Category: Harvard affiliates

The bionic pancreas data

July 2, 2014- Interviewed by Steven E. Greer, MD

The New England Journal of Medicine recently published the early clinical data on the “bionic pancreas” being developed by engineers at Boston University and medical doctors at Massachusetts General hospital. We interviewed Ed Damiano, PhD, the lead biomedical engineer, and Steven Russell, MD PhD, the lead endocrinologist. In Part 1, they review the clinical data.

The research was funded by the NIH and not a medical device or drug company. The researchers selected the components based on merit. They chose the Dexcom G4 Platinum continuous glucose sensor and a Tandem Diabetes t:slim pump, and used software that ran on a standard Apple iPhone 4S.

In Part 2, the team discusses the details of the pivotal study, that could be concluded by 2016, allowing for an FDA approval by 2017. Industry partners yet to be determined would be involved. However, the final marketed product will not require any particular smartphone to be used by the patient.

 

Harvard professors feel the impact in their pocketbooks of the ACA law that they helped pass

November 8, 2014- By Steven E. Greer, MD

Probably no other university in the country was more influential Read more »

A proposal to make the Social History more robust and proactive

October 2, 2014 Interviewed by Steven E. Greer, MD

Joseph Rhatigan, MD of Harvard Medical School published a paper in the NEJM proposing was to enhance the current social history section of the H&P. He explains how factors currently ignored by doctors, such as income and living conditions, are important to the compliance of the patient. The new ACA law might also make it financially rewarding for doctors to pay more attention to these issues.

How did a small academic lab succeed where big medical device companies failed?

July 5, 2014- Interviewed by Steven E. Greer, MD

The New England Journal of Medicine recently published the early clinical data on the “bionic pancreas” being developed by engineers at Boston University and medical doctors at Massachusetts General hospital. We interviewed Ed Damiano, PhD, the lead biomedical engineer, and Steven Russell, MD PhD, the lead endocrinologist.

In Part 3, we asked them how their small lab funded only by the NIH succeeded at developing the bionic pancreas when large companies, such as Roche, Medtronic, Abbott, and JNJ all failed.

 

Atul Gawande’s surgical checklist fails in real world study

March 15, 2014- By Steven E. Greer, MD

In 2009, Atul Gawande, MD, MPH and his large international team published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) an observational study that showed a significant reduction of death and “complications” after non-cardiac surgery. The World Health Organization (WHO) created the checklist used in the NEJM paper. After this non-randomized, non-controlled, observational study was published, entire nations adopted the surgical checklist system.

Now, in 2014, a population study drawing from Ontario surgical patient data, published in the NEJM, showed no significant benefit from the widespread adoption of the same WHO surgical safety checklist that Dr. Gawande popularized. This study was also observational, but it was stronger than the 2009 Gawande study in that it included the entire population within a region.

What went wrong? Read more »

NEJM letter casts doubt on original Gawande checklist paper

June 11, 2014- By Steven E. Greer, MD

When the recent Canadian studied published in the NEJM failed to show any benefit from the WHO surgical checklist championed by Atul Gawande, The Healthcare Channel pointed out that the original Gawande paper was possibly the problem. It was designed poorly, and collected data from non-U.S. countries with little oversight.

Now, in the current online NEJM, letters to the editor are coming in. One writer echoes our concerns about the original Gawande paper. Read more »

Cutting through the hype surrounding gluten

October 19, 2014- Interviewed by Steven E. Greer, MD

Did you know that one out of three Americans think that they are “gluten intolerant”. Of those 100 Million people, only 13 Million really have a medical problem caused by gluten.

Alessio Fasano, MD, director of the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, is the man who started all of the gluten hype back in 2003 with a paper in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Hoping to reduce some of the current “gluten hysteria,” he has written a book explaining what gluten is, who can and can’t eat it, and why. We interviewed him.

The Massachusetts General trauma response to the Boston bombings

Interviewed by Steven E. Greer, MD

Paul Biddinger, MD, Medical Director for Emergency Preparedness, Massachusetts General Hospital and also Chairman of the Massachusetts Medical Society’s Committee on Preparedness, discusses how his hospital, and all of Boston, responded to the several hundred severely injured patients after the Boston terrorist bombs. Lesson from the battlefield helped saves lives, as did the fact that Boston possibly has more Level 1 trauma centers than any other city in the world.

Single-pill combo regimens for HIV

July 28, 2014- Interviewed by Steven E. Greer, MD

Rajesh Tim Gandhi, MD of the Massachusetts General Hospital discusses the NEJM review paper he co-wrote with his sister, Monica Gandhi, MD, discussing the current state of therapy for HIV-infected patients. He then addresses limitations of the existing drugs and how future medications can improve.

60 Minutes story that antidepressants no better than placebo

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