New imaging method accurately detects stroke

Diffusion-weighted MR imaging is an accurate way to detect whether a patient has had a stroke–even 24 hours after the patient’s initial symptoms began, a new study shows. The study, the largest of its kind, found that diffusion-weighted MR imaging was about 90 percent accurate in diagnosing stroke, says Mark Mullins, MD, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Mullins was the lead author of the study. Diffusion-weighted MR imaging was 91% accurate if the test was done 0-6 hours after the patient first began having symptoms; accuracy was 89% at 6-12 hours, then 90% at 12-24 hours, says Dr. Mullins.

Capsule with microscopic camera provides better look at small bowel

A new capsule that contains a microscopic camera and transmitter can create better pictures of the small bowel than standard x-ray procedures can, a new study shows. The capsule is easily swallowed by the patient, and there is no need for the patient to drink barium before the procedure.

Researchers probe promising liver cancer treatment

A new non-invasive therapy for liver cancer patients who cannot be helped by surgery or organ transplantation is being evaluated by researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine. The Phase I clinical trial at the IU Cancer Center uses extracranial stereotactic radioablation (SRA) as a potential new treatment for hepatocelluar carcinoma, a cancer that originates in the liver, or for liver metastasis from other sites.

Anxiety poorly managed in hospitalized patients

Anxiety is often poorly managed in patients recovering from a heart attack, new research reports. While medical records revealed that nearly three-quarters of 101 patients in the study had received some sort of treatment for anxiety, symptoms of anxiety were documented on less than half of the patients’ charts. “Some of these people were treated for anxiety even though there was nothing in their chart to suggest they were anxious to begin with,” said Susan Frazier, the lead author of the study, which appears in a recent issue of the journal Heart and Lung. Frazier is an associate professor of nursing at Ohio State University.

New Web-based journal focuses on medical errors

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality launched a monthly peer-reviewed, Web-based medical journal that showcases patient safety lessons drawn from actual cases of medical errors. Called AHRQ WebM&M (Morbidity and Mortality Rounds on the Web), the Web-based journal (http://webmm.ahrq.gov) was developed to educate health care providers about medical errors in a blame-free environment. In hospitals across the country, clinicians routinely hold Morbidity and Mortality (M&M) conferences to discuss specific cases that raise issues regarding medical errors and quality improvement. Until now, there has been no comparable national or international forum to discuss and learn from medical errors.

Brain angioplasty in awake patients may reduce complications

Performing intracranial angioplasty on an awake patient allows patients to report unusual symptoms, which lets physicians immediately alter their work to minimize the risk of major complications, according to a preliminary study. In the study, the procedure ? called intracranial (within the skull) angioplasty ? was safely performed on 10 patients who were given local anesthesia with mild sedation, rather than the general anesthesia that is traditionally administered. Local anesthesia is injected near the access area to block pain impulses; general anesthesia induces a complete loss of consciousness.

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