Treatment Devices for Migraines

This month the FDA updated their consumer information on migraines to include 2 devices approved for the treatment of migraines:   – the Cefaly transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) device, and – the Cerena Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator.   Those who suffer from migraines know the intense throbbing or pulsing pain that can last up to 72 hours, and is often accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and/or vomiting. The National Institutes of Health estimates that 37 million Americans suffer from migraines, and women are three times more likely than men to have migraines.     These devices are great news for migraine suffers because the currently approved migraine medications can often have serious side effects that vary from patient to patient. “Although these migraine drugs are quite effective, they are not for everyone. Some can make you tired, drowsy or dizzy. Some can affect your thinking. And some migraine drugs can cause birth defects, so pregnant women can’t use them,” says Eric Bastings, M.D., an FDA neurologist.   Although TENS treatment for pain has been around for a while, Cefaly was the first TENS device to be approved for use as a preventative measure, before the onset of a migraine. It can be used daily and studies have shown that it reduces the number of days that patients have experienced migraines.   Video: Source   According to...

It’s Not All About Mardi Gras…

Tulane medical students help with the tornado recovery, which is still an ongoing effort. Though Mardi Gras is an extremely important part of New Orleans culture, that’s not all they’re doing down south! Tulane medical students help with tornado recovery from Tulane University on Vimeo.   Featured Image:...

Scalp Cooling Therapy to Minimize Hair Loss From Chemo

Video: Source   Scalp cooling using a cap device worn during chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer can reduce chemotherapy-induced alopecia by at least 50%, according to 2 separate studies published in JAMA Oncology. Scalp cooling induces vasoconstriction, which reduces both blood flow to the scalp and the amount of chemotherapy delivered to hair follicles, thus reducing hair loss. Scalp cooling is usually carried out for 30 minutes before, during, and for 90-120 minutes after each chemotherapy infusion. Scalp-cooling devices have been used in Europe for decades, but concerns about metastases have slowed their acceptance in the United States.   The Scalp Cooling Alopecia Prevention (SCALP) trial used the Orbis Paxman Hair Loss Prevention System, which is awaiting approval in the United States. Julie Nangia, MD, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, and colleagues conducted the randomized trial, which enrolled 182 women with breast cancer receiving adjuvant anthracycline- or taxane-based chemotherapy. At the end of 4 cycles of chemotherapy, the planned interim analysis showed that 50.5% of patients who received scalp cooling retained their hair, compared with 0% of patients in the control group.   The second study used the DigniCap device, which was approved in the U.S. in 2015. Hope S. Rugo, MD, University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues conducted the prospective cohort study in which 106 women with breast cancer used the cap device and 16 women...

Medical Advancements To Look Forward To This Year #5: Telemedicine

5. Telemedicine The medical field is always at the heels of innovation. There is rarely a dull moment. Some new discovery or invention always grips our imagination and intrigue as passionate followers of this developing art. However, every advancement undoubtedly carries with it a risk of taking away something else. After all, this is human beings we are talking about – the most complex creatures in the world that excel in their ability to think, feel, and rationalize their existence amidst the every-growing complexity around them. Most recently, the concept of telemedicine has invited significant discussion as well as skepticism from the medical community and the world as a whole.     In essence, telemedicine can be simply described as an effort to remove the physical boundaries of medicine and equip healthcare providers with the capacity to deliver care in any corner of the world with the use of communication technologies. While the practice has already been applied in its initial stages in some sectors of medicine (such as dermatology), it is still in its infancy. The benefits are obviously numerous. The immediate access to an advanced level of care has the unique potential to improve outcomes. For instance, if a patient has stroke-like symptoms, a family member can get in touch with a stroke neurologist through a video call. He/she may be able to help determine the emergent...

It’s Not ALL About Saving Lives: Salaries and Satisfaction in Medical Education [Infographic]

  Ready to throw on that white coat? Think again. Here we give the down low on job satisfaction and salaries for the most popular medical specialties. Now for some serious dough? Find the next “King of Pop”…   Featured Image:...

How Much Medical Education is Actually Necessary?

A common theme to many of my posts here on The Almost Doctor’s Channel is the idea that we are at a point of great change in the medical field. I’ve covered such topics as how our healthcare system falls behind that of other countries, how the match can be improved, and how we can improve science literacy. Another area of my interest (and one that is readily apparent to those of us who are currently in medical school) is the design of medical training – notably its excessive length.     Currently, after four years of undergraduate education, one must complete four years as a medical student followed by three to six years as a resident before being able to independently practice medicine. If no gap years are taken, this puts a person at 29 to 32 years of age when they are first able to contribute to the physician workforce – or even older if their specialty requires further fellowship training. If they decide to go into medicine later or circumstances prolong their education, this pushes them back even more. Because of this, some are hoping to shorten medical education.   As we look to shaping the future of medical education, though, it is important to note that this excessive length is a modern phenomenon, one that arises out of a desire to bring regulation and excellence...

A Research Manifesto: How to Make the Most of Your Pre-Med Research Position

A ‘manifesto’ is a published declaration of someone’s intentions, motives, or views. Although often associated with radical politics and revolution, manifestos can be written to capture the spirit of any group or movement.   Why does research need a manifesto? We’ve worked with hundreds of pre-meds, and many struggle to write about their research in meaningful ways. What’s the problem? Usually, it’s their approach to their work in the lab. Too often, they’ve taken on research as a way to check off one of their pre-med boxes, rather than a means for exploration, growth, and discovery.   Our manifesto is designed to help you avoid these obligatory feelings by inspiring a deeper commitment to the research. Hopefully, you read our manifesto early on in your research career. But regardless of how far along you are in the process, our principles will help you maintain the right mindset in the lab.   Karl Marx called the subpoints of his manifesto ‘planks,’ but for our purposes, ‘theses’ seemed more appropriate.   Thesis #1 – Get Involved in Research Early and Often in Your Pre-Med Career You will not make the same mistake as most pre-meds. You will look for research opportunities as early as possible, because you’ll recognize how long it can take to secure a spot. You will remain open-minded towards different projects, even if they seem outside of your...