What we’ve been reading: Week of April 13, 2015

reading april 2

Can a smart vest help people who are deaf “hear” speech? (The Atlantic)
Inventor and neuroscientist David Eagleman has created a vest that transmits spoken words into vibrations in a vest that can be felt and translated- or effectively “heard”- by the wearer.

Electrified: Adventures in transcranial direct current stimulation (The New Yorker)
Neuroscientists at the University of New Mexico have developed a brain stimulation therapy they believe may have a whole host of benefits, from chronic pain relief to improved memory function. Our own Alexander Rotenberg, MD, PhD, weighed in on this technique’s potential applications in pediatrics in a Vector post last summer.

The problem with satisfied patients (The Atlantic)
When patient satisfaction surveys are directly tied to federal funding, hospital administrators put extra effort into making patients happy. But does happier always mean healthier?

Regenerative medicine (JAMA)
From stem cell research to gene therapy to organs-on-chips, regenerative medicine has been a hot topic in medical news lately. This article gives a good overview of the field’s progress to date and offers a glimpse at future applications.

When patients read what their doctors write (NPR)
Giving patients full access to their clinic notes promotes transparency and open communication with providers, but opponents to this movement say there should be strictly defined limits to open records.

Rescue workers use apps to help save lives (PewTrusts)
9-1-1 first responders are enlisting the aid of health apps to minimize the time between a call for help and medical attention. Apps such as PulsePoint will summon citizens trained in CPR by sending an alert to their smartphones when someone nearby has suffered cardiac arrest.

Is there an app to solve app overload? (JAMA)
The enormous amount of health apps available today can seem overwhelming to both patients and providers. How do you know which ones are right for you?

Should patients be able to find organ donors on Facebook? (The Atlantic)
Can the connectivity of social media be a tool for saving lives- or does it reinforce inequities? Does a patient need a “good story,” an engaging photo, and a media-savvy advocate to get help in this environment?