January 27, 2011
An announcement yesterday from the Food and Drug Administration highlights a couple of items that I think are important in terms of not only how we understand medical issues and medical risk, but also how technology will help us get better and quicker answers in the future.
On the medical side, the question is when does a risk become a risk? On the information side, why aren't we able to harness the power of data to answer questions about risk more quickly and accurately? And, if I have a device implanted in me, why can't someone get in contact with me? After all, if my car has problem they send me a letter. If something is put in my body--for the most part--forget about it. More...
January 25, 2011
Remember the old Nat King Cole Song "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes"? Well, if you live in an apartment or condominium, that smoke not only gets into your children's eyes, it gets into their lungs and bodies as well. And that's not a good thing.
A recent report in the journal Pediatrics makes it pretty clear that a high percentage of kids who live in apartment--and in fact kids who live in other environments as well where people don't smoke inside the home--have evidence in their blood tests that many of them are exposed to the byproducts of tobacco smoke. And according to the researchers, it's enough to make them sick--and will probably make you sick as well when you learn about the problem. More...
January 24, 2011
An article published this afternoon in the Archives Internal Medicine sheds some interesting light on the ongoing question of whether or not cigarette smoking increases the risk of breast cancer. And guess what? According to this research, for some women the answer is yes, for others no and for some-believe it or not-the risk of breast cancer may be decreased.
That smoking could actually decrease the risk of breast cancer is one of those "believe it or not" moments in evidence-based medicine, but I wouldn't go around cheering that smoking is good for your health. It isn't, and nothing about the findings in this study should change anyone's opinions about the risks of tobacco. More...
January 03, 2011
Well, it didn't take long to get into the New Year, did it?
There I was this morning starting my New Year right by getting exercise on my elliptical when I heard the announcement that Johnson & Johnson was partnering with researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital's cancer center and other major cancer centers to evaluate the potential of a new technology which can isolate single cancer cells circulating in the blood of patients with known cancers.
The news in itself is an impressive step forward in this type of research. Being able to isolate a single cancer cell in a sample of blood is in a sense one of the holy grails of cancer research. Scientists have been working diligently on developing these techniques for a number of years, and to now have a technology that may in fact move that dream closer to a clinical reality where it actually improves the treatment of patients with cancer is exciting.
However, there is always a caution that comes along with these types of announcements. More...