Games for Health

In the ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ department is Games for Health. What’s that, you ask?

Games for Health is a project produced by The Serious Games Initiative, a Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars effort that applies cutting edge games and game technologies to a range of public and private policy, leadership, and management issues.

The Initiative founded Games for Health to develop a community and best practices platform for the numerous games being built for health care applications. To date the project has brought together researchers, medical professionals, and game developers to share information about the impact games and game technologies can have on health care and policy.

In addition to the Games for Health conference, the Initiative is working to catalog use of games in health care, to assist current development, collect best practices, share research results, and explore ideas that might improve health care administration and policy.

It sounds like a terrific idea, and one that could revolutionize many facets of medical education. They’re having a meeting May 9th, if you’re interested.

VW gets the Rabbit back – VW to start using Rabbit name for compact once again

NEW YORK ( – The Volkswagen Golf is going back to its Rabbit roots.

The company announced at the New York Auto Show Wednesday that it will start using the Rabbit name on the car that it has been selling as the Golf since 1984, when the company dropped the Rabbit name in favor a global name plate. The vehicle will still be sold as the Golf outside of North America.

I always thought Golf was a silly name, but I owned a GTI version for a few years.  Welcome back, Rabbit! 

USNews: New Orleans’s against-the-odds struggle to care for the infirm Against-the-odds struggle to care for the infirm in New Orleans

On Life Support New Orleans’s against-the-odds struggle to care for the infirm By Nancy Shute 4/24/06 NEW ORLEANS–Peter DeBlieux always pictured himself working in a tent one day. It just "wasn’t in this country." A veteran emergency-room physician, DeBlieux is inside a tent pitched in an abandoned Lord & Taylor store just a few blocks from where he once ran one of the busiest ERs in the United States.That would be New Orleans’s Charity Hospital, but, thanks to Hurricane Katrina, DeBlieux can’t go back there. The flood that followed Katrina knocked out Charity’s electricity and water. Patients and staff spent five grueling days trapped in the hospital in 100-degree heat, rationing drinking water, and hand-squeezing "ambu" bags to keep ventilator patients alive.

That was the easy part, some now say. Seven months later, New Orleans’s healthcare system is floundering, and the fact that the city’s once biggest hospital exists in a 30-bed tent is just one of the most obvious symptoms. When Charity started offering emergency care in a military tent on the convention center parking lot last September, DeBlieux thought he’d be practicing medicine this way for a month, tops. "Seven months out? It’s not OK," he says. "This is the United States of America. This is not a Third World country."

Louisiana’s healthcare isn’t robounding as well as we’d hope. but there are signs of progress here, despite plans, not due to them.

ABMS Issues Alert About “” Invoices

From the inbox:

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) has issued an alert about an unauthorized marketing campaign being used by a Web site called "" Diplomates of ABMS member boards are being targeted and have received fax messages ("Renewal Notices") from the site, bearing the ABMS and American Medical Association (AMA) acronyms. The message states that if the form is not completed and returned with a fee to the site by a certain date, the recipient’s "membership" will expire and their "online listing" will be deactivated.

ABMS warns diplomates that "" is not a licensee of the ABMS, or AMA, and is not authorized to use the ABMS or AMA names or acronyms. ABMS also states that a failure to return the form or pay the fee will not have any effect on the diplomate’s certification or listing in the ABMS database. Questions or information about this unauthorized effort should be directed to the ABMS at 847-491-9091, ext. 3005.

 Forewarned is forearmed.

My Rational Mind

I recently have had a conversation with one of our Charge Nurse/Quip Machines, and it went something like this:

 me: "I mean, why would a patient do that?"

nurse: "I try to leave my rational mind at home; it’s the only way I’ve survived."


LASIK @ Home


In the past, LASIK surgery was an expensive procedure that could only be performed by skilled professionals in a doctor’s office or eye clinic. Often costing upwards of $1000 per eye and almost never covered by insurance, Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) was beyond the reach of most Americans.

Now the revolutionary LASIK@Home system makes clear vision affordable for everyone.

Hehe.  Not for me. 


I’ve been getting a lot of hits for a search phrase, and I’m not proud of it.

I’m getting a lot of searches for "Bird Flu Symptoms", which brings up this post.  It’d be one thing if this were a useful piece of medical advice, but it’s a joke.  A modestly funny one, but a joke nonetheless.

Crud.  People find my blog looking for answers and they get a corny joke.  Joke’s on me. 

Today’s ride

Today’s ride: 48.6 miles.

Started down the Benbrook lake road, after that loop along the Trinity Trail to downtown, then home again.

I now feel like overcooked pasta, just one limp noodle. 

I’m trying to get ready for the MS150, a two day, 150 mile ride (not a race, thank goodness) to raise money (and awareness) for Multiple Sclerosis research.  I’ve been allowed to join a good team, and hope I can finish without embarrassing myself. 

GruntDoc: doing the exercise Americans won’t do.


