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Archive for May, 2011

Monday, May 30th 2011

Self Trepanation

I suppose there is a long history of physical mutilation in the service of somehow fulfilling some self guilt or for some religious purpose or for improving oneself. And even a history of trepanation to such ends. But modern day self trepanation, the act of drilling a hole into your own head, has to be one of the most bizarre and off the wall acts.

A Hole In The Head: Do-It-Yourself TrepanationWatch the top videos of the week here

I can promise you there is nothing to the idea of permanently increasing the blood-brain volume.

Thursday, May 26th 2011

Conjoined & Sharing A Mind

From the very beginning, doctors wondered if the twins shared sensation; an early video shows one girl being pricked for a blood test as the other starts to cry, her face a perfect mirror image of her sister’s. A pacifier in one mouth seemed to soothe both crying babies.

The above from an article on Krista and Tatiana Hogan in the New York Times magazine. The two conjoined twins are an incredible rarity, perhaps unique in modern medicine. To begin with conjoined twins are rare occuring in approximately 15 of every 1,000,000 births. And cojoined twins joined at the head are even rarer. Known as craniopagus it occurs in just 1 in every 2,000,000 births. There are approximately 135 million births a year on recent years which means less than 140 children are born with craniopagus every year. Such is incredible enough. But the Hogan twins have something that, appears undocumented in history. They share what their neurosurgeon has termed a “thalamic bridge.” A piece of tissue, which anecdotally appears functional, which connects their brains to one another.

As fantastic as it sounds, there is little doubt in [their neurosurgeon Dr.] Cochrane’s mind that the girls share some sensory impressions. When they were 2 years old, he performed a study in which Krista’s eyes were covered and electrodes were glued to her scalp. While a strobe light flashed in Tatiana’s eyes, Krista was emitting a strong electric response from the occipital lobe, which is where images are assembled. The test also worked when the girls switched roles. The results were not published, and some neuroscientists believe that this kind of test, which measures changes in brain activity beneath the skull, is imprecise in determining what region of the brain is at play; but most would agree that any response in the other twin’s brain suggests, at a minimum, connectivity.

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Tuesday, May 24th 2011

What’s Appropriate Online

In the surprisingly narrow and inbred world of health care social media there is minor drama at the moment. Over on 33 Charts Dr. Vartabedian decided it prudent to highlight what he, and some others, feel was unprofessional behavior within the social media space.

There really are two separate issues within this hoopla.

The first is the very real argument over whether this particular instance crossed some line and over what, in broader terms, constitutes professionalism in social media use. Social media is a broadcast form of communication as the average health care provider has never had access to before and it necessitates new standards. That discussion has and is taking place elsewhere and isn’t for this post.

The second issue, and the one that really has prompted this post, is the way this incidence was presented and the discussion moderated.

I’m not really sure what Dr. Vartabedian was trying to achieve with his post on 33 Charts. He seems to imagine the post as a place for discussion over what constitutes professionalism in social media use. As a process towards consensus and a learning experience. I hope I’m not assuming too much when assigning him those intentions with his post.

He asks,

Is it unprofessional? Decide for yourself.


What say you?


No agenda here. Just creating sorely needed dialog.

A reasonable goal, if that was the focus.

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