Hello and welcome to Grand Rounds at Medgadget! Grand Rounds is the weekly collection of the best in online medical blogging, with posts collected from doctors, nurses, students, researchers, policy wonks, and patients.
Today’s edition falls on Christmas Day! When growing up, we always looked forward to a bunch of presents (gadgets?) under the tree — and hope you are waking up to a warm and plentiful Christmas scene today. Perhaps you’ll consider the links below a kind of Christmas bounty, with gifts from around the world designed to provoke, delight, and capture your fancy.
To begin with, it’s the season of giving, and pediatric oncologist Dr. Samuel Blackman of Blog, MD has been shared his thoughts on the strange new concept of medical gift cards. He’s also got some stats on gift card craze.
On a broader level, Liana from Med Valley High revisits the UN’s Millennium Development goals, which ask the richest nations to donate 0.7% of their GNI to the poorest. As nations, we’ve fallen short, and as individuals, she’s issued a challenge for charitable giving.
On the ligher side, Henry Stern of Insureblog has some commentary on direct-to-consumer advertising, and promotes an important public service announcement about the side effects of a powerful drug that many people take for shyness (though in the ER we might see this drug’s off-label uses).
Onto the world of science and research! Shedding light on controversial or complicated medical news is something the blogosphere does very well, and this week we’re highlighting a number of posts that you’ll be mulling over with some egg nog.
It’s not everyday you head the word “cure” bandied about for a common and deadly disease — but as Prof. Tara Smith of Aetiology points out, it’s even rarer that the cure is quite so repugnant.
Blogging at Sharp Brains, Alvaro Fernandez interviews Dr. Elizabeth Zelinski about her new trial of a commercially-available cognitive training regimen for aging minds. There’s hope!
Christian Bachman of Med Journal Watch describes new research that suggests demanding jobs keep brains spry. There’s more hope!
The psychiatrist behind How to Cope with Pain notes a sea change in pain research, as studies now look at combinations of pain meds, instead of relying on less clinically relevant head-to-head trials.
Over at MyDiabetesCentral, Gretchen Becker gives an overview of new insulin delivery study, and explains how recent news reporters jumped to the wrong conclusions about how this lettuce-derived insulin can help (these are not the salad days of TV journalism).
Scienceroll‘s Bertalan Mesko has ventured a possible explanation for the phenomenon of green sweat (and it doesn’t involve gatorade or the Grinch).
Long before there were Grand Rounds of medical blogs, hospitals have been using another version of Grand Rounds, to teach. In a very meta moment, Dr. Shock has submitted a post about the accuracy of bold statements made during grand rounds. We boldly, and accurately, claim this post is worth a look.
Speaking of Grand Rounds, the blogger at Ten out of Ten has a compiled his or her own medical blog roundup , to the tune of a familiar holiday song.
We asked bloggers to recall some holidays they spent in the hospital, and they responded with some poignant stories. Susan Palwick, from Rickety Contrivances for Doing Good, recalls her grandfather’s admission two decades ago.
Laurie Edwards of A Chronic Dose looks back at the holidays she’s spent in the hospital, and looks forward to a healthy year.
Terry Freemark from the Counting Sheep blog describes the marathon shift she’ll be working over Christmas. Stop by her site and drop a note of encouragement!
We also asked bloggers to come up with some year-end reviews. Writing in Teen Health 411, Nancy Brown, PhD looks back on the year’s top teen health stories.
Over at the DiabetesMine, Amy Tenderich and friends have composed a smartmob-style group review of diabetes news in 2007.
Never one to conform, future doc Jan Martens sends in his edition of hosting the Medicine 2.0 carnival, a preview of online medicine in the year 2015.
Back to the present, another retrospective comes from Prudence MD, where Filipino doctor Tess Termulo, who reviews a year of blog posts.
This time of year, carolers encourage peace on earth, and godwill toward all. But at Nurse Ratched’s Place, Mother Jones tells a tale of interdepartmental nastiness, in her delightfully wicked post entitled Give ‘Til It Hurts .
She’s not the only one two notice that hospital administration isn’t always on the ball. ER Nursery rants about the latest fat from the suits in management.
Over in Gruntdoc‘s neck of the woods, he’s bummed about an ER nurse leaving… for the greener pastures of management.
But there are some places where hospital administration is different. Or at least, they’re blogging, and getting results. CEO Paul Levy, when he’s not busy Running a Hospital, recently challenged the US News rankings — and the reporter responded in the comments!
Administrator Tony Chen returns from a blogging sabbatical and makes an impact, with his review of the year in healthcare.
But Executive Physician Dino Ramzi notes that we should pat ourselves on the back, because customer service in medicine isn’t that bad.
The blogger behind Health Psych notes that ’tis the season to be jolly … but maybe not if you suffer from depression, or are vulnerable to the season’s extra pressures. She offers some warning signs and coping tips.
With New Year’s resolutions coming up, psychologist Dr. Deb Serani looks at some risks of discontinuing SSRIs.
And EverythingHealth‘s Dr. Toni Brayer blogs about some bad habits that may harm our New Year’s resolutions.
Jenni Prokopy, the Chronic Babe is winding down a year full of tough setbacks, but these 5 steps for a fresh mindset kept her afloat, and may help you make the most of 2008.
It wouldn’t be Grand Rounds without a word from our surgery colleagues, who always seem to offer up some meaty reading. First, ENT specialist Dr. Bruce Campbell reflects on a special patient, who chose an operation that left her mute (but not unheard).
Ever the provacateur, Bongi has a post on carjacking and all-to-common surgical scenarios in South Africa.
On that note, the Monash Medical Student, Jeffrey Leow, asks some interesting questions about music playing in the OR.
For you policy and politics mavens, Grand Rounds has an extra helping this week. We’ll start with David E. Williams from the Health Business blog, who has an eye-opening analysis about the complex relationship between the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a drug company, and the two similar medications it makes to treat cancer (similar in many ways except price).
The blogger named Kolahun discusses a troubling chart in last week’s NEJM disparities in doctor-to-AIDS patient ratios in different countries. It’s a 10,000-fold swing between the UK and Malawi.
Rachel from Tales of my Thirties is miffed about a gym that misrepresents thyroid disorders.
Joshua Schwimmer writes in from the Efficient MD, with a holiday wish — a free HIPAA-compliant email system that’s as good as (or part of) Gmail.
The holidays mean different things to different parts of the health care world. For the students, like Jeffrey MD, it’s a time to reflect on the highs and lows of medical school thus far.
Another student, Vitum Medicinus feels lucky to emerge intact after the storm of final exams , and surveys the landscape in a confused state.
Of course, medical blogging really shines in its stories. Val Jones, MD is ordinarily the Voice of Reason — but here she shares a funny tale involving her family at Christmas… it’s not quite medical, but features a strong biological component.
And finally, Dr. Wes shares a poignant remembrance of his dad, whose final year was chronicled on Dr. Wes’ blog.
It’s worth recalling Rev. Susan Palwick’s words, from her post above:
This Christmas, give something bright and beautiful to the people you love, especially if they’re sick. And don’t wait to thank the people to whom you’re grateful: let them know now how much they mean to you.
Have a happy and healthy holiday — hopefully with your loved ones, or at least working at a job you love. And with that, this Grand Rounds comes to a close. It’s certainly been a Christmas (and Christmas eve) unlike any other we’ve experienced, and we’re grateful for the chance to share it with you.
Please be sure to nominate medical blogs you think are worthy of an award, and check back after January 8th to vote for the finalists!
And next week, be sure to check out the first Grand Rounds of 2008, coming to you for the first time from Africa.