Another week has come and gone–here are some highlights from what the week offered.
1. The Best of This Week
- The 2nd Annual L.A. Gang Violence Prevention & Intervention Conference: It was great seeing the trauma team from my hospital out of their scrubs. At first I kept looking at them, thinking where do I know these people from?– only to realize, they clean up well! The conference brought to light, in very real terms, the epidemic that is youth gun violence. It was inspiring to meet former gang members who are playing such a big part in helping disadvantaged youth. I don’t know what this says about me, but I recognized at least two from the documentary series Gangland. To learn more about the conference, see my post Issues Closer to Home.
- Since posting the “Dr. Carson Challenge“, I finished reading my sixth book this week. Although this in no way meets the challenge (two books a week), I have successfully retrained my brain to remember (and enjoy!) the lost art of reading for pleasure. I now find myself voluntarily turning off the TV and looking forward to the moment I can pick up my NOOK again. I just started reading the 1925 Pulitzer prize winning novel, “Arrowsmith” by Sinclair Lewis. Below is a list (in no particular order) of the books I recently completed:
- “Gifted Hands”-Ben Carson
- “On the Road”-Jack Keruac
- “How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick in America”-Dr. Ottis Webb Brawley
- “Not Entirely Benign Procedure: Four Years as a Medical Student”
- “The Emperor of All Maladies”-Sidhartha Mukherjee (592 pages)
- “Complications”-Atul Gawande
- Only 11 weeks to go before my last day at work!
- Only 5 weeks to go before our belated honeymoon and 11 blissful days on the beach!
2. The Worst of This Week:
- It is 4:36 pm and I am staring at a dead body. Just one day after attending the LA Gang Violence Prevention and Intervention Conference, another senseless act of violence has brought in a young gun shot victim through the doors of our Emergency Department. I am struck by how white his feet are. The rest of him doesn’t look particularly dead. He looks like he’s sleeping–ready to wake up from his nightmare. I wonder if the shock of seeing a young person die will ever wear off. A deep sinking feeling hangs over me.
3. Medical Breakthroughs of the Week:
Below are links to some of the more interesting health discoveries from this week.
- Bipolar Disorder Tied to Flu Exposure in Utero: Prenatal exposure to the flu virus has previously been linked to schizophrenia, and investigators now say the same exposure may be a risk factor for bipolar disorder. In a population-based cohort of Californians born between 1959 and 1966, exposure to influenza in utero was associated with a nearly fourfold increase in the risk of bipolar disorder.
- Study Suggests Heart Risk for Newer Oral Contraceptives: Women taking fourth-generation oral contraceptives, which use anti-androgenic progestin, had a significantly longer corrected QT interval (QTc) than women who didn’t use any oral contraceptives, but women taking earlier formulations of birth control pills had significantly shorter QTc (P<0.001 for both), researchers reported. Having a prolonged QTc interval is a marker for an increased risk of sudden cardiac death, the researchers said. It’s been shown that testosterone and progesterone shorten QTc, while estrogen lengthens it.
- Exercise Ups ‘Good’ Estrogen, Cuts Breast Cancer Odds: Exercise changes the way the body breaks down estrogen, increasing the ratio of ‘good’ to ‘bad’ estrogen metabolites, and so may lower the risk of breast cancer, new research suggests. “We found that in healthy premenopausal women, an exercise regimen of 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise per week for 16 weeks resulted in significant changes in estrogen metabolism in a direction consistent with reduction of breast cancer risk,” researchers said.
4. Just for Fun-The Friday Rewind Image Challenge
What is the diagnosis?
a) Bedbug bites
b) Dermatitis herpetiformis
d) Guttate psoriasis
e) Lichen planus
* Courtesy of The New England Journal of Medicine
The Answer: Shown in the comments section.