Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Medical Studies' Category

Hospice Care and Lung Cancer Survival

Metastatic non–small-cell lung cancer, the leading cause of death from cancer worldwide, is a debilitating disease that results in a high burden of symptoms and poor quality of life; the estimated prognosis after the diagnosis has been established is less than 1 year. Due to the high mortality rates of metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer, palliative […]

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How Effective is Arthroscopic Knee Surgery?

For patients with osteoarthritis, the answer is not at all. A paper in the New England Journal of Medicine examined 180 patients 75 years old or younger, that had osteoarthritis of the knee, and reported at least moderate knee pain on average despite medical treatment.  The researchers randomized this individuals into three groups: Surgery Group #1 (Lavage): The […]

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Are you depressed?

That is the question that that clinicians often have to ask.  Depression certainly operates along a scale and it is often difficult to quantify either i) if a person is depressed or ii) how depressed they are. One option to assess patient depression is the PHQ-9.  The assessment asks patients nine questions regarding their mental […]

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The History of Medicine: A Very Short Introduction

I recently finished reading a great book by William Bynum called The History of Medicine: A Very Short Introduction. The book does just what it says: provides a great introduction to the history of medicine.  It is concise and interesting throughout.  The contents are divided into six chapters: Medicine at the bedside Medicine in the […]

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Why do doctors adopt an innovation?

You’re a researcher.  You just came up with a new medical treatment that is far superior to the previous treatment.  How do you get physicians to adopt your method/technology? Most researchers believe that providing the physician with evidence of the new treatment superiority is the number one factor driving adoption.  In a presentation at this […]

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Improving Placebo Effectiveness at Kaiser

I went to my first physician appointment as a member of Kaiser.  I received a primary care visit and got lab work done within 30 minutes.  The whole process was incredibly efficient.  I notice the Kaiser docs and nurses followed best practices.  Further, the check-in process was very organized and my doctor could access my […]

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Surgical Complications and Mortality Rates

Mortality during surgery is dependent on two factors.  The first is the probability of having complications during surgery.  The second is the probability of dying conditional on having a complication.  One would expect that hospitals with low mortality rates would have both fewer complications and lower probability of death conditional on a complication.   A […]

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H1N1: Do I have it? Do I need a vaccine?

Two weeks ago, the U.S. government released its H1N1 vaccine to the public.  Many people have had a number of questions about whether or not they should get the vaccine.  The CDC website has a list of Key Facts and a Q&A section that is helpful.   There are five major groups who should have […]

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Medical Advances

The Economist‘s Technology Quarterly reveals some recent advances in medical technology: Cockroachs: A model for artificial hearts. A laser that would make Dr. Evil proud: one that fights malaria. Mobile phones used to monitor Tb compliance. No more MRIs?  The advent of photoacoustic imaging.

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Getting Naked

The physician-patient interaction can be a strange one.  Patients leave their most important possession–themselves–in the hand of strangers.  Typically conservative women will bare their naked bodies to physicians.   Although rare, the possibility exists for the physician to take advantage of this situation.   In the U.S. “4 percent of the disciplinary order that state medical […]

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