Friday, June 12, 2015

See Images From the ‘Instagram for Doctors’ -- Science of Us

In 1786, a lengthy caravan of mules journeyed from Florence to Vienna carrying a thousand or so anatomical wax models, among them a recumbent "Medical Venus." Possessing a mermaid's head of golden hair, the sorry goddess had been sliced from sternum to stomach, yet still wore her pearls. She and her colleagues were exhibited for the education of medical students as well as the gawking of a prurient public. The models had been a special commission for the Italian sculptor Clemente Susini, later praised for "the beauty he gave to the most revolting things."

And so it is with Figure 1, a free medical photo-sharing app — "Instagram for doctors." Who knew a portrait of an #ingrown-toenail removal could be so gorgeously gory: the tender alabaster big toe, bloody and raw where half the nail has been sliced off, the remaining half with its shimmering silvery chipped polish worn down to nearly nothing, and a few unkempt hairs puncturing the glamour.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Common heartburn medications linked to greater risk of heart attack - The Washington Post

A novel data-mining project reveals evidence that a common group of heartburn medications taken by more than 100 million people every year is associated with a greater risk of heart attacks, Stanford University researchers reported Wednesday.

After combing through 16 million electronic records of 2.9 million patients in two separate databases, the researchers found that people who take the medication to suppress the release of stomach acid are 16 percent to 21 percent more likely to suffer myocardial infarction, commonly known as heart attack.

Because of its design, the study could not show cause and effect, but the researchers did claim that if their technology had been available, "such pharmacovigilance algorithms could have flagged this risk as early as the year 2000."


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Painkillers Resist Abuse, but Experts Still Worry -

Anthony DiTullio would pop a painkiller in his mouth but not just swallow it, as intended. He would chew it for 30 minutes, grinding through its protective coating and waxy unpleasantness, because the only pain he was treating was addiction.

The pill was OxyContin, a painkiller that its manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, says deters abuse by being difficult to chew or liquefy into forms that give addicts stronger highs, orally or through injection. Since adding these features to its original and widely abused OxyContin in 2010, the company has likened the pill to a virtual seatbelt to restrain the nation's epidemic of prescription drug abuse.

But as thousands of addicts still find ways to abuse OxyContin and similar painkillers, called abuse-deterrent formulations, some experts caution that the protections are misunderstood and could mislead both users and prescribers into thinking that the underlying medications are less addictive.

Because abuse-deterrent formulations are relatively new, preliminary data on their public-health implications is limited. Several studies, somesponsored by Purdue, have found that abuse of OxyContin specifically has decreased after its protections were added. Other reports confirmed those findings but also found that many abusers simply moved on to other opioids, as well as heroin, leaving the overall effect on drug abuse open for debate.

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