Thursday, January 31, 2008

I'm featured on Viddler!

I just got home from my week long trip (I'll be talking more about that soon). I just checked my inbox and found a message that my Super Bowl video is right now being featured on Viddler's front page. YAY! If it is no longer there, you can always click here or here to also check it out.

Thanks so much to Viddler for featuring my video. I definitely recommend this site to anyone out there who is doing or is considering doing video blog posts. This is a great site, pretty easy to use and navigate, and the community over there is fabulous. "Me Todays" are fun and I'm looking forward to doing more of them in the future!

Dr. A on the road: Day 3

I finally go home later today - YAY! Since, there is no radio show this week, I (kind of) substituted this with the video post above (even with my phrase, "Beyond the Blog" included. This is also a video I'm including in the Viddler "Me Today" group.

The travel day was surprisingly calm and efficient on yesterday. As I remarked in yesterday's post, I thought that we would definitely have problems going into and/or getting out of Chicago. Fortunately, the weather cooperated, and I think we arrived in Cincinnati on time.

After a quick break at the hotel, our group went to dinner at a place called Newport on the Levee which is actually on the "Kentucky" side of Cincinnati. The restaurant was called Mitchell's Fish Market - excellent food. Great food and great company. That complex looks relatively newly built. I wish I had more time tonight to explore more of that place. Oh well, maybe another time.

One more site visit this morning. It'll only be a quick visit, and then the journey home. The last hurdle will be traveling through Chicago O'Hare one more time this week. On day one, the delays were frustrating. On day three, there were no delays. What will happen today?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dr. A on the road: Day 2

I recorded this quick video this morning before leaving the hotel. (See video above) I apologize up front, because since I have little time this morning, the video quality may not be that great. I had to sacrifice quality for time, so the images may not be as clear as previous videos. When I get to my final destination today, I'll may re-encode the video and may re-post it later.

Anyway, I know people are curious about my comments about the electronic medical record. In talking with these people from our site visit yesterday. I have a little better understanding of kind of what happened. Initially, the marketing on EMR was similar to other computer products - computers will make the life of a doctor easier and will save time.

Well, that may not necessarily be the case, at least initially. There is definitely a learning curve, and it may take more time to see a patient than just using paper. And, until you really learn the system, it may make things much more complicated than what you were used to previously. So, now, I definitely have a better understanding of the physician backlash to this thing.

They gave me more to think about as I journey onward to the next hospital. If we ever get to our next destination today, the next visit will be a quick visit tomorrow. Then, finally, back home tomorrow night. Of course, you can keep track of my travel pains through My Twitter Feed. And, maybe I'll have another video post tomorrow morning. Thanks again for all of your comments and e-mails the last couple of days. Talk to you later!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Show cancelled

I really feel bad about this, but I'm going to have to cancel the show for this week. My plan was to pre-record some material and play it for you on Thursday night, since I'm not going to be available live to do the show. I'll be on a plane on my way home at the usual time for the show.

Unfortunately, instead of recording stuff for the show this week, I've been in my hotel room trying to recover from my illness that hit me right when this trip started - really a bummer. I've been able to do the required work stuff on this trip, but all my other free time here has been in bed sleeping.

If I get some strength, I may record a quick video post about my time here away from home. I know that some of you out there are curious about my opinion/experience about electronic medical records. So, hopefully, I'll be able to do that tonight or tomorrow.

From a travel standpoint, tomorrow is going to be a bugger. Here is the weather forecast for Chicago O'Hare International Airport for tonight and tomorrow - Ek!




So, again, to keep track of my travel pain tomorrow, tune into My Twitter feed. The plan is for our team to leave the hotel right after daybreak for the trek to airport number one. Hopefully, we won't be delayed too much trying to get to O'Hare. What happens after that, who knows?

I'm sick

I can't believe that I'm out of town and this is happening to me. This stomach flu thing is still going. I mean, it's a little better this afternoon verses last night. I'm now back at my hotel room, and I'm back in bed trying to get comfortable.

The meeting today went pretty well, and I'll talk about that soon. Actually, the information in my head is still spinning. I do find it a little bit distracting with my illness. 

I'm even considering canceling the show on Thursday night, because I'm not really feeling very entertaining right now. Sorry for all the whining, hopefully, I'll be feeling better soon....

Dr. A on the road: Day 1

Just a quick update as I don't have a lot of time before my morning meeting. Yesterday started early when the alarm went off at around 5am. I definitely did not want to get up. I finished my packing, got on the road, and went to the airport. The check-in process was relatively painless, including going through the security area.

The plane was on time leaving the gate, but when we got to the end of the runway, the pilot said that Chicago was having a lot of rain and wind, so we had to sit there, on the plane, for about another 30 minutes. Good thing I had my iPhone with me so that I could listen to some tunes and some audiobooks while sitting there.

