Noteworthy: Models Seeking Marrow; Eye in the Back of His Head

February 2, 2011

Noteworthy items from February 2011

Models Seeking Marrow
Flip through any magazine and you’ll see attractive female mod¬els used to market everything from watches to cologne. So it is no surprise that a company in New Hampshire thought they had found the perfect way to promote bone marrow donation to male customers. Or so they thought.
State law enforcement officials began investigating a bone marrow registry affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, which paid female models $60,000 per week to recruit potential donors at shopping malls and sporting events, according to The New York Times.
 
New Hampshire officials said the registry hired models based on their photographs and gave them “explicit instructions” to wear heels, short skirts, and for some, electric-blue wigs to encourage men to donate a DNA swab, the report notes. The problem, however, was that once the swab was collected by registry employees, insurance companies were billed up to $4,300 per test, unbeknownst to the potential donors.

The registry says it recruited more than 185,000 potential donors in New England, using the models to “help acquaint the public on how they can contribute to this lifesaving effort.” The registry also said it is no longer hiring models nor collecting DNA in New Hampshire, amid an investigation into its marketing and billing practices.

Maybe Just Stick With Tequila

In its television ads, Corona is seen as the no-worries, relaxing-on-the-beach beer of choice for people with their backs to the camera. Perhaps now we know why you don’t see their faces, or much of their skin for that matter.

Scott Flugman, a New York dermatologist, recently discussed the possibility of contracting “Mexican beer dermatitis” from the popular beverage, thanks to the lime wedge frequently served as Corona’s companion. According to Flugman’s research, published in the Archives of Dermatology, when a Corona drinker plunges the lime into the beer and mixes it up with his thumb over the top of the bottle, there is the possibility that the beer and lime blend could spill onto his skin. The result of such a spill - when exposed to sunlight - can be a skin reaction akin to poison ivy or a jellyfish sting caused by the substance psoralen.

The solution? Remove any “spritz” that could be exposed to the sun, or if you aren’t near a sink and don’t want to halt your relaxation, “throw a towel over it.”

Happy Wife, Happy Life

Married people: Would you say you’re a happier person than your spouse, or less happy?
Either way, you’re wrong, if recent research from the University of British Columbia, Canada, is to be believed. According to researchers, most married folks are at the same level of happiness as their better half, and as one spouse’s happiness ebbs and rises, so does the other’s.

Lead author Christiane Hoppmann, a professor of psychology, told MSNBC that future studies on how happy an individual is should also incorporate the happiness of their spouse, since they share the same environment, for the most part. She also said it is unclear whether these same emotional ups and downs are similarly tied in friendships, or in individuals who share a lot of joint experiences.

Can You Bite Me Now?

Since the age of 14, Stephen Hirst experienced excruciating pain and loss of hearing in his right ear. Imagine his shock - and that of medical staff - when the source of the problem was discovered: a rogue tooth in his ear canal.

Hirst, now 47, recently had the tooth removed from his ear at a Sheffield, England, hospital after what he said was repeated visits to ear, nose, and throat clinics, according to the Daily Mail. Hirst finally went to the hospital, where a nurse cleaned out the ear and used a pair of tweezers to extract the tooth, which is the only one the former miner had. He’d had all the ones in his mouth removed years ago.

Doctors say the tooth is likely one of the front incisors, with Hirst saying he probably “pushed it in” as a kid, perhaps when he hit the back of his ear while swinging between two desks as a schoolchild.
While his right eardrum has disintegrated, Hirst said he is glad the pain is now gone, noting that it is “better late than never” that the tooth finally made its way to the surface, so to speak.

Eye in the Back of His Head

Discontented with the two eyes placed in the front of his head, a New York University arts professor has decided to add a new one.

Wafaa Bilal had a digital camera, two inches in diameter, surgically implanted in the back of his head to capture images for a new project entitled “The 3rd I.” Bilal told the Associated Press that the third eye will capture “the things we don’t see and leave behind.” Images from the camera - taken at a rate of one per minute - will be transmitted to the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar, in real-time, as well as to a Web site.

Bilal would not comment about the surgery to implant the camera in his head, but we’re sure he had one heck of a time getting his health plan to foot the bill.

Statistic

10 - Percentage of physicians who say they are confident they will qualify for federal “meaningful use” incentives by this spring.

93 - Prcentage of physicians who blame “lack of substantive support” from their vendors, for not qualifying for “meaningful use.”
Source: Black Book Rankings

Recommended Site - Love Is in the Air for Physicians, Hospitals

Seeing as this is our February edition, what better resource than a look at the growing romance between physicians and hospitals sparked by federal health reform?

“From courtship to marriage: Why health reform is driving physicians and hospitals closer together,” by Pricewaterhouse Coopers is the first of a two-part series on physician-hospital alignment. In examining these new courtships, PwC even has a section entitled “The heart of the matter,” where it indicates nearly three-fourths of docs are in financial relationships with hospitals, while more than half “say they want to move closer financially.” Ah, amore.

To access the report, go to www.pwc.com and search using the report’s title.