicide prevention need to be improved.

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US
  • In 2017, 47,173 Americans died by suicide
  • In 2017, there were an estimated 1,400,000 suicide attempts
  • In 2015, suicide and self-injury cost the US $69  Billion

It’s a strange coincidence that almost the same number of people died from all drug overdoses as from suicide – especially since it is suspected that some overdosed intentionally and would count in both tallies.  Continue reading

New device determines whether Rx drugs are fake

This startup built a device to figure out if prescription drugs are fake

The World Health Organization estimates that in sub-Saharan Africa, between 64,000 and 154,000 people die per year from taking fake anti-malaria medications, and other counterfeit drugs claim thousands more lives.

Adebayo Alonge’s was nearly one of them. Over 15 years ago, as a student in Nigeria, he suffered a severe asthma attack. At the hospital, he was given Ventolin, a medication which should have helped him breathe, but instead, because it was counterfeit, put him in a coma for three weeks.

He survived, “but this was the specific experience that stayed with me–it was clear that my life could’ve been ended by a drug that wasn’t what it was supposed to be,”   Continue reading

Hospital Stays Are Becoming Hell on Earth

Hospital Stays Are Becoming Hell on Earth – by Heather Wargo – Feb 2019

This story is worth reading in its entirety (link above) and warns us about trusting even hospitals to treat our health emergencies if they involve pain. Mentioning pain instantly makes us suspect and we are assumed to be “drug-seeking”.

America’s Hospitals are Refusing to Properly Treat Pain, Leaving Patients In Agony

When I had an endoscopic ERCP procedure* performed in May 2018, it was supposed to be an in and out procedure. Continue reading

Understanding the money trail in medicine

It’s important to understand the money trail in medicine – Smart Money, MD | Finance | April 9

There was a recent news brief stating that the average internist generates about $2.4 million annually for the hospitals that they work for.

See also: Physicians Keep Increasing Revenue for Hospitals and The demise of medicine when profit reigns supreme

While it’s no surprise that doctors help others make money, seeing a figure to your worth hammers home how much we sustain the health care system, often at our own expense.   Continue reading

Medical guidelines may be biased, overly aggressive

Medical guidelines may be biased, overly aggressive in USCornell University – Apr 2019

Dr. Sunita Sah practiced general medicine for several years in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. When she came to the United States, she noticed something strange.

The U.K. guidelines for tests such as mammograms and colon cancer screenings drastically differed from those in the U.S…

…even though they were based on the same medical evidence.   Continue reading

The demise of medicine when profit reigns supreme

The demise of medicine: A neurologist advocates for patients and is silenced – by Virginia Thornley, MD – Aug 2018

Our doctors have it almost as bad as we do, as more and more small practices are being bought up by huge corporations (with the moral imperative to make a profit).

Now they are only employees valued for their RVUs (Relative value units (RVUs) are a measure of value used in the United States Medicare reimbursement formula for physician services).

Physicians are overwhelmed by

  • patient loads, 
  • 10-minute visits,
  • the wealth of documentation dictated by health insurance requirements and
  • the overwhelming overtaking of medicine by non-physician personnel.

As medicine changed from patient to profit-centered, it marked the beginning of the end. Continue reading

The Industrialization of Medicine

I found this slide from a powerpoint presentation on Twitter, and I lost the original link, but it was clearly presented by the EMC, a corporation that sells databases and EMRs used in healthcare these days.

The presentation is titled “A New Era in Healthcare” (ripe for profiteering) and from this slide, we can see they are talking about money, not patient care.

Death by 1,000 Clicks in Electronic Health Records

Death By 1,000 Clicks: Where Electronic Health Records Went Wrong

The pain radiated from the top of Annette Monachelli’s head, and it got worse when she changed positions. It didn’t feel like her usual migraine. The 47-year-old Vermont attorney turned innkeeper visited her local doctor at the Stowe Family Practice twice about the problem in late November 2012, but got little relief.

Two months later, Monachelli was dead of a brain aneurysm, a condition that, despite the symptoms and the appointments, had never been tested for or diagnosed until she turned up in the emergency room days before her death.

Monachelli’s husband sued Stowe, the federally qualified health center the physician worked for. Owen Foster, a newly hired assistant U.S. attorney with the District of Vermont, was assigned to defend the government.   Continue reading

Funding Bias: Danger Lurking in Industry Studies

This is a series of three articles by David Hatch about research bias – Apr 2018

Funding Bias: The Hidden Danger Lurking in Industry Studies | Tarbell

When companies pay for research on their products and services, there is a strong incentive to rig the results in their favor, say critics. Variously called “sponsorship bias,” “funding effect,” or “funding bias,” the favoritism can be baked deep into the design or methodology.

Since extensive debriefs of researchers are usually not feasible, he recommends looking for clues that might indicate bias. The structure of an experiment, exclusion of certain data, and interpretation of results are key areas to evaluate.   Continue reading