Sunday, March 23, 2008

This just in: Let's, sue the messenger - A story of JAMA, the "Hipsaver" and a general threat to the art of scientific quest

[Click on Post Title for Link to External Article]

Alternate Title: Professionals from which field have the best opportunity in pharma/medical device companies?

Hopefully, the title was sensational enough for you to open it. Thanks to Dr Aubrey Blumsohn from the "Scientific Misconduct Blog" for highlighting this one..ironically, maybe there needs to be a new blog, "Blog on Misconduct against Scientists".

( Link to the original article )

Without much further ado or sarcasm, lets jump into what's going on here:

Hip Protectors have been long touted as a means to protect against fractures in the elderly. This is closer to home since my own grand mother is now ridden to a walker because she fell down unconscious following an anemic spell and broke her hip. I used to wonder, maybe, just maybe the Hip Protector could have helped...

That said, it is quite possible, and seems increasingly so that "Hip Protectors" are not effective as they are currently being designed and sold.

So what would you do?

Let me tell you what I would do:

As a mechanical engineer who has worked on medical devices, a small bulb would go off in my head. Disturbing as it may sound, this is an excellent "market opportunity" to build a more reliable, better functioning device that actually protects hips in the elderly..!

How about that?


If I truly thought my device is better than the one the author of the paper used, I would prove it!


I would publish on the JAMA with the proof. In case you haven't noticed, Journals and Publications routinely open themselves up for "Letters to the Editor" and other avenues to "right wrongs"!

Here is what I would not do:

Go on a semi-suicidal mission to "kill the messenger"!

How much below the failing grade in your Public Relations 101 class must you score to NOT realize that suing someone for publishing on the JAMA is a terrible, terrible idea!!!?

From Pfizer to Hipsaver, the biggest opportunity I see for professionals:

1. Please offer them some PR services! Somehow they forgot to staff those departments...

2. Somebody create an "ethics" training program, because many of our friendly, neighborhood healthcare companies are disconnected from their basic missions including:

2.1 Thy primary duty is patient safety.

2.2 Thou duty is to NOT bribe physicians.

2.3 Thou shalt never THREATEN and/or COERCE physicians into USING or ENDORSING or NOT DENYING THE EFFECTIVENESS of your device....

Watch out this blog, the Scientific Misconduct Blog and possibly other blogs as the "fun" starts..

Footnote: From Copernicus to Galileo and to modern times, it is deplorable that constant efforts are made to stifle scientific inquiry. It is a fundamental right of people to question, prove and disprove the current state of medicine. How else are we to know that medical device and pharma companies are at least better than glorified "snake oil" merchants? The Riegel case and this one are just tiny cogs in a giant wheel that tends to want to crush the ability of the "common man" to even question device and drug companies.

With the regulatory agencies' fascinating levels of self-admitted incompetence becoming apparent, who is to guard the gates? Or, maybe we should all succumb to the most terminal, incurable disease: fear and absence of independent thought...

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Guest Post: Cell Phone Camera Becomes Medical Microscope

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Many physicians are finding convenient and cutting-edge uses for their handheld technology these days. This is particularly true for doctors who use various medical applications with their iPhones. However, ABC reports that a recent breakthrough has been made with a simple cell phone camera. There is now a device that can turn that camera into a medical microscope.

This recent invention is courtesy of doctors and biophysicists at the University of California. Known as the "Cellscope," its inventors first intended it to be used in underdeveloped countries where medical equipment is scarce. However, it may have an even broader appeal throughout the world.

By using the Cellscope device on a cell phone with a camera, a magnified picture can be taken. Not only that, but it can be emailed with the assistance of Bluetooth technology and a wi-fi connection. With more cities worldwide being connected to wi-fi, it isn't implausible to imagine a physician taking a picture with the Cellscope and emailing it to a lab or colleague with very little ease.

The researchers who are working on the project have suggested several other uses for the camera. It could be used at home, for example, when a patient would like to send a picture of a skin condition to their doctor. Or, perhaps cancer patients could even monitor their own blood cell counts at home.

If you think the Cellscope is a great idea, you aren't the only fan of the project. Microsoft has just extended $100,000 to the Cellscope project in order to help complete the development. This could be something huge for the medical community in the near future.

About Susan Jacobs:

Susan Jacobs is a part-time teacher, as well as a regular contributor for NOEDb, a site for learning about and selecting an online nursing degree program. Susan invites your comments and freelancing job inquiries at her email address .

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Back to Blogging after a long hiatus

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After a rather long, self defined hiatus, I am back to blogging medical devices and especially biotechnology. It is plausible that in the future there will be more from my side on biotechnology.

The first post following this one will be a guest post.

First off, let me introduce Susan Jacobs:

Susan Jacobs is a part-time teacher, as well as a regular contributor for NOEDb, a site for learning about and selecting an online nursing degree program. Susan invites your comments and freelancing job inquiries at her email address .

Please be sure to read her post and send her your thoughts and comments.

I am also very open to having other guest bloggers post on the blog.

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