You may be hearing a lot about acetaminophen in the news right now. An advisory committee for the FDA is recommending that the dosage instructions be changed to lower amounts to prevent possible liver damage. According to Medscape, the FDA is not required to follow the advisory committee’s advice, but usually does. It will be months before a decision is made and publicized.
Acetaminophen is a drug found in many over the counter medications such as Tylenol and Excedrin. It is also found in prescription drugs like Percocet and Vicodin. This is part of the concern. A lot of people are unaware that prescription drugs contain acetaminophen, so they are more likely to exceed the recommended dosage amount.
For more information, see the following articles:
FDA News Release
Introduction. Prescriber’s Letter: July 2009; Vol: 16, No. 7
Wolfram|Alpha considers itself to be a “computational knowledge engine”, which in laymen’s terms consists of a site where you can search for factual information. The website handles quantitative knowledge and directly answers questions as opposed to supplying the user with links to locate the information themselves.
Launched May 18, many people thought Wolfram|Alpha would be a new search engine that would compete with Google, but that isn’t the case. The website is in no way similar to Google. For instance, it will not provide you with driving directions or information about local events. However, it will provide information on medical computations, hospital information, mortality data, and human growth charts.
The site is updated frequently and claims to obtain most of its data from systematic sources. For example the weather and financial inquiries are continually streaming. In addition, references can be located at the end of each results page.
One of the major drawbacks with using this search engine is that it is not exactly user friendly. Unfortunately, you have to utilize very specific syntax or search within the examples provided. Also the majority of information contained on the site seems to involve scientific information; as such your results can be nowhere near what you expect. Results that concern questions on science and math have the best answers, this is due to the fact that Wolfram|Alpha stemmed from the developers of Mathamatica software. If you are a first time user, it is suggested you start with examples. Similar to a “gigantic brain, it doesn’t know everything, but it knows a ton — and discovering what it knows is half the fun of using it (Conlon, 2009)”. There are still kinks in the site, but Wolfram|Alpha possesses great potential that has yet to be seen.
For additional information:
The Grouse Weighs in on Wolfram by Tom Conlon
Wolfram Alpha Searching for its Niche by Tom Krazit
Wolfram Alpha Show Data in a Way that Google Can’t by Stephen Shankland and Rafe Needleman
Wolfram Alpha the New Greek Almanac by David Coursey
Every week the New England Journal of Medicine presents an image challenge where you can view a picture and attempt to make a diagnosis. When taking the image challenge, a photograph, question, and several answer choices are provided. Prior to submitting an answer individuals can zoom in on the image or see the response of others. An explanation of the diagnosis is provided once the correct answer is chosen. Additional challenges are available through the thumbnail gallery, as well as the option to download a power point slide of the challenge.