Saturday, November 1, 2014

This CEO's out for blood - Fortune

In the fall of 2003, Elizabeth Holmes, a 19-year-old sophomore at Stanford, plopped herself down in the office of her chemical engineering professor, Channing Robertson, and said, "Let's start a company."

Robertson, who had seen thousands of undergraduates over his 33-year teaching career, had known Holmes just more than a year. "I knew she was different," Robertson told me in an interview. "The novelty of how she would view a complex technical problem–it was unique in my experience."

Holmes had then just spent the summer working in a lab at the Genome Institute in Singapore, a post she had been able to fill thanks to having learned Mandarin in her spare hours as a Houston teenager. Upon returning to Palo Alto, she showed Robertson a patent application she had just written. As a freshman, Holmes had taken Robertson's seminar on advanced drug-delivery devices–things like patches, pills, and even a contact-lens-like film that secreted glaucoma medication–but now she had invented one the likes of which Robertson had never conceived. It was a wearable patch that, in addition to administering a drug, would monitor variables in the patient's blood to see if the therapy was having the desired effect, and adjust the dosage accordingly.

"I remember her saying, 'And we could put a cellphone chip on it, and it could telemeter out to the doctor or the patient what was going on,' " Robertson recounts. "And I kind of kicked myself. I'd consulted in this area for 30 years, but I'd never said, here we make all these gizmos that measure, and all these systems that deliver, but I never brought the two together."

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Opioids prescribed by doctors led to 92,000 overdoses in ERs in one year - LA Times

Prescription drug overdoses, a dangerous side effect of the nation's embrace of narcotic painkillers, are a "substantial" burden on hospitals and the economy, according to a new study of emergency room visits.

Overdoses involving prescription painkillers have become a leading cause of injury deaths in the U.S. and a closely watched barometer of an evolving healthcare crisis. Little was known, however, about the nature of overdoses treated in the nation's emergency rooms.

A new analysis of 2010 data from hospitals nationwide found that prescription painkillers, known as opioids, were involved in 68% of opioid-related overdoses treated in emergency rooms. Hospital care for those overdose victims cost an estimated $1.4 billion.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Faces of Breast Cancer - Well -

If you live with breast cancer, love someone with breast cancer or worry about your risk for breast cancer, you are part of a global community of women and men whose lives have been touched by the disease. We asked our readers to share insights from their experiences with breast cancer. Browse their stories to find people like you and join the conversation.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Pain in the Neck -

The 62-year-old engineer struggled as he put on his pants. His left arm, which had hurt for the last couple of days, now felt weak, and his left hand hung limp and useless, as if it were somehow paralyzed. When he went to brush his teeth, he noticed that the foamy toothpaste was pouring from his mouth. He glanced up at the mirror and was startled to see that his face was lopsided. The right side, from shaggy brow to toothpaste-covered lip, was lower than the left. The eyelid sagged, revealing the pink inner lid, and that side of his mouth was immobile.

Was this a stroke? He didn't think so. But his wife wanted to take him straight to the emergency room. He considered the option but decided against it. He had a follow-up appointment that morning with Dr. Isaac Moss, an orthopedic surgeon who was treating him for the arm pain. He figured that seeing a doctor who knew him might be better than going to the E.R. So late that morning he went to Moss's office at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington.

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