Published by
Stanford Medicine

Author

History, Medical Education, Medicine and Literature, Medicine and Society, Technology

From the archives: A 1949 satirical prediction of medical education and life in 2000

From the archives: A 1949 satirical prediction of medical education and life in 2000

Throughout history, mankind has been making predictions about what the future will hold. While many of us only think a few years ahead, two enterprising interns working in 1949 at STAT, a publication from the Stanford School of Nursing (which no longer exists), daydreamed what life would be like at the start of the new millennium.

A colleague of mine stumbled upon the authors’ fun and satiric article (.pdf) not long ago, and I decided to take a moment to compare their predictions with reality. The story is set in the year 2000, where everything is done on screens and the world runs on the latest technologies of a fictitious technology conglomerate named Tele-Tele Inc.

While the story presents a lot of far-fetched and comical ideas of life in 2000, the imagined world of Tele-Tele Inc. actually has a few similarities to modern-day life. In one part of the story, the narrator explores how the School of Medicine has changed:

…I decided to take a look at the old Med School. Surely, this would not be changed by Tele-Med. But to my utter amazement, I found only a large Tele-Transmitter, which I was to learn later, would be used to send Tele-Lectures to the New Tele-Med Students. I was also to learn that these Tele-Lectures could only be received on specially built ceiling screens, designed to put the students in an obviously comfortable position.

Could this have been an early prediction of YouTube and Skype as a way for students to follow lectures?

The article also foretells the impact that advancements in technology would have on patient health care. I spoke about this with article co-author Eldon Ellis, a 90-year-old retired surgeon, who told me:

It’s really important to not let the relationship between doctor and patient get lost in all the technology. Unfortunately, the good features of technical changes sometimes get overwhelmed, and the first thing someone gets is a batch of X-rays and lab studies. What we really need to do is look at the patient and talk to the patient.

The full article is worth a read.

Grand Roundup

Grand Roundup: Top posts for the week of Sept. 2

Grand Roundup: Top posts for the week of Sept. 2

The five most-read stories on Scope this week were:

Does Pinterest promote unhealthy eating?: A dietician-blogger’s take on the popularity of sugary dessert images on Pinterest and how the photos might promote unhealthy eating habits.

Stanford study on the health benefits of organic food: What people are saying: A collection of reactions from journalists and sources featured in various articles in response to the Stanford researchers’ new study on the health benefits of organic foods.

Research shows little evidence that organic foods are more nutritious than conventional ones: Stanford researchers have completed the most comprehensive meta-analysis to date of existing studies comparing organic and conventional foods. Their findings (subscription required), which were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine this week, did not show strong evidence that organic foods are more nutritious or carry fewer health risks than conventional alternatives, though consumption of organic foods can reduce the risk of pesticide exposure.

Why memory and math don’t mix: They require opposing states of the same brain circuitry: An interesting study led by Stanford neuroscientist Josef Parvizi, MD, PhD, looking at why memory and arithmetical reasoning are mutually exclusive in the brain.

Ask Stanford Med: Urology chair taking questions on prostate cancer and the latest research: Eila Skinner, MD, chair of the urology department at Stanford, is taking questions until Sept. 11 on prostate cancer, recommendations on PSA testing and the latest advancements in diagnosis and treatment for the disease.

Grand Roundup

Grand Roundup: Top posts for the week of Aug. 26

Grand Roundup: Top posts for the week of Aug. 26

The five most-read stories on Scope this week were:

A Stanford nurse shares her experience in talking to her aging mother about end-of-life decisions: In this touching video, Stanford ICU nurse Laura Heldebrant talks about how palliative care specialists helped her in facilitating a conversation with her ailing mother about her end-of-life wishes.

What I did this summer: Stanford medical student works to improve emergency care in Cambodia: A Q&A with Stanford medical student Lily Du Yan about her work evaluating emergency care in Cambodia and her experience while working in the country. Yan is among a group of medical students who contributed to projects in communities around the globe this summer as part of the Medical Scholars Research Program.

Ask Stanford Med: Answers to your questions on the psychological effects of Internet use: Stanford psychiatrist Elias Aboujaoude, MD, responds the questions about the potential link between mental health disorders and Internet addiction.

What I did this summer: Stanford medical student helps India nonprofit create community-health maps: A Q&A with Stanford medical student Shahed Alam, who traveled to Kolkata, India this summer to assist local nonprofit Prayasam in using mobile technology to develop community-health maps. Alam is among a group of medical students who contributed to projects in communities around the globe this summer as part of the Medical Scholars Research Program.

Study suggests specific gene may influence happiness among women: Findings recently published in Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry suggest the gene monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) is associated with higher self-reported happiness in women.

