Grand Rounds 5.14 Holiday Edition

Reading time: 12 – 20 minutes

Seasons Greetings! Welcome to the Holiday Edition of Grand Rounds, featuring some of the best articles of the biomedical and healthcare blogosphere.

There’s a revolution occurring on the Web: those “authoritative” articles written on traditional, static websites are being replaced with blogs, wikis and online social networks. In the sphere of health, medicine and information technology, this “real-time Web” consists of many who are professionals in the field; their posts are listed below.
In the digital age, these are the characteristics of new media: recent, relevant, reachable and reliable.

At this time last year, I announced the Highlight HEALTH Network, a single source that aggregates content from all the Highlight HEALTH websites. This year, I have a similar gift for biomedical and healthcare blogosphere readers:

Health and Medicine blog carnival email and RSS subscriptions!

red-christmas-candlesI’ve set up feeds for a number of credible, rotating health and medicine blog carnivals. Note that blog carnivals such as Radiology Grand Rounds were intentionally omitted because each edition is normally hosted at the same site. Now, if you would like to follow your favorite carnival, you can simply subscribe by email or RSS — each post links directly to the blog hosting the carnival. To subscribe by email or RSS, click on the RSS icon next to each carnival name. If you subscribe to more than one carnival, there’s also an aggregated feed:

Subscribe with RSS Subscribe to the mashup … one subscription, all eight carnivals

Here are the individual blog carnival feeds:

Subscribe with RSS Grand Rounds Subscribe with RSS Change of Shift Subscribe with RSS Medicine 2.0
Subscribe with RSS Gene Genie Subscribe with RSS Encephalon Subscribe with RSS Cancer Research
Subscribe with RSS SurgeXperiences Subscribe with RSS Health Wonk Review

With particular thanks to Marshall Kirkpatrick for the idea, I hope the subscription options increase the popularity and readership of each of the respective carnivals. Happy Holidays!

Now, on to the Holiday Edition of Grand Rounds. This issue consists of five sections: The Holiday Season; Biomedical News and Research; Doctors, Nurses, Students and Patients; Advice, Tips and Q&A; and Healthcare. Given the number of great submissions, I’ve intentionally kept my comments brief so that you can focus on the content of each article.

The Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you “Be of good cheer”
It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Teen Health 411

This holiday season, Dr. Nancy Brown reminds us that assuming we are entitled to anything keeps us from appreciating what we have, writing Gratitude and Holidays!

Doc Gurley

There are many people who can use our help this holiday season. Dr. Jan Gurley explains how we can benefit from giving a gift to a homeless person in The Second Annual Homeless Gift Guide.

Notes of an Anesthesioboist

T helps a colleague manage one of the toughest airways of the year and realizes with gratitude what a dynamic gift good teaching can be. Candy Cane Time

How To Cope With Pain Blog

Lisa Copen offers 12 Gift Ideas for Gals with Chronic Illness such as chronic pain, fibromyalgia and migraine.


For people wishing to buy educational books this season, specifically those with a simple interest in human evolution, Moneduloides makes some recommendations, wishing all of us a A Very, Merry, Human Evolutionary Christmas.

The Fitness Fixer

I have a long drive to the hospital everyday and use the time to stay informed by listening to NPR. Over the holiday season, Dr. Jolie Bookspan suggests something similar: Reducing Holiday Driving Stress and Increasing Human Connection.


Dr. Chris Nickson recounts the story of jellyfish hunter Jack Barnes and how he determined the cause of a distressing condition called Irukandji syndrome by stinging himself and his 9 year-old son in December 1964 — some Christmas present! Jack Barnes and the Irukandji Enigma

Canadian Medicine

Alberta National Democratic Party leader Brian Mason isn’t very happy with the Conservative government’s management of healthcare in recent years. Sam Solomon recounts A Carol for Alberta’s Health Minister.

Biomedical News and Research

There’ll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow
There’ll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago

Clinical Cases and Images

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Horizons Conference was a 3-day meeting in October 2008 that focused on the future of medical publishing. Dr. Ves Dimov begins a 3-part series reflecting his impressions from each day of the meeting. NEJM Horizons Conference to Push Boundaries of Traditional Medical Publishing, Day 1

Suture for a Living

Dr. Ramona Bates covers the First Face Transplant Done in the U.S.

ACP Internist

A recent study finds that patients get more anxious when doctors use medical terms for conditions and diseases than lay terms [1]. Jessica Berthold warns, Careful What You Say … and How You Say It.

Why am I still here?

Tiny Shrink explores Public Persona and considers the difference publishing a case report in an academic journal or magazine that gets posted to the internet versus posting an anonymous blog, and why one activity is often forbidden but not the other.

Dr Shock

A recent study reported the results of a meta-analysis of experimental studies on Internet addiction published in academic journals from 1996 — 2006, assessing how Internet addiction has been measured and analyzing the degree of association between variables [2]. Dr. Walter W. van den Broek finds Internet Addiction Research Disappointing.

The Neurocritic

While a recent report from the Radiological Society of North America contained several inaccuracies, it nonetheless demonstrated that the potential for cortical plasticity persists at six or more months post-stroke [3]. The Neurocritic sets the record straight on Neuroimaging Studies of Stroke Rehabilitation.

Colorado Health Insurance Insider

A primary care physician (PCP) faces a number of challenges today, including a shortage of doctors and inequitable reimbursement. While it’s well-known in the healthcare and health insurance blog worlds, Louise reports that Most Americans are Unaware of the PCP Shortage.