Stepping off the plane in Chicago (we were about an hour late arriving), we saw that our connecting flight to our final destination was already delayed - because of weather. So, that gave the group the chance to have some lunch. I have never traveled with this group before, so it was a chance to get to know them a little bit.

Following lunch, we looked at the departure board again and saw that our flight was delayed another two hours. And, there were some flights that were starting to be cancelled. Looking outside at the time, you could see the winds and the rain affecting takeoff and landings of planes.

The gates at the airport were really starting to become crowded with the delayed flights. People (including our group) were becoming restless. Next, another change - they added another 30 minutes to the previous delay. And, then, minutes later, they added another 10 minutes. I was really starting to get frustrated at that point - you could see it in my Twitter feed.

When we got to the airport of our final destination, a couple of people in our group did not get their luggage - Sheesh! So, we were delayed leaving the airport until that was sorted out. Luckily, they were able to find their bags. The hotel was another 45 minute drive from the airport. We finally got to the hotel at about 9pm - What a long travel day!

I'm not feeling very good today. I think I ate something that does not agree with my stomach. So, I'm tired, fatigued, weak, and whiney. That's a great combination for going and talking about electronic medical records today - YAY! So, we'll see what happens this morning.

I did want to give a plug and a shout out to Scan Man who just posted his first podcast. He did a great job and I recommend that you check it out. Also, crzegrl posted her second video blog. This is a great video about the aircraft that she uses at work. See, I'm inspired that more people are using things like podcasts and video. Are you next? Let's hope so!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Super Bowl XLII Sucks

As I leave early in the morning for points unknown (actually, I'll let you know later, but you gotta love the suspense, don't ya?). I just want to share these thoughts (video post above) about this year's Super Bowl game. Are you going to watch the Super Bowl this year? Why or why not?

Hopefully, the airports that I'll be at today will have free wi-fi, so I can blog on the way to my destination. I'll even try to Twitter via my iPhone or computer today. Isn't this exciting? Talk to you soon....

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Dr. A on the road: Day 0

So, it's the day before I leave on my four day trip out of town. It's a business meeting on behalf of the hospital, and it's not to exotic locations - like the beach or tourist destinations. Where am I going? We'll I'll hold off on that for now> (This "teaser" may actually keep you reading this week).

The use of electronic medical records both in the office and hospital setting remains an area of continued discussion in medical circles. There is no doubt that this is something that the press, the public, and the government is demanding.

The way this thing was marketed was that there are a lot of deaths due to medical errors. Electronic records will help alleviate that problem. Well, the discussion continues and there are some docs out there who are not buying into this concept.

So, there is going to be a team of about a dozen of us from the hospital from the various departments (med staff - meaning docs, nursing staff, pharmacy, information systems, etc) going to visit a couple of hospitals this week to see how they have implemented some of this stuff.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm on board with electronic records. I'm not going on this trip to convince myself that EMR is good. However, I also have my pessimist cap on. Let's face it, no one likes change - particularly doctors - HA! And, in general, docs are not early adopters when it comes to technology (except me).

So, as I learn more about this stuff, my job when I get back will be a little bit of marketer as well. How to convince a bunch of docs of something that they don't want to do? Sheesh! For the trip, I have my audiobooks planned out to listen on my iPhone: Meatball Sundae, The Dip, and The 4-hour Workweek.

Want to know what I'm doing this week? Well then, bookmark or subscribe to My Twitter feed. Depending on my schedule this week, I may even turn on my iSight camera on my MacBook and be live on My Ustream channel.

Also, my plan is to video record while on the road and post on My Viddler site. Finally, I plan to record some audio, edit it, and play it in my usual time slot for The Doctor Anonymous Show this week. So, this is definitely Doctor Web 2.0 on the road. How exciting!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Dr. A Show 22: Wrap-up

Thanks so much to Dr. Wes for coming on the show. I just love doing these interviews with medbloggers, because I learn so much about the medblogger, and a little about the specialty. I learned so much about electrophysiology - great stuff. (Video Post Above)

We talked about his specialty. I love when people talk about why they love what they do. And, Dr. Wes so eloquently does this. He also explained the difference between a pacemaker and a defibrillator. It's fascinating that these devices are so small - and essentially these are small computers. Did you know that there was a recall of some of these devices? Yes, there was, and Dr. Wes describes why this happened and how this impacted his patients.

We also talked about which is a site where he has "T-shirts that empower patients with illness." Definitely check this site out. A portion of the proceeds do go to charity. Dr. Wes said that last year, about $1100 went to charitable organizations. What a great way to give back, and to help patients cope. Finally, we talked about the future of his specialty.

I also wanted to congratulate all of the finalists the winners of the 2007 Medgadget Medblog Awards. There was a little controversy because there was no winner announced in the "Best Medical Technologies & Informatics Blog" category. We'll have to see what happens with that.

