Nano-FTIR: A new era in modern analytical chemistry

Basque Research: “Researchers from the nanoscience research center NanoGUNE (San Sebastian, Spain), the university of Munich (LMU, Germany) and Neaspec GmbH (Martinsried, Germany) present a new instrumental development that solves a prime question of materials science and nanotechnology: how to chemically identify materials at the nanometer scale (F. Huth et al., Nano Letters, 2012, DOI: 10.1021/nl301159v).

Nanoscale chemical identification and mapping of materials now becomes possible with nano-FTIR, an optical technique that combines scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy (s-SNOM) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. By illuminating the metalized tip of an atomic force microscope (AFM) with a broadband infrared laser, and analyzing the backscattered light with a specially designed Fourier Transform spectrometer, the researchers could demonstrate local infrared spectroscopy with a spatial resolution of less than 20 nm. “Nano-FTIR thus allows for fast and reliable chemical identification of virtually any infrared-active material on the nanometer scale”, says Florian Huth, who performed the experiments.

An important aspect of enormous practical relevance is that the nano-FTIR spectra match extremely well with conventional FTIR spectra, while the spatial resolution is increased by more than a factor of 300 compared to 

conventional infrared spectroscopy. “The high sensitivity to chemical composition combined with ultra-high resolution makes nano-FTIR a unique tool for research, development and quality control in polymer chemistry, biomedicine and pharmaceutical industry” concludes Rainer Hillenbrand, leader of the Nanooptics group at nanoGUNE.””

I wonder if this could ever be used to provide real-time identification of medication in solid as well as aqueous form. How about real-time identification of counterfeit drugs? Sounds like lots of possibilities.

Saturday morning coffee [July 28 2012]

So much happens each and every week that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Here are some of the taps that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….

The coffee mug to the right isn’t a coffee mug at all, it’s a coffee cup from the Starbucks in the lobby of our hotel. The Fahrni crew is on vacation this week. We’re running all over Texas having a great time. Feel free to read about what we’ve been up to here.

- Dark Knight Rises was #1 at the box office last weekend. My family and I saw it. Good movie, but I was a little disappointed. The movie fell short in several areas in my opinion.

– I’ve heard an awful lot about the Olympics this week. Is it just me or are the Olympics losing their appeal? I can’t seem to muster any interest. However, it you have an interest in keeping up with the Olympics you can always do so on your smartphone with this list of Olympics 2012 Android and iOS Apps at Lockergnome.
Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [July 28 2012]

Lexicomp offering deal on new subscriptions until the end of July

In my opinion Lexicomp is still the gold standard for pharmacist drug references. I don’t use any of the Lexicomp references these days as I no longer have a need, but I used to use them all the time. I remember using Lexi-drugs on my Palm Pilot (actually a TRGPro) back in the day.  The reference went everywhere with me because my TRGPro was always in my pocket.
Continue reading Lexicomp offering deal on new subscriptions until the end of July

A trip to IHOP and more thoughts on color

A trip to the local IHOP (@IHOP) this morning for breakfast with my family reminded me of something I saw a couple a weeks ago and this post about the use of color in pharmacy labels. It’s a big of a stretch, I know, but the things that pop into one’s mind aren’t necessarily controlled by logic.
Continue reading A trip to IHOP and more thoughts on color

Email notification for tests pending at discharge [article] – 90’s technology comes to healthcare

I literally chuckled out loud when I read this abstract from the most recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA). Yes, chuckled. It wasn’t a full laugh because it was just so pathetic. I struggled trying to decide what blog category to place this article in. It’s not really mobile, but then again I suppose you can read your email from any smartphone. No, that would be giving the article more credit than it deserves. I suppose it could be lumped in with Technology. No, this is 2012. How about Therapeutics. No, not really. Huh, I’m stumped. None of the above it is.

Continue reading Email notification for tests pending at discharge [article] – 90’s technology comes to healthcare

Saturday morning coffee [July 21 2012]

So much happens each and every week that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Here are some of the taps that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….

The coffee mug to the right is in honor of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. I am a Batman fan from way back. Don’t believe me, ask my brother. I was reading the comic books, a.k.a. “graphic novels” long before Michael Keaton invented the movie role back in the late 80’s. The mug itself comes from Six Flags Magic Mountain down in Valencia, CA. Six Flags is a DC Comic themed park, so of course they have a lot of Batman paraphernalia. The park is only about three hours from my home so my family and I have season passes and head down there 2-3 times a year. I don’t do roller coasters anymore, but my kids enjoy them. Me? I eat my way around the park; freshly make sugar-cinnamon donuts, ice cream, popcorn, churros, and of course funnel cake. Don’t forget about the funnel cake. I get mine with whipped cream, strawberries and chocolate sauce. Been thinking about piling ice cream on top, but haven’t gone that far yet.
Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [July 21 2012]

Medical calculators available on Medscape Mobile app for Android

Medscape Mobile is a nice little free app to have on your Android device. It’s no Lexi-comp, but it’ll certainly do a respectable job in a pinch.

