Category Archives: Health Care

Diagnosing ear infections with iPhone technology

Ear infections are the most common among preschool aged children, though can be difficult to distinguish between one caused by bacteria, and thus requiring antibiotics, and a case caused by a virus which will ultimately resolve without such treatment.

Dr. Wilbur Lam, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, is working with colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, to develop a “Remotoscope”, an iPhone attachment and accompanying app that works as an otoscope. Using a phone equipped with the Remotoscope, a parent could snap images of the child’s inner ear over the course of the illness to aid physicians in diagnosing the cause of an infection, as well as use the images to determine whether or not to seek medical attention.

For more information about the device, please visit:

Undergraduate Research on Immigrant Health Strategies

Emory undergraduate Sandy Jiang recently presented the results of her summer research project at the SURE (Summer Undergraduate Research Program at Emory) research symposium. The SURE program provides research training opportunities for undergraduate students over the summer break. Sandy completed her research under the supervision of Dr. Cassandra Quave and the Center for the Study of Human Health. Sandy’s research project, entitled “A Comparison of Traditional Food and Health Strategies among Taiwanese and Chinese Immigrants in Atlanta”, examined traditional knowledge and practices related to food and health . Sandy plans to continue work on this project in the fall and submit a manuscript for publication.

Abstract from the study:

Introduction: Traditional knowledge (TK) systems can play a crucial role in local health strategies and outcomes, especially among migrant communities. The aims of this study are to (1) compare traditional knowledge and practices related to food and health of Taiwanese and Chinese immigrants in metro Atlanta; (2) evaluate how immigrants adapt to new medicinal frameworks; and (3) document the use of medicinal foods and local substitutes as they relate to human health in these communities.

Methods: Snowball sampling techniques were used to recruit 50 adult informants (≥ 18 years-old) from the Chinese and Taiwanese immigrant communities in metro Atlanta for participation in semi-structured interviews and structured surveys regarding the use of the local flora for medicinal and food purposes. Standard ethnobotanical methods were employed and prior informed consent was obtained for all study participants. Voucher specimens of quoted species were collected for deposit at the Emory University Herbarium.

Results: A total of 44 medicinal and/or “healthy” food plants were cited by informants as being central to their traditional health practices. Taiwanese were more likely to use Eastern medicine, plant their own food gardens, believe in the concepts of Yin and Yang, and use certain medicinal foods more than their Chinese counterparts.

Conclusions: TK concerning medical and nutritional practices of immigrant communities represents a fundamental aspect to the study of human health. Results from studies focused on the documentation and analysis of local health strategies can be used to facilitate better communication, bridging the gap between biomedical healthcare providers and users of Complementary and Alternative Medical (CAM) strategies in immigrant communities.

Emory University Hospital named best hospital in metro Atlanta and Georgia

In their 2012 guide to “America’s Best Hospitals”, U.S. News & World Report named Emory University Hospital the best hospital in both metro Atlanta and in the entire state of Georgia.  Further, Emory University Hospital was ranked as a national care leader in five specialties: cancer; cardiology and heart surgery; geriatrics; neurology and neurosurgery; and psychiatry.

The full details about Emory University Hospital’s rating is available through the U.S. News & World Report website.

Research points to the early detection of lung cancer through a breathalzyer-like test

A joint study conducted by researchers at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology demonstrated the possibility of early diagnosis of lung cancer using a breathalyzer-like test.  The team identified 75 unique breath volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) that were different in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) compared to individuals without the condition.

To learn more about the study, as well as other lung cancer research conducted by the joint Emory University-Georgia Tech team, please read this article by the Emory News Center.

FDA approves truvada for HIV prevention

On July 16th, 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug for reducing the risk of HIV infection. Gilead Science’s Truvada is actually based in part on technology developed at Emory (Emtriva). In Truvada, a fixed dose of Emtriva (Emtricitabine) is combined with Tenofovir. This exciting news for HIV prophylaxis comes shortly after recent FDA approval of the OraQuick test earlier this month for the detection of HIV using an oral saliva swab.

Visit this link to read more about Truvada and HIV prevention:

Emory experts weigh in on Supreme Court’s health care decision

Various health policy and legal experts from across the community after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional earlier this week. Commentary was provided from Dr. Timothy Buckman, Director, Emory Center for Critical Care, Dr. Kathleen Adams, professor of Health Policy and Management, Rollins School of Public Health, and William Buzbee, professor of Law, Emory Law School, among others. Read their commentary provided by the Emory News Center and watch Dr. Ken Thorpe discuss the Act below.


Enlightenment Luncheon: a discussion regarding the rising prevalence of type 2 diabetes in children – March 14, 2012

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in children continues to increase due to a number of factors ranging from genetics, a lack of physical activity, and poor nutrition.  This Enlightenment Luncheon, the sixth in a series hosted by the Emory School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and local philanthropists Stephanie Blank, Lisa Rayner and Laura Turner Seydel, serves to promote dialogue between the academic, health care, and local community to improve health outcomes.

The Luncheon features Griffin Platt Rodgers, MD, MBA, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, as the keynote speaker for the event on March 14th from noon to 2 pm at the InterContinental Hotel Buckhead’s Venetian Ballroom.  The event is open to the public, with registration beginning at 11 am.  For more information about the event, visit this website.  To purchase tickets for the event, please call 404-727-4878 or visit the online registration website.

Symposia Event: “Fixing US Healthcare: Problems and Solutions”

The collaborative Emory University and Georgia Tech Healthcare Innovation Program (HIP) have announced their first offering in a series of quarterly symposia, titled “Fixing US Healthcare: Problems and Solutions”.

The talk is scheduled for Wednesday, February 1 from 11:30-2 pm in Cox Hall on the Emory University Campus, and all students, faculty, and staff can participate by registering for the event.  The talk features a keynote address by Dr. Stephen H. Lipstein, President and CEO of BJC Healthcare, followed by a panel discussion of healthcare provider, economic/business, and technology perspectives.  More information about the event is available here.

Direct access lab testing: Friend or foe?

In a world with rising health care costs, many are turning to alternative forms of care, which may or many not provide the benefits that patients are expecting.  One such alternative, direct access lab testing, is a means for patients to receive a variety of laboratory tests of their choosing without consulting with a physician.  While a proposed benefit is the ability to take more control over your health, other negative outcomes ensue: unnecessary tests contribute to increased overall health care spending, false positive and false negative results are difficult to interpret when tests are conducted in isolation, and individuals receiving poor results do not have the associated physician emotional and informational support that would be provided in a physician’s office.

For more information about direct access lab testing, listen or read this story by NPR.