Interesting Links from the Last Week
I haven't spent much time in Second Life, a 3D online virtual world with its own currency -- but Bertalan Meskó has. He's a medical student at the University of Debrecen, in Hungary, and he writes the ScienceRoll blog. Bertalan recently wrote about a medical conference complete with presentations inside Second Life.
In other news, scientists at the University of Rochester discovered one species' genome entirely inside another's.
Certain medical procedures, like cosmetic procedures and procedures on the eye, are frequently not covered by insurance. The New York Times reports that some doctors are arranging for interest-free financing to help people pay for these surgeries.
Also in the New York Times, science writer Jane Brody writes about ways of increasing the supply of organs for transplantation. One method involves harvesting organs from patients who have life support withdrawn -- "after cardiac death" -- which is ethically controversial. (See this recent article by Dr. Steinbrook in the New England Journal of Medicine for more information.)
The Washington Post looks at a recent study which suggests that doctors often disregard patients complaints of side effects from medication. In the study they talk about (which can be found here), patients complained of side effects from statins (a cholesterol lowering medication). These side effects included weakness or aching. Even though these are known potential side effects from statins, many doctors disregarded the connection between the side effect and the medication. The article also talks about Medwatch, the online FDA website which facilitates reporting of adverse effects from medications.