Hi, friends! I’ve been gone on a bit of a hiatus but am back and ready to weigh in on the health care news of the day. Like this eye-catching headline I recently read:
“No amount of alcohol is safe, health experts warn”
A new study was recently published that pretty much came to that conclusion. The authors did a big retrospective look at previous medical research into alcohol use and concluded that there was no amount of alcohol consumption that could be considered safe. This really made the news all over the place, like this sobering 30-second blurb:
Due to my unending dedication to finding sound medical advice . . . and even more because I had just enjoyed a nice glass of a dry rose wine on a hot summer evening and didn’t want a bunch of egghead researchers to spoil it for me . . . I had to investigate further. Read on for my take on the latest alcohol brouhaha. Continue reading “No amount of alcohol is safe. Oh, c’mon now.”→
You just gotta learn about this woman. Her name is Charlene Barron and she sounds like an incredible woman. I also never got the chance to meet her, but I learned of her just this past week and if you were listening to the Healthy Matters radio broadcast on WCCO last Sunday, you heard about her as well.
Charlene died of a traumatic brain injury while doing something she loved – riding her bike on a training ride. She was also a runner and a triathlete, and a lover of dogs. I love that dog-lover part! Charlene was just 10o yards from the Boston Marathon finish line when the bomb went off. She has completed dozens of marathons, 30 Birke XC ski races, and 9 Ironman triathlons. And at age 60, she competed in the World Championship Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii.
To honor her, Charlene’s family has teamed up with the TBI program at HCMC (my healthcare organization) in a really cool event. It is Charlene’s Dog Run, and it is a fun event for you (and your dog!) and is open to anybody who wants to get involved in TBI research and make a difference. You don’t have to bring your dog, but you sure can if you want to!
Dr. Uzma Samadani is a neurosurgeon and colleague of mine at HCMC. She does incredible research on TBI and the proceeds of this event go to the TBI research program at HCMC. Dr. Samadani called in to the radio broadcast to tell us about Charlene and the Dog Run. Click the link at the bottom of this post to get the podcast and listen to my brief conversation with Dr. Samadani.
TBI and related links
On the show, I promised to put some links to sites you may wish to visit. Here they are:
The HCMC news article about Charlene and the Dog Run. I recommend you start with this link to read more.
Podcast of the Healthy Matters broadcast (Healthy Matters show #449, August 13, 2017). Listen to the first 5-10 minutes to hear my discussion with Dr. Samadani. We talk about Charlene, brain injury research, and an interesting bit about neck strengthening as a protective measure for TBI.
The plaque in this photo above was a gift from a medical student and hangs on my wall right above my desk. It is a saying reportedly from Michelangelo that I use in teaching medical students and residents fairly often.
I even gave a speech to some graduating medical students called “I am still learning.” I don’t even think Michelangelo actually said this at age 87 but the sentiment still resonates. This post is about learning medicine.
This past week I’ve really been going back to school. I’m now back from several days in San Diego at the American College of Physicians Internal Medicine conference. ACP is my professional organization, and our annual conference brings many thousands of us together to learn about the latest in medical science, pick up tips for our practice from some of the country’s top experts, and re-connect with colleagues from around the world.
In the next several posts, I am going to highlight for you some of what I learned at the ACP conference in San Diego. Look for short posts in the coming weeks about:
Clostridium difficile infection
Menopause and depression
Pain control and opiates
Restless legs syndrome
Blood pressure in older adults
Weight loss and exercise
I’ll try to keep these future posts really short and helpful.
There’s big news from HCMC this week. Many know that HCMC is the largest provider of TBI care in the state of Minnesota. But many don’t know that we are also a major research institution and in no area is this more true than TBI.
But I don’t have to go to the national media, I just have to walk down the hall to talk with people who are quite literally the country’s leading researchers. So I dropped by the laboratory of Dr. Uzma Samadani (<–click for her bio) here at HCMC. She’s super cool even when I gave her only 10 minutes notice before showing up in her office! Check out the short video clip above – and be sure to listen to the end to hear Dr. Samadani’s important advice about protecting kids from concussion/TBI. For a more in-depth perspective from Dr. Samadani, click on the TedMed video below (it’s only 6 minutes long).
Every 8 seconds someone has a traumatic brain injury. But you may be surprised to learn that doctors really don’t have great answers to the most basic questions like:
Do I have a brain injury? How bad is it? Where is it in my brain?
That is what the researchers hope to answer.
Shakira’s hips? Huh? Rather than have me try to explain it – watch this brief talk by Dr. Samadani herself. It is fascinating.
So Dr. Samadani and her team are doing research based on the knowledge that you can actually track the movements of a patient’s eyes to help answer these questions. As it is now, doctors wave their finger in front of a patient like we have been doing for centuries. The researchers are hoping to change that by studying all sorts of ways to diagnose brain injury – using blood tests, eye tracking, and imaging (x-rays and pictures and the like) . The eye tracking technology in particular could be game-changing in the way we diagnose and treat brain injury. For more on eye tracking, click here.
I am convinced that some day the research being done right here at Hennepin County Medical Center and the University of Minnesota will change the lives of millions of people.