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Patients use Facebook, Twitter, to get health information
March 4th, 2011
06:32 PM ET

Patients use Facebook, Twitter, to get health information

Patients are turning to social networks such as Twitter and Facebook for health information, according to a survey by the National Research Corporation.

In the survey of nearly 23,000 people in the United States, 16% said they use social media as a source of health care information. For nearly all of them – 94% - Facebook was their site of choice, with YouTube coming in a distant second at 32%. Eighteen percent of the respondents said they turned to MySpace or Twitter for health information.

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February 2nd, 2011
08:46 AM ET

TEDMED: A meeting of minds

Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert couldn't attend TEDMED this year, but the conference did benefit from the wit and expertise of its own hosts: Marc Hodosh and Richard Saul Wurman. Colbert talks about some of the 2010 highlights, including the results of Ozzy Osborne's genome mapping and David Blaine's magic tricks.

Hodosh moved to Boston, Massachusetts, originally to attend medical school, but didn't pursue that as a career. Instead, he started consumer products companies, selling to places like QVC and Toys R Us. And while he was leading the Archon Genomics X PRIZE, a challenge to create better ways of sequencing genomes, Wurman approached him about relaunching TEDMED, which hadn't taken place since 2004.

Wurman, an architect and the author of more than 80 books, created and chaired the TED conferences from 1984 to 2002. TED stands for "Technology, Entertainment, Design," and it aims to bring together the world's most fascinating "thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes)." These include inventors, scientists, physicians, entertainers and fashion designers. TEDMED, which focuses more on health, is a spin-off.

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Electronic health records no cure-all
January 24th, 2011
05:34 PM ET

Electronic health records no cure-all

Electronic medical records,  also known as EHRs, often touted as a powerful antidote for uncoordinated and ineffective medical care, do little to help patients outside the hospital, according to a new study.

Researchers from Stanford University analyzed federal data on more than 255,000 patients, about a third of whom had health information carried electronically. The researchers compared the care of those patients to the care of patients without EHRs, on 20 different measures of quality – for example, whether proper medication was prescribed for patients with asthma or simple infections, or whether smokers were counseled on ways to quit. On 19 of the 20 measures, there was no benefit from having an EHR. The one exception was dietary advice: Patients at high-risk for illness were slightly more likely to receive counseling on a proper diet.

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Doctors and Facebook: Is there a privacy risk?
December 16th, 2010
02:32 PM ET

Doctors and Facebook: Is there a privacy risk?

Doctors with a Facebook profile could be jeopardizing their relationship with patients if they don't correctly use the website's privacy settings, according to a study in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

Study authors surveyed 200 residents and fellows at the Rouen University Hospital, France, in October 2009.  The overwhelming majority had a profile on the online social media website Facebook and almost all displayed their real names, birth dates, a personal photograph and their current university.

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FDA launches program to develop new AEDs
November 15th, 2010
05:26 PM ET

FDA launches program to develop new AEDs

The Food and Drug Administration wants to strengthen automated external defibrillators, or AEDs.  They are the lifesaving devices used to treat sudden cardiac arrest. The FDA plan, dubbed the "External Defibrillator Improvement Initiative", aims to improve the safety and effectiveness of AEDs currently available and to work with manufacturers to create newer models that are more effective.

"There have been more than 28,000 adverse event reports [associated with AEDs]," says Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, Director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. There also have been more than 700 deaths, although Shuren cautions that it's difficult to link cause of death to external defibrillators because the patients being treated with them are already extremely ill.

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October 22nd, 2010
08:18 AM ET

Operate a computer with only your head

A teenager is working on an idea he hopes will help thousands of people with disabilities use computers better.

Gavin Ovsak, 16, designed a circuit board attached to a baseball cap that allows someone who can't move his or her hand well to operate a computer without a mouse. It essentially turns your head into a joystick, he said.

Head movements direct the cursor in the computer screen, and a bite sensor lets a user click on something on the screen. Gavin wrote a computer program that controls this device. He was also featured in this CNN.com story about achievement and motivation.

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October 4th, 2010
06:27 PM ET

Health info online: The stakes are higher

Today  guest blogger  Mary Ann Belliveau, Google's health industry director, shares new findings and insights on how consumers find and use health information on the web.

Just about everything is online these days and so, for users to be looking for health information on the web is almost a given.  But working 15 years in health care and nearly nine on this topic for Google, I’ve learned that “health” isn’t just another category of information.

It’s different, and for the same reasons online as it is off: It is extremely sensitive, personal, and the stakes in its applications couldn’t be higher.

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September 22nd, 2010
06:17 PM ET

Hope for heart patients with minimally invasive surgery

A new heart procedure could save thousands of people each year who are too sick or frail to undergo major surgery, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The procedure is used to treat aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the valve between the heart and the artery that carries blood to the rest of the body.  The narrow opening forces the heart to work harder than normal, which can lead to fatigue, weakness and heart failure.  According to Dr. Martin Leon of New York Presbyterian-Columbia Hospital, the study’s lead author, the condition afflicts about 5 percent of all people over the age of 75.

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September 15th, 2010
06:10 PM ET

Google Health gets makeover

Google Health has gotten a redesign that makes this web tool more useful and straightforward for tracking your health.

When you first log in, you see a profile that can serve as your personal database for your health history. It is where you can keep track of the immunizations you've received, the allergies you have, the insurance you carry, and the medications you take. It's all in a handy portal.

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September 10th, 2010
10:33 AM ET

Identify pills with new NIH web tool

Poison control centers get more than 1 million calls a year about medicines that need to be identified. And maybe you've been in situations when pills seem to wander away from their labeled bottles, and you don't know what they are.

Now the National Institutes of Health is developing a way to quickly identify medications based on appearance. Pillbox, in its beta testing phase, gives possibilities for your mystery pill based on its shape, color, size, imprint, and "scoring" (how many pieces it could be broken into based on those little lines).

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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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