Sunday, April 12, 2015

ABOUT once a month I run across a person who radiates an inner light. These people can be in any walk of life. They seem deeply good. They listen well. They make you feel funny and valued. You often catch them looking after other people and as they do so their laugh is musical and their manner is infused with gratitude. They are not thinking about what wonderful work they are doing. They are not thinking about themselves at all.
When I meet such a person it brightens my whole day. But I confess I often have a sadder thought: It occurs to me that I’ve achieved a decent level of career success, but I have not achieved that. I have not achieved that generosity of spirit, or that depth of character.
Link

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Will Your Child Become Nearsighted? One Simple Way To Find Out

This is for everyone whose parents said, "Sitting too close to the TV is going to ruin your eyes." In other words, pretty much all of us.
Sitting too close to the TV doesn't predict nearsightedness, according to a study that tracked the vision of thousands of children over 20 years. Nor does doing a lot of close work.
Instead, as early as age 6 a child's refractive error — the measurements used for an eyeglass prescription — best predicts the risk.
LINK

Thursday, March 12, 2015

How $5000 surgery can permanently change brown eyes to blue

In the classic 1930s movie, "The Wizard of Oz," Dorothy asks the good citizens of Oz whether they could dye her eyes to match her gown, and they happily oblige. Of course, eyes are not like hair, and 75 years on you still cannot dye your eyes to suit your outfit. But it turns out that you can actually change their color with the aid of a laser.
The technique was pioneered by California-based Stroma Medical and it is currently available in several countries, but it has yet to receive approval in the United States. So far,37 patients in Mexico and Costa Rica have undergone the procedure, which permanently turned their eyes from brown to blue.



Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/technology/lasers-can-turn-your-eyes-blue-brown-5000#ixzz3UCtpDO00

Monday, March 09, 2015

BRAIN’S LIGHT DETECTOR IS NOT SO SIMPLE AFTER ALL

Neuroscientists generally think of the front end of the human visual system as a simple light detection system.
The patterns produced when light falls on the retina are relayed to the visual cortex at the rear of the brain, where all of the “magic” happens. That’s when the patterns are transformed into our 3D view of the world.
Now, however, a brain imaging study challenges this basic assumption.

Friday, March 06, 2015

This Is Your Brain on Love

Why love is not an emotion and how obsessive thinking begets romantic joy.
(Another great post from Maria Popova at Brainpickings)


Today, we turn to biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, who studies the evolution of human emotions and the intricacies of the brain in — and on — love. Fisher explores the science of love without losing a sense of romance, shedding light on some of the complex ways in which the brain and the heart diverge.
If you can stomach the geekines, there’s actually a wealth of insight in this talkDr. Fisher gave at the American Psychiatric Association’s Sex, Sexuality and Serotonin conference in 2004, brilliantly synthesized here, in which she argues — with solid scientific evidence and from a rich interdisciplinary perspective — that antidepressants may jeopardize romantic love.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Easy on the eyes: How eyelash length keeps your eyes healthy

It started with a trip to the basement of the American Museum of Natural History in New York to inspect preserved animal hides. Later, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers built a wind tunnel about 2 feet tall, complete with a makeshift eye. By putting both steps together, the team discovered that 22 species of mammals -- from humans, to hedgehogs, to giraffes ¬- are the same: their eyelash length is one-third the width of their eye. Anything shorter or longer, including the fake eyelashes that are popular in Hollywood and make-up aisles, increases airflow around the eye and leads to more dust hitting the surface. "Eyelashes form a barrier to control airflow and the rate of evaporation on the surface of the cornea," 
Link

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

ObamaCare’s Electronic-Records Debacle

The rule raises health-care costs even as it means doctors see fewer patients while providing worse care.


The debate over ObamaCare has obscured another important example of government meddling in medicine. Starting this year, physicians like myself who treat Medicare patients must adopt electronic health records, known as EHRs, which are digital versions of a patient’s paper charts. If doctors do not comply, our reimbursement rates will be cut by 1%, rising to a maximum of 5% by the end of the decade.
I am an unwilling participant in this program. In my experience, EHRs harm patients more than they help.
..
Apparently our poor bedside manner is a national crisis, judging by how my fellow physicians feel about the EHR program. A 2014 survey by the industry group Medical Economics discovered that 67% of doctors are “dissatisfied with [EHR] functionality.” Three of four physicians said electronic health records “do not save them time,” according to Deloitte. Doctors reported spending—or more accurately, wasting—an average of 48 minutes each day dealing with this system.
That plays into the issue of higher costs. The Deloitte survey also found that three of four physicians think electronic health records “increase costs.” There are three reasons. 

