Articles & interviews -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine

Image: woman working at a computer; Copyright: LA Cicero

Artificial intelligence helps predict drug combinations' side effects

13/07/2018

Last month alone, 23 percent of Americans took two or more prescription drugs, according to one CDC estimate, and 39 percent over age 65 take five or more, a number that's increased three-fold in the last several decades. And if that isn't surprising enough, try this one: in many cases, doctors have no idea what side effects might arise from adding another drug to a patient's personal pharmacy.
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Photo: A HKU mechanical engineering team in front of their hydraulic-driven neurosurgical robotic system; Copyright: The University of Hong Kong

World's first intra-operative MRI-guided robot for bilateral stereotactic neurosurgery

29/06/2018

Stereotactic neurosurgery is one of the treatment to a variety of movement and neuropsychiatric disorders, s.a. Parkinson's disease, essential tremor and major depression. It involves a technique that can locate targets of surgical interest using an external positioning system, which is widely applied in brain biopsy, tumor ablation, drug delivery, as well as deep brain stimulation ("DBS").
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Image: scientists in the laboratory; Copyright: panthermedia.net/pressmaster

Predicting heart disease risk with gene editing technology

26/06/2018

Scientists may now be able to predict whether carrying a specific genetic variant increases a person's risk for disease using gene editing and stem cell technologies, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.
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Image: Karen Fratantoni with a text about the press release; Copyright: Children's National Health System

Depression among parents of newborns can persist after NICU discharge

09/05/2018

Young parents who have less education and care for more than one child are more likely to have persistent symptoms of depression that linger six months after their newborn is discharged from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), according to a Children's National Health System research presentation during the Pediatric Academic Societies 2018 annual meeting.
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Image: binding of nNOS to the protein NOS1AP; Copyright: University of Turku

New approach for treating neuropathic pain

08/05/2018

Neuropathic pain is the chronic, pathological pain that continues even when the cause of pain is removed. Causes include damage to nerve cells and medicines used to treat cancer. A collaboration between research groups from USA and Finland has discovered a novel therapeutic that appears to interrupt the signaling cascades in the body required for multiple forms of neuropathic pain.
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Image: image of a retina; Copyright: Centre for Vision Research, the Westmead Institute for Medical Research

Eyes of adolescents could reveal risk of cardiovascular disease

27/04/2018

New research has found that poorer well-being or 'health-related quality of life' (HRQoL) in adolescence could be an indicator of future cardiovascular disease risk.
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Image: Mouse cells with (left) or without (right) DOR protein in green and blue ob black ground; Copyright: M. Romero, IRB Barcelona

DOR protein deficiency favours the development of obesity

23/04/2018

Obesity is a world health problem since excessive accumulation of fat tissue (or adipose tissue) increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and some types of cancer. However, some obese individuals are less susceptible to these conditions.
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Image: Surgeons during surgery; Copyright: UKR

Acute kidney injury: Early detection thanks to biomarker

08/11/2017

Major surgeries in the abdominal region often result in kidney injury in patients. Meanwhile, the clinical manifestations don't present until one or two days after the procedure. This causes physicians to lose valuable time to treat patients. The University Hospital Regensburg has researched a new concept for the treatment of kidney injuries for several years.
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Image: Screen showing an image from cardiovascular angiography; Copyright: panthermedia.net/fly_wish

Coronary heart disease: non-invasive imaging reduces catheter examinations

01/09/2017

Coronary heart disease (CHD) can cause heart arrhythmia, heart insufficiency or heart attack. All the more important is an early, reliable diagnosis that helps to treat it and to reduce risk factors. But what is the best method for diagnosis? A recent study found that functional imaging methods can often spare patients the trouble and risks of a coronary angiography.
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Image: A large medical device with a treatment couch and four movable boxes; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Thomas Hecker

Cancer: refined treatment with proton minibeams

10/07/2017

Radiation therapies are an essential component of today’s oncology because they enable the treatment of localized tumors. Yet they have one major drawback: radiation damages not just tumor cells but also healthy tissue. One solution to solve this problem could be proton minibeam therapy, which uses finely focused beams.
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Image: An eye surgeon and an assistant are treating a patient with a surgical laser; Copyright: University Hospital Dresden/Felix Koopmann

Eye surgery: precision and prevention with femtosecond lasers

03/07/2017

Precision work is absolutely essential in eye surgery since the surgical site is very minute and sensitive. This is why eye surgeons have been using lasers for years. Femtosecond lasers are especially well suited to serve this purpose because they are able to cut tissue with great precision and little energy, which prevents unwanted side effects of surgery.
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Image: Single room with a window in a hospital; Copyright: panthermedia.net/epstock

Hospital construction: infection prevention through architecture?

