Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Patients Tell How Magnetic Therapy Lifted Their Depression


TMS (Photo credit: jeanbaptisteparis)


From the 15 October 2012 article at Science Daily


Three patients who have suffered periodic major depression throughout their adult lives told an audience attending a Loyola Grand Rounds presentation how their lives have been transformed by a new magnetic therapy.

The treatment, called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), sends short pulses of magnetic fields to the brain.

“I feel better now than I have in a very long time,” said patient Jannel Jump. “I’m living a life now, rather than hiding from it.”

Another patient said TMS brought him out of a depression so severe he couldn’t get out of bed.

And a third patient said TMS “has helped me to have a glass-is-half-full outlook. I’m in a much better spot today.”

The Food and Drug Administration approved TMS in 2009 for patients who have major depression and have tried and failed at least one antidepressant. The FDA has approved one TMS system, NeuroStar®, made by Neuronetics, said Dr. Murali Rao, MD, DFAPA, FAPM, Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine….



October 16, 2012 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Digital medicine: Patients are stuck in the precarious middle

Health Applications for Android Tablets

Health Applications for Android Tablets (Photo credit: IntelFreePress)

From the 15 October 2012 post by JOHN SCHUMANN, MD at

The use of computers in everyday medical practice has finally reached the tipping point.

The HITECH Act, part of the 2009 federal stimulus bill, has been the final kick in the pants that U.S. health care has long needed to make the conversion to digital. The act states that, by employing electronic health records (EHRs) in a fashion known as meaningful use, doctors are individually eligible for Medicare subsidies of $44,000, paid out over five years. Before now, only early adopters and deep-pocketed institutions like hospitals and large medical groups could afford the investment to convert to EHRs.

In general, EHRs are secure digital repositories of patient information–doctors’ notes, lab and X-ray reports, and letters from specialist physicians. They are an electronic version of the paper chart. Newer, more advanced EHRs are integrated systems and allow doctors to order tests, generate bills, communicate with patients, and run analyses on aggregate patient data. In hospitals, nurses use EHRs to administer and record medication dosing and document other patient care activities.

Though medical practices have a high burden of proof to claim their bonus–the Department of Health and Human Services is still in the process of fully defining just what constitutes ‘meaningful use’–there is now conclusive evidence that the carrots are working. Recent data demonstrates that solo and two-doctor offices, which still comprise over half of all medical practices in the U.S., have seen the biggest jump in EHR adoption over the last six months. These small shops are reaching the conclusion that they must.. participate, as they risk being left behind technologically and financially…


No one describes this more elegantly than doctor and author Abraham Verghese, who has lamentedthe rise of the “iPatient.” For Verghese, the iPatient symbolizes the adoption of technology to a level that is eroding the foundational elements of the profession, like the physical examination. He decries trainees spending vastly more time at computer stations looking over their ‘virtual’ patient [the collection of progress notes plus lab and x-ray data, not an avatar] than giving face time to the sick person down the hall. Other commentators describe the sloppy habits of ” copy and paste” medicine, in which doctors (especially trainees) perpetuate the same patient histories from one hospital admission to the next without applying fresh thinking. [Human nature is no different among doctors: Where possible, we take the path of least resistance.]

Further, doctors and nurses are now tethered to computer appliances. To perform any basic hospital function (e.g. admission, lab test, x-ray, pill delivery, discharge), an order needs to be sent via the computer system. The good in this is that all doctors’ orders go through one standardized entry point: It eliminates issues with poor physician penmanship. However, the technology inhibits doctors and nurses from actually talking to one another…

There is hope, however. Bryan Vartabedian, a pediatric gastroenterologist and social media enthusiast in Texas, gives voice to the possibilities of doctor-patient collaboration using technology. In a blog post about his visit to an orthopedic surgeon for back problems, Vartabedian writes (italics mine):

…through the course of my visit he never touched me. We spent an extraordinary amount of time examining my MRI. Together in front of a large monitor we looked at every angle of my spine with me asking questions. I could see firsthand what had been keeping me up at night. I could understand why certain positions make me comfortable. What we drew from those images could never be determined with human hands. In my experience as a patient, I consider it one of my most thorough exams.

Vartabedian is describing a new paradigm, in which he plays the role of empowered patient and demands an explanation to his level of satisfaction. In the parable offered, the technology is the medium, not the message….

  • e-patient Dave de Bronkart was successfully treated for kidney cancer at a very late stage. He credits his recovery to using the Internet to find trusted medical information as well as to get advice from patients via support groups.

His video Let Patients Help outlines how and why patients should empower themselves.
Some video highlights

    • Patients are presently the most underutilized part of the health team
    • The e-patient movement is at least partly based on hippie ideals of self-reliance and self-care (think Whole Earth Catalog)
    • e-patients are empowered, engaged, equipped and enabled through finding information to use in discussions regarding treatment options with their health care providers
    • Support groups often are useful in providing information not available at other sites (as which doctors specialize in certain treatments)
    • Patients not only need quality information, but also access to their raw medical data

October 16, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , | Leave a comment


From a recent CAPHIS** listserv item

As part of a project funded by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and
Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and the State of Illinois, Department of Human
Services, a number of multilingual educational materials are being

They cover nutrition and health during and after pregnancy,
as well as during infancy and early childhood. These resources may be
especially helpful for WIC programs who serve refugee populations. These
free materials are available as web-videos and audio files in English,
Nepali and Burmese. Arabic and Bhutanese versions are under
development. Written handouts for all languages are also under

These new materials can be found under the
Pregnancy/Reproduction and Food/Nutrition topics on the Healthy Roads
Media website –
As always, any feedback to help guide the development of these kinds 
of resources is very helpful.


**CAPHIS (Consumer and Public Health Information Section of the Medical Librarian Association)
has compiled a Top 100 List of Health Websites you can trust.

These lists of resources expand upon the MLA Top Ten List.


October 16, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Finding Aids/Directories | , , | Leave a comment

[UK Physician Authored Blog]: Private Health Screening- What to Think About When You’re Thinking About Screening Tests

Fr0m the blog

We are a group of doctors who are concerned about the safety and the ethics of private screening tests. We are worried that the companies who charge you for these tests are not giving consumers full and fair information about them. You can read more about this here. You can see some examples of misleading advertising here. You can see our critique of two of these adverts here. You can see what other doctors and patients think, and add your comments here. You can read about us here..


it’s important to balance the pros and cons of tests with reliable information so that you can decide whether you want to have them done or not. Many screening tests are done within the NHS and have been approved by the UK National Screening Committee. This organisation examines the balance of risk and benefit and makes recommendations about what the NHS should provide…


Click on the links below to see some of the reasons we are worried about private health screening tests:

October 16, 2012 Posted by | Health Education (General Public) | , , , | Leave a comment


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