Next week, January 31st, I'm probably going to be pre-taping a show. Right in that time slot next week, I'll be on plane returning from out of town. Where am I going? That will be part of the show. A kind of a "Dr A on the road," or, "Where in the world is Dr. A?"

On February 7th (2 weeks from now), Sid Schwab from Surgeonsblog will be visiting the show. He is one of the most recognized and most widely read surgeon medical bloggers around.

On Valentines Day, February 14th (3 weeks from now), this will be "Dr A and The Ladies." New award winners Dr. Val (Best New MedBlog) and Jenni from Chronic (Best patient blog) will be on the show. In addition, Crzegrl and EmergencyEmm will be joining me. What will we be talking about? Who knows? You will definitely have to tune in for that.

Have a great weekend, everybody. I'll talk to you next from the road. You can keep track of what I'm going by watching my Twitter account. Also, I may even live stream using my Ustream account. If I do live stream, I'll Twitter about it first, so that you know when I'll be turning on the webcam. See ya!

Thursday, January 24, 2008


BlogTalkRadio Listen Live

Thursday, January 24th, 2008 at 9pm Eastern Time

Join us tonight for Dr. Wes. At the bottom on this post, you'll see an embed from The last couple of shows, the internet connection has cut in and out which sometimes interrupts the video stream. We'll see what happens this week.

Take part in the chat room, which is the "show within the show." A great opportunity to interact with medbloggers you've only read about. We had quite an all star cast on the last show. You can even call into the show to talk and/or ask a question. See you tonight!

For first time Blog Talk Radio listeners:
*Although it is not required to listen to the show, I encourage you to register on the BlogTalkRadio site prior to the show. I think it will make the process easier.

*To get to my show site, click here. As show time gets closer, keep hitting "refresh" on your browser until you see the "Click to Listen" button. Then, of course, press the "Click to Listen" button.

*You can also participate in the live chat room before, during, and after the show. Look for the "Chat Available" button in the upper right hand corner of the page. If you are registered with the BTR site, your registered name and picture will appear in the chat room.

*You can also call into the show. The number is on my show site. I'll be taking calls beginning at around the bottom of the hour. Hope these tips are helpful!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Dr. Wes Interview

This week The Doctor Anonymous Show welcomes Westby G. Fisher, MD, FACC. He is author of the blog Dr. Wes: Musings In the Life of and Internist, Cardiologist, and Cardiac Electrophysiologist.

Now, before you think this blog is about really technical clinical information that you cannot understand, I suggest you check out the following posts: Why I Blog, Remembering, and Caregivers. Dr. Wes balances technical writing with well-written stories. This is a great blog.

Join us on Thursday, January 24th, 2008 at 9pm Eastern Time where we will be talking about his blog, his t-shirt site called, and a whole lot more. You can also join us in the live chat room or even call into the show to ask Dr. Wes a question. My internet connection was really buggin last time. We'll see what happens this time. Tune in tomorrow for details!

Dr. A Show 21: Wrap-up

I've been so busy this week that I haven't had a chance to do a follow-up post on Sunday night's show. I have to tell you, this was one of the best shows I've ever had - Really. Why? First of all, we had the two creators of Medgadget on the show - I'll call them "The Brothers Ostrovsky." They actually called in right at the beginning of the show. Really threw me off. I did not appropriately introduce them. I just started interviewing them and the chat room was confused for the first few minutes of the show.

Then, Nick and Enrico called in. And, did we get going after that! We dove right into come questions/controversies about the awards - like when the actual deadline for voting was. When it says voting closes at midnight, what does that really mean? Next, why aren't there more award categories? Finally, if someone is writing for the Medgadget blog, should that disqualify them from being eligible for the award? You may be surprised by these answers.

Probably the most (pleasantly) surprising thing that happened on the show was the callers. Not only did we get callers. But, these are the A-list of the medical blogosphere: Paul Levy, Sid Schwab, and Jenni from ChronicBabe. All great people with great blogs. I'm hoping to get each of them back on the show so that we can talk more.

There is so much other stuff that I'm forgetting. If you haven't already, take a listen to Show #21 of The Doctor Anonymous Show. You'll get to hear me trying to juggle 5-6 guests at once. I was also on call that night and Nick graciously took over for a while when I had to answer a page. And, we talked about the Giants/Packers game. Enrico is a Packers fan and we kept talking about that during the show. Thanks to all who made this show so much fun!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Featured Show TONIGHT

Brrrr - It's cold this morning! The air temperature is 4F/-15C, but with the wind chill, it feels like -13F/-25C. There's a wind chill advisory for the next three hours here. And, I have to go to the hospital this morning (I'm on call this weekend). I hope the cold doesn't freeze up my internet connection. Anyway, enough whining from me...

Don't forget to join us tonight, Sunday, January 20th, 2008 at 9pm Eastern Time for the latest edition of The Doctor Anonymous Show. I was shocked (in a good way) to see that BlogTalkRadio has featured the show at the very top of their "featured" section on the website. Yeesh! No pressure, huh.

