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The Doctor's Channel

Take a bite from the adults' table. The Doctor’s Channel is the world’s leading video site for physicians. Get the latest news in clinical medicine, disease resource centers, CME programs, and Doc Life, all in under 3 mins or less.

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Can Computers Diagnose Melanoma?

With so many advances in technology and computer learning, is it possible that one day computers could replace doctors? Robots already assist in surgeries and 3D bio-printers can create synthetic body parts. But can computers reliably make a medical diagnosis?   Medical researchers in California think so – in a collaboration between Stanford’s Department of Electrical Engineering, the Department of Dermatology and the Department of Pathology, among others, scientists have developed a computer algorithm that can diagnose melanoma from a typical photo of a mole taken by any smartphone.   Image: Source   The researchers programmed a computer learning algorithm called a “convolutional neural network” or “CNN,” by using 129,450 clinical images showing 2,032 different diseases to “teach” the CNN what a specific carcinoma looks like. The authors then put the CNN to the test against 21 board-certified dermatologists in a challenge to accurately diagnose the most common and most deadly skin cancers. The authors of the study report that their method performs with a similar success rate as the board-certified dermatologists when it comes to distinguishing malignant melanoma and keratinocyte carcinoma from benign lesions.   Current apps in the U.S. provide information and education about skin cancer and allow users to save pictures of any skin abnormalities, but do not suggest a diagnosis. However, in countries like Australia, Canada and the U.K, you can already download an app...

Essential Apps for Med Students

Admit it: you’re always on your phone. Instead of spending another hour trying to catch that elusive Pokémon, check out these essential apps for med school students. These apps are specifically designed to help you increase your productivity, stay organized and survive.   Image: Source   Anatomy Apps These anatomy apps will give you quick access to all the anatomy you need and help you learn along the way –   1. Muscle & Bone Anatomy 3D iOS Android With a 3D view of the body, this app can isolate muscle groups by actions with animations and commentary. When you’re ready, use one of the built-in quizzes to put your skills to the test.   Image: Source   2. Radiology 2.0: One Night in the ED iOS In a series of case studies, this app walks you through everything you need to know when reviewing CT scans.   3. 3D Brain iOS Android Study all parts of the brain with zoom and rotation features on 29 interactive structures. Learn how different brain regions function, how they are involved in mental illness and what happens if they’re injured.   Clinical Practice Apps These tools are particularly convenient for clinical practice –   4. EBMcalc Complete iOS Android Perform complicated medical calculations on the go with EBMcalc Complete.   5. Epocrates iOS, Android This comprehensive reference tool covers almost everything and includes...

Genetic Engineering, Salmonella and Brain Tumors

By Janet Taylor   Glioblastomas are tumors that form from the astrocytes in the brain. These tumors are aggressive and lethal largely because they can be composed of multiple types of tissues and because the brain provides such a large blood supply, which helps them to grow. While they rarely invade the body outside of the brain and spinal cord, they inflict their damage quickly. Patient survival is an average of two years, while those with more aggressive types are given a life expectancy of about fifteen months. The standards for treatment consist of surgery plus chemo or radiation but recurrence occurs quite often and because there are multiple cell types in each tumor, targeted therapy isn’t successful. Genetic biomarkers have been investigated to identify tumor changes as well as why some patients respond better than others with the same treatments. While several have been identified, their utility has yet to be seen for predictive factors or treatment alternatives.   Image: Source   Researchers at Duke University have taken an alternative approach to fighting this disease using genetically engineered Salmonella typhimurium. The bacteria contain a mutation that depletes their purine stores. Since tumor cells are loaded with purine, the Salmonella would be expected to seek out those tumors. Once inside the tumor, they rapidly reproduce. Second, the addition of a p53 tumor suppressor protein and Azurian allows the bacteria...

