Cureus People: Anne Liu, Stanford University

Anne Liu took 3rd Place in the Environmental Health category with her entry on Developing An Antibiotic Sensitivity Profile for Escherichia Coli in the Cur&#275us 2012 Fall Poster Competition.

Team Cur&#275us caught up with Miss Liu on the campus of Stanford University where she shared her passion about seeing hepatitis B eradicated in her lifetime.

In China, one in eight people are diagnosed as hepatitis B positive. Anne helped organize a mobile clinic called APA Health CARE that provides hepatitis B, blood pressure, glucose/cholesterol, and BMI screenings throughout LA and Orange County.

Anne used the opportunity of entering her research into the Cur&#275us 2012 Fall Poster Competition in order to showcase her work for a larger audience in hopes of motivating people to do research on hepatitis B screenings.

Anne Liu was born born in Changsha, China and came to Los Angeles at the age of 4.

 

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Cureus Medical Journal Featured in San Francisco Chronicle

John R. Adler M.D.

The San Francisco Chronicle interviewed John Adler, MD, Professor of Neurosurgery, Stanford University and Editor-in-Chief at Cur&#275us. They were interested in our revolutionary concept of using crowdsourcing to evaluate and publish medical papers.

John Adler points out that “Nowadays, you wouldn’t go to a restaurant without Yelping it first. You wouldn’t go see a movie without seeing what Rotten Tomatoes had to say about it.”

Still for some reason the world of medical journals is stuck in a 200 year old paradigm. He has spent the last three years changing the status quo.

The Cur&#275us model was created to expedite the process of medical publishing. An editorial board of experts will review submitted papers within days rather then months. But most of all, Cur&#275us is moving medical journals into the open from behind pay walls.

“The average Joe has little to no access to the medical literature today,” Adler said. “It’s not right. It should be a human right.”

Although the idea of crowdsourcing seems revolutionary, Dr. Adler’s vision has been stirring for some time.

He writes in A New Age Of Peer Reviewed Scientific Journals that he founded Cur&#275us “to address the challenges I have observed first-hand as an editor of numerous journals and an academic physician who has published and reviewed for years. We can do much better by authors, reviewers and certainly patients. This is the mission of Cur&#275us.”

Read the entire article at SF Gate.

Update: Fast Company picked this story up as well.

Cureus Editorial Board Feature: David I. Hoffman, M.D.

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The Cur&#275us team stopped in to meet with David I. Hoffman, M.D. a Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Specialist working alongside a team of infertility physicians at the IVF Florida Reproductive Associates since 1989.

A native of Pennsylvania, Dr. Hoffman completed his under graduate work at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, before attending medical school at Temple University. He completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and his fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology at the University of Southern California.

With over 25 years of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility, Dr. Hoffman currently serves as a Voluntary Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Florida International University as well as a Voluntary Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine.

Dr. Hoffman has published over 70 abstracts, articles, and book chapters and is a well-known presenter both nationally and internationally — he joined Cur&#275us as an Editorial Board member earlier this year.

Cureus People: Bowen Jiang, Stanford University

Bowen Jiang won the neurology category with his entry on 3-D Rotational Angiography in the Cur&#275us 2012 Fall Poster Competition. He’s currently working in a rehab center for veterans.

Team Cur&#275us stopped by the Stanford University campus to meet with Bowen who describes himself as an “aspiring neurosurgeon-scientist-innovator” in his profile.

Bowen is currently in is last year of medical school.

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Time Magazine Tackles Controversial Surgery for Addiction

Cur&#275us published a study from China on a controversial surgery for opiate addiction back in June — the scientific paper has just now begun to spark intense debate in the scientific community after drawing attention in a November English journal publication.

Time Magazine Neuroscience Journalist, Maia Szalavitz has written an insightful piece highlighting the study on Nucleus Accumbens Surgery for Addiction — pointing out the risks versus the push for innovation.

“The surgery is actually performed while patients are awake in order to minimize the chances of destroying regions necessary for sensation, consciousness or movement.  Surgeons use heat to kill cells in small sections of both sides of the brain’s nucleus accumbens.” Maia Szalavitz wrote for Time.

John Adler, MD, Professor of Neurosurgery, Stanford University and Editor-in-Chief at Cur&#275us spoke to Time Magazine about the controversy surrounding this risky surgery.

Even though Dr. Adler is not endorsing the procedure, he is convinced the surgery can “provide valuable information about how the nucleus accumbens works, and how best to attempt to manipulate it.”

“I do think it’s worth learning from,” he says. “As far as I’m concerned, ablation of the nucleus accumbens makes no sense for anyone. There’s a very high complication rate. [But] reporting it doesn’t mean endorsing it. While we should have legitimate ethical concerns about anything like this, it is a bigger travesty to put our heads in the sand and not be willing to publish it,” Dr. Adler told Maia Szalavitz.

