Underwear that counts steps, tracks calories, monitors sleep? Count me in!

It’s what you’ve been waiting for (though you may not have realised it) –  in the ho-ho-ho opening lede of IdeaConnection’s story: “the comfortably smart underwear from Skiin takes a bottoms-up approach to health monitoring.”

All sounds fantastic, but I don’t quite find much information on how effective it is in the more traditional role of underwear … how many pairs would one need?

Medical watches

Recently on a course I realised my watch, a Daniel Wellington, lacks a second hand. Obviously a flaw for taking pulses, not that I clinically have to do much of it. It got me thinking of whether specifically medically-focused watches exist. The thought being father to the web search, I quickly discovered this piece by Zach Weiss at Worn and Wound from 8 years ago. While much of the focus is on vintage watches, it turns out that some are being made still – for instance by St Gallen Horology. Here is the opening of Weiss’ article:

I was recently asked by a friend of mine if I could make any recommendations for an affordable medical watch.  “I’d love to”, I thought, without realizing that I had no idea what a medical watch was.  After doing some research, I’ve found that I was really missing out on an interesting genre of watches.  For those of you similarly out of the loop, medical watches are offer a quick and easy way for a physician or nurse to take an accurate reading of a patient’s pulse.  The face of a medical watch features a pulse scale, either on the inside or outside of the second scale (sometimes on the outer bezel).  On most models, when the second hand reaches the 12 hour marker, you begin counting heart beats.  When you reach 30, see where the second has reached on the pulse scale, and you’ll find the number of heart beats per minute.  Pretty simple technology, but also kind of genius.  I’ve found a few really beautiful examples of these watches which I don’t think you need to be a physician to appreciate, or wear for that matter.

The link is worth following  to see the watches in their glory…

 

 

 

Newmarket-on-Fergus: at the bleeding edge of brain stimulation in 1853

Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation continues to be explored as a therapeutic option. Reading about the history of electrical stimulation of the brain, I came across this gem:


“Electric current from the chain was believed to be efficacious in applications to the head, and to stimulate mental performance. Samuel Patterson Evans, MD, Physician to the Newmarket-on-Fergus Dispensary, County Clare, Ireland, for instance, reported to PPulvermacher that it had successfully been used to restore mental energy. According to Evans, he advised one man who was not very strong intellectually, and whose mind became “tired and incapable of continued thought” after fatigue, to try the chain “applied round the head and forehead” on the basis that “the energy of the brain becomes exhausted, either from bodily labor or mental fatigue.” After undertaking the treatment, Evans believed that he had become “capable of more continued application in either thinking or writing since,” which he attributed to the fact that “the brain becomes stimulated by the outward dose of galvanic or electric energy supplied by the [Pulvermacher] Chain in action” which it had previously lost “either by its own loss of power directly, or indirectly by bodily fatigue.” Whilst warning that “its application in such cases should not be continued too long” in case the “constant and forced stimulation” caused serious injury to the brain, Evans believed that the application of the chain deserved to be “closely studied in relation to its action on the brains of intellectual individuals” and for all types of nervous condition (Pulvermacher, 1853, pp. 15, 16–17).”

A surgical education: Joseph Queally on what surgical training can learning from music

It’s been a while since I posted anything on this blog, a longer while since I posted anything that wasn’t just a link to something else here, and an even while since I posted anything all that medical education related.

So here is Addrenbrookes orthopaedic surgeon Joseph Queally with an excellent piece on the BMJ site on what surgical training can learn from music. :

Anyone who has learnt a musical instrument knows that countless hours of practice are needed to achieve success. As a musician who has performed as an individual and as part of a group, I have spent many hours practicing before competitions and performances. It becomes apparent that how one practices is a skill in itself and the type or quality of practice is often more important than the quantity of practice. Ericsson formally described this phenomenon as deliberate practice after studying violinists in a music academy in Berlin. Rather than monotonous repetition of a skill or task, deliberate practice involves breaking the task up into chunks, identifying which ones need improvement, and performing focused practice on this chunk or task until a goal is achieved.

As a surgical educator, I can also see a role for deliberate practice in surgical training. As in music, complex tasks (e.g. percutaneous screw placement in fracture surgery) can be broken up into basic steps or “chunks,” such as image intensifier positioning, appropriate screw entry point identification, and trajectory planning. Trainees can then practice the steps they are deficient in under supervision. Here trainers provide critical feedback by identifying the troublesome parts of a technique that an individual trainee is struggling with. Simulation in particular can provide a safe environment for deliberate practice where trainees can practice tasks repeatedly without risk to patients.

Read the whole thing, as they say.

#LivingLibrary – College of Psychiatrists of Ireland event for #GreenRibbon month, 31st May 2018

I will be speaking as a living book in this:
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The College is delighted to announce our 4th annual event in partnership with See Change for Green Ribbon Month – A Living Library
When it comes to mental health everyone has a story to share and we find comfort, empathy and compassion in shared experiences. Social contact is known to be one of the most effective ways of reducing mental health related stigma and discrimination so with this in mind, and to mark Green Ribbon month, the College is delighted to announce our ‘Living Library’ event, a library come to life in the outdoors!

At our library the ‘books’ are a little different, they are people; people with different experiences and stories to tell related to mental health including those who have experienced mental health issues and illness, their family members and carers, and the psychiatrists who help them towards the path of recovery. Mental health stigma too often creates discrimination and misunderstanding so we want to give members of the public the opportunity to connect and engage with psychiatrists and people they may not normally have the occasion to speak with.

The aim is to better understand the lived experiences of others who have experienced or facilitated recovery from mental illness and distress and to challenge their own assumptions, prejudices and stereotypes. We invite you to ‘read’ the human books through conversation and gain understanding of their experiences.

For Green Ribbon Month Let’s End the Stigma by not judging a book by its cover and develop a greater understanding of each other’s stories.

Thursday 31st May 2018
12.30pm – 2.30pm
St Stephens Green, Dublin

This is a Free Event, but space is limited. Book your place here.