09/01/2017

Hospitals apply many infection prevention and control measures. They all have one thing in common: they are individual parts of an overall concept that is aimed at preventing the spread of highly infectious and resistant pathogens in hospitals. Nevertheless, previous hygiene concepts ignore one aspect of hospitals: the architecture of the actual hospital facility itself.
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Image: A young girl is lying in the hospital bed, behind her a nurse is adjusting a monitor; Copyright: panthermedia.net / Monkeybusiness Images

Working with children with cancer – More than just a job

02/01/2017

Our topic title "pediatric (children’s) oncology" evoked strong emotional reactions from several mothers and fathers of our staff. "This hits too close to home for me, I couldn’t write about it", or "How do people manage to deal with this?". And we are only on the sidelines; physicians, caregivers and nurses at the hospital, hospice or families at home are the ones that have the real tough job.
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Image: Drawing of a human body, written down are risks for diabetics; Copyright: panthermedia.net/marigranula

Heart attacks in diabetics – a special danger

01/12/2016

Diabetics are not only schooled in getting a handle on their blood glucose levels, but also in looking out for possible complications. One complication of diabetes is nerve damage. It is often responsible for the so-called "diabetic foot". Something many people are not aware of is that the heart can also be put at risk by nerve damage.
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Image: A smiling old man is sitting next to a group of younger people; Copyright: panthermedia.net/SimpleFoto

Diseases of aging: lifestyle and prevention also pay off

01/12/2016

A German proverb says, "Old age is like a hospital that accepts all diseases," and medicine confirms that older people are not only considerably more susceptible to infectious diseases than they were in middle age, but that body and mind are also less resilient and recover slower or not at all from adverse effects or injuries.
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Image: Blurred image of hospital employees who run along a corridor; Copyright: panthermedia.net/SimpleFoto

Medical emergency management in hospitals: there is a need for action

08/11/2016

Emergency situations do not just occur outside the hospital - life-threatening situations can also take place in patient rooms. Aside from the intensive care units, this also pertains to general hospital wards, where patients are not as closely monitored. Nursing staffs need to pay special attention in this case because emergencies sometimes announce themselves with certain symptoms.
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Image: Doctor with Laptop, on which screen viruses are visible; Copyright: panthermedia.net/cuteimage

Infection prevention with networked devices

02/11/2016

It is possible to save resources in a hospital by using networked devices – processes work more properly and more quickly this way. But there is also a certain amount of risk: If a device is infected with malware, the infection will spread very fast. Therefore, it is important to protect the networked devices and especially the sensitive patient data.
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Photo: Hospital  bed

Textiles used in hospitals and medical offices – germs don’t stand a chance

01/06/2016

Some hospitals have long banned the status symbol of physicians – the white coat. Research has shown that especially the sleeves were contaminated with various types of bacteria. But it’s not just lab coats that can spread germs in healthcare settings. This field uses a variety of different textiles. Wouldn’t it, therefore, make sense to apply antimicrobial finishes?
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Fighting myomas with ultrasound

01/10/2015

A proper diagnosis is a part of great therapy. However, it can also be beneficial to be able to quickly respond to changes during a treatment. One example of this is the treatment of uterine myomas. Female patients at the University Hospital Bonn are treated using so-called high-intensity focused ultrasound, HIFU in short. Prof. Holger Strunk explains this procedure.
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Wearables and apps: insecure connections, careless users

01/09/2015

They are exciting for enthusiasts of the "quantified self" movement and extremely useful for athletes: wearables that measure and store numerous body parameters and enable long-term data analysis. Yet, for their use in medicine and rehabilitation, manufacturer and user both need to ask themselves how safe the devices actually are.
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Small companions: How wearables change our lives

01/09/2015

They can be seen everywhere: at the wrists, in the ear, clipped to the belt. Wearables are small technical assistants who are built to collect and partially also to analyze data. Some of them collect measurable health data, others "only" count their user’s steps or measure the surrounding UV radiation. The fact is, however, that wearables are en vogue and are used for many different cases.
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Wanted: rapid test to prevent deep vein thrombosis

01/07/2015

Deep vein thrombosis is not just a risk factor for frequent flyers but also for wearers of cardiovascular implants and newly operated patients. Blood thinners prevent these dangerous blood clots from forming, but they need to be carefully adjusted and do not work the same way in every patient. A detailed analysis of platelets (thrombocytes) could prevent complications in the future.
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Early cancer detection: "Physicians and patients need a good database"

