Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

10 of the Top Health Apps for Consumers & Professionals in 2010

From the ePharma Summit blog item

A lot has changed over the course of 2010 in the apps that HCP’s and Patients use to divulge health information. Many are continuing to get on the Mobile “Bandwagon” for the first time this year alone thanks to innovations in Smartphones and new portable tablets.

Here are 10 popular apps you should consider:

1. Medscape Medscape tops our list as the number one free medical app for medical professionals. The amount of free content provided by Medscape is absolutely mind boggling and seems to continuously grow with each update. 7,000+ drug references, 3,500+ disease clinical references, 2,500+ clinical images and procedure videos, robust drug interaction tool checker, CME activities, and more.

http://www.imedicalapps.com/2010/05/medscape-iphone-medical-app-review

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/medscape/id321367289?mt=8

2. Micromedex This might come as a surprise to many, but after you use this prescription medical reference app you’ll understand why it ranks so high. The overall user interface of the app is simple and quick. There is minimal clutter — another reason for such a high ranking. If you need to look up a dose or some quick reference information about a drug you can accomplish this with ease.

There are no prompts to register your e-mail address, no CME activities, no icon badges, no notifications, or any other distractions. The one knock on this app is it doesn’t have a robust drug interaction checker, something Medscape and Epocrates provide. On the flip side, for residents and medical students, the app does a better job than other drug reference apps when it comes to mechanism of action information and patient teaching information. Another plus is it’s available for the iPad — which is not true of Epocrates and Medscape.

The application is a production of Thomson Reuters, a legitimate name in Healthcare.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/micromedex-drug-information/id390211464?mt=8

3. New England Journal of Medicine The NEJM app is clearly a must have for all health care professionals. The caveat is that when this app was released the NEJM stated it would be free for a “limited time” in the iTunes description — that was more than 5 months ago and the app still remains free, allowing you to access fantastic NEJM content customized for the mobile format. The app allows you to access the last 7 days worth of published articles, along with images of various medical conditions and videos on how to perform procedures such as LPs and chest tubes.

http://www.imedicalapps.com/2010/06/new-england-journal-of-medicine-iphone-app-free-content/

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nejm-this-week/id373156254?mt=8

4. Epocrates There is no denying Epocrates is one of the best medical reference tools in the mobile format. The free version of Epocrates, Epocrates Rx, provides great content: Drug monographs and health plan formularies, drug interaction tool, pill identifier, medical Calculator, and a new addition: Medical News and handpicked clinical articles.

http://www.imedicalapps.com/2010/02/epocrates-app-review-iphone-medical-app-ipod-touc/

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/epocrates/id281935788?mt=8

5. MedCalc MedCalc once again makes it into our top free medical apps list. The creators of MedCalc have updated the app multiple times, making its user interface more robust and continuously adding medical formulas. It’s been downloaded more than a mind numbing 700,000 times, making it one of the most popular medical apps for the iPhone. The creators of the app are medical professionals and it was one of the first medical calculators to hit the iOS App Store with the introduction of the iPhone.

http://www.imedicalapps.com/2009/06/medcalc-v12/

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/medcalc-medical-calculator/id299470331?mt=8

6. WebMD Mobile This is a free app, which helps patients to diagnose their condition, using a symptom checker. You simply enter your symptoms and the app gives you a diagnosis. There is also a first aid section, which covers everything from minor cuts to heart attacks. The app also offers information about suitable treatments

http://www.webmd.com/mobile

7) iPregnancy This is a useful application for pregnant women; it has a range of pictures of the developing baby and contains a wealth of information about pregnancy. The app also has a tool to keep track of antenatal appointments.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ipregnancy-pregnancy-app/id295598816?mt=8

8) Blood pressure This app tracks blood pressure and can be used to keep a record of blood pressure over a set time period. The app can be utilized by multiple users and is easy to use. This app is ideal for those who have high blood pressure but can be beneficial for everyone, as there are often no obvious symptoms of high blood pressure.

http://www.apple.com/webapps/calculate/bloodpressure.html

9) Glucose Buddy

The Glucose Buddy app is a really useful tool for diabetics; it helps to keep track of blood sugar levels.

http://www.glucosebuddy.com/glucose_buddy_app

10) iPharmacy

iPharmacy enables you to look up medications and treatments and look for dosage instructions, side-effects and information about different drugs. The app also has information about drug interactions so you can find out about taking medications with other types of drug.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ipharmacy-the-drug-medication/id348702163?mt=8

Doctors are taking to iPhone, BlackBerry and smartphone apps. According to the 2009 MDsearch.com Smartphone Survey, 53% of physician respondents own a smartphone and 63% of those physicians are using mobile medical applications. Like it or not apps are here to stay. I truly think they will help 98% of the time both as a reference or a quick way to get updated information about any topic.

December 28, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , | 2 Comments

Health care hashtags – a social project to organize tweets

Have you noticed that some twitter messages include hastags (as “#baseball”)? These symbols are entered by tweeters to identify the subjects of their messages. So, if you search twitter with ” #baseball”, you will only get tweets that include include “#baseball ” and are about baseball.

The medical web site builder Fox epractice is proposing that health and medical hashtags be better organized for improved retrieval of twitter messages.

(Click here for a calendar of Health Tweet Chats!)

An excerpt from the Fox ePractice proposal

Since I started using Twitter I’ve felt that so many of us who wish to meet other people interested in healthcare and who wish to participate in the many healthcare related conversations have been kept apart because of what should be a common language … hashtags. With that in mind, we at Fox ePractice have embarked upon an ambitious project. One in which we are searching for the many Twitter hashtags that are in use that are specific to the field of healthcare, and to organize that data in some of the following ways …

**Allow exploration by either hashtag or healthcare subject matter.

**Show hashtags that are related to one another in the healthcare field.

**Demonstrate frequency of use of related hashtags so as to facilitate hashtag selection.

**Identify most frequent users and most frequent @mentions with each hashtag so as to find the influencers to follow on your healthcare topic of choice.

