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Medical Rounds

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Failing Hearts

“Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) is one of the most important treatments for heart failure, but only six or seven out of every 10 patients respond,” says John Rickard. He is leading a new program designed to thoroughly evaluate the reasons why particular patients are not responding to CRT and provide recommendations on how to help patients benefit from the therapy.

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Science of Hope

The phrase “stay positive” is more than just a cheerful colloquialism for patients recovering from a debilitating brain injury. New evidence shows that hopefulness can promote a quicker, fuller recovery.

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Toward Better Zzzzs

In a study of fruit flies, Hopkins researchers have identified a mutant gene that sabotages how the biological clock sets the timing for sleep.

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Successful Snare

Until now, a patient with an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter that’s become trapped in the vessel might have had no option for its removal. The result? A potential lifetime of health risks and anticoagulant therapy.

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Hale and Hearty

There’s good news for potential kidney donors: The risk of developing kidney disease in the remaining organ is much lower than in the population at large, according to a recent Johns Hopkins study.

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Radiation Watchdogs

In an effort to reduce unnecessary radiation exposure in children, a new model calls for pediatric radiologists to be gatekeepers, questioning the need for every CT scan ordered and offering advice on radiation-free alternatives.

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Pass the Bacon

A weekly diet of high-fat food that includes days of fasting has made a dramatic difference in the lives of some children with hard-to-manage epilepsy. The high-fat “ketogenic diet” also has the potential to help adults with the most serious epilepsy—superrefractory status epilepticus.

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Better Bearings

A new computerized process that uses equipment already common in the operating room could make minimally invasive surgery more accurate and streamlined.

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Picture This

The color of an infant’s poop can tip off parents and doctors to liver-ravaging biliary atresia, and a new mobile app makes early detection easier than ever. The app uses color recognition software that allows parents to take photos of their newborn’s stool—and receive feedback within seconds.

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90 percent


The percentage of orthopaedic surgeons and neurosurgeons who fail to perform routine psychological screenings of patients before major surgery for severe back and leg pain, according to a study led by Hopkins’ Richard Skolasky. The oversight, researchers say, may pose a serious risk to patients’ surgical recovery. Previous reports have tied bouts of depression to longer recuperations, delayed returns to work, more postsurgical complications, and failures to comply with medication schedules after patients leave the hospital.

“Our survey results show that surgeons and patients still have a long way to go in recognizing and appreciating how much psychological factors and mental health can impact the success of their back surgeries,” says Skolasky, the senior study investigator. “It may be necessary to delay surgery in order to first treat a patient’s depression or anxiety to minimize the likelihood of prolonged recuperation after their operation.” The study appeared in the April issue of the Journal of Spinal Disorders and Techniques.


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