April 23rd, 2010
05:44 PM ET

Fit Nation Q-A with Trainer Laura

Four months ago, Fit Nation chose six CNN viewers to train with, and compete alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the Nautica New York City Triathlon in July. Angie Brouhard, one of those six participants, recently had a few questions about her training, so we asked Fit Nation athletic director Laura Cozik to weigh in.

April 23rd, 2010
04:35 PM ET

Colorful conversations: Dr. Lisa Sanders

Lisa Sanders was first inspired to save lives after watching physician and correspondent Dr. Bob Arnot use CPR to save a woman who had collapsed while they were shooting a story for CBS News about whitewater rafting. A few years later, Sanders went to medical school and today is an assistant professor of internal medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine. Her fascination is the work of diagnosis – the science and art of reading the clues of a patient’s symptoms. It’s an obsession she shares with the producers of the hit television show “House,” who rely on Sanders as a technical consultant. She remains a journalist, writing the “Diagnosis” column for the New York Times, and now has written a book, “Every Patient Tells a Story.” Dr. Sanjay Gupta asked Sanders how she knows she has an interesting story in her exam room.

Dr. Lisa Sanders: I’m an internist and I know my patients pretty well, but even then, you don't know what's going to walk in the door. Mystery cases, “fascinomas,” they don’t walk in the door with a sign that says, “I’m a weird case.” They present with symptoms like anyone else. And then it turns into something else.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Medical mysteries, what was it about that you decided to take so much time to devote to it?

Sanders: At the heart of a doctor-patient encounter is a little detective story. Sometimes, it’s not really hard. You come in with a fever and a runny nose and some body aches during flu season and you probably have the flu. But often enough, it’s probably not obvious, and I didn't know that. When I went to medical school, I thought I knew medicine because I had covered medicine for several years, and I thought I knew what was exciting about it. And when I heard doctors talking about the uncertainty and the excitement in their voices when they tried to figure out what was going on, I thought, “Wow, I never heard this story told.” I had never even been aware of this. I thought, like most people I think, that diagnosis was like math - you know, six times four is always 24. A fever and a rash, it must always be (DRAMATIC PAUSE). But it’s not. In TV, which is my only experience in medicine, a diagnosis is a one-liner. It’s “I’m sorry, you have leukemia.” That's it! That's the diagnosis! Then you move on to the treatment and the happy cure. I was interested in finding out what happens to lead up to that line.

Gupta: Part of your work is teaching medical students and new doctors to listen, to find things that maybe they wouldn’t have caught if they weren’t listening. But my sense is, maybe that is based not just on your intuition but on your knowledge. Are new doctors allowed to order more tests and things like that, because they don’t have the intuition, the experience and the knowledge that you – or certainly someone like Greg House – has?

Sanders: There’s nobody telling you you can’t order tests, except for insurance companies (LAUGHS). But in some ways, I think great diagnoses are made by the newest doctors. Faith Fitzgerald, who’s a wonderful doctor who teaches at the University of California, told me that unusual diagnoses are often made by the oldest or the youngest doctors. The old, because they've seen it all, and the young because they don't know that whatever they think it is, isn't possible.

To see more of Dr. Gupta’s conversation with Dr. Lisa Sanders, tune in to “Sanjay Gupta M.D.” on CNN at 7:30 a.m. ET, Saturday-Sunday.

Filed under: Cancer

April 23rd, 2010
11:49 AM ET

First full face transplant successful in Spain

By Elizabeth Landau
CNN.com Health Writer/Producer

Doctors in Spain say they have performed the world's first complete face transplant  according to European news agencies.

The patient, a man injured in a shooting accident, had been unable to breathe or swallow, and had difficulty speaking, the BBC reported. He was a farmer who shot himself in the face in 2005, the Times of London said.

He had undergone nine failed operations before being considered for the transplant, the BBC said.

The transplant operation took place in Barcelona in March, but the details were just announced. The patient received cheekbones, nose, lips and teeth from a donor.

The medical team's leader, Joan Pere Barret, told a news conference that the patient was satisfied when he saw his new appearance. He has scars on his forehead and neck, but they will be concealed in the future, Barret said, according to Spain's El Mundo.

Although this is the first total face transplant, there have been partial face transplants in France, the United States, China and Spain. The first was when doctors operated on Isabelle Dinoire in Amiens, France, in 2005. She had been mauled by her dog.

In 2008, the United States had its first-ever near-total face transplant. Connie Culp, injured by a bullet in 2004, received the nose, upper lip, and cheekbones of a donor in a 22-hour operation at the Cleveland Clinic. Read more about Culp's case

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

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.