Returning to the show are Dr. Nick Genes and Enrico from (As a joke, I called them the "medgadget guys" and now that name is at the top of BlogTalkRadio - Sheesh!). We will be talking about The 2007 Medgadget Medblog Awards sponsored by

Also check out Medgadget's promotional post talking about the show! The deadline for voting is midnight Pacific Time (I figure you can do the math on when the deadline is for your time zone).

For tonight's show, we'll be discussing this and a lot more. I'm hoping that people call in to talk about their fave blogs. And, if your favorite blog needs some help getting to the top spot in a category, maybe even call into the show to convince "the undecided voter."

Who knows what else will happen? When the guys were on for Show #19, we talked for 2 stinkin hours! I couldn't believe it! Of course, I'll be streaming live on my channel again (presuming my internet connection doesn't drop out). So get ready, because you cannot miss this show tonight - Dr. A, Nick, Enrico, special guests, and YOU! Be there!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Kevin MD Show: Epilogue

Right after tonight's show, I recorded the video post above.

Thanks again to Kevin MD for being a guest on the show. I've said it before, but I really consider Kevin as kind of a medblog mentor. His was one of the first blogs I read on a regular basis. And, when I first considered doing a internet radio show, I thought of people who I would like to interview - his name was on the top of the list - so thanks again.

We had a great conversation about primary care medicine to his beginnings in blogging to current events. I mentioned some of what we talked about above in my video post. It was kind of funny because he was expecting people to call in and really come after him tonight. I may have made reference to it on my last show. Oh well.

Thanks so much to the people in the chat room. Again, thanks to Bongi from South Africa (where I believe it was 4 am during the show) and ScanMan from India - Thanks for listening live and hanging out in the chat room. It continues to blow my mind how international this show is.

Don't forget, Sunday, January 20th, 2008 at 9pm Eastern Time - A Special Edition of The Doctor Anonymous Show. Remember that out of control show last week with The Medgadget Guys? Well, they're back on Sunday night to drum up more votes before the Medgadget polls close later that evening. So, tune in - Maybe even do a little lobbying for your favorite medblogs.

Plus, next week, Thursday, January 24th, 2008 at 9pm Eastern Time - Tune in for a conversation with Dr. Wes. I think he almost as many posts per week as Kevin MD. And, all of it is high quality stuff. He talks a lot about cardiology issues. I encourage you to check out his blog in preparing for next week's show (hehe). See you Sunday night! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Listen (and watch) LIVE tonight!

Yes, that's right I'm trying something else innovative tonight for the show (at least for me). Above, you'll see an embed of a screen (embed removed in post-production - hehe). Sometime during the show tonight, I'll turn the camera on and we'll see what happens (maybe I'll break the camera - HA!).

The thing you need to know is that there will be no audio stream from the BlogTalkRadio site above. So, you can see the video above, but to hear the entire show, you'll need to click on my BTR site - confusing, I know. Anyway...

BlogTalkRadio Listen Live

Thursday, January 17th, 2008 at 9pm Eastern Time

Join us tonight for Kevin, MD. I'm really looking forward to this interview tonight. However, I'm not sure that he is (hehe). Here is his post today promoting his appearance...
There will be an opportunity to call in. So, for all those who want (to take their shots at me) say hello, this is your chance.
Yeesh! Tune in tonight for one of the most recognized names in the medical blogosphere. Take part in the chat room, which is the "show within the show." As mentioned above, you can even call into the show to talk and/or ask a question. Who knows when you'll have an opportunity like this again? See you tonight!

For first time Blog Talk Radio listeners:
*Although it is not required to listen to the show, I encourage you to register on the BlogTalkRadio site prior to the show. I think it will make the process easier.

*To get to my show site, click here. As show time gets closer, keep hitting "refresh" on your browser until you see the "Click to Listen" button. Then, of course, press the "Click to Listen" button.

*You can also participate in the live chat room before, during, and after the show. Look for the "Chat Available" button in the upper right hand corner of the page. If you are registered with the BTR site, your registered name and picture will appear in the chat room.

*You can also call into the show. The number is on my show site. I'll be taking calls beginning at around the bottom of the hour. Hope these tips are helpful!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Kevin, MD Interview

Definitely spread the word, because, this week The Doctor Anonymous Show welcomes probably the most recognized blogger in the medical blogosphere - Kevin Pho who of course is the author of Kevin, MD, Medical Weblog. On his about page, here is how he describes his blog.
This blog aims to pull that curtain back and "tell it like it is." By shining a light on physician frustrations that the mainstream media may ignore, perhaps we can get one step closer to resolving these issues.
Join us on Thursday, January 17th, 2008 at 9pm Eastern Time. I have so many questions especially his beginnings in the blogging world. You can also join us in the live chat room or even call into the show to ask Kevin a question.

