All articles by julian turner

julian turner

Difficile measures

A missed diagnosis of Clostridium difficile infection can cost a hospital tens of thousands of dollars, Dr Glen Hansen, associate professor at the University of Minnesota, tells Practical Patient Care. Now, with physicians still struggling to accurately spot and treat patients suffering from this difficult-to-detect illness, a pioneering detection method developed by immunodiagnostics company Singulex may offer healthcare professionals a better weapon in their battle against the disease.

Image problem – the CERN EndoTOFPET-US project

Because pancreatic cancer is nearly always detected at a late stage, there is a pressing need for better diagnostic techniques. The EndoTOFPET-US project based at CERN has developed an endoscopic PET scanner that could be used to find biomarkers of early-stage pancreatic cancer, thus improving the prognosis. Abi Millar speaks to Dr Paul Lecoq, a physicist at CERN, about what this technology entails and what it means for the future of medical imaging in cancer treatments.

Speedy testing for STIs – revolutionising point-of-care treatment

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) take a day to diagnose in the lab, and patients aren’t often keen to hear their results. Dr John Clarkson believes he can cut that time down to half an hour. Greg Noone talks to the CEO of medical start-up Atlas Genetics about how its new diagnostics platform promises to revolutionise point-of-care treatment for STIs and influence social conventions along the way.

Catheter crisis – making dialysis safer

Bloodstream infections in dialysis patients in the US could be cut in half if dialysis facilities were to implement new CDC recommendations. A new initiative, the Making Dialysis Safer for Patients Coalition, aims to improve patient safety by bringing these recommendations into wider use. Practical Patient Care speaks with Dale Singer, executive director of the Renal Physicians Association, about alternatives and best practices.

Smartphones at the ready – antibiotic-resistant microbes

To fight the looming threat of antibiotic-resistant microbes, an interdisciplinary team of engineering and pharmaceutical researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have invented a smartphone attachment that can identify bacteria’s resistance levels without the need for trained lab technicians. Dr Aydogan Ozcan, leading professor at the bio and nanophotonics laboratory at the electrical engineering and bioengineering department, speaks to Bradford Keen about how this device will be a vital tool for resource-deprived areas.

Small steps – supporting dementia patients

Patients with dementia receiving treatment in hospital are being offered a new style of support to help ensure that they are staying nourished and mentally active. Practical Patient Care speaks to Joanna James, dementia care lead at Imperial NHS Trust, about why this could signal a great change in patient care.

It’s in the blood – assessing average blood-sugar levels

US researchers have developed a more precise method for estimating average blood-sugar levels that can cut diagnostic errors by more than 50% compared with the current, widely used test. Practical Patient Care speaks to the senior investigator on the project, John Higgins of Harvard Medical School, about how he thinks this new method can lead towards a more convenient and correct form of patient diagnostics.

Bugs vs bots – using robots to sterilise drug-resistant bacteria

Robots emitting UV light are now being used to disinfect hospital rooms, sterilising drug-resistant bacteria that chemicals and humans may have missed. Clyde Brawner and Darin Smith of Norman Regional Health System in Oklahoma talk to Eleanor Wilson about how this impacts healthcare-associated infection rates and environmental operations.

Patient education in Europe – EWMA and diabetic care

European Wound Management Association (EWMA) council members Dr Sebastian Probst, professor of tissue viability and wound care at the School of Health Sciences, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland; and Dr Andrea Pokorná, associate professor of nursing and a specialised international coordinator for the Department of Nursing, Masaryk University in the Czech Republic, discuss patient education for diabetic care within Europe.

Handheld diagnosis for bedsores – biometric scanners

A host of new devices that aim to prevent pressure ulcers are being trialled in hospitals across the world and have seen great results. The new handheld biometric scanners use sensors to detect the onset of pressure ulcers before they manifest on the skin. Professor Zena Moore, the principal investigator of a study into the effectiveness of the device, speaks to Kerry Taylor-Smith about why this could be such a great thing for patients – and end up saving hospitals a lot of money.