Tag Archives: health

PRSCRPTN 4U kthxbai – consulting your doctor by SMS

Tattooed guy using a cellphone I think the most surprising thing about this is that it’s taken so long for someone to do it. Brooklyn medical practitioner Dr. Jay Parkinson offers a unique service to his young hipster-freelance clientele – for a yearly fee, they can get two home visits and unlimited consultations by text message or email. Not only does this make it far easier for his patients to get the advice they need at the time they really need it, it keeps Dr. Parkinson’s practice overheads nice and low, and leaves him time to indulge in his own creative pursuits as a photographer. The first practice in my town to offer this service will be getting my subscription fee in cash, with a smile. [Image by ElvertBarnes]

[tags]health, medicine, doctor, consultation, technology, business[/tags]

Don’t want Alzheimer’s? Study says you might need to be a better person

Will being strong and dependable mean a stronger mind at old age?A lengthy study of nuns, priests and monks by a medical researcher in Chicago produced a stunning correlation between the conscientiousness of the person and the likelihood of dementia in later life. Conscientiousness was described as someone self-disciplined, scrupulous and dependable. Those that scored in the 90th percentile for conscientiousness in 1994 had 89% less chance of contracting Alzheimer’s than someone in the 10th percentile as well as less cognitive decline. The researcher’s hypothesis for the link is that determined and dependable people are more resilient and adaptable to change.

[via reuters, photo by triblondon]

The future of cost-effective medicine?

An enterprising doctor in New York is offering a distinctive new form of treatment specializing in “young adults aged 18 to 40 without health insurance”. As well as making house calls to work or home, Jay Parkinson, MD will meet you online – via MSN, AIM, webcam or email – to discuss problems. Using the internet to search for the best price treatments to recommend also helps drive down the price of medicine. Are local surgeries and GPs under threat from the new world wide web docs? I can’t help thinking about the worlds of Snow Crash or Neuromancer when I think of doctors meeting you online to discuss your wounds.

[via Boing Boing, image from the doc’s website]

Often ill? Maybe you’re not seeing the light.

Sunlight - man's best friend?

{Photo taken by StewartJames on Flickr Creative Commons}

A very interesting article in the Independent yesterday talked about a new study on the effects of vitamin D on health. The study by the Institute of Oncology in Milan and Lyon’s International Agency for Research on Cancer was the biggest ever to be done on the nutrient and found that it had a much bigger impact of health than previously thought.

90% of the vitamin D we receive is not from food but from absorbing sunlight on open skin. A solid dose of sunlight a few times a week was found to reduce mortality by 7%. Even taking pills filled with the vitamin can reduce the risk of cancer, MS and heart disease by as much as a half. Even Autism and Diabetes have links to Vitamin D deficiency. So perhaps the best thing you can do to save your life is to take that walk in the park on a sunny day.

Interestingly, the amount of sunlight needed is quite strong so winters in the UK, for example, are barely strong enough to give a good dose – the cause of countless flu seasons and the infamous Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) . Aside from supplements, light therapy with very bright lights is thought to help.

[via the independent]

Nanotechnology, bioengineering combine to make cheaper, better vaccines

Dendritic_cell: A screen clip from a video included in the journal article “Environmental Dimensionality Controls the Interaction of Phagocytes with the Pathogenic Fungi Aspergillus fumigatus and Candida albicans” So, for my first real post, how about some good news combining bioengineering and nanotechnology, making it very futurismic–er, futuristic. Whatever.

Researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland have developed (and patented) a nanoparticle that, they believe, can deliver vaccines "more effectively, with fewer side effects, and at a fraction of the cost" of current vaccination methods.

Once upon a time, vaccines were made from dead-but-whole or living-but-weakened pathogens. Recently, researchers have figured out how to generate an immune response with a singe protein from a virus or bacterium. They’ve also discovered that the best way to get sustained immunity is to deliver an antigen directly to the specialized immune cells known as dendritic cells (DCs).

The trouble is, DCs aren’t all that common in skin or muscle, where injections are usually made, and in order to use them to activate the whole immune system, you also have to deliver a kind of "danger signal"–which there hasn’t been a good way to do, until now.

The new nanoparticles are so tiny they slip right through the skin and into the lymph nodes, where there are lots of DCs, and they carry a chemical coating that mimics the surface chemistry of bacterial cell walls. The result: a strong immune response without nasty side effects.

The researchers believe these nanoparticles could make it possible to vaccinate against diseases like hepatitis and malaria with a single injection, and at a cost of only a dollar a dose, far cheaper than current vaccines. The research team also plans to try using the technique to target cancer cells. And best of all, they say, the technique could be in use within five years. [Photo from Wikimedia Commons]

(Via Science Daily.)