C. Diff, R. Kelly, Sinister Brownies: It’s Doctors Today.

From time to time, even the normally cheery crew at ZDoggMD Industries will feel the need to vent about our frustrations as physicians. Take last Thursday, for example. We were all chilling at the ZDoggMD clubhouse for our monthly mahjong game night. The collective angst was palpable, as we halfheartedly lay down our tiles. The gloomy silence was punctuated intermittently by ZDogg’s overly dramatic sighs—clearly a plea for one of us to ask him what was wrong. As usual, our staff radiologist Dr. Diego took the bait.  “You seem upset, Z,” he said, his cherubic face positively exuding empathy. “Can you blame me?” ZDogg replied, as he gnawed at the remnants of his deep-fried pork loin. “I spent 2 hours today talking with the family members of one of my patients who just survived a massive heart attack.” After a theatrical pause, he slammed a pudgy fist down on the table, shrieking, “NOT ONCE did they compliment me on the genius of my videos, nor did they worship me as befits an internet celebrity of my…”   Another Victim of R. Kelly’s Micturition “I lost another one today,” I interrupted quietly. Even Dr. Z had the decency to stop his tirade mid-sputter, noting the solitary tear trickling down my cheek. “I saw a 6 month-old infant who had been exclusively breastfed his entire life—until today, when his father gave him a...

Which Limb Would You Like to Wear Today?

We have all experienced the feeling: Like we didn’t belong. Like we were too different. Like all anyone saw when they looked at us is that one flaw that you can’t stop thinking about. For many amputees, whether congenital or those who have been the victim of accident or illness, these feelings are all too common. Though prosthetics exist, which may restore functionality or normative mobility, the grief of amputees often does not come from an inability to function “normally.” While they may swim, jump, or run, it is the feeling of not needing to hide which they miss most. Perhaps it is not about restoring “function” but rather giving a person a means of expression of personality. This is what Bespoke Innovations founder and chief technology officer, Scott Summit, believes. What drives him? To allow people who have congenital or traumatic limb loss “to emotionally connect with their prosthetic limbs, and wear them confidently as a form of personal expression” and to provide people with a prosthetic that not only are they are not ashamed to show but rather that they are proud to...

A World of Genetic Data at Your Fingertips

Atul Butte, MD, PhD, Chief, Division of Systems Medicine, Department of Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, discusses the intersection of biomedical research and computer technology. He explains how the increasing ease, affordability, and accessibility of genome sequencing will revolutionize the way genetic data is analyzed and utilized. Read more about Atul Butte, MD, PhD. Filmed at FutureMed, in February 2013, at Singularity...

Why Are We Doing This? An “Almost” Mission Statement

 “I am the voice of my generation. Well, maybe a voice.” – Lena Dunham, Girls (HBO) ________________________________________________________ Two days ago, I was ordering an iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts when I witnessed something rather remarkable. An old man walked in and ordered right after me.  The sweat on this guy’s gray t-shirt ran down from his neck, creating a deep and dark V shape, and his blue jeans almost sagged to the floor off the weight of his utility belt. “A to Z Construction” his shirt said on the back. “Dark roast iced as big as they get,” he told the woman at the register. “At least they got us drilling inside half the day. This summer heat…woo-wee,” he continued. “Mmm-hmm,” she responded. She took his money, handed him a receipt and he came over to stand with the rest of us waiting hopefuls. A twenty-something kid walks in and right up to the old man. He says he found a wallet on the job site and that the wallet has 300 bucks in it. He’s giddy because he needed to get his girlfriend a gift anyways and thinks the pink wallet is perfect. The old man responds (and this is the amazing part), “Act only on maxims through which you can will become universal laws.” “Wha’d you say?” the kid replies back, dumbfounded. “What if some girl found...

Reinventing The First-Aid Kit For The 21st Century

Product designer Gabriele Meldaikyte has reinvented the first-aid kit. The goal of this new kit is to be easily accessible to people who haven’t completely refined their first-aid skills yet, or who don’t have any first-aid skills to refine in the first place. Meldaikyte’s design addresses the frequency of injuries at home, especially in the kitchen. The first-aid kit is organized and labeled by type of injury: burns, minor scratches, and deep cuts. Each section has a step-by-step explanation of how to treat the injury. Designed for ease of use and functionality, this reinvented first-aid kit aims to eliminate the confusion that comes with today’s old-fashioned first-aid kits. But that’s not all! In addition to its modern design, simplicity, and functionality, it can be used with only one hand! This feature makes treating an injury easy even when users are home alone and have to use one hand to treat the other. This is a first-aid kit truly fit for the 21st century. Check it out!         Images used and featured image courtesy of Gabriele Meldaikyte.    ...

Obesity: Is Government the Cure?

Obesity is now officially a disease, at least according to the American Medical Association. Despite this recent designation, obesity has long been a killer: 300,000 deaths are attributed to obesity annually. The condition is also associated with an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, breathing problems, arthritis, depression, and many other ailments. Although these deaths and illness are largely preventable, Washington has been slow to take up any large-scale action to combat this epidemic. But now, lawmakers have been moving on ways to fight the obesity epidemic. • The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act sets new standards for fats, sugars and sodium in meals prepared and sold in schools. • The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act aims at providing expanded treatment for obesity to medicaid and medicare beneficiaries. • State governments are setting new standards for physical education, like House Bill 11-1069 in Colorado requiring physical activity for all elementary school children. • A Group of 18 big city mayors sent a letter to the federal government pushing for a ban on the use of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to buy soda and sugary drinks. • Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued an executive order and proposed 2 laws aimed at increasing visibility and access to stairs in New York City buildings. These measures presented by government officials raise the question: Is it even possible for the government...

When Does Feeding Prisoners Violate Medical Ethics?

Guantanamo detainees on a hunger strike are now being strapped into chairs and gagged as doctors push a feeding tube through their nose into the back of their throat and into their stomach as often as twice a day. It’s a disturbing new practice, but one we must examine in full as we consider whether Guantanamo reflects American values. Anyone who has had a nasogastric tube placed through their throat while awake knows why hospitalized patients often complain about the tube more than they complain about the pain of surgery. The gagging can be extreme even when patients are relaxed and cooperating by swallowing repeatedly during the procedure. Resisting the tube during its insertion, as the unwilling detainees at Guantanamo do, elicits an exacerbated rapid cycle of gasping for air and gagging or vomiting. Why is the U.S. government initiating this new round of forced gagging? It may be simply to save itself from the potential embarrassment if a majority of detainees die on a principled hunger strike. Guantanamo detainees have resorted to desperate measures to call attention to what they and many others view as human rights violations, including the disintegration of due process. A classified memo released in 2011 indicates that military officials were then aware that up to two-thirds of inmates were, at best, “low level” threats and that nearly 20 percent were believed to be “innocent.” Nevertheless, 166 prisoners...