..
Not surprisingly, a recent study in Perspectives in Health Information Management found that electronic health records encourage errors that can “endanger patient safety or decrease the quality of care.” America saw a real-life example during the recent Ebola crisis, when “patient zero” in Dallas, Thomas Eric Duncan, received a delayed diagnosis due in part to problems with EHRs.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New Glasses Transform The Way Colorblind People See The World

This special eyewear is giving many a new outlook. 
EnChroma, a company in Berkeley, California, has created colorblindness correcting glasses, which allow those who are colorblind to see hues they may have never experienced before. While the sunglasses, which are meant for outdoor use in daylight, were first released two years ago, the company's new version is made from polycarbonate -- a material that's kid-friendly and usable in sports.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Could This Man Hold the Secret to Human Regeneration?

Michael Levin wants to help people regrow lost limbs. Now he could be on the verge of a breakthrough.

ARE TWO-THIRDS OF CANCERS DUE TO ‘BAD LUCK’?

A new statistical model suggests that almost two-thirds of adult cancer cases could be explained primarily by the “bad luck” of random mutations in the patients’ genes, rather than environmental factors or inherited traits.
Link

Friday, January 02, 2015

Frustrated at the lack of interest by the medical establishment in reducing the costs of diagnostic testing, and seeing almost no chance of getting the necessary research grants, Kanav Kahol returned home to New Delhi in 2011. He was a member of Arizona State University’s department of biomedical informatics. Kahol had noted that despite the similarities between most medical devices in their computer displays and circuits, their packaging made them unduly complex and difficult for anyone but highly skilled practitioners to use. As well, they were incredibly expensive — costing tens of thousands of dollars each.
Kahol knew that the sensors in these devices were commonly available and inexpensive, usually costing only a few dollars. He believed that he could connect these to a common computer platform and use commercially available computer tablets to display diagnostic information, thereby dramatically reducing the cost of the medical equipment. He also wanted to repackage the sensor data to make them intelligible to technicians with just basic medical training — the frontline health workers who do the tasks of physicians in parts of the world where physicians are in short supply.
ahol and his Indian engineering team built a prototype of a device called the Swasthya Slate (which translates to “Health Tablet”) in less than three months, for a cost of $11,000. This used an off-the-shelf Android tablet and incorporated a four-lead ECG, medical thermometer, water-quality meter, and heart-rate monitor. They then enhanced this with a 12-lead ECG and sensors for blood pressure, blood sugar, heart rate, blood haemoglobin, and urine protein and glucose. In June 2012, they sent this device to 80 medical labs for testing, which reported that it was as accurate as the medical equipment they used — but more suitable for use in remote and rural areas, because it was built for the rugged conditions there.
By January 2013, Kahol’s team had incorporated 33 diagnostic tests, including for HIV, syphilis, pulse oximetry, and troponin (relating to heart attack) into the Swasthya Slate and reduced its cost to $800 per unit. They also built a variety of artificial-intelligence–based apps for frontline health workers and started testing these in different parts of India.

Ebola Doctors Are Divided on IV Therapy in Africa

Medical experts seeking to stem the Ebola epidemic are sharply divided over whether most patients in West Africa should, or can, be given intravenous hydration, a therapy that is standard in developed countries. Some argue that more aggressive treatment with IV fluids is medically possible and a moral obligation. But others counsel caution, saying that pushing too hard would put overworked doctors and nurses in danger and that the treatment, if given carelessly, could even kill patients.
Link
Partners in Health, using the French initials for Doctors Without Borders, whose staff members have worked on the front lines of Ebola outbreaks for years. “What if the fatality rate isn’t the virulence of disease but the mediocrity of the medical delivery?”
Doctors Without Borders representatives strongly disagreed, saying that Dr. Farmer’s assumptions about Ebola were incorrect, that intensive rehydration would probably not save as many patients as he believes, and that the W.H.O.’s position has not been proved.
The group’s overwhelmed doctors do what they can, officials said, but it is hard to insert needles while wearing three pairs of gloves and foggy goggles. IVs must be monitored, drawing virus-laden blood for tests is dangerous, and patients yank needles out — sometimes in delirium, sometimes just to go to the toilet when no nurse is around.
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