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Fast Foods & Phthalates

Original Academic Article

Phthalate and novel plasticizer concentrations in food items from U.S. fast food chains: a preliminary analysis | Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology


Summary: by USA Today

From their website:

MARINA PITOFSKY | USA TODAY | 6:30 pm EDT October 27, 2021

A new study shows that chemicals known as phthalates, which have been linked to health problems, have been detected in food from popular chains like McDonald’s, Chipotle and more.  

The peer-reviewed analysis was published this week in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology by researchers from George Washington University, the Southwest Research Institute (San Antonio, Texas), Boston University and Harvard University.

The research includes items from McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Taco Bell and Chipotle locations in San Antonio, Texas. Researchers obtained 64 food samples of hamburgers, fries, chicken nuggets, chicken burritos and cheese pizza from the chains.

They found that over 80% of the foods contained a phthalate called DnBP. And 70% contained the phthalate DEHP. Both of the chemicals have been linked to reproductive health problems.  

Food containing meat, such as chicken burritos and cheeseburgers, had higher levels of the chemicals studied, while cheese pizza had the lowest levels.   

Phthalates … have been linked to reproductive problems, learning and attention problems in children and more

Gene editing improves muscle function in mice with Duchenne muscular dystrophy 

A new gene-editing technique called CRISPR/Cas9 improved muscle function in live mice with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, establishing its potential as a therapy for humans.

Source: Gene editing improves muscle function in mice with Duchenne muscular dystrophy – Medical News Today

Study links high sugar intake to increased risk of breast cancer – suggesting a causal effect not just an association

When it comes to the rising rates of obesity, sugar is deemed a key culprit. But high sugar intake may not only lead to weight gain; a new study claims it can increase the risk of breast cancer and hasten spread of the disease to the lungs … According to the team, previous research has identified a link between dietary sugar intake and risk of breast cancer, with some studies suggesting inflammation may play an important role.

the team set out to assess how sugar intake influenced breast cancer development in mice that were randomized to various diets, including a sucrose-enriched diet, a fructose-enriched diet and a starch-control diet.

Mice fed a diet enriched with sucrose or fructose were more likely to develop breast cancer and have the disease spread to the lungs, according to the results of a new study.

Source: Study links high sugar intake to increased risk of breast cancer – Medical News Today

With 37 acquisitions, 2015 tops 2014 for digital health M&A | MobiHealthNews

The final quarter of 2015 brought eight more digital health acquisitions, plus some larger scale acquisitions that could have reverberations throughout the world of digital health. The list below includes exits for a number of longtime and well-known players like Misfit, Lively, and Zamzee, though some of those acquisitions were under better circumstances than others.

A few buyers stand out with multiple acquisitions throughout the year.

  • Indian practice management company Practo topped the list with four acquisitions: Insta Health, Qikwell, Fitho, and Genii. 

  • Welltok picked up Zamzee, Silverlink, and Predilytics.

  • Under Armour bought MyFitnessPal, Endomondo, and Gritness. And finally,

  • IBM bought Explorys, Phytel, and Merge. And, still worth mentioning with just two 2015 acqusitions, Weight Watchers picked up Weilo and Hot5, both presumably to build out its mobile offering.

  • Fossil Group will buy wearables company Misfit for $260 million, the companies announced in November.

  • In October, San Diego, California-based PatientSafe Solutions bought the assets of Merck subsidiary Vree Health for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition will help the care coordination and provider workflow company expand its offerings to the home care market in addition to the hospital.

Source: With 37 acquisitions, 2015 tops 2014 for digital health M&A | MobiHealthNews

mHealth at CES 2016: Will It Be Enough to Attract Healthcare?

With mHealth on tap at CES 2016, healthcare just might pay attention

Source: mHealth at CES 2016: Will It Be Enough to Attract Healthcare?

Blood test could detect Alzheimer’s years before a patient starts showing symptoms | Daily Mail Online


From their website;

Autoantibodies in blood could show if person will develop dementia
The biomarkers show risk of suffering Alzheimer’s and the stage it is at
It could lead to earlier treatment to slow progression of devastating illness
Scientists say patients could change lifestyle factors linked to the disease
Scientists are a step closer to developing a blood test that can detect Alzheimer’s disease

Big Brain Doesn’t Mean Big Smarts


From their website;

Having a big brain doesn’t guarantee you’ll have an outsized IQ, a new analysis indicates.