It’s important to note that Dr. Adler collaborated with Chinese researchers on their publication and he is listed as a co-author. When the study was originally published in the free Cur&#275us journal library back in June, Dr. Adler spoke to the value of the research for neurosurgeons.

“Although this procedure has been used in 1000s of patients in China yet never reported in English until now, other scientific journals and their reviewing processes made it exceedingly difficult to publish in a traditional peer reviewed journal.” Dr. Adler wrote.

“I expect many physicians, especially neurosurgeons, involved in treating behavioral diseases or addiction, to be CURIOUS about the findings contained within this paper!” he added.

In a passionate post entitled “Forbidden Science – Addressing Behavior With Surgery”, Dr. Adler called out the ongoing challenge of publishing such “taboo clinical studies” in peer reviewed medical journals.

“The team of Chinese researchers who conducted this study have personally reported to me that despite the truly ground breaking and novel nature of the experience they report, their work has more than once been rejected by major English medical journals in the past.” Dr. Adler wrote.

You can read the entire Time Magazine article yourself and then jump headlong into the controversy surrounding this not so new bit of “forbidden science”.

 

Altered Immune Cells Help Young Girl Beat Leukemia

Emma Whitehead, with her mother, Kari last spring — Photo credit Jeff Swensen for The New York Times

 

After relapsing twice when chemotherapy treatment failed, 6-year-old Emma Whitehead was near death from acute lymphoblastic leukemia she had battled with since the age of 5.

With no viable cure in sight, her parents turned to an experimental treatment at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in a desperate attempt to save Emma’s life. The treatment had never before been used on anyone with the type of leukemia Emma had and it had certainly not been tried in a child.

“The experiment, in April, used a disabled form of the virus that causes AIDS to reprogram Emma’s immune system genetically to kill cancer cells.” the New York Times reported.

Although the experimental treatment nearly killed the 6-year-old — she was ultimately found to be cancer-free and Emma still remains in complete remission seven months later. Emma’s own immune system was given the lasting ability to fight cancer.

As many as three adults treated at the University of Pennsylvania who also battled with chronic leukemia have been reported to have complete remissions after the treatment, with no further signs of the disease. According to Dr. David Porter, two of the patients have been well for more than two years now.

“Our goal is to have a cure, but we can’t say that word,” said Dr. Carl June, who leads the research team at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. June hopes that one day the new treatment will eventually replace bone-marrow transplantation.

Cancer experts not connected with the research see tremendous promise since the early testing has worked so well in treating seemingly hopeless cases.

“I think this is a major breakthrough,” said Dr. Ivan Borrello, a cancer expert and associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Drugmaker Novartis Pharmaceuticals, has already committed $20 million to the Pennsylvania team to build a research center on the university’s campus with hopes of eventually bringing the treatment to market.

Read the entire NYT post

Stanford Hospital Residents Pull Smart Devices Into Patient Care

This week Cur&#275us highlighted the work of Olufisayo Ositelu — an MD/MBA joint degree candidate at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Stanford Graduate School of Business.

In his study researching the use of smart devices, Olufisayo surveyed Stanford Hospital resident physicians in Anesthesia, Medicine, Surgery, Emergency medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Neurology — nearly 97% percent of respondents owned a smartphone and 53% percent owned a tablet.

While the use of smartphones and tablets are high among healthcare professionals, Olufisayo realized that little detail is actually known about the specific tasks related to patient care performed by physicians using mobile technology.

Olufisayo Ositelu

His study revealed the two most common uses for smart devices with 60% percent of responding physicians were communication exchanging patient care-related text messages and obtaining pharmacy or medication-related information. Some 45% percent of residents cited using their devices “as a medical reference, textbook, or as a patient care related study aid.”

It became obvious that residents who own smart devices are likely to leverage their handheld technology to deliver better patient care. But the power of these devices for physicians relies on intuitive apps that make mission critical medical information easier to access.

“A systematic review of 57 smartphone apps found that disease diagnosis, drug reference, and medical calculator applications were deemed to be most useful by healthcare professionals and medical or nursing students,” Olufisayo wrote in his paper.

In many ways, the proliferation of gadgets, apps and Web-based information is rapidly redefining medicine, opening up a new frontier of possibilities for young physicians. But some professionals are focused on the next generation of device-happy doctors becoming more caring clinicians in the era of digital technology.

“Just adding an app won’t necessarily make people better doctors or more caring clinicians,” said Dr. Paul C. Tang, chief innovation and technology officer at Palo Alto Medical Foundation in Palo Alto, Calif. “What we need to learn is how to use technology to be better, more humane professionals.”  – Source NYT

Read Olufisayo Ositelu’s entire study