SMS (“Stanford Medical School”) Unplugged was recently launched as a forum for students to chronicle their experiences in medical school. The student-penned entries appear on Scope once a week; the entire blog series can be found in the SMS Unplugged category. via Pocket
Save your tears for Tiny Tim. A boom in sophisticated prostheses has created a most unlikely by-product: envy. There are many advantages to having your leg amputated. via Pocket
Why do some innovations spread so swiftly and others so slowly? Consider the very different trajectories of surgical anesthesia and antiseptics, both of which were discovered in the nineteenth century. The first public demonstration of anesthesia was in 1846. via Pocket
In December, Moderna Therapeutics announced that it had pioneered a technology that would revolutionize the practice of medicine and disrupt the pharmaceutical industry. But biotech startups have been making similar promises for decades, and the revolution has yet to arrive. via Pocket
A few weeks ago, I had written at length about some of the biggest healthcare challenges we face as a nation; everything from private healthcare costs, the quirky medical education system, and the faltering standards of government health services. It’s now election season here in India, and the government has found itself rushing to pass some last minute laws.
One of these laws talks about the compulsory rural posting, an issue that I had touched on in that article. The rural posting requirement is basically a one year long compulsory stint, at a small public health care facility. The purpose of it all is to ensure citizens in far flung corners of the country, receive a minimal, but at many times life saving amount of healthcare.
The government will on the 28th of this month, pass the rural posting law into effect. An unexpected addendum to this proposal however, was an increase in the internship duration from 1 year to 2 years. To see the government disregard us to the extent that it didn’t even think it was necessary to formally announce it, is disheartening to say the least. Anyway, in a matter of less than a fortnight, medical students around the country would have come to the stunning realisation, that their 5.5 year courses are now to be extended to a total of 7.5 years.… Contd.
I am writing to say goodbye.
Almost 3 years ago I started this blog with no idea what it would turn in to. Since then I have shared some of my greatest victories and toughest losses. But due to life circumstances my reign as TNQD is coming to an end.
Don’t worry though, TheNotQuiteDoctor is not…
08 February 2014
Power from Within
When the battery dies in an artificial pacemaker, the patient has to go under the knife to get a replacement. Not for much longer, perhaps, as scientists have developed a flexible energy-harvesting device (pictured here on a cow’s heart) that converts the movement of organs into electrical energy, which is then stored in a rechargeable micro-battery. The device relies on thin ribbons of a man-made compound called lead zirconate titanate, which has a piezoelectric effect – meaning that it accumulates electrical charge in response to mechanical stress. When the bendy generator was tested in living cows, sheep and pigs, it generated enough juice to power a human pacemaker. For the moment, there are still concerns that the heart could be poisoned if the lead-containing compound leaks. But if scientists can find a non-toxic piezoelectric material with similar efficiency, the days of surgical procedures to change a battery may be numbered.
Written by Daniel Cossins
I had planned to write something this weekend, but apart from crashing my car a few days ago, I’ve also come down with a rather painful bout of amoebiasis …
Unless you’re posting a million photos every day, it’s impossible to get any sort of viewership here. Tired of tumblr now. My main blog gets more views than this wtf.
India is a country that is not very well known for its medical advancements. We rank 136th in the Human Development Index, 77th in quality of life, and 168th according to Literacy rate. We rank 16th in the list of countries worst affected by hunger and food crises. As a nation, we filed just over 15,000 patents in the year 2011. In comparison, China filed over 435,000 and Japan over 472,000.
Only a small fraction of the country’s population can afford the kind of healthcare that my father provides in a private hospital. His department is staffed by diligent nurses and affable doctors, most with some foreign training. The machines are state of the art - just the handles of certain surgical blades can cost lakhs, and that is excluding the fancy gamma knives and ultrasonic tissue knives that they routinely use. The quality of healthcare and investment in infrastructure in these hospitals, are second to none.
Despite the charity, and despite the discounts given by doctors for poorer patients, private healthcare is strictly for the well heeled. 96.9% of Indians - 96.9% - live on less than Rs 9000 a month. An ICU bed can rack up a bill of Rs 15,000/- per day, a heart operation can cost anything between Rs 1,50,000 to Rs 10,00,000. It isn’t surprising therefore, that most of the country finds it’s way into government hospitals. A safe haven if you will, for those without deep pockets.
In stark contrast to the private hospitals, government hospitals here are burgeoning, decadent institutions, overflowing with the diseased and the sick. Beset by a scarcity of funding, poor infrastructure, and an almost inhuman patient load, it’s a mystery how these hospitals function. If nothing, these hospitals are a shining example of Indian ingenuity at it’s finest: Making things work - sometimes barely - with absolutely nothing at hand. The ever ubiquitous ‘jugaad’.
Read the rest on the link above :)