Researchers who examined 148 studies that included more than 8,000 people found only a weak association between brain size and IQ.

Supplements Don’t Benefit Prostate Cancer Patients


From their website;

A new study finds no evidence that men’s health supplements help prostate cancer patients.

Although popular, such supplements do not appear to lower the risk for experiencing radiation treatment side effects; the risk that localized cancer will spread; or the risk that prostate cancer patients will die from their disease, researchers found.

The study focused on supplement use among more than 2,200 men newly diagnosed with localized prostate cancer.

“We suspected that these pills were junk. Our study confirmed our suspicion,” said study lead author Dr. Nicholas Zaorsky, resident physician in radiation oncology at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

Electronic Nose Sniffs Out Ovarian Cancer in Exhaled Breath


From their website

Electronic Nose Sniffs Out Ovarian Cancer in Exhaled Breath

We know that exhaled breath contains biomarkers that point to presence of existing disease, including cancer, but their detection is challenging without bulky and expensive equipment. Building specialized devices that detect volatile organic compounds linked to disease requires large sensor arrays, a limitation that has made them currently impractical. Now researchers at Technion−Israel Institute of Technology and Carmel Medical Center in Haifa, Israel have developed tiny flexible sensors that are each able to replicate the work of many. In a study testing the breath of 43 volunteers that included 17 ovarian cancer patients, their sensors achieved an 82% accuracy of detection.

The sensors are flexible and are made of gold nanoparticles that have molecules onto which volatile organic compounds (VOCs) attach to. When captured, the different VOCs bend the sensors at different angles depending on their nature and provide more information than simply whether they’re there or not.

The researchers believe this technology can be applied to other cancers and different diseases, leading to cheap and easy to use diagnostic devices that require only a patient breath to work.

Study in NANO Letters: Dynamic Nanoparticle-Based Flexible Sensors: Diagnosis of Ovarian Carcinoma from Exhaled Breath…

Via: American Chemical Society…

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Gold Nanoparticle Sensor Proving Effective in Lung Cancer Detection in Early Trial
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Diagnosis of lung cancer by the analysis of exhaled breath with a colorimetric sensor array.
Peter J Mazzone et al., Thorax, 2007
Compounds in exhaled breath could improve high-risk lung cancer screening
The Oncology Practice
Advances in electronic-nose technologies for the detection of volatile biomarker metabolites in the human breath.
Alphus D Wilson, Metabolites, 2015
Biomarkers May Improve Lung Cancer Screening
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At Medgadget, we report on the latest medical technology news, interview leaders in the field, and file dispatches from medical events around the world.

1 in 10 “eConsults” shown to need f2f

Announcement/ Alert the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).

For the purposes of this study of more than 5,000 encounters, eConsults were text based messages (presumably email). Just over 500 (10%) needed a face to face appointment. The reason given for those appointments was enlightening – 75% were because of diagnostic uncertainty and only 1% were because of urgency or physical examination.

It would be interesting to analyse the specialties that were included and some of the detailed characteristics might shed even more light; for example age, sex, ethnicity/ language, educational attainment, severity of illness, underlying co-morbidity/ long term condition and the previous clinical history between doctor-patient.


From their website:

J Telemed Telecare. 2015 Sep 22. pii: 1357633X15602634. [Epub ahead of print]

Early e-consultation face-to-face conversions.

Pecina JL1, North F2.

Author information:

·  1Department of Family Medicine, Mayo Clinic Rochester, USA pecina.jennifer@mayo.edu.

·  2Department of Primary Care Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic Rochester, USA.



E-consultations are asynchronous, text-based consultations. The specialist e-consultant answers clinical questions in a similar way to a standard consultation but the questions and answers are sent electronically. The e-consultant has access to some or all of the medical record but does not have contact with the patient. Although e-consultations are meant to substitute for face-to-face (F2F) consultations, a significant proportion of e-consultations are converted to F2F consultations.


We examined e-consultation content from a sample of e-consultations that had subsequent F2F visits in the same specialty as the e-consultation within 28 days of the e-consultation.


