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Journal and News Scan

Source: British Medical Journal
Author(s): Alex James Nicholls, Carol O’Mahoney

The authors describe an inexpensive and readily available means to amplify music from a smart phone for use during operations.  The phone is placed in a clean, empty suction canister and the open end of the canister is aimed at the listeners.

Source: British Medical Journal
Author(s): Christina Korownyk, Michael R Kolber, James McCormack, Vanessa Lam, Kate Overbo, Candra Cotton, Caitlin Finley, Ricky D Turgeon, Scott Garrison, Adrienne J Lindblad, Hoan Linh Banh, Denise Campbell-Scherer, Ben Vandermeer, G Michael Allan,

To some, the veracity of the content of televised medical advice shows has always been suspect.  This study categorized such content from "The Dr. Oz Show" and "The Doctors" and determined whether it is supported by published evidence.  Supportive evidence was identified for 46% and 63%, respectively.  Contradictory evidence was found for 15% and 14%.  No evidence was found for 39% and 24%.  Potential conflicts of interest were rarely addresssed.  

Source: JAMA Internal Medicine
Author(s): Anupam B. Jena; Vinay Prasad; Dana P. Goldman; John Romley

This retrospective analysis of patients admitted emergently for acute MI, heart failure, or cardiac arrest examined 30-day mortality for admissions during periods when cardiologists were attending national meetings vs admissions immediately surrounding the meeting dates.  Mortality for each condition was lower during meeting dates than during non-meeting dates.  High risk pts admitted for AMI during meeting dates had a lower incidence of PCI without any change in mortality.

Source: Science Alert

A fictional paper authored by Simpsons characters Edna Krabappel and Maggie Simpson, as well as someone called Kim Jong Fun (who we can only imagine is a slightly more approachable relative of North Korea’s leader) has just been accepted into two scientific journals.


Titled “Fuzzy Homogeneous Configurations”, the article makes absolutely no sense and is made up entirely of a random string of words, but both the Journal of Computational Intelligence and Electronic Systems, and the Aperito Journal of NanoScience Technology have agreed to publish it.


Don’t worry, you didn’t miss the episode where Ms Krabappel and Maggie got their PhDs - the paper was created as a hoax set out to expose predatory journals, as Joseph Stromberg reports for Vox. And it clearly worked.


These predatory journals spam thousands of scientists and - for a fee - will publish literally anything. They usually claim that the papers they accept are peer reviewed, but, as this example clearly demonstrates, that’s not the case.


Still, many young researchers desperate to build up their profile are unfortunately duped by them.


In an attempt to raise awareness about these scam journals, US engineer Alex Smolyanitsky recently created this completely incoherent “scientific” paper using a random text generator

Source: Association of Health Care Journalists
Author(s): Pian Cristensen

A $400,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation will be used to create a database of retractions from scientific journals, extending the work done by  Adam Marcus and AHCJ Vice President Ivan Oransky on their Retraction Watch blog.

The grant was awarded to the Center for Scientific Integrity, a nonprofit organization set up by Marcus and Oransky.

The two journalists founded and run Retraction Watch, the independent blog that covers retractions. Oransky explains in a blog post they are only able to cover about two-thirds of new retractions.

Source: New England Journal of Medicine
Author(s): Natalie Walker, Colin Howe, Marewa Glover, Hayden McRobbie, Joanne Barnes, Vili Nosa, Varsha Parag, Bruce Bassett, and Christopher Bullen

This randomized trial in New Zealand assigned smokers who wished to quit to either nicotrine replacement therapy or cytisine therapy. At 1 mon more patients reported continuous abstinence from cigarettes in the cytisine group than in the nicotine replacement group (40% vs 31%).  Cytisine was more effective at 1 week, 2 mos, and 6 mos.  Cytisine was superior to nicotine replacement in women and was non-inferior in men.  Self-reported adverse events were more common in the cytisine group.

Source: Annals of Thoracic Surgery
Author(s): Mehta RH, Castelvecchio S, Ballotta A, Frigiola A, Bossone E, Ranucci M.

Hemodilution on CPB is a hotly debated topic. Today, transfusion management programs have emerged as a way to reduce the need for allogeneic RBC transfusions but debate over what the safest lowest hematocrit is for cardiac surgery patients persists.  What I found most interesting about this article is that is suggests that women tolerate a lower hematocrit than males. Is this a hormonal protective process or are women pre-conditioned to tolerating lower hematocrits? Certainly for me it has put what I have always practiced into question.  Much work has been done with both lowest hematocrit levels and the deleterious effects of transfusions. I will be eager to see new data regarding this controversial topic as it emerges.

Source: The Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Author(s): Vincenzo Tarzia, Edward Buratto, Michele Gallo, Giacomo Bortolussi, Jonida Bejko, Carlo Dal Lin, Gianluca Torregrossa, Roberto Bianco, Tomaso Bottio, Gino Gerosa

The CardioWest Total Artificial Heart (CW-TAH) is a pneumatically driven pump that completely replaces the patient’s native ventricles orthotopically. The device weighs 160 g and consists of two artificial ventricles, four Medtronic Hall tilting disk valves, two membranes, and two drivelines tunneled through the skin, which connect the ventricles to an external console generating pulsatile flow (1). At maximum stroke volume (close to 70 mL), it delivers a cardiac output between seven and nine litres per minute. Variations in cardiac output are determined by variations in venous return and peripheral resistance linked to the patient’s position and level of physical activity (2). The CW-TAH is indicated for use in patients with refractory cardiac failure as a bridge to transplantation, and when used for this indication, improves survival to transplant (3). Portable drivers have been approved in both Europe and the United States to allow stable patients to be discharged home while awaiting their transplant (4).



  1. Slepian MJ, Smith RG, Copeland JG. The Syncardia CardioWest Total Artificial Heart. In: Baughman KL, Baumgartner WA. eds. Treatment of Advanced Heart Disease. New York, NY: Taylor and Francis Group, 2006:473.
  2. Bellotto F, Compostella L, Agostoni P, et al. Peripheral adaptation mechanisms in physical training and cardiac rehabilitation: the case of a patient supported by a CardioWest total artificial heart. J Card Fail 2011;17:670-5. [PubMed]
  3. Copeland JG, Smith RG, Arabia FA, et al. Cardiac replacement with a total artificial heart as a bridge to transplantation. N Engl J Med 2004;351:859-67. [PubMed]
  4. Jaroszewski DE, Anderson EM, Pierce CN, et al. The SynCardia freedom driver: a portable driver for discharge home with the total artificial heart. J Heart Lung Transplant 2011;30:844-5. [PubMed]
Source: Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Author(s): Allen Cheng, Christine A. Williamitis, Mark S. Slaughter

This publication by the University of Louisville group provides an excellent comparative analysis of the outcomes after continuous-flow (CF) vs. pulsatile flow (PF) LVADs.  Although the outcomes after CF LVAD implantation are clearly superior than those of PF LVADs, there are certainly unique morbidities after CF LVAD implantation.  The authors argue that these differential outcomes beg the question:  Should pulsatility algorithms be introduced in all contemporary CF LVADs?

Source: NY Daily news
Author(s): David Boroff

We are in the wrong specialty !!