Dr. Pascale Michelon describes the cognitive reserve hypothesis, tested in multiple studies, which states that individuals with more cognitive reserve can experience more Alzheimer’s disease pathology in the brain (more plaques and tangles) without developing Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. Education builds Cognitive Reserve for Alzheimers Disease Protection

Mexico Medical Student

Enrico critiques an article written by a psychiatrist that appeared in New England Journal of Medicine and was reported on by the New York Times regarding medical school curricula and how they may be failing at teaching basic introductory communication skills, asking Dr. Manners, I Presume? [4].

Laika’s MedLibLog

One of the things Web 2.0 does is facilitate creativity, information sharing and collaboration among users. Dr. Jacqueline reviews The OpenECGproject: an Admirable Web 2.0 Initiative.

Doctors, Nurses, Students and Patients

It’s the hap-happiest season of all
With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings
When friends come to call
It’s the hap- happiest season of all

other things amanzi

Are surgeons self-confident or arrogant? Bongi reflects on being The Best.


Doctors and nurses share the same space at work but work in different spaces. After a night on divert, Kim realizes Nurses are from Mars, Doctors are from … Some Other Galaxy.

The Happy Hospitalist

The Happy Hospitalist shares a child’s future endeavors as a physician. When I am 30

monash medical student

After his 3rd year in medical school, Jeffrey Leow has Top 10 “to-dos” Before Graduating from Med School.


Duncan Cross reflects on Gifts, specifically the best gift he’s ever gotten and how it has affected his life with illness.

Anatomy on the Beach

Kent Tisher moves Onward, reflecting back on his first two years of medical school, leaving the Caribbean and actually knowing things in the ER.

Own Your Health

Roanne Weisman tells the story of Jacqueline Miller and her journey to recovering in this Story of Hope: “All I Wanted to do was Hug My Children.”

Shrink Rap

Sociopaths, psychopaths and antisocials — Clink asks Who is a Criminal?

Advice, Tips and Q&A

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
There’ll be much mistltoeing
And hearts will be glowing
When love ones are near
It’s the most wonderful time of the year

The Back Pain Blog

Dean Moyer responds to a reader’s question about neck pain and the changing weather, sharing some tips on how to deal with winter in a way that can make Neck Pain and the Cold seem a little less daunting.

Medicine for the Outdoors

Exposure to extremely cold external temperatures is a critical issue this time of year. Dr. Paul Auerback offers a Frostbite Update.


Dr. Daniel Lende offers balanced advice on cosleeping, bedsharing and breastfeeding. Cosleeping and Biological Imperatives: Why Human Babies Do Not and Should Not Sleep Alone

Adventure Health Clinic

Finger taping is a technique rock climbers use to prevent injuries or to keep climbing with an injury. Dr. Erik McLaughlin reviews Rock Climbing, Finger Taping and Injury.

Allergy Notes

Dr. Ves Dimov provides a summary of Sesame Food Allergy: Questions and Answers


There’ll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow
There’ll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago


Dr. Berci Meskó focuses on why a bridge is needed between medical professionals and e-patients and how it should be constructed. The Bridge: Do You Want to Change Healthcare?


David Harlow reviews a paper assessing the value of a public plan — Medicare-for-all — as an option for coverage under an Obama healthcare reform plan [5]. Jacob Hacker makes the case for public plan choice in national health reform


Dr. Stuart Henochowicz expresses his thoughts on what the Obama administration stimulus package should focus on, urging that the government Spend, Spend, Spend on healthcare.

The Covert Rationing Blog

HMOs are staring at the ugly prospect of their one-and-only engine for growth in recent years — Medicare Advantage — being taken away from them in about a month. Dr. Rich considers the implications. The HMO Death Watch, 2: How Shall We Regard Medicare Advantage?


Is it okay to induce labor if it means the difference between insurance paying and not? What are the limits of Medical Necessity? Bob Vineyard tells the disturbing story.

Health Business Blog

Some people are upset that health insurers and doctors want to participate in the Obama transition’s healthcare house parties. Not David Williams, asking us to Guess who’s coming to dinner?


It’s the most wonderful time of the year
There’ll be much mistltoeing
And hearts will be glowing
When love ones are near
It’s the most wonderful time
It’s the most wonderful time
It’s the most wonderful time of the year

That concludes the Holiday Edition of Grand Rounds, Vol. 5 No. 14. It’s been great hosting Grand Rounds for the first time and I’d like to thank everyone that submitted articles.

The New Years Edition of Grand Rounds, Vol. 5 No. 15, is being hosted by moneduloides on December 30th.

Have a happy, healthy holiday season!


  1. Young et al. The role of medical language in changing public perceptions of illness. PLoS ONE. 2008;3(12):e3875. Epub 2008 Dec 8.
    View abstract
  2. Byun et al. Internet Addiction: Metasynthesis of 1996-2006 Quantitative Research. Cyberpsychol Behav. 2008 Dec 10. [Epub ahead of print]
    View abstract
  3. Robotic Technology Improves Stroke Rehabilitation. Radiological Society of North America press release. 2008 Dec 3.
  4. Kahn MW. Etiquette-based medicine. N Engl J Med. 2008 May 8;358(19):1988-9. View abstract
  5. Hacker JS. The Case for Public Plan Choice in National Health Reform. Center on Health, Economic & Family Security. University of California Berkeley School of Law. 2008 Dec 16.
About the Author

Walter Jessen, Ph.D. is a Data Scientist, Digital Biologist, and Knowledge Engineer. His primary focus is to build and support expert systems, including AI (artificial intelligence) and user-generated platforms, and to identify and develop methods to capture, organize, integrate, and make accessible company knowledge. His research interests include disease biology modeling and biomarker identification. He is also a Principal at Highlight Health Media, which publishes Highlight HEALTH, and lead writer at Highlight HEALTH.