Out of 5115 e-consultations, there were a total of 547 (10.7%) early F2F conversions. One hundred and fifty-one e-consultations with subsequent early F2F conversions were reviewed in eight specialties. In 64% of the F2F conversions, specialists recommended the F2F consultations. In 75% there were complex diagnostic or treatment considerations. In only 1% was there a sense of medical urgency or a stated need for physical examination.


E-consultations convert to F2F consultations primarily at the request of the specialist. Diagnostic and treatment complexity appear to be the main reasons. We found little evidence that patients decided independently to get a F2F visit or that specialists needed a F2F visit to perform a physical examination. Although e-consultations might not be a complete substitute for F2F consultations, they may serve as an entry level consultation that could be supplemented by a video consultation as needed for cases with more diagnostic and treatment complexity.

© The Author(s) 2015.

PMID: 26395892 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Gene associated with sudden cardiac death identified by ICD monitoring — ScienceDaily


Very early finding shows that amongst patients who have an implanted cardiac defibrillator there are two genes are more common in those who go on to have a potentially fatal ventricular arrhythmia. This genetic distribution appears to be seen in the general population too and this raisers the prospect of identifying some high/ higher risk individuals.

Digital Health Intelligence Limited – EMIS datasharing

UK’s Biggest GP clinical information system, Emis widens data sharing ambitions

ColdBox Application Template

Source: Digital Health Intelligence Limited

Predictor of child vocabulary in early speech:

Infants’ ability to relate words to objects at 12 months linked to language skills at 18 months — ScienceDaily


Cognitive development is broadly defined as the process by which babies and young children learn about the world around them, and includes the acquisition of problem solving, memory, perception and, of course, language.

At 12 months old, your infant’s ability to group objects according to the names associated with them — as opposed to their appearance alone — offers a glimpse into how his or her vocabulary will develop by the time they are 18 months, Northwestern University researchers have found.

Psychologist shows why talking to kids really matters — ScienceDaily


significant differences in both vocabulary and real-time language processing efficiency were already evident at age 18 months

By age 24 months, there was a six-month gap … in processing skills critical to language development.

Infants who heard more child-directed speech developed greater efficiency in language processing and learned new words more quickly. The results indicate that exposure to child-directed speech — as opposed to overheard speech — sharpens infants’ language processing skills, with cascading benefits for vocabulary learning.

Gene leads to nearsightedness when kids read — ScienceDaily


The genetic association that has been discovered is for a tendency to develop shortsightedness in the teenage years if the individual spends significant amounts of time reading.

Young black women have a higher frequency of BRCA mutations than previously reported — ScienceDaily

From Science Daily

Young black women are more likely to have aggressive types of breast cancer compared to non-Hispanic white women, … Women who have inherited mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes are more likely to develop breast cancer or ovarian cancer, especially at a younger age. Approximately 5 percent of women with breast cancer in the United States have mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 based on estimates in non-Hispanic white women. Moffitt Cancer Center researchers  … discovered that 12.4 percent of the participants (young black women diagnosed with breast cancer at or below age 50) had mutations in either BRCA1 or BRCA2.



Home Health Technologies | Tractica

From a recently published analysis of Telehealth;

(Telehealth can be defined as) connected devices, services, and applications used by a consumer outside of a clinical setting for medical, health, or wellness purposes

… home health technology is becoming increasingly recognized by the healthcare industry as an effective means of curbing healthcare costs and producing better patient outcomes.

According to a recent report from Tractica, the global market for home health technologies will grow from $3.4 billion in 2014 to more than $13.7 billion by 2020.


A perfect 10: Why Sweden comes out on top in early child development programming

Source: A perfect 10: Why Sweden comes out on top in early child development programming

A second language gives toddlers an edge — ScienceDaily


“We found the cognitive benefits of bilingualism come much earlier than reported in previous studies.”

Is your purse a hotbed of bacterial infection? – Health News – NHS Choices

Many of the bacteria found in the study can cause serious infections

This is a report about an interesting study but ultimately it may not have a strong relevance or applicability in most situations. The research was conducted in Mauritius and they swabbed the outside of 145 womens’ handbags and mens’ wallets. The primary finding was that 95% carried bacteria. However as they point out themselves;

From their website;

In about three-quarters (73%) this was scanty growth; 13% showed moderate growth and 14% showed heavy growth. … and … In fact, all of the things we use in the environment around us, like mobile phones, computers, keyboards and other equipment are all likely to carry some bacteria.

