Tag Archives: doctor

15 Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Doctors and Medical staff

If your Valentine is a doctor or training to be one, but you still have no idea what to get him/her, here are a few suggestions:

1. Medical design pens and post-its

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Buy on Amazon

In a hospital or clinic’s turmoil, pens are lost every day. Nurses and doctors fight over the remaining ones all the time. Make sure your loved one has a particular writing tool, that stands out and impresses everyone from the practice. It might not seem like a big or important gift, but rest assured: they will be forever thankful.

2. Funny Mug for Vets 

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Let’s not forget that veterinarians are doctors as well. Or should I say ‘dogtors’? This mug surely makes me giggle every time I see it.

3. Anatomy coaster set

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Medical employees tend to be clean freaks, let’s be honest. Make sure this year that you will score some points by showing that you care about the furniture by buying a set of coasters.

4. Brain hat

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This brainy knitted hat is the most awesome way your SO will be warm and comfortable. Let’s not mention it’s funny as hell.

5. Unisex Galaxy Print Glow in the Dark V-Neck Scrub 

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Make your loved one feel the universe is there for them. Reach for the stars even in gloomy days with an awesome scrub that glows in the dark.

6. Prescription wine glasses

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We all need from time to time to relax. Even doctors.

7. Silver Lifeline Pulse EKG Heartbeat Charm Necklace

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Women like jewelry but they love jewelry with a message. Saving lives is her purpose. She will adore this gift, as it will make her feel you truly get her.

8. Doctor Wine Holder 

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Doctor figurines that are there for you and hold the booze, too. What can be more romantic than spending Valentine’s day with your loved one and this little guy?

9. Sterling Silver Medical Caduceus Cufflinks 

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For special occasions, but not only. Your man will feel distinguished wearing these silver cufflinks that symbolize medicine. It’s a reminder of hard work and dedication, and they will wear them proudly.

10. The New Yorker Book of Doctor Cartoons

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Humorous doctor cartoons that will make anyone crack-up. Laughter is the best medicine, right?

11. Synapse Receptor Watercolor Print 

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Great for a neurologist’s office, or even for the living room. Nothing says ‘I love you’ more than knowing your significant other’s true passion.

12. Silver Lifelike Anatomical Heart Locket


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Cardiologists have the biggest hearts. This necklace is unique and will offer you a place in her heart forever.

13. Red anatomical heart pin

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Just imagine how cool this pin would look on a white doctor’s coat.

14. Radiology bone socks

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Radiologists are old fashioned, they prefer black and white movies and photos. Why not buy them a pair of bony black and white socks?

15. Heartbeat hoodie


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Show your lover your heart is theirs and you don’t mind it. These cool hoodies are unisex and come in different colours such as black, white, grey, maroon and red.

Disclaimer: Purchasing these products may earn ZME Science a commission. This helps support our team at no additional cost to you. We will never advertise products if we don’t think they’re good. If something is here, it’s because we like it — period.

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A Chinese AI passed the national medical licensing exam, so technically it’s a doctor

A robot named Xiaoyi just passed the written stage of China’s national medical licensing examination, the first stepping stone for any would-be practitioner in the country. It’s the first time a robot has passed this or any comparable exam.


Smart or not that head is just creepy, though.
Image via China Daily.

The first time Xiaoyi (meaning Little Doctor) ever tried his hand at the exam, during a practice run, its results were less than stellar — barely scoring 100 out of the maximum 600. Since then, it’s pored over dozens of medical textbooks, more than 2 million medical records, and 400,000 articles in a bid to learn how to ‘doctor’. Xiaoyi took the real test in August and, according to the results released earlier this month, pulled off a stunning 456 points — 96 points above a passing grade.

Artificial medicine

It’s the first time an artificial intelligence passes this exam, and it did so in only a fraction of the allowed time, says iFlyTek, the company that developed the entity along with Tsinghua University.

Wu Ji, deputy director of Tsinghua’s electrical engineering department, says that their AI couldn’t learn the same way a human student does, for example. The read-memorize style of learning, or rote learning, wouldn’t cut it for a machine taking the test because “since 2013, more than half of the questions in the test are about [patient] cases,” Wu explained, “so it’s impossible to purely rely on memorizing and searches.”

Instead, they’ve instilled the robot with the ability to link words, sentences, even whole paragraphs together and give it a certain ability to reason. Xiaoyi’s developers worked with medical professionals while writing the robot’s code, drawing on their clinical and diagnostic expertise to tweak the robot’s algorithms.