I do have to tell you that my internet connection at home here has been (at times) shaky. So, we'll see if I have my traditional technical glitch. I'm also experimenting with a new live video site called - so check out my channel over there where I will try to simulcast the show. Check here tomorrow for details.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Plague Comeback

Remember a few years ago when it was declared that smallpox was eradicated from the face of the earth? Then, a bunch of military people declared that it could be used as a weapon - thus the rationale behind the smallpox vaccine? I think that the tide is turning for some of these infectious diseases from long ago....

is reporting today that "The Plague" is making a comeback. You remember The Plague, don't you? This is the famous fatal illness from the middle ages. It even attained parody status. I mean if Monty Python makes a reference to Plague (see video clip above), you know it has to be funny (kind of).

Researchers at the University of Liverpool are reporting that Yersinia pestis (The Plague) is now showing up in African countries and that this should not be ignored. Over the past 20 years, Plague has killed some 100-200 people annually. This is a lot more people than I once thought.
"Although the number of human cases of plague is relatively low, it would be a mistake to overlook its threat to humanity, because of the disease's inherent communicability, rapid spread, rapid clinical course, and high mortality if left untreated," [researchers] wrote in the journal Public Library of Science journal PloS Medicine.
So, look out MRSA and E Coli - The old school diseases like The Plague, smallpox, and anthrax may be making a comeback - maybe even as terror weapons. That's kind of frightening to me. What's going to be next? The dreaded ebola virus? Yeesh!

Election Update

For those of you who follow politics in the United States, you know that it's primary day in Michigan. The political pundits are gabbing away as usual and analyzing every poll out there to try to predict a winner. If the New Hampshire primary taught us anything, it's that never trust the polls - they're always wrong!

How does that apply to this post? Thankfully, I'm not going to be talking about politics, but in my latest video blog, I do talk about an important election - Which blogs are determined the best by you the voter? There are only a few days left to register your vote in the Medgadget Weblog Awards.

This video post gives in-depth analysis and my predictions on who will win these races. Well, it's not that hard, the current results are right on the Medgadget site - So, you know exactly how people are doing. (Note: the numbers quoted in this video post are as of 12:01am eastern time Jan 15) I thought it may be fun to give a "news update" talking about an election other than the US presidential race.

I remember when I was nominated last year for best weblog and best new weblog for 2006. You can look back in my blog archives. I was asking (sometimes begging) people to vote for me. You can see the same thing happening with this year's finalists. It would be interesting (and fun) if there could be debates set up in cyberspace among the weblog finalists.

The polls close on Sunday, January 20th. That evening will be a special episode of The Doctor Anonymous Show at 9pm eastern time. I will have a panel of experts to analyze this race right before the polls close at midnight pacific time.

Also, don't forget that Kevin, MD will be the guest on The Doctor Anonymous Show this Thursday, January 17th at 9pm eastern time. I'm really looking forward to this interview. This should be a good time!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Macworld 2008

I'm not a tech blogger, nor do I pretend to be one. But, I can't help to talk about Macworld Expo which is beginning today in San Francisco. As you remember, last year at this time there was much anticipation about the iPhone being announced - which happened - and became (arguably) the number one tech gadget for 2007.

The "bar of expectation" is being raised again by the tech press. There's an article on the Fortune website asking "Can Steve Jobs Top the iPhone?" Now, I know that Apple does it to itself, as far as raising the hype every year and keeps the pundits guessing until the last second with its secrecy going into these conferences.

The current rumors are that Apple will announce a sub-notebook (a kind of MacBook nano), iPhone updates, iTunes movie rentals, and that always mysterious musical guest - who will it be? I'm a proud user of Apple products (how many do I have - Sheesh!). So, I'm eagerly anticipating what Steve Jobs has in store for his keynote speech this week....

Podcamp Ohio

I've become involved with a fascinating project called Podcamp Ohio. I've heard about and read about other Podcamps around the country over the past year. According to the website, this event helps connect people interested in blogging, social networks, podcasting and new media to learn, share, and grow their new media skills.

The guy who picked up the torch for the buckeye state is Angelo Mandato. The organization on this event has been phenomenal so far. There was a planning meeting today and I got to meet a couple of other people who I have been following over on the Viddler site - Brandice & Joe and their video show called "STEAP' which stands for "Super Tea People" where they review different teas.

I'm definitely not the tech guy. In fact, I felt fairly intimidated trying to talk new media speak with these people (I was clueless). However, they were so helpful and I learned a lot about blogging, podcasting, and video (hopefully, I'll remember it).

Anyway, the meeting was captured on ustream. We were there about two and a half hours talking about technology while mixing in some meeting planning. It was weird (in a cool way) to talk to people I've been seeing on Viddler and hearing on Talkshoe.