**Determine which healthcare hashtags overall are most popular at any given time.

**To provide a live feed of conversations related to each hashtag so as to easily explore what’s currently being shared on Twitter in your healthcare topic of choice.

**To encourage visitors to vote on which hashtags are most useful in hopes of bringing multiple conversations together. (example: #pediatric, #pediatrics, #pediatrician, #pediatricians)

Our hope is that we can lower the barriers of entry, decrease the learning curve, and enhance the experience of new users. But we’d also like to introduce experienced healthcare Twitter users to a fresh look, to new information, and to new people who share your passions.

We’re already working on future features based on some pre-release discussions with several well respected individuals in our Twitter healthcare community. Establishing methods for more visitor input that can be shared by others is high on our list. Also, while we’ve focused this initial release around the “business of healthcare”, in an upcoming phase we hope to include a complete disease index in this hashtag listing so as to help facilitate patient exploration as well.

This project is a work in progress … and literally always will be. It’s a controlled database, not a wiki, because we want to assure that every hashtag on the list has been vetted, has a level of critical mass, and that its relationships are well thought out. However, at the same time this is a “social project”, one in which we’re soliciting your input for the betterment of all.

So come step into the first official “HealthcareHashtags Project” … take it for a spin, let us know what you think, and help us to build a more well connected healthcare community.

 

 

February 23 2011 update

Twitter logo

End the Carpet Bombing of Twitter!

 

What’s the #Matter?

Twitter’s elegance and simplicity have changed the world. Unfortunately the overuse of hashtags is polluting Twitter.

What’s the #Fix?

Think before you tweet. If you must use hashtags, limit yourself to two per tweet. Consider what your Twitter stream looks like to your followers.

2hashtags is a pledge to keep Twitter a clean well-lighted place and as free of noise as possible by using no more than two hashtags per tweet.

December 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Parents’ social problems affect their children — even in birds

Parents’ social problems affect their children — even in birds

From the December 27, 2010 Eureka news alert

It may come as a surprise to many that quails are able to distinguish one another, let alone that they form close relationships with other quails. Nevertheless, it has long been known that disruption of the birds’ social environment causes them stress. A group within the UMR 6552 at the CNRS-Université de Rennes 1 in France has been studying the influence of adults on the behavioural development of their offspring. Together with scientists in Austria, they have now shown that changing the composition of groups of quails housed together causes the birds to behave more aggressively towards one another. In parallel, the level of steroid hormones (corticosterone) in their blood increases when their group composition is disrupted.

Intriguingly, the eggs they lay were found to have significantly higher levels of testosterone when the mothers were subjected to social stress of this kind. The results are consistent with previous findings from other groups, which showed that House sparrows, American coots and Common starlings lay eggs with more testosterone when they breed in dense colonies than when they nest in isolation. But the new work from the French-Austrian collaboration goes considerably further, showing that the eggs of females under social stress hatch later and the chicks grow more slowly after hatching, at least for the first three weeks. There are also indications that the chicks’ behave differently: they are more cautious and seem more susceptible to disturbance. Furthermore, they tend to move about more, which can be interpreted as increased attempts to escape from threats or to seek more social contact.

The results show how much the growth and behaviour of chicks is influenced by the concentrations of steroid hormones in the eggs from which they hatched. As Möstl says, “We know that stress on female mammals influences the development of their young, which takes place in the womb, but it was a big surprise that social stress causes such changes in the level of hormones in the yolks of birds’ eggs.” The social environment of mother quails thus has a direct effect on the growth and the behaviour of their offspring. It seems, then, that pre-natal nurture is extremely important in birds as well as in mammals and this finding is sure to add fresh fuel to the century-old nature versus nurture debate.

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The paper Social Instability in Laying Quail: Consequences on Yolk Steroids and Offspring’s Phenotype by Floriane Guibert, Marie-Annick Richard-Yris, Sophie Lumineau, Kurt Kotrschal, Daniel Guémené, Aline Bertin, Erich Möstl and Cécilia Houdelier was published in November by PLoS ONE (10.1371/journal.pone.0014069).

December 28, 2010 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Structure of key molecule in immune system provides clues for designing drugs

Structure of key molecule in immune system provides clues for designing drugs

From the December 27, 2010 Eureka news alert

PHILADELPHIA – A team from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Utrecht University has deciphered a key step in an evolutionarily old branch of the immune response. This system, called complement, comprises a network of proteins that “complement” the work of antibodies in destroying foreign invaders. It serves as a rapid defense mechanism in most species from primitive sponges to humans.

In a study published in the December 24 issue of Science, the groups of John Lambris, PhD, the Dr. Ralph and Sally Weaver Professor of Research Medicine at Penn, and Piet Gros at Utrecht, detail the atomic structure of two key transient enzyme complexes in the human complement system.

Complement proteins mark both bacterial and dying host cells for elimination by the body’s cellular cleanup services and have been implicated in at least 30 diseases, including stroke, myocardial infarction, and age-related macular degeneration. The findings, Lambris says, provide a molecular scaffold for designing novel drug therapeutics….

…”Besides shedding light on a highly elegant mechanism of concerted activation and intrinsic regulation, this work also offers a detailed insight into one of the most important therapeutic targets within the complement network, which may facilitate rational drug development and could lead to novel drugs for treating complement-related diseases,” Lambris says….

Background material on complement proteins

 

December 28, 2010 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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