Saturday, April 26, 2008

Recent Posts from Great Medical Blogs, Part 2

Last month, I began my own monthly roundup of posts I think are worth checking out. Unlike a Blog Carnival or a Grand Rounds, this is just one blogger’s thoughts about what my co-bloggers are saying. Please take a look. You’ll be glad you did.

Basic Science
One of the enduring controversies regarding the development of cancer is whether your immune system protects you from cancer or not. This concept has been referred to as “Immune Surveillance.” Ian York has what I think might be the best name for a blog: Mystery Rays from Outer Space. In this post, he addresses the role Natural Killer Cells (another awesome name… I’m not making this stuff up!) play in protecting us from the development of tumors.

Sometimes the link between basic and clinical science seems … distant. But sometimes it’s glaringly obvious, as in the case of the finding by folks working at “Baltimore’s other great medical center,” who discovered the reason why African-Americans with heart failure don’t respond to a class of drugs known as beta blockers as well as Caucasian patients do. This is a fascinating discovery, and is the tip of a coming iceberg of information on how genes affect the way individuals respond to drugs (and to diseases) and will lead to a revolution in the way we treat illness.

Rounding out the Basic Science category is this interview with Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel. Dr. Kandel taught the introductory neuroscience course I took as a second year medical student. He was a phenomenal teacher, a brilliant scientist, and a great mentor. He also plays tennis on the court next to mine every day I’m on vacation on Cape Cod each summer.

Translational Research
Far from being just a buzz word, translational medicine refers to those of us who work hard to make discoveries in the lab and then convert those findings into new therapies. One of my friends, Jeff Toretsky, a talented musician as well as scientist and physician, recently presented the results of his work aimed at therapeutic targeting the fusion gene that is responsible for the development of Ewing’s sarcoma. Drug development like this will hopefully one day lead to more specific, less toxic treatments for cancers. Thanks to Elizabeth from Survived 2 B Alive for posting about this.

General Medicine
Ramona quilts. Ramona blogs. Ramona does surgery. When she’s done with her surgery, her patients have wounds that need care. Ramona posted an excellent piece about wound care.

What do doctors do? Among other things, doctors prescribe medicines. As health care costs continue to rise, more and more people are looking to use generic medications to cut costs. But are generics and brand name drugs equivalent? Although their active ingredients are the same, there may be important differences between them. Dr. Val, from Revolution Health, discusses these differences here and here.

What else do doctors do? They provide emotional support. Some of us provide end of life care. These two things are tightly connected, as palliative and end-of-life care are emotionally charged endeavors. Doctors are human, so they are not immune to these emotions. Dr. Christian Sinclair, over at Pallimed, addresses the issues surrounding a doctor showing emotion when patients do poorly in this excellent post.

Speaking of health care costs, Kevin Pho, of Kevin, MD, created quite a stir with this Op-Ed piece in USA Today discussing the contribution of “defensive medicine” to the rising cost of health care. Check it out, so you’re not the last person to read it!

Humor and Humanism in Medicine
Paul Levy is the CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. His blog contains this excellent piece about cultural differences and their impact on medical care delivery.

In addition to humanism, the medical blogosphere contains an abundance of humor. Sometimes, patients say and do pretty funny things. Often on purpose! Check out these “quotes of the week” from a Highly Trained Monkey (a close second in the race for best blog title). Sometimes the humor is a coping mechanism, as in this comment shared by #1 Dinosaur from one of his mastectomy patients, who clearly has a strong self-image.

And finally, bridging the gap between comedy and medicine… well… nothing I could say would do this justice. So I’ll let Seinfeld and his friends do all the talking. Thanks for sharing, Dr. Anonymous!


rlbates said...

Thanks, Dr David.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for including me, Dr. David! :)

Anonymous said...

Very interesting post

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