Podcamp Ohio will take place on Saturday, June 28th, 2008 in the Columbus area. Planning meetings are each week on Talkshoe. And, further in person meetings will, hopefully, be in different parts of the state to capture new people and get them excited about the event. I hope to help out as much as I can to make Podcamp Ohio a success!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Heart decellularisation

The heart of rock and roll is still beating.. (Huey Lewis & the News)

What if I told you that scientists have found a way to bring to life an animal cadaver heart so that it can beat - giving the possibility of a new source of donor hearts for humans. You'd probably tell me that I'm crazy.

Well, I would agree with that statement (that I'm crazy), but reseachers at the University of Minnesota have proven that they can bring an animal heart to life - through the process of decellularisation. (AFP)
In this process, all the cells from an organ -- in this case the heart of a dead rat -- are stripped away using powerful detergents, leaving only a bleached-white scaffolding composed of proteins secreted by the cells.

In the experiments, this matrix was then injected with a mixture of cells taken from newborn rat hearts and placed in a sterile lab setting, where the scientists hoped it would grow.

After only four days, contractions started, and on the eighth day, the hearts were pumping, according to the study, published in the British journal Nature Medicine.
The thought of using animal hearts in humans kind of freaks me out a little bit. But, according to the article, 50 thousand Americans die each year waiting for a donor heart. Plus, 22 million people worldwide live with the threat of heart failure.

This experiment is just that - an experiment. I really doubt that any practical application will come of this. I know that we already use bio-artificial hearts - kind of. I mean, I have a handful of patients with bovine prosthetic heart valves. But, would people accept an entire animal heart, even if through decellularisation? Or, would people say "Be Still My Beating Heart?" (Sorry for the Sting reference)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Dr. A Show 19: Epilogue

Thanks so much to Nick Genes for coming onto the show. We had to beg someone to call in to talk to us. And, thankfully, Enrico called in. The funny part was that we talked for about another 45 minutes after that. The total length of the show was two hours - YEESH!

But, it was a very good time. We did talk about the Medgadget Weblog Awards. Nick talked about the qualities of a good medical blog. We even talked about some funny "gag" awards or parody awards. What do you think would be funny gag awards that would compliment the real awards? Leave a comment here.

We also talked about our predictions for the medical blogosphere for 2008. I agree with Nick that medical issues may have a significant impact on the US presidential race. Blogging for political campaigns and other intersections of the blogosphere and politics - this is an interesting prediction for 2008. Then, somewhere in there, I had my obligatory technical glitch (Thanks BlogTalkRadio!)

We also talked about sponsorship of blogs - particularly medical blogs. Does this affect the integrity of the blog? The chat room definitely had something to say about this. My personal opinion is that, at this point, I would feel uncomfortable putting advertisements on my blog. This will be a great topic to talk with Kevin next week. Probably the only thing I would consider at this point would be maybe receiving a free book from an author, possibly interview them for the show, and then give the book away as a prize to a caller or someone in the chat room. Even this, this is a maybe.

I don't even remember everything else that happened. I have to listen to the entire thing again to see what I actually said. But, this was definitely a good time and I'm glad that I'm back doing the show again. Thanks to all who listened and participated in the chat room. Oh yeah, I tried out a live feed and it worked! I'll probably be trying that more in the future. Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Listen LIVE tonight!

Thursday, January 10th, 2008 at 9:00pm Eastern Time

What do you think are the best medical blogs out there (besides mine - HA!)? We'll be joined by Nick Genes from the 2007 Medgadget Medical Weblog Awards. We'll also be making our predictions for the medical blogosphere for 2008. See you tonight! (What do you think of my video promo piece above?)

For first time Blog Talk Radio listeners:
*Although it is not required to listen to the show, I encourage you to register on the BlogTalkRadio site prior to the show. I think it will make the process easier.

*To get to my show site, click here. As show time gets closer, keep hitting "refresh" on your browser until you see the "Click to Listen" button. Then, of course, press the "Click to Listen" button.

*You can also participate in the live chat room before, during, and after the show. Look for the "Chat Available" button in the upper right hand corner of my show site. If you are registered with the BTR site, your registered name and picture will appear in the chat room. (If not, you will be designated as "guest")

*You can also call into the show. The number is on my show site. Hope these tips are helpful!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Medgadget Polls Are Open!

In the United States, there has been a lot of press in the last seven days regarding the elections in Iowa and New Hampshire and how they are impacting the US Presidential Race. (I wonder who KevinMD voted for.) If you watch the news, in fact, this is all that they have been talking about (yeesh!)

Well, let's talk about an election that actually matters (hehe). What are the best medical blogs of 2007? You can help make that decision! The polls are open for the 2007 Medgadget Medical Weblogs sponsored by There are seven categories and five finalists per category. The polls close on January 20th - but don't wait that long - Vote today and Good Luck to all the Finalists!