This ability to interpret and to form connections between pieces of data, rather than merely storing and retrieving them, powered Xiaoyi’s impressive results on the digital version of the exam, which was overseen by the National Medical Examination Centre. Wu believes the machine’s score is a testament to its ability to learn, reason, and make judgments by itself. I’d take that with a grain of salt right now, however; we’ve programmed very smart machines, most exceeding the capability of a human’s in certain aspects before, and yes they do learn and form connections but in a very limited sense of the word.

Still, Xiaoyi is undeniably an amazing piece of technology, and it has made a spectacular debut with this result. It’s a ways off from working independently to diagnose people, Wu adds, but that doesn’t mean the AI won’t find its way to practitioners’ offices.

“Rather than replacing doctors, AI is able to help doctors better serve patients. By studying the medical cases and diagnosis skills of top doctors in top hospitals in megacities in China, our doctor AI can serve as an assistant to help doctors in remote areas in the country,”  Wu said.

Xiaoyi can automatically capture and analyze patient information and help with initial diagnosis, and unlike other medical-inclined AIs out there, like IBM’s cancer-fighting Watson, the little doctor isn’t specialized in a single field. All very good news, especially so in China, a country that’s experiencing a significant shortage of medical personnel in rural areas.

“We will officially launch the robot in March 2018,” saif Liu Qingfeng, chairman of iFlytek. “It is not meant to replace doctors. Instead, it is to promote better people-machine cooperation so as to boost efficiency.”

On Wednesday, iFlyTek became a member of the AI alliance, set up by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which aims to promote the research of basic sciences and the application of the cutting-edge technology. Its future plans include setting up a 1.02 billion yuan ($150 million USD) fund to support software and hardware developers, which will go towards startups that have core technologies but lack business know-how, or companies that excel in commercializing products but are unable to integrate AI into their devices.

People who trust their doctor tend to feel better, new study finds

Having confidence in the medical staff caring for you might not solve your problems, but it will definitely help you feel better.

Image credits: Vic / Flickr

The effects of placebo are wide and far-reaching, as numerous studies have proven over the years. Although it seems like a no-brainer at first, it’s quite intriguing that your mind can have such a strong impact on your body and how you feel. A meta-analysis wanted to see if trust in doctors, therapists and nursing staff has any clinical effects on patients.

Researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of Basel and Harvard Medical School examined 47 studies from Europe, Asia, North America, and Australia which deal with the relationship between trust and an improved state of health in people undergoing medical treatment. The researchers looked at two things: the objective, clinical wellbeing of patients and the subjective wellbeing that the patients themselves reported.

There were no obvious results when it came to clinical effects. In other words, trusting your doctor doesn’t really solve your medical problems — but, as authors note, it can definitely make you feel better. Patients which reported high trust in the medical staff enjoyed boosted satisfaction, health-related behavior, and quality of life.

“The results of our meta-analysis are a clear indication of the value of patients’ trust in their medical professionals. They emphasize the need to make developing and safeguarding trust an integral part of clinical education and practice,” says Professor Jens Gaab, co-author of the study.

This study emphasizes how important it is to establish a trusted relationship between patients and medical staff. For doctors, earning the trust of their patients is already a well-established principle in the ethical guidelines and professional codes — regardless of field. Yet this is the first meta-analysis to show just how important this principle is. In many parts of the world, trust in the medical system is dwindling with no clear-cut solution in sight.

No one likes to go to the doctor, that much is clear. But if you must go, trusting in the medical staff can make a big difference. As this study showed, if you don’t trust them you’ll end up feeling worse and the overall trust in the medical system will drop even more, creating a domino effect. A properly functioning health care system lies at the core of every functional society.

Journal Reference: Johanna Birkhäuer, Jens Gaab, Joe Kossowsky, Sebastian Hasler, Peter Krummenacher, Christoph Werner, Heike Gerger — Trust in the health care professional and health outcome: A meta-analysis.
PLOS ONE (2017), doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0170988


Don’t be rude to your child’s doctor – it will make them perform poorly


Credit: Pexels.

Emotions can run high in the hospital where a lot can be at stake. Sometimes, patients or their families can be rude to medical personnel despite no one in particular being at blame. Blowing steam in the hospital, however, can have grave consequences, a new study found. According to the University of Florida researchers, the feelings doctors get after being scolded can’t be shaken off easily and this affects their performance for the worse. In fact, it could lead to otherwise preventable deaths.

A seminal John Hopkins study found 250,000 annual deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to medical error making it the third-leading cause of death in the U.S.

