The United States has always prided itself as being on the cutting edge of innovation and technology. We have come a long way from the civil war, and pride ourselves on being the country that provides the best health care in the world. However times are changing. Due to stifling regulation, and increased taxes on Medical Devices, many entrepreneurs are unable to get the funding they need to develop their products.
Initially the rules and regulations set by the FDA, were added one by one in an effort to make sure any new medical devices that went out to market were safe for the end consumer. This essentially follows the “first do no harm”. This is seemingly noble, and it does make sense. And to be sure we do not have a lot of medical devices that are coated with lead paint or the like. The caveat is that as each new rule and regulation was added, it became more and more difficult to get a FDA medical device through the system, and to market.
It follows that if we have a system in place that makes it so that any new medical device must past thousands of standards, tests, animal testing, and review boards, that we will have the best and safest products available on the free market. Unfortunately this is just not true. A large number of our most innovative new medical devices are not even making an appearance in the United States because the restrictions, and the amount of time it takes to pass the reviews and regulations make it a costly and unprofitable gamble. Many investors and companies are simply focused on selling more medical items, than they are on trying to innovate with new products. One of the fastest growing markets in India is new medical devices.
Investors and Venture Capitalists are the engine that drives innovation. In the area of innovation, Silicon Valley is a shining example of what we can accomplish if given the right resources. With venture capitalists backing the brightest young minds in our country the innovations that came from Silicon Valley are widely known. Those entrepreneurs changed the face of our planet over the course of two decades.
Innovations like this are possible in the medical field by creating some of the most innovative medical devices in our history. The difference is that unlike Silicon Valley, Investors and Venture Capitalists have begun to see investing in medical devices as a bad investment. The amount of time it takes to see profit is far too long. And the likelihood that the project may get stamped out by a rule or regulation is becoming increasingly more prohibitive as the years go on.
A decline in new and innovative medical devices has been a yearly occurrence. Each of the last two years has seen a 13% decline in medical devices. The new medical device tax has put a serious damper on the market as well. The tax is not on profits, it is strictly based on revenue. This unjust practice is putting struggling medical device companies out of business.
Our innovators are forced to sell their devices to other markets. One developer created an iPhone app that can detect heart beats and diagnose arrhythmia from a smart phone device. Due to regulatory committees, one Medical Device Company is now selling the App to veterinarians. The regulations are much leaner in the field of veterinary care. In this case our animals have a better chance at quality, innovative care than we do.
While it is frightening that we are forcing our best and brightest to take care of our animals, the worse news is that most new innovative medical devices are going directly to India. We are robbing Peter to pay Paul, and drowning in a sea of red tape.
What is depression? Why is it difficult to identify in seniors? How is the treatment of depression different in seniors? Depression is much more complex than sadness. Did you know that suicide is a common cause of death in the aged? Depression effects a person’s mood, health, mental function, and lifestyle.
Depression signs in the elderly
The signs and symptoms of depression in the elderly include:
· Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
· Feelings of loneliness
· Insomnia – the inability to sleep (some CPAP or respiratory items can help)
· Hypersomnia – excessive sleeping
· Inability to concentrate
These symptoms are often overlooked in a senior citizen. This is due to the fact that many of the symptoms of depression are thought to simply occur naturally in the aging process. For example, retired individuals may consider it natural to deal with feelings of worthlessness and loneliness. However, depression is not considered normal at any age. Furthermore, medical illness, isolation, and certain commonly used medications may cause depression, including some high-blood pressure and high-cholesterol medications. If depression is suspected, it should be discussed with a doctor.
After depression has been identified, there are several options for treating depression. Anti-depressants may be prescribed, but these often carry additional risks for older adults. Anti-depressants may interact with other medications and some anti-depressants cause rapid bone loss in the elderly. However, some anti-depressants may be used safely under the supervision of a doctor. Many herbal remedies and natural supplements, including St. John’s Wort and Omega-3 fatty acids, are an inexpensive and effective treatment for depression and carry fewer side effects. However, some of these can interact with other medication, so be sure to check with a doctor before beginning an herb or supplement routine. Counseling or therapy may also be extremely effective. These are used to address the root cause of the depression, instead of just treating the symptoms.
Depression should not be accepted as a normal occurrence for seniors. It is not a condition to be ashamed of or ignored. Depression symptoms should be discussed with a doctor and treated. Relief from the symptoms of depression is possible.