Grand Roundup

Grand Roundup: Top posts for the week of Aug. 19

Grand Roundup: Top posts for the week of Aug. 19

The five most-read stories on Scope this week were:

Study suggests early-childhood anesthesia exposure may affect the brain: Results from a Columbia University study suggest that even a single anesthesia exposure before age 3 could hurt children’s language skills and abstract reasoning abilities.

Even low blood lead levels are associated with gout: A new study published in Annals of Internal Medicine features the work of Stanford rheumatologist Eswar Krishnan, MD, and his colleagues, who discovered that, contrary to current health standards, there is a increased risk of gout associated with low levels of lead in blood.

Should local residents be worried about West Nile virus?: Santa Clara County officials recently announced a project to spray pesticide  in and around the Palo Alto Baylands park to control an unusually large hatch of summer salt marsh mosquitoes. This post examines whether local salt marsh mosquitoes are West Nile carriers and if they pose a health risk to residents.

Doctors: Please have “ears that hear”: Inspire contributor Judy Peterson writes about her story of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer and urges doctors to educate themselves and their patients about the signs and symptoms of this deadly cancer.

Grieving on Facebook: A personal story: Scope contributor Michelle Brandt shares her personal experience in coping with the recent death of a loved one and how Facebook influenced both grieving process.

Global Health, Stanford News

Stanford programs offer students opportunities to research and practice medicine in Africa

Stanford programs offer students opportunities to research and practice medicine in Africa

A recent Stanford Report story highlights Stanford’s Center for African Studies and its rapidly-growing research programs and courses in Africa, which have exploded in popularity among students lately. In the story, biology major Laura Hunter shares her experience of working in a medical clinic in Ghana:

Laura Hunter was 35,000 feet above Africa, watching the sunrise over the place she would call home for the next several weeks. The Stanford junior was about to touch down in Ghana to start a fellowship at a medical clinic treating some of the country’s poorest people.

Raised in Seattle and planning to pursue a medical career, the biology major was traveling alone outside the United States for the first time.

Within a few days, Hunter was filling prescriptions, taking measurements of blood pressure, dressing and cleaning sores. Then she started working on a case that has had the biggest impact on her so far – the rehabilitation of a woman who fell from a tree and needs physical therapy to, hopefully, walk again.

“At first, connecting with Assibi was tough … but over time we have been able to make a connection,” Hunter, an African Service Fellow, said in an email from Tamale, Ghana. “Forming that one-on-one bond with a patient and watching her improve has been very rewarding.”

Previously: Stanford residents share stories from volunteering abroad
Photo by Laura Hunter

Grand Roundup

Grand Roundup: Top posts for the week of Aug. 5

Grand Roundup: Top posts for the week of Aug. 5

The five most-read stories on Scope this week were:

Pediatric surgeon dies while saving two children: University of Chicago surgeon Donald Liu, MD, tragically drowned last week in Lake Michigan while saving the lives of two children in the water.

Ask Stanford Med: Stanford psychiatrist taking questions on psychological effects of Internet use: Elias Aboujaoude, MD, a Stanford psychiatrist and an expert on compulsive disorders and behavioral addictions, is taking questions on the problematic effects of Internet addiction on mental health.

Anxiety shown to be important risk factor for workplace absence: A recent study finds anxiety to be a key reason for prolonged sickness absence from work, and may possibly be more problematic than depression.

A discussion of the tobacco industry’s exploitation of “smoke-free” Olympic Games: A Q&A with Robert Jackler, MD, chair of otolaryngology at Stanford, about the history between the tobacco industry and the Olympic Games.

Ask Stanford Med: Genetics chair answers your questions on genomics and personalized medicine: Michael Snyder, PhD, responds to questions via the @SUMedicine Twitter feed and Scope about his “omics” study, genome sequencing and personalized medicine.

Grand Roundup

Grand Roundup: Top posts for the week of July 29

Grand Roundup: Top posts for the week of July 29

The five most-read stories on Scope this week were:

Bio-art gone viral: Cantor Arts Center displays models of human viruses: A current exhibit at the Cantor Arts Center on the Stanford campus showcases creative virus models made by students using an array of unlikely materials.

Ask Stanford Med: Genetics chair answers your questions on genomics and personalized medicine: Michael Snyder, PhD, responds to questions via the @SUMedicine Twitter feed and Scope about his “omics” study,  genome sequencing and personalized medicine.

Image of the Week: Transplant rejection visualized: A fascinating data visualization created by Purvesh Khatri, PhD, that shows the interaction of biological networks during a kidney transplant.

