Saturday, November 24, 2007

Stunning temples secretly carved below ground by eccentric

But the 'Temples of Damanhur' are not the great legacy of some long-lost civilisation, they are the work of a 57-year-old former insurance broker from northern Italy who, inspired by a childhood vision, began digging into the rock.
Eighth wonder of the world? The stunning temples secretly carved out below ground by 'paranormal' eccentric | the Daily Mail

Friday, November 23, 2007

23andMe - Open Letter to the Medical Community

To the Medical Community:

At 23andMe our mission is to help our customers understand their own genetic information and how the current biomedical literature pertains to it. Our  genetics just got personal. service combines genotyping with a set of tools and features that depict each customer's personal information clearly, yet without distorting or misrepresenting our current understanding of how genes combine with environment and other factors to produce human traits and diseases. We also keep our service up-to-date by evaluating major genetic association studies as they are published in peer-reviewed journals, and incorporating them into our service after they have been satisfactorily confirmed.What we do not and will not do is provide medical advice to our customers. Though our service delivers personalized data, the information it provides is tailored to genotypes, not to individuals. Initially, we will have no knowledge of our customers' vital signs, disease histories, family histories, environment, or any other medically relevant information. Thus we have no way of evaluating our customers' health or medical needs, and we make every effort to clarify this for our customers.We also try to impress upon our customers the fact that genes are far from the only determinant of health, and that other factors can play an equal or greater role in determining whether they will develop a particular disease or condition. And our materials explain that the scientific understanding of how genetics may affect disease risk and other aspects of a person's health is changing and will continue to change as more research is done. These caveats aside, we at 23andMe believe that giving personalized genetic information to our customers can inspire them to take more responsibility for their own health and well-being. We also think our tools will serve to educate the lay public about genetics. At the very least, we hope our product will stimulate conversation among doctors, patients and researchers about genes and their role in human health.To that end, we hope you will contact us with your thoughts and suggestions about the role of personalized genetics in your medical specialty (or medicine in general). While we cannot promise to publish every contribution on our website, we will do our best to make sure the conversation reflects a variety of viewpoints and experiences. We also feel that our customers will benefit from this exchange.


23andMe - Letter to the Medical Community

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Home Hemodialysis

Hemodialysis is a process of cleaning and filtering the blood using a dialysis machine (a "man made kidney"). For people with renal failure, dialysis is lifesaving. (This posting will only discuss hemodialysis. Peritoneal dialysis is another form of dialysis that works equally well.)

SL Package Previously, hemodialysis was only performed in dialysis centers. Typically, dialysis centers are large rooms with twenty or more dialysis machines, nurses, technicians, doctors, and other staff. In the United States, patients usually travel to these centers three times a week and spend three to four hours per dialysis session.

In the last few years, hemodialysis performed at home has become more popular. Dialysis machines were previously large and difficult to transport. Recently, these machines have become more compact, making dialysis at home (or even mobile dialysis) more practical.

Home hemodialysis also offers more flexible treatment options than "in-center" dialysis. In addition to three times a week dialysis for three to four hours, other options include
  • short daily dialysis, five or six times a week, for two to three hours a session
  • nocturnal dialysis, performed while sleeping, for six to eight hours a night, three or more nights a week
Some data suggests that patient outcomes may be better with daily dialysis and nocturnal dialysis compared with three times a week dialysis.

The NxStage System One is an example of a compact, portable, easy to use home dialysis machine. The machine weighs about 75 pounds. More information may be found here.

Related Information: Kidney Replacement Therapies

Sunday, November 18, 2007

ACP Foundation HEALTH TiPS

HEALTH TiPS is a new program offered to ACP physicians from the ACP Foundation. HEALTH TiPS are two sided 4"x 6" sheets that contain important information that patients need to know to manage their chronic conditions.