After running a contest to see which medical student forum was the best online it seemed the votes unanimously came in for The Student Room. After this forum was voted the winner with 798 votes compared to 2nd place with only 161 votes we knew we had a forum with passionate moderators and students. Jason Geall, managing director of “The Student Room”, was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about this forum and how it became the leader in the online world for the future leaders of medicine.
1. Editor, can you tell us a little about yourself and what led you to create the medical portion of The Student Room?
The Student Room was created 12 years ago to fulfil a simple need for students to share information and communicate with each other. As it’s grown we’ve paid careful attention to what students want and the site has evolved with them, always making sure we have a deep understanding of our members and striving to create a site that serves their needs. It’s one reason why, since 2010, we’ve been recognised as the world’s largest online student community.
As for the medicine forum on the site, our forums have always grown organically, if we see a community of people talking about a topic, we’ll create a forum for them. The medicine forum was created for this reason and it continues to grow year-on-year, predominantly due to the fantastic support and resources created by the community within that forum. The desire to pass on knowledge and help others is admirable.
2. How did you first get involved with forum moderation or creation?
The moderation of any forum site has to develop over time and as The Student Room has grown so has the support team. They are our biggest advocates and with our support we’ve enabled the moderators to effectively manage themselves and make many of the day-to-day decisions.
The creator of The Student Room, Charlie, now plays a more passive role in the site, having set it up in 2001 whilst studying for his A levels. He passed the site on to Chris Newson (CEO) in 2006, who now oversees all things TSR.
3. What do you find most challenging about keeping a forum of this magnitude running?
The education system in the UK is going through some of its biggest changes at the moment. We have to stay ahead of the game, whilst growing internally and updating the site to make it as useful as possible for our users. We can never stop forgetting our most important stakeholders, students, and our responsibility to them to stay current and helpful.
4. Tell me about some fascinating people you’ve interacted or met because of this forum?
Due to the size and popularity of the site we work and interact with a whole range of people on a daily basis. We’ve had celebrities, politicians, authorities, teachers, businesses engaging with our users; you name it, if organisations want to interact with students they come to us.
The site is so diverse, with so many different needs, that we’re constantly coming across fascinating individuals and organisations. Recently the nominees for our ‘Student in a million’ awards gave us some incredibly inspirational student stories that we didn’t quite expect and it reminds us how important it is to support this community. Have a read: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/content.php?r=335-Student-in-a-Million-the-winners
5. How do you keep and attract new quality moderators?
It’s all in the team. The guys are great at supporting each other and getting involved in any projects we have going on. The popularity of the site makes it difficult to choose new moderators, as there are always lots of great candidates!
This doesn’t happen overnight though – we started with a small team and have become bigger over a number of years, a lot of credit has to go to everyone that has contributed to the growth of the site and team.
6. Where do you see this forum going 1 year from now, what type of change will it help to create in the medical community?
There’s a lot of exciting projects in the pipeline for the coming year that should make a real impact on the site. We’re always looking to improve, and we are well aware that forums aren’t always the most user friendly places.
Making it easier to find your most relevant areas, be it medicine, rabbits or an apprenticeship is a key focus for us. In everything we do, we try to include our community as much as possible. Unlike other big sites, we listen to our members and we honestly read every bit of feedback that we’re sent. We love feedback so if anyone ever has any comments, suggestions or improvements please do let us know!
7. What’s the best thing you can give to your forum visitors?
A level playing field! No matter where in the country or world you live, no matter how good or bad your school is or how much support you get at home, The Student Room is there to give all students equal access to opportunities and support so they can achieve their full potential.
8. Everyone has a favourite moderator. What is yours & why?
Well, that’s quite a question! That’s really tough because they all do such a great job, putting in lots of time and effort. If I had to pick one I’d go with our Life & Style section leader, randdom. She’s our longest serving moderator, as well as a fully fledged doctor having received help on the site in her student years. Now she’s continuing her great work by passing on her wisdom. Oh, and she’s also married to someone who works at The Student Room, having met each other on the site!
9. Are there some moderators you regularly stay in contact with? Do you interact with others outside of the context of the forum? Why?
Absolutely, we try and stay in contact daily/weekly on the site as well as organising offline meet ups. Once or twice a year we’ll organise an all-expenses paid trip for the moderation team, where we all get together and have a great time over a weekend. In the past we’ve had fun filled weekends at centre parks, a boat trip down the Thames, cocktail making, chocolate making and lots and lots of lovely food. ‘Mod meets’ are always highly anticipated events.