I’ve been accessing Medscape for years. I think it may have been the first online reference site I subscribed to. I frequently read through the pharmacy news section of the site. It’s pretty good.

Anyway, I received an email notification that the Android version of the app now includes medical calculators. The calculator selection is pretty good. No awesome pharmacokinetics calculators like RxCalc (shameless plug), but still pretty good.

I spent a little time playing with it yesterday. I’ve included some screen shots below (click to enlarge).

You can grab the app for free at the Google Play store here. Enjoy.

Sadly #ASHP misses the mark

I’ve been an ASHP member off and on for much of my career. I’m not much for membership in organizations, but I thought ASHP would be worthy. Heck, they’re the biggest professional pharmacy organization in the country (world?), why wouldn’t I be a member.

I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, but sometimes I wonder who’s driving the bus. I believe ASHP’s goals should be to: 1) promote the profession, 2) improve the profession, 3) defend the profession from nefarious sorts, , and 4) offer guidance to help move the profession into the future. That’s it. Read into it what you will, but pharmacists and technicians pay to be members of ASHP. Why? Because they believe ASHP will make pharmacy better. Otherwise there’s no point.

I’ve dabbled in some of the small groups within AHSP, specifically the Section of Pharmacy Informatics and Technology (SOPIT). These small groups focus on specific issues within the profession. Their purpose is to come up with solutions and recommendations. And in the case of the SOPIT the goal is to help solve problems associated with pharmacy informatics, automation and technology within the practice of pharmacy. It’s actually a good group that has done some great things over the years.

One of these groups in particular had great promise as it brought together several companies in the industry to look at the problem associated with informational standards; particularly drug information updates to pharmacy formularies. One of the problems with information within formularies (drug dictionaries, drug masters, <insert other name here>) is that standards simply don’t exist. Everyone has their own way of doing it, which causes problems.

While serving as the IT pharmacist at my last facility I had to manually maintain several formularies: pharmacy information system, ADC’s, pharmacy inventory management system, barcode labeling system, online hospital formulary, etc. It was time consuming and fraught with error. And before you ask, yes I made mistakes in those systems that caused problems; problems that were a bear to fix.

The group mentioned above was brought together to look at this problem and propose a method for companies to collaborate with the sole purpose of bringing a single standard to the practice that could be utilized to populate hospital formularies in a “downhill” fashion, i.e. one formulary update delivered to a centralized location that could be pushed out to other formularies. One standard. One location to update. One  formulary to monitor. One formulary to maintain. Simple. Fewer errors. Less work. Better for the profession.

Unfortunately AHSP decided to kill the project. I’m greatly disappointed in ASHP for doing this.
Continue reading Sadly #ASHP misses the mark

Don’t get between people and their weed. Just sayin’

I spent the better part of a half hour tonight getting beat up over on Google plus because I’m not a big fan of medical marijuana. As a pharmacist I see the arguments for its use as rather weak, at best. But as long as it’s legal feel free to use it to your heart’s content. However, please don’t make a federal case out of it when you can’t get your buzz on anymore.

The post I’m referring to is here, which references an article about the “World’s Biggest Marijuana Dispensary Targeted By The Feds”. I made the mistake of saying that there are alternatives and that the need for medical marijuana was baloney.

People got pissed and started attacking me. All kinds of things were said to me like “nature is better”, Big Pharma owns me, I’m corrupt, an ass, out to make money, not open to alternatives, don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m using bogus pharmacology arguments, need job security, I’m ignorant, been brain washed, etc. My favorite is the dude that kept screaming about natural remedies. He cracked me up. Actually, most of them cracked me up. It was like talking with a six year old. No, that’s not true. It’s probably more like talking to a 13 year old, know it all.

I tried to have a conversation, but I eventually had to take my leave because the conversation was going nowhere. And I was taking a beating. The ignorance inside the post was not only startling, but a little scary. Meh, what are you going to do? This is what the general public thinks.

If you really want to know why healthcare is in trouble look no further than the underpinnings of the comments below, i.e. people have no idea what they’re talking about, but think they are absolute experts about healthcare.

Something else comes to mind. I actually think some of those commenting admitted to toking up, which is interesting because these sites are open to the public. What would their employers think about that. I know one has something to do with the OMG!Droid website. I’ll never drop by that site again. Won’t recommend it to anyone else for that matter.

Anyway, below are some of the comments for your entertainment.
Continue reading Don’t get between people and their weed. Just sayin’