“Medical error has been defined as an unintended act (either of omission or commission) or one that does not achieve its intended outcome, the failure of a planned action to be completed as intended (an error of execution), the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim (an error of planning), or a deviation from the process of care that may or may not cause harm to the patient,” the researchers originally wrote in 2015. 

Some of these errors can be explained by the doctors and nurses being overworked. Poor judgment due to a chronic lack of sleep accounts for 10 to 20 percent of the variance in medical performance, a previous study noted. The effects of rudeness, however, could account for more than 40 percent, according to Amir Erez, a University of Florida management professor.

It seems unbelievable that so many medical errors or such a decline in performance can be traced down to rudeness. ‘Scenes’ are a common occurrence in hospitals but most of us would think that doctors have grown a thick skin. Even if someone gave them a bad day, we like to think that doctors shake it off and carry on with their work as professionally as nothing happened. But that’s just wishful thinking.

“[Rudeness] is actually affecting the cognitive system, which directly affects your ability to perform,” Erez said. “That tells us something very interesting. People may think that doctors should just ‘get over’ the insult and continue doing their job.  However, the study shows that even if doctors have the best intentions in mind, as they usually do, they cannot get over rudeness because it interferes with their cognitive functioning without an ability to control it.”

Erez and colleagues performed an experiment involving 39 neonatal intensive care unit teams from Israel, each made of two doctors and two nurses. Five different scenarios were simulated in which the teams had to treat infant medical mannequins for emergency situations like severe respiratory distress or hypovolemic shock.

The wildcard was an actress who played the baby’s mother and who was tasked with scolding some of the doctors and nurses. Those who experienced no rudeness acted as the control group.

The study concludes that rudeness significantly impacted performance with the scolded teams performing poorly compared to the control. In fact, those who were nagged by the rude behaviour performed worse in all 11 of the study’s measures, among them diagnosis accuracy, therapy plan or communication. The negative effects seem to last the entire day.

Such conclusions are partly unbelievable, partly distressing. I or you might be able to restrain ourselves and be more civil to hospital staff, but the same can’t be said about everyone. Luckily, there are some working solutions.

The American researchers selected some of the teams for “emotional management”. Some played a computer game that was meant to raise the participants’ sensitivity to anger and aggression — that’s pre-test. Other teams participated in a post-test intervention which consisted of the team members writing about their day from the rude mother’s perspective.

Strikingly, one of the procedures actually work. Erez and colleagues found no difference in performance between the teams that played the video game and the control groups that received no scolding. The post-test invention, however, actually made things worse, as reported in the journal Pediatrics.

“What is really concerning is that, at midday, these teams recognized the mother was rude to them,” Erez said. “But at the end of the day, they did not. So not only did it not work, but it caused them to not recognize rudeness later.”

According to the researchers teaching doctors and nurses how to handle rudeness should be a priority given a large number of deaths attributed to medical errors.

“In the medical field, I don’t think they take into account how social interactions affect them,” said Erez, “but it’s something they’re starting to pay attention to. The purpose of this research was to identify what’s going on here. Now that we’ve found serious effects, we need to find more realistic interventions.”



This robot sutures surgical incisions like a STAR: it’s better than doctors

Human dexterity and patience are limited resources, and even the best surgeons are sometimes faced with their limits. A robot, however, doesn’t tire and can theoretically cut and suture in places the human hand can’t ever reach. Thanks to robots, surgery has gone a long way their introduction in the ’80s making operations safer and less invasive. Now, surgical robots are starting to migrate from assisting to leading roles, which is where experts say they will really shine.


Credit: John Hopkins

At the forefront of this medical revolution is the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot, or STAR. Heralded as the very first fully autonomous surgical bot, STAR stitched up a pig’s small intestines all by itself with no instructions from doctors. What’s more, STAR scored better than the human surgeons who had to perform the same task.

Paging Dr. STAR

STAR was developed by Johns Hopkins University researchers — a team that includes computer scientists, robotic engineers, and medical professionals. They say that STAR isn’t meant to replace surgeons (yet). Rather, STAR is a pioneering work that demonstrates that supervised autonomous robot surgeons can get the job done.

“Even though we surgeons take pride in our craft at doing procedures, to have a machine that works with us to improve outcomes and safety would be a tremendous benefit,” said  Peter Kim, associate surgeon in chief at Children’s National Health System in Washington.

