Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Medicine Changes Quickly

The Need for a Research Blog

      I was taught that more than 50% of what I learned in medical school will be proven false within a 50 year period. This was true for the generation before me, and medical knowledge has been expanding at a faster in the last 10 years.  This idea that doctors don't have all the answers is scary for a lot of people.   In 1955, the US president (Eisenhower) was given cocaine for a heart attack. Today we believe that cocaine causes more heart attacks than it helps.   So how do we know what part of western medicine actually helps? Good research can be very helpful in guiding our medical decisions.  Unfortunately too many medical decisions are made on expert opinion alone or on poor research studies.

      I think it is exciting time for science and medicine because every day we are discovering more. Gone are the days when we just give patients "rest" therapy.  (Although many doctors are still saying this about head injuries).  Our knowledge of science is helping us learn real interventions that can alter the course of illness.    We must ask our health care providers what they do to stay on top of the knowledge. I do a literature review on any new information on treatment of brain injury every month. That way I and you the readers of this blog know what treatments will actually make a difference in treatment and diagnosis.
        Most  of what we know about treating brain injury has been discovered in the last 14 years.   Western medicine has been focused on helping people survive.  We are just starting to focus on optimum recovery.   The military has lead the way in understanding how much mild brain injury affects people long term.   In is estimated that 10% of veterans from Iraq have a brain injury.  In 2011, The military released a report that the earlier brain injured patients were fed, the better they did.  This may seem obvious, but most brain injured patients are not fed early.  They do not eat because they are not hungry due to symptoms and for some the consciousness is questionable and there are worries over choking.   The brain needs nutrients to help build new tissue to replace the damaged tissue.  Multiple studies have shown a diet of Omega 3 fatty acids and rich in proteins have helped the brain recover. 

     Since 2011 multiple other reports have been released on treatments.  My goal is to stay up to date on all studies on brain injury.  I am happy to answer questions or comment on a study to help us all understand the brain a little better.  Thanks for reading. 

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