Healthcare Roundup: Pot, Polio & Patient Opinions

Healthcare Roundup

From pot to Polio, this week’s topics are making headlines around the globe.  Here is the latest buzz in healthcare this week.

The Eko Core Is A Digital Upgrade For Centuries Old Stethoscope – TechCrunch 

After 200 years, the universal tool and ubiquitous symbol of medical treatment is receiving an upgrade. Developed by three graduates of UC Berkeley, the Eko Core has just received FDA approval to be the first digital stethoscope to market. The Eko Core records patient’s heart sounds, then relays the information to an iPhone app, where the sounds are analyzed within seconds at levels far superior to the naked ear’s capabilities. This move from traditional fixture to technological tool marks a distinct implication for patient care, as the power of modern technology continues to allow for the transition from outdated methods to advanced and improved medical technologies. Read more here. 

Why College Students Are Now Smoking More Pot Than Cigarettes – Washington Post

A recent study at the University of Michigan suggests that college students are now smoking marijuana more often than cigarettes. Additionally, the number of students who smoke marijuana daily has increased, up over 2% since 2007.  Researchers hypothesize the reasoning behind the decline of cigarettes is due in part to the increase of public health campaigns relaying danger of cigarettes, while the increase in marijuana use could be due to the shifting public opinion of marijuana, and the quickly changing legal landscape surrounding usage. Rates of other tobacco and smoking practices, such as electronic cigarettes have remained stable. Read more here.

On Yelp, Doctors Get Reviewed Like Restaurants – NPR

This article by NPR delves into the relationship between social media, peer review, and the internet’s impact on consumerism within the medical landscape.  Approaching the role of a patient from the mindset of a customer, patients now utilize sites like Yelp, where one would typically go to read reviews of a business or restaurant, to now voice their appreciation or dissatisfaction towards their medical services.  NPR finds that while many of the less satisfied patients openly voiced their concerns on the site, it was not necessarily the medical treatment that curated the patient’s opinion. Instead, the article outlines the implications of how the patient felt during their visit, particularly in relation to factors such as office staff, billing procedures, and facility management. Read more here

Medical Specialists Urge More Debate on Gene-Editing Technology – Reuters

The quickly approaching development of advanced gene editing capabilities has medical researchers calling for comprehensive and thoughtful consideration of the technology, debating the possibility of creating “designer babies”. Called CRISPR-Cas9, the technology provides scientists with the tools to edit any gene, including that of a human embryo. The result is the ability to locate genetic defects and change or replace them. A significant number of leaders within the scientific and medical community are urging the organization behind CRISPR to proceed with caution, leaving “time and space for ethical debate”. Read more here. 

Polio Paralyzes 2 Children in West Ukraine Outbreak –  Reuters

The World Health Organization has announced that two cases of polio have been diagnosed in Ukraine, the first cases to reappear within Europe after a five-year absence of the disease. While the diagnosis represents a setback in the global drive towards world eradication, it is believed the cases originated from the oral vaccination itself. In a statement, the W.H.O.’s director of polio eradication claimed that the outbreak appeared small, and contained within the two affected children. Read more here

Healthcare Roundup

Check back next week for another roundup of the latest in medical news. Have a news tip that didn’t make the list? Email us at [email protected].

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