Cannabis for kids


National Geographic shares the stories of children who seek relief from cancer and epilepsy through the use of cannabidiol (CBD) oil with little to none of marijuana's psychoactive component THC. Read the rest

Man plays Beatles song "Yesterday" on guitar while undergoing surgery for brain cancer

The 33-year-old patient sang and played guitar while the doctors performed the surgery. It began with a song he composed for his son, born a few months ago, followed by "Yesterday" by the Beatles, and other tunes.

Statistics Done Wrong: The Woefully Complete Guide

From a brilliant Web-rant to an indispensable guide to the perils of statistics and their remedies, Alex Reinhart's Statistics Gone Wrong is a spotter's guide to arrant nonsense cloaked in mathematical respectability.

LISTEN: Systems thinking and medicine -- brilliant lecture on systemic problem-solving

The lecturer for the BBC's 2014 Reith lectures is Dr Atul Gawande, a celebrated author and MD whose book The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right is a classic on how to think about systemic problem solving (which pays attention to how different people and activities come together to make and solve problems). Read the rest

Photos of forgotten brains in a mental hospital

In the basement of the University of Texas Mental Hospital, photographer Adam Voorhes stumbled upon hundreds of strange brains in formaldehyde that had been abandoned for decades. Read the rest

Tech projects vein maps during blood donations

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service is testing a technology to project a vein map on the arms of blood donors during the phlebotomy.

"Vein visualisation technology uses near infrared technology to project an image of the vein onto the skin," says Dr. Dan Waller, a senior researcher with the organization. "Veins have a lot of deoxygenated haemoglobin that absorbs near infrared light and the device is able to use this information to project the image. The machines have settings to manage individual differences.

"World-first vein viewing tech trial is... not in vain!" (Australian Red Cross) Read the rest

Pakistan's scorpion hunters

In Pakistan, a black scorpion weighing 60 grams sells for around $50,000 to medical researchers. Al Jazeera's Maham Javaid investigates the country's scorpion trade and its possible harm to the country's ecosystem. From Al Jazeera:

Shahid and Sohail, two friends who grew up together in a housing colony in Sindh province's Thatta district, have never been scared of the scorpion's venomous sting.

"As teenagers, we caught and killed scorpions as a game," Sohail told Al Jazeera. "Last year we found out that if we caught a live one, we could be instant millionaires."

On the hottest nights of the year, these hunters search for the nocturnal creatures in the 200-hectare dry forest behind their colony. Scorpions hibernate in cold weather, so Sohail says it is easier to catch them when it's hot.

Their broker, Faraz, is constantly in contact with other brokers who can sell the scorpion to foreign companies for thousands of dollars.

"I spend all my spare time connecting scorpion buyers with sellers," Faraz, who also works at Karachi Port Trust, told Al Jazeera. "When a big deal goes through, it will be like winning the lottery."

"The scorpion hunters of Pakistan Read the rest

Scientific evidence of very brief "life after death"?

The largest scientific study of "life after death" and near death experiences in cardiac arrest patients (who were resuscitated) suggests that some people may sustain several minutes of awareness after the heart stops. Read the rest

Lab-grown penises ready for testing

In the next few years, researchers at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine hope to transplant lab-grown penises into people who need them due to congenital abnormalities, disease, or traumatic injury.

The penises are grown from the patient's own cells on a 3D collagen scaffold made from a donor penis. Studies on rabbits "were very encouraging," says tissue engineering pioneer Anthony Atala, director of the Institute. From The Guardian:

Because the method uses a patient's own penis-specific cells, the technology will not be suitable for female-to-male sex reassignment surgery.

"Our target is to get the organs into patients with injuries or congenital abnormalities," said Atala, whose work is funded by the US Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, which hopes to use the technology to help soldiers who sustain battlefield injuries.

As a paediatric urological surgeon, Atala began his work in 1992 to help children born with genital abnormalities. Because of a lack of available tissue for reconstructive surgery, baby boys with ambiguous genitalia are often given a sex-change at birth, leading to much psychological anguish in later life. "Imagine being genetically male but living as a woman," he said. "It's a firmly devastating problem that we hope to help with."

Read the rest

Dery on disease and art

Over at Thought Catalog, BB contributor Mark Dery goes deep into the pathological sublime with Richard Barnett, author of "The Sick Rose: Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration": Read the rest

Running as little as 30 minutes a week reduces your risk of early death

"Three's a crowd" by Thomas Rousing, a photo shared in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool.

A study released this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that participants who ran less than one hour each week received the same health benefits as people who ran more. Read the rest

Sex toy in woman's vagina for 10 years

Physicians examining a Scottish woman were surprised (as was she) to discover that a five-inch sex toy had been inside her vagina for a decade. Read the rest

Heartbreaking photos of uninsured Americans waiting for care

Photographer Lucian Perkins documented the thousands of Virginians who camped out in cars and waited in the rain earlier this month to get access to basic dental, vision, and medical treatment at a traveling clinic. Read the rest

Prescient Nature article on forgotten smallpox samples

Yesterday, the CDC announced the discovery of several vials of smallpox virus, forgotten in a storage room since the 1950s. Back in April, Nature's Sara Reardon wrote about the risks (and benefits) of just this sort of thing. Read the rest

The dirty business of hospice care

Hospice used to be charity work run by religious organizations. Now it's big business, complete with all-too-predictable horrifying corruption unmasked in an expose by Ben Hallman at Huffington Post. Read the rest

Lab mistakes are wasting millions in research funding

Medicine starts with cells in a petri dish. But, increasingly, scientists are realizing they've been studying the wrong cells, writes Maggie Koerth-Baker.

Fake drugs and the plague that never lifts

To pharmaceutical firms, legitimate replicas and outright fakes are much the same: neither make them money. But to sufferers in the developing world, the difference is life and death. Charles Ebikeme on the big business of counterfeit medicine in the developing world.

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