Every week Shefali S. Kulkarni selects interesting reading from around the Web.
ABC News: 'Waiting Room': Hundreds A Day Seek Hospital Of 'Last Resort'
Eric Morgan, in his 20s and planning to get married, arrives at Highland Hospital's emergency room, shaken that he has been diagnosed with a testicular tumor that is likely cancer. Surgeons at a private hospital have turned him away for lack of insurance but tell him it's "urgent" he get care. ... A provocative new documentary, "The Waiting Room," is a snapshot of Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif., one of the nation's busiest safety-net hospitals, which is stretched to the limit with 241 patients a day, mostly uninsured, who need medical care they can't afford. The film, directed by Peter Nicks and getting Oscar buzz, opens at the IFC Center in New York City on Wednesday, Sept. 26 (Susan Donaldson James, 9/25).
The New York Times: Seeking Cures, Patients Enlist Mice As Stand-Ins
Megan Sykes, a medical researcher, has a mouse with a human immune system — her own. She calls it "Mini-Me." There are also mice containing a part of 9-year-old Michael Feeney — a cancerous tumor extracted from his lungs. Researchers have tested various drugs on the mice, hoping to find the treatment that would work best for Michael. In what could be the ultimate in personalized medicine, animals bearing your disease, or part of your anatomy, can serve as your personal guinea pig, so to speak. ... "The mice allow you the opportunity to test drugs to find out which ones will be efficacious without exposing the patient to toxicity," said Colin Collins, a professor at the University of British Columbia. ... while the models are mainly being used for research, companies are beginning to commercialize them for use in drug development and medical treatment as well (Andrew Pollack, 9/25).
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: A Push To Get More African-Americans Involved In Alzheimer's Research
In mid-August, Dr. Christa-Marie Singleton said a final goodbye to her father, a retired high school physics and chemistry teacher who in her estimation was a scientific genius. Fred H. Singleton Jr. died at age 81 of Alzheimer's disease, a form of dementia that strikes African-Americans twice as often as it does whites and often leaves their caregivers emotionally and financially drained. For those reasons alone, Singleton said her family made the decision to donate her father's brain to the Registry for Remembrance, an initiative started in 2009 by the Emory Alzheimer's Disease Research Center … 21.3 percent of African-Americans age 71 and older have Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Association. That compares to 11.2 percent of whites in the same age bracket (Gracie Bonds Staples, 9/18).
Reuters: High School Football Saving Brains As Game Goes On
In the small northeast Ohio town of Massillon, a few miles from the National Football Hall of Fame, some 20,000 fans pack into a high school stadium, drowning out the roar of a real tiger mascot on the sidelines. Football is akin to religion in Massillon and, like a religion, it can be resistant to change. ... Between 2009 and 2011, 33 states plus the District of Columbia passed laws aimed at preventing concussions in youth sports, and another 15 states have introduced legislation this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Only Montana and Arkansas have yet to act. Many were inspired by the case of Zackery Lystedt, who suffered a life-threatening brain injury and permanent disability when at age 13 in 2006 he was sent back into the second half of a game after suffering a concussion (Daniel Trotta and Jo Ingles, 9/20).