Doctor Joke about Headaches

From Medicina Cubana: Headaches

A very funny joke I hadn’t heard before, starts: 

A man comes to the doctor with a long history of migrane headaches.

I was going to post the whole thing, but that would be a disservice to a fellow blogger, and another Fort Worth doctor to boot! 

 Made me laugh.

Career Planning for a Fourteen year-old

My youngest daughter, currently a 9th grade student, recently took some guidance tests to help her focus on careers for which she is deemed to have aptitude. In no particular order, here are her results:

  • Military Officer (no complaints)
  • Graphics designer (ditto)
  • Sailor (chip off the old block)
  • Bartender

Now, for the record I like a good bartender, though as a beer drinker I’m not one to gauge the mixologists’ talents. And, also for the record, bartending is not a career to be disparaged, or shunned. Unless it’s being brought to your fourteen year old daughter as a career choice. I’m not against a broad range of choices, but, bartender?

MedBlogs Grand Rounds 2:29

Tuesday? That means it’s…time for Grand Rounds!

Hello, and welcome to Vol. 2 No. 29 of Grand Rounds. We here at Anxiety, Addiction and Depression Treatments couldn’t be happier about hosting this week. It is an honor. We had a bunch of great submissions this week, and as far as I know everyone has been included. While there is some grouping by category, the posts themselves are listed in no particular order.

At AADT we blog about mental health issues: everything from anxiety to addiction to, well, depression. I think you get the idea. And as that it is our focus, I wanted to open this weeks Rounds with a special spotlight on mental health blogging from the week that was in the blogsphere.

My idea of a good Grand Rounds: entries grouped (sometimes loosely) by subject, and without a lot of frills.

Helping stranded cyclists

…or, why I’ll be getting a frame pump tomorrow.

Today, early in my ride, I came across a stranded cyclist. As is my habit, I asked "you good?", which is about all you can get out in the time it takes me to pass someone standing still. Usually the answer is yes, and I pedal on. Today, the answer was "not really".

So I stopped. I don’t have rescue fantasies (I have a real job doing that) but I’m a ‘we’re all in this together’ kind of guy and I’ll help when I can. This cyclist was on flat number two, had a tube that was maybe-repaired correctly, and was out of CO2 cartridges. I have 2 CO2 bottles. One was expended (not by me) harmlessly into the air trying to inflate the suspect tube.

So, I gave away my spare tube and last CO2 bottle. Having nothing more to add, I bid my fellow cyclist farewell, and turned for home. Yes, I still have a patch kit, but no way to inflate a flat should I get it repaired. I have always wondered if the CO2 inflators were the way to go, and now I know.

Update: I now have a frame pump. It’s ugly. We’ll see if I keep it.

Pain Unit of Measurement

One of the things any Emergency Physician would put on a short list of "things I want" is an objective measurement of pain.  Separating the wheat from the chaff, knowing if pain is being treated adequately and appropriately would be of enormous benefit to medicine in general and EM in particular.

Discussing this with a colleague, a unit description was proposed: the thromb.  It’d be interesting to know whether these wind up being micro-thrombs, or need exponents following their numbers.

Only time will tell. 


EP’s and Depression from EP Monthly

This month’s EP Monthly (terrific and getting better if that’s possible) has published the results of their survey of depression in Emergency Physicians. It surprised them, and me:

Features: Survey Says Many EPs Suffer in Silence


“I have had the pistol in my mouth and would have pulled the trigger, save for leaving my child without a parent.” Thus began one response to EPM’s December article and survey “Silent Treatment.” The respondent continued: “Does anyone honestly think that anyone in our position would report this type of thought to any board? Go under the microscope? Lose our ability to provide for our families? For as much hype as is given to diagnosis and treatment of depression, state boards and everyone else hold their physicians to a different standard. If I were a plumber or musician, I would just go see my psychiatrist, take medication, and go on with my life, better off for having done so. We are held to an impossible double standard.”

This desperation was echoed in countless other anonymous responses, each reinforcing the need to understand physician depression better and do away with stereotypes that might hinder treatment. Here now are our findings, and the many voices that cry for understanding.

Granted, this is a self-report so there’s a selection bias, but the numbers were surprising:

In our EPM survey, 73% of 108 respondents had experienced symptoms that they felt might have been depression.

Suicide, on the other hand, is far more prevalent among physicians than the public, with the most reliable estimates ranging from 1.41% to 2.27% times the rate in the general population. More alarming is that, after accidents, suicide is the most common cause of death among medical students…

Sadly, though physicians have a lower mortality risk from cancer and heart disease relative to the general population, presumably relating to self-care and early diagnosis, we have a significantly higher risk of dying from suicide.

Okay, a sample size of 108 isn’t statistically meaningful, but the numbers presented are surprising to me. And, I would imagine the “%” above was meant to be times.

Best Chief Complaint of the Night

“I was assulted with a telephone, and now my ear is ringing.”

I couldn’t make that up if I tried.