Otherwise there were interesting if unsurprising secondary findings;

From their website;

  • 11% often placed them on kitchen tables

  • 18% placed them on dining tables

  • 18% allowed their children to handle them

  • 82% never emptied them

  • Most women kept purses in handbags, most men in trouser pockets



In conclusion it might be fair to say that in day-to-day life this study does not have a notable impact. However in settings where individuals are particularly susceptible to infections then this study does back up and re-inforce the current practice of making every effort to reduce their exposure to risk.

How To Sell Off The NHS: A Users Guide | juniordoctorblog


Bionic Eye

Bionic eye implant world first – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33571412

Telegraph Newspaper – Future of Health rests on the Internet of Things


Electronic Stethoscope – Thinklabs




The best fitness app for Android | The Verge


The best fitness app for iPhone | The Verge


Margaret McCartnery’s Commentry: How much of a social media profile can doctors have? | The BMJ


Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery


Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End:Amazon.co.uk:Kindle Store


Kidzmet :: Discover The Way Your Kids and Students Learn Best


21 Ways to Connect with Your Kids


Dangers of trying to implement ambitious big data projects in health

Care.data: How did it go so wrong? – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-26259101

Telehealth’s Potential: Improved Access to Care, Patient Outcomes | Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation


USA Only – video consultations – Doctor On Demand


CliniCloud offers consumers smartphone-enabled stethoscope, thermometer for video visits | mobihealthnews


Health data sharing risks

Health insurer Vitality attacked over Facebook app push – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-33315569

VPN services my not be as secure as you think


Office Blood Testing Equipment

QuikRead go wrCRP – www.oriondiagnostica.com.

Thinklabs One Digital Stethoscope

Thinklabs One Digital Stethoscope.

London spending on private ambulances ‘grows tenfold’ – BBC News

London spending on private ambulances ‘grows tenfold’ – BBC News.

Bionic Lens Implant Could Improve Vision Beyond 20/20 : Discovery News


Doctor on Demand Brings Doctors and Psychologists to your Phone | Digital Trends


Google testing video chats with doctors | Digital Trends


6 Wearables For People with Dangerous Health Conditions | Digital Trends

From thier  website;

Health concerns have, arguably, been the major force driving the recent explosion of wearable tech. Over the past couple of years, simple fitness trackers like the Jawbone Up and Fitbit’s various iterations have seemingly become nearly as ubiquitous as the smartphones they tether to, while their basic step counting and calorie monitoring has become baseline functionality in the smartwatch space.
Heck, even our headphones are starting to get their own built-in heart monitoring. It’s a net positive, of course. After decades of technology being held at least partially responsible for the growing obesity epidemic, it’s great to see technology makers taking both figurative and literal steps to help us help ourselves to get in shape.
And while exercising more certainly has long-term health benefits, manufacturers are also looking to wearables to help tackle more serious health concerns. Below are some new types of wearables emerging.

  • Diabetes Wearables
  • Intel Parkinson’s Wearable
  • Lifekeeper
  • CarePredict Tempo
  • Wearables for the Hearing Impaired
  • Wearables for the Visually Impaired





CarePredict Tempo

St Emlyn’s Commentary: GMC Guidance on social media use by doctors.


Max Pemberton’s Commentary: General Medical Council rules threaten doctors’ free speech – Telegraph


Cracking China’s Skype Surveillance Software – Businessweek


RCGP guidance on Social media

GMC | Doctors’ use of social media

Details regarding doctor’s using anonymity online



GMC | Social media: what does it mean for you?

2014 Summary and Opinion by Craig MacLean, Deputy Chair of the British Medical Association (BMA) Scottish Medical Students’ Committee.




GMC | Doctors’ use of social media (2013)


BMA Guidance on Social Media

Social media use: practical and ethical guidance for doctors and medical students (downloads a PDF from: BMA Ethics Guidance Website)

How the Internet and social media are changing healthcare | Digital Trends


Think your Skype messages get end-to-end encryption? Think again | Ars Technica