Aspirin/NSAIDs For Colorectal Cancer Prevention Discouraged
Anesthesiology--Survey of Anesthesia-related Mortality in France.
Contract Negotiations Between Insurers, Hospitals Increasingly Acrimonious
The exact same can be said for negotiations between hospitals and physician groups and insurance companies and physician groups. It all reminds me of that scene in Star Wars where the good guys are stuck in a trash compactor after their escape from the brig--all attempts to stop the walls from moving from the inside fail. (what, you were expecting a reference to Greek mythology?)
A laptop containing names, social security numbers, and dates of birth on 26 million veterans was stolen from a VA employee's home on May third. Though extremely concerning, I had no reason to think my data was on that laptop. After all, I'm not a Veteran. A letter arrived yesterday informing me that "[a]s a result of this incident, information identifiable with you was potentially exposed to others." I've worked at the Veterans Administration providing anesthesia care. I can only assume that the laptop contained more than just data on 'veterans and some spouses' but some physicians as well.
I must say I'm surprised by this breach of security. In my experience with the VA, their IT security policies were among the most rigorous and thorough.
My smart wife tells me that this article is really big news: Early Downward Trends in Neurodevelopmental Disorders Following Removal of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines (pdf). I've quoted the entire abstract below:
The big news is the last sentence: trends in newly diagnosed ND's [ed: autistic spectrum disorders] correspond directly to the expansion and subsequent contraction of the cumulative mercury dose to which children were exposed from TCVs through the U.S. immunization schedule.
There were suspicions during the time that vaccines contained Thimerisol that it was responsible for an associated increase is the so-called autistic spectrum disorders. The suspicion was based on reports of increases in autism in the community. These were explained away by the observation that diagnosis had become much better during the same time period and the fact that scientific data supporting such a link were of very poor quality. Nonetheless, many parents chose to forgo immunization of their children out of concern that vaccination would increase their risk of autism or related disorders. Skipping immunization did not increase their risk of infectious disease because of herd immunity, up until enough members of a population are unprotected and disease can once again propagate among the non-immunized.
There are ongoing flame wars among blogs about this issue, but his article should cause many of those involved to rethink their position.
Desperate for Dollars - The Nation of Guinea Pigs:
Gum Chewing May Speed Recovery From Postoperative Ileus:
Something to mention across the ether screen Monday....
[Via Medscape Headlines]
Aspect Medical is the company that sells the 'awareness' monitors for anesthesia. Their product is the one featured so prominently in photos accompanying every print story I've seen on intra-operative awareness. This Yahoo Finance headlines seems to indicate it's paying off:
Full disclosure: I still don't use a BIS monitor
[Via Yahoo Search: anesthesia]
My Google News section on 'epidurals' came up with an interesting hit: Lower-back tattoos are popular with women, but do they make having epidurals during childbirth more dangerous?. It's a very good question because, at least in my practice, lower back tattoos are extremely common in laboring women. So common, in fact, that Saturday Night Live has a commercial parody for a product called Turlington's Lower Back Tattoo Remover (quicktime | windows media).
I was taught to avoid putting an epidural needle through tattooed skin and have gone to great lengths to do so. For example, one patient had a very large tattoo of what appeared to be the face of the devil on her lower back. On closer inspection, I noticed that the devil's right nares (which was free of tattoo ink) was right over her L3-4 interspace. I wished I'd taken a picture of that epidural catheter snaking out of the devil's nose.
I can't seem to find much science on the subject save for one abstract which makes a very reasonable suggestion to avoid coring out tattooed skin by making a small incision, if necessary. This may sound like a lot of trouble, but all it takes is a 16 gauge (or similarly large) hypodermic needle inserted into the skin first, then the epidural needle through that 'incision'.
Trasylol (Aprotinin) is a very expensive drug used during many kinds of cardiac surgery to reduce blood loss. In today's print edition of the NEJM (but not online yet) is a very important article by Dennis Mangano (very, very smart anesthesiologist) which shows an "association between aprotinin and serious end-organ damage" including doubling the risk of renal failure requiring dialysis, a 55% increase in the risk of MI or heart failure, and a near doubling of the risk of stroke or encephalopathy. The good news is that there are alternative drugs which cost one tenth as much and are also very good at reducing the need for blood transfusion. More soon....