“What’d I miss?” – Week of September 27th

As usual there were a lot of things that happened during the week, and not all of it was pharmacy or technology related. Here’s a quick look at some of the stuff I found interesting.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was #1 at the box office for a second straight week. I wonder if it’s really that good or if everything else currently out at the box office that bad.

– My wife and I took in Zombieland yesterday. It’s one of the better movies I’ve seen in a while. Think of it as a cross between 28 Weeks Later and Resident Evil: Extinction, only funny. The action starts right away in a post-apocalyptic world caused by a virus that turns everyone into a zombie. I’m not a big Woody Harrelson fan, but he was great. He plays a kind of a Twinkie loving redneck that has a knack for killing zombies. He teams up with a wimpy college kid named Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) and two con artist girls, Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), as they drive across the country to an amusement park called Pacific Playland which is supposed to be zombie free. There’s a particularly funny sequence in the middle of the film with a well know comedian that the group briefly hooks up with in Hollywood. It was worth the price of admission. I’d see it again.

medGadget: “Using the Xbox 360 for Cardiac Research – Dr. Simon Scarle, a University of Warwick researcher, has detailed his work in using the Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) of an Xbox 360 to model and simulate cardiac arrhythmia in the hopes of understanding their initiation and propagation, so as to develop better treatments. While computer modeling has been around for decades, the breakthrough in this work is using a faster, cheaper, and commercially mass produced computer to accurately model the complex cardiac electrical system. Normally this type of modeling is constrained to supercomputers and must compete for computational time with a whole host of other important scientific modeling applications.” – And to think I was only using my Xbox 360 to play games. Seriously though, the 360 is a full blown computer with the ability to display incredible graphics with stunning detail. That’s what online gaming is all about.

– Carbon nanotubes appear to be a hot topic. Physorg.com reports on a team of MIT scientists that are using carbon nanotubes to create state-of-the-art batteries that are small, tough and durable, and Technology Review describes a method of using carbon nanotubes as a delivery method for chemicals. According to the article “They mix the chemical to be encapsulated with a small amount of carbon nanotubes and the precursors for making nylon, while continuously stirring. The stirring causes the nylon to form spheres that capture the nanotubes and the reactant. By varying the stir rate, the Berkeley chemists can vary the size of the resulting capsules from about 100 to 1,000 micrometers. When they aim a laser at a capsule, the carbon nanotubes absorb the light, heating up the liquid inside and causing it to expand until it explodes, releasing the contents.” Hmm, I wonder if this could be used as a future drug delivery system.

– It appears that the Kindle DX experiment to provide an electronic alternative to college textbooks may have failed. Engadget is reporting that students at Princeton, where they were piloting the device, are calling it “a poor excuse of an academic tool.” That’s really too bad as the device is ideal for carrying large amounts of information in a small package. Unfortunately ebook readers don’t necessarily make great note taking devices and the screen response to eink is still relatively slow. Until those two things are remedied, the devices won’t be taken seriously in the world of academia.

Webahn has developed two new iPhone apps to help physicians with clinical documentation. Capzule is an EMR solution that gives physicians access to patient information via their iPhone. In addition it allows them to send messages, add notes, prescribe medications and write orders. I don’t care for the name, Capzule, but the app looks pretty cool. Accent is a dictation app for physicians that allows them to send information to OvernightScribe.com for transcription.

– Josh Fruhlinger writes articles at IT World. com. He’s kind of a Mac Tablet hater. In his latest attack on the Mac Tablet, that has yet to materialize, he talks about using the mythical device to read newspapers. In the article he says “it smacks of the sort of terrible experiments these publications do where they try to replicate the experience of reading it on paper, only on the computer — you know, like newspapers with “electronic editions” that are just giant PDFs. It’s also similar to another experiment of Apple’s that I’m not too sure about — iTunes LPs, which strike me as a sort of half-hearted stab at taking something that worked really well (the large-format LP cover and notes) and porting it awkwardly to the digital realm.” I actually agree with Mr. Fuhlinger here, as I’m not a big fan of reading things on LCD screens. As I’ve said many times, it’s like looking into a flashlight and my eyes complain bitterly after several hours. In my opinion eInk devices make better companions for heavy reading.

Florence dot com: “That said, I’m wondering how professionals who blog and tweet feel about their stories being picked up and used to illustrate how well the systems frontline clinicians rely on work (or, in many cases, don’t work.) The knowledge, attitudes, values, and beliefs of individuals are reflected in the accounts we share. This information is often very personal, and it may reflect organizations individuals chose to identify. There’s a lot of “hot talk” about respecting the privacy rights of patients in social media, but what about others?” – That’s a good questions and food for thought. One thing is for certain, if you don’t want someone to know your business you better not put it in writing on the web.

– The Annals of Pharmacotherapy (Vol. 43, No. 10, pp. 1583-1597): “Comparing Generic and Innovator Drugs: A Review of 12 Years of Bioequivalence Data from the United States Food and Drug Administration The mean ± SD of the GMRs from the 2070 studies was 1.00 ± 0.06 for Cmax and 1.00 ± 0.04 for AUC. The average difference in Cmax and AUC between generic and innovator products was 4.35% and 3.56%, respectively. In addition, in nearly 98% of the bioequivalence studies conducted during this period, the generic product AUC differed from that of the innovator product by less than 10%.” – In other words the FDA has been doing a pretty good job of making sure generic bioequivalence is safe for the consumer.

– The Annals of Pharmacotherapy (Vol 43, No. 10, pp. 1598-1605): “Impact of a Renal Drug Dosing Service on Dose Adjustment in Hospitalized Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease – A renal drug dosing service for patients hospitalized with CKD can increase the proportion of drug dosing that is adjusted to take into account renal function. This can save drug costs and may prevent ADEs.” – Pharmacists are uniquely qualified to adjust medication dosages based on decreased renal function, and our facility takes advantage of it with a renal dosage adjustment protocol. The pharmacists automatically adjust medication dosages on patients that meet the criteria. The cost savings created by the system is tremendous.

ASHP: “Manufacturers of heparin-containing pharmaceuticals for the U.S. market have started using a new assay and reference standard that, according to the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), eliminates a roughly 10% difference between U.S. and international heparin units. While USP said it does not expect this change in heparin potency to have clinical significance, FDA said the change “may have clinical significance in some situations.” – Heparin dosing is driven by aPTT values which will continue to be used regardless of the heparin potency. My advice to clinicians is to simply monitor your patients closely and adjust accordingly.

9to5Mac: “Now equipped with built-in support for Amazon’s MP3 store as a back-up plan, Palm has once again equipped the Palm Pre with the ability to sync with iTunes, offering up WebOS 1.2.1 to achieve the same.” – The Palm Pre is an amazing little device and I love the fact that they’re going toe-to-toe with Apple.

– Good news for all you Mac users with a BlackBerry device. The BlackBerry desktop software for the Mac is now available.

Best college football game to watch this weekend: USC vs. Cal – or – Oklahoma vs Miami

Best pro football game to watch this weekend: Ravens vs. Patriots (GO RAVENS!) – or – Jets vs. Saints . Other intriguing match-ups include Chargers-Steelers and Cowboys-Broncos.

Remember, you can never watch too much football. Have a great weekend everyone.

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