10. How do you choose moderators typically? How long do they usually work with you?
Moderators are members of the community which stand out for a number of reasons. They post frequently, are trusted and reliable and keen to get more involved in the site. You can self-nominate but it’s the moderation team who will decide who becomes the latest member of the team.
11. How has this forum impacted your personal life and career?
The values of The Student Room are to be a welcoming, fun, useful, supportive, entrepreneurial, questioning and independent place for students, 24/7. Working on those values day in day out has a major impact on your life as you see real value coming out of what you do. When students tell us that they got into university thanks to the help they got from TSR or that advice from another member stopped them committing suicide, you realise the importance of making sure that this platform is always there for students; it’s a unique and privileged position to be in.
12. What big projects are you planning for the future with The Student Room?
The Student Room is not all we do, under the umbrella brand, The Student Room Group we run two fantastic social learning sites for students, which are MarkedByTeachers.com and GetRevising.co.uk. Each of these are popular with students in their own right and are full of really useful resources. So one thing we’d like to achieve is to get all 3 sites talking to each other and make it easier for students to learn together. There’s plenty of other things in the pipeline but we’ve got to have some secrets.
The cardiovascular system is one of the most important organ systems in the body. The heart in particular is an amazing piece of machinery that weighs less than a pound in weight, but contracts and expands about 100,000 times every day. The heart muscle is a smooth, involuntary muscle, meaning that individuals have no conscious control over the rate and rhythm of each heartbeat. Electrical impulses in the body stimulate the heart to beat at a certain pace.
Since the highest percentage of deaths in the United States can be attributed to cardiovascular disease, maintaining optimal health of this system is important. The best way to both build and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system are through diet and exercise. A healthy diet should consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, and healthy fats. Mono and polyunsaturated fats are beneficial for the cardiovascular system as they work to prevent plaque from building up in arteries.
Exercise is also a crucial part of maintaining optimal cardiovascular health. Aerobic exercise increases the heart rate, encouraging strengthening of the heart muscle. Regular exercise of 30 minutes every day or 150 minutes a week is recommended by the American Heart Association. [Read more →]
My staff and I were having a discussion about plastic surgery for the trending demographic of mothers. Now that society has become more accepting of surgeries to alter your looks (not as bad as alterations in movies like “Hunger Games” or “Total Recall”)….. mommy makeovers are becoming socially acceptable. It seems the new anniversary gift for a 35 yr old mom is to get a breast lift/augmentation, tummy tuck, and possible vaginal reconstruction (like laser labiaplasty).
Motherhood is such a gratifying experience even with the pregnancy and difficulty of raising children in today’s fast paced world. After pregnancy, most women experience dramatic changes to their physique. Since even the most vigorous exercise regimes (like CrossFit and P90X) and diets cannot always reverse these changes.
One mother requested labia reduction surgery and used the key words of “chaffing” and “discomfort”. After having 5 children the lips of the labor had become quite stretched out and caused discomfort in day to day life. In times like this, I have no reservations in assisting the mother find some relief.
Labia reduction can cause bleeding and infections. And scar tissue can make the skin less stretchy, causing pain and irritation during sex.
The one thing that we touch most often in today’s world is our Smartphones. Ironically we typically don’t ever wash these devices. This does make sense because if we put the phones under water, or let’s say in the dishwashing machine, it may now be heavier than it used to be but it is unlikely to work again. So the dishwashing machine is out. What next then. Ahh Lysol! But wait according to Apples support page this is very bad. They seem to think that if you use window cleaners, ammonia, bleach, solvents, aerosol sprays, household cleaners, or abrasives on your Smartphone that it may damage the screen. They do recommend using a slightly damp lint free cloth. I can’t recall ever being prepped for a medical procedure in this way, probably because smearing germs around until they are now glossy does not get rid of them.
On average we touch our faces about 17 times every hour. Clearly washing our hands more often is the real key to stopping the spread of viruses and dangerous microorganisms. Another solution that I have found to be effective is to put the Smartphone in a case that can be wiped down. I personally use an Otterbox, and keep some alcohol wipes with me so that I can wipe my phone down periodically or after I let someone use my device.
There are some recommendations that I can make that will lessen the spread of the Flu or other viruses during this time of year.
Do not share your phone. If you do share your phone wipe it down with alcohol wipes (only if you have a case that this will not damage your phone with.