04/05/2015

Whether it is a mammogram, colonoscopy or a skin cancer screening – after a certain age, we are subject to various early cancer detection screenings. Yet many of us don’t know that these screening tests are also associated with risks. This is something what Dr. Sylvia Sänger from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf discovered in a study.
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Statutory Skin Cancer Screening: "This is not just about mortality rates"

04/05/2015

Since the end of April 2015, the long-awaited evaluation report on the skin cancer screening programs offered by German health insurance providers is now finally available. We spoke with Dr. Ralph von Kiedrowski, Board Member of the German Dermatologist Association (German: Berufsverband Deutscher Dermatologen) on what the screening can accomplish and his take on the G-BA report.
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Cancer prevention: Beneficial and ultimately personal

04/05/2015

There are many decisions to be made in an adult life; among them are cancer prevention screenings. They are voluntary and many people deliberate whether they should go or not and if they would actually want to know the results. Science, politics and health care professionals also ponder with each new preventive service whether it is beneficial and who should end up paying for it.
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Making Your Own End-of-Life Decisions: “All options of palliative care, pain management and continued life need to have been explained to the patient“

01/12/2014

How does a physician handle a patient, who wants to die and what rights do I actually have as a patient? Legal practitioners do not automatically answer these and other questions. We talked about this subject with MD-PhD Ralf Jox from the Institute of Ethics, History and Theory of Medicine at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Germany.
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Photo: Dr. Anna-Maria Liphardt

Laboratory in Space: Hot on the Trails of Cartilage Degradation

01/10/2014

On November 10, 2014, astronaut Alexander Gerst will return to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS). He is not just anxiously expected by his family, but also by Dr. Anna-Maria Liphardt from the Institute of Biomechanics and Orthopedics at the German Sport University Cologne
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Pediatric anesthesia: "I would object to a specialty medical training"

01/09/2014

When very young children already need to be in the operating room, it’s not just the parents that are concerned. This type of situation is a special challenge for the entire operating team, because children are always very special patients - especially since they are not just simply small grown-ups!
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Sports and cancer: no panacea, but a necessary aid

02/06/2014

When are sports healthy, how often should you engage in sports and what effect do sports have on the body – over the past few decades, there were always different answers to these questions. Many studies that were conducted in the past however confirm the assumption that sports and exercise always support health, even if someone is already sick.
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Football: "We want to globally determine deaths for the first time"

02/06/2014

Sudden deaths of football players make headlines time after time: competitive athletes who are the idols of many people die just when they are on the playing field and in the limelight. Congenital heart defects often cause their death. Sports physicians and FIFA now plan to ascertain data that can help improve preventive examinations in competitive football.
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Medical apps: functionality and safety is key

02/05/2014

Successful communication is most important in medicine. The most modern channels have been utilized in this area for quite some time now. Medical apps need to meet several requirements at once. For their use to pay off, they need to be beneficial for prevention or therapy. And to ensure a safe application, they also need to be both technically and medically flawless.
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Mobile assistance systems: "The device automatically notifies if something is not right"

02/05/2014

Staying active and mobile when you are old – who doesn’t want that? People suffering from dementia can often only dream about that. The fear of not finding your way back home or not getting any help in an emergency severally restricts many affected people in the way they live their lives. Yet there are many people, who could still independently participate in life despite mild dementia.
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RESCUER: "Crowds should take an active part in ensuring their own safety during major events"

01/04/2014

Thousands of people push through a tight tunnel: 21 people died while several hundred people were injured this way during the Love Parade 2010 disaster in Duisburg, Germany. Today we know that such disasters could be prevented, if communication between event participants and rescue workers would be better.
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Training: "Participants do not have to experience every mistake they make at the simulator with the patient first"

01/04/2014

In an emergency, every flick of the wrist has to be correct – the right treatment is time-critical and usually vital. Mistakes can be fatal, so emergency physicians and paramedics need to be seasoned and experienced. But they will not always know certain problems from their daily work. Using patient simulators, they are able to train for rare situations and learn possible solutions.
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Clinical trials: "Registry-embedded clinical trials are the way of the future"

06/01/2014

Even medical risk products are not always tested as thoroughly as would be necessary – be it because of criminal energy, lack of know-how or financial reasons. A revision of clinical trial procedures could not only fix loop holes and methodological flaws. Products and methods could also be brought into general medical care more quickly under new rules.
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Study approach: surgical trials mean more safety in the operating room

06/01/2014

Whether a surgical suture is better applied manually or with a surgical stapler can be determined through trial and error. Determining which method guarantees patient safety best should also not just be based on a surgeon’s experience. Controlled studies are the method of choice to assess both well-proven and new techniques in the operating room.
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