The Doctor Anonymous Show makes a triumphant return tomorrow night at 9pm Eastern Time. Our guest will be Dr. Nick Genes from Medgadget. In addition to the awards, we'll be talking about 2008 predictions for the medical blogsosphere. I figure, everyone else out there on the internet is making predictions - so, why not us?

What do you think will happen in the medical blogosphere this year? Which prolific blogger will quit blogging in 2008 (maybe me - HA!)? What will be the big controversies which will shock the medblog world this year? What are the trends that you see happening with medical bloggers? Call into the show tomorrow night and we'll talk about it. I may even give my predictions to the 2007 Medgadget award winners (aren't you curious?). See you tomorrow night!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Grand Rounds

Grand Rounds 4.16 is now up and running at a blog called PathTalk. It describes itself as a "community blog for all things pathology." No theme this week and a very simple and no nonsense layout. I encourage you to check it out. I was all ready to submit my post this week, but I forgot at the last minute. So, I don't have anything over there this week - bummer.

If you don't know what Grand Rounds is, it is a weekly compilation of the best posts from the medical blogosphere that moves to different sites each week. And, who doesn't like reading about medicine and science? Next week, Grand Rounds moves to the site called Sharp Brains.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Ohio State Wins National Championship!

Ok, I know I'm a few hours early, since the BCS title game is tonight. But, hey, I'm probably one of the few people in the country picking the Buckeyes to win this game. So, I wanted to go on record now. So, I'll either be the target of the naysayers. Or, I'll revel in the spoils - depending on tonight's result. BTW, Travis always has good thoughts on (pretty much) anything sports related (especially football). Good Luck to Jim Tressel and the boys tonight in New Orleans. Go Bucks!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Dr. A Show returns next week!

I'm happy to announce that just like David Letterman, I have reached an agreement with the writer's guild and we will be returning with all new shows beginning next week. hehe

I have to admit that I have missed doing my radio show for the past three weeks or so. But, now, I'm feeling recharged and refreshed. It's 2008 and I'm ready to hit the ground running with all new shows - all new antics - all new fun - and all new entertainment for you the Doctor Anonymous listener.

Our guest will be Dr. Nick Genes. You may remember him as he was on Show #13 back in November talking about the tremendously popular medical blog carnival called Grand Rounds.

Nick is also part of Medgadget and we will be talking about The 2007 Medical Weblog Awards sponsored by The finalists have already been announced and voting will begin on Tuesday, January 8th.

Join us Thursday, January 10th, 2008 at 9pm Eastern Time for The Doctor Anonymous Show. Who knows what else we'll talk about? You'll have to tune in to find out....

As you can see, I'm really starting to embrace using video blogging again. Thanks so much for visiting my vblog site and leaving comments. Also, check out my video promo for the show below (say that three times fast). Have a great weekend everybody!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Most drug samples don't go to uninsured

Here's a study you'll find very interesting. The conventional wisdom (some would call pharmaceutical spin) is that free drug samples go to the poor and uninsured. Well, researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Cambridge Medical Alliance will publish a study in the February edition of the American Journal of Public Health which shows the contrary (Boston Globe).
Less than one-third of all people who received samples in a 32,000-person, nationally representative survey had low incomes, and less than one-fifth who got the free drugs were uninsured at any point in 2003.
Of course the pharmaceutical industry is calling this a flawed study - Duh! Now, don't get me wrong. The industry does some good things. There are some drug reps in my area who have gone out of their way to make sure some of my uninsured patients get the prescription meds that they require. I've also had many of my patients take part in pparx. I mean in 2004, approximately $16.4 Billion free samples were given out. However, the researchers also had these interesting findings...
Insured people with better access to medical care were more likely to see their doctors in offices, rather than hospital emergency rooms or hospital clinics. Patients who saw their doctors in offices were more likely to be given free drug samples.

"That finding suggests that the samples were a marketing tool and not a safety net because the poor and uninsured patients were not finding their way to where the samples were," [lead author, Dr. Sarah] Cutrona said.
To me, free drug samples are a two-edged sword. On the one hand, for my uninsured and economically disadvantaged patients, these samples are a kind of life line. And, in the economically troubled times of the community which I live, the young and healthy people are leaving to find work - which leave the older and sicker population. I know some offices around here who do not accept samples, and I understand their reasoning. But, that has to be tough on their patients.

On the other hand, when patients know we have samples of a particular medicine, their persistence on asking for samples can get frustrating at times - especially if I know they have insurance, a decent prescription plan, and know that they can afford to get the medication. It's not for me to judge, but it seems to me that samples for some people are a convenience rather than a necessity.

So, were/are samples a marketing tool? That's an interesting debate to have. I understand both sides of it, and I know people will leave comments probably on both sides of the issue. Our office continues to accept drug samples - along with its benefits and potential perils. What do you think? Are free drug samples a good thing or not?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

USA: We're Number Two!

