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Archive for April, 2009

The Importance of Medical Technology

MRI

Regardless of the sphere in which it is implemented, new technology is something to embrace. It benefits businesses by increasing productivity and efficiency, and it benefits individuals by offering fun and exciting ways to finish personal projects. In general, technology has the potential to improve the quality of life for the user, and it can have ancillary benefits to others. Things are no different in the medical community.

A perfect example of technology’s positive effect on medicine is the computerization of medical records. Electronic medical records have made information more accessible and more accurate. Now, instead of sifting through seemingly endless shelves of folders and papers, one can simply look up patient information in a neat electronic database, and in critical medical situations, this can save valuable time. Additionally, adopting the electronic paradigm can save billions of dollars, which is further evidence of technology’s almost intrinsic facilitative capabilities.

Technology has immense benefits for medical science, so we can’t afford to turn it away. As a physician, it’s safe to say that you care a great deal about your patients, so you owe it to them to explore these new avenues.

Research on Bones Breakthrough

Ankle X-Ray

According to recent reports from ABC News, a new and exciting breakthrough may have been made in the way we treat patients with broken or deteriorating bones. Forteo, a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat osteoporosis, works by activating idle stem cells in bones to rebuild more bone cells faster and effectively.

“I’ve never seen a medication do this before,” said professor J. Edward Puzas of the University of Rochester School of Medicine, who was involved in the clinical trial. “It is a way to turn back the clock for fracture healing.”

Researchers are saying that the drug could be an important breakthrough in treating hard-to-heal bone fractures faster and with less pain. Preliminary results of the early research projects found that of 145 patients with unhealed broken bones who were tested, 93 percent had significant healing and pain control after just weeks on Forteo. Already impressed by the drug’s performance, the National Institutes of Health have launched their own study on Forteo only using post-menopausal women with pelvic fractures as the subject.

“We have seen patients who have been bound to wheelchairs who could walk independently because this drug helped them heal their fractures,” said Dr. Susan Bukata of the University of Rochester Medical Center in an interview with ABC news.

By some estimates, as many as 300,000 Americans a year potentially could benefit from this treatment.

New Study Reports It’s Safe for Heart Patients to Exercise

Bike Riding

According to a recent study conducted by Duke University researchers and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, patients who have sustained heart damage could benefit from moderate exercise. These results are challenging the traditional recommendation that recent heart attack patients should limit physical activity and instead, rest. The study included 2,331 heart patients from 82 facilities in the United States, France and Canada.

The study reports that aerobic exercise improves the quality of life within three months in patients with chronic heart disease as well as reduces their chances of death or hospitalization over a two year time frame. Although the effect on life expectancy in heart patients who engage in exercise programs is minimal, the researchers said there are definite benefits, as shown within the study. These findings could potentially change the way cardiologists approach exercise in patients who have sustained heart attacks, have heart disease, or are affected by other conditions affecting the cardiovascular system.

National Public Health Week

Medical Symbol

According to the American Public Health Association, National Public Health Week has been educating and celebrating issues that affect public health since 1995. Held during the first full week of April, National Public Health Week is an excellent opportunity for communities across the country to recognize the contributions of public health professionals in their area, as well as to further advance the goal of having a healthier community for years to come.

While most countries outside the US lack in the amount spent on health care each year, the United States still suffers from problems that affect the overall health of its people. According to the American Public Health Association:

- A baby born in the United States is more likely to die before its first birthday than a child born in almost any other developed country.

- U.S. life expectancy has reached a record high of 78.1 years but still ranks 46th — behind Japan and most of Europe, as well as countries such as Guam, South Korea and Jordan.

- The US is among the top 10 countries that have the most people with HIV/AIDS, and it is estimated that one in 20 residents in the nation’s capital are HIV-positive.

- Disparities persist with ethnic minority populations having nearly eight times the death rate for key health conditions, such as diabetes, than that of non-minority populations.

Start pushing for progress in your community and support the works of National Public Health Week. For more information, visit NPHW.org.