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Anecdotes from the Archive

Magnets of Mercy Treat War Injuries, 1915

Demonstrating how a powerful electromagnet could extract steel shell splinters from wounded men. Image: Scientific American, March 6, 1915

Reported in Scientific American, This Week in World War I: March 13, 1915 In a war that was defined by the mass production of war supplies, the great manufacturing center of Pittsburgh, Pa., was already an important source of matériel for all the armies involved: “Pittsburgh’s great industrial plants are furnishing practically all the barbed [...]

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How to Fly a Model Helicopter Using Only Your Thoughts

For decades, scientists have been developing brain-computer linkages they hope will enable people to manipulate objects hands free. Duke neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis reported a few years ago that a monkey fitted with implanted electrodes could use its brainpower to control the walking patterns of a robot . Less invasive, more commercial efforts include electroencephalalography (EEG) [...]

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Patients Get More Unnecessary Scans from Doctors Who Own Equipment

doctor and patient MRI scan

More and more physicians are investing in their own imaging equipment. But when a doctor stands to make money on each MRI he or she orders, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that they might be inclined to order too many scans. Patients with back problems whose orthopedic surgeons referred them for [...]

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New Heart Disease Test Brings Higher Costs and More Procedures

coronary computed tomography angiography

In the prevailing more-is-better culture, patients often jump at or at least surrender to the latest and greatest medical test. New imaging technology is gaining crispness with each passing year, and advances in the past several years has enabled doctors to peer inside the body to detect tiny tumors or the beginning of a blocked [...]

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Medicine goes mobile: iPhone apps take vitals, track viruses

best medical iphone smart phone apps

On tiny keypads and greasy touch screens, doctors, nurses, NPs and physicians assistants these days are doing a lot more than checking email and phone messages. Increasingly, health care workers are using their iPhones and other smart phones to track patient information, take vital statistics and even make clinical decisions. Just months after the first [...]

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