15 July 2002

FSCAN FAQ: Preventing Appendicitis

There are quite a number of unnecessary surgeries for appendicitis and they are not without risk. You can die from side effects, like nosocomial infections, which are much more virulent in hospital settings because hospital patients do not move around to reinfect others. They lie still and the nurses and doctors reinfect others. That means organisms which immobilize an individual are spread rapidly in a hospital, whereas in the wild, so to speak, the person would die without infecting very many other people. This has to do with rapid genetic evolution of strains of organisms causing more virulent strains to spread more widely in hospitals. In World War I, there were almost twice as many dead from this factor than the 10 million killed by enemy fire. More details and references on this later, but I digress ...

FSCAN users need never get sick enough to find themselves in the emergency room where a doctor has to make a quick decision with insufficient information. Better to give you unnecessary surgery than have you die of appendicitis and get sued. Always ask for a scan first. The literature shows this substantially increases your odds of a correct diagnosis.

Take a microscopic slide of an appendix and put it on the FSCAN imprinter. Do a scan and it will preferentially pick up hits from the appendix. Then treat with the appendix slide on the imprinter and impedance will be better matched to tissue like an appendix causing more energy transfer to that tissue in your body. Periodic scanning and treating will signficantly reduce the risk of appendicitis, i.e. it should never get infected and hurt. If it does, better see your physician.

11 July 2002

Placebo Effect

The placebo effect is an interesting and important phenomenon. Research in recent years show that every thought in the brain generates physiological effects. The effects can be as strong as powerful drugs. Much more research should be done on how to generate a good placebo effect in every patient with a harmless treatment.

When I was at Stanford working in biostatistics, every patient in the hospital was on a study because even those patients getting a placebo did better than patients not on a study. Every medical interaction should focus on generating a positive placebo effect in a patient, especially when it leads to avoidance of an invasive treatment like knee surgery.

Knee Surgery For Arthritis Is Ineffective, Study Finds
By Susan Okie
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 11, 2002; Page A01

An operation performed about 300,000 times a year on U.S. patients with arthritis is completely ineffective, according to an unusual study that compared the procedure with phony surgery.

The study, by researchers at the Houston Veterans Affairs Medical Center, compared two versions of arthroscopic knee surgery for osteoarthritis with a placebo operation in which patients were given a sedative and received only small skin incisions. All patients reported reduced pain and better knee function, and there was no difference in outcome between those who had real surgery and those who got the placebo procedure.

Evidence for significant lack of evidenced based medicine

By Barbara Feder Ostrov
Mercury News, Tue, Jul. 09, 2002

Scientists today will urge millions of American women taking hormone replacement therapy to avoid its long-term use because of unacceptably high rates of breast cancer and heart disease.

The recommendation comes as researchers halt a massive national study that examined the risks of a combination estrogen-progestin therapy used by an estimated 6 million U.S. women. While the therapy reduced the rate of hip fractures and colon cancer, it created disturbingly higher risks of breast cancer, heart disease, strokes and blood clots in the lungs -- regardless of the women's ethnicity, age or health concerns.

The trial, run by the National Institutes of Health and part of the large Women's Health Initiative series of studies, was expected to continue until 2005. More than 16,000 post-menopausal women participating in the study, including about 1,450 in the Bay Area, were notified of its shutdown Monday.

``We needed to stop the trial to ensure the patients' safety. We got the answer to benefits vs. risks much sooner than we expected, and the risks clearly outweigh the benefits,'' said Dr. Marcia Stefanick, a Stanford professor and chairwoman of the Women's Health Initiative steering committee

03 July 2002

Why your physician is not aware of the latest medical information ...

For maximum health, each person must take responsibility for working with their physician on treatment planning and they must research the medical literature themselves. It is not possible for their physician to know the latest information. Here is why:

40,000 pages a day of updated information is delivered to Harvard medical students by Caregroup CIO John Halamka. One of the medical school's chief goals is to help students quickly and easily find the nuggets of information they need without sifting through mountains of resource material, Halamka says.

"More information is published every day in medicine than a doctor can read in a lifetime," he says. "We are filtering all that information and, by creating this large Web infrastructure, delivering to the students just what they need for their current courses, along with some selected references on top of that."

Making all relevant information available is a hefty task, Halamka says. "We deliver 40,000 pages of mobile content every day to about 350 active users of hand-held devices," he says. Students are the heaviest users of the PDAs because they are tied up in classes all day with limited access to personal computers. Most medical school faculty access data via the Web from PCs located in their offices and hospital units, he adds.

Harvard Medical School provides the platform and software. Medical students are expected to purchase their own PDAs. The institution has arranged some pricing discounts, Halamka says, but requiring students to buy their own PDAs instills a sense of ownership in-and responsibility for-the hand-held devices.