Monday, February 18, 2013

Surgical Tools, From Beginning to Now

The history of medical devices and surgical tools spans back much further than most in modern times give it credit for. In-fact, there is emerging, new evidence that shows that humans have been using tools to perform surgical operations since we were still cavemen. Though these tools were rough, and only polished throughout many centuries, these first tools inspired man and taught us that lives can be saved, and quality of life can be increased through the correct use of inanimate objects.

The original surgical tools were actually little more than rocks that peoples had found, and had a utilitarian shape. Sharp edges, tube-shapes, and blunt-edges all soon served their own medical purposes. As a matter of fact, the Mayans reportedly used conical rocks as drills, both for carpentry purposes, and as a drill to bore through skull and bone.  Around the 16th century, the first hypodermic needles began to take shape. The gargantuan needles were up to a centimeter in diameter, and destroyed more veins than they did save lives.

Coupling syringe technology with classical medical and surgical instrument designs, Karl Storz and other physicians interested in advancing medical equipment design, began toying with a new kind of medical equipment that they deemed "endoscopy equipment." The main aim of this equipment was to allow physicians to look inside the body by making tools more minute, so that they could be delivered into the body via a syringe-like tube. These inventions revolutionized the medical industry and showed us that innovative new technology can be dreamed up, that builds upon existing technology.

Friday, February 8, 2013

CT Scans That Reveal Historical Mysteries

The recent unveiling of the bones of King Richard the III, whose remains were unearthed underneath an English parking lot, has revealed much to the world. We now know that the King's painfully advanced scoliosis was in-fact real, and we can see it on the curvature of the spine -- in the reassembled bones. We can also see the gruesome marks from his death, including a sharp-edged crack to the top of the cranium, and slice marks on the pelvic bone (which suggest that the King may have had a more graphic demise than just the blow to the head).

All of these discoveries came to light with the use of CT scanning equipment an other nuclear medicine devices. As a matter of fact, there are hundreds of ancient mysteries, the truth of which are beginning to unravel to us through the use of nuclear medicine services. Not only is the same technology used for find buried remains, and located evidence below the surface, but when it comes time to determine prior medical conditions and cause of death, CT scans show the rich history that took place in a flash.

Though King Richard III's discovery and examination was hundreds of years in the waiting, homicide investigators and crime scene forensic professionals use the same techniques in investigating more recent homicides and crimes. This shows the insurmountable evidence that these nuclear medicine technology machines can not only save lives, but can also tell the untold stories of victims whose lives were not able to be saved. Giving the dead a voice, and keeping the living with a voice -- it's all in a day's work for these miracles of modern medical technology.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Terrifying Side Effects of Synthetic Marijuana

Health professionals never like to show the terrifying effects that drugs can and will eventually have on a person, but it is a necessary evil in order to warn others of the dangers and convince them to stop. There have been many campaigns published and marketed over the years that use frightening pictures of weight loss, or tooth decay, or tumors; all of those campaigns were meant to show just exactly how scary drug use and addiction can be. The newest push to show the dangers of synthetic marijuana, however, are not a campaign, it is the true story 17 year old Emily Bauer, as told by her family and loved ones. You see, after experimenting with some synthetic marijuana that the teen bought legally at a gas station, she is blind, brain damaged, paralyzed, and likely will not ever speak again.

It all started in December of this past year. When Emily and some friends went to a local gas station and purchased a small packet of "Klimax Potpourri," a name brand for a blend of potpourri that is marketed as a "legal smoking alternative to  marijuana." They returned home, and the teens smoked a small amount each of the drug. While most showed signs of intoxication that could be compared to that of marijuana use, Emily quickly developed a migraine, within fifteen minutes of smoking the drug. The side effects of the synthetic marijuana increased dramatically within a small space of time, and Emily told her boyfriend that she wasn't feeling well, and was going to lay down for a while.

Emily Bauer Before the Drug-Induced Strokes -- Courtesy CNN
It only took a few minutes for Emily's friends to become worried about her, and when they went into the room to check on her, they found her in the middle of a psychotic episode, thrashing violently and urinating on herself. Thinking that she was just "freaking out," or having a bad trip from spice drugs, friends tried to calm her down. Her friends did not realize that Emily had suffered from two separate strokes; caused by the extreme dilation of her blood vessels as the drugs entered her bloodstream. This extreme dilation caused the blood flow to her brain to narrow and finally become completely stopped. The lack of oxygen to her brain next caused hallucinations, sending her into a violent panic.

When friends found Emily in the midst of her K2 overdose, they immediately called police and paramedics; police were needed to hold Emily down, through her psychotic state, and make sure she made it safely to the hospital. Once at the hospital, doctors quickly realized that Emily had had two strokes, and began treating her for the strokes. At first, doctors and Emily's family were hopeful that everything would be okay... That the hallucinations would stop, and she would come down from the drug and be back to normal.

Emily Bauer After  -- Courtesy of CNN
3 months later... Emily Bauer never "came down" from the drugs. She is now partially paralyzed, blind, and has severe brain damage that leaves even the simplest tasks difficult.

Emily's parents had no idea she was smoking "legal marijuana." They had caught Emily smoking real marijuana on a few occasions, and had done their parental duties to try and deter her from its use. Emily stopped smoking illegal drugs, but had decided to try this legal alternative to marijuana sold in stores instead.

Obviously distraught by the entire situation, Emily's parents are on a mission to let other parents know about this dangerous drug. Her parents had never heard of K2 or Spice, or other synthetic drugs before that night when Emily suffered her strokes. Now, they have heard of many studies and other teens that have had their lives ruined by the drugs, and Emily's parents simply want to know how it is that this drug can be sold legally in stores.

For now, Emily is making slow progress; and, while she is expected to survive, she has a long path of recovery ahead of her, and she will never recover 100%. The hope is, that Emily's story will make its rounds across the news, and inform parents of the very real dangers posed by this drug, and the rampant availability of it. There are many drug addiction treatment and counseling programs for synthetic marijuana around the country, and these addiction specialists are seeing a high rise in the cases of spice addiction and overdoses. With Emily's story now coming to light, it is essential for parents to be knowledgeable about this drug and its effects. As we now see, this is a powerful and dangerous drug, and parents and children alike need to be warned of the consequences of its use.

For detailed information on Spice, K2, and other synthetic drugs and legal substances, please visit for our literature for parents and children.

***Photos Courtesy of CNN**