Keep your phone away from children. Children typically never wash their hands and put them on every part of their body. Therefore they tend to be germ magnets.
Use a headset to make phone calls. This way no contact has to be made with the phone near the face.
If someone does share your phone and there is no way to sanitize the device, try not to use the device for several hours. Most pathogens lose a lot of their virility within 20 minutes. However some such as MRSA can survive for up to 9 days.
A doctor can be as meticulous as humanly possible and still make a mistake. There are over 200,000 preventable deaths a year in the US that are caused by errors made by healthcare professionals per Thomas Sharon in his book, “With Liberty and Coverage for All“. Not every mistake leads to death.
Take the scenario of a nurse not washing her hands before giving a patient an IV. Ok let’s say this is the only mistake, she can still put some gloves on and very likely there won’t be a problem. If however she does neither and has some bacteria on her hands, the patient is at risk of a blood borne pathogen. Likely the patient will not even know the risk they are in. This is a medical mistake. They happen more than we would like to admit.
There are checklists that are in place with the specific intent to minimize the risk of mistakes. For example, before every surgery an inventory is taken of all of the equipment used. Before closing the patient up an inventory is taken as well. If anything is missing, the patient cannot be closed up until every piece of surgical equipment is accounted for. This means every sponge, every clamp, everything.
This could help prevent “never events”. Currently these occur over 4,000 times a year and are COMPLETELY preventable. A 2011 study published in the journal Health Affairs showed that medical errors cost the U.S. about $17.1 billion in Medicare payments in one year alone. Mistakes don’t just hurt one patient, they damage the entire system.
Think about your job. It is very likely you can remember a mistake that you made that didn’t really have any consequences, and it is also very likely that you can recall a mistake that had a pretty severe impact. Doctors are the same way. Most mistakes go unnoticed, most aren’t fatal, but some are.
I’m sure we all remember the recent death of Jennifer Morbelli getting a late term abortion by well known abortion doctor to terminate her 33-week pregnancy after discovering her unborn child had developed fetal abnormalities. This was not the first patient to die for LeRoy Carhart, when performing a late term abortion.
With our judicial system, legal fees, and up to 30% of the bottom line going to the hospital and administration fees doctors are getting paid less. In order to make up for this gap many doctors take on more patients in order to maintain their current standard of living. This gives them even less time to deal with the decisions they have to make. In our modern medical community mistakes have never been higher, despite stricter checklists and moderated routines.
College students & professor held at gunpoint at College of Medicine.
Well it seems that this whole gun control debate has gotten crazier again. Just today 10 medical students at the University of the West Indies (UWI), along with their lecturer, were approached and robbed by two bandits at a class seminar yesterday morning. The incident took place around 9.30 a.m., while the class was in session at Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope.
Police said the students were in the classroom when two men entered and announced a hold-up. They ordered the students—three males and seven females—and the lecturer to lay on the ground, before proceeding to rob them.The victims were robbed of their laptop computers, cell phones, jewelry and cash, said police. A monetary value of the items stolen was not given by officers. [Read more →]
I have a number of friends with their children graduating high school and needing to choose what medical schoool they want to attend. I don’t feel like diving into what medical school is best but I did think I could bring up a different question. What medical forum for students is the best one out there? As you go through years of university what place online has the most active and understanding community to get you involved?
After doing some research these are the ones I believe to be the most active and popular. Most are not run by a single college but designed for students from a number of different schools across the world. It’s nice to have a different perspective than just your own local colleagues.
Best forums for Medical Students
I am setting up a poll for my audience to vote and let me know which forum they believe is the best. The forum that receives the most votes will receive a full interview featured on this site highlighting the story behind how the forum was started and how they continue to make it widly succussful. They will also receive a badge in my right navigation for 1 year that says “Most Popular Medical Student Forum” ad that is valued at $500. Feel free to leave a comment if you feel I left out a significant leader in this space. This contest will run through Febraury 28th, 2013. Here is a quick list and how many pages of content they have created:
With Healthcare reform becoming the base for many conversations in America, cost of medication and treatment comes to mind, especially with Obamacare starting soon.
healthcare reform needed – Obamacare not the answer
Traditional medications from Pharmacies have been long accepted as the go to for physical and mental ailments, but are there alternatives out there? Are there ways to prevent and treat symptoms on your own, instead of just bandaids for the symptoms [Read more →]