On 10 February 2015, the long awaited report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) was released regarding a new name — Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease — and case definition for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Because I was quoted regarding this report in a New York Times article, in part due to having worked on these issues for many years, hundreds of patients contacted me over the next few days.
February is Heart Month in both the United States and the United Kingdom. It is a time to raise awareness of heart and circulatory diseases. Heart Month highlights all forms of heart disease, from certain life-threatening heart conditions that individuals are born with, to heart attacks and heart failure in later life.
In 1998 the biotech company Genentech launched Herceptin for the treatment of certain types of breast cancer. Herceptin was an example of a ‘therapeutic antibody’ and was the first of its type for cancer treatment. Antibodies are proteins in our immune system that can target abnormal cells (or bacteria, toxins, viruses, etc.) in the body, and on arriving at the target can set in motion a whole set of biological events that in principle can remove or degrade to a non-dangerous state the abnormal cells.
When we think of ethical issues in bio-medical research (if we think of them at all), what usually comes to mind are either egregious breaches, such as the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study, in which treatment was kept from rural black men in order to investigate the natural history of this treatable disease, or questions such as whether it is proper to use prisoners as subjects in early drug testing trials.
Fluorescent proteins are changing the world. Page through any modern scientific journal and it’s impossible to miss the vibrant images of fluorescent proteins. Bright, colorful photographs not only liven-up scholarly journals, but they also serve as invaluable tools to track HIV, to design chickens that are resistant to bird flu and to confirm the existence of cancerous stem cells.
With the Ebola virus outbreak, great debate surrounding electronic cigarettes, and other public health topics in the media headlines, 2014 was a very eventful year for public health. The year also brought many great research articles, blogs, and publications addressing these and other important issues.
Is it better to be positive or negative? Many of the most vivid public health appeals have been negative – “Smoking Kills” or “Drive, Drive, and Die” – but do these negative messages work when it comes to changing eating behavior?
In 1971, William Irvin Thompson, a professor at York University in Toronto, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times entitled, “We Become What We Hate,” describing the way in which “thoughts can become inverted when they are reflected in actions.” He cited several scientific, sociocultural, economic, and political situations where the maxim appeared to be true. The physician who believed he was inventing a pill to help women become pregnant had actually invented the oral contraceptive.
When patients are discharged from the intensive care unit it’s great news for everyone. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean the road to recovery is straight. As breakthroughs and new technology increase the survival rate for highly critical patients, the number of possible further complications rises, meaning life after the ICU can be complex.
The field of anaesthesia is a subtle discipline, when properly applied the patient falls gently asleep, miraculously waking-up with one less kidney or even a whole new nose. Today, anaesthesiologists have perfected measuring the depth and risk of anaesthesia, but these breakthroughs were hard-won.
Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov (aka Lenin) died on this day 90 years ago with cerebral vessels so calcified that when tapped with tweezers, they sounded like stone. He was only 53. He hadn’t smoked and, in fact, had prohibited smoking in his presence.
How are we to understand experiences of depression? First of all, it is important to be clear about what the problem consists of. If we don’t know what depression is like, why can’t we just ask someone who’s depressed?
Given that we see yoga practically everywhere we turn, from strip-mall yoga studios to advertisements for the Gap, one might assume a blanket acceptance of yoga as an acceptable consumer choice. Yet, a growing movement courts fear of the popularization of yoga, warning that yoga is essentially Hindu.
“Sorry mate, I didn’t see you”. It’s a common refrain heard after many a road-traffic collision, describing the frequent type of motorbike accident when a car pulls out at an intersection. It turns out that these sorts of events might be more complicated than they first appear. These sorts of situational awareness failures may in fact result from a well-described, but not well-known, psychological phenomenon called inattentional blindness.
About 500,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. This number is expected to soar to 1.1 million within 25 years. To date, there is no definitive way for health care professionals to forecast the onset of dementia in a patient with memory complaints.
Teachers at medical schools have struggled with a basic problem for decades: they want their students not just to be competent doctors, but to be excellent ones. If you understand a little history, you can see why this is such a challenge.