Tips For The New Semester

Ahh, a stack of new syllabi, unopened textbooks, unused notebooks, and fresh packages of pens, pencils, and highlighters…it’s the start of a new semester. Going in, you may think you have a plan, but somehow it always gets derailed. You find yourself pulling all-nighters, losing track of your diet, missing deadlines, and spending too much money on coffee. Then suddenly, you emerge after finals exhausted, surprised that you even made it to the end.   We’re here to change that!   Here are some tips to help you stay on track this semester.   1. Stay Organized If you find yourself forgetting deadlines or exam dates, it’s definitely time to think about more effectively organizing your school calendar. Make sure that you have a planner, calendar, or set reminders (or all of the above!) so that you never miss a beat. It really helps to look ahead at all of your assignments and exams for each class throughout the semester and note the important dates. You can even color code each class to make staying on top of your work even easier.   Image: Source   2. Make a Plan …And stick to it. If you often feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, you should think about making a schedule. By carving out a schedule, ahead of time, you will be more likely to fit...

3D-Bioprinting Technology Produces Blood Vessels in Monkeys

3d-bioprinting is not a new concept, as we have seen in previous articles on Almost Docs. This fascinating technology has opened up countless possibilities, especially pertaining to the future of medicine. So far, bioprinting has successfully produced medical models, prosthetic parts, heart valves, and even organs. Now, this technology is able to produce something even more intricate: blood vessels.     In 2015, Chinese biotechnology company Revotek released a 3d-bioprinter that fabricates blood vessels using a bio-ink made from stem cells. Just before the close of 2016, Kang Yujian, chief scientist and CEO of Revotek, announced the first successful transplant of bioprinted blood vessels into the abdominal aortas of 30 rhesus monkeys.   As shown in the video below, this technology allows researchers to produce new layers of cells to fuse with the old ones. In just a month, the newly created cells had completely blended in.   Video: Source   All monkeys have survived thus far and the 3d-printed biomaterial has achieved regeneration of the endothelial and muscle cells that compose authentic blood vessels. The success of this experiment could one day have far reaching implications for the nearly two billion patients with cardiovascular disease.   Featured Image:...

ACA Repeal – Good or Bad for Doctors?

As Trump is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, the Republican-led Congress is making strategic moves to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a.k.a. “Obamacare.” Despite their promises to immediately replace the ACA with a new plan, no solid details have been given out by Trump or Republicans.   The effects of the ACA on the lives and practice of doctors has been complex, and opinions as to whether the law has been good or bad for doctors are clearly divided along party lines. There is high anxiety surrounding the proposed repeal from patients and doctors alike. Without a clear plan in place, it’s hard to know how a repeal would affect doctors and the future careers of current med school students.   Image: Source   Here are some concerns when considering the repeal:   Fewer patients in a smaller insurance pool – The ACA has enabled roughly 22 million previously-uninsured Americans to purchase health insurance or obtain it through expanded Medicaid programs. The ACA also has rules in place that end pre-existing condition exclusions for children, allow young adults under the age of 26 to be covered under their parents’ insurance and prohibit arbitrary withdrawals of insurance coverage. If repealed with no immediate replacement, millions of people could be dropped from their plans and left unable to purchase new plans. Fewer people with insurance equals...

When Epidemics Turn Endemic

By Laurie Breen   In 2016 the Zika virus epidemic dominated medical news headlines, especially with the drama that played out when some health experts called for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro to be cancelled. But by September WHO officials announced that there had been no confirmed Zika cases coming out of the Olympic games among visitors or athletes and on November 18th the WHO ended Zika’s designation as a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern.”   However, when diseases are no longer drawing the urgent attention of the public or the media, the interest in funding research dies out too. In December, the WHO issued a Report to Donors that highlighted the need for continued funding to seek answers to remaining questions on the Zika outbreak and its ongoing effects.   Image: Source   In a JAMA Viewpoint article, Catharine I. Paules, MD and Anthony S. Fauci, MD, the Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), draw a comparison between Zika and to two other recent mosquito-borne epidemics that have become boring old endemic diseases – West Nile Virus and Chikungunya.   According to the authors, West Nile first appeared in 1999 with cases reported in New York. There was surge in diagnoses in 2002 as the virus spread throughout the United States, but as the rate of infection flattened out, public interest also...