Until recently, surgery bots have been used as a surgeon’s ‘third arm’ — an extension of human dexterity. The leading product in the field right now is the da Vinci system, which is mainly used to  perform hysterectomies and prostate removals. The da Vinci is so sensitive that it can even stitch a grape but, at the end of the day,  it’s a human surgeon who is in control while seated comfortably at a console viewing a 3-D image of the surgical field.

Few have dared leave complex soft tissue surgery at the hand of robots. That’s because soft tissue moves and changes shape in a seemingly unpredictable manner, and a surgeon always needs to adapt and respond to make a quality suture.

STAR can respond well because it has ‘surgeon’s eyes’. Near-infrared fluorescent (NIRF) are placed inside the soft tissue, like the intestines in our case, then STAR’s  NIRF camera can track those markers to keep focus on its target. Although it was programmed by humans to work based on the best surgeon’s techniques, STAR made its own surgical plan and adjusted it as the tissue moved and wiggled.

You can see on the screens in the background how STAR keeps focus of its target. Credit: John Hopkins

You can see on the screens in the background how STAR keeps focus of its target. Credit: John Hopkins

To be fair, STAR had a bit of help during the trials. The trial is called  intestinalanastomosis, and involves stitching an intestine that’s been cut through. It’s like repairing a garden hose, said Ryan Decker, the senior engineer on the team. Both STAR and human surgeons had to perform the task on ex vivo tissue in the lab, as well as on in vivo tissue in an anesthetized pig. In 40 percent of the trials, STAR was assisted by a human offering guidance of some sort, like pulling a loose thread and such. In 60 percent of the trials, STAR was fully autonomous.

“The mode we’re operating under is supervised autonomy,” said team member Axel Krieger of Children’s National. “The surgeon is overseeing and has the opportunity at any time to stop the robot and take over.” At a moment when tissue is being pierced or a delicate transition is imminent, he said, “I’m sure they wouldn’t be comfortable going off and taking a coffee break.”

KIM likens STAR with autonomous cars, like Tesla Motor’s autopilot feature.

“Now driverless cars are coming into our lives,” Kim said for IEEE. “It started with self-parking, then a technology that tells you not to go into the wrong lane. Soon you have a car that can drive by itself.”

The research appeared in the journal Science Translational Medicine.



Hilarious stories from the doctors of reddit

In a lifetime of seeing thousands of patients, a doctor will hear all sorts of crazy stories and bizarre cases. A recent thread on reddit asked doctors from the community to share some of their wackiest stories and boy were there some. Here are just a few of them:



Aaaaand some bonus stories without captioned images:

“A woman came in for a baby check with her 6-month-old and she had what looked like chocolate milk in the baby’s bottle. So he started explaining to her as kindly as he could that she shouldn’t be giving her baby chocolate milk. At which point she interrupts him and says, ‘Oh that isn’t chocolate milk. It’s coffee! He just loves it!”

“I had a patient come in for an STD check. She was very upset and continued to tell me that she only had one partner. Progressing through my assessment, she further divulged that even if he was sleeping with other people it shouldn’t matter ‘because he uses a condom every time and he makes sure to wash it thoroughly after every use’.”

“Had a lady who measured her baby’s temperature by pre-heating the oven and putting one hand in front of it while the other hand was on the baby’s forehead. She told the nurse her baby’s fever was about 250 degrees.”

“Lady has to have foot amputated and is given waiver forms to sign pre-op. Buddy asks if she needs time to think about it. She’s very nonchalant and doesn’t seem to care much what they do. He gets suspicious and probes a bit as to why she’s not more concerned. She says she gets that they have to operate and it’s OK because the foot will grow back.”

“I had a couple who had been trying to conceive for over two years. I asked all the usual questions, how often do you have sex, any previous pregnancy, etc etc. Something seemed off to me during the consult, so I continued to ask questions. Finally I asked if he ejaculated while inserted into the vagina. Both parties looked confused.Turns out the couple was not having insertional sex at all. I had to awkwardly explain to them how insertional sex works. Diagrams were required.”

“Patient comes in, she’s upset. She’s pregnant, and she doesn’t understand why. She’s on the pill. Upon talking to her at great length, I find out that she only takes the pills on the days that she is sexually active – no other time.”

“Patient comes in with her bf. They are indignant, as if somehow I could’ve prevented [the pregnancy]. The problem? Well, the pills were bothering the girl’s stomach, so, being a gallant bf, he decided to start taking them instead.”

I was explaining the treatment to the husband of a patient about to be discharged. He kept nodding and agreeing with me, but I knew it was flying over his head. Turned out a fundamental problem was that I was describing the drugs as ‘tablets’ and he had no clue what those were.”