As Americans, we always pride ourselves in being Number One. Well, this time, it's probably better not to be the best. According to the Associated Press, a study was published today stating that the Brits are the biggest fans of fast food in the world - with the USA coming in second place.
"The results show there's a world of people who cannot deny themselves that hamburger or extra piece of pizza, but probably make themselves feel better by washing it down with a diet cola," [said Steve Garton of polling body Synovate, who produced the survey jointly with the BBC.]

In terms of fast food, 45 percent of Britons agreed with the statement "I like the taste of fast food too much to give it up" ahead of 44 percent for Americans and Canadians at 37 percent.
I am so disappointed in us as Americans. Did they poll high school and grade school students in this country? How about people who attend sporting events? I know that we can do better than 45 percent. Now, looking in the mirror, I admit I enjoy fast food every once in a while. And, I also admit that part of my New Year's "thing" is to try to cut back a little bit. So, I'm part of Fast Food Nation - but, I don't wanna be....

Cocaine vaccine

Ok, I'm no music pundit, but this is one of the best Clapton songs - EVER! After you finish watching the SIX and a half minute live version above (including what seems to be a five minute guitar solo), you may proceed with the rest of this post hehe....

So, a vaccine against cocaine. Hmmmm... It is currently in clinical trials right now and researchers have asked the Food and Drug Administration permission to perform a larger trial to continue its progress to possible clinical use. The theory is similar to other vaccines - researchers place an inactive cocaine molecule on a protein so that the body can form antibodies against cocaine. So, when cocaine is ingested, the antibodies gobble them up so they cannot reach the brain for their addictive effect. (AP)
[FDA] Approval would mark a breakthrough in the treatment of cocaine addiction, which now mostly involves psychiatric counseling and 12-step programs. It presumably would be the final clinical hurdle before the vaccine — more than a decade in the making — might be approved for treatment. But one expert warns against expecting too much.

"Addiction vaccines are a promising advance, but it's unlikely any treatment in this field will work for everyone," said Dr. David Gorelick, a senior investigator at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Still, if they prove successful, they will give those working in drug addiction an important option."
Who knows, this vaccine may not go anywhere. Certainly, it is years before there's even a possibility that it could be used as any kind of treatment in the real world. However, it is an intriguing possibility that one day, someone in a voluntary cocaine treatment program would be receiving a shot - and hopefully increase the change of sobriety. Fascinating....

Medpundit hangs it up

Early on when I was first considering starting my own blog, I began reading Medpundit. I could be mistaken, but I think this blog stopped and started again in the past couple of years or so. Well, the final post was last night.
Year's End, Blog's End: I've been making my annual year end inventory - deciding what to keep and what to toss. It's become obvious in the past several months that this blog is one of the things that it's time to toss. This will be the last post for Medpundit. Truly. Wishing you all the best in 2008 and the years beyond.
For what it's worth, thanks Medpundit for being a positive influence on me as a blogger and to the medical blogosphere in general. You will definitely be missed.....

Mental Health Court

With the new year, comes new opportunities to help kids. In the Cleveland, Ohio area, there is going to be a new program starting in the juvenile justice system. It is called Mental Health Court and the goal here is to focus on kids getting help instead of primarily focusing on their crime. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

In this way, kids with mental illness can be kept from getting a criminal record - if they chose to get help. It has been well documented in the past that "dual diagnosis" or the diagnoses of substance abuse and mental illness is common. In a study done in preparation for this program, they found the following in juvenile crime offenders:
26 percent of males and 52 percent of females screened had a severe mood disorder, such as bipolar disorder or depression.

63 percent of the kids had had both a mental health and a substance abuse problem diagnosed.
The pilot program is voluntary and will be starting out with 12 kids. A care team is created to see what services the child will need. The intensive program starts with weekly meetings. And, if they are compliant with the program - like taking their medications and attending school - the frequency of the meetings will taper off.

I would imagine that a program like this is not unique. But, I'm all for trying to find other ways to keep kids out of the criminal justice system - particularly those with mental illness. I live in a part of the state where there is very little funding for mental illness health care. When this happens, as this article describes, the only other alternative people have is calling the police for immediate action when the mental illness worsens. Hopefully, programs like this will show positive results.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Grand Rounds

All the way from South Africa, Grand Rounds 4.15 is now up and running at the blog called Other Things Amanzi. This general surgeon has a fabulous blog. And this week, has probably the most pictoral GR in a while. I feel like I'm on safari. Thanks so much for including my post this week.
one of my favourite bloggers (and 'radio' hosts), doctor anonymous, discusses medical myths even doctors believe. but is it doctors that say they believe these myths or is it a myth that doctors believe them? take a look.
If you don't know what Grand Rounds is, it is a weekly compilation of the best posts from the medical blogosphere that moves to different sites each week. And, who doesn't like reading about medicine and science? Next week, Grand Rounds moves to the site called pathtalk.