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March 2018
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May 2018

April 2018

Devaluing physicians and the consequences

This HND piece traces the sad history of how physicians became merely "providers," and that was only the first step toward how they are becoming more devalued every day. The goal, of course, is to save costs by allowing so-called mid-level providers to do more and more of the work.

But, what happens to quality of outcomes; and does medicine by algorithm actually work and cut costs? The short answer is "Who knows," since there are way too many confounding factors. Not the least of which is that people avoiding healthcare because they still can't afford it falsely lowers overall cost. And, if everything is being done by algorithm, what other outcomes can you compare these to?

Read the complete article.

Two topics for spring: fetal alcohol syndrome and physician burnout

This HND piece covers two unrelated, but quite important subjects.

Fetal alcohol syndrome shows a much higher prevalence now, compared to 20-30 years ago. Symptoms seem to vary on a "spectrum," perhaps related to dosage (not that anyone could confirm that theory with actual experiments). Sufferers can have a host of issues ranging from facial abnormalities; slow physical growth before and after birth; vision and hearing problems; small head size and heart problems; to poor coordination, balance, and memory; and all sorts of difficulties in functioning, coping, and interacting with others. Even death is possible.

Physician burnout is real—and is serious, affecting at least 42% of docs. Fortunately—or unfortunately, depending on your point of view—a growing number of resources are in place to help these physicians at risk.

Read the complete article.

Radiation in healthcare and its measurement

This HND piece begins with a definition and brief scientific history of the discovery of radiation.  It then moves into how radiation is used in healthcare--from X-rays to a variety of other diagnostic techniques.

The final section discusses the measurement of radiation, and then covers a big improvement on film badges:  A fully digital wearable product that transmit exposure data wirelessly to a remote server.

Read the complete article.


Do e-cigarettes contain dangerous chemicals?

Yet another garbage scare study on e-cigs is the trigger for this HND piece.  This one comes from Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and looked for "scary" chemical diacetyl (butane-2,3-dione) in e-liquids.  Lo and behold they found it, but at extremely low concentrations.

Of course, diacetyl is an approved food additive (butter flavoring), but is said to cause "popcorn lung," a serious respiratory disease, in popcorn plant workers.  Notably, the science on this is a bit sketchy since these workers are exposed to a host of other chemicals, and the substance is also present in tobacco smoke.  Besides, these workers are exposed to MUCH higher levels of the stuff.

At any rate, if people are switching from cigarettes to e-cigs, they have already cut risk factors dramatically.  Besides, many e-liquids do not contain diacetyl.

Read the complete article.

Radiation in healthcare and its measurement

This HND piece provides a good introduction to the topic, and provides a historical perspective.  We mention the usual suspects, such as Marie Curie and Wilhelm Röntgen, and also detail the now forgotten story of Eben Byers.  Eben who?  Yes, his sad case is probably what made the public aware of the hazards of radiation.

Included is coverage of a breakthrough radiation dosimetry product.

Read the complete article.