Medical Week in Review 2-8-2013

Finally, we have reached the end of an exhausting week.  The energy and resolve associated with the New Year has waned.  We have deviated from our exercise schedules and last week's Super Bowl has reignited our passion for junk food.  Winter has us driving to work in the dark and returning home after the sun has set.  For a little 'pick me up', let's look at the more interesting and amusing happenings in medicine this week.

Check out these bloopers found on medical charts.  Notes such as "Exam of the genitalia reveals that he is circus sized" and "She has no rigors or chills but her husband says she was very hot in bed last night" show we need to do a better job of reviewing our documentation!

A recent federal survey indicates that the mentally ill smoke 30% of all cigarettes consumed in the United States.  36.1% of individuals diagnosed with mental illness smoke compared with 21.4% of the general population.  Among smokers, those with mental illness smoke more heavily averaging 331 cigarettes per month compared with 310 in the rest of the smoking population.  If I was hearing voices, I would smoke too. 

Thankfully, there is no link between work-related stress and several common cancers says the British Medical Journal.  Rather, it seems 90% of cancers are linked to environment and lifestyle.  This is good news for us in the medical field- if work-related stress caused cancer, we'd all be in trouble.  Now if I could just stop eating Cheeto's and Coke to stay awake on night shift...

If, like me, you grew up reading the Little House on the Prairie books, you may have always wondered "What really made Mary from Little House on the Prairie go blind?".  Researchers have turned this very question into a years-long research project.  The conclusion?  Mary likely suffered from meningitis or encephalitis. 

A Chinese man runs out of money to pay for dialysis as Chinese government insurance only pays for half the cost of treatment.  The man then builds himself his own, homemade dialysis machine which has kept him alive for 13 years.

Check out these seriously strange medical cures.  In China, for example, swallowing live tree frogs is prescribed as a treatment for chronic abdominal pain.