October 9, 2013 |
Having a stroke, or even a transient ischemic attack (a TIA, often called a "mini-stroke") can be a costly watershed in a person's life. Statistically, it deducts years from patients' lives. But it claims another toll too: in quality of life after the stroke has happened. New research tallies the combined cost of those two very different measures, and suggests that current treatments for stroke aren't doing nearly enough to minimize strokes' true cost. The study, published Wednesday in the journal Neurology, is an exercise in health economics that seeks to generate a fuller picture of a disease's cost.
October 3, 2013 |
Fecal transplants are gaining ground as a highly effective treatment for recurrent infection with the intestinal bacteria clostridium difficile . But the "yuck factor" of the procedure continues to deter physicians from offering it to patients who could benefit, said a practicing gastroenterologist, who has come up with a solution to the problem: a gelatin capsule filled with the highly compacted fecal matter of a patient's family member. "There is no smell. We basically have a little cubette of microbes and we pour it into the capsules," said Dr. Thomas Louie of the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.
October 2, 2013 |
Two-thirds of patients sick enough to land in a hospital intensive care unit come away from the experience with substantial mental deficits, a new study has found. The new research, which quantifies a phenomenon long observed by critical-care physicians, found that three months after leaving the hospital, 4 in 10 patients continue to have cognitive problems on a par with those seen in cases of moderate traumatic brain injury. And more than a quarter experience a decline in mental function akin to that seen in patients with mild Alzheimer's disease, the study says.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 24, 2013 |
A nursing assistant at a Santa Barbara rehabilitation hospital sexually assaulted two partially paralyzed patients and, despite a report to the hospital by one of the victims, stayed on the job, a lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges. Jose Carrillo, 55, of Summerland was arrested in October 2012 on suspicion of sexually assaulting the two female patients, who were recovering from brain injuries at Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital. In each case, the nursing assistant sexually assaulted the women in the shower as he helped them wash, according to police reports.
September 24, 2013 |
Married people who are diagnosed with the most common types of cancer are 20% less likely to die than patients who are single - and depending on the type of cancer they have, their odds of dying may be reduced by as much as 33%, new research shows. That finding raises an intriguing question: Is it possible to identify the specific benefits of marriage and put them into a hypothetical “pill” that could give the same benefits to patients who are single? It may sound far-fetched, but that's at least part of the motivation behind the new study , published online this week by the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
September 23, 2013 |
So-called concierge medicine - doctors asking their patients to pay an extra fee just to remain under their care - has been around for a while. It's an offensive idea, but I get it, especially when it comes to family practitioners who look after a patient's general well-being. The medical marketplace has room for both Corollas and Cadillacs. Yet when it comes to medical specialists, such as cardiologists, things seem different. "You never know when you'll need to reach your cardiologist," said Mike Oppenheim, 73, who was diagnosed as having a faulty heart valve several years ago. He'll need surgery at some point to fix it. "I have a really good cardiologist at Pacific Heart Institute in Santa Monica," Oppenheim told me. "I'm getting the best care possible.
September 18, 2013 |
This year, 36.6 million people will be admitted to U.S. hospitals. Each patient will stay an average of 4.8 days, and the cost for all those hospitalizations will reach into the billions. Is all that time spent in hospitals good for patients? Hospitals, of course, are vital institutions that save lives. When someone needs intensive, around-the-clock care, there is no substitute. But as physicians and hospital staffs know well, the longer a patient stays in a hospital, the more perilous the hospitalization can become.
September 17, 2013 |
If you've been diagnosed with breast cancer, the last thing you want is for it to come back. That sentiment goes a long way toward explaining why as many as 25% of women with breast cancer -- especially young women -- have been opting to have healthy breasts removed. In an effort to dig deeper into patients' decision-making process, researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and various schools and hospitals affiliated with Harvard developed a lengthy survey.
September 14, 2013 |
The doctor can't see you now. Consumers may hear that a lot more often after getting health insurance under President Obama's Affordable Care Act. To hold down premiums, major insurers in California have sharply limited the number of doctors and hospitals available to patients in the state's new health insurance market opening Oct. 1. New data reveal the extent of those cuts in California, a crucial test bed for the federal healthcare law....
September 12, 2013 |
It's a question that has long fascinated and flummoxed those who study human behavior: From whence comes the impulse to dream? Are dreams generated from the brain's "top" -- the high-flying cortical structures that allow us to reason, perceive, act and remember? Or do they come from the brain's "bottom" -- the unheralded brainstem, which quietly oversees such basic bodily functions as respiration, heart rate, salivation and temperature control? At stake is what to make of the funny, sexual, scary and just plain bizarre mental scenarios that play themselves out in our heads while we sleep.