Stanford Medicine X releases book highlighting ePatients: An eBook recently published by Larry Chu, MD, and his team at the Stanford AIM Lab features profiles and contributing text from ePatient scholars who will be attending the upcoming Stanford Medicine X conference.

Can yoga help women suffering from fibromyalgia?: A study published in the Journal of Pain Research shows that practicing yoga boosts levels of the stress hormone cortisol and could help ease some symptoms of fibromyalgia such as pain, fatigue, muscle stiffness and depression.

Events, Patient Care, Sports

For Olympic doctors, the experience of the games outweigh the sacrifices

For Olympic doctors, the experience of the games outweigh the sacrifices

The opening of the Olympic games marked the beginning of a special experience not just for the athletes competing, but also for the doctors that care for them. Like the athletes, volunteer Olympic doctors make many sacrifices to fulfill Olympic dreams. An American Medical News story today provides a closer look at the dedication of several U.S. team physicians, who all agree that sacrifices are worth the rewards. Carolyne Krupa writes:

Among them are physicians from around the country who are volunteering their time to support the U.S. team. To do so, they must be willing to leave their practices for weeks at a time, to work long shifts under grueling, high-stakes conditions for little or no pay.

Physicians working the games say it’s all worth it for the chance to be part of a global event and work with some of the world’s most elite athletes.

“It’s worth the sacrifices,” said Peter Donaldson, MD, a U.S. team physician, sports medicine specialist and assistant professor at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in Rochester, Mich. “I’ll be grinding away in clinic for the rest of my life, but there are few opportunities that come up in life that are as unique as this.”

Previously: U.S. Olympic team switches to electronic health records and Olympic health concerns – for the spectators

Grand Roundup

Grand Roundup: Top posts for the week of July 15

Grand Roundup: Top posts for the week of July 15

The five most-read stories on Scope this week were:

Zebras with different stripes: One patient’s story: Inspire contributor Heather Pierce writes about her experience with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, an unique condition that is often misdiagnosed because it exhibits itself differently in each person.

Stanford scientists measure health effects of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident: John Ten Hoeve, PhD, and Mark Jacobson, PhD, analyze the health effects of the nuclear power plant meltdown in Fukashima, Japan. Their findings offer a detailed analysis of the global health impacts of the disaster.

Ask Stanford Med: Genetics chair taking questions on gene sequencing and personalized medicine: Through an analysis of his own genome, Michael Snyder, PhD, watched as he developed Type-2 diabetes. He then used the data to make lifestyle changes and manage the condition. This week, he took questions submitted via Twitter and Scope on gene sequencing and personalized medicine as part of our monthly Ask Stanford Med series.

Can yoga help women suffering from fibromyalgia?: A study published in the Journal of Pain Research shows that practicing yoga boosts levels of the stress hormone cortisol and could help ease some symptoms of fibromyalgia such as pain, fatigue, muscle stiffness and depression.

Lloyd Minor named dean of Stanford’s School of Medicine: This week, the  university announced Lloyd B. Minor, provost of The John Hopkins University in Baltimore, will succeed Philip Pizzo, MD, as the dean of the Stanford School of Medicine.

Behavioral Science, Mental Health, Neuroscience, Research, Sleep

In animal study, sleep deprivation after traumatic events lowers risk of PTSD symptoms

In animal study, sleep deprivation after traumatic events lowers risk of PTSD symptoms

We all know that a good night’s sleep is important in maintaining good health. New research, however, hints that sleep deprivation within six hours after a traumatic event may actually be therapeutic in preventing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University and Tel Aviv University led the animal study, which was published in the the latest issue of Neuropsychopharmacology. Medical Daily reports:

Researchers found that rats that were not allowed to sleep after the stress  exposure did not exhibit behavior indicating memory of the stressful event, while the control group of rats that were allowed to sleep after the stressful  event appeared to remember past trauma and exhibited post trauma-like behavior  in elevated plus-maze and acoustic startle response tests.

“Post-exposure SD effectively ameliorated long-term, stress-induced, PTSD-like behavioral disruptions, reduced trauma reminder freezing responses, and decreased hippocampal expression of GR compared with exposed-untreated controls,” researchers wrote in the study.

Researchers said that that intentionally preventing sleep in the early aftermath of stress exposure may be effective in reducing traumatic stress because sleep deprivation may play a role in disrupting the consolidation of stressful fear-inducing memories by decreasing activity in the hippocampus, an essential area of the brain responsible for memory.

The investigators are already planning a similar study on humans to further understand the relationship between sleep deprivation and PTSD.

Previously: Using a mobile-based app to help manage PTSD and In mice, at least, uninterrupted sleep is critical for memory
Photo by [ piXo ]

Stanford Medicine Resources: