Driving home from night shift may be safer with light therapy

From Reuters:

Exhausted shift workers may be safer driving home at night when they’re exposed to bright light before they hit the road, a small study suggests.

To test the effect of light therapy on driving, researchers did a series of three experiments with 19 adults. In two scenarios, participants spent a night being sleep-deprived in a lab and then spent 45 minutes in dim or bright light before a driving test. For a third test, people got a good nights’ sleep at home and then went to the lab for 45 minutes of bright light exposure before a driving test.

After sleep deprivation in the lab, five people exposed to dim light therapy got in car accidents during the driving simulations. None of the people who slept at home crashed, and neither did any of the sleep-deprived people who got bright light therapy before getting behind the wheel, the study found.

Change to stroke emergency protocols could save lives

From the Post:

…the state’s system for caring for stroke patients often means valuable time is lost in getting the right patients to the right doctors. Currently, if a patient has a stroke and calls 911, paramedics might take the patient to the nearest emergency room or to a stroke center that isn’t equipped to perform the newer surgical procedures.

Patients suffering some strokes due to blockages in arteries or other large blood vessels in the brain, though, would benefit most from being taken directly to a hospital designated as a “comprehensive stroke center,” said Dr. Don Frei, a stroke specialist at Swedish Medical Center.

At Aurora Health Care, Telehealth Use is Improving ER Patient Flow

From Healthcare Informatics:

The tele-triage technology solution allows patients who seek care at an emergency department at Aurora Sinai, Aurora West Allis or Aurora in Kenosha to be seen by an Aurora physician via video when they arrive, with another caregiver right at the patient’s side. The offsite physician can serve multiple Aurora emergency departments at once.

Telemedicine: The doctor is in

From the Daily Messenger:

Fifty years ago, doctors made house calls. Those days are making a comeback — via electronic devices like smartphones, tablets and the like.

You can now “phone-in” certain health concerns using telemedicine. Fevers, sore throats, skin rashes and other minor ailments that might otherwise drive you to the doctor, an emergency room or urgent care can be seen and prescribed treatment by a physician right from your home.

Average wait time? Five minutes, 11 seconds, according to a recent pilot program by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield to test how well telemedicine works.

Head injuries climb after Michigan repeals helmet law

From Reuters:

After Michigan repealed its helmet law, motorcycle riders who crashed there were 24 percent less likely to be wearing protective head gear and 14 percent more likely to suffer a head injury, a new study found.

The first statewide investigation since Michigan loosened its law in 2012 also showed a shift in the severity of head injuries diagnosed in emergency rooms, with more skull fractures and fewer mild concussions after the state allowed most bikers to ride without helmets.

Telemedicine may work as well as in-person visits for depression

From Reuters:

Treating depression with video conference calls may offer symptom improvement similar to in-person visits, a recent U.S. study suggests.

Researchers randomly assigned 241 depressed elderly veterans to receive eight weeks of psychotherapy either by visiting a clinician’s office or by using in-home videoconferencing technology. All of them could also take antidepressants.

After one year, there was little or no meaningful difference in satisfaction or symptom relief between the two groups, the study found.

Midwife with broken fingers delivers baby in ER

From Becker’s:

On Thanksgiving morning, a woman seeking treatment for two broken fingers at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash., where she’s worked as a midwife for 10 years, delivered a baby in the emergency room after a woman arrived in labor, according to The News Tribune.

Rhonda DiCostzano was awaiting X-ray results after breaking her fingers while participating in a triathlon on Thursday morning, when Jessica Morales rushed into the ER around 8:50 a.m.

“So I just went over there and said, ‘I’m a midwife. I can help,'” Ms. DiCostanzo told the Tribune.