“WALTER DE BROUWER’S company has built a working prototype of a hand-held medical diagnostic system. Doctors may fret, but there will always be a need for their skills.”
AN : from the realm of Trekkie Science Fiction to the realistic. Facinating approach to vital medical diagnostics using a specialized tool and the ubiquitous smartphone.
via Scanadu’s Tricorder, the Scout: Not carbon-based, but effective | The Economist.
“Removing tumors at the base of the skull have traditionally required going in through the facial area—sometimes with disfiguring results. However, a doctor at John Hopkins University has figured out how to reach the back of your head using the skulls natural openings.
“I looked at the ‘window’ that already exists in the skull, above the jawbone and below the cheekbone and realized this was an access route not previously recognized for this kind of surgery,” said Kofi Boahene in a press release. This route not only saves the patient from potential facial paralysis from snipped nerves, the surgery itself is much less complex and can be finished three times faster—requiring just two hours of time on the table instead of six. The rate of post-surgery complications also dip significantly when using this method—patients can reportedly be discharged the next day with no externally visible scarring.
Boahene hopes to next employ a surgical robot a la the da Vinci Surgical System to further minimize the procedure’s invasiveness. [Medical Express – Top art courtesy of Bernhard Lelle / Shutterstock]”
via Doctors Devise Brain Tumor Removal That Saves Face—Specifically, Yours.
“A study by Univeristy of B.C. journalism students says the global war on illicit drugs is preventing patients suffering terminal illnesses in some countries from having sufficient access to morphine to control their pain.
The year-long study done by the UBC Graduate School of Journalism involved teams travelling to India, Ukraine and Uganda to see how those countries manage pain.
The results of The Pain Project can be found at http://www.internationalreporting.org/pain.
The report was released in advance of a United Nations conference in New York this week on the global challenges of treating cancer and other diseases.
Prof. Peter Klein, UBC’s acting graduate-school director, said that unlike many global health problems, pain treatment is not about money or lack of drugs, as morphine costs pennies per dose and is easy to manufacture.
He said bureaucratic hurdles and the chilling effect of the war on drugs were the main obstacles to morphine access in some countries.
“The story of global morphine shortages is one of those issues that both the media and the medical community has overlooked,” said Klein.
He said he became interested in pursuing the story after talking with a member of Doctors Without Borders who’d found a lack of morphine in a number of countries he’d visited.
“For instance in India, which is the largest supplier of medical morphine in the world, it’s virtually unavailable in most parts of the country except for one state [Kerala],” said Klein.
Klein said some countries, such as India, had over-reacted to UN regulations regarding access to opiates — an unintended result of the war on drugs.
Uganda was chosen an example of a third-world success story on how the issue could be overcome, while Ukraine was a case study in the problems caused by too much bureaucracy in cancer care.
The website offers videos from each country showing how patients there struggle with pain.
One shows a former Ukrainian KGB officer dying of prostate cancer who sleeps with a gun under his pillow “in case the pain becomes unbearable” while another shows an Indian doctor frustrated with drug laws who mixes readily available analgesics to ease the pain of his cancer patients.
A third shows a Ugandan nurse who led a movement to reform that country’s drug laws around morphine distribution and palliative care.”
via Global war on drugs denies morphine to patients: UBC study.