ACP Foundation HEALTH TiPS

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule --- United States, October 2007--September 2008

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) annually reviews the recommended Adult Immunization Schedule to ensure that the schedule reflects current recommendations for the licensed vaccines. In June 2007, ACIP approved the Adult Immunization Schedule for October 2007--September 2008. Additional information is available as follows: schedule (in English and Spanish) at; adult vaccinations at; ACIP statements for specific vaccines at; and reporting adverse events at or by telephone, 800-822-7967.
Figure 1
Figure 2

Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule --- United States, October 2007--September 2008

Health Loves a Second Life, from the Second Life News Network

A top official at the National Institute of Health (NIH) says Second Life has huge potential for bringing the science profession together.J.P. Boucher, a contractor with the NIH says, "I (and the people I work with) see tremendous potential in this medium for communicating and interacting for medical and scientific purposes." The NIH is a global organization that provides funding and research to solve medical issues. Boucher has advocated and supported it by creating the NIH group inside Second Life and advocating the use of NVEs (Networked Virtual Environments) throughout the U.S. government. Boucher said NIH entered the virtual world for four reasons citizen outreach, collaboration, training, and the potential for E-Government Services...
Health loves a Second Life, Via

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"Emotional Support Animals"

Writing a letter for a patient. Everything you need to know is here:
Name of Professional (therapist, physician, psychiatrist, rehabilitation counselor)
XXX Road
City, State Zip

Dear [Housing Authority/Landlord]:

[Full Name of Tenant] is my patient, and has been under my care since [date]. I am intimately familiar with his/her history and with the functional limitations imposed by his/her disability. He/She meets the definition of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Due to mental illness, [first name] has certain limitations regarding [social interaction/coping with stress/anxiety, etc.]. In order to help alleviate these difficulties, and to enhance his/her ability to live independently and to fully use and enjoy the dwelling unit you own and/or administer, I am prescribing an emotional support animal that will assist [first name] in coping with his/her disability.

I am familiar with the voluminous professional literature concerning the therapeutic benefits of assistance animals for people with disabilities such as that experienced by [first name]. Upon request, I will share citations to relevant studies, and would be happy to answer other questions you may have concerning my recommendation that [Full Name of Tenant] have an emotional support animal. Should you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Name of Professional

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

"My iPod, My Cell, My Insulin Pump"

Tom Baldwin, a 43-year-old flight attendant, wears two sleek gadgets strapped to his belt. One is an iPhone and the other is a compact insulin pump and glucose monitor called the Paradigm Real-Time (PRT) System made by medical device giant Medtronic (MDT ). It features user-friendly control buttons and a screen that displays Baldwin's glucose levels, measured up to 288 times a day, from a fine needle lodged in the skin of his abdomen.
My iPod, My Cell, My Insulin Pump -- in Businessweek

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

What Infections Can You Get From Your Pets?

Human contact with cats, dogs, and other pets results in several million infections each year in the United States, ranging from self-limited skin conditions to life-threatening systemic illnesses. Toxoplasmosis is one of the most common pet-related parasitic infections. Although toxoplasmosis is usually asymptomatic or mild, it may cause serious congenital infection if a woman is exposed during pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester. Common pet-borne fungal infections include tinea corporis/capitis (ringworm); campylobacteriosis and salmonellosis are among the most common bacterial infections associated with pet ownership. Less commonly, pets can transmit arthropod-borne and viral illnesses (e.g., scabies, rabies). Infection in a pet can provide sentinel warning of local vectors and endemic conditions, such as Lyme disease risk. Treatment is infection-specific, although many infections are self-limited. Prevention involves common sense measures such as adequate hand washing, proper disposal of animal waste, and ensuring that infected animals are diagnosed and treated. Special precautions are indicated for immunocompromised persons. Increased communication between primary care physicians and veterinarians could improve treatment and prevention of these conditions.
Pet-Related Infections - November 1, 2007 -- American Family Physician

Hilarious Journal Articles #89: Visualizing Out-of-Body Experience in the Brain

An out-of-body experience was repeatedly elicited during stimulation of the posterior part of the superior temporal gyrus on the right side in a patient in whom electrodes had been implanted to suppress tinnitus. Positron-emission tomographic scanning showed brain activation at the temporoparietal junction — more specifically, at the angular–supramarginal gyrus junction and the superior temporal gyrus–sulcus on the right side. Activation was also noted at the right precuneus and posterior thalamus, extending into the superior vermis. We suggest that activation of these regions is the neural correlate of the disembodiment that is part of the out-of-body experience.
From the New England Journal of Medicine -- Visualizing Out-of-Body Experience in the Brain
The collection of hilarious journal articles is here.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Halloween Postmortem

Halloween Parade, New York 2007, from Rocketboom:

Friday, November 2, 2007

Testing Flock

Posting with Flock 1.0, a "social web browser."