Testing for Asthma with Lasers
This one is straight out of a science fiction movie. Researchers at the University of Colorado of Boulder have figured out how to shoot a person’s breath with laser light to detect biomarkers for certain diseases, including asthma. As I understand it, if doctors can use the technology for diagnosis in the future, the test would work somewhat like the current one that measures exhaled nitric oxide as an indication of asthma.
Only, plus lasers.
How cool is that? The advantage of using the lasers lies in their simultaneous detection of carbonyl sulfide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen peroxide levels in addition to nitric oxide for an altogether more accurate result. The write-up also mentions cancer, liver and kidney disease, renal failure, and diabetes.
Would You Go to Wal-mart or Target for a Doctor’s Appointment?
Rahul K. Parikh, M.D. over at Salon.com discusses the implications of retail health clinics, why most of the medical community opposes them, and why they’re good for us. Some choice points from the article, but don’t miss the whole thing:
By giving doctors a run for their money, [retail clinics] force us to do something we don’t do well: innovate. At their best, retail clinics can make doctors look like smart entrepreneurs instead of a self-interest group futilely trying to protect archaic ways of doing business.
Despite having the brightest medical minds and therapies, basic medical quality in America remains poor.
Of course, there are potential pitfalls. Should walk-in clinics expand to become a medical home by offering physical exams and other comprehensive services like treating injuries, they stand to do patients a disservice.
So would you/do you use them? After having to taking AG’s sister to a walk-in clinic all the way on the other side of town for strep just because her pediatrician couldn’t get her in, I have to say yeah, I totally would. These clinics don’t, by the way, treat disorders like asthma.
Next Year’s Flu Vaccine Probably More Effective
Did influenza touch your family this year? It didn’t come to my house and I have no idea if my kids were exposed at school, although they got vaccinated last fall as they always do. Apparently, though, this year’s shot didn’t do much good for quite a few people. As a result, the FDA approved three new strains of influenza for next year’s vaccine.
And on a related note,
Let’s Pack the Flu Shot Full of All the Strains Already, Right?
Wrong. Slate’s Michelle Tsai explains why.