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Medical Rounds

matsie bosmans

Technology: A Smart Stethoscope

A team of Johns Hopkins researchers is developing a smart, low-cost stethoscope that could make a big difference in diagnosing pneumonia, a leading cause of childhood death worldwide.

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Cardiology: Saying Goodbye to Blood Thinners

To make the best recommendations for treatment with cardiac implant devices for atrial fibrillation, Johns Hopkins initiated the Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion Program.

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Pediatric Psychiatry: More Rewards, Fewer Restraints

By using a behavioral model that’s proven effective in schools, child psychiatrists at Johns Hopkins have been able to reduce the use of restraints and seclusion in the inpatient unit.

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Head and Neck Surgery: Completely Scarless Thyroidectomies

Johns Hopkins recently began offering a new procedure for thyroidectomies and parathyroidectomies in select patients that allows resection with no visible scarring.

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At the Bench: Stress, Alzheimer’s and the Aging Brain

Using mouse models, Johns Hopkins researchers are aiming to shed light on the effect that stress can have on aged caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s.

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Electroacupuncture: Holistic Help for Healing

As a practicing clinician who treats patients with brain injury or stroke, Sravani Mehta regularly offers electroacupuncture to those who might benefit. This treatment can make a significant, positive difference for spasticity, pain, headaches and nausea.

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Accuracy rate of a new urine test that spots the likely emergence of cervical cancer.

The test analyzes not only multiple sources of human cellular DNA altered by precancerous changes, but also DNA from HPV that is sexually transmitted and causes virtually all cases of the disease.

“If further studies confirm these findings, we see a significant use of urine screening as a way to quickly and inexpensively determine if a biopsy is warranted or if physicians can use a ’watch and wait’ approach before intervening,” says Rafael Guerrero-Preston, a researcher with the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, whose findings appear online in Cancer Prevention Research.

Typically, a woman who tests positive for HPV and has an abnormal Pap smear undergoes a biopsy to rule out cervical cancer using cells taken directly from cervical tissue. But previous studies suggest more than 50 percent of these biopsies are unnecessary and can result in pain, worry, infertility and higher health care costs. “Our urine test would serve as a molecular triage,” says Guerrero-Preston, “at times supplementing Pap test information. In developing countries that don’t have the money, medical infrastructure or cultural approval for a Pap test, our test could be used instead.”

Roland Griffiths

“The most interesting and remarkable finding is that a single dose of psilocybin, which lasts four to six hours, produced enduring decreases in depression and anxiety symptoms, and this may represent a fascinating new model for treating some psychiatric conditions.” 

Roland Griffiths, a behavioral biologist, speaking about the results of a small double-blind study that showed a substantial majority of people suffering cancer-related anxiety or depression found considerable relief for up to six months from a single large dose of psilocybin—the active compound in hallucinogenic “magic mushrooms.” The scientists reported on their findings in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.  

Erin Michos

“When it comes to using vitamin and mineral supplements, particularly calcium supplements being taken for bone health, many Americans think that more is always better. But our study adds to the body of evidence that excess calcium in the form of supplements may harm the heart and vascular system.”

—Preventive cardiologist Erin Michos, of the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, on a recent study that found taking calcium supplements may raise the risk of plaque buildup in arteries and heart damage, although a diet high in calcium-rich foods appears be protective. The researchers reported on their findings in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

$16 million

The amount awarded to the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality—which will be spread over five years—to identify which approaches are most helpful for improving antibiotic use and operationalizing efforts to optimize antibiotic prescribing.

“Improved prescribing in all health care settings can prevent the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and make health care safer for patients,” says Sara Cosgrove, principal investigator of the project, which is being conducted in collaboration with the Chicago-based research institute NORC.

The educational modules and tools the scientists develop will be piloted and then implemented in up to 1,500 hospitals, nursing homes and ambulatory clinics nationwide.