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October 13, 2014

BehindTheMedspeak: How is the effectiveness of pain relievers measured?

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C. Claiborne Ray's September 29 New York Times Science section Q&A summed it up as follows.


Q. How is the strength of pain relievers measured? Is there a list that quantifies them by strength?

A. "It's not like blood pressure, where a given dose reduces blood pressure a given amount," said Dr. Neel D. Mehta, medical director of the Pain Medicine Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Instead, he said, "we must use an experience-based approach."

The goal is always to find the lowest possible dose to treat pain aggressively while limiting interactions with other drugs and reducing the possibility of harmful side effects, Dr. Mehta said. Pain specialists measure effectiveness based on the patient’s own perception, he said, adding, "We believe our patients."

Adults are asked to rate their pain on the familiar 1-to-10 scale: A chart of facial expressions is used for children. The doctor also considers how much the pain affects systems like sleeping and how much it interferes with physical functions like walking and standing.

Different kinds of pain require different kinds of relief. "First, there is nociceptive pain, like that of a broken bone or a surgical incision," Dr. Mehta said. "Then there is neuropathic pain, resulting from disruption in the nervous system." Opioids, though strong relievers of the first type of pain, "may not be as effective for neuropathic pain as, say, gabapentin," a different kind of drug.


Times graphic up top by Victoria Roberts.

October 13, 2014 at 08:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

LEGO Watch

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From the website:


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This watch incorporates the iconic universality of the LEGO system into its design using interchangeable bezels, straps, and multi-color links.

The watch's face pays homage to the classic building block with yellow and blue 2x2 brick façades that serve as subdials for displaying the day of the week and date.

Red tick marks denote each hour and a yellow rim has an inscribed tachymeter for precise calculation of speed.

The classic primary colors that have become synonymous with LEGO’s legacy are manifested in black, blue, and yellow bezel options and eight interchangeable red, yellow, blue, and green strap links.

Accurate Miyota quartz movement provides reliable timekeeping.

The face is protected by a scratch-resistant mineral glass crystal, and the 316L stainless steel case protects its inner workings while providing water resistance down to 300'.

The 7/8"-wide plastic strap closes with a stainless steel butterfly clasp and fits wrists 5"-8-1/2" in circumference.

Includes red silicone strap.

Case: 1.65" diam. x .38" thick.

Weight: 3 oz. 


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October 13, 2014 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Life through an MRI machine

From Digg: "Magnetic resonance imaging 'sees' inside the body by mapping the position of water molecules, which exist at different densities in different types of tissue. The video above samples some impressive MRI images of the human body in action."

[via Vox and Richard Kashdan]

October 13, 2014 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Portable Smartphone Photo Printer

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From the website:


This palm-sized wireless printer prints pictures from a smartphone.

The printer stores unobtrusively in a pocket and connects wirelessly to an iPhone or Android-powered phone to print 2" x 3-1/3" color photos in one minute.

A free app adds captions, borders, or decorations to pictures prior to printing them at 290 dpi on patented paper.

The paper is embedded with yellow, magenta, and cyan dye crystals, producing rich, vibrant photographs that are waterproof, fingerprint-proof, and will never fade.

The printer's battery recharges in 1-1/2 hours via the included USB cable and prints up to 10 pictures after a full charge.

Includes 10 sheets of paper — additional paper available.

Compatible with all iPhones (including iPhone 6/5s/5c/5), iPad, and iPod touch models running iOS 5 and up and Android-powered devices running OS 2.3 and up.

Device dimensions: 2-3/4" W x 4-3/4" H x 1" D.

Weight: 7-1/2 oz.



October 13, 2014 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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